A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.
Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. “Flight” leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.
Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.
The book us available in eBook form (4.99), and will soon be available in paperback with b/w illustrations inside (12.99) and in a special collector’s edition with color illustrations (24.99).
We lay on the earth caressed by its illusionary
Comfort, as we recover from love’s flight.
“We have to go back, you know,” I say
Wistfully, wanting things to be different.
“I know,” he says wistful as well.
Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes guest Beany Sparks for insight on and review of her book Pib’s Dragon published by Rainbow Ninja Press with general release today.
Hi Eloreen *waves*
Thanks for having me 🙂
Okay so I’m here for a quick chat about Pib’s Dragon!
The book is the first in a multi-author series called Twisted Fairy Tales. Authors will be taking some well-known (and some not so well-known) fairy tales and twisting them together.
Pib’s Dragon was supposed to be my only contribution to the series but as I was writing it, a couple of other characters started jumping up and down wanting their story. So there will be a sequel, tentatively titled Del’s Wolf, which I’m hoping to get started on this weekend. I have an idea of what I’m going to do with it so now all I need to do is sit down and write (not always easy to do though). But I’m looking forward to spending some more time with my cheeky serval and his dragon mate because they will definitely be around in the sequel.
After Del’s Wolf is done, I’ll be going back to Arcane Magic. Book 2 was started before Pib pushed his way to the front so I need to finish that one. I might go straight on to Book 3 but we’ll see. PITA (my muse) has a way of helping other characters push their way to the front and demand attention *glares at muse*
Eloreen: How did the idea of the Twisted Fairy Tales get started?
Um, it was a while ago that the series came to mind. It’s been so long that the idea came to me that I can’t even remember what sparked the idea. I do remember talking to Ellen (Cross) at the time and whatever we were talking about had my mind spinning with ideas.
Eloreen: Who inspired you to write?
I always let my mind wander and came up with stories to amuse myself when I was driving or at work but it wasn’t until a couple of friends encouraged me to try that I decided to give it a go. Once PITA was let out, I had no way of getting him back in his box.
Eloreen: Who designed the cover for Pib’s Dragon?
Um, I did. I got to a point in the story where Arty (my artistic muse) demanded a cover for the story so I had to stop writing and get a cover done before I could continue. Once I had the background for the cover, I had to come up with a title. Pib’s Dragon was initially just a temporary title, but then it fit the story so I kept it. It also made it easier to pick the title for the sequel.
Eloreen: Do you write to an outline or off the cuff (a pantster)?
I’m a total pantser! I’ve tried to plot out the stories but every time I did, PITA would take the story in a completely different direction so I gave up. I might have a basic idea or plan, but nothing else. I also find that sometime as the story progresses, my initial idea doesn’t fit the story. The initial idea I had for Pib’s Dragon was a bit different to how it actually ended up but I’m happy with the end result. Del’s Wolf has a number of things that I need to make sure get resolved, and I’ve got an idea of how the story will go, but there are a lot of unplanned sections. I can’t wait to see what happens!
Eloreen: Thank you Beany. 🙂 I love the cover, btw. Continue on for the review of this great story. I can’t wait for Del’s Wolf. 😉
A dragon is about to find out what happens when a cat discovers his cave of shiny treasures.
After nine years, Pib is finally free from his contract with the newly wed prince. Slipping out in the middle of the night to avoid getting stuck in another contract, Pib shifts into his cat and makes his way home to the little village he foolishly left, hoping his best friend Wil still lives there.
Dray is bored. His services as a princess-guarding dragon are no longer needed and even his gold and jewels are unable to cheer him up. His mood changes quickly when he catches someone in his treasure cave, and it starts a series of events that change his life forever.
When the two finally meet, sparks fly, but Dray will have to move quickly if he’s to save his cat after Pib gets kidnapped.
Pib snuck into the darkened room, tiptoeing quietly so as not to wake the newly crowned prince Geraint and his princess. Looking around, he both thanked and cursed his shifter senses. While he was grateful he could see inside the room, the smell of sex throughout the air was something he could have done without.
Reaching the desk on the far side of the room, he paused and glanced at the couple. Once he was satisfied they were still asleep, he eased open the cover and found what he was after—his freedom. After nine long years as the bastard’s slave, the letter freeing him from servitude almost brought tears to his eyes. Carefully folding it and placing it in his inside pocket, Pib gently shut the desk and tiptoed back toward the bedroom door, leaving the room as silently as he’d entered.
He knew there was only a limited window of opportunity for him to make his escape. Even though the pompous bastard had made a production of signing the form and granting him his freedom, Pib knew it was all for show. If he didn’t escape now, Geraint would get him alone and force him to sign another contract and then make some sort of bogus announcement about how Pib wanted to stay.
Pib snorted, unable to help himself. Luckily there was no one else around the castle at this time of the night, though even if there was, Pib didn’t care. He was leaving, and no one was going to stop him. Anyone who tried would have a close encounter with his knife, or his claws, he wasn’t picky.
“Hey, Pib, where are you off to in the middle of the night?” asked the guard at the front door of the castle. Pib never bothered learning their names or getting friendly with them, especially since Geraint could force him to kill any of them at a moment’s notice. He’d learned that it didn’t pay for him to form any attachments with those surrounding Geraint.
“Getting an early start on my retirement,” Pib replied, smirking at the man while he continued to stroll toward the exit.
“Sorry, Pib, but I have to check. Do you have a signed letter from Prince Geraint?” The guard shifted from foot to foot, showing his unease.
Pib stopped in front of him and forced a smile. “Of course,” he said, carefully extracting the letter and handing it over to the guard.
He waited, watching the guard closely as he read the letter. One wrong move and Pib was going to gut him. Nothing could happen to that letter.
“Looks good,” the guard said, handing the letter back to Pib. “It’ll sure be different without you around, but all the best. And, uh, don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope I don’t see you again.”
Returning the letter to his pocket, Pib looked up and smiled a real smile at the man. He wanted to laugh when the guard’s face paled as he caught sight of Pib’s canines, but restrained himself. “Don’t worry, I hope never to see you again either.”
With that, Pib walked out of the castle and made his way through the sleeping village. Pulling his hood up, he used the dark material to blend into the surroundings. He wasn’t taking any chances that Geraint wouldn’t wake up any moment and send guards running after him. After all, Pib was practically friends with all of the skeletons in Geraint’s closet.
Pib reached the edge of the village and paused. After nine long years, he was finally free of Geraint, his orders, and most importantly, his shackle. The magical cuff that had decorated his right ankle for nine years had been removed after Geraint had signed his release. The cuff was the only thing ensuring Pib’s obedience, and finally, it was gone.
Taking a deep breath, Pib stepped over the invisible boundary line and felt the remaining enchantments shatter and disappear, leaving him standing as his true self for the first time in years. Reaching inside, he called out his inner cat to come out and play, and in seconds, his clothes disappeared and he was standing on all fours in his serval form. Stretching, he threw one last glance back at the castle and the village before slinking away into the trees, using the natural camouflage to shield him as he made his way toward the start of his new life.
Rainbow Nina Press provided the story to me for an honest review. I read the blurb above and was intrigued by a story about a dragon and a cat meeting and getting to know each other.
While this is the start of a new series, this title can be read as a standalone. This is a fun story full of action, humor, a little mystery, and fun interactions between Pib, the serval, and Dray, the dragon. There are plot abound, twists and turn, that made it interesting and fun to read. The secondary characters are fleshed out and stand on their own. I’m glad that Del will get his own story. 😉 While there is not a lot of sex scenes, the story line more than makes up for it and you just want to go “Awwww” several times. I had to finish it once I started. Luckily, I read fast. 🙂 I definitely will like to see what the other authors will do with this series.
With this, I give Pib’s Dragon 5 stars.
Beany lives in Western Australia. She first started reading romance novels in 2008, but it wasn’t until January 2010 when her Kindle got delivered that the world of erotic romance opened its doors to her, and she hasn’t looked back. With suggestions and support from friends, her muse—”affectionately” known as PITA—was finally able to break free, and in January 2014 her first story was written. Since she can’t put PITA back in his box, Beany has decided to give in and team up with him.
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Please welcome new guest post from Oliver Sparrow to Moonbeams over Atlanta!
How do you place a reader in a completely new world? Historical fiction tends to work out from a familiar situation – a love story, a war – and bring in the oddities a step at a time. Science fiction generally talks to an audience which is steeped in the tropes of the genre, and builds out from those: the star ship, the post-apocalyptic society. What do you do, though, when virtually nothing is familiar to the reader?
Dark Sun, Bright Moon is set in a time and place about which even anthropologists know very little: a thousand years ago, in the utterly isolated Andes. The first popular landmark, the Incas, is five hundred years in the future. The people who live there have been isolated for ten thousand years, having – so far as we can see from their remains – neither cultural nor commercial contact with anyone beyond their eyrie amongst the crag and deserts of the region.
Isolated societies develop their own views of the universe, of human origins and meaning. Even filtered through five hundred years of slow massacre, religious indoctrination and forcible relocation, the Andean perspective remains a strange one to the rest of us. Individual humans are pinched off from a community pool of existence. They matter little, and return to that pool on death. All that matters – practically, ethically – is the maintenance of harmony within the community. Why this is so is down to the Andean metaphysic.
Our little world is a membrane, a space that is continually re-created, instant by instant, by vastly greater and more potent neighbouring universes. All of this is driven by a titanic unwinding of a domain of utter crystalline perfection into a shapeless zone of utter chaos. One of our neighbouring universes harbours the creative principle, a teeming myriad of potential, inhabited by odd sentiences that have nothing to do with conventional deities. The other is a repository of information, the consequences of all that has been. Is this domain which tasks the creative universe endlessly to remake us. This slow process is what creates time, and prevents the realm of perfection from annihilating itself into the zone of formless chaos. Information streams which lack harmony – coherence – lead to poor reconstruction of the society from which they came. Ill health and worsening social relations follow. Individual disharmony has the potential to destroy any community from which it stems.
Human societies are, then, a potent source of information, and they create streams of it on which sentiences can grow. These are the apus, which – now crowned as Christian saints – still inhabit the peaks and lakes of the Andes. Apus actively manage their communities for harmony. However, they may become greedy and so roboticise their villages, ultimately destroying them. Apus are connected by what the West would call ley lines, and so such parasitism can spread. As the book opens, just such an infestation is spreading.
Well, so much for the plot engine. How does one convey this in approachable text? As is said of the mating of hedgehogs, slowly and with care. As ever, the writer has three things to establish: the mise en scène, the plot engine and a narrative with which to grip the reader. All of that has to be done quickly, then enriched by iteration. We open, therefore, with a sacrifice on a pyramid, located in a desert complex that comprises a modest mountain range of these. A group of elderly people make an arduous pilgrimage in order to have their throats cut at dawn, and are happy for the privilege. The pyramid complex is, however, the home to a major apu which survives through such deaths. It manages a complex priesthood which ensures this flow. In the next chapter, we learn that this ancient apu is also under threat from the parasite. It may be subsumed, or its flow of pilgrim-fodder may be choked off.
The book is in three sections. The first of these tracks the catastrophic consequences of this confrontation, and in parallel brings a broad familiarity with the cosmology. The second introduces the main plot and characters. It follows the ascent of a naïve girl to her pivotal role in the resolution of the parasite’s threat. Those who recruit and use her are, however, overcome the third section, which follows the chaotic events leading to the settlement of Cuzco. The first section is a series of squibs, therefore, but the second and third sections rest on a coherent narrative drive.
The Dark Sun, Bright Moon web site is at http://www.DarkSunBrightMoon.com
Title: Dark Sun, Bright Moon
Author: Oliver Sparrow
Chapter 1: A Small Sacrifice at Pachacamac
A priest knelt before her, a feather from his head-dress tickling her face. His musky odour of old incense and stale blood was rank, even here on the windy summit of the pyramid. Four other priests held her body tipped slightly forwards, and the pressure that this put on her tired old joints hurt far more than the fine, cold bite of the knife at her neck. Quick blood ran thick down her chin and splashed into the waiting bowl. Then the flow weakened, the strength went out of her and she died, content.
Seven elderly pilgrims had set out for Pachacamac, following their familiar river down to the coast and then trudging North through the desert sands. Two of the very oldest of them needed to be carried in litters, but most were able to walk with no more than a stick to help them in the sand. Lesser members of the community had been delegated to carry what was necessary. These would return home. The elderly would not.
The better-regarded families of the town were expected to die as was proper, sacrificed at the Pachacamac shrine for the betterment of the community. Such was to be their last contribution of ayni, of the reciprocity that assured communal harmony and health. It was also their guarantee of a smooth return to the community’s soul, to the deep, impersonal structure from which they had sprung at birth.
The Pachacamac complex appeared to them quite suddenly from amongst the coastal dunes. They paused to marvel at its mountain range of pyramids, its teeming myriad of ancient and holy shrines.
Over the millennia, one particular pyramid had come to process all of the pilgrims who came from their valley. They were duly welcomed, and guards resplendent in bronze and shining leather took them safely to its precinct.
They had been expected. The priests were kind, welcoming them with food and drink, helping the infirm, leading them all by easy stages up to the second-but-last tier in their great, ancient pyramid. The full extent of the meandering ancient shrine unveiled itself like a revelation as they climbed. Then, as whatever had been mixed with their meal took its effect, they were wrapped up snug in blankets and set to doze in the late evening sun, propped together against the warm, rough walls of the mud-brick pyramid. Their dreams were vivid, extraordinary, full of weight and meaning.
The group was woken before dawn, all of them muzzily happy, shriven of all their past cares, benignly numb. Reassuring priests helped them gently up the stairs to the very top tier. In the predawn light, the stepped pyramids of Pachacamac stood sacred and aloof in an ocean of mist.
Each pilgrim approached their death with confidence. A quick little discomfort would take them back to the very heart of the community from which they had been born. They had been separated from it by the act of birth, each sudden individual scattered about like little seed potatoes. Now, ripe and fruitful, they were about to return home, safely gathered back into the community store. It was to be a completion, a circle fully joined. Hundreds of conch horns brayed out across Pachacamac as the dawn sun glittered over the distant mountains. Seven elderly lives drained silently away as the mist below turned pink.
“Dark Sun, Bright Moon describes people isolated in the Andes, without the least notion of outsiders. They evolve an understanding of the universe that is complementary to our own but a great deal wider. The book explores events of a thousand years ago, events which fit with what we know of the region’s history,” says Sparrow.
In the Andes of a thousand years ago, the Huari empire is sick. Its communities are being eaten from within by a plague, a contagion that is not of the body but of something far deeper, a plague that has taken their collective spirit. Rooting out this parasite is a task that is laid upon Q’ilyasisa, a young woman from an obscure little village on the forgotten borders of the Huari empire.
This impossible mission is imposed on her by a vast mind, a sentience that has ambitions to shape all human life. Her response to this entails confrontations on sacrificial pyramids, long journeys through the Amazonian jungle and the establishment of not just one but two new empires. Her legacy shapes future Andean civilization for the next four hundred years, until the arrival of the Spanish.
Dark Sun, Bright Moon takes the reader on a fascinating adventure that includes human sacrifice, communities eaten from within, a vast mind blazing under the mud of Lake Titicaca, and the rise and fall of empires cruel and kind.
About the Author:
Oliver Sparrow was born in the Bahamas, raised in Africa and educated at Oxford to post-doctorate level, as a biologist with a strong line in computer science. He spent the majority of his working life with Shell, the oil company, which took him into the Peruvian jungle for the first time. He was a director at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House for five years. He has started numerous companies, one of them in Peru, which mines for gold. This organisation funded a program of photographing the more accessible parts of Peru, and the results can be seen at http://www.all-peru.info. Oliver knows modern Peru very well, and has visited all of the physical sites that are described in his book Dark Sun, Bright Moon.
To learn more, go to http://www.darksunbrightmoon.com/
Please welcome Book Publishing Services and Natalie Scott to Moonbeams over Atlanta! See the end of the post for a giveaway opportunity.
Title: Becoming Famous
Author: Natalie Scott
Series: Sequel to Rules for Riders
Published: August 22, 2015
Genre: Young Adult / Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Perfect Bound Marketing
My name is Bebe Barkley. I’ve never released a sex tape. I’ve I’m not America’s Next Top Model. I didn’t get pregnant at sixteen and I’ve never auditioned for American Idol. In fact I’m holed up at the Waldorf totally depressed. But, even though I don’t know it yet, I’m about to become famous. This is my story and how it all went down.
Let’s face it: At the moment I’m a hot mess. How do I know this? I haven’t showered or gotten out of bed for three days. I’ve been watching reruns of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and a lifetime marathon about women who kill. I know how they feel. Thank God for room service or I would’ve starved to death by now!
In order to figure out my screwed up life, my mother’s best friend Georgie is letting me use her suite while she’s in London. But without her here getting on my case, and her eccentric husband Harry walking around half-naked, it just doesn’t seem like home.
I guess the best thing about modern technology is that you don’t actually have to talk to anyone. Unfortunately, the worst thing about modern technology is that you don’t actually have to talk to anyone! I’m so damn lonely I could cry. Still, I keep texting everyone back home, telling them I’m just fine.
My life wasn’t always like this. I was a champion equestrian rider with a bright future, before tragedy struck. If only they hadn’t shot king—things might have turned out differently. He was my horse, and I loved him more than life itself. I don’t know how to move forward, but I can’t go back.
Thinking about it, I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m having a major anxiety attack. Maybe I need to go outside and get some air. I throw on a white tank and some jeans. I’m about to leave when a card falls out of my pocket.
The last time I was in New York, I met this hairdresser, Antonio. Thank god for small mercies—his number’s still in the pocket of my jeans. After I’m fully dressed, I walk outside, pull out my cell phone and call him.
It goes straight to voicemail, story of my life! But as I start walking, my cell phone rings.
“Hey there,” Antonio says, “who is this?”
“Hi, it’s Bebe,” I say. “Remember me? Georgie Astor’s friend?”
“Hey sweetie! How are you? What can I do for you?”
“I’m holed up at the Waldorf and Georgie’s gone back to London. I don’t know what to do with myself.
“Oh my God! White girl problems! You know what, doll? You’re probably just lonely! You need some company.”
“Hey Antonio?” I ask, “I was wondering—do you know if anyone needs a roommate?”
“Well, I’d let you stay with me, but I have this really jealous boyfriend. You know how that goes.”
I smile to myself. “Only too well.”
“Wait a minute,” he says, “I have an idea. I finish work at around six tonight. Can you meet me?”
I laugh. “Let me check my hectic schedule. Sure!”
“Girl, you’re so crazy!” he says. “I’m not working at the salon on Fifth Avenue anymore. I’m at Frederick Fekkai in Soho between Bloom and Spring.”
“No worries, I’ll Google it!”
I meet Antonio at the salon at six o’clock on the dot. I’d forgotten how handsome he is. He looks like a coffee-colored genie from the Mr. Clean commercial.
“So, where are you taking me?” I ask.
“It’s a surprise!” he says, smiling. “You’ll see.”
We walk a few blocks till we reach the building. I flashback to the party with Georgie and the night I’d met Luis—my drug-dealer ex-boyfriend who convinced me to go to Puerto Rico and then tried to kill me. God, my life sucks!
Antonio looks concerned. “Are you okay, Sweetie?”
“I’m fine,” I say, trying to feign enthusiasm.
“Well, come on then, girl! You’ll love Blue. Everybody does.”
We take the elevator to the top floor. The door’s open, so we walk in. Immediately, I’m assaulted by the beautiful paintings displayed on the wall. The last time I met Blue I fainted. How embarrassing! Today, he has his back to us while he furiously works on a large white canvas in the middle of the living room.
“Hey Blue, we’re here!” he calls out.
When Blue turns around, I’m once again facing the spitting image of my dead brother. Except he smiles at me this time—the kind of smile that lights up a room. It’s both comforting and disturbing—my brother hardly ever smiled.
“Hi,” he says, walking over, “Blue Benson. We met briefly at my party just before you passed out.”
“Oh my God I’m sorry,” I say, averting my eyes. “It’s just that you remind me of someone I used to know.”
Antonio cuts in, taking charge of the situation as usual.
“Bebe’s looking for a place to stay; I instantly thought of you.”
“That’s great,” Blue says. “I’ve got plenty of room. Stay as long as you like.”
“Just like that?” I ask.
“Just like that,” he says.
Bebe Barkley has never released a sex tape. She’s not America’s Next Top Model. She didn’t get pregnant at 16, and has never auditioned for American Idol. In fact, she’s holed up in a hotel room at the Waldorf in New York City, totally depressed. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s about to become famous. A former equestrian rider, Bebe had a bright future until a tragic accident changed everything. Now she’s unable to return to her old life, yet incapable of moving forward.
Follow her as she ventures from New York to LA, the City of Broken Dreams, where she will find everything she’s ever wanted, only to risk losing the things she truly loves. Join Bebe in her heart-stopping journey in Becoming Famous.
About the Author:
Natalie Scott enjoys writing young adult contemporary romance novels. She published her debut novel Rules for Riders in August 2014. Rules for Riders is a fast paced coming-of-age novel set in the competitive world of equestrian riding. Becoming Famous, the long anticipated sequel to Rules for Riders, was released in July 2015.
Natalie is originally from Australia and has lived in New York and Los Angeles. She currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
To learn more, go to http://www.nataliescott.com/
One Amazon/Kindle ebook of Becoming Famous.
Contest ends 1/20/2016 at 11:59 EST. Please provide an email address for your Amazon account in the comments of this post only. Random.org will pick the winner. I will email/post on the blog within 48 hours of the end of the contest.
Today Moonbeams over Atlanta is very lucky to be interviewing Lilah Suzanne author of Broken Records. In addition, there is a review of the book and a contest at the end of the post.
Hi Lilah, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Write something from your character’s point of view as a child. (Holiday, first kiss, anything.)
On Sunday mornings the barbershop opens later, that way Nico’s dad can check the equipment and order more shampoo and pomade and talc and THOSE little paper cups for coffee, the sandalwood scented shave cream that lingers on his hands, and the barbicide that spills on Nico’s shirt when he drops the scissors and combs into the jars of disinfectant too hard sometimes.
So Sunday mornings mean shopping with Mom. And Lucas.
Who stands in front of the automatic doors with his hand held up flat, as if he’s using The Force to open them. But Nico knows they’re motion sensitive and it has nothing to do with Star Wars. And yet somehow Lucas is the one who gets straight A’s.
Mom hands them each a list of produce items. His has:
Sugar Snap Peas
Red Bell Pepper (two)
Lucas darts off right away, shoving past Nico to get a head start. Lucas’ left shoe is untied and his pants are three inches too short, his T-shirt has a hole in the seam of one sleeve and is for a TV show called Earthworm Jim that isn’t even on TV anymore. Nico glares at him, then moves on to his list.
Sugar Snap Peas is easy. Nico picks crunchy pea pods without any brown spots or broken tops. Makes sure they’re firm and bright green. He gets a plastic bag and uses the tongs to carefully scoop in just enough for four servings.
The Red Bell Pepper (two) is next in the produce section, stuck in with the vegetables even though Nico learned ages ago that bell peppers aren’t vegetables because they have seeds. Like kindergarten ages ago. He finds two bright crisp no mushy-spot peppers. He notices they match his shirt: long-sleeve button down, red. Suspenders, red and black striped. Black pants. He’s also wearing the black and white saddle shoes he requested for his tenth birthday that are still in tiptop shape four months later, even though Mom thought they were too fancy for a boy who plays baseball in the mud sometimes.
As if he would wear saddle shoes to play baseball.
Lucas finishes first, because he picks the very first fruits and vegetables he can get his hands on. Lucas’ list:
Apples (he gets baking apples even though the apples are to be packed for school lunches and not baked into pies. Three of them. Why three? Who knows.)
Spinach (loose) (he gets mixed greens with spinach. Prewashed. Not the same thing. Sigh.)
Bananas (some of them have spots already. They’ll go bad too fast and his mom will make banana bread with walnuts with them. Yuck.)
Sunday morning grocery store visits with Mom means Lucas will brag about winning the grocery-treasure-hunt contest and mom will say, boys! Enough. It doesn’t matter who wins.
But it’s fine, because Nico knows who really won. And it’s the guy who would never choose a mushy brown spotted honey dew melon which is not “basically a cantaloupe,” Lucas, because some people have taste and standards.
It’s him. The real winner. Nico. Just to be clear. Lucas does The Force again on the way out. Nico rolls his eyes. Sigh.
First, I have to say that I like it. I liked it a lot. I’m always a sucker for music stars and Grady Dawson is no exception, even though he’s into country music. Not a large fan of country music, but I do enjoy some artists so it was somewhat believable to me. We meet Nico Takahashi after having a very trying day with a diva starlet and all he wants to do is get away from it all. He “meets” Grady with a magazine photo shoot that provides some eye candy but he doesn’t read the article that goes along with it. He immediately meets Grady not too long after and commences the journey of Nico fighting his attraction to Grady because he thinks he’s a player, while Grady pursues because he thinks Nico is the one he’s looking for. A series of mis-information ensues, hot sex, and journeys from California to Tennessee and back again.
It has a great flow of words. I’m only a little leary of Nico’s almost whining in the beginning about his lot in life, but for the most part it wasn’t terrible. He did grow on you and does realize his love for Grady. Grady stayed mostly constant as his personality and desires were revealed throughout the story. Both have great depth and made them seem real. It does have a happy ending, and I enjoyed it.
With this, I give Broken Records 4 out of 5 stars.
Author Name: Lilah Suzanne
Book Name: Broken Records
Series: Spotlight, Book One
Release Date: December 17, 2015
Pages or Words: 280 pages
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Victoria S. with CB Messer
Los Angeles-based stylist Nico Takahashi loves his job—or at least, he used to. Feeling fed up and exhausted from the cutthroat, gossip-fueled business of Hollywood, Nico daydreams about packing it all in and leaving for good. So when Grady Dawson—sexy country music star and rumored playboy—asks Nico to style him, Nico is reluctant. But after styling a career-changing photo-shoot, Nico follows Grady to Nashville where he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Grady’s charms. Can Nico make peace with show business and all its trappings, or will Grady’s public persona get in the way of their private attraction to each other?
Title: Indigo Road
Author: R.J. Jones
Genre: New Adult, Gay Romance, Contemporary
Cover artist: Meredith Russell
Two best friends take a year off to find themselves… and end up finding each other.
Joshua Simpson has just finished four years at Purdue University, but that’s not why he’s buzzing with excitement. Once they’ve said goodbye to their families, Josh and his best friend Alex are taking off to discover America in an old but reliable VW van, planning on not seeing snow for an entire year.
Josh has always considered himself straight—except for that one time in college—so when he and Alex are living in such close proximity on the road, he’s unsure what these new feelings mean. Is it because they’re spending 24/7 together, or is it something deeper? And does it really matter since Josh has only ever seen Alex with women?
While in Oregon, Josh meets Johnno, a sexy but confusing Aussie surfer. While having an impromptu surfing lesson, Johnno helps Josh realize who he is and what he wants—but Alex’s reaction leaves Josh confused.
From a Montana ranch to the bright lights and dangerous streets of Los Angeles to a dark and lonely deserted highway in Alabama, join Josh and Alex as they drive around the US, discovering not only who they are, but who they can be together.
“Johnno kissed me. I didn’t instigate it but I didn’t push him away either, at least not to begin with. And…” I hurried on, needing to tell him everything. “And I’m glad he did. I’m glad he kissed me. He made me realize that kissing a guy wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be. It was right, but wrong at the same time. Kissing a guy was right, but not him. He wasn’t right.”
I searched Alex’s eyes, hoping he understood. He looked drained, emotionally wrung out, but there was a tiny spark of hope in his gaze. I stepped closer, bringing our bodies in line until I could feel his warmth seep into my bones. I stood on tiptoe and leaned forward slightly, our mouths just an inch apart. Alex’s lips parted on a breath, but he didn’t close the gap. If I wanted to kiss him, I had to make the effort. He wasn’t going to meet me halfway.
Closing my eyes, I brushed my lips gently over his. They were softer than I remembered from my fever-induced haze but just as sweet. Our mouths moved together hesitantly, testing. Did Alex still want this? Did he want me to kiss him after I’d just kissed Johnno? God help me if he didn’t, because this was right. Alex’s mouth on mine, my hands on his skin, was right.
I removed my hands from his shirt, intending to break apart so I could see his reaction, but just as I was about to move, Alex brought his arms around me, holding me prisoner. He tilted his head and deepened the kiss. I had no choice but to open for him as he explored my mouth, and I melted against him, my hands circling his waist. Our lips and tongues tangled together as we discovered a side of each other we’d never known before. Alex kissed with a passion I hadn’t suspected he possessed. This kiss wasn’t at all like the one I shared with the strange Australian. This kiss was filled with possibilities, with plans for the future, and it lasted for what seemed like an eternity.
This kiss was right.
The need for oxygen was the only reason we broke apart, albeit reluctantly. Alex rested his forehead against mine as we caught our breath and it mingled in the small space between us.
In the distance I could hear hollering, and I looked toward the dunes, wondering what it was. Johnno was standing on the top of a dune, cheering. I waved, wrapping my other arm around Alex and resting my head against his shoulder.
Johnno gave us a final cheer and a wave before jumping down the other side of the sand, disappearing.
“I should thank him, you think?” Alex asked, nodding in the direction that Johnno had stood.
“I would’ve kissed you eventually, but yeah, he just made me do it sooner.”
Prizes: 1 ecopy of Indigo Road; 1 ecopy of any RJ Jones’ backlist titles, winner’s choice
R.J. Jones started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write.
It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower…
R.J.’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of her day. Not so. That shower scene ended up being 3000 words long and three hours of work. And still, they didn’t shut up. They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by her bed.
Whilst she was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If she ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.
R.J. is a wife and a mother to two boys. She is surrounded by males. Even her dog is a boy.
R.J. Jones can be found at:
Please welcome Sydney Whyte to Moonbeams over Atlanta with a guest post and an excerpt that you must be over 18 to read.
The Anatomy of Fae
Fae, faeries, fairies…
So much to choose from, so much lore to explore. From the Roman household deities – penates, lares and even genii, to the simple Norse and Teutonic traditions of Valkyries, elves and disir to the much more rounded and vaunted Arthurian tales and Celtic legends, fairies abound in every way, shape and form. Minor deities, long-lived, immortal, human-like but powerful, light elves, dark elves, dwarves, all rendered ‘Fairies’ to some culture or civilisation… Malignant, benign, monstrous or fair, they populate writings from ancient to modern in abundance, and never, it would appear, do we grow tired of them.
Fae encompasses so many different notions, beliefs and traditions, that for my world and my purpose I dared to strip them bare.
A fantasy, paranormal, erotic fusion encompassing an unknown world, unknown peoples, religion, beliefs, required a mesh of myth and influence that was fresh. I wanted a paranormal being that was sexy, powerful and lethal.
Book one of the Gift of the Blood God – Drawn, but touches upon these creatures that inhabited the world of Abod le A’nor before the advent of humankind. They are lost, they are cursed, they are trapped. But one of them has a plan…
(Please be aware, the contents of this excerpt is considered R18)
“Open your eyes!” The words slithered beneath her distraction, a breath of wind whispered in her ear, hoarse, harsh with need. “Come back to me!”
“Nay, nay… Ahhh!” The heat pressed closer, hotter, her clit aflame with a surging passion, digging, growing in her lower belly, “Don’t… Ahhh, I… I can’t… Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh!” She felt herself explode, ripple and she screamed as if in pain, the most tumultuously exquisite pain.
Her eyes opened, finally obedient. The shroud of darkness and light encapsulated Melan. The roof of the cave so high above her was lost from sight, the earth a forbidding mantle that threatened incarceration, and yet this was what all called the Shining Lair, the temple of the Blue Heartstone, and the dwelling place of Wyrm power; the clash of pure earth essence and air. A pale patina of blue light filtered into the shadows given off by the large gem that sat proud upon its sconce – the Faeling’s beautiful prison. It was familiar, as was the brilliant bright white light of a ‘Pillar of Power’ searing the ground stone and burgeoning straight into the void above, blinding and intense to look upon. It filled the cavern’s centre, and yet even its potency could not force all shadows back.
Melan knew she had been here all along filled with lust and fantasies. Quickly she looked down her body as she lay naked upon the bundle of furs, cushions and silken throws. Her legs lay open to the mouth that sucked one last jolt of passion from the quiver of her singing clit and she gasped again, her hips uncontrollably undulating to press closer. The black eyes looked up at her from the shadow of his face, a smile of satisfaction spreading the fullness of his lips, lips so blue she could barely believe the heat they caused as they played with her intimate flesh.
How had it come to this? How had she even considered it? The being between her legs was no man. It was a Shade; the shadow of a Faeling and yet his attention elicited nothing but lust. His was smoke and illusion but he felt of heat and weight and power as he teased at her sex. She had not known the danger, had been unable to deny him.
“I would to dip into your honeyed well, my Priestess,” the Shade whispered though his lips did not move, the sound of his voice no more than an insistent caress to her mind.
Melan eased further back into her bedding and opened her legs the wider, quivering at the last touch of his hot tongue to the folds of her pussy as he pushed his now solid length up the contours of her body, brushing what should have been untouchable along the sensitivity of her pale skin. The undeniable weight of his broad chest pressed to the fall of her swollen breasts and she sighed and waited with impatience as the threat of his shaft pressed to the wet welcome of her opening. She moved against the tempting heat, her loins afire with anticipation. “Do it. Do it.”
She could not believe how different it was from the first flush of disgust she had felt at his touch; confused, revolted. She had come back from her reunion with Falric, her husband, her first love, her heart’s desire – denied her by the Guardian of ‘The People’, by the stipulations of her position – but the forbidden assignation had been at the wondrous Shade’s behest. She could not refuse, did not want to. Melan had caressed the much-loved, gleaming gem, ready to thank it for its bounteous instruction. Never had she enjoyed so much a command from the Heartstone.
It was not the first time that she had laid eyes on the shadow creature that could rise from the heart of the blue jewel but it had been the first time Melan realised that it was not as ephemeral as first believed. At her touch the Shade slid forth and she gasped at its beauty; broad, naked, perfectly formed. The hair on its head brushed the length of its bulging back to the slim tightness of its waist, but it was male, definitely male and she could not help but stare at the bulk of its loins cushioned beneath the blue-black curls of pubic hair. Her face had burned hot and she had tried to step back as it came closer.
“Did you as bid, my Priestess? Has my plan gained momentum?” The voice had filled her mind.
Melan had stared into its black eyes as it ventured nearer, so close it – he – would have been able to feel her trembling, suddenly disquieted by his proximity. She had nodded mutely and gasped as the large hand reached forth to stroke her cheek with a touch of heat, so solid and real she hardly credited her own senses. The kiss to her lips was as hot and heavy as any she had shared with Falric though the touch was a mere caress, and she pulled instantly back, suddenly wary for her own safety.
“We shall see. We shall see…”
Author: Sydney Whyte
Title: Gift of the Blood God: Drawn
Series Title and Number: Faelings Doom – Book 1
Publisher: B King
Release Date: March 2015
Genre: Erotic Fantasy
Tags: Mystical world, magic, world building, romance
Heat Level: 5
Length: 73,000 words
The world of Abod le A’nor stood waiting…
From the near new city of the civilised Oremen, to the wild untamed clans of the warrior nations of the Ancients, to the primitive quiet villages of a long lived and isolated people; their Dreamers dreamed and sensed the streams of time eddying and calling. The Gift was coming, and all eyes turned to the rugged climes of the southlands.
Two women struggled through the new day, through vast tracts of dark and ominous wilderness. Shocked and confused in the aftermath of what should have been a near fatal accident, twins Lorrie and Melory found themselves stumbling into a fate nothing in their previously sheltered lives had prepared them for. Nothing was familiar and even the comfort they found in each other’s company could not keep the fear or panic at bay.
Where were they?
In a world imbued with strange powers and lingering passions, the past machinations of the doomed Faeling will irrevocably change forever the Neilson sisters’ future.
Thus begins the journey of the sisters’ awakening.
Please note: – this series contains swearing, sexual content and adult themes – suitable for persons over the age of 18 years
Sydney Whyte is a ground breaking new talent to arise in New Zealand erotic literature. A vivacious reader and passionate creative writer since early childhood, she began writing paranormal and fantasy stories as early as ten years old. As a shy and reserved child, she immersed herself in writing complex, fantastical worlds full of magic, mystery and intrigue as a means of escapism. When she reached her teenage years, thoughts of love and romance entered her life with an obsession known only to the hormonal and young, her writing took a significantly saucier (although highly naive) turn. Her increasingly shy demeanour and strict upbringing allowed her few opportunities to openly explore her youthful sexuality; writing became an important means for shaping her philosophies on love, men and romance. As she set out on her own into the world she never ceased to write, but her life, prose and perspective changed drastically. Widowed at twenty-three, re married by twenty-seven, and a single mother of two before thirty five, her untainted youthful outlook on love, life and sex gave way to the exploration of the interconnectedness between beauty and pain, sensuality and shame, and love and despair, that shapes the unique human experience.
Title: It’s Not Yule, It’s Me
Author: Michael P. Thomas
Genre: Gay Romance, Holiday themed, Comedy
Length: 15,700 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Shannon hates Christmas. Mostly because Christmas hates him. It sure seems like it, anyway: every crummy thing that’s happened to him since high school has befallen him at the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Every humiliating break-up, every high-rise hotel fire—heck, a few years back, one guy he had the hots for up and died. Which goes a long way toward explaining why he’s a whimpering mess when he meets Ben the barista one Christmas morning at his neighborhood coffee house. It doesn’t completely excuse his using Ben’s T-shirt as a handkerchief—while Ben’s still in it—but Ben’s nothing if not a good sport. Ben’s such a bright spot that after a while Shannon wonders if maybe his Christmas Curse hasn’t been lifted. And what better place to test this theory than at Ben’s family festivities? It’s not like Christmas is actually cursed.
“I’m Shannon, by the way,” he eventually says. “Have we done that already?”
“I don’t think so. Not officially, anyhow. I’m Ben.”
“You don’t sound French.”
“You should hear me arguing on the phone with my mom.”
“I mean ‘Ben.’ Doesn’t sound like a very French name.”
“Maybe not, but Benoît is more trouble than it’s worth.”
I was born in France, but raised in Colorado; I’ve only been to France a handful of times, none of them recent. My mother was born in this country and raised in Washington, DC, but by French parents. Her mother is ethnically Gujarati, but French by virtue of being from Réunion. We’re still parsing the extent of my French-ness when Seth rolls in, only fifteen minutes late.
“Hiya, Benny-Boy” he warbles, planting a kiss on the top of my head as he swoops by; Seth enjoys flaunting his straight-but-not-narrow status. “What’s goin’ on?”
“What you get is what you see,” I tell him.
“Zis what Santa brought you?” He jerks his chin at Shannon, makes a show of sizing us up as a party of two. “You musta been a pretty good boy this year.”
“Ix-nay on the Anta-Say,” I scold Seth, although we’re all three laughing. I get up from the table and bus it clean by way of making preparations to call it a day.
“Rough trip down the chimney, eh?” Seth says, waggling his eyebrows.
“Pretty much the worst euphemism ever,” I assure him as I shrug into my jacket.
He laughs, offers me a fist bump and a “Peace out,” both of which I return.
“So …” I say to Shannon, sidling up to him. “I’m done here. You wanna get a drink or something?”
“It’s like noon.”
“It’s Christmas Day.”
“Dude, how hard are you gonna make me work for this? What, you never had Chinese food?”
“It’s just, I’m supposed to go to my aunt and uncle’s … it’s not that I don’t want to … maybe another time?”
I shrug. “You know where to find me.”
Michael P. Thomas is a flight attendant whose writing is continually inspired by his work with the flying public, who flatly refuse to be boring. The author of three novel-length gay romances and a number of romantic and erotic shorts, he writes gay fiction because when he was coming out he sure was glad to have it to read. After misspending his youth in San Francisco, he now lives in his native Colorado with his husband.
Synopsis: During the day, Roy Girard works with truckers. It’s a macho environment where a man is judged by how tough he is. And everyone knows Roy as one of the toughest.
On his own time Roy helps mentor young people who are LGBT, and cares about them as if they were his own. He’s in love with Venetia, a trans woman.
He’s careful to keep his nine-to-five completely separate from his private life. He knows his work buddies wouldn’t understand. And he doesn’t want Venetia exposed to their crude, narrow-minded views. It’s his job to protect her.
But when his two worlds collide, he has to make a choice. In trying to protect the woman he loves, he asks for more than she can give. In his need to keep her safe, he risks pushing her out of his life forever.
*NOTE* Her Kind of Man is the sequel to His Kind of Woman.
Upstairs, she collapsed on the divan, doubts writhing like a tangle of snakes in her brain. Had she been out of line to question him? Had she been too suspicious, even paranoid?
Would he forgive her?
She’d changed into on her nightclothes, the comfy cotton ones decorated with cats, and was just reaching for the Häagen Dazs in her freezer when her phone buzzed.
Roy had texted her. I’m home.
Her fears eased. He’d kept his promise, letting her know he was safe. He was a man of his word. Her kind of man.
Good, she responded. Then, as of their own volition, her fingers tapped I miss you.
She waited, holding her breath. At last an answer came.
Miss u 2.
A few moments later, the phone rang. Her hand trembled as she picked up. “Roy?”
“For God’s sake, do you really think I’m the kind of man who’d pull a shitty play like that?”
“You don’t know the stories I’ve heard. Things that have happened to friends of mine.”
“Forget your friends. Forget the stories. This is me. The man who loves you. You’re the only woman in my life, the only one I want. And fuck! It pisses me off, you thinking I’m some lowdown scumbag who’d cheat on you.”
She caught her breath. The man who loves you. Did he realize what he’d just said?
“I was scared. I had to ask.” Why else would he have been so secretive? But she didn’t want to bring that up now and start the whole argument again.
“So you believe me?”
“And you trust me?”
She gripped the phone, her heart thudding. “Yes, I trust you.”
“So how come I’m here and you’re way the hell over there?” His voice lowered an octave, turned soft and intimate.
Her girl parts tingled, reacting to his sexy rumble. “It’s a problem. I do remember asking you up, though.”
“Huh. And like a real dumb-ass, I blew it, trying to make a point.”
“Well, the invitation’s still good,” she responded in the most mellow, seductive tone she could summon.
“I’m on my way.”
I was provided a free copy of both books in the SPECTRUM series for the purpose of an honest review for second book for this blog tour. As a bonus, I’ve reviewed the first book after this review.
As soon as I finished His Kind of Woman, I jumped into Her Kind of Man immediately. Since I knew that I enjoyed His Kind of Woman, I expected Her Kind of Man to be equally good. I wasn’t disappointed.
Roy and Venetia have been dating for a little while now and Roy’s fears come to a head with a report on a beating in the news that hits home for him. He steps up his machismo wanting to protect Venetia from perceived threats because he can’t lose her. Several things happen to bring things to a head and they both step back to work out their issues.
This seemed to have a breadth and depth more so than the first book, realism still high on the list. They love each other but like any other relationship, it still takes work and their own personalities may get in the way. Roy does things in the name of protection but he can’t coddle someone who has been there and done that too many times before. While Venetia understands, they both have to trust each other in order for their relationship to work. While there is not as much sex between the two stories, the plot is great and I enjoy a better plot than better sex. Don’t get me wrong, the sex is amazing and maybe a little short, but it works for the story line. I love the SPECTRUM series and I hope we hear more, especially with the teens Venetia has helped over the years.
Overall, I give Her Kind of Man 5 stars.
Synopsis: When Roy Girard went looking for Victor Varrano, he never expected a woman to answer the door. He soon discovers that Victor is now Venetia. Roy’s startled, but even more surprised by his attraction to her. As they spend time together, he doesn’t want to let her go. But she’s sure to dump him when she learns his secret.
Venetia’s falling hard and fast for Roy. But when she learns that his brother was the bully who tormented her in high school, she’s shattered. She can’t wrap her head around the fact that the man who made such amazing love to her could so completely betray her trust.
This blog tour is for the release of Her Kind of Man, but I like to read a series in order even though the author said they could be read independently. While that is true, I feel I was richer for the experience reading His Kind of Woman first to get the background on Roy and Venetia.
I enjoyed this book as Venetia is comfortable in her skin for the first time since she knew she was in the wrong body dating back to when she was a he as a teen. When Roy and her meet, she is attracted to him but still has doubts about herself despite his interest in her. Roy is attracted to her but must find Victor to right a wrong his brother did to Victor but is unable to do it himself. He is guilty because of his own issues and things he had done when he was younger. The guilt only gets worse once he finds out Victor and Venetia are one and the same. They circle each other like the Earth and Moon getting closer as Venetia introduces Roy to the SPECTRUM kids and the place she started to support LGBTQ youths in their quest to find themselves. Something she didn’t have when she was a kid. Roy is a little startled but he takes these kids in stride and comes to care for them as well.
Overall, it was a great read and I was not able to put it down once I was started. It’s and easy read with only 67 pages but you see the love bloom between Venetia and Roy as they overcome their angst with themselves and each other, although Roy has more than Venetia. Explanations are a little slower than I prefer but I’m the “must know everything right now” kind of gal. 🙂 There is a happy ending, but the work to get there is very realistic and tugs on your heartstrings.
With this, I give His Kind of Woman 5 stars.
Nona Raines is a former librarian who lives in upstate New York with her many pets. She’s currently working on her next novel between walking the dog and shooing the cats off the laptop. Her romances are published with The Wild Rose Press and Loose Id. Her transgender romance His Kind of Woman was nominated for the 2014 DABWAHA sponsored by the Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review blogs. Her most recent work is the romance novella Write to Me and the transgender romance Her Kind of Man.
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