Cover Reveals

This is a first for me two stories hitting the coming soon page on the same day. Both are in anthologies.

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I have a new short story available in the upcoming steampunk/weird west anthology, Once Upon a Time in the Weird West coming this December 16 from Dreamspinner!

Mine is Corpse Powder and I’m very excited to be in this anthology with a ton of excellent authors such as Kim Fielding, Shira Anthony, Lex Chase, Venona Keyes, Jamie Fessenden, Carroll S Poe, Astrid Amara, Andrew Gordon, Tali Spencer, Nicole Kimberling, Ginn Hale, & Langley Hyde. How fun is this topic? And that cover! I’m aso excited to read the rest of the stories myself. I mean I’m always excited to be in an anthology but this one has a topic that I just can’t wait to get a whole of.

Corpse Powder‘s Blurb: Doctor Isaac Adler came to Virginia City, Nevada, to escape the horrors he witnessed during the War Between the States. Despite a living in a thriving Jewish community, Isaac’s having trouble finding his faith and finding work. Just when he’s contemplating leaving the desert, life takes an unexpected turn when the airship Aurora is attacked by pirates and Isaac is called upon to help the wounded.

The ship’s first mate, Tsela “Alexander” Zhani, is also trying to outrun a nightmare, his in the form of the powerful skinwalker who drove him from his Navajo village. Tsela’s friendship with the handsome doctor responsible for saving the lives of his friends gives both men a fragile hope for a better future. But their demons aren’t as far behind them as they thought.

preorder it here!

And because it’s so pretty I have to share this too!  photo corpsepowder_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeed_zpsqvyjpes4.jpg

And the second anthology Love Wins is the second DSP anthology that supports the charities for the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting. I think that’s needed now more than ever.

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My story from the Kept Tears universe is included in this, More Than His Scars. There are other great stories by some amazing authors, including Kathryn Grace Duncan Bone, Nicole Dennis, Alicia Nordwell, and many more.

Blurb – More Than His Scars : Facing the anniversary of the day he lost his arm while serving in the Middle East, Aaron is understandably depressed. It’s up to his lover, Rhys, to plan a special day to help Aaron see how amazing he really is.

preorder it here!

Sunday Small Talk

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Happy World Kindness Day.

I wanted to talk a little bit about something I need to inject more into my current nano: raising the stakes for the character, giving them something to overcome.

I was thinking on two manga in particular I thought did this very well. A lot of manga I like for the art and the fun characters but many are just ‘beach reads.’ Some however are much deeper than that (not that there is anything wrong with entertaining beach reads). Some are truly transformative and their stories truly stand out (and it’s a shame in a way that the younger manga reading crowd jump from one thing to another so fast that stories are often quickly forgotten before they’re even finished).

Fullmetal Alchemist is one such read. Not only does it have the fantastic art and fun characters, it’s storyline is so very well done. I would prop it up against any fantasy novel as one of my favorite all time reads. We have several characters for whom the character stakes keep getting raised. Ed and Al start out trying to recover their bodies from the alchemical mistake they’ve made. This draws them in Roy Mustang’s military world and into a huge drama that threatens their entire country, if not the world, and has roots in their father’s past. Worse, Al’s soul is showing signs of becoming unanchored from his metal body so there in the stakes are upped. They must reach their goal before the last remnants of Alphonse are lost.

Roy has his own goals of becoming the leader of the country because he sees the corruption and wants it gone. He doesn’t want to ever be forced into another war like the one he was in in his youth. But this is no ordinary corruption and the alchemical monsters he’s fighting think nothing of threatening his ‘queen’ and his family and have already cost him his best friend. Then there is young Ling, one of the potential heirs to the throne in Xing. He wants something to make him the best emperor he can be but when he gets it, he faces the loss of all that makes him human. All the way to the end of the manga you felt there was a chance that not all of them would make it (and some did not).

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And there is one I’m reading now Noragami: Stray God that is shaping up to be equally good story wise (with very good art too), which surprising story arcs and huge stakes for the characters. In a nutshell Hiyori is a school girl who has a problem, her soul keeps slipping free, leaving her comatose. Her path crosses Yato’s, the titular stray god. He’s a war god (in reality a calamity god) who is struggling to keep his name in the consciousness of the people by doing odd jobs for them. His most desperate wish is to have his own shrine. He agrees to help Hiyori with her problem and soon they meet the soul a dead boy, Yukine who becomes Yato’s shiki, sort of a spiritual weapon and together they fight corrupt spirits. Simple enough, not even really unique in the world of manga.

But quickly the stakes begin to rise. Hiyori faces being lost in the world of spirits if she doesn’t find a way to keep her soul in place but she always wants so much to help Yato and Yukine that she’s putting herself at risk. Yato wants to help her but knows if he does, he could be forgotten entirely and if that happens, Yato will fade from existence. Yukine doesn’t want to be with Yato but his path quickly changes, escalates and has very high stakes indeed. And as if fading his own death, Yato wants something more. He wants to switch from being a god of calamity and destruction to one of happiness. It’s these sorts of stories that drag you in because it’s not a sure thing that all three of them will be happy or even survive.

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Then I have my story and yes it is a nano and will of course require much revision but the stakes are slow in coming and that’s not really a good thing.

For Cam, this is somewhat clear. He wants his freedom. He’s been in thrall to the war goddess for so long he can’t remember (it’s been centuries). Equally important to him is to keep free of those who have had him imprisoned for nearly that long (a cabal of mages but he doesn’t know that as his mind is clouded with magic). He’s at risk of being lost both back to the cabal, someone who wants to replace the cabal and to the goddess herself. His stakes are fairly high.

For Tenaldi there really aren’t any stakes yet. He’s happy as a journeyman poison gardener for the queen, content to make poisons and healing potions for his ruler. His only real ambition is to take over the garden as a master gardener some day but he’s too young for that. So…not the most compelling of stakes in what should be one of the three main characters. However, his stakes will come and I know that. Caught up with Cam and the drama, he’ll be fighting for his life.

It’s Solan who is giving me fights. She’s supposed to be the third main character and so far she’s not really holding up her own end. All I really know about her is that she wants to be a general (or whatever I’ll be calling them) in the Queen’s cadre of warrior mages and she’s well on her way. I know she’ll be caught up with Cam and Tenaldi but I really have no separate stakes for her and that is a problem. It’s something I need to work on.

The nano is going slowly too between depression and a lack of time. I have learned something rather depressing about my writing. If I have no competition, no goal to beat no stakes of my own I just wander about. Give me a word war against friends and I’ll crank out 2K in an hour. I don’t like this about myself. It’s something I need to work on. I’m closing in on 18K though.

No news on any of my other projects other than we’ll have the links for Once Upon a Time in the Weird West soon.

Rainbow Snippets

I was half wondering if I would even participate this week between my health issues and the whole depressing events of this week then decided, no I probably need this more than ever. I know I keep ping ponging around story wise but maybe for the next few times I’ll pull from Kept Tears as I’ll have a short story in this verse coming out soon in the Love Wins anthology. Aaron is an injured war vet (and a good choice since it was veterans day yesterday and he’s big on vet’s rights) who lost his arm in the war. Rhys is not what he seems to be: a fantasy author. This is their first real date.

“I have to admit, this is a bit of a surprise,” Rhys said, walking up the marble steps of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History with Aaron. “It’s not your normal first date.”

“I guess we could consider the club a first date of sorts. And I’ve already told you I’m a science nerd.” Aaron smiled, steering Rhys toward one of his favorite areas of the museum.

“Yes, that’s the sort of thing you don’t want to find out months later and wonder, ‘Just who the hell have I been dating?’” Rhys’s blue eyes gleamed with mischief.

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.

Buy Link here.

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

Honestly there isn’t much to say this week. Everything is as it was last week, though I did get to hear Lone Raven (a Celtic band) in concert which was nice and relaxing.

It also inspired one of my Nano characters to pop up and say I want to play a bodhran (or whatever I’ll call that style of drum in this fantasy world).

Now if only Tenaldi would be as open about his sexuality. I’m technically writing this under my other pen name as it’s not m/m romance or really heavily LGBT fiction.

Cam is bi but that is such a small part of this story that I didn’t feel like it would be something I’d be marketing under Jana’s pen name. Tenaldi probably isn’t technically asexual. He strikes me as more wrapped up in his job and a bit clueless than anything else.

I started out slow but I’m SO competitive, the various word wars over the weekend have netted me my daily word count and more. I’ll be at 10K by tonight.

I’ll take that as my accomplishment of the week.

Rainbow Snippets

I’m at loose ends right now as the couple of WIPs I have I’ve set aside for nano and my nano is actually something under my other pen name so… how about a few snippets from my steampunk mystery If Two of Them Are Dead as I’ll have another steampunk thing coming up shortly. It’s set in Hyde Park (and Fishkill) NY, near where I used to live (I lived in the latter town). Victor Van Voorhis is a former airshipman turned detective and Abraham Westbrooke is the brother in law of the victim of the crime. Here we meet Victor and here is the house I cribbed for Abraham’s home (It IS in Hyde Park but it belongs to the Vanderbilts).

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“Are you messing where you don’t belong, Detective?”

Victor glanced over his shoulder at the rotund old man who puffed his way inside, carrying a black leather bag. “Just checking something.”

The doctor harrumphed at him and set down his bag. “‘Murder or accident’ is your usual question, but I suspect you already have some ideas.”

“Looks like she was shot in the head, but I’m waiting for your opinion,” Victor said to placate Ackermann.

Blurb Called to Hyde Park, New York, ex-Air Corpsman turned detective Victor Van Voorhis comes to only three conclusions about his newest case: the gulf between his status and the wealthy Westbrook family is no trifling matter; someone brutally killed a young mother; and the victim’s brother-in-law is one of the most intriguing men Victor has ever met.

Inventor Abraham Westbrook lost his wife five years ago and is worried about the effect another death in the family will have on his children. He spends most of his time tinkering with steamships, but even his inventions can’t distract him from wishing Victor was in his life for any reason other than a murder investigation—one where Abraham himself is a suspect. He’s hidden his desires all his life, but no longer. Somehow, he’ll catch the detective’s eye.

With murder standing between them and a killer stalking the Westbrooks, Abraham and Victor’s chance at happiness could go up in steam.

Buy Link Find it here

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!

Free Fiction – TNT Terror

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Title: TNT Terror
By Jana Denardo
Author Note: Enjoy this freebie flash fic written for the Sweet & Scary Flash Fic Blog Hop. I’m looking forward to reading the other offerings (Follow the link to more!) I set this one fairly local. I live pretty close to Point Pleasant, WV. Word count on this is 736 words. I wrote another one (also set local) that was a tad long but if you want something a bit long (under 2,000 words) you can find it here.

TNT Terror

Tim cursed out the dense underbrush around the TNT area in Point Pleasant. He and his team of paranormal investigators had scouted the area in the daylight. Even then, it had been hard to spot the igloo-shaped storage areas. Mother Nature had done her best to reclaim the land. Now in the dark – because no one wanted to see investigative footage shot in daylight, even though that’s when many ghost hunters actually did their work – the area morphed into an ankle-spraining nightmare.

“Okay guys, Rob and Sharon, you two go investigate to the west while Tanner and I handle the igloo areas,” Tim said, checking his recorder.

“Sure thing,” Sharon replied. She and Rob, armed with cameras, recorders and EMF readers, made their way west.

Tanner nudged Rob. “Are we actually looking for the Mothman?” In the yellowish light of his flashlight, his face set into an expression of pure incredulity.

Tim shrugged. “Not really but there could be ghosts. Our fans wanted us to check it out since we live so close. Besides with the Mothman festival getting so big, with those guys of Mountain Monsters being here a few weeks ago, everyone wants to know more.”

“Just asking. Weren’t there Sasquatch hunters around here recently too?” Tanner herded Tim back toward the plant-covered igloo.

“I think they call it Grassman around here but yeah.” Tim turned on his EMF reader.

“I believe in ghosts but I draw the line at Squatch.” Tanner ran a hand over Tim’s cheek, making his heart thunder loud enough to scare away every ghost in a ten mile radius.

“And the evidence they presented at the Mothman festival?” Tim grinned, not really believing in Big Foot himself, or Mothman for that matter.

“Do you ever think all those Big Foot hunters out there are just scaring each other without knowing it? I mean, what if one group starts tree knocking like a duck call, hoping to lure in a Squatch.” Tanner ghosted his lips over Tim’s. So much for getting any ghost hunting done. Well, he’d let Rob and Sharon have the video camera this time out for a reason. Making out in the TNT area was a decades old tradition, and wasn’t something the people who followed their ghost hunting YouTube channel needed to see.

“So one group starts and the other records it or does their best Sasquatch calls back and end up terrifying each other?” Tim speculated, leaning into Tanner’s touch.

“Exactly. Ever notice how many of those talks end ‘and we ran all the way back to the truck?’ Like a bunch of little girls.” Tanner snickered.

“Don’t be sexist but I know what you mean.”

Tanner buried his fingers in Tim’s hair, tossed into a careless man-bun on top of his head. Their next kiss was deep and long up against the storage igloo. Tim finally pushed Tanner back a scooch.

“We should at least get some readings before you get too out of hand.” He smiled at Tanner.

“And here I thought you said no to outdoor sex.” Tanner rubbed a hand over Tim’s belly.

“I did but there is so much we could do without getting ticks on our balls.”

Tanner snorted, and whipped out his infrared camera from his satchel. Before he could snap more than two pictures a shriek split the air making them jump. More screams followed along with the sounds of someone crashing through the woods.

“That’s Rob!”

Their partners burst into the clearing, Sharon running flat out while Rob ran like Hollywood’s idea of a drag queen: arms up and waving as he outdid Fay Wray.

“What the hell?” Tim took off after them.

“Monster!” Sharon snapped.

“There’s no such thing as-”

Tanner’s voice died as huge red eyes appeared in the tree top. Something leapt down, and they all heard the rush of wings. Tim didn’t know he could run so fast. They fled the woods, piling into the car. Tanner took off down the road with the doors still half open.

When he could finally speak again, Tim asked, “We didn’t get any of that on tape, did we?”

“Sorry no,” Sharon answered. Rob merely panted, making incoherent noises.

“Good. Don’t need famous for this.” Tim shuddered. “And let us never speak of the fucking Mothman again.”

No one protested as Tanner headed for the bridge the hell out of town. No one ever would.