Happy Tuesday! I’m thrilled to announce that J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out today — The Stark Divide, book #1 in the Liminal Sky series. Ships, space, earth in turmoil, and more. Check it out! (And isn’t that a gorgeous cover?!?)
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Series: Liminal Sky (Book One)
Genre: Sci Fi, Space, Gen Ship, Apocalypse, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer
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
“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.
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.
If you’re looking for something different to read, grab this one! I’m pleased to introduce the cover for Dianne Lynn Gardner’s upcoming book, An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody. It’s best described as a comic, vampire murder mystery — fun, intrigue, and vampires. Sounds like the kind of book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night.
An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody
D. L. Gardner (Dianne Lynn Gardner)
Publication date: May 27, 2016
Genres: Paranormal murder mystery with a touch of comedy
“Campy, fun, for some reason the writing and characterization remind me of The Confederacy of the Dunces…This is a fun, imaginative book. It’s well written and well told. ” – review from Ingram Sparks
The vampire Rockford Peadlebody is dead.
His brother Gerald, his wife Ginger, and their son Raymond, all with a trickle of the same blood, head for grandpa’s estate only to discover that the great and mysterious Benjamin Peadlebody died a week earlier. It seems fishy to Gerald-two untimely deaths in the family. Yes, Rockford’s demise was of his own doing, but Benjamin? Perhaps the servant, a reserved, tattooed muscleman Richard Cottlebone knows more than he’s letting on.
No help comes from Ginger. She’s too busy trying to un-vampire herself. And Raymond just wants to be in love. Pity the mystery is in his lap, but Gerald presses on despite the stone cold receptions he gets…
Now, for an excerpt from An Unconditional Mr. Peadlebody — just a taste to whet your appetite!
“I have a cash buyer. The transaction would be swift and clean, no effort on your part. You won’t even have to move your grandfather’s clutter. This buyer will take it all and pay you generously.”
Gerald sat up straight.
Raymond laughed again without showing his teeth, and clapped his hands in triumph. “We’ll take it!”
Gerald scowled at his nephew and the snarky attitude that emanated from him. “Nonsense. This is a perfect place for us to live. There’s plenty of room for the entire family.”
“What entire family?” Raymond’s face paled and his eye popped open.
“You know. The three of us.”
“I’m not living here, Uncle. You can bet your bottom boots that Mum and I are hightailing it out of here as soon as this is settled. Tomorrow will be too late.”
“Not so fast, Raymond,” Ginger interrupted. “I never said any such thing.”
“If I heard correctly the estate was willed to me so it’s my decision what becomes of this house.” Gerald said. “We have no intentions of selling. I promised my brother that I would take care of his wife and family if anything ever happened to him.”
“You’re not taking care of me!” The couch bent when Raymond shifted, drawing all eyes to him. “I can take care of myself.”
“You choose to disown us?” Gerald lifted his chin. He and Raymond never got along before and this was breaking the camel’s back, or the camelback’s armature in any case.
“Yes. Of course! I chose to disown you and my father a long time ago. I don’t want anything to do with you vamp…” Raymond bit his tongue and looked at Ferguson, the secretary, and Cottlebone, stopping midsentence.
“I’ll let you folks hash this over. Mr. Peadlebody, if we’re done here the papers are in the kitchen. We can discuss the sale of your property later when you’re alone.” He nodded nervously at Gerald, took his secretary’s arm and escorted her to the kitchen.
And if you’re on Facebook,
check out the online Launch Party for the book!
••• ••• •••
For more about the book and Dianne:
For the Clan
Archer Kay Leah
Publication date: May 25, 2016
Genres: Science fiction, romance, fantasy
Cover designer: Natasha Snow
Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn’t live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn’t mean safety.
And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn’t matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom.
Roan is desperate to escape the governtary’s exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected.
As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that place Cayra?
Pre-order link: Less Than Three Press
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29470767-for-the-clan
About Archer Kay Leah:
Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.
Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a same-sex partner and their cat.
Publication date: January 26th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Dystopia
I was raised in a world where humans no longer rule.
In the past, we made a terrible mistake by creating a new species we thought would serve us as our army, which led to our downfall.
There was a war, we lost, and many lives were massacred. It was the end of life as we knew it and the beginning of a hell we were now trapped in. We became enslaved to what we now called Superiors, becoming pets to them, simply there to entertain.
In a world so miserable, I managed to do the unthinkable: I fell in love. But even that was doomed, because to love a Superior was forbidden.
What the rest of the Superiors didn’t know was how deeply a human could love or how resilient we became when we were hurt.
The Superiors never could have imagined an uprising, which was why they never saw it coming.
Humans deserved to be free, and I would stop at nothing to deliver that promise.
My name is Tilly, and I am still alive with one sole purpose: to begin a revolution.
I had been raised to believe humans were worthless. We owned them and controlled them, and when we were done with them, we threw them away. Therefore, I never thought I would ever feel more for Tilly than disinterest. I never expected to want to save her.
It was forbidden for a Superior to love a human. No one had ever crossed that line, but I did. I fell madly in love with her, so it was no surprise how we ended up.
I was raised to be a soldier, and that was what I was always going to be. However, I was not a soldier for the Superiors, not anymore.
I became a soldier for humans, and I would stop at nothing to help them. They deserved to be free, and I would die protecting them.
My name is Johnny, and I am here with one sole purpose: to finish a revolution.
Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.
But I’m optimistic: before it was picked up, I’d started shopping the manuscript out to agents and didn’t finish that rather extensive list. I also didn’t make it to the list of publishers, which include Tor and DAW. So there’s still plenty to do! I’m holding onto the hope that if one of the agencies was interested enough to short-list the manuscript as a potential, and a publisher was willing to take it, maybe someone else will enjoy it enough to pick it up.
If all else fails, I’ll end up self-pubbing it. I have my eye on a particular editor and cover designer, both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on previous projects. But I’ll be taking the longer path first.
In the meantime, I’m working on SO MANY projects. There are a few novellas in the works that tie into Blood & Heritage, though they take place before/are concurrent with Ascension. They’re stories that won’t come out in the series itself, at least not so detailed since things are generally focused around only certain characters.
In any event, here’s to hoping that 2016 brings awesome things!
Time: fickle and funny.
Being a writer: fickle and funny.
Combine the two together? A recipe for a workload disaster.
Okay, so maybe not a disaster. Just chaotic catastrophe that results in hair loss, endless days of staring at the screen and drooling a little, then waking up with one’s face stuck to the keyboard and “asdf” imprinted on one’s cheek only to stare longingly at the calendar and mourn the passing of nine months…
I discovered yesterday the last actual “update” I made on projects like Blood & Heritage was in March. Because sure, nothing says “you’re sooooo behind” like realizing six months have zipped right on by. Oh, wait, no, I’m wrong. Finding a post from January with my non-New Year’s Resolutions is worse. *face palm* So I’m thinking it’s probably a GREAT time for an update. >> Cue “this time on my blog” theme music… which sounds an awful like Ylvis’s “The Fox” with a chaser of The Guild’s “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar” <<
This spring and summer has been spent mostly on three things: my brother’s wedding, short story anthologies, and writing romances. To sum it up:
(1) The wedding was lovely and reminded me of how awesome my family is. I also slipped on my way back down the aisle with the two groomsmen. Because that’s my style.
(2) The anthologies are available now. ICYMI: my story Sundae (urban fantasy, paranormal) is in the Love Sucks anthology and For What Is Taken (urban fantasy, gay literature, with a touch of science fiction – sort of) is in the Mystical Bites anthology. And just for kicks, here’s the teaser for FWIT because I’m so happy with this story. And I LOVE how this teaser came out. This guy is a little bit yummy… and shh, I didn’t just say that.
(2) Romances. So another ICYMI: I write HEA love stories as Archer Kay Leah, which are mostly LGBTQA works right now since that’s the niche of my awesome publisher, Less Than Three Press. In the spring, I was working hard on a dystopian-science fiction fantasy romance (yeah, that’s a mouthful), which was picked up. Then there was a sudden project for a submission call, resulting in a fantasy romance with a little visual cortex science. Now I’m slaving over the sequel to A Question of Counsel.
Add a pinch of feeling like ick for about three weeks every time there’s a change in seasons, two weeks of a pinched back nerve and screwed up muscles, and some general shenanigans and what results is a longer To Do list. What else is new?
The Wonderful World of Blood & Heritage
So here’s the low-down and round-up on the series. Quick, quick like a bunny:
Book 1, Ascension, is still with the publisher. By the looks of it, it won’t be released until some time in 2016. I’m hoping to have some news towards the end of the year.
Book 2, Descent, is still in rewrites. Poor baby’s been shafted while I work on other projects. I do have about five chapters done so that’s something. Although there’s thirty-something chapters total, so maybe I’m not throwing confetti quite yet. I will say the outline’s insanely intense. I’m teasing out more of the personal stories of a couple main characters. Also found the climax and ending that’ll really put things into a tizzy. A mirror gets smashed, frustration and guilt run rampant, villains might win a little, and the good guys have to work THAT. MUCH. HARDER. (Does it make me a sadist if I admit that I’m really super excited about all of that?)
Now here’s the new news: I have a few novellas planned for the series. I’ve been playing with the idea of self-publishing some side projects about certain characters from the series because some of them have great stories that I want to tell so badly, but they just don’t fit into the books. I’m currently sitting on Awake & Dreaming, a short story I wrote for my beloved badass assassin, Menníenn, but it takes place between book 1 and 2 so I can’t release it yet. :S
Although in the last two months, I’ve started the outline for a trilogy of novellas around Néthyn, the sweet-but-deadly warrior priest and spy. The ideas have existed for a couple years now, but I didn’t get into the nitty gritty details until recently, thinking that maybe while I’m biding time for Ascension to come out, I could share some things about that world. The incredibly important stuff in Néthyn’s life happen before and during Ascension, and is entwined with other characters who don’t get much on-screen time in the books since it’s focused on Quji. There’s an opening to share some dark secrets that play into the rest of the series, so it’s a fun project. Right now, it’s entitled Stay In Shadow, or at least one of the stories is.
I’m hoping that after the latest romance is done, I’ll be back on top of B&H. I’ve also been smacked upside the head in the last 48 hours with a completely different set of novellas for two characters that won’t even be born until book 5 or 6 or something… They’re a sweet young couple and they’re definitely breaking my heart. I’m totally stoked to want to work on their stories but seriously, MORE WORK?!?! (And now I’m reminded that I’m also a masochist.)
Then There Was ALL THE READING
In the spring, I went through a two week period of insomnia followed up by another two week period of insomnia (each with their specific personality). During that time, I didn’t write anything. But, oh, did I read. I binged on Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The League series. Then I got back into writing and expended some brain cells and was a happy kitten.
A few weeks ago, I went into binge mode again and read through the series (I blame Darling and Nykyrian for this because… because… DARLING and NYKYRIAN. *weeps from frustration and love*). I even managed to write a few reviews over at Goodreads.
… and that’s that. WIPs that are simmering on the back burner, biding their time until they can squeak back into the limelight. Here’s to hoping that happens soon. Is it too ridonculous to make Tenth-Month Resolutions?