Gues Blog Post

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Title: Surfacing
Author: A.L. Bates
Series: The Ariel Series, Book Two
Genre: Gay Romance, Science Fiction
Length: Novella

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing


A few weeks following the events that concluded DEEP, Book One: The Ariel Series, Captain Joel Riley is struggling to adjust to his new relationship with his medic, Sean, and when a face from Sean’s past sets out to destroy Joel and his ship, Joel faces an impossible decision: Sean or Ariel.

Sensing Joel’s dilemma, Sean makes the decision to leave. He does so knowing he must confront his past and the abuse he suffered. Subjected to the same trauma again, this time at the hands of his brother, he uses the strength Joel taught him to take his future into his own hands.

For Joel, life without Sean proves unbearable and he comes to the realization that he needs more than just his ship. He sets out to bring Sean back… whatever the cost.

Surfacing Cover

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Deep AL BatesFleeing from a troubled past that left him feeling tarnished and used, Sean finds work as a medic aboard the deep sea mining ship Ariel, on a distant planet.

Under the leader ship of the infuriating, yet charismatic, Captain Joel Riley, Sean settles into his simple, but dangerous, new life. It’s a life he soon comes to love; albeit one in which he conceals his sexuality and avoids intimacy.

But Sean’s new world is turned on its head when an old face threatens to expose him for the man he used to be.

With Joel’s help, will Sean learn to come to terms with his past and become a man he can be proud of?

JOEL SAT IN a cell with six other inmates. He knew two of the boys from the docking yard; they were sporting bruises on their knuckles and faces. It was a common sight. After months underwater, guys often felt the need to let off too much steam their first night on the town.

Joel himself had been thrown into the drunk tank enough times in his younger days. Only back then he’d been picked up mid-fight, not the morning after.

Across the cell from him two hookers rested against each other, both looking bored with the scenery already. The prettier of the two gave him a smile, and because his mother didn’t raise him to be rude, he smiled back.

“What you in for, sweetheart?” she asked.

“Being too darn pretty,” he said. “What about you?”

“Theft. But we’re innocent, honey.”

“It didn’t cross my mind that you weren’t.”

The main door opened, shedding light into the pit. Joel knew Sheriff Harris from years ago when they’d served on the same ship. The sheriff was a couple of years older than Joel and a leg injury had set him permanently on dry land. The lawman stood in front of the cell, tipping his head to the men he’d arrested. They were thugs, but they were miners, and the sheriff always had respect for men of the sea.

“You want to come with me, Riley?”

“Why? For knocking that bilge-rat around?”

“You might want to do this somewhere private,” Harris said.

Joel could see a shadow lurking by the doorway; the wiry frame of a man keen to press charges.

“We’re looking for a Dr. Sean Leystone. You know him?”

The men around Joel were drunk, but they were listening. He was a man of the sea, one of them. But Joel had already committed to his statement. There was no backing out now.

“Aye, I reckon I do.”

“You mind telling me in what capacity you know him?”

Joel paused, looking toward the hookers opposite. “As I told the Board, I picked him up last night.”

“You picked him up?”

Joel gestured toward the women. “I guess you already had these lovely girls in custody by then.”

The women cackled.

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About the author

A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.

A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook:

Sunday Small Talk

The biggest news would be I’m back to work as the semester rolls out and I have every weekend from now til Nov booked and Nov is Nano so really…booked til December. Yikes.

I got the second round of edits on Corpse Powder which was stunningly just the editor checking out all the Navajo and Jewish culture terms. It was the easiest edits ever. I really am looking forward to this weird west anthology!! They’ve started the cover specs but that’s all I know about that part of it.

I have the charity story off with a first reader. I’m considering entitling it More than His Scars Since I’m running the ragged edge of the deadline I’ve contacted them to let them know it is coming.

Speaking of deadlines, I’m seriously doubting I can make the one for Beyond the Infinite but that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a home for a a SF story. I did however get over 2K written on it at the faculty meetings which were 8-4 Thursday AND Friday.

I still have the idea kicking around in my head for that short contemporary novel but finding time and motivation has been hard this year. I’m very behind on word count and editing and most everything I wanted to do so…

But I will keep plugging away at it.

Rainbow Snippets

And so this time I didn’t finish reading everyone’s snippets because lightning took my internet out (and the internet of nearly everywhere around here) and then the back to school professor meetings happened. I swear this week I WILL read everyone’s especially since I’m abusing the system here a bit with about 8 lines instead of 6, mostly because it was just funnier and more complete this way.

Last week in this still untitled (or lamely titled Cassadaga Nights which I hate but can’t think of anything better for), we met the Cassadaga psychic, Ryan (and yes, Cassadaga FL really is a spiritualist commune stocked with psychics. I used to live there but not in the psychic ‘camp.’) Today we meet Santino and his partner, Cam. They work for a group of psychics, witches etc that police the supernatural community (yes one of my favorite things to write, apparently). Santino is cooking dinner while they discuss their latest case in Cassadaga. What prompted this scene was him using telekinesis to bring cooking ingredients to his hands rather than walking to get them.

Oh and this is Harmony Hall where I have Ryan living (should have posted it last week)  photo harmony_zpschnqtgbt.jpg

“You ran around your parents’ house saying ‘I can use the Force!’ when you were a kid, didn’t you?” Cam cocked her head to the side. “Probably still do.”

Santino held up two fingers and his thumb, making a pinching motion. “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” he intoned.

Cam choked and then slumped on the table, her long raven hair spilling around her.

“Smart ass.” Santino went back to cutting garlic.

“You know you wanted me to do it,” Cam said into the wooden table.

He snorted. Both of them knew he could use his psychokinesis to choke an enemy if need be, and to the enemy, he probably did seem like Darth Vader. Santino liked to think he was on the side of light, though he wasn’t much like Luke. He had Han’s swagger.

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

It’s been a couple weeks. Let’s see if I can get back into the swing of things. I’m sick and heading back from vacation so I might still fall down on the job.

This is from a WIP novella set in Cassadaga FL, one of the places I used to live and an active spiritualist community. Ryan is one of the psychics who work there.

Ryan drew his shield around him, letting his psychic senses dampen down. All day, most days, he dropped his armor, walking around exposed, vulnerable on all sides to the flood of stimuli around him. Such was the life of a professional psychic. He couldn’t afford to cut himself off when he was on the job. His clients depended on his abilities. While he could cold read a person to give Houdini a run for his money, Ryan was the real deal when it came to being psychic. Houdini would have had a helluva time debunking his abilities.

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

This will be relatively short as the pall of depression is still draped over me and there won’t be one next week because I should be walking along the Oregon coast. If nothing else, here’s hoping the trip to Portland will fire the imagination.

I finished Camp Nano with a combo of my Cassadaga story expansion and the charity story. I am happy that I did get 10K worth of new words. I am less than thrilled that I finished neither. I HAVE only a few more weeks to finish botht he charity story and the SF one for To Infinity and Beyond. It’s looking unlikely I’ll finish on time (which I’m not going to whip myself over. SF anthologies are fairly common so I’ll find a place for it).

And I did finish up my edits for Corpse Powder. They were all minor, mostly cosmetic and some clean up of places that were confusing after I had ripped out the 5K to make word count and removed scenes other scenes were referring to. oops.

2016 has been a very slow slog forward but I’m still making it.

Rainbow Snippets

I hope I get to everyone’s stuff before I leave in a few days on vacation.

This week is continuing the untitled short from the last two weeks. It’s from the Kept Tears universe. It’s coming up on the anniversary of the day Aaron suffered the explosive amputation of his arm (and nearly his leg). Rhys (and Corrine) are trying hard to keep his spirits up and love him through the hard times. Aaron has just told Rhys Corrine wants them all to go to Kennywood Park (a historic amusement park in Pittsburgh) in an effort to keep Aaron distracted from the mental pain of that upcoming anniversary. He and Rhys are debating whether or not they should go in this snippet.

“Honestly, I want to be kept busy. It helps but if I’m just not up to it when the day comes, I just hope everyone understands if I break,” Aaron whispered.

Rhys pulled him closer. “You can break on me, know that. I will ride it out with you.”

Aaron closed his eyes, shivering a bit. “You don’t know what that means.”

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!

Guest Blogger – Writing Your Own Backyard Jessica Skye Davies

Say hi to Jessica SKye Davies who’s here talking about her latest. I got to read an earlier draft of this and it was a lot of fun (and hey I CAN relate to Ben. I DID grow up in rural SW Pennsylvania and my grandma’s place is one of those 100 year old farm homes). So here’s Jessica.

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One of those things writers get asked a lot is, “Where do you get your ideas from?” (Or, if you’re like some of us, you more often hear “Where do you find these hot cover models?!” You’ll have to ask the cover artists!) My usual answer to the first one is something along the line of, “From the ether.” I make these stories and characters up out of whole cloth, really. My settings tend to be either fictitious or far-away places like London and Australia.

The setting of Town Man, Country Man, though, is different. This time, I wrote local, and it was Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania that gave me the idea for TMCM. The idea came about after taking a drive up to Grove City one afternoon for a picnic at Moraine State Park. I got to thinking on the way back about those lone houses that one occasionally sees on a hillside above the highways around here. They usually look like a big, old farmhouse with a great view of the surrounding countryside. Quite picturesque.

But I wondered what it’s like living there, kind of cut-off from everything. That idea gave birth to Ben, the country man who lives in such a place. Though a little further removed from the highway, he still has that big house, set off by itself, where he can see the world in its comings and goings but not really have the world observe him in return – not at eye level, at any rate.

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Clearly, Ben needed a counterpart, though. That got me thinking toward the opposite end of the spectrum – the town man sort. That’s something I relate to much more, being in the middle of everything, in walking distance of whatever you want, whenever you want it, people-watching accompanied by the vague understanding that someone is probably also making assumptions about you based on your shoes, hair-do, and presence (or lack) of yoga-mat, miniature dog, and/or venti iced green tea. Being a lot more comfortable with that sort of belvedere, Josh became the narrator, wondering, much as I did, how people actually get on living ‘way up there’.

That’s not to say Josh is representative of your dear author. I’m probably more the Dante type.

From there, the story took off, almost on its own. Spending time in many of TMCM’s settings allowed me to give Josh and Ben’s personalities and motivations geographical roots as well as psychological ones. Of course, sometimes it’s easy to forget that not everyone is as familiar as a place as you are. Sometimes you gloss over details or include references that others will miss, running the risk of confusing the reader. Personally, I like a style that doesn’t explain everything but gives enough context clues for me to get the gist, but then, I like a story that makes me want to go to Google to find out more for myself.

Those missing details are one of the reasons beta readers are so incredibly valuable, they will see the omissions you take as read. That lends itself to reconnecting a little more closely to those places and settings, experiencing them more mindfully, appreciating the facets that make a place so singular. For me, it was the ubiquitous scents of spring, the way the sidewalk slabs are nearly unnavigable in some of the nicest areas of town because they’ve been pushed up by very persistent tree roots (the very same trees that drop big, squishy, old-cheese scented bombs in the autumn), the fact that nobody dares to dance at clubs before 11pm, the combinations of pop radio and football fight songs in the marketing Strip District streets that are as contrasting as the empanadas and tamales on one block and the pizzelles and cannolis on the next.

One thing I love about reading things set in places I know well (like Pittsburgh) is recognizing all those little details. That grin and nod of identification that you get automatically. I loved that about Felicia Watson’s Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela (I mean, the title alone was a bit of a giveaway!) and I loved it again in Jana’s own Kept Tears. There are probably more ‘Burgh stories out there that I’m not at all aware of – please don’t hesitate to clue me in!

There’s always that line about “write what you know,” but the more writing I do, the more I find that for me it’s more a case of knowing what I write. And that often means coming to know the things I knew in the first place all over again.

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Blurb Town Man, Country Man
“Town man” Josh Douglass meets “country man” Ben Bauer at a mutual friend’s wedding, and passion kindles immediately. As urbanite wedding planner Josh and closeted contractor Ben spend more time together, they develop a deep, comfortable romance despite the fifty miles between their homes—and despite the drastic differences in their lifestyles. But as they grow closer, it becomes apparent that Josh and Ben have been enjoying the first flush of love without giving much thought to longer-term logistics.

A crisis leads Josh to ask himself serious questions about how his relationship with Ben can realistically work. But just as Josh is feeling ready to talk about the next step with Ben, a misunderstanding threatens to put an end to their love affair. Compromise is the key to any relationship, but it isn’t always easy to balance careers, friendships, and family expectations. Josh and Ben just need to see that bringing together the best of both their worlds is well worth the sacrifices they’ll have to make to remain in each other’s lives.

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Jessica Skye Davies
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