Dangerous Holidays by Tray Ellis
The holidays are fraught with a lot of danger.
This is true for just about every family that tries (or sometimes tries to avoid) coming together for yearly meals and traditions. The stakes for managing logistics and hurt feelings are perilously high.
A quick trip through any social media outlet will net stories that run the spectrum from bold aunts who aren't afraid to speak their mind on polities over pie to surly grandfathers who serve their pets the choicest bits on the good dinnerware to the aghast displeasure of the host.
Our family members are familiar with us and have our long history at their fingertips, which also means they feel less compelled to play by social niceties. Advice columns are filled to the brim with poignant letters asking how to deal with family dynamics.
In "A Piece of Ourselves", I explore one aspect of these dangerous holiday fractions -- the one where a couple is torn between spending time at two different families, who both very much want their attendance. It's not the worst problem to have, but it is certainly challenging.
Thanksgiving only has so many hours in the afternoon and evening. How many servings can a single person actually eat? Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have the same drawback.
I've spent more than a few holidays eating early with one group only to rush off to the second where I am faced with another complete dinner spread. Sharing a meal and feeding ones' family is an act of love, but is it good if at the end of the day your clothes don't fit and you waddle so much you feel like quacking? Pleasing your family by falling in step can be overwhelming!
This double dinner solution was the best work-around for a time and a lot of couples do this. Others choose to eat one day with one family and the next day with another, if travel distances aren't an obstacle. And there are plenty of variations on these types of logistics. My characters, Tynan and Carson, struggle with these options as they try to find their way through high emotional expectations. Carson's mom puts stress on them and during the holidays it is very easy to get stressed out. It takes quite a bit for Tynan and Carson to avoid the pitfalls and find a way to survive the gauntlet of festivities.
There are no ideal solutions--except maybe one comes a little close: let your family off the hook. Spend time with them when it isn't the holiday and don't let the pressure of one perfect day or meal put you in a cage. If you can, start with not letting your own feelings be hurt and you'll be doing yourself an enormous favor. Relax as much as you can.
And, like Tynan and Carson, take the time to figure out how to preserve a piece of yourself so you can safely navigate the dangers of the holidays.
For the first time, Mischief Corner Books is releasing a month-long collection of holiday-themed tales:
Traditional Winter Holidays can be tough for a variety of reasons—family pressures, finding the right gift, homesick longing, and haunting memories to name a few. This collection showcases eleven queer short stories, from tender contemporaries to sweet paranormal to far-flung space tales, all designed to make you want to reach for your hot cocoa and your favorite snuggly spot. Come join us for A Holiday To Remember.
For this tour, Mischief Corner Books is giving away two $25 gift certificates to their eBook store, and two rainbow beanies. To enter, just use the rafflecopter here, or below:
Story Blurbs & Info
Life hasn't been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.
But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.
Freddy grew up in the Midwest, playing sports and running around outside. And honestly, that much has not changed since Freddy was small and throwing worms at other kids, except worm throwing has been replaced with a healthy geocaching addiction. Freddy enjoys traveling and holds the view a person should continually to learn about new things and people whenever possible.
Freddy's contemporary LGBTQ book, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, won 3rd Place - Best Gay Erotic Fiction in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. In 2013, Freddy's story, Internment, tied for 3rd Place - Best Gay Fantasy in the Rainbow Awards. Freddy's steampunk/SF story, Feel Me, was a Finalist and honorable mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards for SF. And in 2015, Freddy's urban fantasy Snow on Spirit Bridge was also a Finalist and honorable mention.
For more information on Freddy's work, please visit or email:
But To Love More
Mel finally gets to go home for Christmas. In his absence, his hometown has changed, and Carlos, his best friend’s little brother, is all grown up and interested in a relationship. But Carlos has his work cut out for him since Mel's having trouble seeing past the little brother part and his big brother, Aldo's determined to keep them apart.
Foster Bridget Cassidy is a rare, native Phoenician who enjoys hot desert air and likes to wear jackets in summer. She has wanted to be a fiction writer since becoming addicted to epic fantasy during high school. Since then, she’s studied the craft academically—at Arizona State University—and as a hobby—attending conventions and workshops around the country. A million ideas float in her head, but it seems like there’s never enough time to get them all down on paper.
Corey's Christmas Bundle (Atherton Pack 5)
Being pregnant is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re male and a shifter. Even though the world now knows about wolf shifters, their male’s ability to bare young is still a closely guarded secret. Since Corey's pregnancy is now visible, he's been stuck at home working on code and waiting for company to drop by. Problem is, though, the human government wants to know where Corey is.
As Christmas and Corey’s due date draw ever nearer, Ben devises a plan that will not only get Corey out of the house, but allows the wolves of Atherton Pack to give the community some Christmas cheer.
Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia’s capital cities. Born and raised in the state she’s a Territorian through and through. Growing up Toni hated English with a passion (as her editors can probably attest to) and found her strength lies with numbers.
Now, though, she loves escaping to the worlds she creates and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come. She’s a single mother of one and works full time. When she’s not writing you can just about guarantee that she will be reading one of the many MM authors she loves. Feel free to drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
For more information about Toni's work, please visit:
Safety Protocols For Human Holidays
As a security officer on an interspecies ship, Growlan Raskli's experienced in heading off species-specific aberrant behaviors in order to keep the peace. But when her captain asks her to find out what's bothering their sole human crew member, Raskli's out of her depths. She hardly knows anything about humans and she's not a psych doctor.
Something's definitely upset Human Jen, something to do with human holidays. The more time Raskli spends studying humans and interacting with the intriguing Human Jen, the more personal the assignment becomes. Determined to lift the dark cloud from Human Jen, Raskli will do whatever it takes—within safe parameters, of course.
While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author's head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate. For more information on Angel’s work, please visit:
Website: Erotic Fiction for the Hungry Mind
Secrets & Silk
Quiet, strait-laced David Appleton thinks he’s going to have a problem at work. A new co-worker discovered his secret in the locker room. Unable to confront someone, David let him walk away. Now he worries everyone will know his deepest held secret. A secret hidden under his signature vest, tie, and trousers.
Since walking in on his co-worker, CJ O’Connell tries to get a moment to speak with the shy David, but nothing works. His last hope—the Secret Santa Gift Exchange party. Perhaps a special gift can peel away the secrets.
A quiet one, Nicole Dennis curled up with the latest book of a favorite author. Since the beginning, there were these characters in her head, worlds wanting to be built on paper, and stories wanting to be told. She began writing during class and continues to this day. Now she can let others into her imagination and worlds that always celebrate the love between two or more people within LGBT, paranormal, and fantasy.
During the day, she works in a quiet office in Central Florida, where she also makes her home, and enjoys the down time to slip into her imagination. She is owned by a semi-demonic tortie calico, affectionately known as Fat Cat. For more information on Nicole, please visit:
It's Christmastime and the snow is falling. Restoring an old Victorian manor has been keeping contractor Brett Hawkins busy. The project's meant to be complete by Christmas, but there's no way he can get it done in time, especially with the big day right around the corner.
Meanwhile, his beloved Manuel Aguilar is grappling with depression, and he's consumed by guilt that it's kept him from putting up the decorations. But his biggest concern is that he may be ruining the holiday for Brett. As Manny struggles, unable to recognize his own courage in every small gain, Brett has a surprise that may help break depression's hold.
I have my mom to thank for so much. First of all, she fostered a love of reading. According to her I've been reading since I could hold a book and I got my first library card at age 3. Growing up I used to read 100 books a year, but of course, that doesn't happen as often since there's writing to do and a day job.
Secondly, I have to thank her for always pushing me to keep chasing my dream of being an author. Who else am I going to bounce ideas off of, and she helps me when I get stuck. Suppose you could say she's my biggest fan.
When I'm not writing I enjoy time with my dog, tending my garden, baking sweet treats, walking through crunchy fall leaves and blankets of cold snow, playing video games, and reading! I've a fondness for horses and blankets (is it possible to own too many?)
And yes, some days I still wish I was Batman. For more information about Kassandra and her work, please visit:
Christmas Eve Craigslist Killer
The public library's computer geek, aka Travis, is content skirting the edges of social interaction. He's fully committed to being a boring, twenty-something IT guy who likes his office more than people, a guy someone like Connor would never fall for. Connor, who works on the library floor as a page, is outgoing, social, and charming and everything else that stands for "fun."
An interaction between the two at the library on Christmas Eve has Travis accidentally mentioning that he failed to find this year's hottest toy for his nephew. Immediately, Connor goes on a quick hunt online, and finds one. The only problem is that the Craigslist seller is hours away and Travis is sure spending hours in a car with quirky, handsome Connor can only end badly.
Jill started writing back in the day of notebook paper and erasable pens (blue ink is best), when her mom’s typewriter was out of ribbon. Then she graduated to a word processing program in MS-DOS, then WordPerfect. Her computer sadly caught the Blue Screen of Death and all was lost. She stopped writing for an extremely long time, because “life.”
She lives in the upper Bible Belt, rolls her eyes a lot and drinks enough wine to consider it a sacrifice to the gods that her kids won’t need too much therapy down the road.
A while back, Jill picked up writing again with a woman’s site and the writing fever spiked. But she’s actually new to publishing, so there may or may not have been more wine involved recently (only one glass was harmed in the making of this story and it was a mason jar so…bygones).
Nick is not looking forward to his second Christmas without Sammi, his gorgeous ex-fiancee. She left him on New Year’s Eve, a week after their engagement, and he still doesn’t know why.
A chance meeting whilst out Christmas shopping reveals that Sammi is now Sam, a transgender man. As the reasons behind their break-up become clearer, Nick cannot make sense of his new feelings. He is shocked by the deep attraction he still has to Sam, and what that says about himself.
It will take Nick's straight-talking family, and Sam’s guiding hand, to help him discover that gender is no barrier to love.
Jayne Lockwood has been writing for most of her life, starting with really bad poetry as a teenager, usually railing against nuclear war (it was the 1970's.) There followed a couple of novels, long since consigned to flames (probably just as well, TBH,) and the hazy idea that maybe one day, she would get something published. Her first successful writing assignment was for the college newspaper of the County College of Morris, in Randolph, New Jersey, where she studied Journalism.
Since then, Jayne has been involved in projects closer to home, working closely with other authors to continue to develop their writing. Two pieces of her prose can be found in Chalk Road, a collaborative anthology from local writers, sponsored by Wycombe District Council, and she has invariably been involved in a writing group, as well as running a local book group.
She has also had five Black Lace titles published by Virgin Books, under the pseudonym, Savannah Smythe, and has collaborated with glamour celebrity, Abi Titmuss, to produce 10 Fantasies, Abi's collection of short stories.
Jayne has also published three M/M erotica stories, Lexington Black, Docklands Diamond and My Boyfriend Is A Dog, under S A Smythe. In addition to that, she writes book reviews for WROTE Podcast, a forum for LGBTQ readers and writers. She helped set up the podcast in 2015 with fellow writers, S A Collins (sacollins.com) and Vance Bastian (vancebastian.com) and is proud to say the podcast is going from strength to strength.
The Cloud Seeker is Jayne's first mainstream novel, and draws upon her background as a Chilterns woman and her affection for the US, where she lived for two years.
Soon after, she rediscovered the very first manuscript she started back in 1996. After many hours of updating, it was finally published on Amazon. Closer Than Blood is a tale of hit men, blackmail and forbidden passion, set in Manhattan. Both novels are currently available as ebook and paperback, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and many on-line book retailers.
She always has at least one novel in the background, and at the present time she is working on her first science fiction novel, working title Euphoria, based on the nuclear bunker near where she lives.
For more information about Jayne and her work, please visit:
A Piece Of Ourselves
Balancing holidays between two families can make cheerful celebrations into chores. Carson Benedetti's mom has overscheduled the Christmas holidays and she's more than insistent that boyfriend Tynan Harris come into the family fold. There's so much to do Tynan can't find time to bring Carson over to his own family and he feels like they are being left in the dust.
After dating for nine months, and with their relationship becoming more serious, Tynan's patience is sorely tested by the multitude of Benedetti family traditions keeping them busy. Tynan needs to figure out how to find some breathing room, split their time more fairly, and make Christmas more than just tradition by rote.
Tray Ellis grew up across from an empty field, where she spun a lot of imaginary adventures, helping to prepare her for a lifetime of writing. When she isn’t writing, she stays active by hiking, cooking, stacking the odd cord of wood in the shed, baking, and being too busy to keep her home in any semblance of order. Currently she tries to find a balance between the logical way she thinks and the flights of fancy she often daydreams about. Mostly, the daydreams are winning. For more information about Tray, please visit:
I Only Want to Be With You
Derrek is dealing with the recent, unexpected death of his mother. He’s been alone for five year since his husband Will died, and he’s ready to find someone new and to start living again. Ryan lost his partner, David, in an auto accident, and is dating Alex, who doesn’t treat him right.
Derrek can’t figure out why Ryan won’t see what’s right in front of his face. Why does Ryan come to him to talk about all his hopes, dreams, and fears, then go home to Alex?
If Derrek can figure that out, they might just have a shot.
Scott is the admin for the Queer Sci Fi site. He has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him "the only one stopping you from writing is you."
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He's embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
A New Year On Vega III
On the colony planet Vega III, everyone knows Beck—outgoing, fabulous, and genderqueer—and nobody notices Anil, the quiet plant biologist. But when Anil finds Beck hiding in his greenhouse, lonely and missing Earth, it's Anil who is able to comfort Beck by letting them talk about what they miss most—the feeling that comes with celebrating the holidays with loved ones, especially New Year's Eve.
The two of them are drawn to one another, but both of them are hiding secrets about their sexuality. With trust between them already on shaky ground, Anil's elaborate plans to cheer Beck may well backfire.
I write all over the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, including (so far) secondary-world fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, Gothic, historical paranormal, spaceships, and various unholy mashups of these.
I grew up in Alberta, Canada, but now live in an old house in Toronto. My other current passion is contra dance, a social/folk dance done to live Celtic and roots music. My favourite places in the world are the Canadian Rocky Mountains and a little valley in Norway. In my other life, I edit non-fiction for the government. For more information, please visit or email:
A big, hearty welcome to Angel Martinez and her newest book!
Angel Martinez has a new MM paranormal book out in her Offbeat Crimes Series:
Carrington Loveless III, skim-blood vampire and senior officer of Philly's paranormal police department, has long suspected that someone's targeting his squad. The increasingly bizarre and dangerous entities invading their city can't be a coincidence. So when a walking corpse spouting Oscar Wilde attacks one of his officers, Carrington's determined to uncover the evil mind behind it all.
As a rare books librarian, Erasmus Graham thought he understood some of the stranger things in life. Sharing a life with Carrington's shown him he didn't know the half of it. They've survived attack books and deadly dust bunnies together and got through mostly unscathed. Now his world and his vampire's appear ready to collide again. Books are missing from the rare books' collection—old tomes of magic containing dangerous summonings and necromancy. He's certain whoever's been stalking the Seventy-Seventh is composing their end game. It's going to take a consolidated effort from paranormal police, librarians, and some not-quite-authorized civilians to head off the impending catastrophe.
Offbeat Crimes Book Six
About Offbeat Crimes
Every region has them, but no police department talks about them—the weird crimes, the encounters with creatures out of nightmares. The 77th Precincts exist in certain cities to handle paranormal crime and containment, usually staffed with experienced officers exhibiting psychic abilities.
In Philadelphia, through an odd mix of budget issues and circumstance, the 77th is manned entirely by officers with bizarre or severely limited psychic talents. The firestarter who can’t get a spark when it’s humid. The vampire who can’t drink whole blood. These are the stories of the misfits, the outcasts from even the strangeness of the paranormal community. Call them freaks, but they’re police officers first, serving and protecting, even if their methods aren’t always normal procedure.
"Hunter? It's all right. I promise." On his knees in the room LJ and Hunter shared, Carrington peered under the bed where Hunter huddled in the far corner. "No one here will hurt you."
To Carrington's relief, his mom had taken care of nearly all of the arrangements for this open house luncheon on and left him out of it. He would've preferred something with less fuss and fewer caterers but it was only for a few hours. The squad room would survive. His only task now was to try to coax an obviously spooked Hunter out from under the furniture.
"I have a theory," Jeff said from where he leaned in the doorway.
Carrington smacked his head on the bedframe trying to reach far ther underneath, so his next words were sharper than necessary. "Oh, yes? I don't suppose you'd care to share this brilliant bit of enlightened thinking."
Jeff let out a little huff. "Not if you're going to take my head off."
"My apologies. I'm not in the best position to be civil at the moment."
"I can wait until I’m not talking to your butt."
"Fine." Carrington eased out from under the bed and sat back on his heels. "What's your thinking here?"
"When Hunter was living on her own, she was pretty careful and particular, wasn't she?"
Living on her own translated as when she was homeless, and careful and particular into skilled and cautious thief but Carrington appreciated his colleague's care with Hunter in the room. "So one is given to understand."
"I'm thinking maybe someone or several someone's invited today might have been a target. Maybe Hunter's afraid of someone recognizing her and making the connection."
Carrington leaned down far enough to peer under the bed again. "Is that it, Hunter? Are you concerned that someone will recognize you from your previous life?"
Even with Hunter scrunched in the corner, she still managed a collar nod.
"Very well, then." Carrington patted the mattress. "We'll close the door, Ms. Hunter. You don't have to see anyone if you don't wish to."
A sleeve poked out from under the mattress to pat Carrington's hip. He took the hint and got to his feet to give Hunter room to wriggle out. She floated up and settled carefully on the blankets with her sleeves crossed.
"My word of honor." Carrington held up both hands. "You can lock the door behind us."
She slumped as if in relief and nodded. Then she twitched up straight, holding up a sleeve to ask them to wait. Jeff peered over Carrington's shoulder as Hunter pulled a box out from the steamer trunk she shared with LJ. She handed the box to Carrington with a sleeve motion that appeared to mime pulling up a zipper.
"This is for LJ?" He waited for her nod. "I'll bring it right out to him."
As he'd promised, he shut the door behind them to give Hunter her privacy and found LJ in the squad room with Audacity under one arm. Their kitten wore a scaled-down version of a black K-9 vest.
"Don't you look official?" Jeff let her catch one of his fingers to gnaw on.
Carrington gave her an approving nod. "It suits you. Do you like your new uniform?"
Mew. Miii-iiw. Audacity pedaled with all four paws until LJ set her down. She turned in an obvious modeling pose to show Carrington one side of the vest with POLICE stenciled in white block letters, then turned to display the other side with CADET FAMILIAR. If that wasn't Jason's idea, Carrington would eat his police hat and Amanda's.
"Outstanding, Cadet Audacity. Very sharp." Carrington carefully kept the laughter from his voice since she was taking it all so seriously. But it was difficult in the face of such monumental cuteness. "LJ, Hunter refuses to come out but she sent you this."
He handed over the box and stayed to watch LJ ease it open by pinching the top with his sleeve. The long slender shape of the box made guessing the contents easy and Carrington wasn't disappointed when LJ held up a regulation police uniform tie. LJ stared at it a moment, his version of staring at any rate, then gave a sharp nod before he handed tie and box to Carrington to hold.
"You don't—" Carrington nearly asked if he didn't want it but LJ's intentions became obvious when he zipped up his front and straightened his collar. "Ah. Would you like me to do the honors?"
LJ gave another nod as he held himself straight and still. Strange to see him that way. He almost never zipped himself closed and never floated completely still. Carrington stood behind him to get the tie on just right, easier than trying to think about tying one backward, and finished it off with the silver tie clip Hunter had provided.
"There, sir." Carrington clapped him on both shoulders. "Almost as sharp as Audacity."
LJ had no way to blush, but his front puffed out just enough to be noticeable and who would ever have predicted that? A jacket entity, former street thug and informant proud to wear police issue anything.
The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel's cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You'll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don't expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.
You can take a look at Angel's Website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Today I'm very pleased to welcome my friend, Scott Coatsworth. He's here to chat a bit about his newest novel, The Stark Divide! He also kindly answered a few questions for me. The Stark Divide will be released into the wild on October 10, 2017, but is now available for pre-order.
Some Q&A with Scott
If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
I always wanted to sit down with Anne McCaffrey and find out how she writes, how she came up with her Dragontriders of Pern. I used to imagine finding out where she lived and showing up on her doorstep with a box of oranges. Or something. I never really worked that part out, and yeah, I know, kinda stalkery. But I would love to have met her.
Maybe she’d have had an extra fire lizard for me. One can dream.
If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose, and why?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. I think it would be the year I first met my husband. Especially if I knew then what I know now That was also my coming out year. We were so young together, and so full of life and energy and excitement for the future. I think we were brave then. Not in the same way we are now, but in the way only innocent youth can be.
If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
This is one of those trick questions, isn’t it? LOL… let’s see… does my husband count? If so, him, an In and Out Burger joint, and my pillow. I’d be a happy camper. :)
How would you describe your writing style/genre?
I tend to write on two tracks. The older one is sci fi and fantasy, which I’ve been doing since I was maybe fourteen. Over the years, those works have evolved from “mainstream” sci fi to stories that include a wide cast of queer characters, but the main thrust is still the sci fi plot and story. “The Stark Divide” and “Skythane” fall into this camp, though “Skythane” has a strong romantic element.
I also write MM romance, but usually with a twist. Many of my romance stories include sci fi, fantasy, or magical realism – a kind of heightened reality where magical things happen. “The Bear at the Bar,” “Between the Lines,” and my serial tale “The River City Chronicles all fit this mold.
I enjoy writing both, and often flip back and forth between them for variety.
Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was a little kid, my nickname was “Scooter.” I don’t know why – I mean, I was a big bundle of energy – but it didn’t stick past the age of six or seven. When I was a teenager, I changed it to “Flash”, but it didn’t really stick, and for a few unfortunate years there in Jr. High when I was becoming an awkward teenager, some of the kids called me “Spaz.” Nowadays I’m mostly “Scott (yes, you can leave off the J. LOL) but my Italian study group friends call me by the Italianicized “Scotti.” There is no name equivalent for Scott in Italian, but the verb “scottare” means to burn or flame, so “scotti” is literally “you flame”. Which is oddly appropriate. *grin*
Some stories are epic.
The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.
Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.
From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.
Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.
Book One of Liminal Sky
Purchase from DSP Publications
“DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.
A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.
Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.
“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.
“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.
He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.
All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.
At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.
The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.
“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.
The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.
“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”
The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.
Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”
A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.
“Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.
Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.
He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.
All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.
We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.
Purchase from these fine booksellers
Meet J. Scott Coatsworth
Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.
He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.
He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.
Connect with J. Scott
First, I want to thank Elizabeth for hosting me today. I appreciate being able to speak to her fans and readers.
For those who haven’t met me yet, I write epic fantasy. My current series – Champion of the Gods – is a five book epic fantasy work. Books One through Four are already available and Book Five is almost finished.
To introduce you to the series, I’d like to give everyone a free eBook copy of Book One – The Last Grand Master. And to pique your interest a bit more, I’m holding a gift card giveaway. If you sign up for my newsletter, you get a free copy of The Last Grand Master, a 35% off DSP Publication coupon and you’ll be entered to win one of three gift cards. Click the link below to enter the contest and get your free gifts.
(The details are on the sign up page.)Or keep reading for more details.
If you already get my newsletter, thank you very much. But you can also get the 35% coupon and enter the contest by clicking the same link.
Want to earn more chances to win a gift card? Spread the word about my contest on social media. After you enter the contest, you’ll get a unique link you can share on social media. Every person who uses your link to enter the contest will earn you three additional entries.
[Yeah, I get that might be confusing, email me if you have questions or click THIS LINK and you’ll be taken to a blog post on my site with info about the contest.]
If you want more information about the series and The Last Grand Master, click the image below and you’ll be sent to the series page on my website with more information about each of the books. There are video trailers for those who want something visual (Five points if you just said, “that’s not too abysmal, we can take in an old Steve Reeves movie) and information about the characters, geography and culture of the world.
I hope you’ll check out the series, sign up for my newsletter and claim your free gifts.
Enjoy The Journey!
Andrew Q. Gordon
Master Thomas stared at Miceral before bowing his head an inch.
“Master Thomas,” Farrell said, stopping an arm’s length from his teacher. “This is Miceral, son of Horgon, Chief of the Muchari. He’ll be joining us from now on, as he’s staying with me.”
As Farrell put on his jerkin, the older man gave no indication he cared about Miceral or whom he slept with. Extending his arm, he said, “Pleased to meet you, sir. Kindly stay out of our way while I work with the prince.”
Miceral nodded and unwrapped his own swords. Farrell watched him select two similar blades and swing both in a twirling motion. A firm slap on his ass from the flat of a sword elicited a short yelp.
“Stop watching your friend over there and concentrate on your own practice.” Master Thomas’s voice held nothing except the business at hand. Rubbing his “wound,” Farrell began to limber up, performing the stretching routine he’d been taught as a boy. When ready, he picked up his sword and bowed to his teacher.
After a perfunctory bow, Thomas attacked. Farrell used a lighter sword that played to his wiry build and natural quickness. After a few passes, Thomas stopped and lowered his sword.
"Your arm is too low." Thomas moved Farrell’s sword arm approximately three inches.
Feeling foolish at the almost negligible adjustment, Farrell barely paid attention to the additional instructions.
Master Thomas moved in front of Farrell, and they resumed practice. Without warning, Thomas changed his attack, stopped, and repeated the drill of showing Farrell what he’d done wrong this time. Farrell chafed as the lesson continued. He wanted to show Miceral his skill with a sword, but his trainer consistently focused on his weaker points.
“Boy!” Thomas slammed the point of his practice sword into the ground, signaling a stop. “What in the Eight Gates of Neblor are you doing? Trying to show off for the pretty lad sitting over there?”
Farrell turned beet-red, glaring at his instructor.
Undeterred, Thomas scowled back. “We’re here to work on where you’re most vulnerable, not to do fancy moves to impress someone you hope to get in your bed tonight. Trust me. I saw what he can do. You’re not going to impress him. You aren’t that good.”
Humiliated, Farrell ground his teeth, eyes barely open. If this fool thought to insult him in front of Miceral without consequences, he--
“Master Thomas.” Miceral’s voice broke into Farrell’s thoughts. “If you wouldn’t mind, may I talk to Farrell a moment, please?”
The two locked eyes for an instant before Farrell saw his teacher nod.
Putting a hand on Farrell’s shoulder, Miceral drew them aside. “He’s correct. I am a distraction. I shouldn’t have come. I’ll go back to the rooms to wait for you.”
“No.” Farrell grabbed Miceral’s arm. “It’s not you, it’s him. I’m a much better wizard than he is a swordsman, and this is his way of humiliating me.”
Shaking his head, Miceral gripped Farrell by the biceps. “That’s not true. He’s trying to teach you how to work around your weaknesses. It makes no sense to work on what you’re good at and ignore where you need help. You were in the wrong. Master Thomas is a fine teacher. If you want me to stay, you need to apologize to him.”
Farrell’s head snapped back. “Are you joking? He’s a surly, grumpy old man—”
“Who’s trying to save your life by making you a better swordsman. He was right to call you out just then. He might have been a bit mean, but he got your attention.” Miceral suddenly smiled at him. “It was sweet of you to try to show off for me. I’m impressed. You’re a much better swordsman than I thought. But if you really want to impress me, then learn what he’s trying to teach you.” He kissed Farrell’s forehead. “Go on, apologize and get on with the lesson.”
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
Since devouring The Lord of the Rings as a preteen, he has been a fan of all things fantastical. His imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic. He also writes the occasional contemporary story.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his husband of twenty-two years. Together they are raising their pre-school age daughter and three dogs. Andrew tries to squeeze writing time in around his most important jobs, being husband and ‘Papa.’ Along with teaching how to kick a soccer ball or ride a scooter, he has become fluent in cartoon characters and children’s books. To find out more about Andrew, his writing and his family, follow him on his website or on Facebook.
You can also sign up for his monthly newsletter and get an exclusive short story only available to subscribers. Use the link below to join:
Follow Andrew:website: www.andrewqgordon.com
Twitter: @andrewqgordon Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndrewQGordon email: email@example.com
Books:From DSP Publications: The Last Grand Master: (Champion of the Gods–Book 1) The Eye and the Arm: (Champion of the Gods–Book 2) Kings of Lore and Legend: (Champion of the Gods–Book 3) Child of Night and Day (Champion of the Gods—Book: 4) Purpose:
Self published: Ashes of Life
Wow and awesome! I'm delighted to have Thianna Durston (and Logan--he's a hoot) on my blog today. Let's just get right to what she has brought us and of course what they have to say!
Hello! And welcome to the Release Tour for the rewritten and rereleased All They Ever Needed trilogy. If you haven’t read Logan & Christian’s tale, this is a perfect opportunity to do so.
I meant to write a post, but Logan thought he should have a word and asked me to pull out an interview I did with him right after the first book was published. He also updated a couple questions so here he is… Meet Logan Mannette.
What is your author like?
*chuckles* I’m so not answering that. *winks* Nah. She’s always willing to listen to either one of us, to stay up late typing into the night and she’s about as non-judgmental as it is possible to get. Seriously, I have tried to shock her and so far? Hasn’t happened.
Where do you live?
I live in a small city in Washington State. Well, for part of the year anyway. I’m actually a drama student at the University of Washington in Seattle, but I was born and raised in Yakima. It’s a great place to live. Four seasons, lots of stuff to do, plus everyone I love is there. *offers a shy grin* Absolutely everyone.
What do you want the readers to know about you?
Oh, good question. Well, like I said, I’m studying drama, but I’m also getting a degree in education because I love to work with kids. *laughs* Every year, I play Santa at my parents’ holiday party. It’s great to sit there and hear all the little munchkins wishes and their faces light up when I give them a toy. Best job in the world.
What one thing you’re proud of?
I’m assuming you’re asking what thing I have done that I’m proud of? *shakes head* I’m just me. But I am extremely proud of my boyfriend Christian. He’s just… *pauses* Amazing. He went through such hell and has managed to fight his way through it. Plus being willing to date a man when he was not sure of his own sexuality? He amazes me every single day. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a man like him in their life.
What would you never share?
*snickers* I did a lot of stupid stuff as a kid. I really did. My poor mother, it’s amazing she didn’t have to start taking something for stress. *His expression turns serious* But probably the one thing I don’t like to talk about was when I was younger, before I came out, pretending to like girls? That was rough. Having to smile and laugh with the guys about things I could care less about. And trying to hide the guy I am. That hurt. A lot.
*His shy smile comes back* But my parents always stood by me. When I came out, they were happy for me. In fact, there has never been a time in my life where they haven’t been behind me one hundred percent. I think that’s why I feel comfortable to go and do whatever I need to. No matter what, I know they are there for me.
If asked about an important memory, which one comes up first?
Oh, wow. Well, I would have to say, my most intense memory has to be the night Christian came out to his parents. He was fully in the closet at that point and hell, we had just been going out for a week. But suddenly this wonderful, amazing man, who has more guts than anyone else I know, just came out in front of a whole room of people. It was… * He pauses and his eyes glisten with unshed tears* the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.
What would you rather forget?
*thinks hard about it* Nothing that I can think of, to be honest. I’ve had a great life so far and while I have done stupid things, there’s nothing there that I would like to forget. *Addendum* Now that all three parts of our story are out, I’m torn. Parts of me would like to forget about what happened in New York, but I think I had to go through that. It changed me, but it also made me stronger. All of my life, I’ve been accepted for who I am. Facing two people who refused to was harsh and hurt. But it helped me to see that they don’t matter in the long run. Because the people that do matter? They love me just as I am.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
That’s easy! *his face lights up* Christian Darringer is the most amazing man I have ever met. He went through hell, hell nobody should ever have to face, first for protecting someone and second for…*his throat closes up and he takes a couple huge breaths* The men he served with in the Middle East tried to kill him because he was labeled as gay. If they had succeeded, I never would have met him and he’s so wonderful. He’s fighting so hard to overcome that shit.
*he takes another couple of breaths* Sorry, I just get very emotional about him because he’s everything to me, he truly is. I mean, I always wanted to find a man I clicked with and who got me, but I never expected to find someone I was so in sync with. I will admit… *he flashes a flirtatious smile* …I love to spank. It’s a huge fetish of mine. Grew, I suppose, out of the fact I grew up in a home where domestic discipline is the way of life. Christian loves to be spanked.
So on top of all the other wonderful things about him? We share the same fetish. We’ve only been together a short while and are still learning about one another; he still doesn’t know a lot about domestic discipline. But we have plenty of time. *he smiles again, a warm one that looks as though it is meant for one very special man* Hopefully, a very long time.
Tell me about your best ever kiss.
*Logan takes a drink of coffee, his grin practically lighting up the room* Christian again. Have you ever been with someone who just clicks? And the more you get to know them, it’s like finding a piece of a puzzle you never even realized you were looking for? Christian is that for me. And when we kiss? *he groans and his head lolls back* From the first time our lips touched, I felt something I have never felt with anyone else. There is a connection between us that is, well, quite fucking fabulous actually.
Where can I meet you again?
Besides our story As Natural As Breathing, Thianna has continued our story in Took My Breath Away, and Breathe Each Other In. Like I said, she’s a good egg. Christian and I talk to her all day long, sometimes waking her up at three a.m. She doesn’t mind- well, she grouses about it at first, but once we get talking, she quickly turns on her computer and gets writing.
Christian and I would love it if you would check out our story. He has come so far and he just amazes me every day. Though in the second part of our tale? *he grimaces and shakes his head* Thianna got into my head a bit too much, but it all ends up well. Better than well. Speaking of which, she also got into my head quite a bit in the third part. *cocks brow at author* Stop that. *grins*
As Natural as Breathing – Book One
For Christian Darringer, life isn't worth living. Just back from the Middle East—scarred and with permanent damage to one leg—he doesn't think anyone will want him for anything. He didn't plan on meeting someone he can’t stop thinking about. Pulled toward the startling younger man, he begins to question a lot of things—especially his sexuality. Not one to hide from a challenge, he plunges ahead only to find himself more than just attracted to Logan.
Logan Mannette has almost everything he ever wanted: loving parents, happiness, friends, and security. The only thing missing is the love of his life, a love just like his parents have. When he meets Christian at a party, everything changes. Instantly attracted, he does his best to help the sad man and quickly finds himself feeling more than he has ever felt before. Raised in a domestic discipline household, he holds that ideal as what he wants. His interest in spanking has become a fetish and when Christian admits he wants to be spanked, Logan believes he might have found the perfect man.
Just as everything begins for them, Christian's past intercedes and one of his brothers makes waves about him dating a man. When it lands Christian in the hospital, he is forced to reevaluate their budding romance. Being with Logan might feel as natural as breathing, but if it costs Christian everything he cares about, is this new relationship worth it?
Took My Breath Away – Book Two
While unhappy to be missing four weeks of Christian's company, Logan is thrilled to spend a month with his father's relatives in New York. A naturally gregarious individual, he’s used to winning people over and getting things right. Unfortunately the Mannettes are not what he expects and for the first time in his life, he doubts who he is.
Christian has regained some of his old self-esteem and is taking on new challenges. Besides growing in the relationship he has with Logan, he takes the time his boyfriend is away to learn more about domestic discipline. He learns a little online but it is Gregory, Logan's father, where he gains most of his information. Including the fact that his natural strength puts him in a position he doesn’t expect.
Logan hits rock bottom and Christian runs to the rescue. He saves Logan from New York, but puts their relationship in a new sort of peril. When the dust settles, who will be left on top?
Breathe Each Other In – Book Three
Christian takes to heart everything he learns from Logan's father. As he and Logan go forward in their DD relationship, he finds that he’s willing to not just take on the mantle of head of house, but to embrace it. With Logan graduating from college, Christian takes the next logical step and asks his boyfriend to move in.
Even with the stress of student teaching and trying to figure out what to do after graduation, Logan leaps at the chance to live with the man he loves. The pressure of graduation begins to get to him and the only thing keeping him grounded is the amazing man at his side.
Those closest to them make huge changes in their own lives and when an unexpected job offer lands in Logan's lap, they have to make a life-altering decision. No matter which way they go, they need to give something up. Play it safe and stay home or accept the job and move away from their families? When it comes to decision time, there is one thing they are not willing to part with. That one thing makes all the difference in the world.
All They Ever Needed Boxed Set: This boxed set contains the first three books (As Natural as Breathing, Took My Breath Away, & Breathe Each Other In) in the All They Ever Needed M/M Domestic Discipline Romance series.
Buy The Books
As Natural as Breathing: A Thia Thing || Amazon || B&N || iTunes || Smashwords || Paperback
Took My Breath Away: A Thia Thing || Amazon || B&N || iTunes || Smashwords || Paperback
Breathe Each Other In: A Thia Thing || Amazon || B&N || iTunes || Smashwords || Paperback
All They Ever Needed Boxed Set: A Thia Thing || Amazon || B&N || iTunes || Smashwords
Meet Thianna Durston
Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?
She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.
QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies: Re.new.al (noun) 1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or 2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or 3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or 4) Rebirth after death. Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut. Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers. Welcome to Renewal.
Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!
“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose
“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner
“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed
“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright
“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright
“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter
““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich
“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne
“Intwir's twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones
“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel
“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton
“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase
“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer
Included Authors 'Nathan Burgoine A.M. Leibowitz A.M. Soto Abby Bartle Aidee Ladnier Alexis Woods Andi Deacon Andrea Felber Seligman Andrea Speed Andrea Stanet Anne McPherson Bey Deckard Brigitte Winter Carey Ford Compton Carol Holland March Carrie Pack Catherine Lundoff CB Lee Christine Wright Colton Aalto Daniel Mitton Dustin Blottenberger Dustin Karpovich E R Zhang E.J. Russell E.W. Murks Ell Schulman Ellery Jude Eloreen Moon Elsa M León Emily Horner Eric Alan Westfall F.T. Lukens Fenrir Cerebellion Foster Bridget Cassidy Ginger Streusel Hannah Henry Irene Preston J. Alan Veerkamp J. P. Egry J. Summerset J.S. Fields Jaap Boekestein Jackie Keswick Jana Denardo Jeff Baker Jenn Burke Joe Baumann John Moralee Jon Keys Jude Dunn K.C. Faelan Kelly Haworth Kiterie Aine Kristen Lee L M Somerton L. Brian Carroll L.M. Brown L.V. Lloyd Laurie Treacy Leigh M. Lorien Lex Chase Lia Harding Lin Kelly Lloyd A. Meeker Lyda Morehouse M.D. Grimm Martha J. Allard Mary E. Lowd Matt Doyle Matthew Bright Mia Koutras Michelle Browne Milo Owen Mindy Leana Shuman Naomi Tajedler Natsuya Uesugi Nephy Hart Nicole Dennis Ofelia Gränd Patricia Scott Paul Stevens PW Covington R R Angell R.L. Merrill Rebecca Cohen Redfern Jon Barrett Reni Kieffer Richard Amos RL Mosswood Robyn Walker Rory Ni Coileain Rose Blackthorn Ross Common S R Jones Sacchi Green Sarah Einstein Shilo Quetchenbach Siri Paulson Soren Summers Stephanie Shaffer Steve Fuson Tam Ames Terry Poole Tray Ellis Vivien Dean Wendy Rathbone Xenia Melzer Zen DiPietro Zev de Valera
I often write about men who find themselves in danger due to natural elements or men who put themselves in such peril to save others.
However, that's fiction. Natural (and some man-made) disasters are real life and we need to be prepared.
Hurricanes don't generally sneak up on us and we have time to prepare our families, including pets. I'm a veterinary nurse and when I think of preparing for a disaster I want to know my pets are prepared as well.
The ASPCA has a brochure they encourage people to down load and share. That can be found HERE. A second source of good advice can be found HERE.
I'm the first one to admit I'd be one of those people telling the rescue helicopter personnel, "I'm not going without my pets!" I also would evacuate if advised to, however, sometimes there's no time to evacuate. Events such as earthquakes and tornadoes happen with very little warning.
I'd like to stress a few suggestions in the links above.
Microchip. Microchip. Microchip! This really is the best way to identify your pet and in some states can help prove ownership. Some of our pets have a very distinctive look but face it, one tabby cat looks like the next one. You can line up a dozen yellow labs and have a hard time telling them apart. Keep the online information associated with your pet's microchip up to date. The American Animal Hospital Association (AHAA) keeps a directory of all microchip numbers, no matter what company manufactured the chip. It can be found HERE.
There are also little key-ring things you can get that say my pet is home alone to alert others in the case you can't do that yourself.
Keep paper copies of your pet's vaccine records, medications needed and the doses. If power is out, it may not be possible to access online records or ones stored in your phone. Apps are great if your phone works, usless if it doesn't. This is going to be very important if you and your pets end up in different shelters.
Not all human shelters can accommodate pets for a number of good and valid reasons. If your pet has to go to a kennel or some other type of emergency shelter set up for pets, rest assured they'll be properly cared for. Years ago at Ohio's Veterinary conference many of my co-workers and myself signed up for a registry of people to help during a major disaster. One of the positions asked for was people to care for lost or sheltered pets. At least some of the works in emergency pet shelters will be familiar with dealing with hurt, scared animals.
Yeah, it'll hurt to be separated. I wouldn't like it either, but realize in some cases your pet maybe better off and will be cared for until you're reunited. If you can hand over your pet supplies like food and litter, it'll help those emergency shelters a great deal.
One last thing, especially important for people in hurricane zones. Flea and heartworm protection. Keep your pet up to date on their preventative and keep a few month's supply in your emergency kit. Mosquitoes carry heartworm and there's a lot of mosquitoes in areas hit by hurricanes. Many dogs rescued from Katrina who made it to Cleveland, Ohio where I work had heartworm. And, honestly, no one wants fleas!
Be smart, safe and prepared!
Oh, and don't forget to pack a good book or two in your kit!
Elizabeth, Rosie and Murphy
Hello and welcome to Reader Corner!
Ever since my very first book was published a highlight for me has been interacting with readers. I love learning about others and giving them a place to tell us about themselves. If you're interested in joining the fun email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact link at the top of the page.
Today I welcome Claire Potterton. She's a fascinating lady with an awesome family. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself and your lovely family with us!
Elizabeth: Tell us a bit about yourself:
I usually get in to trouble for my response to ‘tell me a bit about yourself’, because I always say ‘I’m a Mum’, but it does in fact cover it quite nicely. My children have made me who I am. Their challenges have certainly defined the way I view life, and I'd like to think that they have made me a better person. Ensuring their needs are met has made me a fighter, the need for acceptance and understanding of various aspects of their lives has led to me taking to the stage and speaking out, and raising them on my own has made me stronger that I ever thought I could be!
My eldest son, Cas, has just turned 16. He came out as trans a couple of years ago, has high functioning autism and is beginning a Performing Arts course in September. He is a self taught ukulele and guitar player, writes obsessively, and loves cosplay. His courage and determination take my breath away.
Next come Ollie and Daniel, they turn 14 in the summer and are incredibly tall! Dan has autism, both have ADHD, and both have Cerebral Palsy; not that they ever allow any of those things stop them having a go at anything! Both play guitar, and are technology wizards, which comes in very handy, given that I am a total technophobe.
Phoebe is 11, and my only girl; book obsessed, just like her Mum, a total diva, destined for the stage….and starting high school in September. Aaaargh!
Then there's my baby, who sadly isn't a baby anymore, or so he likes to remind me, often! Alfie is 8, a whizz at maths, (he doesn't get it from me) and a total cuddle monster. An Alfie hug can brighten the darkest of days!
Aside from the mothering, I'm short, slightly overweight, change my hair colour on a monthly basis, bake incessantly and am hopelessly in lust with Gale Harold!
The humans in my house just outnumber our four legged friends. We have three cats, Tiger, Lottie and Harry, (15, 11 and 3), and two dogs. Fergie is an 11 year old Rough Collie bitch and Storm is a completely crackers, 4 year old Siberian Husky. They drive me crazy, ensure I have to vacuum on a daily basis, and keep me fit and active.
Elizabeth: Why were you drawn to this genre?
Claire: I have been an avid reader since I was a kid, torch under the covers and all, but my switch to MM came about as a result of stories cropping up in a few series that I was reading; Ethan, by Nicole Edwards, Lover At Last by JR Ward, and Let Love Live by Melissa Collins. I searched out more books in the genre and very quickly became hooked. Why? Various reasons. The story is often more intensely emotional; a battle to be won, triumph over hate and bigotry.
There is no lead character to make me feel inadequate, no tall, slim, sexy woman with flawless skin, pert and perky boobs etc; and let's be honest, these stories are often hot as Hades!
Reading is my escape, the off switch for my often chaotic life, and quite possibly the saviour of my mental health. The genre has also made me some rather lovely new friends!
Elizabeth: Do you prefer eBooks or paperbacks:
Claire: I generally read ebooks, but have a fairly healthy collection of ‘real’ books, old and new. I would love to have more, but short of having a couple of the kids adopted, I just don't have the space!
Elizabeth: What's your favorite TV show or movie?
Claire: I rarely watch television, it's more effective than a sleeping pill these days, although I have a couple of series on DVD that I watch from time to time. OK, one of them is a bit more than ‘from time to time’, QAF is a bit of an obsession!
Elizabeth: What music do you listen to? Rec’s welcomed!
Claire: Music is also an obsession in our house, any and all music. 80’s rock is loved by everyone, (my kids have been well educated), but my tastes also run to opera, country, 90’s disco, musicals, jazz…….you get the picture. Sadly, my singing voice is reminiscent of a cat being strangled, not that it stops me belting out my favourites; my children however, appear to have inherited their voices from there father..thank goodness!
We are a slightly bonkers, decidedly weird, and incredibly happy bunch.
I'm coming to the end of my current Work In Progress, Edge Jump. The story has gotten to the point where my two guys have decided they'll be a long term couple. Now, among other things, they're navigating the landmine of those first months of cohabitation. That first blush of romance has faded, the honeymoon is over and it's time for real life now.
They're creating a new family.
I give a ridiculous amount of thought to creating the plots for the books I write. Romance books are about, well romance, right? Two people meet--in the case of my books, two men--during the course of the story they're attracted to each other, develop feelings for each other and finally form a--hopefully--lasting bond. The characters are different, the backdrops vary, but the idea is the same: they form a family.
I'm all about family of choice. When we read a romance novel there is the excitement of the couple meeting. Will they get along? Will they connect? Will they be kept apart?
Then yes, finally our couple shares a kiss and kiss leads to more. By the end of the book what were two separate people have come together and formed a family.
A family of choice.
Each of my novels has the family in a different stage of its development.
In Jewel Cave and during most of the Sentries series the couples are established. The family was formed. Clint and Griff from Jewel Cave have two dogs, and Todd and Nick from Sentries have their horses and an extensive network of close friends who are more like extended family.
Gone Away has two men reuniting after a few years apart, so this is a family coming together again. They've grown and like many families realize the reasons for separating aren't nearly as important as why they belong together.
The family created in The Vampire Guard series is a little different. This is a larger family, two couples. These four men have complicated and layered relationships with one another. Each couple have their romantic relationship. In addition there are the relationships between each team member. It's what makes them not only a team but a family of choice.
These men will do anything for one another, no matter what personal danger they may face.
When a writer creates a romance novel they're inviting us on the inside of something very special. A new family is budding, an existing family is changing and blooming into something different, and hopefully better. The main characters face more challenges than simply getting beyond that first kiss. They're creating traditions, forging alliances and reinforcing love so it can last.
That's really the happiest ending of all.
Join the panel discussion on Genre Talk about how authors develop story ideas. There will be discount coupons offered!
Until next month! Happy Reading,
Hello and welcome to Reader Corner!
Ever since my very first book was published a highlight for me has been interacting with readers. I love learning about others and giving them a place to tell us about themselves. If you're interested in joining the fun email me at email@example.com or use the contact link at the top of the page.
Today I'm very excited to have Crystal Marie in Reader Corner. I'm sure many of us know Crystal (and her Many Reviewers) as one of the more active people in our community. Through her review blog she's always been very supportive of authors and the LBGTQ+ community in general.
Today we get to learn a little more about the person behind the reviews!
Tell me a little about yourself?
My name is Crystal Marie – and I read way too many books. I read so many that I did end up starting a blog – but this isn’t about the blog this is about me as a reader :) I got started reading at a young age, and as I have grown older I still enjoy reading.
What are your hobbies?
Besides reading, I also crochet, play with my dogs, marathon Netflix shows. (Yes, Netflix I do want to continue watching after 3 episodes!) I also try out a bunch of those “Facebook recipes” that go around.
I like to test out the recipes on Facebook too. I've found some good ones.
Do you have pets, and if so tell me about them? This is my favorite question!
Yeah… I have a few dogs LOL. At my house, I have 3 dogs. Issac, Christopher, and Charlie. My parents (who I live literally 50 feet from) have 7 dogs: Irene, Jaynee, Poncho, Harold Martin, Gideon, Sallie, Bettie. (And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did count that on my fingers. It’s so hard to keep them all straight!)
So I have 3 pictures for you here! The first is the “Group Shot” of the “Original” Misfits! (We call them all that because each of them has a little thing that’s wrong with them all. BTW, 8 out of 10 of the Misfits are rescues. They were all rescued for various reasons!) Anywho – we have the Original Misfits in the group shot. The big blonde on the couch is Christopher – he’s the newest rescue that we saved right before Christmas. The black one is Harold Martin who is our old man :)
Why were you drawn to this genre?
I quite literally found this genre by mistake. I had just gotten my kindle and was doing a massive 1-click spree (don’t judge me!) of freebies and 99 cent books. And I had grabbed Bailey Bradford’s “Rescued” on sale. And I just started reading it, and I couldn’t stop. So I devoured that series, and a few others of hers and then spread my wings out to other books in the genre.
Why do you like this genre?
I like this genre, and other genres, for a fresh change. I’m not one of the readers that only sticks to 1 genre specifically, I do bounce around a bit. So it’s always nice to start reading a MM book after a break and its like reading the genre again for the first time.
What are your reading habits?
I have reading “days”. Where I will do literally nothing but read all day. But usually I read before bed, and when I’m working on the weekends. I used to read constantly, but then I realized (And I’m one of those people too!) That I was reading so much? I was missing the real world. I wasn’t doing anything but reading, and as much as I love reading, that wasn’t healthy for me. So I started where I gave myself strict timelines to read, and that I had to also do other things throughout the day as well.
Do you prefer paperback, hard cover or eBooks?
That depends when I’m reading. I usually do eBooks, but I do also have a vast amount of paperbacks as well.
If you’re an eBook lover tell me about your favorite devices? Tricks and recommendations welcomed!
So I used to have a kindle fire, a friend of mine had bought me one many moons ago. And I stuck with the Fires. And then I had gotten my iPad bout 2 years ago, and so I read on that. But honestly its such a hassle with an iPad (even the mini that I have) because its so big and heavy. I didn’t want to go back to a Fire because I wanted something that was literally JUST for reading. So I saved up my money and was able to get a Paperwhite. Which I do love for reading. Don’t get me wrong, the Paperwhite has its issues that I don’t like (It seems like it takes forever to download books on it) but I do still love how its small enough it fits in my purse, and that I can read on it outside.
What’s your favorite TV show and/or movie?
Favorite “Now” TV Show would be Blacklist. Flippin’ love that show! Right now on Netflix though I’m marathoning Midsommer Murders. So far I’m liking the show!
What music do you listen to? Rec’s welcomed!
Oh I’m a country girl to the core. Or 80s and 90s rock music. That’s about it for me!
Why did you decide to do this interview?
Well, I was on Facebook and I saw where my awesome host Elizabeth had posted about looking for people to take the interview. So I decided to take part in it. Usually I’m interviewed about the blog itself, so it was nice to be able to just be “me” in this interview!
Do you ever go to conventions to meet authors? Do you like to interact with authors on social media?
I’ve been a couple conventions, but (as bad as this sounds) as a reader I can’t afford to go to a bunch of them. Especially with it all coming out of pocket, I have to weigh the pros and cons, and sadly most of the time it’s not worth it money wise for me to go. Something always comes up that does take priority to attending conventions.
I do interact a lot on Facebook with authors. Which I do think is great. Especially for those of us who can’t afford to go the conventions, we can still enjoy talking with the authors and getting to know them.
What other types of books/magazines do you read?
I read a bunch of genres of books. MF, FF, MM – pretty much any genre out there I do read from. I like keeping my options open.
What are your favorite flowers?
Daisy’s are my all time favorite flowers 😃
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