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Ants and Butterflies – SFRB October Showcase

Welcome to the October Science Fiction Romance Brigade Showcase!

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October is Indie Month! I’m going to highlight an indie publication done every year by the Queer Sci-Fi blog and Facebook group. It’s an anthology of Flash Fiction (stories less than 300 words), written mostly by independent writers. Writing a story in 300 words is a great challenge. From aliens to space ships, romance in the stars and exploring new worlds, this year’s anthology, FLIGHT, has something for everyone.

I didn’t participate in this year’s anthology, FLIGHT, but I did have a story in last year’s anthology, DISCOVERY. I can now share that 300 word story with you.


ANTS & BUTTERFLIES

Ants marched up his skin in rows; tiny feet tickling and harsh jaws biting. He couldn’t move to wipe them away. He couldn’t move at all.

“Captain?”

The man’s voice sounded familiar, but the word barely registered. Ants. He was covered in the damn things and they were eating him alive!

“Hold on, Travis,” that familiar voice spoke with concern. “The effects of the H-38 will wear off in a moment.”

H-38. Travis knew what that was. Did. A lifetime ago. He’d slept since then, and now there was only the ants.

“Can you open your eyes?”

Who was that? Travis knew… That voice… Mornings in bed. Snuck kisses in the simulator. The bittersweet goodbye that was more like goodnight.

Asleep. He’d been asleep. Was he still asleep? The ants bit in and his hand twitched.

“Almost there, Trav. Come back to me.”

A warmth pressed against his lips. A kiss? Jonathan.

The ants vanished as Travis opened his eyes. A gasping breath. His arms moved. “Jon?”

“Welcome back, Captain.” Jon smiled. “How do you feel?”

Travis tasted the air with dry tongue. “Like I’ve slept for ages.”

“It’s only been eight years,” Jon winked. “The H-38 will have your motor functions back up to speed within the hour.”

“Did you kiss me?”

“Couldn’t resist.”

“You better not plan on waking the whole crew that way, Doc.”

“Just you, love. C’mon, you have to see it.”

The harness keeping Travis’s body in place against the hull released, sending him floating into zero gravity. Across from him a single porthole beckoned. Beyond its thick acrylicite, an unexplored planet with a textbook name orbited a yellow star.

“It looks like home,” Travis whispered, memories surfacing of a distant Earth.

Jon took his hand, the ants becoming butterflies. “We are home.”


Pick up your copy of FLIGHT and support the Queer Sci-Fi group in their effort to broaden the spectrum and representation in science fiction.

Click here to visit the other great blogs in this month’s SFR Brigade Showcase!




Powered By Indie

Did you know, October is Indie Month? From books to music to gaming to crafts, October is all about celebrating the indie artist. I am a proudly self-published author, who supports small and indie press books and readership. I’m part of an amazing indie author community, and every year it gets bigger and better.

When you read a book by an independent author, you’re supporting an independent artist. Independent artists are able to color more freely outside the lines when it comes to style and content. This leads to an enrichment of literature through the conveyance of ideas, techniques, and even communities that may be underrepresented in mass market publication. Although the representation gap in mainstream publishing is closing, indie books remain one of the best places to experience diversity in writing.

Self-published books can be an unexpected, enjoyable find, offering stories and adventures you may not find elsewhere. When a reader chooses to read a self-published book, they are telling the industry that coloring outside the lines can lead to innovation, and uniquely enjoyable stories. More and more authors are choosing to self-publish, bringing readers the opportunity to hear new voices, discover wonderful characters and fall in love with reading all over again.

Not sure where to start when it comes to reading indie-published books? Try Amazon’s Indie Publishing Page

Looking for a quick recommendation? Click on any of the covers below to get the book for FREE from Amazon

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SFRB September Showcase

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The Science Fiction Romance Brigade Showcase is a great chance to find new Sci-Fi romance authors and books. For September, I’m sharing an excerpt from PROMISE THE STARS, book 5 in the Corwint Central Agent Files series. Please be sure to check out all the authors in this month’s showcase by clicking here, and find links to free science fiction romance books at the bottom of this post. Thanks for reading!

About PROMISE THE STARS

After watching Ethan, Torque, Hank and Merik all flounder when it came to love, Brom made himself a promise: Whenever he found the girl who totally turned his universe upside down, he would go after her with everything he had. Then, he met Nikkandri, who flipped his entire world sideways so hard, he wasn’t sure which way led forward. Keeping his own promises about not stumbling through love may have been easier said than done.

Nikki’s been to the deepest pit of darkness and lived to tell about it. Now, a promise to her father brings her back to where it all began: Thetos – where a buried secret awaits her return. Despite her independent, defensive nature, she lets Brom into her world and under her skin bit by bit. With her Trexen biology clawing its way into fruition, including unwanted side-effects like mind-reading and a deadly temper, she must fight with herself as she battles memories of her father and shadows from her past. The more she reveals to Brom, the faster she expects him to leave. She quickly learns Orellians don’t give up so easily, and Brom’s as stubborn as Orellians come.

But someone’s been waiting for Nikki’s return and the secret she guards. Its discovery could set the foundations for peace across the sector, or it could renew the call for war. In the wrong hands, even the best intentions can lead to catastrophe.

PROMISE THE STARS – Excerpt

Be a good friend first, then see where it leads. He could do that, right?

The bathroom door clicked open as the elevator lift door dinged. After picking up the robe and food order from the automated lift, he walked back into the main room and looked toward the hallway. It took everything he had not to drop the take-out bag. Staying content with being a good friend would’ve been so much easier if Nikki hadn’t been so damn cute.

She was standing just outside the bathroom door, an uncertain look on her face and her cheeks flushed from heat. One of his huge, Orellian-sized black towels was wrapped around her body below her armpits, with one arm crossing her chest, and her small fist clenching the fabric. Her black hair was slick with moisture, a few rebellious strands stuck to her sharp jawline. The towel came down to her ankles, and despite how hot she looked half-naked and wet, he had to laugh.

“Oh, you think it’s funny, do you?” Her black-eyed scowl narrowed, but he could see the way her lips were twitching to hold back a smile. “Seriously, hand me a needle and some thread. I can make a damn dress out of this thing!”

Her sass only strengthened his laugh as he set the take-out bag on the counter. “Sorry about that. I’ve never actually had a guest stay over before.”

“Seriously? So, what should I expect from the guest room? Some gigantic bed that’s going to swallow me whole?” She walked over, clutching the top of the heavy towel with one hand, then slapped his arm with her free hand. “Stop laughing! Oh, is that crezni stew I smell?”

“Yeah.” He tried handing her the fluffy white poolside robe, but she ignored it and sniffed the take-out bag. Setting the robe aside, he began unpacking the food. “There’s this little Hedarion cafe down the street. Best damn hajtchas you’ve ever had, I swear.” The look in her eyes as she watched him unwrap the food took the laughter from him. “Something wrong? Shit, do you not like crezni and hajtchas?”

“I do,” she nodded, her voice quiet. “It’s just been a while.”

“Since you’ve had hajtchas?”

“Since I’ve had anything this normal.” She glanced up at him then quickly away to the windows on the back wall. “Sorry. Guess I don’t know how to do ‘normal’ anymore.”

“You have nothing to apologize for, Nikki.” Watching her with heartrending concern, he wanted to reach out and touch her shoulder. Desperately, he wanted to pull her into his arms and give her comfort. Merciful Fates, he wanted to remove that towel and show her that it could all be normal – the two of them, together; that he would protect and cherish her like she deserved.

But, he figured that would be way too much, too soon. So instead, he quietly fixed up two plates of food and carried them into the living room. Setting them down on the coffee table, he motioned for her to join him on the couch. To help her find some sort of normal again, he’d start by offering friendly company and, hopefully, someone she could trust.

And if that’s all she ever wanted from him… Inwardly, he frowned at the idea, but he accepted the possibility. Having a friend like Nikki, though, would be better than not having her in his life at all. Wherever this relationship between them went, it was damn sure going to be an unsteady ride, but she was well worth however long it took to get there.


PROMISE THE STARS is scheduled for release in early 2017. Be sure to sign up to my newsletter for updates. (No spam, and I’ll send you free stuff to read.)


Click Here for links to free science fiction romance books, including the first two books in the Corwint Central Agent Files series! And don’t forget to check out all the other great posts in the September showcase!




SFRB Showcase: Corwint Central Agent Files Returns!

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This post sponsored by the
Science Fiction Romance Brigade
May 2016 Showcase!

A long, long time ago
in a galaxy far, far away…

…I began a journey with my space opera romance series, the Corwint Central Agent Files. After releasing 4 full length novels and six novella side-stories in two years, my muse decided to take a break from the Corwint Universe. It’s now been two years since I released book 4: Breathe Into Existence; two years too long. I’m so grateful to my readers who have asked me when the next book would be released and who offered words of encouragement when I could offer only uncertainty in return.

Truth be told, there was a brief time when I decided to not continue with the series. I’m not 100% happy with the earlier books, how they were written (as my debut works), and I certainly would have written them differently if I were to write them today. But, despite myself, the artist, being dissatisfied with them, I continue to receive encouraging reviews and feedback, as well as requests for Book 5. I’ve realized that I am, and will forever be, my toughest critic; that I can’t change what was and should focus on where I’d like to go. It’s been exactly two years to the day when Breathe Into Existence made its debut, and I’m ready to do as the Vesparians do and keep moving forward.

Book 5: Promise the Stars is coming.

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About Promise the Stars:

After watching Ethan, Torque, Hank and Merik all flounder when it came to love, Brom made himself a promise: Whenever he found the girl who totally turned his universe upside down, he would go after her with everything he had. Then, he met Nikkandri, who flipped his entire world sideways so hard, he wasn’t sure which way led forward. Keeping his own promises about not stumbling through love may have been easier said than done.

Nikki’s been to the deepest pit of darkness and lived to tell about it. Now, a promise to her father brings her back to where it all began: Thetos – where a buried secret awaits her return. Despite her independent, defensive nature, she lets Brom into her world and under her skin bit by bit. With her Trexen biology clawing its way into fruition, including unwanted side-effects like mind-reading and a deadly temper, she must fight with herself as she battles memories of her father and shadows from her past. The more she reveals to Brom, the faster she expects him to leave. She quickly learns Orellians don’t give up so easily, and Brom’s as stubborn as Orellians come.

But someone’s been waiting for Nikki’s return and the secret she guards. Its discovery could set the foundations for peace across the sector, or it could renew the call for war. In the wrong hands, even the best intentions can lead to catastrophe.

Preview

Well, that certainly could have gone better.

Recovering from her tantrum, Nikki had her arms crossed against the back of Brom’s shoulder as he carried her, ass-backwards, down the maze-like halls of Central Labs. She’d just wanted to say goodbye to Orynn, but then those damn security guards…and Brom being there…and seeing Orynn so broken… Stars above…

Nikki exhaled a long breath, trying to calm her nerves and coax her claws to unclench Brom’s shirt. At least she’d stopped shaking three left-turns ago. She wasn’t sure where they were going, but she really didn’t care. As long as it was out of Central, she would be fine with it. “Where are you taking me, you big limik?”

“My place.”

“What?” Nikki blinked and started to squirm out of his grasp.

“Hold still.” He chuckled, pausing at a doorway to swipe his keycard. “I got a spare room, and you’re supposed to be in bed. It’s just a few blocks from here, so you’ll be close if you want to visit. Or, would you rather stay?”

Anywhere but… “I’m sure I could find a hotel.”

“You got the credits for it? Hotels in this part of town start at three hundred a night.”

She frowned and settled back down. Dammit. She could probably steal the credits from a Central terminal, but she didn’t want to disappoint her Aunt Jehdra. At least, not more than she already had. “No. But, my name’s not Charity anymore.” Nikki growled out the nickname Jarren had given her. “I can make my own way. I always have.”

“I know, and it’s not charity, Nikki. Just let me help you, as payback at least. Just until you get set up with a Central account, and trust me, Jehdra has been on their ass about how good an agent you’d be.”

She rolled her eyes as he continued carrying her downhill into the belly of the parking garage. “Yeah right. What’d she put under my skills column? File theft and fraternizing with the enemy?”

Instead of answering, he set her down next to an older model motorcycle. Straddling it and propping it up, he scooted back on the seat. “You’ll burn your legs on the exhaust in a skirt like that, so you’re sitting in front.”

She eyed the motorcycle – it was a sweet, classic ride; the kind of bike you didn’t see often outside an auto museum. Then, she eyed the big Orellian straddling it, and fuck did her Trexen half respond to that like a flash of boiling water. The lust that roiled over her nearly had her knees collapsing. Digging her fingernails into the meat of her palms, she begged her calmer Hedarion side to keep the emotionally unstable Trexen side on a shorter leash.

“Nikki?” Brom’s deep voice, lined with readable concern, made her heart flutter.

A much shorter leash. Inhaling, she put one hand on her hip and did her best to appear unfazed. “You’re really not taking no for an answer, are you?”

The look he gave her was a resounding ‘no’; and she may have actually read that thought from his head, too. It was getting hard to tell what she was hearing from the minds of others, and what were her own disjointed thoughts. With a huff, she straddled the seat in front of him. When he tensed behind her, she intentionally edged back against him and held onto his thighs. “Fine. Everyone knows whores prefer it from behind anyway.”

His body stiffened at her crass comment as he pressed his thumbprint into the engage button on the right handle and revved up the bike’s low-tech combustion engine. “I recall us agreeing that you’re not a whore.”

“Did we?” Nikki’s weak bravado fractured further, but she wasn’t ready to let her heart relax. “Was that before or after we pretended to fuck in my room at the brothel so Jarren wouldn’t suspect you were a secret agent?”

He maneuvered the bike out of the parking space in a jerking motion, his biceps flexing on either side of her. She could feel the anger rolling off him in waves. It made her own unease flare, and she thought she might suffocate from it. Yeah, she was being a snippy bitch about the whole thing, and it was the exact opposite of what he deserved, but it was keeping him at a safe, manageable distance.

The distance evaporated as he stopped his bike on the exit ramp, leaned forward against her and whispered in her ear. “You’re a strong, beautiful woman, Nikki, and there’s no man in this universe who could ever make you into a whore, least of all a psychotic shit-stain like Jarren. The man is dead. Don’t let him drag you down into the grave with him. You’ve got a chance at a fresh start, and I’d like to help you with it, if you’ll let me.”


To keep updated on Promise the Stars, be sure to sign up for my mailing list.

Also, be sure to check out all the amazing posts in this month’s SFR Brigade Showcase!




When the words won’t come

Writing can be a fickle undertaking. Some days, the words pour out of you, keeping you typing away at your keyboard from sunup to sunup. Other days, you end up sitting at your computer, staring at a blinking cursor on a word document for hours. For the past few weeks, it’s been the latter for me. I sit down, open up a WIP, and the words won’t come.

I’ve thought up a number of excuses for why the words won’t come: The weather. Having too many ideas. Lack of focus. Pain in my wrists and hands. Restlessness. They’re all probably contributing, but identifying them hasn’t helped solve the problem. Frankly, I don’t know how to fix whatever’s been broken inside me that’s caused the words to go away.

Stared holesWhatever the cause of my current writer’s block, it’s led me to a point where I can’t foresee when my next book may be released or what it might be about. I’ve started Book #5 for both The Stables and Corwint Central Agent Files, and they each have about 20k words completed. I’ve started a new sci-fi romance called Black Water Rising. I’ve started a few LGBT romances. I’ve started a lot of things, but I can’t seem to get my brain to focus on or finish any one thing. All I can really do is continue to dredge through this, typing a hundred words at a time, and wait for it to, hopefully, pass.

Sometimes, the words won’t come, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

I wanted to give my readers a heads up, apologize for delays, and thank you for your patience.

I’ve also put a few of my books on sale, hoping to stir up a bit more interest and, in turn, get me excited about writing again. RIGHT BACK WHERE (Welcome to Alvarado #1), the Heartland Briefs omnibus, all the Corwint side-stories, all the Celestial Seasons books, and a few others are now on sale for $1.00. I don’t know how long they will be at this price; maybe until this restless feeling leaves.

Best place to find the books that are now on sale for $1.00 is on my Amazon Author page.

And, if you have read any of my books, I’d greatly appreciate it if you left a review – even just a simple “hello, I read your book!” would be an amazing thing to see.

Cheers all, and happy spring!