New Release Goldie by Danni Maxwell

 

Title:  Goldie

Author: Danni Maxwell

Publisher:  NineStar Press

 Release Date: July 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 12400

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, mythical creatures, Magic/Magic users, Fairy tales, fantasy, romance

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54271666-goldie” Add to Goodreads

 

Synopsis

 

Cast out of her village after being accused of killing her father, Marigold Lovelock has nothing but the clothes on her back and the willpower to make it into the woods.

 

With the company of an Ursidae, a mythical creature known as Squeak, she seeks out The One, the Storyteller who speaks the truth.

 

Throw in a nasty beast called the Gromas, a pack of wolves, and a girl with lips as red as blood, Marigold knows she must learn how to embrace the person she was always been destined to be.

 

Excerpt

 

Goldie

Danni Maxwell © 2020

All Rights Reserved

 

A person falls in love with three people in their lifetime. At least that’s what the Storytellers will show you in their legends.

 

Each love will come at a time in a person’s life when they need it most. Even if they don’t realise they needed it in the first place.

 

There’s the first love, the one who teaches what the magical thing called love is. It’s young love. It’s innocent, and it’s pure. It ends far before it can truly begin, but it will always remain the first love of one’s life.

 

The second love is a hard love to endure. It changes a person, teaches them that a heart can break, that a person can wound you more than a knife, that not every love is a fairy tale. It makes a person stronger; it shapes them, helps them grow, teaches them that a heart can mend in time.

 

Then there is the third love, a love that has no warning, that sneaks up on a person and takes them by surprise. It’s the love that they didn’t know they needed, the one they were not looking for. It’s the love that will truly last the test of time. This is the love that can withstand all the battles a person has to endure. It’s unwavering. This is the love that feels like a fairy tale.

 

*

 

Marigold Lovelock had heard these legends more times than she could count, but she never once believed in them.

 

Her father was a Storyteller. His job was to be the one a person seeks for the knowledge, the truth, the wisdom. His job was his life. It took precedence over everything else, including Marigold. Her father’s favourite thing about his title, his powers, was the fact that people blindly adored him. They believed her father could do no wrong, that he was the one with all the answers. He could gather as many of the townspeople as he wanted, tell them of the stories, the legends, the prophecies that had been passed down to him by Storytellers past. And the townspeople would gather; they would flock, run, rally to the town’s centre to hear a new story each day; their eyes and hearts full of belief, of wonder and whimsy.

 

They truly loved her father, for he could tell them all the things their hearts desired to hear, could warn them of the dangers of the beasts and demons that lay beyond the town’s edge. Her father was the light, and Marigold his shadow. The people treated her like she was nothing, like all she did was bring the darkness wherever she went. They skittered away if she got too close, made shifty, judging glances with narrowed eyes and lips pressed in tight lines. The children were ushered away and taught to keep their distance.

 

Though Goldie never knew why they did this, she wondered if it was out of fear, and if that were true, perhaps she was afraid of them too. She’d shy away from everyone as they would hiss and pull away from her. Because why would you even try to fit in when you’re a puzzle with one too many pieces that will never be completed?

 

Her life had never been easy. She lost her mother to childbirth, she lost her father to the Storytellers, and she lost herself to the darkness of being alone. The darkness enveloped the townspeople too but not as heavy as it weighed on her. They all had lost their light; her father had died this past spring, and though the doctor had said he passed from age and peacefully in his sleep, Marigold wondered if he had died of a broken heart. He was always so lost without her mother, and he blamed Marigold for that loss; it’s why she never felt close to him, to anyone.

 

Everyone believed Marigold was cursed, that she possessed something inside her so dark and wicked that it had killed her mother, and that anyone who got close to her, anyone who loved her, would fall dead to the curse too. Her father was just another reason for them to fear her. The townspeople were lost without their Storyteller. The next was still learning the stories and prophecies, and so they had no one to turn to for guidance, for what should be done about Marigold, about who they thought she was, what she was to become, and who she might hurt in the process. The elders of the town were brought up on the stories, but they could only remember so much. Only the mind of a Storyteller could remember all. Their older minds were forgetting, slowly with time, but they never failed to forget the prophecy of the Kalakuta. That is what they believed Marigold was.

 

The Kalakuta were ancient beings, the ones the elders and Storytellers alike would call “the potion people of death.” Their prophecy tells of the Kalakuta being a sentient being that lived long before the time of people. Beings that, once they found a host, would kill any human or being in its path, for the darkness inside told them to do so. They were the makers of death. Her father, the Storyteller, had spoken of a Kalakuta preying on their town, feasting on the sick, the weak, the lost, believing that over time they would eventually take everyone, and there would be no one left to stop it. The minute Marigold’s father had passed, it was like any suspicion they had of Marigold being a Kalakuta had all but been confirmed.

 

This is why she now stood at the edge of the wood, at the final edge of sand between the unknown and the town, her only belongings scattered just beyond the trees, and the entire town standing at her back, waiting to be rid of her at last. Their mourning period was over for the Storyteller. The townspeople were no longer grieving; they were rioting. The moment their mourning cloud had lifted, they went on a manhunt for her. They found Marigold hidden away, wishing to be forgotten in her small hut of a home. They were all afraid of her, just as she was afraid of them. No one was willing to get too close to her. She cowered in her corner, begging someone, anyone, to leave her alone.

 

Someone looped rope around her body, cinching it at her waist and all but dragging her out of her home toward the dark wood. She was scrambling to grab anything she possibly could, begging them to stop, promising them that she would willingly go if they just let her grab her things. They stopped for a moment, enough time for her to grab a satchel with two dresses to change, her pouch of every coin she had saved that her father had hesitated to give her as gifts on special days, and the only drawing she had of her mother, one that her father had tried to throw away in anger and mourning on the anniversary of her death, Marigold’s birthday. It was the one thing Marigold had treasured all her life. It was the last thing she had.

 

“Now. Get going,” the man holding the end of the rope had grunted, tugging on the rope so hard her chest ached with the effort to breathe.

 

The people gathered in her hut parted at the door. They led Marigold out of the town to the wood with a rope around her waist, something hard pressing into her back, pushing her forward while tears streamed down her face. She gripped at her satchel, her heart breaking with every step she put in behind her. Please, she had begged them. Please don’t send me away.

 

All that resulted in was her being shoved even harder, falling to the ground, her crying out in pain as something hard, no doubt the broom handle of a local keeper, cracked down on her back. Her things were grabbed by the children, her satchel tossed, her dresses strewn, her photo crumpled into the tiniest ball. Her pouch of money pressed against her hip, hidden in the pocket she’d sewn into her dress herself. It was the only thing they couldn’t take from her.

 

“Be gone, Kalakuta!” They were all shouting obscene comments at her now, where she stood straight as a pin, her bare toes touching the edges of the dark wood.

 

“Please, I am not a—”

 

“You are a killer, Marigold Lovelock. You killed your parents; you kill the elders, the children even! You have a darkness in you that will never settle. We ought to kill you, but that would be too kind of us. We shall let the beasts of the woods decide your fate. Never return to Veritas, or we will change our minds. Kalakuta.” The man spit at her. The crowds were throwing things at her, rocks and sticks and anything they could use to hurt her.

 

“Please—” Marigold pleaded one last time, her cheeks dripped with tears, her whole body trembling. She had never been so scared in all her life.

 

“She does not learn. We have no pity,” an elder breathed in hushed tones.

 

“Let us show her what we do to Kalakuta.”

 

This was the last thing Marigold heard before she felt a sharp, blunt pain at the back of her skull, and the world went black.

 

Purchase Links

 

NineStar Press | Amazon

 

https://ninestarpress.com/product/goldie/

https://geni.us/GLTXnA

 

 Meet the Author

 

Danni Maxwell has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she is a debut author who is currently studying to become a librarian, a job she defines as the best of both the reading and writing world. She has won multiple prestigious writing awards in the past few years. Her favourite genres to write are contemporary, LGBT+, and more recently she’s been dabbling in YA, sci-fi and poetry. When she’s not writing, you can find her creating book- and writing-related videos on Youtube’s Booktube community, at Danni Darling.

 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

https://www.facebook.com/dannimaxwellx

https://twitter.com/DanniDarlingx

https://www.instagram.com/

 

Giveaway –

 

One lucky winner will receive a $10.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!

 

 

Direct Link:

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/555033ec773/?widget_template=589504cd4f3bedde0b6e64c2

 

ANd sorry everyone for the bare codes. WordPress made a major change and isn’t getting along with HTML and I don’t have time at the moment to worry about it.

Rainbow Snippets

Nope still can’t make a saturday to save my soul.

Have a little more of the dark space opera thing

As they blasted away from the only home he knew, Kaleo glanced around at the young people, who, like him, wanted a chance at a better life. Dovon should have been in the seat next to him. It was so damn unfair. Why did Dovon’s mom have to get so sick? Could she be faking it to keep her son around? He didn’t like to think that way. Still, this bunch he was with was less rough than Kaleo expected, a handsome group, but before he could assess the situation and make new alliances, a strange light-headedness washed over him. Who knew space flight would affect him so? Kaleo looked out a portal. The stars swam before his eyes and then the universe went out.

The Rainbow Snippet group can be found on Facebook. It’s a fun low-pressure snippet sharing group for LGBTQ+ fiction. Come join us. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

New Release Listen: The Sound of Fear

Title:  Listen: The Sound of Fear

Author: R.B. Thorne, Lauren Jane Barnett, E.E.W. Christman, Eule Grey, Ridley Harker, Jon James, T.S. Mitchell, Alex Silver, A.R. Vale, Edited by Elizabetta McKay

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female, M/NB

Length: 75300

Genre: Horror Anthology, LGBTQIA+, historical, US circa 1800s, romance, gay, horror/thriller, in the closet, shop workers, old curiosity shop, knives, haunted object/ poltergeist, contemporary, lit/genre fiction, London art gallery, confinement, disorientation, fear, mental anxiety, mystery, suspense, British, mystery, cold case, lesbian, blogger, small town, over 40, pregnancy, gothic/horror elements, YA, paranormal, nonbinary, trans, queer, hearing impaired, students, haunted school, all-girls boarding school, mean girls, religious references, Deaf, ghost story, pets, historical, gothic romance, lesbian, European expats, OCD, longtime couple

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62344166-listen

Book Description

A knocking. A ringing. A steady drip-drip-drip. These are the sounds that haunt us. Drive us mad. Draw us in like the songs of sirens, hypnotic and deadly. And we must either give in, or resist with everything we have…and hope it’s enough.

Listen: The Sound of Fear offers ten stories written exclusively by trans and nonbinary authors that explore the chilling, perplexing, terrifying nature of sound.

Excerpt

Kill Your Darlings. When two shop workers in 1894 New York discover a haunted phonograph, they must race to solve the mystery of its tragic past before it’s too late to save their budding romance—and their lives.

Exhibition. A performance artist inspired by the inhumane treatment of refugees finds her gallery transformed into an equally inhospitable environment. Trapped inside the confines of her Plexiglas box, she struggles to piece together what is happening—and how to keep herself alive.

On the Other Side of Sound. A ringing in the ears; a coded message from beyond explanation. It will only ruin your life if you let it.

Her Little Joke. When Mave Kitten is asked to investigate a creepy phenomenon, little does she know to what depths the trail will lead: Ghosts, a haunted well, ignorance, a flapping bird. What of the woman in green?

M/other. I am alone. I do not know exactly how long I have been alone. My husband and child are…gone. Aren’t they? As a storm rages outside my decaying house, I begin to hear and see things that cannot possibly be there. Or can they?

Holy Water. Adolescence can be hell. Adolescence in an all-girl’s Catholic school as a trans teen surrounded by mean girls is a special kind of hell—especially when your school is haunted.

Snipper-Snapper. Cats make the best pets—loving, thoughtful, and loyal. Amour even brings home his own takeaway meals. Except for the stains, and damage to the shag pile, Mummy couldn’t be happier. Everyone needs a playmate.

The Knocking Bird. Knock three times to keep yourself safe. Follow your love across the sea. Obsession threads through nearly every aspect of Steffi’s life. But what happens when it drives her to do the unthinkable?

Bride of Brine. Sylvie hasn’t heard the song of the siren in years. But when she’s called home to help her estranged father find her brother, she’s faced with an impossible choice: save him, or save herself.

Haunt. When Kevin inherits his family home and decides to fix it up with his partner, he quickly discovers that the past can haunt you in more than one way—and he must choose, once and for all, exactly who he is.

Purchase Links

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/listen/

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/listen-sound-of-fear

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $50.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!

Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/555033ec991/?widget_template=589504cd4f3bedde0b6e64c2

New Release: Death at Bayard Lodge

Title:  Death at Bayard Lodge

Series: The Mary Grey Mysteries, Book Two

Author: Winnie Frolik

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 67800

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, historical, crime, lesbian, district nurse, private detective, 1930s, country house, death

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62610915-death-at-bayard-lodge

Book Description

When district nurse Mary Grey and her lover Harriet accept an invitation to visit the latter’s godmother in the beautiful Lake District, they’re hoping for a relaxing outing. But from the very start, they find themselves pulled into a web of intrigue, resentments, deceit, and violent passions.

Young newlywed Rachel Florry is found on the lawn with her skull smashed in and there’s no shortage of suspects. From the girl whose fiancée Rachel stole, to a sinister vagrant, to Rachel’s own mystery lover.

Mary calls on her old friend and partner, private detective Franz Shaefer to come down to Bayard Lodge and help solve the case. But as they unearth buried secrets and hidden agendas, they themselves are at risk.

Excerpt

Death at Bayard Lodge

Winnie Frolik © 2022

All Rights Reserved

England

Summer 1937

The horrific events of the previous winter, when the notorious beauty and heiress Harriet West had lost her brother, her uncle, and her fiancé, had yielded one unexpected benefit. She was suddenly free of any and all social obligations. After all, nobody could expect a girl who’d been through such heartache and trauma as Harriet to attend anyone’s coming-out ball or go somewhere for a spot of shooting, much less throw any parties herself. It was perfectly understandable she would wish to keep to herself and see only a few very close friends.

It made perfect sense for her to settle in a flat in the city rather than stay in the Newcastle mansion that was really far too big for one or even two single women. Nor was it so surprising she chose to have a flatmate. Many perfectly respectable unmarried women these days preferred to live with female companions rather than be completely alone. True, that Harriet’s live-in companion, Mary Grey, was a district nurse was rather unusual, but there was little harm in it. And it really was quite a nice little flat, located in a most modern building in a fashionable neighborhood with on-site service. The flat had a tidy little kitchenette and main living area. The plumbing and heating were quite modern and state of the art. Harriet had an excellent time furnishing the place in the Art Deco style, with sleek lines, metallic finishes, and walls hung with photographs and modern art. Some of the experimental abstract pieces Harriet gushed about looked to Mary’s eyes like things a child could have drawn, but it was Harriet’s money. She did at least like one piece: an extraordinarily colorful and vibrant tableau featuring flowers, monkeys, and birds done by some Mexican artist named Frida.

Ahab, the ginger cat Mary had inherited from a deceased patient, settled into his new surroundings quickly and would spend hours sunning himself on the window ledge. The building had a regular charwoman on staff to handle the cleaning. This had at first bothered Mary; unlike Harriet she wasn’t used to being waited on, but as Harriet pointed out, if they didn’t let the woman clean the place, she would be out of a job. And she had both a crippled husband and two children to support. Mary conceded the point. Besides, over time she came to admit it was nice to be able to come home to a neat and tidy space without exerting oneself.

Harriet had purchased a bar trolley which they kept faithfully stocked with her favorite brand of sherry. They had a little icebox, and Mary could whip up the occasional meal. (Harriet was hopeless as a cook and had once started a fire attempting to make toast.) Other times they’d go out to one of the many little cafés in the area where they were becoming steadily known to the point where they could address a number of servers by name.

Occasionally, Mary and Harriet would quarrel over money; the latter did not see why the former insisted on paying her share of the groceries and rent.

“It really isn’t necessary,” Harriet would protest.

“Oh yes, it is,” Mary insisted. “If nothing else to help maintain appearances.” Nor, much to Harriet’s frustration, would Mary allow her to buy her expensive things. But otherwise, theirs was a life of domestic tranquility. For the sake of appearances, they had picked a place with two bedrooms, but in practice only one was ever used. In the early stages of their relationship, there had been considerable confusion, excitement, and laughter in determining how to make their bodies fit together well. Fortunately, Mary had many years’ experience in such matters and had been more than happy to put her knowledge at Harriet’s disposal. The latter had proven a most adept pupil, and together they had achieved new heights of sapphic pleasures. To Mary, it seemed for a time the two of them had created their own little Garden of Eden.

Then came the summons from Mrs. Diana Allenby.

It arrived in a thick blue envelope. A formal engraved document in beautiful calligraphic script addressed to Miss Harriet West. Requesting the pleasure of Harriet’s company at a country house party at Bayard Lodge, held by Mrs. Diana Allenby on the final weekend in August. She was asked to RSVP at once.

‘Well, surely you can just tell them you can’t attend,” Mary reasoned when Harriet handed her the invitation. “You’ve done it before!” For although Harriet had the perfect excuse for not going out, people still invited her. The people in question were to Harriet’s mind a load of vultures who just wanted an excuse to revel in last winter’s scandal. She’d taken grim satisfaction in turning them all down. This, however, was a different thing entirely.

“You don’t understand,” Harriet told her. “Read this.” She passed over a handwritten letter that had been included with the invitation, and Mary dutifully read aloud.

My beloved goddaughter,

At that, Mary looked up. “Wait, is she really your godmother?”

“She is,” Harriet confirmed.

“And I haven’t heard of her?” Mary wondered.

“Well, she stays at her own place most of the time,” Harriet explained, “and I haven’t been down there for ages. But I’ve known her all my life. She and Mother were very close. Indeed, for many years I called her Auntie Di.”

At this Mary involuntarily bit her lip. Given the familial relationship, it would be far harder for Harriet to bung off Mrs. Allenby the way she did others.

I’ve heard you’ve quite dropped out of society these past nine months. Now after all you’ve been through, my poor child, I certainly don’t blame you for wanting your space. But I do worry about you. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you last! As you know, your late mother was like a sister to me, and I have always considered you family as well. And I worry about you, my child. I truly do. It cannot be healthy for you to hide yourself away from the world like some cloistered nun of old.

This, thought Mary, was stretching things a bit. Living in a very nice city flat with a roommate and a cat was hardly a hermitage. Nor did Harriet’s situation with Mary truly resemble that of anything allowed in a convent. At least not any convent Mary had ever heard of! Though, really, who knew what went on behind closed doors? And as Mary knew full well, there was more than one reason for a woman to voluntarily swear off the company of men. It would be an interesting area for ecumenical investigation. She didn’t get the chance to share these musings with Harriet, though, as the latter continued to read aloud.

Which is why, my dear, it would mean so much to me for you to attend this outing. I’ve deliberately kept it to a smaller gathering, and you already know the Florrys.

“Who are the Florrys?” Mary wondered aloud.

“Raymond and Rachel Florry,” Harriet responded. “Raymond works in London at some big banking firm. I’ve seen him at other gatherings, but the one I’m really familiar with is his wife, Rachel. She and I were schoolmates together, along with her cousin Lily.” She paused momentarily as if uncomfortable. “Actually, Lily was with Raymond first. They were even engaged. But then Raymond broke things off at the last minute. Practically left her at the altar. And not long after he started being seen publicly with Rachel. Which of course led to people wondering if something hadn’t happened between him and Rachel while he was still with Lily.”

“Oh my,” Mary commented. “So, Rachel stole her cousin’s fiancé?”

“Apparently. It was quite the scandal at the time. They say Lily had a complete breakdown and hasn’t spoken to either one of them since. Anyway, Rachel and Raymond just got married this past March. I haven’t seen her in ages either.” Harriet looked sad at the thought as Mary read on.

And some other young people as well. The fresh air will do you good and the new cook is superb! And you know there’s not a more beautiful place in England to come visit in autumn than here!

“Well, that’s quite a boast,” Mary observed.

Purchase Links

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/death-at-bayard-lodge/

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/death-bayard-lodge

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Library in Oakland was always my second home. I was diagnosed as being a high functioning autistic in college. I hold a useless double major in English literature and creative writing. I’ve worked at nonprofit agencies, in food service, and most recently as a dog-walker/petsitter but the siren song of writing keeps pulling me back into its dark grip. I have co-authored a book on women in the US Senate with Billy Herzig, self-published The Dog-Walking Diaries, and in 2020 my first novel Sarah Crow was published by One Idea Press. I live in my hometown Pittsburgh with my better half, Smoky the Cat. Find Winnie on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/wfrolik

Giveaway

Rafflecopter

One lucky winner will receive a $50.00 NineStar Press Gift Code!

Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/555033ec991/?widget_template=589504cd4f3bedde0b6e64c2

Rainbow Snippets

I can’t seem to get my stuff together on a weekend to save my soul. This time it’s all the malfunctioning online teaching software keeping me off track.


So have more of Kaleo’s story.

Kaleo stole another kiss then rejoined the group. He didn’t dare look back at his lover. He wouldn’t miss the slum, but he would miss Dovon. If he glanced back, Kaleo would break. He didn’t like to admit fear, but it was there, running laps in his belly. He didn’t know the first thing about the planet-side estates owned by the Merchanters, separated as they were from the slums by high walls and at least two hundred miles of military training ground. Of course, he could end up off-world instead. That was terrifying but exciting, too. Hell, this was his first time in a shuttle capable of going to the orbital colony.

The Rainbow Snippet group can be found on Facebook. It’s a fun low-pressure snippet sharing group for LGBTQ+ fiction. Come join us. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

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Rainbow Snippets

I’m a little late as I was out all day yesterday at the Mothman Festival which only had a few hundred people when I started going to it. Now there are thousands and they come from all over. It was fun.

Here’s more of the intro to my space opera story

Dovon grinned. “I’m trying to picture you as some rich guy’s gardener.”

“That’s not a guarantee.” Kaleo held up his hands. “The recruiter said I could be a go-fer. I’d rather be outside, but either way, five years of indentured service and I get my i.d. citizenship. I’d clean their toilets for citizenship!”

“I hear they have droids for that sort of thing.” Dovon nudged him. “Good luck.”

“Thanks.” It felt like a hand had closed over his throat and Kaleo could barely voice the rest of his thoughts. “I’m gonna miss you.”

The Rainbow Snippet group can be found on Facebook. It’s a fun low-pressure snippet sharing group for LGBTQ+ fiction. Come join us. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets