Rainbow Snippets

Exhausted. Drove across the state (on the skinny end so it wasn’t so bad) to the Steampunk Symposium. Tomorrow I’ll be doing my first author panel appearances. Wish me luck.

I’m hoping to have great fun (In spite of a late start tonight was good). I’ll be snippeting from These Haunted Hills again. I skipped a little. They’re now back at the cabin after putting out the cameras.

By the way I owe you thanks.”

Leaning against the counter, Josh shot him a confused look. “You hired me. You don’t owe me anything well besides my fee.”

“No, I do.” Brendan sat at the table. “Last night I was doing some research on you actually, just poking around your haunted sites for one. Then I found your Deviant Art page.”

“Oh god.” Joshua face palmed.

“No, it’s a good thing. You really do have talent. I’ve seen cover artists not half as good.”

“Thanks,” Josh muttered.

“I am serious. Anyhow I saw where you and your friend Cassia participated in a few charity auctions with your fan creations and gave the money to cancer research in Connor’s name.” Brendan’s voice caught. He couldn’t really swallow the lump forming in his throat. “I am blown away that people did that. I had no idea.”

Josh swung into the seat across the table. “I’m just happy to help. So many of us felt terrible for you and your family. There was nothing we could do to help, not really. But there are thousands of poor kids in similar situations. The money went to good causes. I still give money to St Jude’s when I can.”

“It’s appreciated more than you know.”

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!

New Release – New Boy at the Academy by Sam Hawk!


Title: New Boy at the Academy
Series: Tales from the Academy, Book One
Author: Sam Hawk
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 25, 2019
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 79800
Genre: Contemporary YA, LGBT, YA, /1980s, Southern US, high school/academy, bullying, coming-of-age, coming out, homophobia, family drama

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Synopsis

Timmy had no clue that the first day of 10th grade at the Academy would rock his world. He thought it would be just like last year, with its endless bullying and recesses spent reshelving books in the library with his best and only friend Carleen. The sissy boy and the fat girl had bonded over their shared outcast status. But Carleen shows up filled with sassy confidence and declares they’re going to rule the school. By Christmas, the freaks and nerds would be the cool kids, and the mean girls and jocks would be the outcasts. Something had happened to her over the summer, but what?

And then, the two of them lay eyes on the new boy at the Academy. Doug has auburn feathered hair, veiny biceps, and green eyes the color of Sprite bottles. Plus, he’s come all the way from exotic Los Angeles, California. He rocks out to Patti Smith while Timmy loves ABBA. How does someone so cool end up in tiny, conservative Edgewood, South Carolina?

When Carleen immediately declares Doug a fox and her new prospective boyfriend, Timmy is shocked at his jealous reaction. He’s not supposed to like boys in that way, is he? Doug stirs up weird new emotions deep inside him as Timmy embarks on the adventure of his life. He and his hometown will never be the same.

Excerpt

New Boy at the Academy
Sam Hawk © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Edgewood, South Carolina

1980

God didn’t answer my prayers and bring the Rapture on Labor Day, so I had to start tenth grade after all. I stepped in front of the mirror to assess my new back-to-school outfit. I hated it. I’d begged Momma to buy me the alligator shirt from Belk’s, which really cost her a lot, but did it have to hug my body so much? I tried stretching it out, but it would only stretch so far. I thought I’d look like Tom Selleck with his big veiny arms. Instead, I looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I was trying to flex my chest when Momma walked in.

“Honey, get a move on. We have to be out the door in fifteen minutes, and you haven’t even touched your Pop-Tarts.”

“Momma, I think I need to change clothes.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked as she pulled and tugged on my shirt. “This is what you wanted. You look very handsome.”

“But it fits so close.”

“Timmy, I have told you time and again you’re not fat. It’s all in your head. You are absolutely average on the height and weight scale and exactly where you need to be at fifteen.” She patted my tummy, causing me to suck in. “You’ll lose that little bit of pudge in no time in gym class.”

My heart sank at the thought of gym class, and I almost lost my appetite for Pop-Tarts. Almost. Momma smoothed down my cowlick at the kitchen table as I bit into the brown sugar cinnamon pastry.

“Thank goodness you inherited the Ashburn hair,” she said. “Such a beautiful chestnut brown and such a noble hairline. It’s a sign of your aristocratic heritage, you know, on my side of the family. All the Ashburn men had beautiful hairlines. Thank goodness you take after me and don’t have your daddy’s stringy mess.”

I guessed my hairline was okay, but my new haircut was way too short. Daddy had taken me to get it cut only after Momma called him ten times to remind him. He and Momma got divorced when I was two, and it was always weird when he came by, which wasn’t often. Naturally, he took me to the awful old barbershop next to the pool hall instead of the new unisex salon in the Augusta Mall I was secretly hoping for. He told the barber to “buzz it” and then went next door for a beer. I managed to talk the barber into keeping a little length, but not much.

“Now go brush your teeth quick as a bunny rabbit,” said Momma. “Carleen’s mother called this morning and said her car’s not running and could I run by and pick her up for school. So, we have no time.”

Carleen’s house was across the tracks, and I knew Momma didn’t like going over there, but Carleen had been my best friend since kindergarten. Actually, you could say she was my only friend. She was the only one I talked to for hours on the phone at night; the only one I hung out with after school; the only one to ever invite me to a sleepover, which Momma had never allowed me to do since boy-girl sleepovers just weren’t done. I hadn’t seen her all summer because she’d been working at her grandparents’ peach farm. I was glad we’d be going to school together on the first day. I needed my friend with me.

We pulled in front of the house, and Carleen came right out.

“Good Lord, Carleen’s put on even more weight this summer,” said Momma.

Momma was right. Carleen had always been the biggest girl in class, and she wasn’t getting any smaller. I recognized her smock top from last year. A smock top was supposed to fit loose, but hers pulled in all the wrong places.

“Hey, Carleen,” said Momma as Carleen got in the car. “You sure do look pretty for your first day of school.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Thompson,” said Carleen. I waited for an eye roll, but she just smiled at Momma like she really believed it. I looked at her more closely, and there was something different about her. Was it confidence? If so, it was new. Was that lip gloss she was wearing?

“Hey, Timmy, did you hear we’re getting a new boy in our class this year?”

“No,” I said, dreading the addition of another redneck bubba to the roster.

“They say he’s from California and he’s real cute.”

“Really? California?” said Momma. “What’s he doing here?”

“I think his momma’s people are here. He’s related to all those Herlongs.”

“Does that explain the lip gloss?”

“Timmy, don’t be rude,” said Momma.

“I just wanted to look pretty for the first day of school,” replied Carleen.

“And you do,” said Momma.

When Momma pulled
up in front of Patriot Christian, Carleen looked me square in the eye and gave
me a big smile and a thumbs-up.
“Come on, Timmy.
We’re gonna rule the school in tenth grade. Let’s do it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sam Hawk’s fiction is inspired by his experiences at a private Christian Academy in rural South Carolina in the ’70s. He survived his Southern adolescence with his sanity relatively intact and went on to earn degrees from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Law School. He also served in the U.S. Army as a JAG officer for twelve years. He resigned his commission when it became clear he was expected to persecute homosexuals as part of his job.

Sam then moved to Dallas, Texas where he met the man of his dreams and found his LGBT family. Sam and his husband have been married for over ten years and live with their Corgi and Chartreux cat in the requisite charming old house in a historic district where gay couples are legally compelled to live.

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New Release- Conviction by M.D. Neu!

Title: Conviction

Series: A New World, Book Two

Author: M.D. Neu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 25, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 103900

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, Space travel, aliens, politics, grief, interspecies romance

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Synopsis

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends and a husband.

After the attack on San Jose, Todd is appointed to Special Envoy for Terran Affairs by the nentraee, a position many world leaders question. Undeterred Todd wants to build bridges between both people. However, this new position brings with it a new set of problems that not only he, but his new allies Mi’ko and Mirtoff must overcome. Will the humans and nentraee learn to work together despite mistrust and threats of more attacks by a new global terrorist group, or will the terrorists win? Will this bring an end to an already shaky alliance between nentraee and humans?

Excerpt

Conviction
M.D. Neu © 2019
All Rights Reserved

“I believe this should be adequate.” Mi’ko checked his datapad to ensure all the proper requisitions had been finalized. He glanced around the room again with a pleased smile.

“Do you think he’ll enjoy living here?” Mi’cin asked.

They were here to inspect the quarters he had selected for Todd in the secured area of the speaker’s ship. He could have left it up to Vi-Narm or one of his other aides, but this was important and he needed to handle these details personally. Todd was important, and he wanted to make sure everything was perfect. Plus, it was an opportunity to spend more time with Mi’cin.

“Mister Todd Landon was adamant about staying in his own home and commuting, but it’s not practical.” Mi’ko ran a hand over the desk, then checked his fingers for dust. “And with the rise in protest against us across the planet, it’s not safe. Even though his government insists it is.”

“If you say so,” Mi’cin said. “He didn’t strike me as very logical after our brief meeting.” He went to one of the windows and opened it. “It would be nice to have quarters like this for myself. Does he need all this space? He’s one male.” He inhaled deeply and viewed the park below. “It smells like home. But it’s a replica, not the real place.” His nose crinkled.

“Mi’cin, don’t sulk. Our living situation isn’t that bad, and you are not a child.” Mi’ko put a hand on his son’s arm and squeezed. “I know you hurt. We all ache for our home, but these ships are our home, for now. It’s a pain we all share. By working with the humans, especially Todd, that pain and the loss of our home will lessen.”

Mi’cin’s expression fell. “Assuming the humans will work with us.”

“Please be supportive.” Mi’ko frowned. “I understand you have your misgivings, but please.” He inhaled, smelling the damp trees. “And since when have you not enjoyed the ship’s gardens?” He looked out to the woodland where several tall trees, paths, and waterways ran in countless directions.

The grounds were replicas of some of the famous parks on Benzee and her satellites. The ship’s builders gave as much space as feasible to allow people the chance to enjoy the open space. The artificial light that mimicked the day-night cycle of Benzee had gradually been adjusted to the length of Earth’s day.

“He does, indeed, have a better view than us, but that’s all right.” Mi’ko grinned and thought.

This new position for Mi’cin will help focus him. Give him a chance to interact with the humans and learn about them.

“A view of space would have been equally nice,” Mi’cin said, “but I doubt he’d be used to such a thing.” He turned back to the window. “Such a waste.”

“I assure you it’s not a waste.” Mi’ko ran a hand over the soft fabric of the chair. “Considering the nature of this position. Plus, I thought a view of nature and all the fresh scents would make him feel more at home. It will give him a sense of what Mentra Park was like.”

Mi’cin clucked his tongue.

“What?” Mi’ko questioned. “That was one of your favorite parks on Mentra. You made me take you there whenever we went to visit my parents. You loved the views of Benzee.”

Mi’cin said nothing.

“Mi’cin, please.”

“As you wish, Father.”

“I’d like to ask you to assist Mister Todd Landon to help him acclimate,” Mi’ko said. “It’s going to be hard for him at first. Even though he’s been studying our language and culture—”

Mi’cin’s sigh muted his father. “Of course. I’ll do my best. You have my word. Besides, isn’t that what your aide is supposed to do?”

“True, but this is the first time I’ve had an aide who’s my son.”

“Well, Vi-Narm can’t do it all, and your other aides are busy,” Mi’cin said. “I can use the experience, as you and Mother both keep telling me.”

“I can think of no one better to support me.” Mi’ko focused on his son. “You know, you’re both very quizzical, so you will be good for each other. I hope you can become friends.” He reached out and gently touched Mi’cin on the cheek.

A soft chirp came from the door. It opened to reveal Vi-Narm. Her tightly braided hair had a few wisps out of place; her breathing was heavy.

“Vice speaker, there is a problem with the Envoy position. General Gahumed, with the support of General Fanion, is calling for a special session in the council chamber.”

“What now?” The muscles around Mi’ko’s eyes twitched and the tips of his ears started to warm. It had been like this for several weeks. These continued issues with his own people were taking far too much of his time.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric, his husband of eighteen plus years.

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Rainbow Snippets

Sorry, I’m a little behind on last week’s reading between a writing deadline, prepping for the author’s panel next weekend and with my blood sugar being way out of control. I’ll try to catch up.

Picking right up with where last week left off in These Haunted Hills. Josh and Brendan are in the woods putting up cameras so Josh can monitor fox activity.

Josh told him the various odds and sods he needed to get the camera mounted. Joshua was every bit as enticing as he swung back out of the tree as he’d been going up. He clapped a hand on Brendan’s shoulder.

“I want to put one more up over this way.”

They repeated the procedure. Brendan swore Josh took a more leisurely route up this time, showing off just a little. Yeah, he caught you. Brendan wondered where they went from here. He planned on pretending it didn’t happen.

They left the woods with Josh babbling happily about all the data he hoped to collect. By the time they broke out into open sky it had been painted in roses, purples and gold. A few stars had begun to pop up.

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

Doing this on the fly since I’m already supposed to be on the road.

Picking right up with where last week left off in These Haunted Hills. Josh and Brendan are in the woods putting up cameras so Josh can monitor fox activity.

A little voice in his head reminded him Columbus wasn’t that far from here. Brendan shook it off, slowly realizing Josh was calling him.

“Hand me the camera.” Josh leaned down from the branches.

“Oh, sorry. Was looking for Bigfoot.” Brendan stood on tiptoe and handed him the camera.

“Uh-huh,” Josh took the camera, sounding like he didn’t believe Brendan.

Had he caught Brendan staring at his ass? Never so thankful to have a beard to hide part of his burning cheeks, Brendan picked up the backpack. “Need anything else?”

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 could really use your help with this topic. Author newsletters are the ‘big marketing thing’ at the moment but I’m going to be honest, I have my doubts. I’ve ended up on SO many newsletter lists now that I couldn’t possibly read them all and pretty much don’t unless it’s an author I already really like. And of course I’m considering having my own newsletter because there is that pressure to have one as an author.

That, however, isn’t what I wanted to talk about and get your opinions on. A lot of authors share freebies on their newsletters. Now I’m not talking ARC or street team stuff. I don’t sign up for those because I know I can’t read an ebook fast enough and I wouldn’t be pulling my weight as far as that goes. These freebies are either loss leader introductions to a series or a short story set in the novel/series universe.

I’m fine with that, naturally. What’s bothering me is that lately (very noticeable since the start of the year) is the nudging I’ve been getting from the authors that include these things. Hey you, I see you didn’t download your story yet. I would hate for you to miss something. Here’s the link for you to download it now.

Okay, chances are if I didn’t download it, it’s because that story didn’t appeal to me (not to mention I already have more ebooks than I have years left in my life to read them). I find it both a bit creepy and pushy to be tracked in a way that shows that the software the author is employing can track whether or not I’ve downloaded the book. It’s invasive and in a rather annoy way.

The flip side to this is, I did download it and then within a week I get an email from the author saying something along the lines of ‘how are you enjoying my story? Can you please review it?’ and often accompanied by a reason why reviews are so important (and okay, to be fair, they are). Even if I did begin reading the moment I downloaded the book, I can tell you a few days isn’t long enough for me personally to read because ebooks give me migraines and hurt my eyes. Not to mention again this feels invasive and high pressure. If I wanted that I would have joined the street team where I can see the gentle reminders to read and review since that’s the basic contract on offer.

So download or not, it seems like I’m in for ‘reminders’ either way. I know how I feel about this (like removing myself from these lists) but I know I don’t always see things the way others do. So that’s what I want to know. HOW do you all feel about it? Would you be okay with these reminders? Would you be annoyed? Would you simply remove yourself from the newsletter mailing? Would you move the author down your ‘will buy’ list for this? Thanks for any input you have!

And now for some writing links

From Betty – PODCAST 212 – Fake Outs

Do Character Flaws Need to Be Overcome?

How to Use the Uncanny in Your Writing I particularly like this one.

Three Ways Writers Tell, Not Show (And How You Can Fix Them)

Tips for Complex Historical Research

The Practical Guide to Using Character Archetypes in Your Novel

And from around the web

What Marie Kondo Can Teach Us About Decluttering Our Prose While I don’t particularly care for the woman, the article has valid points.

Writing Great Dialogue: Create Power Moments Rich In Subtext

Creating Three-dimensional Villains: Lessons From Buffy and Firefly another really good one

The Post-Publication Blues Let me tell you, they’re real!

Do Sales Equal Success?

Authors Interviewing Their Characters: Patricia Harman I honestly love doing this.

Kept Tears

KeptTearsFS

Blurb Having left most of his arm and his self-confidence behind in the Afghanistan desert, young veteran Aaron Santori has enough on his plate learning to use his prosthetic arm. Attending graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh makes life both interesting and challenging. Mentally, he’s ill prepared for meeting Rhys Edwards, a young-adult novelist from Wales and everything Aaron could want in a man. Between the scars from the explosion and his PTSD, he’s reluctant to date. Ready or not, though, Aaron finds himself jumping into the deep end of the relationship waters.

What Aaron couldn’t possibly know is that Rhys isn’t human at all. As a prince of the Tylwyth Teg, Rhys is fae, with a list of enemies he’s accumulated over the past few centuries—among them a former lover, Morcant, who is back to make Rhys’s life miserable. An unwitting pawn in their Machiavellian fae politics, Aaron only knows he’s falling in love, never suspecting love might be his death sentence.

ISBN-13: 978-1-62798-312-9
Pages: 210
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

BUY LINKS

Order ebook from Dreamspinner Press

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