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New Release – Destructive Forces!

Title: Destructive Forces

Series: The Galactic Captains, Book Four

Author: Harry F. Rey

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 22, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 70400

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, sci-fi, futuristic, war, space, war of worlds, gay, lesbian, military, royalty

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Synopsis

In the far reaches of the Kyleri Empire, young Captain Mahnoor travels around the system to escape the cultural pressures to marry. But his infatuation with a handsome imperial pilot leads him into a galactic war.

On Jiwani, Viscamon is attempting to consolidate his power, by blaming the Ingvar for the royal massacre and calling armies from across the Empire to track down the missing prince, and achieve his dream of destroying the Galactic Balance. However, Antari knows the truth about Osvai and must find the courage to stand up to the prince’s enemies, and his own, no matter the risk.

Meanwhile on Aldegar, Daeron is being held prisoner by the few remaining Ingvar forces and must find a way to break free to rescue his mother and the crew of the Daring Huntress once again, as well as the missing Prince Osvai, before the Kyleri come to take back what’s theirs.

Sallah, no longer the last Tevian, returns to Aldegar with no choice but to enlist the help of the man she hates and the woman she once loved to see her son again.

As the Galactic Balance tips ever more towards chaos, time is running out to save Ales from the destructive forces he has unleashed.

Excerpt

Destructive Forces
Harry F. Rey © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“Don’t let him get away!” Sallah screamed at the top of her lungs through the chaos of the fiery corridor. Two Ingvar soldiers had her by either arm. They’d dragged her out of the Trades Council plenum-turned-battle zone against her will. Her life was of paramount value to the Ingvar star-state, but she couldn’t care less about that now. Not while this Turo was getting away.

His words, spoken only minutes ago, haunted her mind. I have your son, he’d said, with a swirling sneer. Then everything exploded. Sallah had lost sight of General Morvas and Councilor Nexia in the shooting. Ingvar soldiers had also jumped on them, but the smoke and noise of weapons fire made trying to get back to the ship impossible. Yet it was the last thing Sallah wanted to do—the insurrection in the heart of the Trades Council be damned.

“Get off me.” She struggled against their armor-plated bodies, but they did not relent. Sallah’s feet kept slipping against the smooth marble floor; she couldn’t find a grip. Yelling and the ricochet of weapons banged around the air from every direction, stinging smoke encroaching on their position. Sallah yanked her head around to a din of shots being fired, and the two soldiers pulled her back from the brink of the great hallway where volleys of laser shot fired backward and forward into unknown, unseen sets of troops.

“Get back.” One of the soldiers said and knocked her head back against the wall, trying to avoid edging around the corner into the wide trench of ongoing warfare the great hallway had become. Sallah remembered the way. They had to get across to the other side, through the firing range.

A far-off explosion shook the walls of the building, seeming to strike at the core of the planet itself. The firing ceased, but silence did not return. Instead, the screeching sounds of warplanes entering the Targulian atmosphere filled the once-gilded walkway. Down beyond their position, toward the end of the great hallway, Sallah saw figures moving through the smoke. The shapes could be Turo, or even Ales. The only thing clear was her need to get to them.

Her Ingvar captors looked distracted, scanning the now eerily silent hallway through black visor helmets. One had his hand pointed backward in a halfhearted attempt to keep her still. She edged away from the wall, then glanced into the great hallway. It had the air of some ancient temple; high ceilings reaching up to a glass-domed roof to the hazy orange Targulian air. The heart of the Outer Verge, now consumed in inter-factional war, the Union against the Trades Council, while a foreign power circled the planet like some great mountain vulture. And here she was, the former last Tevian alive. She couldn’t let her life end this way. Not while her son might be right around the corner—hurt, or in danger. Sallah gritted her teeth and launched herself against one of the soldiers. With a swift kick, she booted him in the side, and he tumbled away from her into the space of no man’s land, his footing lost to the smooth-edged floor.

“What are you doing?” the other one cried out through his visor. But it was too late. A volley of weapons fire began again from both sides, riddling the Ingvar soldier’s body from the left and right. Puffs of vaporized blood and brain floated into the air as his lifeless body collapsed in a haze of reddish death.

The living soldier floated in front of her, as if suspended in time, now unsure if she was friend or foe. She wanted to leap toward him, grab the sidearm from his belt, flip, and blast him in the back. The sinews of her body, the echoes of Sallah’s yearning for her son she’d thought lost along with the rest of her home-world, ached for the ability to push him aside and sprint to her destiny. Yet something exploded against her back. It felt as if the walls themselves had collapsed onto her as the polished marble rushed up to meet her face. But she stopped. There was no impact. Something, no, someone grabbed her, saved her from being smashed to the ground.

“I have her,” a metallic voice said through the helmet. Sallah caught the edge of her reflection in the onyx visor. The whites of her eyes enraged and bloodshot against skin the color of a dark and stormy night.

“Let’s go,” said another.

The sound of many more boots smacking against the ground joined with the fire of weapons. Someone held her back, as a stream of Ingvar soldiers rushed from behind, firing their weapons to either side of the great hallway, building a wall of cover fire to cross to the other side. A black-gloved arm pulled her back by the chest, and she struggled to no avail.

“This way, general,” a voice said behind her. “Increase fire, don’t hold back,” it yelled to the soldiers holding the line the breadth of the hallway to the narrower corridor across the other side. General Morvas staggered past, helped by two soldiers. His soft, gray hair and distinguished features were dripping in blood from an open wound across his skull, his robes torn and wrapped around an arm as a makeshift bandage. The volley of fire from the soldiers turned into a crescendo of noise and smoke. Most likely no one was firing back from either side, but they kept the rate up as the half-crouched general crossed the hallway like a child being rescued from a fire.

Councilor Nexia came along next, her frail elderly body slung over the back of a soldier as if she were won as a prize of war.

“Sallah,” the Trades Council leader cried out. “Come with us, now. The Union are starting a war.”

Sallah pushed against her captor’s arm with all her power. “No! I must find Turo. I must—”

“We have him. He’s on the ship.” Nexia said. The soldier carrying her didn’t stop running. “Get her back to the fleet,” Nexia yelled over the rage of battle toward Sallah’s captor. She was a prize they couldn’t lose.

Powerful armored hands grabbed her from behind, squeezing her sides so hard she felt the pain through the adrenaline rush. There was no way to break free. Turo, Ales—she had to find them. Sallah struggled against her captor, legs flying back in a wild storm of trying to find any weak point in the armor and land a kick to skin.

“Let me go.”

He’d had enough. He didn’t think twice. Like Nexia in front of her, the soldier hoisted her body across his shoulder and ran after the others, darting through the protective enclosure. It was terrifying. The world had turned upside down. All she could see was the smoke from the far end of the great hallway rising up to the glass convex ceiling, here and there blocking out the hazy orange above. Yet through the glass, she saw the flashes of war and the trails of missiles and strike ships painting their destructive pattern. The Ingvar invasion had begun.

The bouncing became rhythmic, and she lost all sense of thinking beyond the next few minutes. Get to the ship, get to Turo. She’d beat that man to a pulp to find out where her son was. She’d swear to the Ingvar to never conduct another experiment again if they did not help her track down Ales. She’d gouge the secrets of galinium and STAR drives from her brain and cast them into the black void of nothingness unless the entirety of the fleet of the Ingvar Empire cast every ion toward finding her son. She’d rip apart the Outer Verge to find…

“Hurl her inside. That’s it.”

Sallah was flung upward, then caught by firm hands and dragged into the confines of a compact shuttle. Nexia and Morvas were stretched out alongside her, being tended to by soldiers with their visors up. The women and men in Ingvar uniform and their faces consumed in the rapid swirl of action. They had no time to think, only do.

“That’s all; time to go,” a voice said. She turned her head to the left through a sharp edge of pain to the two pilots in the narrow cockpit. One was gesturing to get the soldiers out of the shuttle.

“Wait,” Sallah screamed. “I need my son. I need Turo.” She pulled herself to her feet, ready to boot everyone else out of the shuttle and fly around the city-world herself to find him.

“No time,” the pilot yelled back, looking ready to meet her fists. “I’m taking you back to the fleet now. Strap in.”

Out of options, Sallah briefly contemplated jumping on one of the soldiers currently assisting the bruised-looking Nexia and Morvas into their shuttle seats against the narrow walls. Something caught her eye at the back of the shuttle, a soldier she now realized had been standing over someone. He moved out of the way, ready to exit the ship, and then she saw him, strapped in against his will and hands frozen in electromagnetic cuffs.

“You piece of flank,” Sallah yelled at Turo in the crowded confines of the ship. The rest of the soldiers ducked outside to the increasingly loud sounds of weapons fire.

“Strap in!” The pilot yelled from behind her as the shuttle door snapped closed.

“I’ll fucking kill you right now unless you tell me where my son is.” Turo’s green eyes looked up at her, his face smoky and bloodied from the fight, but his eyes alive, and a thin, narrow smile across his lips. The look of a man who, even in defeat, would prefer to watch everything he’d worked for go up in noxious flames than surrender. She launched her fist straight down into his stomach, the straps holding him back keeping him from bending over in reaction to the blow as the ship rumbled into action.

He spat out a gob of phlegm and blood onto the polished floor and returned only a smile. She cocked another fist.

“Sallah, stop,” Morvas called from behind, as the ship jerked up from the ground. She grabbed a metal bar above her head as the shuttle rumbled into the hazy sky. The sight through the windows dissolved her anger into terrified wonder. Targuline had descended into full-on war. Fighters dipped and dived behind the great trunks of Shards; missiles from space streaked across the orange sky as billows of black smoke infected the world.

Sallah turned her attention back to Turo. She held on above as the shuttle bounced around the atmosphere, worried it would drop from the sky at any moment—or perhaps be torn in two from heavy weapons fire. Neither was acceptable. She slammed her free hand into Turo’s throat, squeezing the sinews hard.

“Where is my son?”

Spluttered nothings fell from his mouth. Clearly, he hadn’t expected to be choked. As he raised a cuffed arm, where his wrist-tech sat, she released him from her deathly grip.

“I have him,” he coughed. “Tracked, here.”

Sallah twisted the arm with the wrist-tech, causing him to writhe in pain. Arms were not designed to twist in such a way, but she took comfort in his obvious agony.

“Find him.” Her eyes flashed with the power of a supernova. One primed for explosion

“Locate Ales,” he said into the device. The screen built a rudimentary map of the area with a clear green dot showing him less than fifty kilometers away. “Look, he’s still close by.” Sallah tried to make sense of the map, but the shaking shuttle and the moving blocks of images on the wrist-tech made it almost impossible to follow. She kept her eye solely on the distance counter, which steadily ticked upward as the shuttle flew up into the atmosphere toward the void of space.

“He’s on a ship, look.” Turo twisted his wrist-tech farther around, with an edge of humanity in his voice, which took her by surprise. The view of the outside moved around Morvas and Nexia from the hazy, orange battle-scarred sky to the cool blackness of space. Shards poked through the stratosphere, but the normally bustling routes in and out of the planet and its space stations were frozen by the invasion.

She stared past Nexia at the Ingvar fleet assembled in battle formation. She’d flown with them from Aldegar in the odd position she held as both a prisoner and most-valued individual, across their emerging empire. She knew this was every ship the Ingvar had. Battle Cruisers and troop transports, command vessels and fighter carriers; an entire fleet constructed from the scraps of the Crejan occupation force the young star-state liberated themselves from.

They had gambled their empire on this force, throwing everything they had against the Outer Verge, the only power in the galaxy weaker than themselves, in order to seize the STAR drive and power into the unknown universe beyond. Now, with their fifty-ship fleet amassed around the Targulian atmosphere and the Verge descending into civil war, they needed to get their hands on the raw galinium mined in the far edge of the Outer Verge.

Sallah reminded herself she didn’t care for whom she provided the prototypes of the STAR drives or which empire seized on her research. The Union, the Seven Suns, the Ingvar—she cared not for any of them. She had cared only for herself and the chance it may give her to rebuild the world she had lost. Sallah’s hands clasped her stomach as if it was about to explode.

“What’s that?” Nexia called out behind her, pointing to the window and the Ingvar fleet beyond. A single ship with a strange greenish glow around it was racing up from the orange haze toward the mass of ships. Sallah had only ever considered that glow in the theory of her work. It can’t be.

“It’s Ales,” Turo said, shifting his wrist-tech toward her line of sight stuck on the window, staring at the fleet the shuttle jiggered toward. Her throat flicked closed, a lifetime’s worth of tears held back by nothing but a single hope that soon she may be reunited with the son she’d thought lost.

“Tell them to bring him in,” she screamed at the pilot. He looked back with a gasp of worry. Morvas quickly nodded his approval.

“Fleet command, there’s an unidentified small vessel headed right to you from the planet. It’s friendly. Repeat, friendly. High-value cargo,” the pilot said into the comms.

Sallah left Turo in his strapped-down position and pressed her face against the clear window. His ship was getting closer to the fleet, like a single drop edging ever closer to a waiting beast. But the greenish glow around him grew ever bolder. She pressed her hand against the glass as Morvas, and then Nexia, unclipped from their seats and joined her.

“What is it?” Morvas demanded. “Is that a weapon? Is this an attack?”

She couldn’t even whisper a No. Sallah felt as if her mind had been severed from her body. It may as well float in the empty void of nothing. Her mind, her soul, unable to comprehend the things she was seeing. Who had built such a thing? Everything had been theoretical, only experiments. How could her research, her life’s work, sever her son from her once again?

The glow became stronger and ever brighter as the STAR drive ignited its galinium core. The space around his ship warped and swirled in a cloud of green as the horizon point broke free from the ship’s engine, the greenish bubble growing wide enough to encompass the entire Ingvar fleet.

“No. It’s too much. It’s too powerful.” The beat of her heart burst into her skull as the horizon point from Ales’ ship reached its zenith.

“What?” Morvas demanded. “What is? Tell me now.”

The flash forced Nexia and Morvas to turn away. But Sallah did not. Her eyes burned and ached for the briefest moment, but then the darkness returned. The black, blank darkness of space above the hazy orange orb. Now empty except for a long, glowing white streak of nothing where Ales and the entire Ingvar fleet had just been. Whoever had created that STAR drive had grossly miscalculated the proportions of weaponized galinium required.

“Sallah, he’s gone,” Turo said in quiet shock, a note of fear in his voice Sallah would never have thought a man such as he would have.

“Where’s my fleet?” Morvas shrieked. “For infinity’s sake, where is my fleet?”

Sallah said nothing. Her eyes focused on her own reflection as she watched a single tear drip down her cheek. It was too painful to look at the empty space where her son and all the ships of the Ingvar empire had been, now lost in some unknown galaxy.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Harry F. Rey is an author and lover of gay themed stories with a powerful punch with influences ranging from Alan Hollinghurst to Isaac Asimov to George R.R. Martin. He loves all things sci-fi and supernatural, and always with a gay twist. Harry is originally from the UK but lives in Jerusalem, Israel with his husband.

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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!

New Release – The River City Chronicles by J. Scott Coatsworth

Check it out and I have to say I love that the name of the restaurant is ‘The Boys.’

COVER-River-City

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer magical realism book out:

A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.

Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


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Excerpt

Matteo stared out the restaurant window into the darkness of Folsom Boulevard. It was getting dark earlier as summer edged into fall. Streetlights flickered on as cars drifted by, looking for parking or making the trip out of Midtown toward home.

The sign on the window read “Ragazzi” (the boys), lettered in a beautiful golden script just two months old. Investing in this little restaurant his uncle had left to them when he’d passed away had been their ticket out of Italy. But now with each passing day, as seats sat empty and tomatoes, pasta, and garlic went uneaten, the worry was gnawing ever deeper into Matteo’s gut.

Behind him in the open, modernized kitchen, Diego was busy cooking—his mother’s lasagne, some fresh fish from San Francisco, and some of the newer Italian dishes they’d brought with them from Bologna. The smells of boiling sauce and fresh-cooked pasta that emanated from the kitchen were entrancing.

They’d sent the rest of the staff —Max and Justin—home for the evening. The three customers who had shown up so far didn’t justify the cost of keeping their waiter and busboy on hand.

Matteo stopped at the couple’s table in front of the other window. “Buona sera,” he said, smiling his brightest Italian smile.

“Hi,” the man said, smiling back at him. He was a gentleman in about his mid-fifties, wearing a golf shirt and floppy hat. “Kinda quiet tonight, huh?”

“It always gets busier later,” Matteo lied smoothly. “Pleasure to have you here. Can I get you anything else?”

“A little more wine, please?” the woman said, holding out her glass so the charm bracelet on her wrist jangled.

“Of course.” He bowed and ducked into the kitchen.

He gave Diego a quick peck on the cheek.

His husband and chef waved him off with a snort. “Più tardi. Sto preparando la cena.”

“I can see that. Dinner for a hundred, is it? It’s dead out there again tonight.”

Diego shot him a dirty look.

Matteo retrieved the bottle of wine from the case and returned to fill up his guests’ glasses. “What brings you in tonight?” Maybe they saw our ad.…

“Just walking by and we were hungry. I miss the old place though.… What was it called, honey?”

Her husband scratched his chin. “Little Italy, I think?”

“That’s it! It was the cutest place. Checkered tablecloths, those great Italian bottles with the melted wax… so Italian.”

Matteo groaned inside. “So glad you came in” was all he said with another smile.


Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCFPCGZ/

Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/River-City-Chronicles-Scott-Coatsworth/dp/1732307504/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-river-city-chronicles-j-scott-coatsworth/1128593446?ean=9781732307506

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-river-city-chronicles-1

iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-river-city-chronicles/id1381215078?mt=11

QueeRomance Ink (all buy links): https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/the-river-city-chronicles/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29246443-the-river-city-chronicles

Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow in East Sacramento, with two pink flamingos by the front porch.

He spends his time 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.

He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

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

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth

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

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

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

 

Sunday Small Talk

Happy mother’s day.

I’ve been quiet because I’ve been busy editing. I had to get Blood Red Roulette done and then I had to edit the SF novella before the deadline got here and once that was done, BRR was back for edits again, right in the middle of the last two weeks of my semester.

It was taking me forever on the edits as it was (day job has a lot of hours involved) so I didn’t think it was smart or right to divert my attention too much.

Now that I probably won’t see BRR back for at least another week or two, I’m trying to get a Christmas story done and I think the deadline was moved up. Yikes. I’m not sure it’s going well. I have the idea but man, contemporary is not my thing. Hopefully I can pull it off as a short story.

I’m eyeing the open call at Less Than Three press for a post apocalyptic solarpunk leaning story but my writing mojo which was so strong this winter is dwindling. That’s depressing but I’m hoping the summer off will help me recharge.

A Winter’s Day Off

hocking hills winter

A Winter’s Day Off
By Jana Denardo
Author’s Note – This was written for the 12 days of ficmas challenge and for the word of the month challenge (the word being hat and the supernatural beings being a werewolf, a vampire and a druid-magic user).
XXX

“I’m going to say it again, it’s our day off. We never get days off. We should be home, in front of the fire doing stuff to make Aphrodite happy,” Jason grumbled, stomping along the snow-covered ‘Granny’ pathway winding along Ash Cave’s lower rim. Faolan preferred actual woodland paths but at this time of year, he couldn’t quibble about taking the paved path. The fact he had actually cajoled Jason out into the woods for a late afternoon hike was a miracle in and of itself, and he’d probably have to do a lot of things to ‘make Aphrodite happy’ to make it up to the vampire.

“It’s a beautiful day out,” Faolan said, even though it was a lie. It was so grey and sunless Jason didn’t even need sunblock and an umbrella to be outside without a problem.

“You lie worth shit,” Jason replied, rubbing his arms. Faolan doubted he could possibly be that cold. He had on his ‘big coat,’ snow boots, snowmobiling, negative degrees rated gloves that he’d gotten Goddess knew where, a Steelers hat pulled down to his sunglasses – not that he needed them- and the Doctor Who scarf Faolan had given him wrapped all the way up to his nose.

“Vampires, do they ever stop bitching?” Derrek asked, happily striding along next to them. Faolan wasn’t sure the werewolf was any happier being out in the cold park until he saw how miserable it was making the hot-blooded Jason. Faolan swore they lived to torment each other. He also swore he was the only sane one in this threesome.

“Shut up, furball.”

“Bite me, if you can get your fangs past all those layers of scarf,” Derrek replied, putting a hand out to against a hemlock’s trunk for balance as his boot skidded.

Faolan tugged down his tousle cap in Star Trek blue, complete with Spock ears, that his grandmother had crocheted for him. Maybe if he got it down over his ears far enough, it would muffle their bickering. Doubtful. He’d probably hear them even if someone cast a deafness spell on him. He fingered his ever-present magic wand riding in his coat pocket. Maybe he should cast one on himself. No, then he’d miss the subtle sounds of winter birds and animals as they strolled on toward Ash Cave. Maybe he could cast a mute spell on them.

“Besides, you know how druids are better than me,” Derrek continued. “You’ve been with him way longer. You knew Faolan was coming out here with or without us.”

Jason huffed, saying nothing because he knew it was true. Faolan was glad they came for all their bickering. He wanted to share this part of his life with them. He loved nature. What Druid didn’t? He knew they might never see the cycle of the seasons in the way he did, but of the two, Derrek would come closer. Werewolves were all about their senses. Derrek was more aware of the squirrels, chipmunks and foxes that might be scampering about than Faolan was. Jason was more the ‘this winter shit needs a glass of wine while I read by the fire’ type, when he wasn’t doing Aphrodite things by said fire.

“I did want to see the frozen waterfall. You have to admit, that’s going to be something to behold,” Faolan said.

“Want to know what else is frozen? Jason jabbed a finger toward his belt line. “I’m expected it to be warmed up properly.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll cant a heating vent that,” Faolan replied, smirking. Derrek brayed with laughter, startling something that crashed through the underbrush.

“No respect, that’s all I get.” Jason seemed to sink even deeper into his coat as they rounded the bend, and the horseshoe shaped shell of the recess cave came into view.

Faolan paused for a moment, taking in the distant view. Snow clung to the sandstone hollow and dusted the staircase leading up to the higher rim. Normally, he’d take that path back but it probably wasn’t safe. It did have something of a drop down halfway back to the parking lot. He could hear the trickle of water from the creek above.

Even Jason and Derrek stopped their bickering when they spotted the vista. Faolan snapped several photos of the cave and creek from this distance and one of his lovers framed by the snowy cliff-side. Together they walked down to the small beach that thrust its way into Ash Cave. From the lip of the cliff, long daggers of ice dangled like the sword of Damocles. One was more pillar than dagger. Another pillar thrust up from the ground like some giant candle complete with melted wax appearance. Between the two pillars some of the water fell, still liquid.

“Okay, so it is worth seeing,” Jason said, slipping an arm around Faolan’s waist.

“It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?” Faolan murmured, entranced as he always was when he visited here in winter.

“Yeah,” Derrek said, edging closer to the ice stalagmite.

Faolan peeled off his gloves and touched the pillar of ice then cupped them upwards, letting the frigid water trickle through his fingers as he said a little prayer. He dried his hands on his wool pea coat, pulled the gloves back on before wielding his camera again. He knew he couldn’t capture the true beauty of it but he’d try. After capturing the panoramic views, he went to macro views and slowly realized he was working in silence.

Glancing around he spotted Jason and Derrek deeper into the cave recess kissing against the stone wall. That was about the only time they were ever quiet. He caught several photos of that before they realized what he was up to and drew him into their embrace and their fiery kisses. All were in agreement it was too damn cold for more than kisses. Faolan reluctantly said goodbye to Ash Cave and her wintery veil of ice and snow.

Derrek suddenly sat on a large flat rock, kicking off his boots. Jason eyed him then snorted. “Wolves, none of them are right.”

“Shut up.” Derrek hurriedly stripped, his jewels acting like any human’s – retreating up for warmth. “Carry my stuff!”

With that he began to shift. Faolan distributed the discarded clothing between him and Jason. He had to say Derrek’s fur looked too luxurious to not stroke so he gave his lover a pet. Derrek barked then raced for the creek. He skidded out onto the frozen section, ran around like he was on the dog track then started loping down the path. Dropping Derrek’s clothing, Jason stooped and made a half-hearted snowball before whipping it at Derrek. The werewolf leaped up, catching it in his mouth, making happy dog sounds.

Jason snorted and scooped up the clothing again, wagging his head. “Wolves, they just are so weird.”

“You’re just jealous you don’t have a nice warm coat of fur.” Faolan grinned, a little jealous himself.

“Keep telling yourself that.” Jason reached out and took Faolan’s hand. He tugged Faolan in for a kiss, and then walked back toward the car, still holding hands.

Derrek trotted along with them with occasional forays into the underbrush after gods knew what. Faolan didn’t mind. He knew Derrek wouldn’t bring them back a squirrel as a ‘gift.’ He couldn’t deny Derrek time to play as a wolf. Werewolves needed their fur time.

“So, I have ideas for how you can thank me for freezing my balls to death out here.” Jason grinned, giving Faolan’s hand a squeeze.

“Tell me all about them.”

Faolan couldn’t wait to hear them. When it came to bedroom games, Jason always had the best ideas. It was hardly a punishment for making Jason freeze. Time to commune with nature and time to be loved on by Jason and Derrek, what better way could there be to spend a day off?

New Release – The Stark Divide

The_Stark_Divide_Updated-2.jpgThe Stark Divide

By J. Scott Coatsworth

Blurb:

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

Excerpt:

“DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

Buy Links Etc:

DSP Publications (paperback): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-416-b

DSP Publications (eBook): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-415-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074G2NJP6

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stark-divide-j-scott-coatsworth/1126901106?ean=9781635338324

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-stark-divide

iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-stark-divide/id1266474103?mt=11&at=1l3vtqV

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35834187-the-stark-divide

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/the-stark-divide/

Publisher: DSP Publications
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Length: 284 Pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 10/10/17
Pairing: MM
Price: 6.99, 16.99
Series: Liminal Sky (Book One)
Genre: Sci Fi, Space, Gen Ship, Apocalypse, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer

Author Bio:

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

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

His friends say Scott’s mind 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 loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://www.facebook.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/

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

Deep Thoughts

A few months ago Queer Sci Fi ran a discussion about whether the turbulent, ugly political clime had changed our reading and writing habits. At the time I thought, ‘no, not really’ and didn’t take part. However, I keep track of my reading for various reading challenges. Hell, if I were as meticulous about the rest of my life as I am about that reading list, my house would be on Better Homes & Gardens and my novels would be plotted to perfection.

When I looked over it, I realized I had subtly changed my reading habits. I’ve always read more mysteries than anything else but this year that’s almost all I’ve read. As of me writing this, I’ve read 102 book (including manga) and less than a dozen have been YA or fantasy. That was a bit shocking but I thought no more about it.

Then I started reading Seraphina for the Popsugar Challenge read a book recommended by a favorite author. It’s an interesting fantasy with a strong female lead and I set it aside half way through (or maybe a bit earlier than that). It was blatantly about racial intolerance (and one would assume defeating the evil of it but there’s no guarantee). In this case human vs dragon but the implications were obvious and I couldn’t escape thinking ‘if I wanted to be immersed in that, I can turn on the news.’ I just couldn’t finish it. There might have been a happy ending or relatively so but I couldn’t make myself read it.

I meant to write this post then but life intervened. I got busy. And more horrible shit has happened in the world. Two weeks ago I started another YA fantasy, Julia Vanishes. Like Seraphina, it’s an interesting world with a strong female lead…and the story is becoming the loss of freedoms and rights, the turning away/attacking of immigrants as the leadership becomes a theocracy and women are bearing the brunt of it. Yeah, no, I just can’t. Maybe at another time I could read this but right now with Trump and his bullshit, I simply can’t heap fictional misery upon real life.

Now, I know some authors need to use their writing as an outlet for this stuff, to work through their own feelings. In theory in far less turbulent times, I did write one novel where the bad guys were trying to erode the rights of women and homosexuals (about 13 years ago now) but it didn’t work well. I had another which was about racial intolerance before I gave it up. I lost the heart to do it. One of my potential nanos would have featured a new but growing intolerant religion but nope, I just cannot do it. That one is for after nano (maybe for camp next spring) when I can replot the villains.

So I was wrong. I have changed, partially subconsciously. I’ve never really liked dystopias so I thought yeah I haven’t really changed my reading but yes I guess I’ve started avoiding fantasies with sweeping political plots. I think I like mysteries because they’re so small picture, if you will. We’re concentrating on a murder and not the state of the world for the most part. How ironic is it that fictionalized murder is less disturbing to me than fictionalized political/racial strife.