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SOULBOUND = Out TODAY! Release Day Stuffs & Shhh… a Deleted Scene!

 

It’s Release Day!!!

 

Cover for Soulbound by Archer Kay Leah

 

Purchase directly from my publisher or from any major online retailer!
AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKobo • iTunes (TBA) • Bookstrand

 

 

Genres: Fantasy, romance
Series: The Republic

In a relationship that violates rules and expectations, Mayr and Tash have found their perfect match in each other. Despite their fears and difficult pasts, they hope for a shared future with security and a family. When Mayr’s secret first love, Arieve, proposes they create that family with her, it seems dreams could become reality.

But life is complicated, and so is the delicate balance between duty and love. While Mayr protects the Dahe family at all costs, Tash is determined to succeed as a priest. Both positions require sacrifice, forcing their relationship into painful choices. To make matters worse, criminals lurk in the shadows, seeking revenge on them and those they guard.

The life they want risks losing everything—including Arieve and each other. Even if they can have it all, keeping it may take more than they can give.

 

Content notes & trigger warnings: Soulbound contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.

 

 

Are you on Goodreads? Add it to your shelves!

Also check out the other stories in the series: A Question of Counsel, Four, and Blood Borne. (While Soulbound can possibly be read on its own, readers might find it helpful to also read Four and Blood Borne for background on some of the references and characters.)

 

 

 

 

YAYYYY! It’s here! It’s real and available for reading! \o/

I hope folks enjoy it, especially those who enjoyed Four. My heartfelt thanks to Hudson L. for braving the manuscript as a beta reader and Victoria M. for the never-ending support. Warm thanks, also, to A.M. Valenza for the help and patient advice when I freaked out over edits so close to the holidays! And as always, thanks to Sam, Megan, Sasha, and LT3 for their support and for giving this book (and me) a literary home. ❤

Soulbound is an odd duck in the series. First, it’s the second book of three that deals with Mayr and Tash’s relationship, and the third part is meant to be the very last book of the series. Additionally, it’s also the last in a trilogy inside the series: Four introduced circumstances, Blood Borne saw certain decisions made, and Soulbound deals with the consequences of it all. But this is also a HUGE turning point for the series. The republic is in a state of chaos, though it might not seem like it on the surface. Rather, the chaos is underneath and creeping around. Things need to change… which is where Soulbound comes in. Most, if not all, of the remaining books in the series will deal with the consequences of actions in this one. It’s going to be a lot like playing with dominoes: certain people and things are going to come into play that no one saw coming, including a couple characters that everyone thinks they know…

Having said that, yeah, there’s angst in this story. It gets heavy. Things with Tash get deeply personal, coming from his POV for once, with the raw, grimy truths he has to deal with. He’s kept a lot of things back from readers and his loved ones, and some of them will finally make it to the page.

But I promise there’s plenty of happy stuff! There are cheesy moments, sweet moments, and moments where Mayr and Tash are just too saccharine for words. And surprises. And secrets… So many secrets. I can’t go into them here without spoiling it all. 😉

For now, however…………. I’m sharing a deleted scene!

WARNING: It includes spoilers.

I loved this bit, but it had to go. The book was way too long, and I had to cut whatever I could. None of these details will be trashed permanently — they’re just going to come out in the series in a different way. (aka. Yes, Pellon is getting a book, tentatively titled In Shadow and Valour)

So scroll down a bit more and you’ll find it. Enjoy!

 

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….

 

 

DELETED SCENE!! {Spoiler Warning}

Pellon’s boots scuffed the floor as he turned in the doorway and stepped out of the room.

Not before Mayr glimpsed the misery and defeat on Pellon’s face.

“Thanks, Ae.” Mayr cleared his throat. “How about you two go on ahead? I need to talk to Pell.”

“Sure.” Aeley smiled and clasped Lira’s hand. “Come on. Let’s cause some trouble.” In a fit of giggles, they glided out of the room.

“Hey, Pell, get in here,” Mayr called.

As though attending a funeral, Pellon entered the room slowly, dragging his feet. The door closed quietly behind him.

Mayr’s heart threatened to sink deep in his chest, regret seeping around his happiness. He had already gone through the important pre-ceremony talks with his parents and siblings, Aeley, Arieve, and Tash’s family. The short meeting with Betta the night before had been easier than he anticipated, her exuberant blessing releasing him from whatever residual obligations haunted him. His last conversation with Tash before they took to separate rooms to prepare had consisted mostly of long kisses, low moans, and hands that refused to stop wandering.

There was still one discussion he needed to have, one he had avoided for weeks. No moment had been good enough. No words had come. Saying something meant admitting to breaking a promise and violating Pellon’s confidence. Even worse, his words could drag Pellon’s heart through the mud of never-going-to-happen and toss him into what could be a violent storm of never-should-haves.

But it’s better to try than keep settling for less. Being with Tash is teaching me that a thousand times over, and if I we’re finding a way… Doing something is better than always waiting. And he’s always been here for me, through all these years of disappointment and bad choices, even when I was a complete fool. He’s still putting up with my decisions, protecting Ress and Adren and Tash and anyone else I throw at him. It’s time I give him something back.

“I’m sorry,” Mayr said softly.

Surprise raced across Pellon’s features, chasing away the tension of dejection. Red brow furrowed, Pellon stepped back. “For what?”

“For getting married twice when you still can’t marry your girl once.” Wincing at the words, Mayr crossed his arms and shifted his feet. “You’re my only attendant who isn’t married, even though you should’ve been married for years now and chasing after an entire brood of miniature torments. I feel horrible that you’re standing up there with me given all that. I almost didn’t ask,” he murmured, crossing the room to lean against the wall, his chin lowered. “If not for Tash, I might’ve given up.”

Pellon let out a long breath and rubbed the back of his neck. “That’s a real nice sentiment, and I appreciate it, but it’s not your burden, brother. You always make someone else’s problem your problem — and you need to let it go.” He laughed weakly, gesturing to the door. “Why is this even a thing right now? You should be out there, getting married. Take what happiness you have and enjoy it. I’m living vicariously through you, so get it right.”

“Yeah, I know, and that’s the point.” Mayr snorted. “You’ll be standing there thinking of Nesandra and what you don’t have. It’ll be an ugly reminder of your damn family and hers, and I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in smashing your heart into tiny little pieces just so I can be happy. Thought I’d try giving you some hope instead, especially when I’ve got all the power to offer it.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I’m tired of your parents dictating who you can and can’t marry,” Mayr answered, smirking. “I’m making it my personal mission to flick my fingers in their faces and tell them to shove it. Grand Families or no, you’re still people, and Nesandra’s not something they can trade or sell just to piss all over you. It’s messed up, forcing you to choose between staying with Aeley and crawling home just so they’ll grant you permission to even look at Nesandra. If I were Council, I’d have kicked their asses by now. So forget it — I wouldn’t mind going rogue on this.” He scrambled to keep hold of his confidence as his gaze flickered to the floor. There was every chance his next comment would get him hurt. “But I can’t do it alone. I know you don’t want to involve more people than is necessary, and I know you hate people being in your business…”

Eyes narrowed, Pellon pursed his lips and crossed his arms. “What did you do?”

“Told Tash.” Mayr grimaced. “He brought up Sorys and Wynn; said the Keeper ran his mouth a little. So I told him more of the situation, just to make it clear why we hate those bastards — part of my new no-secrets approach to being married. And then I told him about the whole Nesandra debacle.”

“Everything?” Pellon asked quietly, blood rushing from his face.

“Almost. He’s got the gist of it,” Mayr muttered. “Enough to agree it’s not right. And he agrees: your ass stays with us until you’re damn well ready to leave, not whenever your daddies call you to heel. The family businesses are their problem, not yours. And forget Nesandra’s father and grandmother — they’re no better, pulling these games, ruining every attempt you’ve made to court Nesandra honestly. They won’t keep getting away with assaulting your integrity, not if I can help it.”

Pellon groaned, drawing both hands down his face. “Mayr, Mayr, Mayr. Don’t, please don’t. Just…” He held out both hands. “Things are so good for you, so good, and if you get involved in this… My family, hers — they’re in for the long fight. And they’re playing by the rules. You do anything to piss them off and it’ll be my head on Council’s desk. Aeley’s been trying to negotiate–”

“Yeah, I know. She’s an excellent Tract Steward, playing all the political moves.” Mayr tilted his head, casting Pellon a cynical gaze. “But she’s been at it since Korre died and no one’s budging. You’re still seeing Nesandra in secret and the bureaucratic options are wearing thin. One of these days, it’ll fall apart. Worse than this underhanded marriage they want for Nesandra to some pompous ass who doesn’t even know her name.”

“Don’t remind me,” Pellon ground out. “Pretty sure my fathers have something to do with it.”

Mayr grunted and drew his hand over his braids. “Would be just like Sorys, that sneaky bastard.”

“Nesa’s got fight though. She’s my little fire.” A glimmer of hope brightened Pellon’s features. “She’ll keep refusing and stalling. Aeley, too, since she’s got Nesa’s formal ask to help. They’ve petitioned Council to intervene.” The hope drained from Pellon’s face. “Though Ae’s talking about possibly marrying Nesa off to some friend of hers, a girl in another Grand Family willing to pretend to be a suitor. Someone we can trust, who’ll let me and Nesa be together.”

“Right, so you can keep skulking around. How is that any better?”

“It’ll be safer than what you’ve got planned, I’m sure.”

Tense silence fell between them. Mayr worried his bottom lip, fingers flexing in loose fists. He knew what it was to fight for love and nearly lose everything. Had Armamae not intervened, he could have lost Tash completely. They owed their happiness to someone who had the audacity to forgo the rules. As much as Mayr believed in following laws and procedures, he hated the games people played with each other, moving hearts around like coins on a board. Even more, he hated the exploitation of those who never consented to partake in those games. It was time to do what was right. If he had to bend the rules of high society until they snapped, he would.

“Just hear me out,” Mayr said softly. “We’ve got an idea, Tash and me. I told him about Nesandra because he’s a priest, Pell. Even better: he’s a priest of Emeraliss. Where you and I are all angles and bite, this love stuff is his specialty. And I’m starting to get that. I’m accepting it. It’s part of who he is. The best part.”

“So?”

So he’s serious about helping you. You’re my family, and now you’re his. He’s offering to do whatever he has to, whenever and wherever.”

Pellon arched a brow. “Yeah, that’s not pointed.”

Mayr snorted. “Please.” He moved towards Pellon and stopped with a foot’s length between them. “He knows of safe places where you can get married; places where no one can get to you. You pick the day and the time, he’ll be there. Me, too, and Aeley and Lira — plus anyone else you want. Tash will do the rite so no one will be able to contest it. No one.

“You’re saying exactly what I think you’re saying, aren’t you? You, who got married in secret and then got used and taken and spent all that time hating secret ceremonies…” Pellon flushed and looked away. “Sorry, low blow.”

“Yeah, I know, but your marriage won’t be a mess like mine and Betta’s. Three reasons.” Mayr held up fingers as he continued. “One, Nesandra practically kills herself trying to stay with you. Two, Tash is a high-level priest and you’ll have all the witnesses you need. He’ll make it a midnight wedding in the middle of nowhere and no one can refute it. And three, the Temple can offer Nesandra asylum. One word from Tash and she’s got it. Kee won’t turn her away, and no one would dare attack just to get at her. She’d be safe until Council officially recognizes your marriage and tells your parents to stand down.”

“Mayr…”

“Happy, Pell.” Mayr gripped Pellon’s shoulders, shaking him gently. “You want to be happy, remember? That’s all we ever wanted, you, me, and Ae. We fight to have better lives. Ae’s got it with Lira, and I’ve got Tash. We’re not leaving you behind. Since we’re filling the house with spouses and strays, I don’t think Nesandra will be any less welcome.” He cupped the back of Pellon’s neck. “Once this wedding chaos is over, we’re planning a whole covert mission. You, me, Tash, and Aeley will kick your families where it hurts most. You always said Sorys likes hitting. Time we gave him a fist to suck on.”

“You’re a trouble-making bastard,” Pellon whispered. “Nesa’s probably going to hate it. I’ve thought about getting married in secret practically every day, but she loves her family, even with all this. She doesn’t want to cut ties. Doesn’t want to hurt them or throw this in their faces. She’s still holding onto promises she made her mother. I haven’t bothered to ask about a secret wedding because I know her answer. She’ll throw it back at me and refuse.”

Mayr rolled his eyes. “A hundred tidepins says she’d trade all that in an instant considering how you two go on. Just like I know Ae would throw a disgustingly huge wedding feast and spread the word to every aristo around, daring them not to show up. Doesn’t matter what your families do.” A smirk spread over his lips. “It’s no less a risk than Aeley taking on Lira’s family, and look how prettily we’ve smacked them down.”

“I don’t know…”

“At least consider it? Nothing has to happen right away.” Mayr clapped Pellon’s arm. “The bureaucrats aren’t getting it. We’re soldiers — it’s time we do it our way.” He pouted. “Besides, I’m tied of you staring at Tash and Arieve like you want a piece.”

Pellon snorted and laughed, the deep rumble breaking the lingering tension. “No, they’re very much yours. She’s cute, but I don’t do cute. And while he’s a looker, he’s not my type. You know I prefer guys prettier than me with just a hint of kick. Not full-on fist and knife work.”

“Saying I like them dangerous, are you?”

“No, I’m saying you need to get your ass to the altar before he decides to kick it.” Before Mayr could move, Pellon pulled him into a tight hug. “Thanks. For caring; for wanting to try. For giving me another option.”

Mayr returned the embrace even harder. “‘As the heart of Kattal beats, so do we,'” he recited, kissing Pellon’s cheek and pushing him away. “Come on. You grab the sword and I’ll get the door.”

“Aye, Head Guard.” With quiet laughs, Pellon rushed to the bed to retrieve the sword and its black leather scabbard from their lined wood case…

 

 

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August Updates + Pre-order “Soulbound” @ 32% Off (AND Get Other Books for 20% Off!)

 

 

Happy August, everyone! Also known as Where the heck did summer go

Yeah, I don’t know, either.

Mmm, okay, so maybe that’s not entirely true. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost half of it to the day after day of construction that’s going on in my building and the other half in words. Buuuut, what I do know for sure-for sure is that I have updates and news on the book sale my publisher is hosting on their website for the next couple of weeks. (Because BOOKS!!! And sales make them all the sweeter!) More on that below. 🙂

 

Soulbound (The Republic #4) is Almost HERE!

Yes, it’s going be be release day here really soon. Eeek, it’s so exciting! Soulbound has been a labour of love, and I’m thrilled that it’ll be available to readers soon. Mayr & Tash are so very dear to my heart and I love where this book ended up going, even though it wasn’t planned and it’s changed so much in the series.

The release date is September 5, but readers who pre-order it from my publisher, Less Than Three Press, will get it the evening before that, on September 4th! And if you purchase it right now, you can get it for 32% off of regular price, from now until August 22. After that, it’ll go back to being 15% off until release day. It’s available from LT3 in multiple digital formats, so it doesn’t matter if you use Kindle, Nook, computer, or another type of reader — you can totally take advantage of the sale! (And pick up loads of other books while you’re there!)

You can also add Soulbound to your shelves on Goodreads.

 

Newly Signed: Of Kindred and Stardust

If you missed the news: a few of weeks ago, I signed a contract for another novella, called Of Kindred and Stardust! It’s my contribution to the Home for the Holidays collection that LT3 Press is putting out. It’s a bit of something different with a few touches of unapologetic fun all rolled up in a sci fi future and polyamorous romance. There’s the cheekiness of George the Lizardbot, more than a few terrible jokes, and a main character that ended up way more mouthy than I anticipated… Wait, he talks like me. Uhhhh…

*clears throat* Yeah, so that’s coming out, probably next year, I think. I even wrote a glossary for this one, given the names that come up, many of which I don’t anticipate most readers to know. Though whether that was a good idea or not… I’ll have to see. I’m feeling several kinds of anxious about it — the glossary, not the book itself — considering all of the misinformation being spread by pop culture and the entertainment industry. I’m bracing myself for all of the “these things aren’t true, because in the Marvel movies…” arguments, despite the historical lore that’s openly available. *sigh*

But hey, it’s happening, so that’s awesome! I’m incredibly happy I can share this with everyone and hopefully make folks laugh a little. 🙂 If anything, maybe I can spread some warm fuzzies??

 

Current WIP: Rule Breaker (The Republic #0.5) — Edition #2!

Okay, so. Originally I thought I’d be working on Rebel Call right now, after I finally got OKAS sorted. I literally was a couple days away from starting on it when blam! It got hijacked by Rule Breaker, which I’ve been meaning to rewrite but haven’t had the time. The story was originally published in an anthology, but the rights came back to me last summer and I put it aside until I could think it through.

Thanks to the story shoving itself to the front of the queue at last minute, I’m currently rewriting it, from start to finish. This second edition is being built on the foundation of the original published version, but with a lot of reworking and polishing touches in addition to new material. The characters remain exactly as they were, though I’m now getting further into them since I have the word count to do it. I also get to write from both perspectives, which I’ve been looking forward to, because Tracel has a voice that deserves to be heard.

I’ve drastically expanded it in the front end, so the story will start weeks earlier, before Gren goes away on The Job He Wishes He Never Did, as opposed to only showing what comes afterwards. I even spent a night designing Tracel’s cottage and putting the blueprint together. (FINALLY, a character gets to have a summer kitchen!)

I’ve also worked in more of the geography. I have a beautiful new map that’s making its debut in Soulbound, so it just made good sense to use it here! (I can’t wait to show off the map. Raelynn Marie did such an amazing job! I’m going to take any chance to use it that I can.)

I haven’t quite finished the first chapter yet, but it’s already turning out longer than I expected, meaning the book will definitely be more than 40,000 words. The original was under 20k, but it looks like this edition will be at least 3x that. It’s just as well: I want this book to match the others, so that’s part of how it’ll happen, especially since I’m able to load in a whole lot of world-building into this version.

More to come on that. At the moment, I’m working on promos and tour posts so I’ve had to put RB aside for a little bit, probably until mid-September or so.

 

Book Sale @ LT3 Press ~~ Get 20% Off Queer Romances Until August 22!

Love books? Want more?

Time to go SHOPPING! ^_^

And what better than to hit up a summer sale at my publisher’s site, where you can pick up a ton of fantastic LGBTQIA+ books for 20% off (or more, in the cases of pre-orders)??? If you dig queer romance, here’s a chance to add to your library!

All of my books are part of the sale — check them out here.

That includes Soulbound (at 32% off) and books #1, 2, and 3 of The Republic series. In fact, you can get all four books for $20 and be caught up!

If anthologies are your jam, Enchanted Soles is also on sale, along with my sci fi MMF romance, For the Clan.

But there are hundreds of other books available, so hop on over now and take a look!

 

 

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NEWS! “Of Kindred and Stardust” Has Been Signed with Less Than Three Press! ♥

 

 

Wow, this month has certainly brought some fantastic surprises — and it’s not even the 31st yet! With that, I’m so excited to announce another piece of happy news: my novella, Of Kindred and Stardust, has been signed with Less Than Three Press for their Home for the Holidays collection!

YESSSSSS!!!    \o/    \o/    \o/

I wrote a little about the project back in March, though I was still working out the particulars then. When I saw the collection call, I knew I wanted to write something for it, though the real-world component gave me pause. Stories about holidays usually means contemporary, which isn’t my forté. And even though urban fantasy and paranormal stories do fall into my speculative fiction frame of mind, I wanted to stay away from them. I wanted to write about a Pagan holiday, but I didn’t want something that fell into the fantastical — I wanted a real, earthy story that shows what it’s like being a Pagan in the real world. I wanted to write a story from a Druid perspective, but I didn’t want it to be about someone with magical powers, an immortal, or anything else often found in urban fantasy.

No, I wanted the day to day, garden variety Druid-Pagan, which is what I live. Basically, I wanted a story about someone who experiences the world like me.

I don’t see those stories very often — they seem to be very, very rare, especially in romance and queer fiction. It’s like the difference between  stories about stereotypical, fantastical witches and those about Wiccans: they aren’t the same thing. I yearn for more of the latter, as much as I really wish for more stories about actual Heathens instead of pieces that simply rip into the Norse pantheon and mess around with the gods, which often tear apart the really significant stuff or abandon it altogether. The same with eclectic Pagans, Hellenists, Kemetics, or anyone else under the umbrella, really. I have a few books (Mr. March Names the Stars is one such lovely), but I’m always looking for more. If anyone has any recommendations, throw them over!!

In the end, I came up with a science fiction piece, which allowed me to blend my geeky side with all of the above, while also looking at what it could be like for a future Druid to live in space. What would their spiritual practice look like? How would they feel? What would they do out there and how would they connect to nature when they’re immersed in the universe, away from Earth?

After that, I settled on other details that helped shape the story. The holiday of choice? Imbolc, an old Celtic holiday which takes place on February 1st/2nd (at least in the Northern hemisphere), right between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. The relationship? M/NB/F poly, because I honestly couldn’t make the character choose one or the other, so why force it? There’s also the fact the number three is involved… which is so very Druid, it kills me. And the fact that apparently, polyamory was a thing with the old Celts, along with their acceptance of same-sex relations, so I totally ran with it. *grin*

Everything else fell into place as I developed the outline and wrote the story. Though it was one surprise after another, including the fact OKAS decided it wanted to be written in first person, not third, which is my default. I’ve written in first before, but only short stories. This was my first novella with this POV, and that’s okay, because third wouldn’t have given quite the same flavour!

The only real bummer was that I started the story wayyyy later than I wanted to due to health issues and stuff that popped up and needed doing ASAP (plus a Depeche Mode concert and mini vacate in Toronto!), meaning I had to really crunch everything in and rush edits… arrrgh. I also had boatloads of research to do for this — nearly every night I’d research 4+ topics before I got any writing done, from astronomy to languages to Canadian engineering traditions.

In short: I wrote OKAS in 2 weeks, then edited it in 3.5 days.

Ugh. Writing 40k in 2 weeks — not something I want to do again!! I really felt when I was forcing things, which isn’t how I roll. I had to write a chapter a night (about 3k to 5k every day, at least), but I’m not a write-every-day kind of author. It drains me rather terribly, and when I force the words… it never feels right, especially when I’m nearly falling asleep. Yikes.

But hey, it happened. Then to see that acceptance email come in… oh, yeah, that felt AMAZING!!!

(Also, incidentally: I submitted the story on the deadline date itself, which happened to be the 6th anniversary of my mother’s passing… and for the first time in 6 years, I wasn’t get bogged down by grief. My thoughts were in this story, breathing and sleeping and living it. That alone gives this story an entirely new level of personal significance, because Imbolc is about renewal, rebirth, and the light of the year coming back around as the dark half of the year is on its way out. Maybe I needed to write this more than I realized, especially considering that the goddess most associated with the holiday is Brigit…  a goddess of healing. Go figure.)

 

So OKAS Is About What, Exactly?

Here’s my effort at a blurb, which is subject to change:

After four years in the Alpha Centauri solar system, astrobiologist Dath Bellin is relieved to be back at ECHO-Crosspoint Space Station. His next mission: return to Earth and take vacation. There’s family to see, R&R to catch up on, and Imbolc to celebrate with his Druid grove—everything he could hope for from a Canadian winter.

Just one problem: everything goes wrong before he can even leave the station. There’s also the matter of his exes, who are all sorts of temptation he can’t have. Coming home has never been so complicated…

For four years, Mack Ainsley Tsallis and Kytzia Polović have wanted to know why Dath left them the way he did. They’re determined to win him back together, especially since Mack is convinced Dath wasn’t completely honest with xem and Kytzia before he ran off to Alpha Centauri. Being ignored isn’t cutting it anymore: it’s time to start fresh and prove the three of them are perfect for each other—assuming Dath still wants them.

 

And ohhhh, is there so much crammed into it. There are about a hundred different things in it that have some sort of personal meaning to me and my partner — there are nods to things we’ve done (like Highland Games and Pagan Pride Day), things we own (like our pendents), things we love (space and natural disaster movies!) and hate (BUGS), things we’ve talked about (Starman and the Tesla!)… just A LOT of personal notes, though most of them are little details, so you wouldn’t know they’re from our personal experiences. It’s as simple as the pinecone on Dath’s altar… which actually goes back to our first date. (Note: Sitting on a pinecone during such a date may end up in it becoming a symbol of your relationship forever and ever.)

But there it is. Dath, Mack, and Kytzia. Dath’s my nerdy little botanist Druid; Mack’s a rockin’ engineer and manager with edge; and Kytzia’s a sassy, colourful techie with a thing for fun types of revenge. Dath identifies as panromantic demisexual, Mack is a non-binary/genderqueer pansexual who uses xe/xem pronouns (also identifies as trans), and Kytzia is bisexual/pan… Dath and Kytzia are roughly in their mid-thirties, while Mack is in xir forties with kids in university… Dath is more laid back in style, while Mack is more of an alternative-punk sort of person and Kytzia was inspired by Garcia from the TV show, Criminal Minds. (Because OMG, GARCIA. She’s beautiful in so many ways. <3)

I’ll write a post later with more about it (for the cover reveal and release day), but the story was a lot of fun to write. And there’s a lot of Pagan perspective included — I didn’t hold back that much. Instead, I incorporated our words, symbols, practices and traditions, a tiny glimpse of a Druid ritual (I’ve been part of several), and other things that come with all of that. Of course, that’s led to me working on a glossary, so I need to get to it.

I also didn’t hold back on the bit of nerd I know and love, although the references may not be obvious. I can say there’s a Star Trek reference (because my wife really it), a couple of nods to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a teensy hint of Farscape, gaming, robots, a reference to anime… and the names. Ohhhh dear. *snickers* No one realizes just how difficult it was for me to name my characters this time, because real-world names WHAT?! (aka. It sounded more like “^#*& $^@# *%$!!!!” on this end) But with Dath and his sister, I may have had a little too much fun playing with names from a few of my favourite SFF movies/books (and a show).

Therefore, I shall leave you with “Ardath Willowford” and “Callisto Amalthea” and let y’all figure those ones out. 😉

OH! And our cat, Silbhester. He made it in, too. It was due time. ^_^

 

I’ll save some of that stuff for later, though. In the meantime… it’s gonna get published. SQUEEEE!

 

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Cover Reveal!!! ♥ SOULBOUND ♥ ~~ Available for Pre-order RIGHT NOW!

 

OMG, Soulbound has a cover! And a blurb. And a listing with pre-order link!!! 😀

This is big news, especially since I didn’t expect it so soon. I estimated a winter release date, but nope, the book will be available on September 5, 2018! That’s 1.5 months away — and almost *exactly* 2 years from when Four was published. (No, for real. Four came out on September 7, so for Soulbound to come out on the 5th is HUGELY hilarious to me, seeing as both books are about Mayr & Tash.)

For those new to what this book is, it’s #4 in my high fantasy & romance series, The Republic, and features one of my favourite pairings, Mayr & Tash. One’s a guard, one’s a priest, and in this book, readers find out just how connected they really are. The guys also find themselves in an MMF relationship with someone very dear to them both: Arieve, who Mayr fell in love with when he was a teenager but could never be with romantically for various reasons. In addition to that, Arieve comes with her own FF relationship with Coye, whose relationship to Mayr is a rough work in progress.

So yeah… it’s currently available to pre-order from my publisher, and here’s the cover, designed by my favourite cover artist, the ever amazing Natasha Snow! I was blessed to have Natasha as my cover artist for the first book in the series, and she’s done the covers for the other books ever since. She’s utterly fantastic. ♥

 

 

Cover for Soulbound by Archer Kay Leah

 

Publication date: September 5, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, romance
Series: The Republic
LGBTQIA+ identities: Bisexual; MM and MMF poly relationships
Cover artist: Natasha Snow

 

In a relationship that violates rules and expectations, Mayr and Tash have found their perfect match in each other. Despite their fears and difficult pasts, they hope for a shared future with security and a family. When Mayr’s secret first love, Arieve, proposes they create that family with her, it seems dreams could become reality.

But life is complicated, and so is the delicate balance between duty and love. While Mayr protects the Dahe family at all costs, Tash is determined to succeed as a priest. Both positions require sacrifice, forcing their relationship into painful choices. To make matters worse, criminals lurk in the shadows, seeking revenge on them and those they guard.

The life they want risks losing everything—including Arieve and each other. Even if they can have it all, keeping it may take more than they can give.

 

Content notes & trigger warnings: Soulbound contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.

 

 


Pre-order the eBook from Less Than Three Press for 15% off!  *

{Available as mobi, ePub, and PDF. Pre-ordering from the publisher directly gets you the book the night before release day!}

 

 

 

Can this one be read on its own? Possibly yes, in theory, but readers may find it more helpful to read the first three books before this one — or, at the very least, read Four and Blood Borne. Soulbound ties back to both of them rather deeply. In fact, they form a trilogy: Four introduces particular characters and circumstances, Blood Borne sees them taking action, and Soulbound is where the consequences come crashing through. It also ties back to A Question of Counsel, meaning it might be worth reading the set to really get the whole picture!

This is also the first time readers will see things from Tash’s perspective. Up until now, he’s had his life splashed across the pages from other people’s POVs. In this one, though, he’s got at least half the story because some stuff has to be told from his side. But beware: it’s tough in places, touching on heavy subjects, as hinted at in the content notes and trigger warnings. Tash’s past… it’s been pretty shitty, and he lives with that all the time. There was a good reason why his Trials went down the way they did in Four — why he was resigned to let things happen as they may.

That past and the present circumstances in which Mayr & Tash find themselves are why the cover is what it is: there’s a darkness there, surrounding them, among other things. I can’t go into the exact reasons for the cover artwork without spoiling things, but it applies in a couple different ways. Things are pretty challenging for them right now.

But don’t worry, there’s good stuff packed into the story, too! I’ve tried to balance it out with several happy things. Readers will also see the return of the usual suspects — Aeley & Lira, Pellon, Severn, Cota, Rathen & Kirra, Ress & Adren, and Kee — as well as a few new characters. We’ll see the return of Gorgan, who was 18 in Four and brand new to guard training. He has a couple years experience now, and he’s learning what it’ll take to be who he wants to be.

I’m also ridiculously pleased to introduce Stick & Stuck, two other members of the Dahe Guard. They come as a pair and I love them dearly. Stick might be easy to underestimate, but he’ll fight hard for the cause, and Stuck… she’s a real delight and full of Don’t Screw With Me. This won’t be the last of them. Oh no. They’re here to stay. *mischievous grin*

I could go on, but I’ll end the post here and say there’s more to come! I’ll definitely say a bit more on Release Day. I’m also hoping to share a deleted scene that day, one I reallllllly wish I didn’t have to cut but alas, it needed to go.

In the meantime, if anyone has any questions about the book, series, characters, or whatever, let me know. I’m always happy to answer. ^_^

 

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“The River City Chronicles” by J. Scott Coatsworth || Book Tour, #Giveaway & Exclusive Excerpt!

 

Welcome to another Tuesday! Today I’m thrilled to announce that J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer magical realism book out: The River City Chronicles.

 

Cover for "The River City Chronicles"

 

Title: The River City Chronicles
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth

Release date: May 30, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, magical realism, gay fiction, queer fiction
Length: 115,000 words
Published by: Other Worlds Ink
Cover artist: Kelley York

 

A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.

Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.

 

 

Available at these retailers!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CAN) | Amazon (UK) | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink

 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

 

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GIVEAWAY:

 

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

{Click on “a Rafflecopter giveaway” to go to the Rafflecopter widget and enter for a chance to win! Or paste this link into your browser: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4710/}

 

 

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

 

Matteo pulled his Fiat Ritmo into the driveway of his parents’ house in Imola, a small village about twenty-five kilometers southeast of Bologna.It was a modest two-story home with a cement carport and a small, fenced-in front yard. Out back was his mother’s prized vegetable garden, where she grew her famous, delicious Cuore di bue tomatoes, often as big as his fist.

He sat in the car for a moment, staring at the door to the house. Every nerve in his body was screaming at him to turn around, to run back home. He and Diego had talked about this and had decided it was time, but he could still change his mind. He could do this another day.

Then the door swung open and it was too late. His mother, Elena Bianco, stepped down onto the bare cement of the carport in her slippers and beckoned him inside, a broad grin on her face.

He took a deep breath and turned off the car. He climbed out and put on a smile, and she threw her arms around him to give him a big hug.

Mio tesoro,” she said, kissing both of his cheeks. “What a wonderful surprise. Come in! Come in! We were just about to have dinner.”

Matteo shook his head. “I’m sorry, mamma, I didn’t mean to interrupt. I can come back another time—”

She shushed him. “Don’t be foolish. There’s plenty for all three of us.” She all but pushed him inside, pulling the door shut behind them. “We hardly ever see you anymore.”

Oh my God, that smells good. “Is it…?”

She nodded. “Your grandmother’s lasagna. Here, give me your coat.”

He let her pull it off.

She hung it on the old wooden rack by the door.

He looked around. Nothing much had changed since the last time he’d been home. The walls were the same soft yellow, the wooden window frames covered with white curtains. Photos of the family hung in the hallway—here a picture of his grandma Elsa, there a photo of Matteo and his sister in front of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, taken when he was twelve.

“Come on. Your father will be glad to see you.”

Matteo’s stomach twisted. Maybe not for long. Well, it can wait until after dinner. It was Nonna’s lasagna, after all.

 

* * * * *

 

Matteo finished the last piece of his mother’s wonderful lasagna, filled with meat, and eyed his parents. His mother got up to clear the dishes.

“Good to see you, boy.” His father, Pietro clapped a hand on Matteo’s shoulder. “You should come down to see us more often. Bologna’s not so far from here.”

In some ways, it’s a world away. But he just nodded. He screwed up his courage. “Mamma, Papa, I have something I need to tell you.”

His mother turned around, leaving the water running in the sink. “Is everything all right, caro?”

His father put a big hand over his. He worked in the shipbuilding trade up in Venice, and his hands were calloused and rough. “What is it?”

Matteo pushed down his fear. “There’s… something I have wanted to tell you now. For a long time.”

Elena sat down across the table from him. Strangely, she looked serene, as if nothing could faze her.

He glanced back at his father. Pietro was frowning.

“I’m… I like…” He tried to find a way to soften the blow, and failed. “There’s no easy way to say this. I’m gay.”

His father pulled his hand away as if he’d been burned. “Don’t you say such a thing in this house,” he snarled. His voice was a low growl. His mother put a hand on Pietro’s arm, but he would have none of it. “It’s not true. Tell me it’s not true.”

Matteo shook his head. “I can’t.”

“No son of mine is going to be a finocchio!” Pietro shouted, slamming his hand on the table, which shook like an earthquake.

For an instant, Matteo thought his father might strike him. Then Pietro spun around and stormed out of the house, the door slamming heavily behind him.

Matteo put his head down on the table with his hands over his forehead. “Cazzo.” He couldn’t bear to look at his mother.

He heard the chair creak next to him as his mother came to sit next to his side. She pulled his hands away from his face gently.

He looked up at her, and was surprised to see her smiling. “Mamma?” He whispered.

She smoothed a stray lock of hair away from his face. “I am proud of you, Tesoro.”

“You’re not angry?”

She shook her head, cupping his chin in her palm. “I’ve known this for a long time.”

“But Papà…”

“He knows too. It’s just… harder for him. He will come around.”

“I hope so.”

“I raised you to be strong. You never walk away from things just because they might be hard.”

He hugged her and cried softly in her arms. It would turn out all right somehow.

 

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Author Bio

Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow in East Sacramento, with two pink flamingos by the front porch.

He spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain 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 seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs 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 reality.

 

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

 

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“Ardulum” Series by J.S. Fields || Book Tour, #Giveaway & Excerpts! #FF #scifi #spaceopera #lesfic

 

Happy Saturday, folks! Today’s post is part of a blog tour for J.S. Fields, celebrating her FF sci fi series, Ardulum, and the release of Third Don, book #3 in the series! If you dig stories in space and queer sci fi, definitely check it out. (And seriously, look at those shiny covers! Natasha Snow has worked her magic again.)

 

 

Banner for the Ardulum series, with the covers for First Don, Second Don, and Third Don

 

The Ardulum series blends space opera and hard science into a story about two women persistently bound to their past, and a sentient planet determined to shape their future.

 

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GIVEAWAY:

 

J.S. Fields is giving away an eBook copy of books #1 and #2, AND a special collector’s edition First Don enamel pin to one lucky winner, via Rafflecopter:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

{Click on “a Rafflecopter giveaway” to go to the Rafflecopter widget and enter for a chance to win! Or paste this link into your browser: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4711/}

 

 

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About the Books

 

Ardulum: First Don (book #1)

 

Cover for Ardulum: First Don

 

The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

When Ardulum first appeared, the inhabitants brought agriculture, art and interstellar technology to the Neek people before vanishing back into space. Two hundred years later, Neek has joined the Charted Systems, a group of planets bound together through commerce and wormhole routes, where violence is nonexistent and technology has been built around the malleability of cellulose.

When the tramp transport Mercy’s Pledge accidentally stumbles into an armed confrontation between the Charted System sheriffs and an unknown species, the crew learns the high cost of peace—the enslavement and genetic manipulation of the Ardulan people. Now a young Neek, outcast from her world for refusal to worship ancient Ardulans as gods, must reconcile her planet’s religion with the slave child whom she has chosen to protect—a child whose ability to manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of the ancient myths of Ardulum. But protecting the child comes at a cost—the cultural destruction of her world and the deaths of billions of Charted System inhabitants.

 

 

Available at these retailers!

NineStar Press (Publisher) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CAN) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink

 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

 

 

Ardulum: Second Don (book #2)

 

Cover for Ardulum: Second Don

 

The Charted Systems are in pieces. Mercy’s Pledge is destroyed, and her captain dead. With no homes to return to, the remaining crew set off on a journey to find the mythical planet of Ardulum—a planet where Emn might find her people and Neek the answers she’s long sought. Finding the planet, however, brings a host of uncomfortable truths about Ardulum’s vision for the galaxy, and Neek’s role in a religion that refuses to release her. Neek must balance her planet’s past and the unchecked power of the Ardulans with a budding relationship and a surprising revelation about her own genealogy.

Ardulum: Second Don blends space opera and hard science into a story about two women persistently bound to their past, and a sentient planet determined to shape their future.

 

 

Available at these retailers!

NineStar Press (Publisher) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CAN) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink

 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

 

 

Ardulum: Third Don (book #3)

 

Cover for Ardulum: Third Don

 

The planet wakes.

Atalant is torn between two worlds. In uncharted space, head of a sentient planet, the new eld of Ardulum now leads the religion she once rejected. Emn is by her side, but the Mmnnuggl war brewing in the Charted Systems, threatening her homeworld of Neek, cannot be ignored. Neek must return to the planet that exiled her in order to lead the resistance. She must return home a god, a hypocrite, a liar in gold robes, and decide whether to thrust her unwilling people into the truth of Ardulum, or play the role she has been handed and never see her family, or her world, again.

 

 

Now available at these retailers!

NineStar Press (Publisher) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (CAN) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink

 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

 

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Excerpts!

 

from First Don (Book #1):

“Were we just attacked?” she asked incredulously. Neek took a closer look out the viewscreen. The rectangular cutter that sparkled with pinpricks of light and the wedge-shaped, agile skiffs, were Risalian. The pods—both the smaller purple ones and the frigate-sized, maroon ones—were unfamiliar. Their fomations were just as strange, stacked in columns like stones on a riverbank instead of in pyrimidal and spherical formations like Systems ships would. “Are those all Charted Systems ships?”

Yorden threw up his hands in disgust. “They’re not just Charted Systems ships—they’re Risalian ships. The cutter and skiffs are, anyway. No clue on the pods. What those blue-skinned bastards are doing out here with fully weaponized ships, I can only guess. However, they’re firing lasers. If we lose our armor and take a hit from any of those, we are space dust.”

“Comforting,” Neek mumbled. She hadn’t noticed the laser ports on any of the ships, but now that she looked closer, all of the vessels were covered with armor plating and had at least two laser turrets each.

Neek continued to watch as the pods begin to cluster around a Risalian cutter. A pod ship zipped beneath the cutter, firing wildly at its underside, before making a quick right turn and heading back to a larger pod. Five others followed suit. The cutter’s shielding began to splinter, but the ship remained where it was.

Neek leaned into the viewscreen, still unsure what she was seeing. “The Risalian ships aren’t chasing, they’re just defending. What is going on? If they’re going to appoint themselves sheriffs of the Charted Systems, they could at least fight back.”

Yorden smacked his hand against the wall, loosing a shower of dust. “Something on that Risalian ship is holding their attention. Get us out of here, before either of them gets any closer.” He pointed to a cluster of ships to Neek’s right, and her eyes followed. Little flashes of bright light sparked and then died intermittently as ships were destroyed, their flotsam creating an ever-expanding ring. A large piece of metal plating floated past the Pledge’s port window. The edge caught and left a thin scratch in the fiberglass as it slid off.

“What are they protecting that is so damn important?” Neek wondered out loud and then snorted. “Something worth more than our hold full of diamond rounds and cellulose-laced textiles?” she added cheekily.

Scowling, Yorden pushed Neek’s hand away from the computer and began his own scan of the Pledge’s systems. “Communications are still up, but I don’t think either party is listening right now.” Frustrated, he kicked the underside of the console. “Try one of them. Better than being crushed.”

“Captain, come on. We are dead in space. If another one comes at us, why don’t we just fire at it? It’s better than being rammed.” She pointed upwards at a circular hole in the ceiling. “What’s the benefit of flying a ship so ancient it falls apart if you’re not taking advantage of the grandfathered weapons system?”

Yorden’s terse response was cut off when a short burst impacted the ship. Another group of skiffs flew past, depositing laser fire as they did so. The Pledge banked to port, carrying momentum from the impact. From the direction they had come lay a trail of shattered ship plating.

A panicked voice called down from the laser turret. Neek bristled, steeling herself against the inevitable irritation that came whenever their Journey youth spoke. “That skiff just fired at us. How does it even have weapons? I thought we were the only ones in the Systems with a ship older than dirt.”

Neek wrapped her right hand back around the steering yoke. Each of her eight fingers fit perfectly into the well-worn grooves, and the brown leather darkened a shade as her naturally secreted stuk smeared from her fingertips. She smiled to herself. Flying a geriatric tramp was still better than flying nothing at all.

“Look, Captain,” she said, keeping her eyes on the battle. “I can steer this thing if we get pushed, but that is it. We don’t have any other options. They have guns. We have guns. Well, we have a gun. Why don’t we use it?”

 

 

from Second Don (Book #2):

“You have to tell her,” Nicholas said. He pushed himself out of a lean and pointed to where Emn’s blood had fallen. She’d been interfacing with the ship all the way through the wormhole and hadn’t noticed Nicholas return to the cockpit. That meant Emn was getting a lecture, one way or the other. Annoyed, she tugged at the fabric across her chest, the sensation something she was still getting used to, and turned to look at Nicholas. She’d have much preferred a lecture from Neek.

Nicholas’s eyebrow rose. “This is the fourth time I’ve seen you bleed from interfacing with the ship. If your physiology is so incompatible with it, then Neek needs to know. We need to find another ship.”

Emn dabbed at her ear with a finger, ensuring the canal was clean, and then straightened the front of her dress. She’d already stopped the bleeding. The blood vessel breaks had been small—only minor capillaries affected—and healing was simple first-don stuff. Except, each time she synced with the ship, the pain was worse. What had started as a light buzzing during her time on the Mmnnuggl flagship Llttrin, during the Crippling War, was now a pressure that thumped between her skull and brain. It was ever-expanding, pulsed behind her eyes, crushed blood vessels, and had her leaking maroon from her ears and nose.

After sitting down against the black paneling, Emn looked at her lap. The dress, which she’d managed to keep mostly clean of blood, was tight in areas she’d not anticipated. It clung to her hips and chest, highlighting the most notable changes since her metamorphosis. It was… Could something be uncomfortable and yet comforting at the same time? She was an adult. There was no denying that, not with something so formfitting. Emn enjoyed the visual reminder of who she had become.

“For me to discuss any of this with Neek, she’d have to actually talk to me. Right after the Crippling War, I thought we had broken through that layer of self-doubt, or whatever makes Neek so rigid around me, but I guess not.” Emn went to pull at the front of her dress again before catching herself.

Nicholas ran his hands through his thick hair and shook his head. “You’re telepathically connected. You don’t have to be in the same room to talk.” Just as he had when she was in first don, Nicholas plopped beside her so she could lean into him. The reminder of their friendship helped ease the thumping in her head. She was forever grateful that Nicholas didn’t seem at all uncomfortable with the changes she’d undergone.

“Do you think it looks all right?” Emn asked, looking down at the front of her dress.

Nicholas snorted. “You look like a woman in a dress, Emn. It fits well. Your chest looks normal, if that’s what you’re asking, although you’ll crease the fabric if you keep pulling at it like that. If you want more specific feedback, there’s a different person you should ask. I know you don’t have a perpetually open connection, but even if she’s closed down, you could still nudge her. It’s good for her.”

Emn returned the half smile, imagining how Neek would react if she just started chatting to her through their link about mundane things, like constellations or cellulose biometals, or if she actually asked about the dress…

As if Neek had been listening, the door abruptly slid open, and the room was filled with the distinctive sound of booted feet. Emn and Nicholas stood up.

Neek took a moment to stretch, reaching her hands up over her head and letting her sixteen fingers, eight per hand, brush the ceiling. This was the only room in the small Mmnnuggl pod where any of them could stand upright, and it was blissful to do so. Stretching pulled the fabric of the flight suit taut against Neek’s chest and Emn let her eyes linger, careful to ensure the image did not leak across their bond. They needed Neek in the cockpit, captaining, not hiding in her room. She didn’t need to know about Emn’s burgeoning…something. Not yet, anyway. Still, Emn followed the tightly braided red-blonde hair to her narrow shoulders and then to her wide hips partially hidden in a baggy flight suit. Neek had her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, and Emn wrinkled her nose without meaning to. The lighting in the pod did not go well with Neek’s olive-brown complexion. Realizing that she had probably stared for a bit too long, Emn walked back to the viewscreen.

“Looks like such a harmless planet from out here,” Neek said as her arms fell to her sides. Currently filling the floor-to-ceiling viewscreen was Risal, its orange algae oceans and brown landmasses looming above them. Risal’s two moons, the red Korin and white Rath, buffered the planet on either side. At their current position, the shadows from the sun overlapped Risal in two intersecting crescents, leaving a thin hourglass shape of lit land. Two cutters were in orbit around Korin, docked next to one another near the moon’s north pole.

Emn knew more than she cared to about those moons. She had no firsthand memories, but being synced to the late Captain Ran’s cutter had given her data on both. Rath was used as an andal plantation, although it was not a very successful one. Korin, in contrast…Korin was likely where she had been born. Emn probably had had siblings there, perhaps other genetic parents as well. They’d be dead, of course, like all the Risalian Ardulans, but that didn’t make the moon any less oppressive.

Her focus was suddenly returned to the cockpit. Confused, Emn blinked, trying to clear her vision, and then realized what was happening. Her thoughts must have leaked. Now, instead of Korin, she was seeing herself through Neek’s eyes, their connection taut. It was strange to see herself from the back—a woman in a knee-length, gray dress with shoulder straps and a flared hipline, tracing a finger over the moon’s image. Her black hair held only hints of the red that shone in her youth, and the moonlight highlighted the dark veins that streaked across her translucent skin. Patterns emerged, if one looked long enough—and Neek was—patterns of geometric shapes bound tightly together, distorted and intersecting. Several words bounded across their link despite Neek’s best efforts to rein them in. One in particular struck Emn as odd.

Beautiful.

Except, calling the markings such belied their daunting mythos and marginalized Neek’s history. Emn tossed the word aside, conscious of its relevance but unwilling to call it to Neek’s attention.

 

 

from Third Don (Book #3):

I dislike this flight suit,Atalant muttered as her stuk absorbed into the rough material. The Ardulans did not refine the andalrayon as much as Charted Systems manufacturers did, and the fabric was full of rough, lumpish slubs.

If you could find some time for us to be alone and do away with the memories for a few hours, I’m sure I could arrange for my dress to make an appearance. The images that accompanied her statement flushed Atalant’s cheeks.

Maybe if we met onboard the Scarlet Lucidity , in orbit around Ardulum, where no one could interrupt us and I felt a bit freer… Atalant’s thoughts drifted into that delightful possibility. The Lucidity had soft chairs in the cockpit, wide beds in the quarters, a small bin of andal in case Emn got hungry…

Andal! Atalant’s priorities came crashing back down around her. The planet caught her wandering and whispered dreams of its own, dreams of saplings in open fields, of thick rains and busy pollinators. The collective consciousness of Ardulum sent a yearning desire for family, for a new place to call home.

“Home is overrated,” Atalant whispered.

“I don’t think so. What about your parents, Atalant?” Emn whispered into her ear, misunderstanding Atalant’s words. “Your father and your talther miss you, I’m sure. Your brother is there, waiting to see his sister.” Emn’s lips brushed Atalant’s forehead. “All the things you said at those political rallies, all the times the president cut you down, your exile, your uncle’s teachings… Could you just let all this hang? Can you let the truth, that you worked so hard to uncover, remain a mystery to the rest of your people?”

Atalant didn’t answer. When Emn didn’t press further, Atalant reached over Emn and lifted the window open to its full height. The sounds of reptiles croaking filled the silence between them. Atalant let the heaviness of her eyelids sink her into drowsy memories. She thought of the Lucidity, berthed and awaiting her return in a suburb of the capital. She thought of the gold robes she now regularly wore, of their similarities to the Heaven Guard robes she had so coveted in her youth. She thought of her brother, his pursuit of andal science over Ardulan religion, his urging her to join the Heaven Guard of Neek. She thought of soil barren from andal plantation farming, the decline of the forests on her homeworld, and the death of the Keft ecosystem. She thought of her uncle, the High Priest of Neek, of his teachings, the holy books, and of what the return of living gods could do for her stagnant planet.

The sound of Emn’s even breathing relaxed the remaining tightness in Atalant’s shoulders. As she drifted off into sleep, her mind wandered to the possibility: what would it be like for Ardulum to return to the planet Neek? What havoc would the mystic, traveling planet play on her world’s religion? On her family? Would she be welcomed as a hero, or still branded a heretic? Would she be shot on sight? Gold robes of the Eld or gold robes of the Heaven Guard? Did it matter?

What would it be like for her to come home?

 

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About the Author

AUTHOR PHOTO - J.S. FieldsJ.S. Fields (@Galactoglucoman) is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. She enjoys roller derby, woodturning, making chainmail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, but prefers female pronouns.

Fields has lived in Thailand, Ireland, Canada, USA, and spent extensive time in many more places. Her current research takes her to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest each summer, where she traumatizes students with machetes and tangarana ants while looking for rare pigmenting fungi. She lives with her partner and child, and a very fabulous lionhead rabbit named Merlin.

 

Author Website: http://www.jsfieldsbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Galactoglucoman

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16484795.J_S_Fields

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-s-fields/

 

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New Release! “The Dragon of Ynys” by Minerva Cerridwen || Blog Tour & Character Interview!

 

Happy Tuesday! If you love dragons and stories with fairy tale flair, check out this brand new novella: The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen. And if you want more asexual, aromantic, and trans characters in your library, this one’s for you. 🙂

For a fun little treat today, I’m excited to share an interview with Sir Violet from The Dragon of Ynys. (Thanks to Violet for taking the time to hang out with us! It’s so great getting to know you.)

Today’s post is part of Minerva’s blog tour, so don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour, as listed below!

 

 

 

Title: The Dragon of Ynys
Author: Minerva Cerridwen

Release date: May 16, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy tale
Length: 21,000 words
Published by: Less Than Three Press
Cover artist: Kirby Crow

 

Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet makes his way to the dragon’s cave and negotiates the item’s return. It’s annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.

But when the dragon steals a person, that’s a step too far. As Sir Violet ventures out to get the missing baker back, however, he quickly realizes things are not at all what they seem…

 

 

Now available at:

Less Than Three Press (Publisher) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | Bookstrand

 

You can also add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

 

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~ Interview with Sir Violet from The Dragon of Ynys ~

 

 

Today on the Web we have an interview with Sir Violet, knight of Ynys. Welcome, Sir!

Thanks! Just call me Violet.

 

The novella you appear in is called The Dragon of Ynys, but you’re not the dragon, are you?

No, I’m a little short for that. And not scaly and toothy enough.

 

So what’s your role in this tale?

Well, they tell me I’m the main character, but… I’m basically just tagging along. You see, being a knight in a small village like Ynys is really more like being a detective. Holly hired me to find Juniper, her wife. She’d disappeared and obviously we needed her back, because who else would bake all those wonderful treats for us?

But the truth is, I’m not a very skilled knight. I wouldn’t have gotten far without the help of my friends.

 

When did you decide to become a knight?

When I was a teenager, everyone else either had these great passions they wanted to pursue, or they sort of rolled into their family’s business. But my biggest passion was food, and running a restaurant myself sounded way too stressful. Too many people with high expectations and no way of hiding from their incessant chattering…

And it’s not like our village needed a restaurant critic. Word of mouth will do the job when you’ve got all of two restaurants.

So when Lady Edelweiss was looking for a trainee, I decided I could make myself useful that way. Solving puzzles from gathering clues sounded like fun, in theory. It turned out the job wasn’t overly exciting, but… Then the dragon turned up.

 

What was your first impression of him?

It was pretty dark in the cave, so I couldn’t see Snap that well. And, no offence, but I think that was probably for the best. His teeth look kind of… sharp.

 

Does he eat humans?

Ha, no. As Juniper would put it, he’s a big sweetheart.

He might bite off my head for telling you that, though.

 

Then let’s move on to safer subjects. What’s your favourite food?

Juniper’s cinnamon rolls!

 

Ideal gift?

A flight in a hot-air balloon. I wonder how different it really is from travelling by dragon.

 

Weapon of choice?

I’d say my sword, but… Those things are awfully heavy. I prefer situations where I don’t need a weapon at all.

 

What’s your favourite moment of the story?

My fondest memory is the night outside in the forest. Not because of the forest—that was uncomfortable and awful. I don’t understand how the animals that live there ever get a good night’s sleep.

But Snap and I sat by the fire and we had a decent talk for the first time in ten years. He told me where he came from and I was honoured he opened up to me. It felt like the true start of our friendship.

 

How have things changed for you since your adventure?

I think for me as a knight the big change is that I’ve had an adventure. I’d never really left my village before. I never thought I’d say it, but it made me want to see more of the world. Fortunately, I get to travel for my new quest.

 

Is there any specific place you’d really love to visit?

I know I’d have to dress up warm, but I’d love to be on top of the world’s highest mountain at some point, just to enjoy the view. As long as I don’t have to walk there myself.

Apart from that, I’d like to try food specialties everywhere! I’m a lot more adventurous when it comes to delicacies. I think that’s something I have in common with my author.

 

And aside from the changes concerning you profession, how did the experience affect you on a personal level?

I made new friends and I’ve learned a lot. For example, the Web taught me I’m aromantic and asexual. I’d never experienced attraction nor felt a wish to be in a non-platonic relationship, and it’s nice to have words for that. Talking about it is easier than just hiding behind Snap every time the subject comes up.

 

I can imagine. Thank you for the interview, Violet.

Thanks for having me! Now let’s move on to the important part.

 

Yes, I can’t wait to try those famous cinnamon buns!

 

You can read about Violet’s adventure in The Dragon of Ynys, published by Less Than Three Press on May 16, 2018, and available for purchase here.

 

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Schedule for The Dragon of Ynys Blog Tour!
May 15 – 28, 2018

 

May 15

 

May 16

 

May 20

 

May 22

 

May 28

 

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About the Author

Minerva Cerridwen is a Belgian writer and pharmacist with a great love for fantasy, science fiction and fairy tales. She enjoys baking, drawing and handlettering. Since 2013 she has been writing for Paranatellonta (http://paranatellonta.tumblr.com/). Her first published work was the queer fairy tale ‘Match Sticks’ in the ‘Unburied Fables’ anthology. For updates on her newest projects, visit her website (http://minervacerridwen.wordpress.com/) or follow her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/minerva_cerr).

 

You can also visit Minerva on:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15904760.Minerva_Cerridwen

 

 

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