Free Flash Fiction

Fools for Love
This was written for spook_me on livejournal/dreamwidth for the 2018 challenge and was inspired by This lovely piece of art
X X X

Tonka sometimes wondered if her choices were always the wisest. She loved Sanja, she truly did but the Vila often got a wild hair. What could she expect of a woodland fairy? Well, she did expect to stay at home a little more often. She liked the Velebit Mountains. Tonka knew she’d follow Sanja anywhere but she should have protested a little harder when Sanja said they were going to find Baba Yaga and teach the Mother of Witches a lesson or two about messing with the Vilas of the mountains.

So now Tonka found herself fencing with a hut with chicken legs. Adrijan helped her out while Sanja took on Baba Yaga. The snow got into the act somehow, Tonka’s footing sliding and slipping as she slashed with her sword. “Sorry you came along?” she panted at Adrijan.

“Anything for my princess.” He grinned nearly taking a toe off Baba Yaga’s hut with his blade.

He wasn’t talking about her, not that he had much she wanted other than his friendship, and Adrijan was an excellent friend. His princess was an enchantress back home with no royal blood. She had no real love for Adrijan but enjoyed playing with him, telling him if he were a great hero he could win her heart like in a fireside tale. He refused to listen to Tonka or Sanja about his ‘princess,’ so they reluctantly let him do as he would. He’d learn the hard way. Adrijan followed Tonka on this ridiculous adventure to prove himself. He did it for love and so had she. What fools were they?

Tonka ducked under the hut’s foot but before she could retaliate, she heard Sanja scream. She whipped around to see her lover lifted off the ground impossibly high by the neck by a frail-looking crone. That was one of Baba Yaga’s defenses. She looked like an old woman a strong wind could blow away but she was tougher than anyone would guess.

“Forget the house,” Tonka shouted at Adrijan. She ran full tilt, snow be damned. Adrijan would follow.

Baba Yaga gestured and Tonka went flying, nearly landing on her sword. Adrijan soared above her, crashing down on her. Tonka lost her breath. The next scream she heard wasn’t Sanja’s. Baba Yaga rushed past, her hair on fire. Sanja raced after her, winging flames magically at the witch.

Never aggravate an earth spirit, Tonka thought, rolling Adrijan off her.

Baba Yaga dove into her house and the thing scampered off as fast as its chicken legs could go. Sanja held a hand out to Tonka while rubbing her neck with the other. Tonka let Sanja haul her up into a kiss. Adrijan pulled himself up and walked off shielding his eyes. He was amazingly shy about expressions of love. His princess would eat him alive.

“This was a really dumb idea,” Tonka said when Sanja allowed her some air. She examined Sanja’s neck, seeing the bruises Baba Yaga left behind.

Sanja smiled thinly. “Probably, but she’ll think twice about encroaching on my woods.”

“You are brave and beautiful and crazy.” Tonka embraced her. “Can we go home now?”

“Sure. So, bets on whether or not Adrijan makes an epic poem of this for his princess?” Sanja grinned.

Tonka snorted. “No bet. He will.” She linked her fingers with Sanja’s. “Home, my love. Let’s go home.”

New Release! The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth

Doesn’t this look great? I love Scott’s SF novels. Check it out.

The Rising Tide

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.”

Earth is dead.

Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Control the AI, control the people.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.

Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Series Blurb: Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

DSP Publications | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away two prizes with this tour – a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of “The Stark Divide,” book one in the series (US winner only for the paperback). For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4734/?


Excerpt

The Rising Tide Meme

Eddy Tremayne rode his horse, Cassiopeia, along the edge of the pastures that were the last official human habitations before the Anatov Mountains. Several ranchers along the Verge—the zone between the ranches and the foothills—had reported losses of sheep and cattle in the last few weeks.

As the elected sheriff of First District, which ran from Micavery and the South Pole to the mountains, it was Eddy’s responsibility to find out what was going on.

He had his crossbow strapped to his back and his long knife in a leather sheath at his waist. He’d been carrying them for long enough now—three years?—that they had started to feel natural, but the first time he’d worn the crossbow, he’d felt like a poor man’s Robin Hood.

He doubted he’d need them out here, but sheriffs were supposed to be armed.

He’d checked with Lex in the world mind via the South Pole terminal, but she’d reported nothing amiss. In the last few years, she had begun to deploy biodrones to keep an eye on the far-flung parts of the world, but they provided less than optimal coverage. One flyover of this part of the Verge had shown a peaceful flock of thirty sheep. The next showed eight.

The rancher, a former neurosurgeon from New Zealand named Gia Rand, waited for him on the top of a grassy hill. The grass and trees shone with bioluminescent light, and the afternoon sky lit the surrounding countryside with a golden glow. The spindle—the aggregation of energy and glowing pollen that stretched from pole to pole—sparkled in the middle of the sky.

The rancher pulled on her gray braid, staring angrily at something in the valley below. “Took you long enough to get here.”

“Sorry. The train was out of service again.” Technology was slowly failing them, and they had yet to come up with good replacements.

She snorted. “One helluva spaceship we have here.”

He grinned. “Preaching to the choir.” Forever didn’t have the manufacturing base yet to support anything close to the technology its inhabitants had grown used to on Earth. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you asked him. With technology came new and better ways to kill. He’d seen it often enough in the NAU Marines. “What did you find?”

“Look.” Her voice was almost a growl.

Eddy looked down where she was pointing. “Oh shit.” Her missing sheep were no longer missing. They had been slaughtered.

He urged Cassiopeia down the hillside to the rocky clearing. A small stream trickled down out of the mountains there. He counted ten carcasses, as near as he could tell from the skulls left behind. Someone had sheared a couple of them and given up. It looked like they had skinned and cut the rest up for meat, the skin and bones and extra bits discarded.

Gia rode down the hillside behind him.

“Didn’t you report twelve sheep missing?”

She nodded. “Bastards took the two lambs. Probably for breeding.”

“That actually might help us.”

“How’s that?”

He dismounted to take a closer look at the crime scene. “They’ll have to pasture them somewhere. May make it easier to track them down.”

“Maybe so.” She dismounted and joined him. “This was brutal work. Look here.” She picked up a bone. “Whatever cut this was sharp but uneven. It left scratch marks across the bone.”

“So not a metal knife.”

“I don’t think so. Maybe a stone knife?”

He laughed harshly. “Are we back to caveman days, then?” It wasn’t an unreasonable question.

She was silent for a moment, staring at the mountains. “Do you think they live up there?”

“Who?” He followed her gaze. Their highest peaks were wreathed in wisps of cloud.

“The Ghosts.”

The Ghosts had been a persistent myth on Forever since their abrupt departure from Earth. Some of the refugees had vanished right after the Collapse, and every now and then something would end up missing. Clothes off a line, food stocks, and the like.

People talked. The rumors had taken on a life of their own, and now whenever something went missing, people whispered, “It’s the Ghosts.”

Eddy didn’t believe in ghosts. He personally knew at least one refugee who had disappeared, his shipmate Davian. He guessed there must be others, though the record keeping from that time had been slipshod at best. He shrugged and looked at the sky. “Who knows?” It was likely to rain in the next day or so. Whoever had done this had left a trail, trampled into the grass. If he didn’t follow it now, it might be gone by the time he got back here with more resources.

Gia knelt by one of the ewes, staring at the remnants of the slaughter. “Could you get me some more breeding stock? This… incident put a big dent in my herd.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” He took one last look around the site. It had to have taken an hour or two to commit this crime, and yet the thieves had apparently done it in broad daylight. Why weren’t they afraid of being caught? “I’m going to follow the trail, see where it leads.”

Gia nodded. “Thanks. We’re taking the rest of the herd back to the barn until you get this all figured out.”

“Sounds prudent. I’ll let you know.”

Slipping on his hat, he climbed back up on Cassie and followed the trail across the stream toward the Anatov Mountains.


Author Bio

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

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

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

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

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

Rainbow Snippets

It’s been a week. I broke my tooth. I broke my toe. I am not in a good mood but at least I got the marketing stuff done for Blood Red Roulette and here’s some more of it. It’s a bit longer than six sentences though (because I’m tired and sore and don’t have the brain power left to find 6 good ones)

Luc squinted up at him as he tried to place him. “You’ve been to the Alibi and Delilah’s, right?”

“Yes, Arrigo Giancarlo. Surprised you remembered me.”

Luc shrugged. “You ain’t hard and desperate-lookin’ like the rest. You stand out.” He had a delightful Cajun accent.

“What happened? Another bar fight?” Arrigo gained nothing by pretending he didn’t notice the shiner.

Luc’s gaze dropped, and he fussed with the water bottles, not even trying to hawk them to the passersby. “Something like that. The Alibi has a rough clientele. Ain’t the first time I’ve been hit.” He cast a glance into his mostly full cooler, rubbing the cross he wore on a thin chain. “No one’s buying today. Da ain’t gonna like this.”

“I’m sorry.” Arrigo shifted, trying to find more shade. His skin itched. He wondered if it was a drunk or one of Luc’s family who had hit him. He suspected Luc was lying. Pulling out his wallet, he offered Luc twenty dollars. “This should cover it.”

Shaking his head, Luc tucked his hands under his legs. “I can’t take that.”

“Please. You can keep the water,” Arrigo offered.

Luc went pale, making the black eye stand out more. “Then Da would want to know how I got the money without selling anything.”

The way Luc’s voice shook, Arrigo could imagine what Luc’s father would think, given Luc’s pretty, rather than handsome, face. With his fluffy curls, Luc presented a downright cherubic image.

Blurb Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

blood-red-roulette

You can pre-order the paperback here (currently on sale)

the ebook here

It releases November 13th!

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

Rainbow Snippets

Finally caught up with last week’s snippets. It was mid-terms and my college is in the throws of pulling itself apart so it’s been stressful. I still have a lot of catch up work to do but the local theater is showing the old Frankenstein movie for free so I might go do that.

Here’s more of Blood Red Roulette

Now that the sun tucked itself below the horizon, Arrigo strolled out of the MGM where he had been working off the day’s hours, unable to sleep. He might be old enough to withstand daylight, but the noonday Vegas sun hurt his eyes and made his skin tingle. That was the great thing about living in Cleveland. It was always overcast there! Granted, sunlight didn’t hold the terror it had in Arrigo’s mortal days, but the temperature tipped over a hundred degrees, not counting the reflected heat from the asphalt and cement. Arrigo knew he had been spoiled by air-conditioning and soft living. The Roman soldier in him only lived on when he took assignments for the Chiaroscuro.

So absorbed in what he was doing, Arrigo nearly passed right by someone he knew. For a moment all he could do was stare. Hawking water bottles on the sidewalk out of a cooler—something Arrigo considered questionably legal—Luc sat on the curb, sporting a black eye.

blood-red-roulette

Blurb Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

You can pre-order the paperback here (currently on sale)

the ebook here

It releases November 13th!

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

Sunday Small Talk

I’ve missed this in the last couple of weeks because I’ve been relaxing a bit before nano starts in a couple of weeks. Also I’ve had a lot of work stress and things to do for it like research grant writing and putting together a sabbatical proposal (wish me luck)

The biggest news really is it’s a MONTH before Blood Red Roulette drops. This is a novel that’s been with me so long and I love these characters. I hope you do too. Also I can’t get enough of this cover.

Blurb Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

You can pre-order the paperback here (currently on sale)

the ebook here

It releases November 13th!

blood-red-roulette

ANd here, have another crap ton of writing links.

R.A. Salvatore and Patrick Rothfuss on What Does and Doesn’t Make Epic Fantasy Worlds Work

Turning Fury into Unicorns: How to Write Through Anger

Six Characters Siloed Into a Separate Story SIloed?!? Sidelined? Someone not know how siloes work?

Trying to Be a Good Writer is a Complete Waste of Time

How to Write Better Marketing Copy

3 Characteristics of “Extraordinary” Heroes, According to Donald Maass

editing advice

Overcoming Creativity Wounds

Story Structure Q&A: 6 Outstanding Questions About Structure

The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel

The Anatomy of a Book Cover: A Guide for Authors

10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book

WRITE A CAPTIVATING OPENING LINE

Lessons From the Fractured Plotting of The Collapsing Empire mythcreants being mean again.

Making Teleportation Work in Your Story

How Can I Ensure Reinvented Creatures Feel Different?

Rainbow Snippets

Running late again. My brother and SiL were in town for the Bob Evans Farm fest. Last year it was a bust because it was so hot. This year it was 45 degrees. I was pretty happy with that.

I’ll be continuing with Blood Red Roulette. You met Arrigo last time. Now you can meet Luc.

“What were you doing in the back alley with some guy?” Da balled up his fists.

Luc stared, clueless. “What are you talking about? I was only outside twice. Once to throw the garbage out and once to pass a mop.”

“Stanton said you were behind the bar with someone, c’est sa couillon,” his brother, Henri, said, closing the space between him and Luc.

Luc tensed. Nothing he said would matter. He understood his kin too well. They weren’t in a listening mood. “That drunk? I wasn’t out back.”

“Trying to make your own money sucking off the patrons in the alley?” Da growled.

“No!” Luc’s arms crossed in front of him, reflex from years of taking beatings. Doing something like that had never crossed his mind.

Blurb Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

You can pre-order the paperback here (currently on sale)

the ebook here

It releases November 13th!

blood-red-roulette

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

Rainbow Snippets

Running late again. My brother and SiL were in town for the Bob Evans Farm fest. Last year it was a bust because it was so hot. This year it was 45 degrees. I was pretty happy with that.

I’ll be continuing with Blood Red Roulette. You met Arrigo last time. Now you can meet Luc.

“What were you doing in the back alley with some guy?” Da balled up his fists.

Luc stared, clueless. “What are you talking about? I was only outside twice. Once to throw the garbage out and once to pass a mop.”

“Stanton said you were behind the bar with someone, c’est sa couillon,” his brother, Henri, said, closing the space between him and Luc.

Luc tensed. Nothing he said would matter. He understood his kin too well. They weren’t in a listening mood. “That drunk? I wasn’t out back.”

“Trying to make your own money sucking off the patrons in the alley?” Da growled.

“No!” Luc’s arms crossed in front of him, reflex from years of taking beatings. Doing something like that had never crossed his mind.

Blurb Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

You can pre-order the paperback here (currently on sale)

the ebook here

It releases November 13th!

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!