Teacher’s Pet by Multiple Authors #NewRelease #LGBTQ #Paranormal #Anthology #Romance #MM #FF #Blitz

Title: Teacher’s Pet, Volume Two

Author: Lee Welch, Elizabeth Coldwell, Elna Holst, Riza Curtis, Danielle Wayland, Karmen Lee, Morwen Navarre, Maryn Blackburn

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 22, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 75900

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Historical, fantasy, magic, college, grief, bdsm, athlete, friends to lovers, vacation, cleric, holiday

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Featuring

Eight Stories of Lessons Outside the Classroom

A Spell for Master Vervain by Lee Welch

Finding the Words by Elizabeth Coldwell

The Silent Treatment by Elna Holst

One Small Step by Riza Curtis

Shedding Doubt by Danielle Wayland

Academic Temptations by Karmen Lee

The Sidhe’s Apprentice by Morwen Navarre

Press “Copy” to Begin by Maryn Blackburn

Blurbs

A Spell for Master Vervain by Lee Welch
Apprentice magicians aren’t supposed to fall for their masters, but after a year of longing, Kit is desperate for Master Vervain. Kit casts a forbidden spell to raise an incubus doppelganger of his master—oh, the things he’ll do with that incubus! But Kit’s invoking forces he can’t control and anything can happen when love and magic are mixed.

Finding the Words by Elizabeth Coldwell
On a simple night out, Brendan’s life changed forever. He gave up college lecturing for the world of private tutoring. He may be a virtual recluse, but at least he’s safe. When student Zack approaches him for help with understanding poetry, he’s reluctant to take him on, afraid any connection to his old life might stir up the memories.

Being around Zack awakens long-buried desires in Brendan. He wants to act on his impulse to get closer, but he needs to find the words to say how he really feels.

The Silent Treatment by Elna Holst
Reverend Jane Sinclair has been preaching nothing but fire and brimstone lately. After being dumped by her long-term partner, her mood has been going from bad to worse, and it deteriorates further when her vicar strong-arms her into going off on a yoga retreat. Once she arrives at Serenity Farms, however, the sultry and playfully dominant yoga instructor soon has her singing quite a different tune. A very, very quiet one.

One Small Step by Riza Curtis
Student mage Ilya regrets not paying more attention in class when he teleports two hundred miles instead of the hundred yards he was supposed to go. Concussed, exhausted, and completely underdressed for the bitter winter weather, Ilya is rescued by the handsome Søren.

Sparks fly between the two mages while Ilya recovers, but Ilya must return home. Unable to use his magic and not skilled enough to attempt teleporting back, even if he could, Søren insists on making the journey with him. But train rides and bandits reveal something more between them.

Shedding Doubt by Danielle Wayland
Twenty-six-year-old Grayson is on a mission to get the most out of his gym membership, but when he goes at it too hard on his first day and slips off the treadmill, embarrassment makes him want to quit. Heath, a gym rat, rushes to his aid and offers to help. Initially suspicious of his motives, Grayson reluctantly accepts his help.

The more time they spend together, the more their friendship grows. They both have internal battles keeping them apart, but a Halloween party might just be the place to have a heart-to-heart.

Academic Temptations by Karmen Lee
Twenty-three-year-old Savannah Archer has kept her sexuality buried for years out of fear of being ostracized by her disapproving community. After getting pregnant in high school and putting off college for five years to raise her son, she is finally attending college—away from the prying eyes.

In her first class of the semester, she meets Anetta Springs, who is not only her professor, but also her academic advisor, and the attraction is immediate. Savannah and Anetta both know that the potential consequences of a teacher-student relationship are life-changing, but a book club and a meddling sister may not give them a choice.

The Sidhe’s Apprentice by Morwen Navarre
For anyone serious about magic, studying with a Sidhe Master is essential. Alistair Brady is very serious, and when he’s chosen at a Calling—a search by the Sidhe for new students—he’s elated. However, his assigned Master, Cianán, doesn’t want a new student and makes it painfully obvious.

Despite Cianán’s disdain, Alistair is determined to learn magic. But Alistair has difficulty finding the place inside where magic lives, and even the simplest spells continue to elude him. He just needs to figure out what’s missing, while trying not to let his growing attraction to the cold and aloof Cianán show. It takes a backfiring spell to show both Alistair and Cianán exactly what’s missing to make Alistair’s magic come alive.

Press “Copy” to Begin by Maryn Blackburn
Dr. Marissa Muniz worked hard to earn her Ph.D., so she is rightfully outraged when she detects plagiarism in the work of wealthy grad student. When Muniz confronts Libby Highsmith, the young woman begs for a second chance.

Ms. Highsmith must propose a new master’s thesis and design a project to serve as punitive measures. Muniz accepts the thesis proposal but balks at the project—a replica of the paddle used in private schools and a contract promising secrecy.

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I’m Published! Thrice! Three Anthologies by Multiple Authors #PreOrder #PersonsOfColor #Romance #LGBT #NewRelease #GAEmergingWriters #SciFi #Fantasy

*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´
*****Beautiful Skin: A People of Color Anthology*****
¸.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

 

So, Amazon came through and provided a preorder link. Really fast. See link below the Preorder image. In addition, I got notified that Z Publishing House released the Georgia Emerging Writers Anthology I mentioned earlier this year. That link is below the cover for it. 😀 It’s a paperback so it’s a bit more expensive but you get to see all kinds of other stories. They are all short, less than 1250 words each. While building this post (over the course of several hours because of other things), I found out that a third anthology recently released that has my 300 word flash fiction in it. Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest. Whoa. Things just real, really fast. 🙂

So, readers. I’m an officially published author with multiple publications under my belt. How did that happen? A lot of work. Thank you Emmy, the POC FB Group, J. Scott Coatsworth

Release date: 8/23/18

Buy Links: Books2Read: Amazon | Smile Amazon

There will be a Paperback version for those that want a physical copy. I’ll update when that is live.

Add this wonderfully diverse anthology to your Goodreads TBR list today, because you won’t want to miss it when it releases!!

Link to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41067383-beautiful-skin

If you are a blogger or supporter (you don’t have to have a blog to join), please sign up at our Release Blitz form below:

https://goo.gl/forms/cLFVvbqchEPmJ28B2

A few days before the release date, you will get an email with a kit for the Blitz

And thank you! Continue on to see the second anthology. 😉

 

*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´
*****Georgia Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction*****
¸.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

 

So, I was invited to join this anthology by the publisher, Z Publishing House, way back in May. I was able to pick and submit 5 options, on my birthday no less. A month later, they’d picked one! The Lotto Ticket was a submission I did to a Fantasy and Science Fiction Flash Fiction contest that would turn your 500 word submission into a podcast. Well, I didn’t make it past the first round, and it had been languishing since. I did a few edits but basically left it the way it was written and near the 500 words. I liked the story a lot for being so short. This is a paperback but you do get to see other emerging writers from the lovely state of Georgia that I call home. They run the gamut of stories, and not just LGBTQ or even romance. I think you will like it.

 

Buy Links: Amazon | Smile Amazon | Z Publishing House

About Z Publishing House: 

Having begun as a blog in the fall of 2015, Z Publishing, LLC, soon transitioned into book publishing. This transition came in response to the major problem currently plaguing the publishing world: For writers, finding new readers can be tremendously difficult, and for readers, finding new talented authors with whom they identify is like searching for a needle in a haystack. With Z Publishing, no longer will anyone have to go about this process alone. By producing anthologies of multiple authors rather than single-author volumes, Z Publishing hopes to foster a community of readers and writers, bringing all sides of the industry closer together.

You can follow the growth of Z Publishing on Facebook here!

Website: https://www.zpublishinghouse.com/

 

*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´
*****Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest*****
¸.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

 

And now for the third anthology that I just found out released July 26, 2018. It’s the Queer Sci Fi’s 5th annual Flash Fiction contest that I a contribution for the 4th year in a row. 🙂 I’m very proud of that. Without further adieu, here is Impact!

 

Buy Links: Amazon KindleBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboAngus & RobertsonGoodreads

Series Title: Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest

Position (Number) in Series: 4

Necessary to Read Previous Books: No

Other Books in Series Available for Review?: Yes

 

Warnings: This book contains 110 stories of 300 words or less each.

 

Book Blurb:

IM * PACT

(noun)

 

1) One object colliding with another

2) An impinging of something upon something else

3) An influence or effect on something or someone

4) The force of a new idea, concept, technology or ideology

Four definitions to inspire writers around the world, and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell, but only 110 made the final cut.

A difficult choice to be made. An object hurtling recklessly through space. A new invention that will change the world. So many things can impact a life, a society, or a planet.

Impact features 300 word speculative fiction ficlets from across the queer spectrum from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Welcome to Impact.

 

Series Blurb:

It’s hard to tell a story in just 300 words. Each year we ask writers to take the challenge, turning in stories across the queer spectrum. The rules are simple. Write a complete sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror story, include LGBTIQA characters, and do it all with just 300 carefully chosen words.

 

Excerpt (Non-Exclusive):

 Since this book is composed of stories of no more than 300 words, we can’t really do a standard excerpt, so we’re offering you the teaser first lines from a number of stories.

“She’d needed new oil. She felt her joints grow stiff, her muscles grow tight, her follicles thickening. If she didn’t get fresh quarts soon, people she passed would start calling her sir, asking, Where’s your gun?” —Crossville Station, by Nathan Alling Long

“The mallet’s impact on the hard, bright disk shattered the silence in the talking chamber. The resulting deep tone reverberated through the vault, through Saskia, as she fidgeted beside her lover.” —Settled, by Aidee Ladnier

“This is how the world ends, or so they say. From where I’m standing, it simply looks like a rolling darkness as distant lights flicker and die.” —Visitors, by LJ Phillips

“’What have you done?’ The mechanical eyes came to rest on his face, the droning beep sounding loud in the small room.” —Identity and Change, by Jo Tannah

“’Once upon a world, we were the same,’ he said, lifting my hand to his lips; the ground shaking beneath us.” —Impact, by Jack Ladd

“I been a tinker and soothsayer long enough to know this country’s at the cusp of war. They stir up hate easy as breath. And, oh, it pains my soul to see it. “ —Impact of Intervention, by Patricia Scott

“All lives begin with a messy impact of some kind. The crash of zygotes and gametes. Splats of silica gel between cybernetic synapses. Two women slam into each other carrying full cups of coffee.” —Quintessence, by E.M. Hammill

“If I venture far enough into the house, I’ll find my closet.” —The Closet, by K.S. Trenten

“It touched Ligaya when she was a child. Or she touched it. A half-glimpsed shape under her bed.” Mas Mabuti An Answang, by Foster Bridget Cassidy

“Jam zipped down the neon track, feather-light in low gravity. She rocketed forward, a glowing haze in her starred helmet, and shot past the pack. “Space Jammer!” echoed as she neared the line. Time to rack up the points.” —First Bout: Andromedolls Vs. Crotch Rockets, by Ginger Streusel

About Queer Sci Fi:

At Queer Sci Fi, we’re building a community of sci fi, fantasy, paranormal and horror writers and readers who want a little rainbow in their speculative fiction. We run a great discussion group on Facebook, a twitter feed, and have a website full of useful materials, news, and announcements for readers and writers of queer speculative fiction.

WebsiteFacebook Discussion Group | Facebook PageTwitter

Nectar and Ambrosia (Amaranthine Inheritance 1) by E. M. Hamill #Giveaway #MF #MM #UrbanFantasy #Mythical #NewRelease #LGBT

Title:  Nectar and Ambrosia
Series: Amaranthine Inheritance #1
Author: E.M. Hamill
Publisher:  Star Bard Books
Release Date: June 30, 2018
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male
Length: 81576
Genre: Fantasy, urban/mythical

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Synopsis

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Callie, a Classics major, flees home to
protect her family from a monster straight out of mythology.  Visions lead her to Nectar and Ambrosia: the
weirdest pub on Earth, where inter-dimensional travelers with attention seeking
issues get drunk in between the A-list celebrity lives they create. They can’t
pretend to be gods anymore—not since a treaty with the current Supreme Deity promising
they won’t intervene in human affairs.
The Doorkeeper of this threshold,
Florian, rides herd on the rowdy Amaranthine and offers her shelter and a job.
Callie likes the lonely, mysterious bartender more than she should. For
Florian, her presence is a ray of light in the gray monotony of his sentence
behind the bar, but he keeps a cautious distance—the truth of how he became
Doorkeeper could change Callie’s perception of him forever.
When angels show up for a war council
over Zeus’s irrational mutters about a comeback, Callie has uncontrolled
visions of an apocalypse.  Ex-gods
realize she’s the first Oracle Priestess in generations. All Callie wanted was
keep her parents safe, and now it seems she must sacrifice her future to keep
the rest of humanity safe, too. Ambrosia could be the key to harnessing her
visions— or it could cost her life.
War is coming. The threshold between
worlds has never been more fragile. Callie must discover who is pulling Zeus’s
strings and avert the final battle—before the immortal vying to become the next
Supreme Deity kills her first.

 

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Callie turned away, trying to decide if
Florian and all his clientele were delusional or if it was some kind of big
role-playing game for rich people. Folks could have a thing about dressing up
in furry animal costumes. She supposed they could pretend to be gods and
goddesses too. If it was a mythology RPG, they weren’t concerned with the
classical part, except for the guy she saw yesterday afternoon. She was
relieved to have a rational explanation for the horns.
Something moved outside the glass front
door. Her heart seized in momentary panic. What if the monster still lurked out
there?
Strange, visible turbulence seemed to
ripple the panes. Callie squeezed her eyes shut to clear her sight and prayed
it wasn’t the aura of an oncoming seizure. Cool relief extinguished the rising
sparks of panic as the effect dissipated.
The door opened and revealed a
spiky-haired, punk rock kid years too young to be in any bar. Callie was forced
to squint in order see him clearly as he strode in, his outlines strangely
blurred and soft. Sullen teenaged fluidity rolled in every line of his body. He
surveyed the bar, narrow kohl-ringed eyes settling on the heavily intoxicated
Zeus. A sneer comprised of equal parts contempt and satisfaction flickered over
his mouth.
“There he is, the great king of the
gods,” he muttered. He moved toward the bar, a glare of disdain sweeping
over the other patrons. His eyes widened in appreciation as they passed over
Callie, a little smirk growing as his gaze lingered too long on the front of
her college t-shirt.
Despite her confusion on how he’d
arrived, she gave him a thin smile and a cool nod, crossing her arms over her
chest. He stopped short, an expression of shock on his face. Then a quick,
sunny grin took over. His blurry outlines sharpened as he drew closer and she
relaxed her squinted eyes, no longer struggling to focus on him. She decided it
was a trick of the neon-tinted lights hanging in garish advertisement on the
walls of the bar.
“My, my, my. Who have we
here?” His voice, thick with Cockney vowels, dipped to an intimate tone as
he approached. His body language changed to something more unsettlingly mature.
He was older than he appeared. “Who do you belong to?”
“I’m Callie. I don’t belong to
anybody, but I work for Florian,” she corrected him politely. “Can I
get you something?”
“Well, for starters, tequila.”
He smirked suggestively. “And your undivided attention.”
Callie resisted the urge to roll her
eyes. No matter where she worked, the pickup lines were the same.
“I’m sorry, I’m busy working. I’ll
ask Florian for your tequila. On the rocks, or a shot?”
“On the rocks, love.”
“I’ll need to see some ID
first.”
“You are new
here, aren’t you?” He flipped two fingers out, a driver’s license between
them.  She took it. No stranger to fake
ID’s, this one appeared to be real, and passed him as twenty-one. Still…
“John Smith, huh?”
He captured Callie’s fingers as she
returned the license and kissed the back of her hand in old-fashioned
courtliness, sea-colored eyes glinting in mischief. An odd, visceral twinge
from her early warning system made her startle as his lips touched her skin.
Goose bumps flecked her arms. A totally alien sensation overwhelmed her senses:
it was as if something crawled off her skin toward his mouth. She shivered in
response and tried to pull her hand away. His grin widened as he tightened his
grip, apparently delighted by her discomfiture.
“Oh, ho. That’s a lovely surprise.
Don’t mind me. I’m incorrigible. Call me Puck.” He scribed an expansive
circular gesture with his free hand. “Welcome to the watering hole of the
damned bored.”
Callie forced a smile. “Thank you.
Now, if you’ll let go of my hand, I’ll get your drink.”
Puck made a mocking bow over her hand
and released it, smirking again as he backed away, still admiring her in
undisguised interest. Between them, a well-dressed man stepped directly into Callie’s
path. He swerved with a graceful spin and apologized as Callie’s sneakers
squeaked to an abrupt halt on the concrete floor.
“Sorry, hon. Good evening, gods and
goddesses!”
“Herm!” came a shouted group
greeting from the room at large.
“And fairies,” the man
belatedly added, nodding at the punk rocker.
Puck offered him an extended middle
finger and a dangerous smile. Callie’s mouth fell open, recognizing the
Armani-suited guy from the previous afternoon.
“Jeeze, homophobic much?” she
muttered.
“Trust me love, I am all fairy and
he is far from homophobic. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with him being
a prick.” Puck glared at the man’s back with undisguised hatred before
another lightning-quick mood change and a devilish grin took over. “Make that
tequila a double.” He winked at her, eyes making another head to toe rake
of her body before he disappeared into the clump of huge Scandinavian-looking,
Corona-swilling dart players.
Callie’s hair still prickled on the back
of her neck even after Puck left, and she rubbed it, troubled. She turned back
to the room, stopped short, and stared. More customers sat at tables and in the
shadows of the booths, each group just a little stranger than the last. None of
them used the door.
And the Armani guy—he’d stepped into her
path. Right out of the air.
Something intensely freaky was happening
that she couldn’t rationalize away, no matter how hard she tried.
Was Florian telling the truth?
Instead of fear, a deep, visceral
excitement flip-flopped in her abdomen, butterflies on steroids.
She never pinpointed exactly when wonder
began to crowd out her reservations. Rushing between the cooler and the tables,
she caught snatches of conversation and shouted greetings when others appeared.
Having to bite back questions when she delivered their beverages replaced the
urge to roll her eyes. She fought to keep a professional demeanor rather than
fangirl all over herself when Florian introduced the Armani guy to her as
Hermes. Hermes! One of her favorite characters in Greek mythology.
Three hours into the shift, she took a
quick bathroom break. Her back against the door, Callie put her hands over her
mouth and muffled something that sounded suspiciously like a shriek. Whether it
was fear or excitement, she couldn’t quite say. Her breath came fast and short
until she got dizzy. She spun the tap on the sink and the shock of cold water
on her face helped bring her back down.
“What the hell, Callie? Are you
really going to believe this?” she muttered to herself in the mirror. She
grabbed a paper towel to blot the moisture away and waded back out into the
crowded bar.

 

Purchase

Star Bard Books | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback |Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

Elisabeth “E.M.” Hamill is a nurse by day, unabashed geek, chocoholic, sci fi and fantasy novelist by nights, weekends, and wherever she can steal quality time with her laptop. She lives with her family, a dog, and a cat in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

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Ghost Wolf by Hurri Cosmo #LGBT #Contemporary #Romance #Review #Mystery

Moonbeams over Atlanta welcomes author Hurri Cosmo! Published by Painted Hearts Publishing LLC on January 18, 2018 and is 390 pages.

The Blurb:

Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a wolf shifter. I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I was simply running off a ton of steam one day when I was about eleven and bam! Okay, not quite that easy or fast but it happened when I was young and stupid. I’m also gay. I say that like I know what I’m talking about with that too. I simply don’t.

I’m grown up now and living in the big city which has me too busy to much care about either one of those things. I get out and run my wolf when I can, trying like hell to stay out of the local pack’s territories. Belonging to a “family” just sounds like too much work. I honestly don’t have time for such things. Besides, I was told when I was young the color of my wolf was all wrong. Too silver I guess. Metallic. I thought it looked cool in the full moon. “An Alpha would kill ya soon as look at ya.” My grandpa used to say. Course he wasn’t my real grandpa. Just an old man who lived down the street. But he was a shifter too and I thought he knew it all. He probably knew diddly shit either but a guy can’t be too careful.

So romance? Way off the radar.

But then someone started killing wolves. Started leaving lined up broken bodies all in a nice little row next to the high school in my home town and it got me to thinking. If a shifter is killed in his or her wolf state, does he/she stay that way? Were these dead wolves like me?

I had to see what I could do. Kind of like a super hero. Oh yeah. Probably forgot to tell you this. I can turn invisible.

Yep, Ghost Wolf to the rescue.

The Review:

Thank you IndiGo for the book in exchange for an honest review.

4 Stars

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It’s not often I find a first person paranormal story as interesting as this one. An invisible wolf? I had to know more. Then there was the mystery/suspense factor and I couldn’t waiting to read it. In fact, I read it in two sittings in about two days. There were a couple of places where I wasn’t sure who was talking since it was told in first person, but you really got into Trevor and his misconceptions about wolves and shifters based on one older wolf in his neighborhood. Secrets abound, and Trevor finds out more than he thought possible. It was a fascinating read and Hurri did a great job of detailing this world Trevor found himself in. I had read one other story in 2016 and enjoyed that one as well. I plan on find other books to read. There is a HEA and how Trevor and Ryan, the man he finds in a bar as his fated mate, find each other right when Ryan had given up finding his other half. While there is fate mates going on, it’s not the forefront and the mystery of Trevor’s history and his powers is foremost and makes it an easy way to get away for awhile. How Trevor thinks and talks is vastly amusing and I smiled through most of the story. There are some rough spots, especially past bullying, but for the most part is great read. I would recommend reading about Trevor and his antics with his mate. Trevor’s friends are fun secondary characters and I wouldn’t mind seeing some of those show up in a sequel.

Overall, I give Ghost Wolf 4 out of 5 stars.

Eloreen Moon

Title: Ghost Wolf
Author: Hurri Cosmo
Publisher: Pained Hearts
Release Date: 1/18/18
Heat Level: 5 – Erotica
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 390 pages, 122,000 words
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense

Book Links:

Amazon | Painted HeartsBookStrandGoodreads

About the Author:

Hi, my name is Hurri Cosmo and I am a happy ending junkie. I always have been. You can be pretty rest assured everything I write will have one. I am not big on angst. I believe we get enough of that in real life so when I go to read something, to make the real world go away for awhile, I will most likely not chose something that will make me cry. So I write for those people who, at least occasionally, feel the same way. I’m okay with the fact I will probably never write anything “important” but I guess I will have to see where my imagination takes me. I would love it if you would come along.

Website | Twitter | FacebookGoodreads Author Page | Blog | YouTube

Aerie by Jon Keys (The Chinjoka Saga 01) #Spotlight #LGBT #Romance #Fantasy #NewRelease #Giveaway #Rafflecopter

Title:  Aerie

Series: The Chinjoka Saga, Book One

Author: Jon Keys

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 19, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 77900

Genre: Fantasy, NineStar Press, LGBT, shifters, magic, gods, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, slow burn

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Synopsis

Askari, Dhala, and Gyam grew up as childhood friends during happier days for the Chinjoka, an Iron Age people with the ability to shapeshift, but now they must learn their place among the tribe while dealing with both a devastating plague and war with the Misiq.

Ena is a young warrior for the more savage Misiq, a tribe whose cruelty exemplifies their deity—the Angry God. The Misiq, also shifters, have declared a genocidal war against the Chinjoka, blaming them for the disease devastating both tribes. As a result, they are locked in a battle for survival. But when Ena is shown compassion by those he means to harm, he begins to question all he’s ever known.

A chance meeting changes their lives, and maybe their tribes, forever.

Excerpt

Aerie
Jon Keys © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Dhala’s world overflowed with desperation as he filled a bowl with crystalline water trickling along the edge of the sky portal for Gyam’s aerie. His attempt to spot Gyam in his flyer form was thwarted by the dense early spring fog that limited the visibility of the surroundings. Even the river running along the cliff was hidden from Dhala’s sharp eyes.

Assigned to be the Saat responsible for the last two Athru, Dhala took his worker caste’s responsibility of caring for Gyam and Choro with much weight, especially since Choro was in the final throes of the deadly plague that had devastated the Chinjoka over the last few cycles. As Choro’s health diminished ever more rapidly, Dhala and Gyam had become ever more desperate until, before first light, Gyam had left on the final attempt to gain their friend and mentor more time.

A gust sent a spray onto Dhala’s face and moistened the nest of short curls framing it. With the bowl having long ago been filled, he wiped the water from his skin and sighed.

“You can’t will him to travel faster, Dhala.”

Startled from his dower mood, he grabbed the bowl of fresh water from the trickle and moved to Choro’s side. “I’m so sorry. I was lost in thought.” He dropped a soft piece of trade cloth into the liquid, squeezed it almost dry, and ran it over the man’s face. Choro’s labored breathing echoed through the room, a symptom of how far the disease had progressed. Dhala found some solace knowing they’d had no new cases for a cycle. But sadness overwhelmed him each time he allowed himself to consider Choro losing his battle against the sickness.

With a hand withered to little more than talon and sinew, Choro caught his wrist. “Dhala, I’m neither fevered nor in need of cleaning. We both know my time is limited. Gyam set himself on this task hoping to change my fate, but this sun cycle is likely my last.”

Dhala scrubbed the tears from his face and scowled at the feeble figure lying before him. With a fierce determination, he grabbed the older man’s hand between his. “Choro, you will live. Gyam will find an osa herd, and the fresh meat will give you the strength to last until we discover a healing.” Dhala glanced out the cave opening to the fog-swathed valley that stretched to the forests surrounding Mother Falls high in the mountains to the north. Nothing of Gyam was visible, but he turned to Choro filled with a stubborn glint. “Soon. He must return soon.”

Choro lay back with a rattling breath. “Fledgling, we have not cured what is killing the Chinjoka in all the cycles since it began. Each caste suffered losses. Once I am gone, Gyam is the last Athru. None of the fledglings show signs of the Athru change, and the responsibilities weigh heavily on Gyam.”

Dhala dropped his gaze as Choro reminded him of his greatest shame. But there was a gentle touch on his chin, and he lifted his head. He took the elder’s hand in his, and Choro smiled sadly.

“It’s no fault of yours that you never left the Saat caste. The Father of the Twins decides who takes to the sky, who are the protectors, and who cares for others. We are all born with the abilities of the Saat, and many become able to shift to the protective plates of the Onija. But the few who are gifted with the faculty to shift into one of the Chinjoka flyers guard us from the sky. We all stop where the Father decrees.”

Dhala sighed again but released Choro and moved the bowl aside. The elder was right. Dhala needed to accept his place and the disappointment of never becoming one of the Athru caste as his father always believed he would. He would never develop the stone-hard plate of the Onija, much less the ability to become the taloned and winged protector of the Chinjoka.

Dhala’s father held several unique beliefs, including that the earthbound Saat were as important as the soaring Athru. When he was a child, Dhala spent many hours with his friends, climbing the precipice above the village as the Athru flyers glided across the azure sky. He’d loved the time among the heights, regardless of the season, but warm summer mornings were his favorite. By afternoon, the sun would heat the rocks, making them uncomfortable, but during the early mornings, the breeze coming from the warming grasslands northward to the cutleaf forest made it easy to imagine what flight over the last Chinjoka settlement would be like.

He glanced again to the outside, thrilled at the rays of sun cutting through the dawn haze and bringing the river far below them into sharper relief. The dry-fit stone wall that formed the flight path for this aerie glowed with the golden light of morning.

“He’s fine. Gyam is the strongest Athru I’ve met during my time in the aeries. When the Father takes me, he will need your help.”

Choro’s reference to the afterlife made Dhala cringe. He and Gyam had been determined to heal Choro of the plague since his first symptoms. Anyone who’d shown signs of the disease had left on the Long Flight with no exceptions. Dhala lost far too many of his friends, as had most of the Chinjoka. But when Choro showed the difficulty breathing that was the typical first symptom, Dhala fought with ferocious determination to save his friend and advisor. Choro’s downward spiral caused Dhala and Gyam to drift apart. They’d been among the best of friends since they were fledglings, but Choro’s terminal condition left Gyam bitter and unpredictable.

The result might be different if their only Athru healer hadn’t been one of the first to die. Others tried to find a cure, including his mother who was a well-versed Saat healer. The failure to determine a cure made people doubt their skills and, in some cases, blame the spread of the disease on the Saat healers. Regardless of the truth, no healer had been successful, and most had stopped their efforts, for fear they might be blamed.

“He comes.”

Dhala glanced at Choro, who nodded toward the aerie’s sky portal. An instant later, the slow beat of wings came closer. Dhala swept the room with his gaze and found everything to his satisfaction. He moved close as Gyam landed on the rock opening. Dhala couldn’t keep from gasping in awe any time he saw Gyam.

Each smooth wing was as long as Dhala’s height. The muscles across his shoulders and down his torso flexed with each swipe of his webbed appendages. Dhala stepped away when Gyam thrust his elongated muzzle toward him and screamed a high piercing call, demanding attention. Dhala wanted to clasp his hands over his ears but knew instead he would do as Gyam demanded. Gyam tensed and released another scream.

Dhala dashed forward and grabbed the blood-dripping osa heart from Gyam’s taloned hand. The fresh organ from the small grazer still quivered with the final throes of life. He rushed to Choro’s side, ignoring Gyam’s cry.

He knelt beside the older man and offered him the fist-sized heart. Choro preferred the meat of the smaller grazers, and a freshly harvested heart was a special treat. Both Dhala and Gyam hoped it would give him more strength, but Dhala feared it was Choro’s last meal. More of Choro’s presence in this world disappeared with each breath.

But he wouldn’t give up hope. Dhala arranged Choro’s bedding to make him as comfortable as possible while he enjoyed the treat. Choro sank his teeth into the morsel with clear relish as blood coated his fingers. Dhala couldn’t help but smile at the elder attacking the tidbit with the same enjoyment as a fledgling with a sweet treat. A short time later, Choro finished and glanced around him.

Dhala squeezed out the cloth he’d been using earlier and handed it to Choro, who took it with a grin and wiped himself clean. Once he’d finished, he lay back on the bed, closed his eyes, and sighed.

His voice rolled across the room. “Delicious, Gyam. That was the best osa I’ve eaten in many seasons.”

Dhala glanced over his shoulder to find Gyam in the midst of his change from his Athru form. The webbing was absorbing into wings, which were disappearing into Gyam’s muscular body, and interlocking scales were becoming supple skin as Gyam left the form marking him as Athru. Dhala relished the beautiful body being revealed to him. When front paws and talons became work-roughened hands, Gyam made his final shift to leave his Athru form and stood nude behind him. Dhala tried not to stare but lost his struggle. Usually, Gyam covered himself, but today, he held his loincloth in one hand while watching Choro. His stout, muscular body demanded Dhala’s attention until he realized how inappropriate he was being, especially given Gyam’s current state. Dhala was painfully aware of the attraction he’d had for Gyam since they’d both grown beyond fledglings, but he would keep his role as Saat for Gyam and Choro during his time of sorrow for them all.

He wrenched his gaze to the ailing man and got a smile and quick wink. Caught staring at Gyam, Dhala dropped his attention to the floor. A slight rustling served as warning when Gyam walked past him, making the last tie on his loincloth before kneeling at the side of Choro’s pallet.

“Elder, how are you feeling? Did the osa help?” Gyam asked.

Choro smiled and tapped Gyam’s cheek. Gyam grinned, and Dhala caught a glimpse of his friend from cycles past. He leaned in to give Choro a kiss on each cheek, but Choro’s gaze included both of them.

“It was warm and delicious, exactly what I needed. We must be honest. In spite of all your work, there is no cure. I am not long for this flight. My wings are tattered and bones are brittle. I will soon be with my mate. Both of you must accept this.”

Hot tears rolled down Dhala’s cheeks as he listened. He knew the truth of Choro’s assessment. His body was failing. Dhala’s gut twisted with grief, and a sob leaked from his lips.

Gyam turned on Dhala and snarled. His face elongated and his canine teeth grew as his emotions overtook his body. But before anything happened, Choro spoke.

“That’s enough, Gyam. You two stretched my life further than any of the others who have fallen victim to this illness. For that, I thank you. But the time is here.”

Gyam motioned at Dhala as he spoke. “He’s given up. He’s letting you die.”

Choro glared and sat up. Dhala scrambled to change his bedding to make it easier, but Choro waved him away. The movement threw Choro into a coughing spell that left him gasping for air.

“Please, Elder. Don’t strain yourself. I will do as you wish,” Gyam said.

Choro again motioned them off, but not before Dhala saw the flecks of blood on his lips. He lacked none of the weight of his role as elder Athru when he turned to Gyam.

“You will be the last Athru. You need your friends. You have been together with Dhala since you both ran free of clothing during the warm moons. You’ve protected and guarded each other through your time together. Now you have let this come between you, and it must stop. Dhala is your friend even though he is Saat. You have grown up together and must regain your ability to work together. Athru, Saat, or Onija, you are all Chinjoka. This disease has almost destroyed our people. So many have died, and only one village remains. You must rebuild the people. You cannot succeed without all three castes who make up the Chinjoka.”

Choro lapsed into another coughing fit. This one left him flat on his bed, sweating and gasping for air. He covered his eyes with an arm and tried to breathe. A morning breeze curled around them, bringing a mix of scents of the Chinjoka Basin, from the verdant growth of the shortgrass plains in the south to the crisp scent of the great cutleaf trees nourished by the Pilea River. The single wisp of air reminded Dhala of everything at stake for the Chinjoka nation. Dhala moved closer, pushing an immobile Gyam aside. He checked Choro’s pulse and found a weak thread. He ran his hands down the older man’s neck, but halfway along his path, Choro grabbed his wrists with the strength of a failing butterfly. The silent command left no doubt. He met Dhala’s gaze and nodded.

“Soon. But not now.” His gaze moved to encompass both of them. “You look like the gods are testing you. Both of you should rest, but I know neither of you will listen. I plan to sleep and won’t argue with either of you any further.”

With that, Choro sank into his bed and closed his eyes. Dhala waited but worried. He moved when Choro parted his lips.

“If you check my heartbeat, Dhala, I will hurt you in ways to prevent any enjoyment with a mate for the rest of your life.”

Dhala drew away and turned at a snort from Gyam. His dark eyes twinkled as he looked at both Choro and Dhala. “He’s not making idle threats. Even as he is now. Come. We can build up the fire and plan the evening meal. I asked a group of Onija caste hunters to bring the osa carcass. We must be ready for its arrival.”

They had created a bed of glowing coals when a voice came from the passageway carved into the interior of the cliff as a way to reach the upper caves.

“I could use a little help here! Gyam picked the biggest Twins-blessed osa in the entire basin.”

Dhala recognized the voice as another of their friends. Askari was of the Onija caste and one of the most successful hunters among the Chinjoka, but as a warrior, he was unequaled in the village. The plates he formed as Onija were as strong as iron but as mobile as Dhala’s soft skin. Dhala should have known it would be him who retrieved Gyam’s kill. That the three of them had been inseparable since they began to walk made it even more certain that Askari would be the one who would retrieve Gyam’s take. Even though the Father had spread his gifts through the castes as they went through puberty, bodies changing in line with their castes, their friendships had remained. They rushed to the path and found Askari balanced precariously while gripping the carcass he’d thrown across one shoulder. Dhala moved down the first few steps, grabbed the carcass by the stag’s straight-spiraling horns, heaved it upward, and settled it onto his shoulder. Once the body was securely in place, he carried it into the aerie.

Askari followed a few steps behind him, and as they reentered, he spared a glance toward Choro’s sleeping form before turning to the other men. Dhala stripped to his breechcloth and used his long knife to cut openings in the hind legs’ tendons so he could hang the osa from the tripod kept for that purpose. With practiced knife work, he peeled the hide from one side while Gyam worked on the other. With a soft crackle, he pulled the skin loose around the neck and glanced toward Askari. The plates from his Onija shift were still prominently displayed over his torso and brow. While scales proved invaluable in protecting one from the Onija caste during battle or hunting, they limited Askari’s finger mobility. The limitation made tasks requiring fine dexterity more difficult. Askari maintained his distance from the work being done, but Dhala knew his friend too well to allow him to avoid the dirty work of butchering the carcass.

“Askari, wake up and shift back from your Onija form. You can help.” He gestured his knife toward Gyam. “We want osa for dinner. The rest needs to be spread on a drying rack.”

Askari closed his eyes and skewed his face in an expression Dhala recognized as he shifted from his warrior form. Once Askari began, it took little time before his skin was as smooth, flexible—and vulnerable—as Dhala’s. He flexed his fingers a few times before pulling his side knife. Askari’s skill with a blade was evident by the speed the meat was prepared. With the three of them working together, butchering proceeded with well-practiced efficiency. As often as the three of them had hunted together, they should be skilled at sharing the work.

Dhala checked on Choro and saw his chest rising and falling. Signs of life, even if his breathing was shallow, gave Dhala hope. He had the urge to evaluate further but considered Choro’s earlier threat. He found the others cleaning the osa blood from their hands. Askari held out the bowl of water he’d filled earlier.

“Here, use what’s left, and I’ll get more.”

Dhala nodded and let Askari pour the cool liquid over his hands. He rubbed them together to loosen the drying bits from his skin. Once that was done, Askari splashed more water onto Dhala’s hands. After a few repetitions, Dhala was clean, and the pottery bowl was empty. He dried himself on his tunic and nodded to Askari.

“Thank you. We appreciate your help.”

Gyam glanced up and one brow lifted. But a moment later, he returned to the task he was trying to complete. His knife flashed in the light as he sliced the loin free from the backbone, cut the meat into thick slices, and threaded them onto fire-hardened skewers before hanging them over crimson coals. The meat was soon sizzling and filled the aerie with delicious aromas.

They tended the meat, constantly turning it to get a perfect sear on all sides. But while they did, Dhala kept a continual watch on Choro. All three friends worked to carve what remained into thin strips and hang them from the drying rack Dhala put in the small fire’s draft. The sun approached its peak when they finished. The skewered loin had cooked to perfection. Askari had always claimed a talent for cooking. He’d often said if Gyam had no choice but to eat his own cooking, he would learn how to do a decent job with its preparation. The smells of food had Dhala’s stomach growling, but he checked on Choro first to see if he might be interested in eating.

He walked over and squatted beside Choro’s bed. When he leaned forward to shake him awake, Choro’s eyes fluttered open.

“I’m still here, Dhala. The aroma of cooking osa was enough to keep me. It smells delicious. I haven’t eaten a meal from Askari in too many moons.”

“You will enjoy his cooking many more—” Dhala’s throat tightened, and he could not complete what he and Choro both knew was a lie. The older man patted his hand and smiled sadly.

“I relish sharing this meal with you. Bring me a piece of that delicious meat, fledgling. Invite the others to join us. I think we’ll have the best meal we’ve had in seasons.” He studied Dhala and continued. “Be certain to put out an offering of the osa to the gods, especially the Father. Their favor is needed by all of us.”

Dhala rushed away, glad to be focused on anything other than Choro’s rapid decline. The others turned to him as he approached. He glanced at them as he brought his emotions under control.

“Choro says the meat smells delicious and would like for us to share the meal with him,” Dhala said.

Askari leaned closer and whispered, “How is he?”

Dhala motioned toward the sleeping area. “He asked me to assure the offerings from the successful hunt. I will take care of their placement on the fire. Go. Sit with Choro and enjoy sharing our meal with him.”

Dhala drew his blade and carefully sliced thick pieces from the osa’s mineral-rich liver. After adding more wood to the fire, he dropped the raw meat into the searing hot coals. As the scent of the roasting delicacy filled the aerie, Dhala began a simple chant of thanks every Chinjoka was taught before their first blooding. As the last of the flesh turned dark, a breeze blew across the fire, hiding it in the smoke. Once Dhala’s sight returned, no trace of the meat remained. He hesitated but then joined the others with a shake of his head.

The three young men gathered the food they had prepared and sat on the floor surrounding their elder. Dhala brought small drinking bowls, one for each of them, filled with clear water Askari had brought from the river while they cooked. The mood was somber; everyone had seen the disease progress too many times. Choro only nibbled at his meat before setting it to one side. He lowered himself into the bedding and stared toward the open sky as they finished the rest of the meal.

“There are so few of us left. I don’t know how the Chinjoka can survive. Our gods have deserted us and the sickness destroyed the tribe until we are tempting targets to our enemies,” Choro whispered. The others fell silent as they explored their own dark memories. Blood-laced saliva and the gradual failure of the victims’ ability to breathe were the symptoms burned into the memory of any Chinjoka. The number of people Dhala had eased onto their Long Flight left him numb. Even at his young age, he remembered when the plague began. Hysteria made a bad situation worse. Early, when so many were dying, terror ruled people’s actions. Saat healers suggested any possible cure or at least a way to stop its spread. Its progression was slow but always fatal. It didn’t seem to spread through contact. In many cases, some members of a family would not develop symptoms, while their fathers, mothers, brothers, or sisters perished. The Athru healer who might have been able to develop a cure died in the first wave of fatalities. Saat healers could do nothing, but ignorance and malice caused them to be blamed for the disease. The first season was devastating for the Chinjoka, physically and emotionally.

One village had thrown a Saat healer from the burial heights in a confused effort to gain attention from the Father. Choro, and the other Athru caste who lived then, championed the Saat healers. But people still feared the illness that was wiping out entire villages, and the healers’ fear of retribution led them to stop aiding, not only those afflicted with the plague but other diseases normally not considered serious. This caused more deaths, this time from lack of rudimentary healing. The last of the plague victims received the best possible care. But even with the finest healing, like Choro was given, the ending was too predictable. And too tragic.

The small group finished their meal, and Dhala cleared the remains, dropping them into the cooking fire. The other two sat near Choro to fulfill any request. Dhala studied them, trying to think of anything to make Choro more comfortable. But he’d done all he could. To give Dhala something to occupy his thoughts, he began the work of tanning the osa hide. First, he brought a frame from the storage room. He cut a thin strip from the outer edge of the skin and made small slits along the edge. With care, he laced the pelt to the frame, stretching it into place.

“You have a skill to appreciate, Dhala. Don’t forget others take note of your labor,” Choro said.

Dhala faltered at his task. Tears flowed again as he met the gaze of the elder. He broke contact to refocus on his task even though emotions overwhelmed him. One thing he had learned early in life, emotional and fragile Chinjoka suffered short and miserable lives. He nurtured the strength to continue even when overwhelmed with impending loss. This was no different as he focused on scraping the hide clean, fingerwidth by fingerwidth.

But his walls broke and loneliness poured into Dhala. Too overwhelmed to continue, he let his hands drop to his side as he wept. No one chastised him for his lack of control, even though it was certain everyone heard. His strength waned as his sorrow leaked out as salty tears.

A light touch shocked Dhala, and he turned to find Gyam standing beside him. He stiffened, expecting a reprimand. But no rebuke came. Gyam instead knelt beside him and hugged him. Dhala returned his embrace. During that moment, his friend since birth returned, and the formal Athru of recent seasons vanished.

“He will be fine. I think the fresh meat brought him new energy. He will recover. Don’t grieve for him.”

Dhala schooled his expression before meeting Gyam’s gaze. Unable to lie, he spoke a different truth. “I believe Choro is one of the strongest Chinjoka I’ve ever met. If anyone can conquer the disease killing us, it will be him.”

Gyam patted his shoulder and flashed a smile at Dhala.

“Exactly. Now, one of us will sit with him so we are close if he needs anything. Otherwise, we will continue our day.”

“Of course, Gyam.”

Dhala tried to add more, but his knowledge of the Saat healing was too limited to enable him to sense the state of Choro’s rapidly deteriorating health. He nodded and turned to his work.

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Meet the Author

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in, he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

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Where did the time go? #amwriting #CampNaNoWriMo #PodCastle #RGRTransAwareEvent

Wow. Time flies when full time work explodes. (I see a theme here.)

While I’ve been working an inordinate amount of hours for that blasted Real Life job, I have done some writing and plans are in the works for more. Not as much writing as I would like; but between reading, reviewing and the little writing I have done, it’s kept my sanity on more than one occasion.

I just finished creating posts for another review (see post today) and I had posted one from a new author 11 days ago: The Palisade. Great story. I would recommend it. I’m working on the second book in that series in my copious spare time (yes, the sarcasm is high in that one). Expect a review for it in the next month. I hope.

I am doing more reviews both here and RGR. In fact, RGR is doing a Transgender Awareness Event starting today in response to a certain President’s stance on Transgenders in the the military a couple of weeks ago. It’s two weeks of reviews, spotlights, giveaways, guest post, and fun. Come join use as we celebrate all Transgender fiction. There’s even a podcast done by one of our own at RGR. (Not me, thank goodness). Links below.

Podcast: Big Gay Fiction Podcast

RGRTransAwareEvent: RGR Trans Aware Event Kickoff

Back in early June, I posted about the new QSF Flash Fiction story in Renewal. Still haven’t heard much more about it as the last couple of months have been hectic. (see start of this post)

Later in June, I found another Flash Fiction contest from a QSF post somewhere on social media, and decided to enter it. PodCastle‘s 2017 Flash Fiction Contest was completed but I didn’t get past the first round. Most liked the beginning but didn’t like the ending. Shrug. There were definitely others more worthy of winning so I’m not surprised. I like my twisty stories. 🙂 Since I didn’t make it, I am free to post it here. It was a whole 500 words and that seemed like luxury. Here you go. Let me know what you think. I might expand it later on. When I get a chance. Isn’t that what a writer says? *smile*

 

The Lotto Ticket
©2017

by Eloreen Moon

 

“I have no idea what I’m going to do.” I stared at the Lotto ticket I had at my hand. It matched the numbers just announced on the TV. I turned to my bestie Mitch panicked. I had plenty of magic in me but nothing prepared me for Lady Luck.

“Lucas, before you do anything, you talk to a financial guru.” He immediately answered. “With that much money, once you claim it, you’ll be mobbed by every warlock, ‘were, and weremage– anyone who has even a remote familial connection to you will come out of the woodworks.”

“You’re not kidding,” I snorted. “You know anyone? I’ve got nothing.” My lemur half wanted to get going. As a weremage, a shifter and a magic-user combined, we tend not deal with mundane things like finances, ever.

“Actually, I do.” Mitch stood up smirking, pulled out a warn business card from his wallet, and then presented it to me with flourish. My impatience had me wanting to beat-down his cocky werewolf hide. He pointed to the card. “Kenton’s a distant cousin. He gave that to me when he started up some number of years ago after finishing school here. He’ll know what to do.”

With that, I typed the digits into my phone, and called.

#

The next day, I teleported to the address Kenton had given me when I had set up the appointment for this morning. Driving was a bitch and my magic was fresh. The ticket was in my safe at home– at Mitch’s insistence and Kenton’s confirmation– photo proof the only thing needed on my phone. I walked up to the entrance.

The door swung in as I reached to open, and the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen stood in front of me. Shorter than my 6 feet, a lean swimmer’s body, and an adorable face with dark hair tripped all my buttons. I reigned my lust in as much as I could and reached to shake his hand.

“Hello Lucas, I’m Kenton–” he started; but when our hands met, both of us twitched as the shock of desire, emotions, and recognition passed between us.

We said “Mate” at the same time already in-sync as if we had done this before.

I pulled him into my arms and he went willingly staring at each me in such wonder. “I never thought I would find my mate after all these years.”

“Neither did I.” We kissed, and I realized we had done this before as snippets of lifetimes we had previously lived played through my mind. Startled, I pulled from the kiss both reluctant to stop and curious to know. “Um. Did you see—?”

“Yes,” Kenton said, shock adding to the wonder in his face.

I loosely held him in my arms staring into those intense blue eyes as he held my brown-green ones. Silently, I thanked Lady Luck and the Lotto ticket that had brought us together as we went inside to a new life.

 

What do you think? Comment below and I’ll respond. Might not be quickly, but I’ll get there.

 

As for other writings, I’ve gotten some ideas, a request to co-write something, and the urge to work on previous WIPs. I did a little for Camp NaNoWriMo but work, again, got in the way, and writing in July didn’t happen. It’s now mid-August and the work schedule is still high. I spent most of this past weekend working. No rest for the weary.

Well, I have to run. Read some more trans stories for the RGR event and reviews for others. This includes a possible MF story for next month. We’ll have to see. Dragon Con is coming and my annual trek to it.

TTYL

Eloreen

 

.@pridepromo #BookBlast: Emerald: Good and Evil by M.D. Grimm #Fantasy #Romance #ReleaseDay #Contest

Please welcome M.D. Grimm to Moonbeams over Atlanta with a book blast for Emerald: Good and Evil! See the end of the post for a Rafflecopter entry to win an ecopy of the book!

 

emeraldgoodandevil1400

 

Author Name: M.D. Grimm
Book Name: Emerald: Good and Evil
Series: The Stones of Power Book Five
(Series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment.)
Release Date: November 18, 2015
Pages or Words: 78,000 words
Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

 

 

Blurb:

Home. Family.

Those words often invoke a sense of love and comfort. But for the dark mage Morgorth, they mean hate and pain. As the seventh son of a seventh son, many believe Morgorth’s destiny is to become the Destroyer. His father embraced such a future and trained Morgorth through torture and fear to become his weapon. Morgorth managed to escape his father’s cruelty, but not the nightmares that still haunt him. For many years he’s lived with the stain of his father’s savagery, but now he must confront his nightmares head-on.

His father has found a stone of power.

Morgorth must return to his land of birth, to the memories he’s tried his entire life to suppress. Aishe is determined to help Morgorth defeat his inner demons, but he knows he might not be enough to save Morgorth from embracing his darkness. They know it will be a fight to the death and know Morgorth won’t be the same if he survives. With Aishe by his side, Morgorth hunts for his father, and finds answers to questions he never dared to ask—and must live with the truths they reveal.

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5 Star #Review ‘D.N.A.’ by Alex Hurst #ScienceFiction #Amazon

Here is the review I promised from the release day post. I’m slowly catching up on my reviews. 🙂 Blurb, purchase information, and author info at the end of the review.

 

The Review:

5 Stars

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So, I ran across this from the author requesting blog space.  It was intriguing because of the “science” for a full-skin transplant that involves nanonites and synthetic tissue, resulting in a little bit more than expected when Alta, the main character, was given technology to save her life.  It’s short and has funny parts, and makes you want to read the rest. The illustrations are wonderful and I can’t wait to see more of them as well. D.N.A is a little different in that it’s an illustrated story and not a comic. You don’t see that everyday. It does read a little bit like a comic–I like that, but it doesn’t distract from the words or the illustrations. I read it on my Nook Color, just fine.

Alta has a symbiotic relationship with the AI, called Digital Nanocell Accelerator, or D.N.A, for short, that controls her nanoCell skin. She is elevated to an almost superhero power of a Chameleon. It’s an unique way for someone to gain paranormal capabilities. Definitely a must read for the Science Fiction fan. While there was not romance in this story, there were hints that there might be some in future installments. It was still fun to read, and look forward to more.

With this, I give D.N.A. 5 stars.

Eloreen

DNABlurb: 

The story chronicles the adventures of Alta Williams, a woman of a future where genetics dictate quality of life and scientific discovery advances at an inconceivable rate. Alta is known to the media as the Human Doll, the first successful case of a full nanoCell organ transplant.

Alta appreciates the technology around her: without it, a chemical fire would have killed her in her early twenties. Though the fire destroyed her extracellular matrix, scientists from the medical behemoth nanoTech were able to replace her ruined skin with their patented nanoCell material, giving her a second lease on life.

However, with nanotechnology now advanced enough to alter the human genome, and a company determined to capitalize – and control – the endeavor, it is up to Alta to expose their plans.

And she’s not alone.

Helping her every step of the way is D.N.A., the Digital Nanocell Accelerator, a self-learning computer program charged with telling synthetic cells which tissue they should build. D.N.A. fuses with Alta’s fully-synthetic skin and convinces her to fight against those who would otherwise oppress society as she knows it.

Of course, it helps that D.N.A. can change the genetic makeup of Alta’s skin at will, gifting her with the characteristics of any living recorded in the Genome Project. With the world’s genetic code at her whim, Alta has the power to overcome anything…

…but at what cost to her humanity?

**Please note that this is a novella with illustrations, not a comic or full-length novel**

Buy Link: Amazon

Title: D.N.A.: Alta
Author: Alex Hurst, Illustrated: Kevin Nichols
Series: D.N.A. Book 1
Print Length: 24 pages (Novella)
Publisher: Bookmark Comics
Published Date: July 15, 2015
ASIN: B0101Y6Z9Y

Author Bio

fun_portrait

Alex Hurst writes primarily character-driven fantasy, in such sub-genres as urban, Gothic, uncanny, and regional fantasy. Sometimes, she dapples in science fiction, horror, and LGBT literature.

She was raised in the wilds of the south. Lightning storms and hurricanes created the playpens of her youth, and in the summers, she used to spend all of her time dodging horseflies in a golden river, catching fish and snakes with her bare hands, swinging from vines, and falling out of magnolia trees.

In the dawn of her adolescence, her family took her on a journey across the United States, from the white sands of Pensacola, FL, to the razor’s edge of the Hell’s Backbone in Utah. They finally landed in Marin, CA, where lotus eaters tried to make city folk out of them (but miserably failed.) She currently lives in Kyoto, Japan, working as a writer and dream-smith.

She also freelances as an editor for the Writers’ Anarchy anthology series, designs book interiors at Country Mouse Design, and admins on the Fiction Writers community on Facebook, assisting emerging writers.

Feel free to stay a while, leave a comment or send her an email. If you feel so inclined, you can also follow her on any of the links below.

 

Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | LinkedIn | Flickr | DeviantArt | YouTube | StumbleUpon | B’ | RSS

.@pridepromo presents: Packmaster by Jess Buffett #LGBT #Paranormal #Fantasy #Romance #Contest #Amazon @JessBuffett

Please welcome Will Parkinson with Pride-Promotions to Moonbeams over Atlanta. MoA is a new host for them. For our first tour, we have Packmaster by Jess Buffett. Looks great! I’m a paranormal shifter reader myself. 🙂 It does have mpreg (male pregnancy) but I happen to be a huge fan. See the end of the post for a Rafflecopter entry to win a copy of the ebook!

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Packmaster_FMR

 

Author Name: Jess Buffett
Book Name: Packmaster
Series: Full Moon Rising, Book One
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Pages or Words: 20,710 words
Categories: Fantasy, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Jess Buffett
Cover Artist: Jess Buffett

 

 

Blurb:

Kyan had never known true kindness, or what it felt like to be completely entranced by one person…until he met Blaise. When his life spins out of control, and a whole new world is opened up to him, he finds that the only human being he can turn to, may not even be human at all.

Blaise has spent months trying to figure out the best way to approach his shy and nervous mate. As the Packmaster in the small town of Rowan Oak, he isn’t used to having to show restraint or patience. When he finally makes his move a turn of events involving a forgotten note, a disappearing mate, and trouble with a group of hunters leads to disastrous results.

When Blaise finally catches up to Kyan, what he finds and the answers he gets are nothing like what he had been expecting. Will the pair be able to straighten out their misunderstandings and find the happiness they both long for, or will the Packmaster lose the only thing he has ever had to fight for?

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D.N.A. by Alex Hurst #CoverReveal #ReleaseDay #Amazon #Contest

Welcome new fantasy/science fiction author (to me) Alex Hurst to Moonbeams over Atlanta! I was contacted by Alex regarding this illustrated, serial science fiction novella called D.N.A. and about futuristic world in which nanotech is the norm. An illustrated story about science fiction was not something I have review requests for normally. Intrigued, I read the blurb, liked the ideas, and that it’s short. So, I decided to review it, but it releases… today. 🙂 Two days notice for a review is a little tricky despite the fact that I do read fast. I offered to post a cover reveal and the author has provided a #giveaway of 10 Kindle codes (yes, 10)! Stay tuned for the review to post here in the near future.

Contest rules for the 10 Kindle codes are at the end of the post.

FB_Share_Image_DNA

DNABlurb: 

The story chronicles the adventures of Alta Williams, a woman of a future where genetics dictate quality of life and scientific discovery advances at an inconceivable rate. Alta is known to the media as the Human Doll, the first successful case of a full nanoCell organ transplant.

Alta appreciates the technology around her: without it, a chemical fire would have killed her in her early twenties. Though the fire destroyed her extracellular matrix, scientists from the medical behemoth nanoTech were able to replace her ruined skin with their patented nanoCell material, giving her a second lease on life.

However, with nanotechnology now advanced enough to alter the human genome, and a company determined to capitalize – and control – the endeavor, it is up to Alta to expose their plans.

And she’s not alone.

Helping her every step of the way is D.N.A., the Digital Nanocell Accelerator, a self-learning computer program charged with telling synthetic cells which tissue they should build. D.N.A. fuses with Alta’s fully-synthetic skin and convinces her to fight against those who would otherwise oppress society as she knows it.

Of course, it helps that D.N.A. can change the genetic makeup of Alta’s skin at will, gifting her with the characteristics of any living recorded in the Genome Project. With the world’s genetic code at her whim, Alta has the power to overcome anything…

…but at what cost to her humanity?

**Please note that this is a novella with illustrations, not a comic or full-length novel**

Buy Link: Amazon

Title: D.N.A.: Alta
Author: Alex Hurst, Illustrated: Kevin Nichols
Series: D.N.A. Book 1
Print Length: 24 pages (Novella)
Publisher: Bookmark Comics
Published Date: July 15, 2015
ASIN: B0101Y6Z9Y

Excerpt:

Alta’s hands couldn’t protect her face from the wild winds of the rooftop. The sharp, chilly gusts across the high-rise felt like tiny knives against her skin.

[Head to the eastern end of the building. The force of the winds will be blocked by the building’s mass.]

Talking about the risk of the wind didn’t make the prospect of sliding down the wall any more appealing, but she followed D.N.A.’s instructions. “There’s really no other option?”

Down below, Alta saw nothing but quiet streets. There were no police lights, no security vehicles. Of course, it was expected: nanoTech wouldn’t want the intruder caught publicly. There would be no telling what she’d heard; what she knew… should she be apprehended by law enforcement, a public

statement could follow. They needed to handle it internally. The thought made her shudder—how many times had nanoTech made a pest disappear in the past?

[I need you to focus, Alta. Uroplatus fimbriatus had reversed knuckles. That’s how they climbed walls.]

But I only have regular knuckles. What do you want me to do, break all of my fingers?

The length of silence that followed did nothing to ease Alta’s tension.

I was joking, D.

[Yes. Right.]

Did D.N.A. understand her fear? Did he recognize what he was asking of her? Maybe for him, her physical limitations were only an algorithm, her emotions an illogical outlier––for her, those very things were what made her human.

[I will adjust my program to be more responsive to emotional stimuli.]

Not particularly encouraging, D.

Shivering again, Alta clasped her arms across her breasts and looked over the edge of the eighty- story building. Vertigo settled deep in her gut and she jerked back, fighting the sensation that the whole building was lurching. I don’t know if I can do this, D.

Author Bio

fun_portrait

Alex Hurst writes primarily character-driven fantasy, in such sub-genres as urban, Gothic, uncanny, and regional fantasy. Sometimes, she dapples in science fiction, horror, and LGBT literature.

She was raised in the wilds of the south. Lightning storms and hurricanes created the playpens of her youth, and in the summers, she used to spend all of her time dodging horseflies in a golden river, catching fish and snakes with her bare hands, swinging from vines, and falling out of magnolia trees.

In the dawn of her adolescence, her family took her on a journey across the United States, from the white sands of Pensacola, FL, to the razor’s edge of the Hell’s Backbone in Utah. They finally landed in Marin, CA, where lotus eaters tried to make city folk out of them (but miserably failed.) She currently lives in Kyoto, Japan, working as a writer and dream-smith.

She also freelances as an editor for the Writers’ Anarchy anthology series, designs book interiors at Country Mouse Design, and admins on the Fiction Writers community on Facebook, assisting emerging writers.

Feel free to stay a while, leave a comment or send her an email. If you feel so inclined, you can also follow her on any of the links below.

 

Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | LinkedIn | Flickr | DeviantArt | YouTube | StumbleUpon | B’ | RSS

10 Kindle/Amazon code Giveaway!

To Enter, comment on this post and the first 10 commentators will receive D.N.A for free via Amazon. If more than 10 unique commentators, then Moonbeams over Atlanta will use Random.org to pick the 10 winners. Contest ends 7/22/2015 11:59 PM EDT. Please provide email address with your comment where you would like to receive your prize, and the author will contact the winners directly.