Cut Scenes from ‘The Chains of Their Sins’

Not everything written in the first draft of a books makes it through subsequent edits. There are a host of reasons for cutting something: it doesn’t add anything to the plot or characterisation, it’s from a self-indulgent author having fun, it slows the pace, or it’s made redundant by plotting changes later. Here are three small scenes that didn’t make it through the editing of The Chains Of Their Sins. Note: the link allows you to download a pdf file.

Finding The Navigation Chamber

A much-curtailed version of this scene was left in the published version after editing. A vignette of life aboard the Gyrfalcon, starring Shield Captain Bennet (currently enduring his final year of rotation out of the Shield Regiment), and Fleet First Lieutenants Flynn and Cruz.

Finding the Navigation Chamber

Playing Tierce

This little scene didn’t make the final cut. It follows Bennet’s return to the Gyrfalcon after he and Felix give evidence to the Intelligence Committee (IntCom) on their findings so far regarding the prisoners Bennet had rescued from the Maess in Makepeace. This slots between that meeting and Bennet and Flynn’s encounter on Yule Day.

Playing Tierce

Writing To Cruz

The first draft of Chains of Their Sins had things in a slightly different order, and Cruz was injured much earlier in the story. A section where Flynn wrote to her while she was back on Albion, recovering, was a flimsy excuse for Flynn to write oodles of stuff all about Bennet in a light-hearted scene intended to ease the tension a bit. But the exigencies of plotting meant I moved Cruz’s injury to a later battle, and the opportunity to meet LiteraryGenius!Flynn was lost. This, by the way, is an example of that self-indulgence I mentioned earlier!

Writing To Cruz

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RJ Scott’s Ghost – and an entire chapter to read!

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Ebook cover by BitterGrace Art

Ebook cover by BitterGrace Art

Can you ever hold on to a ghost?

Elliot is tracking an elusive killer, codenamed Ghost, with ties to organized crime. Every time the Sanctuary team gets close, Ghost slips their grasp.

Cole has nowhere left to turn. With his father dying and his sister in danger, he turns for help to the very people trying to track him down. Sanctuary’s assistance is what he needs to punch another hole in Varga’s organization.

When Elliot and Cole meet, it isn’t just passion that consumes them. When lust becomes something more, Elliot realizes that sometimes you can’t hold on to a ghost, and that sacrifice is often the only way to make things right.

Cover: BitterGrace Art
Length: 45,000 words

 

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Buy links for Ghost (Sanctuary #9) by RJ Scott

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

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Ghost is the ninth book of the Sanctuary Series:

Guarding Morgan (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Only Easy Day (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Face Value (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Still Waters (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Full Circle (Book #5) Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Journal of Sanctuary One (Book #6) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Worlds Collide (Book #7) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Accidental Hero (Book #8) Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

 

Rocket1-8Win a $15 Amazon Gift Card via this Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Chapter One 

“This is not going to end well,” his sister warned him, an edge to her voice.

“I just need five minutes.” Cole was aiming for composed and in control, despite the fact his adrenaline was spiking dangerously high. Where was his center? Where was his ability to see events unfold before him with calm consideration?

Gone as soon as your two worlds began to collide with the horrible realization that today would finally be the day you might not make it out alive.

“Cole—”

“Do your job, sis.”

“Fuck you, big brother.”

Cole didn’t answer that one. As the controller of the op, she wouldn’t take her eyes off the meeting she was tasked with watching—six of Varga’s key men in a restaurant on Halsted, giving him the heads-up when they disbanded and headed toward the run-down warehouse district for the meeting. He was there to deal with a man who didn’t deserve to live on this earth, and he was already fighting the sickness roiling in his stomach.

Unfortunately, things had taken a turn for the worse, and Cole wished he could say he’d expected the shit to hit the fan, but he hadn’t. He’d honestly thought tonight would go smoothly given he’d evaded Sanctuary again.

He’d been the mouse avoiding the trap for so long that he’d not seen the pattern emerging. Slowly but surely, Sanctuary was getting closer, the proverbial thorn in his side. It was as though they were second-guessing him, tracking him enough to see patterns.

Patterns killed people in his line of work.

He checked his gun, considered holstering it. No one was supposed to die tonight; it was just a deal—money for human lives—something he’d been working on for months. His job was to fix this, but Sanctuary kept getting in his way.

And if they caught up with him again, with their do-good meddling and their freaking unanswered questions, he was way too smart to get caught.

Normally.

“Bad guys are only five minutes out,” his sister warned again. He didn’t answer, and she wouldn’t expect him to. “And you’ve got company with Sanctuary tracking your way.”

“Fuck.”

“You need me there?”

Cole weighed his options. She needed to be with their father, who couldn’t be left, so it was just Cole and his gun and his sorely tested wits.

He’d need his gun if he needed to get away from that Sanctuary fucker Elliot. The man was like a dog with a bone, and Cole couldn’t afford to be compromised tonight. Every meeting, every mission, Elliot got closer, yet Cole couldn’t move from his spot or everything would go to shit and he’d lose his chance of getting the best human return for his cash.

Sanctuary was the elite, but he knew he was better, or he’d have died a long time ago. Bravado and confidence had gotten him this far in life, mostly unharmed and thankfully alive. But if Elliot arrived when the shit was hitting the fan, he’d be collateral damage, and Cole wasn’t ready to work on those terms.

He moved even deeper into the shadows, his back against the brick wall, an exit to the street on his right, the parking lot on his left. Above his head was the fire escape pull-down ladder for that apartment block; at his feet, the ground was damp with the rain that had only eased up a few minutes ago, and distant streetlights sparkled in puddle remnants just outside the cloak of darkness. Everything was quiet; but moments away, following fuck-knows-what lead to get there, was Sanctuary.

Or, more correctly, Elliot, with his dogged determination and his uncanny ability to see beyond a scene and know exactly where Cole had gone.

Last time, Elliot had only missed him by a single minute, and Cole wasn’t ashamed to admit that the near misses sent a frisson of excitement up his spine. Too often he’d been the steady one, staring down a scope, a surgical removal to keep others safe, distanced from the kill and the action. The cat and mouse with Elliot was a game that he was enjoying far too much.

Add to which, Elliot was gorgeous and sexy, and all kinds of a hard-ass, and Cole was happy to surveil the guy every moment he could. Elliot was a good guy who didn’t smile much, but he’d broken up with his boyfriend two months before; he shopped organically and lived close to the place Sanctuary called Head Office in Chicago. All things being even, Elliot would score high on Cole’s list of ideal attributes in a lover. There was nothing better than roughing up an organic-loving tight-ass and reducing him to a puddle of goo in the middle of snow-white sheets.

Not that he’d spent a long time fantasizing about Elliot naked and in his bed.

He listened for the tiny noises that would give Elliot’s arrival away, not as close as breathing, but his movement could block sounds from the street beyond, if only infinitesimally.

The cold air promised more snow; Cole knew the only thing that could give him away would be the puff of his breath, so he burrowed down into the scarf twisted around his neck.

A soft scuff of leather on the sidewalk had Cole stiffening, and he briefly tightened his grip on the lethal SIG in his hand. He relaxed only a millisecond later when a woman’s laughter and a man’s voice had him focusing past the light and to the street beyond. He was right on Englewood’s district line, and the whole meeting was playing out in a place where he felt way too exposed. He knew his mark had set this meet here for a reason. Mario was a shifty fucker who played the game of criminal very well. Little did the man know that nothing was going to keep him safe if he fucked Cole over. Not tonight. Not ever.

The woman laughed again, but this time the sound seemed a little off, as if she hadn’t really meant to laugh. There was no real joy in the noise.

Too late he realized what that meant.

Too late when the whisper of a movement to his left turned into the barrel of a weapon smacking his temple.

The wall kept him standing, but the sweep of a foot behind his knee had him landing heavily on one side, in stagnant water. Cole didn’t lay there waiting for the next part of this dance; he was rolling even as he fell, one leg darting out as he rose, catching his assailant in the thigh and causing him to stumble back. Coming to a crouch, Cole admired the way the other man’s stumble turned into nothing more than a sidestep and a twisting motion that missed Cole by inches.

Cole took the initiative, stepping right into the man’s space, up close to Elliot’s face, and in seconds he’d pushed him hard against the wall.

“Leave it,” Cole growled, when what he wanted to do was sit Elliot down and explain exactly why he needed Elliot to leave right the fuck now.

“Fuck you,” Elliot snapped, even as he fell limp in Cole’s hold, then yanked free to shove a knee right into Cole’s groin.

He missed by inches; the force of the shove went to Cole’s inner thigh, hard enough to give him a dead leg long enough to give Elliot the upper hand.

But Cole wasn’t done. He countered with a punch to Elliot’s face, feeling the wetness of fist on skin at the point where Elliot’s head snapped back with a spray of blood. A normal man would be on the ground after that—hell, a normal man wouldn’t have gotten out of Cole’s press against the wall.

Elliot wasn’t a normal man. He was trained, focused, and fucking vicious at it.

“They’re really close now; you need to end this with Sanctuary.”

His sister’s voice in his ear was enough to make Cole follow through with another punch that caught cheekbone and hair and then slid past to slam the wall. He cursed the contact and his stupidity at giving Elliot the upper hand. This time it was Cole himself up against the wall, and he could see dark eyes, focused and hard, and feel the fingers tightening on his throat. He attempted to go limp, but all Elliot did was push harder, which left only one thing. Elliot was close, and with a concerted effort, Cole snapped his head forward, the top smacking Elliot between the eyes.

Elliot crumpled at first, momentarily stunned, and then he stumbled to stand.

But Cole was prepared, retrieving his weapon and pointing it directly at Elliot. “Run,” he snapped.

Elliot said nothing, stepping toward him. Fuck, did the man not care that Cole had a gun on him?

“You have company one minute out.” The voice in his ear sounded a little frantic.

Fuck, this whole thing was going wrong. Cole had his mark and various cronies bearing down on him, and Sanctuary in the shape of Elliot right in the freaking middle.

But if Cole left, then what about the kids? Teenagers the same age as his brother, straight from the boat, working in slavery for the Varga organization. They had a deal, and tonight Cole had the money and the upper hand.

Or at least he had until Elliot tracked him down.

“You have to leave,” he snapped and gestured with the gun.

Surprise made Elliot frown, and only when he saw that did Cole realize he’d fucked up—they were standing under the street light. They needed to get back into the shadows. Cole shoved him back against the wall, wincing at the sound of Elliot’s skull making contact with the bricks before he wordlessly slid to the ground in the darkness.

And then it was too late to think of anything.

At the same time his sister’s frantic voice warned him that a car was turning onto the street, Cole heard a voice from the darkness.

So, his mark had sent an advance guard, and all Cole could think was that if it was his time to die, he didn’t want to take anyone with him.

“Drop the gun, asshole,” a voice said from somewhere beyond the light. He caught sight of the semi-automatic weapon as the person stepped forward; he didn’t stand a chance against that kind of firepower. The barrel of another gun poked at the base of his skull.

Cole dropped his pistol to the ground, feeling abruptly bereft. “It’s done,” he said to whoever the hell was behind him.

Cole lifted his hands and laced them behind his head, looking right into the darkness, not able to see Elliot’s form but hoping to hell he stayed the fuck down. Very deliberately he turned to face the man with the gun at his head.

“Talk to me,” his sister snapped at him, her voice dead and cold, gone past emotional and well into focused.

“You realize I have a meeting with Mario, right? That this was organized? He won’t take it well when he finds out you’re here with a gun on me.”

A nasal voice joined in. “I’m quite happy with the situation,” Mario said.

And right there and then, Cole knew time was up. He needed to confront this; he had a legitimate cover there, and he needed to maintain it. Slowly he unclasped his hands and let them hang loosely at his sides. “What the fuck, man?” he asked.

“Do you have access to the money?”

Cole wasn’t letting the evil fucker get control of the conversation. “How many?” he asked firmly.

Mario looked at him; a group of others, all armed, were crowding around him. Mario was nothing if not the nervous type, twitchy like a ferret, all sharp angles, and meth-head eyes. He’d made it so far in the Varga organization only due to the fact he was Varga’s nephew or cousin, or some such shit.

He was also suspicious as hell of anything and everything, which was why it had taken this long for Cole to get anywhere near him. Tonight wasn’t the night that Cole got to deal with erasing Mario from existence; he had kids to get out alive. That was his priority.

“You can have seven of them,” Mario said, his lips stretching in an obscene grin.

“The deal was for all ten.”

Mario shrugged as if he wasn’t playing with people’s lives. “I have a market for the other three,” he said nonchalantly.

Cole knew exactly what that meant: the younger girls parceled up and sold on. “All ten, or no deal,” he stated, keeping emotion out of his voice.

“Then the price goes up. No skin off my nose who gets them.”

“How much?”

“Well now… just how badly do you want them all?”

One of Mario’s men snickered, and the sound echoed in the otherwise quiet alley.

Cole could play it two ways: show his hand and admit he was desperate to get all ten of the illegals Mario had, or try to call his bluff.

“Fuck you,” Cole said, and drew himself tall. He wished he had his weapon, but he’d just have to hope to hell that confronting was the answer. “The deal’s off.”

He bent to pick up his weapon, slowly placing it back into the holster and straightening his jacket. Varga senior would be pissed with his lieutenant blowing a deal like that. Getting illegals to the city was one thing, offloading them with profit above and beyond what the illegals had probably paid to get there was an entirely different ball game. He could visualize the thought processes going on…Mario was the youngest of three lieutenants that reported to Varga, the one still out to prove himself, and he wouldn’t want to lose the deal.

“An extra ten,” Mario said, throwing it out as if it meant nothing to him.

“Five.” Cole couldn’t give in too easily.

“Hell, I can get double that on the ’net for the seven-year-old,” Mario said.

Cole had to stop the panic pushing at his chest and nausea that threatened to have him vomiting on the sidewalk. The idea of a child as young as seven being under this bastard’s control made him sick to his stomach. He pretended to consider the deal, knowing full well he’d pay every fucking cent. “Seven-five and we’re done, cash in the bank.” He even injected a small note of respect into his voice, which had Mario preening in front of his posse. He’d save face, and Cole would keep his persona of didn’t-give-a-shit human trafficker intact.

“I’ll take that,” Mario said.

One of the posse stepped forward, and intel was buzzing in his ear about twelve souls being inside the warehouse. Not ten, twelve. Two of them were moving around, the other ten not moving much. Twelve heat signatures, so all ten kids were alive—but the extra two? Mario was fucking with him, had likely placed two men inside. Cole would take a step inside the warehouse, and be a dead man.

How had he blown his cover? This wasn’t the first deal he’d brokered with Mario, setting up his cover as a trader in human flesh, looking for ways to save lives and get deep into Varga’s organization at the same time. But something wasn’t right…

Very carefully and deliberately he pulled out his cell, and with a few button presses, transferred the fifty, plus the extra seven-five, into the account he’d been given details of. Next to Mario one of the guys checked his own cell and nodded.

“It’s cleared.”

Mario tossed the key card for the warehouse to Cole, who caught it deftly. “All yours,” Mario said, and then he turned and left, taking everyone with him.

“Heads-up,” his sister said. “The extra two have left the building at the rear. Hovering outside the closed door.”

What the fuck?

Cole crossed to the steel door and waved the card at the lock, half surprised when the door actually clicked and swung open. He pushed his way in to be faced with piles of packing cases and pallets. Pulling the door shut behind him, he cautiously made his way around the piles and checked out the corners of the warehouse. He’d lost contact with outside assistance since he’d walked in there, just one hell of a lot of static and not much in the way of a voice.

He rounded what he imagined was the last corner to find ten—he counted—kids and teenagers, none older than fourteen: six girls and four boys huddled together, bound with chains to a metal framework. Most of them stared at him with dead eyes; only the youngest was whimpering and crying. What had they been through to get here? Torn from their families, placed into shipping containers, and then passed around to their new owners on payment of money?

Immediately he went to a crouch and held out a hand in a gesture of innocence. “It’s okay,” he said in English. “I’m here to help.”

He repeated it in as many languages as he’d learned those words in, hoping to hell he’d hit the jackpot somewhere along the way. He approached the closest child, a boy of thirteen or so who stared at him blankly. Apologizing in soft tones, Cole reached over and checked the chain. He found a simple lock that he could have them out of quickly. He pulled out his kit, dealt first with one lock, then another, his hands shaky at first, waiting to die in a hail of bullets. At least he could get the kids away.

The radio crackled and hissed in his ear; he could only make out a few words. Fire! Get out.

Resolutely he continued with the chains until all ten were free; he realized they’d all gathered close to him, some holding hands, but all looking to him as smoke edged under the boxes and into their corner. Cole was considerably taller than the children, and he could see past the nearest blockage to a hint of fire beyond, cutting them off from the exit.

So, that was how he was being taken out of the equation; that was how Mario deleted him from the Chicago sex trade. Mario was removing a rival, along with ten innocent kids.

Think.

“Sis? Can you hear me?” He spoke loudly above the sound of the littlest girl crying. In a smooth move, he scooped her up, holding her tight. If there was no way out of here and they were all going to die, what would he do? He had bullets; he could shoot some of the kids? Fuck, the horror was sick inside him. Think. Think. He wasn’t going to let anyone burn to death.

Stop, he told himself. There’s nothing to be won by planning for the worst.

He looked up at the vents and tiny windows about twenty feet from the floor. He could pile boxes, pass the kids up, smash the window.

The heat was getting noticeable; the huddle of kids pressed tighter. They didn’t have much time. An explosion of glass had them all ducking as panes shattered around them. Had the fire reached the windows?

Then he heard shouting.

“Up here!” a voice demanded, and peering up, Cole could see Elliot scrambling through the space and lowering himself in, dropping and rolling awkwardly. “Get the boxes.”

For a second, Cole was immobile, and then adrenaline flooded into him. Between him and Elliot, they made a pile of boxes and crates. A step up, lifting and dragging, and one by one the kids were out of the window, wriggling through the space. Elliot went next, going out, then reaching back in as fire began to lick at the boxes.

Cole’s breathing became labored. And then he spotted the smallest kid, curled into a ball, her face hidden by her hands and her long dark hair. She was so tiny and scared, way down on the ground, not climbing up as the others had done. Cole thought she’d been first out, but in the chaos, he’d missed her.

“Kid!” Elliot shouted from the window.

But if anything, she curled tighter, her hands over her ears, rocking slowly. “I’m going back down,” Cole said.

“You have thirty seconds before this whole place lights up.”

Cole didn’t hesitate—he wasn’t about to leave a child behind. He jumped lithely to the floor and into a crouch, cursing at the pain shooting up from his knee, as he crawled low under the choking smoke to where the girl huddled.

He grabbed her, but she wailed and fought against his hold. Cole ignored the scratching of fingers and the sheer panic, and climbed the crates up to the window, his chest tight; breathing hard. There he unfurled her fingers, shoving the girl through the space to Elliot, who yanked her through.

“Is that ten?” Cole gasped as the box he stood on wavered; he gripped hard at the windowsill.

“Get out.”

“Is that all ten kids?”

“Yes, grab hold!” Elliot held out a hand.

Cole tried to grip as the pile toppled, their fingers touched, and then the world fell away, stopped in a millisecond by Elliot leaning in and grabbing at Cole. Elliot pulled, and Cole scrambled, and the hungry fire bit at him, burned him even as he fell out of the building and the force of hitting the trash cans below was enough to steal his breath.

“Jesus,” Elliot snapped, smacking at Cole’s jacket to extinguish the flames as Cole shrugged it off in a panic.

As he rolled, he pulled his weapon from its holster and pointed it right between Elliot’s eyes, waiting for him to make a move. All Elliot did was raise his hands and stare at Cole with an expression that Cole couldn’t read.

Cole asked, “Where are Mario’s two goons?”

“Out cold. You’re not the man we profiled. Who the fuck are you really?”

Cole didn’t answer.

“You should know I called 911,” Elliot said, his expression unreadable.

Was Elliot giving him a chance to leave? A warning? He seemed more interested in hugging the kids to him protectively than in taking Cole down.

Cole looked away from the kids to Elliot and holstered his gun. “Do this for them,” he said. To get involved with the cops at that moment would destroy everything. “The Andreas Home on Windsor Street. It’s a special place for kids taken from their parents like this. Will you take them?”

Elliot nodded. “Yes,” he said, all seriousness. Then he inclined his head toward the sound of sirens.

Cole grabbed what was left of his jacket, and with one last look at Elliot and the kids, he was gone.

 

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copy-of-rj-scottRJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

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The Dog Who Swallows Millions

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I’ve just pressed ‘send’ and the second Rafe and Ned steampunk/adventure/m-m romance should have landed in Dreamspinner Press’s inbox by now. Let’s pray they like it!

I can promise you adventure and romance, spooky Aegyptian temples in the moonlight haunted by the towering figure of Anubis, House machinations and House assassins. Most of all, I can promise you that Rafe and Ned are together and happy, despite the Hard Stare of Disapproval from Ned’s son Harry. And I can promise you a cute dog to balance the scary Dog, and one day soon, she’ll get a post of her own.

Here’s the blurb: “Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with the Gallowglass First Heir, archaeologist Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and deepens yet further when Rafe goes with Ned to Aegypt for the winter digging season.

In the world of the Britannic Imperium’s Houses, self-seeking ambition is the norm and assassination is the tool of choice when it comes to advancing House interests. Consequently, it concerns Rafe that his House, Stravaigor, is keen for him to go to Aegypt with Ned: Stravaigor does nothing without an eye to the main chance. But when Ned’s team of archaeologists reaches Abydos to begin the dig, what follows suggests the Houses are the least of their worries. Tricks and pranks escalate to outright attacks, and throughout these incidents, the figure of the Dog stalks across the Aegyptian desert bringing destruction in its wake. He who is upon his mountain, the Lord of Westerners, the Dog Who Swallows Millions… Anubis has many titles and appears to be returning to Abydos to reclaim his own. When Ned’s young son is kidnapped and Ned himself left injured, Rafe has to solve the riddle of the Dog and face up to devastating personal impact of House Stravaigor’s plots before he can save the day.”

Watch this space for more news!

Skythane – J. Scott Coatsworth

I’m chuffed as heck today to welcome an old friend to the blog who’s willing to be interrogated gently interviewed about his new release, Skythane, and also willing to allow me to swoon over the gorgeous cover art while doing no more than roll his eyes and offer me a handkerchief to deal with the drool.cover

See? (points upward). Very droolworthy, no? So, with my artistic appreciation skills acknowledged by all and sundry, let’s start out with a bit of information on the book before I pin the author into the interrogation chair.

 

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Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Caine
Length: 85K, # pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 2/17/17
Genres: sci fi, mm romance, gay sci fi

Goodreads

Rocket1-5Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard
, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

Rocket1-6Dreamspinner – eBook  |   Dreamspinner – paperback   |  Amazon  |

Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  |  iBooks

 

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And now that’s all done, here’s a reminder of that lovely, lovely cover and here’s J. Scott Coatsworth, willing and able to answer any question hurled at him.

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Hi, Scott, and welcome!  Let’s start with the easy one. What inspired you to write this particular story?
I actually started writing this one back in the nineties. But it didn’t take flight (pun intended) until 2014. I had just come out a couple years before I began it, and it was my first attempt to write a story with gay protagonists, so you could say it was inspired by the newfound freedom I felt as an out gay man.

Writing is never angst free -what were the challenges in bringing it to life?
Totally the sci fi part. A dear friend beta read it for me after I did the NaNoWriMo thing, and ha a lot of problems with the world backdrop and the science. So I had to put out some feelers and find folk who knew about gravity and weather, and put together a workable theory about how half a world could and would function in the real universe. It was difficult, but it made the novel stronger.

What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
I had my first real fanboy moment at last year’s GRL, when a reader came up to me and told me how much he had loved my novella “The Autumn Lands”, and the twist in the story. It was the first time this happened to me, and it wall always stick with me.

So, what kind of character or topic have you been dying to try to write, but you’ve never worked up the courage?
Not so much a character, but a pairing? I’ve written a couple lesbian characters, but never a lesbian couple. It’s a bit daunting for me as we don’t share any of the parts in common (well, except for the normal “human parts LOL). But I would love to give it a try sometime.

And a last rather cheeky little inquiry – what meds are you supposed to be taking? 😉
That’s between me, my doctor, my psychiatrist, my homeopath, my rehab clinic, my dentist, my street connection, and my medicine cabinet. But thanks for asking! 😉

 

Snort! Thank you!

Scott’s new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines his love of sci fi, secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Rocket1-10Scott 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.

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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. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

PUBLICATION DAY Taking Shield 04: The Chains Of Their Sins

PUBLISHED TODAY!

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The Chains of Their Sins, the fourth Shield book, is published today by Glass Hat Press (aka: me!)

JUMP TO:

Buy Links

Launch Blog Tour and Chance to Enter Giveaways

Goodreads Giveaways

About the Taking Shield Series

About The Chains Of Their Sins and an excerpt

Payhip – pays me the most in royalties! Available in epub and mobi (Kindle) formats

Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  Kobo  |  Barnes and Noble (live today)

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Launch Tour and Giveaways

I’ll be visiting various blogs next week to promote the book and a $25 Amazon gift voucher giveaway. Visit one of more of these blogs to enter the giveaway – there’s lots of choice!

FEB 13 AbibliophobiaAnonymous
Books Laid Bare Boys
Charli Coty
Gay Book Reviews
Jana Denardo
Marie Brown
MM Good Book Reviews
Nerd Girl Official
Novel Approach
Prism Book Alliance
Stories That Make You Smile
Wicked Faeries Tales and Reviews
Yah Gotta Read This
FEB 14 My Fiction Nook
Nicole’s Book Musings
FEB 15 Bella’s Blog
Fangirl Moment & My 2 Cents
Louise Lyons
MJ’s Book Blog
FEB 16 Antonia Aquilante
Nicki Markus/Asta Idonea
Queer Sci Fi
FEB 20 Molly Lolly
FEB 22 Thorns and Ink

Giveaway at Goodreads

Over at Goodreads, I’m giving away 5 copies of Gyrfalcon and 5 of Heart Scarab to mark the publication of The Chains of Their Sins. All copies are signed first editions – maybe not yet worth quite as much as a signed first edition Harry Potter, but just you wait!

Nip over to  GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS, use the filter to look for science fiction and you’ll find Gyrfalcon and Heart Scarab listed there.

About the Taking Shield series

Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.

Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family. When the series opens, Bennet is at odds with his long term partner, Joss, who wants him out of the military and back in an academic, archaeological career. He’s estranged from his father, Caeden, who is the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla. Events of the first book, in which he is sent to his father’s ship to carry out an infiltration mission behind Maess lines, improve his relationship with Caeden, but bring with them the catalyst that will destroy the one with Joss: one Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.

Over the Taking Shield story arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon

Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace

About The Chains of Their Sins

Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment after his rotation out.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeace—ethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

Book Title: The Chains Of Their Sins
Series: Taking Shield 04
Publisher:  Glass Hat Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Wordcount: c 97,600
Category: Sci Fi, Gay mainstream

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Thinking back to the first day was not calculated to keep a man’s sleep sweet and carefree. And dammit, Cruz was not helping. Why in hell had he given her access to his quarters? The woman was relentless.

She sat on the side of his bunk and prodded his ribs with a sharp forefinger. “Are you getting up?”

“Cruz, it’s the middle of the fucking night!”

“It’s after five and you’re on duty in a couple of hours anyway.”

“That’s a couple of hours of sleep.”

“Or a couple hours mooning over our pretty captain?” She delivered a second sharp jab to his ribs.

It bloody hurt. “Cruz!”

“I’m sure he was looking for you yesterday morning when I met him in the gym before breakfast.”

“Cruz!”

“Have it your own way. From what he said, he’s there every morning when he wakes up. I’d have thought you’d know that.”

“How would I know that? The time I was on Albion, the man had his right knee in a healing capsule. He could barely walk. He was hardly up to gymnastics.”

“Really?” Cruz said, with a wealth of meaning. “Lowering your standards?”

“Sod off and leave me alone.”

“You go most mornings anyway. He won’t cotton on to it being lovelornness if you make it every morning.”

“I go most mornings, later most mornings. I do not go in the middle of the night. I do not go to meet dawn’s clarion call. I turn up for ten minutes so that Pershing clocks that I’m there and then I bugger off again, job done. I don’t take it seriously, for the gods’ sakes.”

After a pause, Cruz nodded and said, thoughtfully, “Of course, Pershing might notice and have something to say about your sudden dedication to health and fitness, and knowing Pershing, he’d say it in a voice loud enough to cut through steel bulkheads. Bennet might doubt your motivation then. You’re probably right to be subtle about it at first.”

“It’s not about being subtle. It’s about being dignified and not running… well, not being pathet… just not going to the bloody gym in the middle of my sleep period. All right?”

“All right. Sleep tight, charmer.” Cruz got up to go. “Any messages you’d like me to pass on?”

Flynn spat out some very rude words, turned over and pulled the covers over his head. Cruz left Flynn’s quarters, whistling.

Flynn waited until the door had closed before turning over onto his back. He stared up at the ceiling and slid a hand into his sleep-pants. If he concentrated, he could remember the feel of another hand. He reckoned it was the closest he was going to get.

He made the most of it. After all, he was not going to change his habits now and go to the gym at the same time as Bennet did, just to get an extra half hour of Bennet’s company. That was just too pathetic.

PUBLISHED TODAY!

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Sign up HERE for my newsletter and I’ll send you a FREE copy of FlashWired

Wish You Were Here – Asta Idonea

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It’s a great pleasure to welcome Asta back to the blog to talk about her latest release, Wish You Were Here, published by Dreamspinner Press on 08 February. It’s a bit of a first here on the blog, because we have the exciting prospect of a multi-media excerpt!

 

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The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.

Dreamspinner Press
8 February 2017
Novella/Contemporary/Paranormal
Heat Rating: 1

 

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Dreamspinner Press   |   Amazon US  |    Amazon UK

 

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wishyouwereherefsSummer passed England by that year, as if it shared his family’s grief and refused to intrude upon such solemn days with unwanted sunshine. A cool, wet July turned into a blustery August, and now a dismal September loomed. From the window of their rented cottage, there was nothing but gray skies as far as the eye could see. The fields spread out in a patchwork of shortbread and moss. Plentiful rain meant the grass stood tall, but the lack of light filtering through thick, heavy clouds dulled its various shades of green. And this bleak scene was supposed to make everything better?

Oakley sighed and turned to the sink. He poured himself a glass of water from a spluttering, corroded tap and took a sip. Despite the dubious appearance of the fittings, the water was clean, tasteless, and refreshing. He supposed he should at least be thankful for that. It was likely to be the only pleasant thing this vacation would provide.

 

Plus a longer excerpt at TABLO

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Win an ecopy of Asta’s MM Sci-Fi novella
Fire Up My Heart at Rafflecopter

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Author Pic 2015Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Blog  |  Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Instagram  |   Google+  |   Goodreads |  LinkedIn   | Amazon Author US   |  Amazon Author UK 

Flaunt, with E Davies

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I am very pleased to host E. Davies here today to tell us about his new release, Flaunt, which was published on 31 January.

 

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“He’s waiting for me to ask, and I’m afraid.”

“I’m just one more gay guy here.”

Moving to the suburbs of L.A. was supposed to give Nic Montero a fresh start. After escaping his family, coming out as a gay trans man, and excelling in computer programming out of desperation to get financially stable or die, everything should be easy. But joining gay culture now, post-transition, feels impossible… until he runs into the force of nature that is Kyle. Everything Nic isn’t, Kyle embodies. Green hair, garters and cut-off shorts, sports jerseys, and all, brash Kyle is the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid eyes on, and he pulls Nic headlong into the center of his world. If only Nic felt like enough for a man like Kyle.

“One-night stands are my only option.”

Loud, loving, and too much for most men to handle, Kyle Everett catches eyes and occasionally scorn… even at his job at the local HIV charity, Plus. His days and nights are spent at work, his precious spare moments spent with his son, Kevin, when it’s his turn to co-parent, or his best friend, drag queen River. He only has money or time for cheap flings, but the lanky otter who walks into his life makes Kyle want to hold him for longer than a night. He knows what it’s like for Nic to be without a family, but he isn’t brave enough to let this man into his life… until his charity is targeted by bigots, and Nic’s there for him.

“I’ll stay with you if you’re brave enough to be you.”

Nic spent his twenties avoiding family and even his own femininity, but his yearning is impossible to ignore. Kyle’s used to flying solo, but Nic offers him safety and fills gaps in his life he never realized existed and now can’t stand. Living in close proximity, they can’t run from their attraction, but they’re each used to being rejected, with the emotional scars to prove it. Can two men who feel like they’re not enough and too much find something just right?

 

Flaunt is a steamy, stand-alone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance.
Goodreads

 

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Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

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While he waited for the microwave, Nic headed for the television and turned it on. It was time to distract himself with something or another and stop talking to himself like a total loser all night.

And it was time to take his mind off Jake. He didn’t think of him much these days, and when he did, he didn’t care much. That was probably a good sign. But in his weak moments, once in a long while, he thought about answering him.

Nic never did. He wasn’t that lonely.

But he missed being half of a whole, and he missed having a family. It hadn’t been his fault they’d broken up— Jake had been utterly unready for a relationship— but his family had been sweet, and had welcomed Nic in with open arms.

More than anything, leaving that had broken his heart.

But again… one-way trip. He’d rather be alone here than with a cheater out of desperation. He checked on Jake much less frequently these days. It felt like Jake was naturally fading out of his life, which was as it should be.

Nic just wished there were someone to replace him.

 

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Win a $25 Amazon giftcard in this Rafflecopter giveaway

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e-davies-profile-picE. Davies was proficient in real estate ad shorthand (the old-fashioned newspaper kind) by the age of nine. Growing up moving constantly taught him what people have in common, the ways relationships are formed, and the dangers of “miscellaneous” boxes.

As a teen, he tore through a stack of found romance novels, wishing someone had written similar for M/M, though he could never find anything at Chapters or the library. Just after graduating university in 2013, semi-out and clutching his English B.A. for dear life, he stumbled on an Amazon M/M short story. It was a whole new… phrase he dares not repeat for fear of lawyers. It shone and shimmered splendidly, though.

After failing forty times to avoid crafting happily-ever-after endings for steamy short stories, he plunged into romance novels and hasn’t looked back. As a young gay author whose formative gay fictional role models were characters punished for their sexuality, Ed prefers his stories lightly dramatic, full of optimism and hope.

Now out and proud, he writes full-time, goes on long nature walks, tries to fill his passport, drinks piña coladas on the beach, flees from cute guys, coos over fuzzy animals (especially bees), and is liable to tilt his head and click his tongue if you don’t use your turn signal.

To find out when E. Davies has a new release, you can subscribe to his newsletter.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon  

 

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Links to Blog Posts on Writing – January 2017

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It’s been a couple of months since I’ve had the time and energy to do a links roundup—a combination of RL issues, writing and the cursed winter lethargy that comes from Vit D deficiency—but some major s*** has gone down in the writing world in the last six weeks, and it seems only right to record some of it here.

How not to do it:
On December 28th I, along with thousands of other writers, got an email from All Romance EBooks, a website that acted as a distribution centre for romance ebooks from both publishers and from indie authors. The email told us that ARe was closing on 31st. That’s right. 3 days’ notice.

The situation as it clarified over the next day or two became this:

  • closing down, too bad, so sad, whaddya mean we should have told you with more notice?
  • no money in the coffers to pay royalties, so too, too sad. Sure, we’re an an online distribution centre of digital files, not a physical bookstore, do minimal overheads but no, we told you—no money in the coffers. We took it in when we sold your books, but no we ain’t paying it out.
  • sign here to get 10c on the dollar of all the royalties we owe you
  • if you don’t sign you get nothing/nowt/nada and, shrugs, that’s just too bad for you
  • don’t sue us, because no money and that would be really mean of you
  • if you just paid us lots of dollars on the email we sent you three days ago selling advertising, well, thanks for the cash and sure we knew we were selling you snake oil and those ads would never materialise, but so what?
  • readers might get pre-order money back but they had better rush to download stories because otherwise everything would be deleted
  • we’re a limited company in Florida so good luck trying to squeeze reparations outa us because we don’t have to, so neener, neener to you
  • we may not have rights to anything of yours but if you get a letter from Amazon questioning your right to distribute your own work, yeah, that might well be us hanging onto assets that aren’t ours, but we’ve got form on that (see 2nd and 4th points above)
  • no, really, don’t sue us because you’re horrible meanies and you’re making us cry and worry that we might have to sell one of our million dollar homes…

There are too many posts about this in the blogosphere to quote here, but here’s a selection:

Passive Voice Publisher All Romance Ebooks: Closing Hits New Low In Stealing From Authors and Court Documents Regarding All Romance E-Books’ Disturbing Business Practices Surface  Both quote the BlogCritic blog with links through to the full blog posts

Timber Dalton Reader Alert: All Romance Ebooks (ARe) is closing 12/31/16 and Update: All Romance Ebooks (ARe) – The Fuckery Deepens. Both with links in the post for further reading.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch here and here

Publishers Weekly

Writer Beware

The Guardian’s rather anodyne take on it

 

If you’re affected, join this FB group and support the proposed class action suit against ARe: https://www.facebook.com/groups/212976702443743/

 

And how to do it:
Earlier this month, the sad news came that Wilde City Press was closing its doors. The owners undertook to (i) return all authors’ rights without charge and (ii) pay all royalties owed.

Now that is classy.

 

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Mrs Bloomdale’s class asked me way way back in November if I’d include this article that they found helpful and thought should have a wider circulation – https://www.scribendi.com/advice/student_writing_guide_to_transitions.en.html While this list is principally for fiction writers, I was delighted to see the students had found articles here that helped improve their writing skills. So while the article may not aid fiction writers in the sorts of transitions we have to do to keep the narrative flowing and the pacing tight, it looks like other readers here will find it of use. So thank you, students. I’m delighted that articles on this list have helped you (and sorry it’s taken me so long to post it, but this is the first roundup for a couple of months).

Creating Single-Author Box Sets: Part One and Part Two – Marcy Kennedy guesting at Fiction University.

 

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The Perfect Back Cover Blurb – Sophie Masson at Writer Unboxed

How to Find Your Character’s Voice Part One and Two – Janice Harding at Fiction University

 

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Here’s How To Finish Your Revision, You Filthy Animal This is my current bible as I work through the first version of The Dog Who Swallows Millions. How to self-edit and refine your work to get it into the best possible to shape to hand over to the real pros, the development and line editors who will then show you just how much you missed…

Chuck is a passionate writer, and no more than anyone else, writes posts that respond to the current political climate. The received wisdom is that writers shouldn’t talk about politics, because it’ll scare of readers. I don’t believe in disenfranchising writers for any reason, not least such a pusillanimous one. Chuck neither, and he’s thrown out some corkers in the last few weeks. The following two are less about politics generally, and more about the writer’s response to them. Both are worth reading. So are the more political ones.

How To Create Art And Make Cool Stuff In A Time Of Trouble

Writer Resolution, 2017: Write Despite

 

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Social Media

5 Ways to use Facebook Groups to Build Book Buzz – Diana Urban at BookBub

The Rise And Fall – 13 Social Media Trends To Watch In 2017 – review by Writers Write

 

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The KU Conundrum – Ruby Madden

Also be aware that the alogrithms Amazon uses to ensure page reads are not artificially inflated are catching many an innocent author who has had *all* their books deleted as a result. Treat Kindle Unlimited with caution.

 

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For British writers, changes in the taxation laws may affect us: see this article at The Bookseller which threatens us with quarterly tax filing… ouch.

Negotiating Options in Publishing Deals – Susan Spann at Writers In The Storm.

 

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Best Writing Blogs

 

 

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Review post: Megan Reddaway’s ‘Shelter Me’

Photo by Leigh Anthony Dehaney, from Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0 license

Photo by Leigh Anthony Dehaney, from Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0 license

I don’t often do review posts, because well, time mostly. But this book was such a joy to read, I clobbered the author over the head to let me have some details on it and feature it here so I could share with you what I thought of it.

Dystopian fiction no longer seems outrageously imaginative, does it? Humanity has so many current stresses and anxieties – the misuse of political power, enemies hard to grapple with face to face, societies riven and tribal, lies and propaganda, some people (different, not us, ‘other’) no longer seen as really human and worthy of care and respect, the threat of war more real than it has been for two generations.

This book is fitting for our times. Megan Reddaway cleverly creates an MC so ‘other’ he’s been isolated since birth, a subject for analysis and experimentation. Leo’s disassociation from all that’s normal (for a definition of normal that’s embodied in a failing society) is beautifully conveyed in his essential innocence. The powers that make him different and a life of deprivation and downright cruelty haven’t choked Leo’s intelligence and adaptability, and his gradual awakening to true friendship, loyalty and love is at the heart of this book as he and Cal, the untrusting off-the-grid woodsman, work to save baby Jae from the life Leo himself had led. As they run for the hidden haven in Colorado where they might find refuge, chased by the authorities and only one step ahead of capture and death, Cal and Leo reach an understanding of each other that bodes well for a future together. If there’s a future for anyone, that is.

I enjoyed this book. It’s beautifully written, with clear and concise prose. There’s a clarity about the style, a sort of sparseness, that echoes Leo’s character in its directness, and I rather liked that. It was cleverly done.

Thoroughly recommended!

 

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Love and survivalis that too much to ask?

Leo Park is an empath on the run. He’s escaped the secret research facility where he’s been held since he was six years old, but how can he survive without being captured? He has no money, all his ideas come from old movies, and he’s carrying his baby brother, smuggled out in a carton.

Cole Millard lives by his own rules in the Oregon woods, refusing to fear the world war that’s coming closer every day. Now his freedom is threatened by a naive 19-year-old with a baby in tow and a spooky way of knowing what Cole is feeling. But Leo is vulnerable and desperate. What’s a guy to do?

Shelter Me is a fast-paced dystopian gay romance novel set in a not-too-distant future, with a hot backwoodsman, a desperate fugitive, a six-month baby, and the world on the brink of an apocalyptic war.

Wordcount: 66k
Published: 23 January 2017

 

 

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Amazon.com:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MTC2AXL/

Amazon.co.uk:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MTC2AXL

 

 

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shelterme-cover-500x750Leo set the bag down and took Jae out of it. Jae’s mind brightened at once, happy to be out. Leo turned around slowly, so Jae could see everything.

“Look, little bro, some of the trees are changing color—the ones that aren’t evergreens. I bet you were never up so close to a tree before. What do you think, shall we explore? You’d like that, wouldn’t you? We’re out free in a real forest, and who knows how much time we have together. We don’t have any special place to go, right?”

Jae waved his arms and said, “Bub-bub-bub.”

“Isn’t it prime? You can see leaves and birds and all kinds of stuff.”

Leo went on, carrying Jae and the bag separately, heading uphill, away from the road. It was good to have no people around, asking questions. He wasn’t used to strangers. But being alone, except for Jae, was weird, too. He caught himself checking for security cameras … in a forest.

He found a thin trickling stream and followed that awhile, then sat beside it and ate two bananas, playing peekaboo with Jae—the regular kind, hiding his face and peeking out. He tried Jae with some squished banana from his own mouth, but Jae spat it out, so Leo gave him more milk from the bottle. He sniffed around Jae’s rear. It didn’t smell, and Jae wasn’t uncomfortable, so the diaper must be okay.

Then he headed back to the highway, or he planned to. He went along the stream, but he couldn’t find the place where he’d come out of the trees.

“I know it’s downhill,” he said to Jae. “We crossed the stream a couple of times, but I think we started out on this side. Hey, here’s a place where someone’s come through. Maybe this was it.”

They went on down, away from the stream, following some kind of path. But it twisted and turned and went back uphill. He figured a path was a path—it must lead somewhere—and he kept on going. Then the way ahead was blocked. Leo stopped.

“The bushes weren’t so thick the way we first came up. I guess maybe we took a wrong turn somewhere?”

He concentrated his mind. If they were close to the road, he should sense people zipping through in their cars. But he only felt the low-level fears and hungers of small animals.

Maybe this was a quiet time for traffic. He waited.

Then he sensed one human. A stealthy, quiet mind, moving slowly, coming closer.

Hunting.

Tracking them.

Leo’s heart pounded. He put Jae in the bag and started to run, crashing through the bushes, one arm over his face for protection against the scratching twigs, the other hugging the bag to his chest.

The hunter came after them, moving faster now, his mind focused, hyped on adrenaline. The guy knew Leo was close, knew he almost had them.

Clumsy with fear, Leo skidded on a patch of dry needles and lost his balance. He twisted so he wouldn’t fall on Jae. His head hit a tree trunk, and pain stabbed at his ankle. Dizzy, he tried to get up and couldn’t.

The hunter came into sight—a bearded, shaggy-haired figure in khaki, half hidden by the pine trunks. A figure carrying a shotgun, pointed right at them. A man whose mind was set on killing.

Leo pushed the bag containing Jae out of range behind a tree. Sorry, little bro, I did the best I could. Maybe you’ll hear about me someday. Then he turned his face away and waited for the bullet.

 

 

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MEGAN REDDAWAY has been entertained by fictional characters acting out their stories in her head for as long as she can remember. She began writing them down as soon as she could. Since she grew up, she’s worked as a secretary, driver, waitress, and flower-seller, among other things, but she always has a story bubbling away at the same time.  She lives in England.

For news of Megan’s male/male romance releases and two free stories, visit her website: http://meganreddaway.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/megan.reddaway.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meganreddaway1

“Regeneration” Guest Post with Louise Lyons

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I’m so pleased to welcome Louise Lyons back to the blog today, to talk about where she gets her ideas for her books, and to celebrate the release of her new book, Regeneration. Over to Louise:

Regeneration – Louise Lyons

Where I get my inspiration

This varies a lot. Starting with Regeneration, the idea sprang from a kind of Lara Croft image. Not Lara herself, but an action character like that. I imagined the character stranded on an inhospitable planet, fighting off the indigenous species, and eventually, after the arrival of another ship, fighting off the attentions of one character (Neil Ross), and welcoming that of another (Christian Novak). Gradually the idea grew in my mind like a movie rolling out, until I had a number of scenes that I realised would make for a great story. Eighty percent of the story developed during NaNoWriMo 2014, and I finished it over the next month. It’s taken this long to get it published, thanks to some major rewrites to improve my world-building in particular.

Some of my books have been inspired by things I’ve already experienced. I absolutely loved the 1990s. It was “my era” when I was in my 20s. I’d just escaped an unpleasant relationship, and I wanted to have FUN. I love rock music and I spent a lot of time visiting a night club called Rock City in Nottingham, UK. If you live in the UK and like rock/glam/metal music, you’re sure to have heard of it. It’s been open since the 80s and is a pretty large double-level club. All the upcoming bands of that time used to aim to play there. So I set the story of Beautiful Thunder in Nottingham with my characters frequent visitors of the club. Alex and Lindsey, the MCs, are based on the images of people I saw there in the 90s—beautiful, long-haired, leather and spandex-wearing, makeup-covered androgynous sexy men.

Beyond the Scars (a novel) and Lost and Found (a short story in the anthology Age is Just a Number), were both inspired by personal experience of escaping an abusive relationship and the events afterwards, and losing a much-loved pet respectively.

Cervena, my summer 2016 novel with Dreamspinner Press, was a little different. The idea came to me randomly, with the idea for a nightclub owner falling for a dancer. Then I decided I would set it in Prague, a city I’ve visited and explored. It started out with the idea of a love story with a bit of an age gap between the two characters, and the scenario of employer and employee. But when I started writing, the characters got the bit between their teeth and it became more of a thriller, including gambling, murder, kidnap, and the help of a dubious “mob” character. I have no idea where that came from, because it didn’t start out that way!

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In the 23rd Century in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, Kim Fortune was the first surviving experimental enhanced human—a regenerate. Aged 15, he escaped the lab and years later, his failings as a regenerate and the suspicion of regular humans, leave him lonely and lacking in self-worth. Stranded on an abandoned planet, the arrival of a stricken ship and its crew give him hope that he may finally find what he always longed for—love.

Christian Novak is a successful regenerate with all the intended attributes—including lack of human emotion. Despite their immediate attraction to each other, Kim’s failing confidence, and Christian’s inability to empathize are a recipe for disaster. But war, imprisonment, and danger throw them together, and after each saves the other’s life, their feelings begin to change.

Can a seemingly unsuitable pair ever find love, or is a future together destined to fail?

 

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | KOBO | Smashwords

 

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Click here to win a copy of any book on Louise’s backlist.

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12-30louiseLouise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social Media

Facebook: www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
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Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

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