I am honored to share today’s special guest blog post from Carolyn DiPasquale, author of the book Reckless Grace. Today she shares the lessons she learned sending queries to agents and publishers alike. I hope you enjoy today’s post and be sure to follow the author and pick up your copy of their book today!
Finding a publisher is a long, lonely process. I’d heard the rejection stories, so I knew this going in, but I never imagined how hard it would be in that actual space.
Hoping to sign with a major company, aka the “Big 5 Publishers,” I began by querying agents. I spent hours trying to craft cogent query letters that, in retrospect, I think always missed the mark for two reasons. One, I had trouble boiling down a broad, complex work like Reckless Grace into a few catchy lines. My cognizance of the power of that letter—it could make or break me—also froze me up, resulting in stilted text. I received pass after pass. But infinitely more painful than the Dear-John emails was the total lack of response from most Big-5 agents who couldn’t be bothered to even acknowledge receipt of, much less respond to, not just my query letter, but also my book proposal and sample chapters, a package that took from several weeks to several months to put together. Which made me repeatedly feel like the book I’d labored over for the last seven years was worth nothing.
But I didn’t give up because even if I couldn’t articulate it effectively in my queries, I believed in the importance of my project. It helped that my writer-friend, Elisabeth, was also shopping her manuscript among Big-5 agents without success. We commiserated with each other while reviewing one another’s letters and synopses, and this camaraderie lifted some of the gloom. I got so excited the few times she received “hits,” that is requests from agents to read her full manuscript; however, they ultimately passed. (Elisabeth still hasn’t found an agent after eight years.) As time went on, I understood that Big-5 agents favor celebrities and well-known writers. They accept very few new clients, sometimes only one percent!
Therefore, after a year without one bite, I moved on to smaller companies, called Indie (independent) publishers. Within weeks, I started getting hits. Both editors who read my full manuscript offered me contracts. Though thrilled at their interest, I felt I had to proceed cautiously; I’d invested too much time in writing Reckless Grace to release it without vetting these companies. After contacting authors who had used these publishers and hearing about their experiences, I had serious reservations and ultimately rejected both offers. I knew it was the right call, but I felt dejected and stuck. In the stifling July heat of 2020, I started writing query letters again. In August, I got another hit. Jay Gowen from WiDo Publishing requested my full manuscript and read Reckless Grace in three days, stunning me with a phone call. “I don’t usually telephone authors,” he said in a kind, professional voice, “but your manuscript absolutely slayed me.” I signed a contract the next day.
Fourteen-year-old Rachel guards a collection of secrets for ten years, journaling to vent her terror and loneliness.
Following Rachel’s fatal overdose years later, her mother, Carolyn DiPasquale, stumbles upon her daughter’s diaries. Shattered, she searches for answers, retracing her steps to figure out how parents and doctors missed three major mental illnesses.
What the single, working mother recalls is a far cry from what happens, as dramatically revealed in tandem chapters gleaned from Rachel’s journals. While the mother sprints from task to task, the daughter details the baffling emergence and frightening progression of bulimia, diabulimia, and borderline personality disorder; her eventual substance abuse; and heart-wrenching reasons for not seeking help.
Despite her loss, DiPasquale hopes her story lights a path for victims of mental illness while awakening all readers.
Carolyn DiPasquale grew up in Franksville, Wisconsin, graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a double major in English and French. In 1983, she moved to Rhode Island where she raised three children while pursuing her Master’s in English at the University of Rhode Island. Over her career, she taught literature and composition at various New England colleges; worked as a technical writer at the Naval Underseas Warfare Center in Newport; and wrote winning grants as a volunteer for Turning Around Ministries, a Newport aftercare program for ex-offenders. She has been an active member of the Newport Round Table, a professional writing group (founded in 1995), since 2013.
DiPasquale currently lives in Richmond, Rhode Island where she has started working on a sequel to Reckless Grace. She has also ventured into writing children’s books. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking with healthy ingredients, hiking and trapshooting with her husband Phil, and volunteering at the New Hope Chapel food pantry in Carolina, Rhode Island.
Roz Alexander has a new FF holiday romance out: Higher. And there’s a Giveaway.
Where do dreams go to wait?
Tali Blue is definitely going back to finish her last semester of rabbinical school…eventually. When she moved back to her hometown seven years ago to help her grandparents raise her younger sisters, she planned on it being temporary. Now though, she has a stable job and a stable life surrounded by the people she’s known forever. It’s all just fine – and then there’s the incredibly annoying surprise of Maple.
Maple never meant to be successful. She just wanted to make weird art and practice her Ladino. And just like that, 15 years of adulthood has built a solid career, a great reputation as an art instructor, and a lackluster love life. It doesn’t help that she’s been spending all her free time consumed with making it as a Sephardic Jew into the Jewish art world that never seems to have space for her. And it definitely doesn’t help that she’s strictly a butch-for-butch queer. And then comes a sex goddess in the form of short, chunky, smoking hot, and incredibly nervous, butch, Tali Blue.
When Tali’s love of family, Maple’s art ambitions, and a Rosh Hashanah effort to #savethebees force these two together, both of them may learn that the only way out is up, together. This new year the honey is dripping on a lot more than apples. Higher is a steamy, butch-for-butch, grump-sunshine sapphic romance about what happens when you choose to take your dreams higher.
About the Series:
This entire Hot for the Holidays series is about queer Jewish people (and the people who love them) falling in love and having hot, explicit sex that can be read in any order and all year round.
Forty-five minutes later Tali was done ha-cha-cha-ing down the hot oatmeal, scrubbing every inch of her body, and blow drying her short hair into something resembling a nice coif. She exited the bathroom into her bedroom, not unlocking the bathroom door into Anna’s room. Let her have to walk around as payback! It was a holdover from childhood when Beth and Anna played pranks on each other and Tali.
She was about to whip off the towel and dive into her closet for an outfit when she realized Maple was sitting on her bed. Looking at her.
She gripped the towel tighter, conscious of how it barely met across her hips. “What are you doing in here!”
“Want me to avert my gaze?” Maple’s tone was pure hunger, even while a teasing glint shone in her eyes.
“Why are you always early to everything? It’s ridiculous! Did Anna send you up?”
“Why are you always so late? And, yes. Both of your sisters did. I’m sure they’ll find this amusing that I made it just in time.” She stood and took a step toward Tali, who backed up, her shoulders and ass meeting the doorframe. “You don’t look embarrassed though, so maybe you’re as amused.”
“It’s a towel, why would I be embarrassed?” Tali swallowed around a surprising lump in her throat. And had it suddenly gotten much warmer in the room? She glanced over to double check she’d remembered to close the windows that morning. Yep, shut tight. The AC must be off or something.
“What is this look then? Is it your tell?” Maple was practically purring, a sound Tali didn’t realize humans were capable of until that moment.
“I’m great at poker. No tells here.” But her voice was growing faint, which indeed seemed to be a tell all on its own.
“No? What about me?” Maple was almost on top of her now, and Tali was torn between putting a hand out to stop her, and gripping her floral button-up to pull her closer. So many of their conversations took place over the phone and through text. Having her there, in front of her, reminded her how handsome and tall she was. How strong her arms looked. How irritating that smirk was. “If I wanted to kiss you, for example. What would my tell be?”
“Uh.” Tali felt herself at a crossroads. Maybe one they’d been at for some time. “You lick your lip.”
Maple startled at that, the smooth top energy sliding away for a moment while she considered that information. “In a sexy way?”
And here was the moment Tali knew it was up to her to choose what path they’d take. She wasn’t sure how to move forward in either direction, so she chose honesty. “Yes.”
Maple’s smile was staggering before it turned dangerous. She placed a hand on the wall above Tali’s shoulder and leaned in until they were a whisper apart. And then she slid her tongue slowly across her bottom lip, staring into Tali’s eyes.
“Yes,” was all Tali could manage. Yes, like that. Yes, please kiss me. Yes, I want this. Yes, yes, yes.
Maple’s other hand slid up the side of the towel, reaching the top and tucking her fingers under its edge. The look she gave Tali turned to one seeking permission. And Tali was going to give it, was going to enthusiastically consent to whatever came next, was going to…
“TALI!” Beth shouted as she swung the bedroom door open. “You locked the go—”
Tali moved faster than she could ever remember moving in her life. She meant to spin back into the bathroom and slam the door behind her, but Maple’s hand was still tucked into the towel.
So, instead, she pulled herself free of the fabric, falling naked onto the cool blue tile. Maple, eyes round as the moon, spun away from her, holding up the towel to block the sight from Beth while she managed to move forward and shut the door with her foot.
Forget every embarrassing moment before this. This is how I die of embarrassment. There’s no coming back from this. Beth will literally never let me live this down. And Maple…
Tali groaned and rolled around on the floor helplessly. She was stuck in here without her towel and with no clothing. Maybe she’d take up sewing and emerge one day in a beautiful button-up and slacks made out of the Moomins shower curtain.
They are a physically/progressively disabled, white, trans person with ADHD and have more interests than time in the day. You can find them spoiling their three terrible cat-beasts; connecting to their Jewish culture through moon-worship, plantcraft, and cooking traditions; and making weird art when they’re not writing or stewarding a native pollinator garden with their beshert.
Daisy Sitch has a new MF romance with a strong trans sub arc, Love, Lust & WTF?!! book two: Daisy’s Adventures in Love. And there’s a giveaway.
Daisy’s Adventures in Love picks up where Love, Lust & WTF left off. Daisy’s finally found her match. Or has she? Is Brad really the one? And is Daisy ready for the surprising new challenges that a larger family might bring her?
Experience Daisy’s adventures, diving into love, family and fun. Daisy’s heart is on fire, for her girls, for Brad and for his kids. But as Daisy’s family potentially grows bigger, new unsettling—even terrifying—challenges arise. Daisy and Brad find themselves on a tightrope- one in which falling may mean the loss of one of their children. When you love more, you have more to lose.
To triumph, Daisy must dive deeper into not only love, but diversity, gender issues, transphobia, sexuality struggles, acceptance and the true meaning of motherhood. Luckily Daisy and Brad are not alone. Supported by a diverse cast of friends, including Kyle a psychologist who specializes in LGBTQ+ youth and family counselling, they chart a new-bigger and less predictable- life together.
Opportunities for growth abound. Kids growing and changing like crazy, love is anything but smooth and simple. Daisy’s gal pal chats bring her back to the crazy world of dating, a time she wants to avoid like the plague.
My fishing trip was great. Much-needed time away, just me and my buddies at the lake. On my way home, I picked up Kari and Kris from their mom’s. I was exhausted from the trip but could tell immediately that something was up with Kari. And it was big. She had a look about her. Tight. Scared. Held in.
When she asked if we could chat one-on-one tonight, I said, “Sure thing, sweetie, happy to chat with you about anything.”
But I wondered what it was I’d been missing. And for how long.
For some reason, my mind went to a video I’d watched of some daredevil hippie-type dude on a tightrope—no, a slackline—strung between two towering rock pillars.
Well, that’s a weird image. Why would that come to mind?
After supper, Kris asked to watch a movie. I got him all set up in the bonus room so Kari and I could chat in relative privacy. “Dad, I’m nervous talking to you about this, but I need to do it NOW. I’ve waited long enough. I’m just going to blurt it out. You can ask questions after.”
I nodded. I hadn’t always been good at, well, just listening. But funny how important it can be. Something told me it was one of those times to close my mouth and open my ears. My baby girl had something important to share with me.
Kari took a deep breath and exhaled, “Here goes nothing. I’m a pansexual transboy.” Silence. I waited.
Shocked, but desperately trying not to show it.
Kari blew out another huge breath and added, “There I said it.”
I sat very still. Attempting to process what I’d just heard. A feather could have knocked me over. Nothing could have prepared me for this. My brain was trying to process but I didn’t even know where to start. I limited knowledge about either word Kari had muttered.
Kari continued, “I know this is coming at you fast. I’ve researched and soul-searched and internalized this over the past few years. I’ve never felt right as a girl. It always felt wrong. I felt
awkward. It just took me a while to figure out what felt right. And before you ask, no, this isn’t a phase. The reality is: I am a transboy.”
I nodded, playing for time.
The video came back to me then, an overpowering image and feeling. The slackline, only it was me that was on the tightrope. I was balancing precariously over a steep faced gorge, with nothing but air and sharp rocks below.
I had so many questions. I felt so much love for my oldest child right now, lots of confusion, and I just wanted to hold on to my not-so-little girl.
I struggled for balance.
I’d heard the terms before, I guess, but I didn’t really know what they meant.
But I could feel the breeze. The air flowing over me, high on that slackline. I couldn’t panic there. I couldn’t lose my cool or pretend what was happening to my daughter was an affront to me. An affront at all. It wasn’t about me—it was about her, and if I reacted wrong and lost my balance, maybe it wouldn’t be me that fell—it would be her dropping so far, end over end, flailing onto the sharp and unsympathetic rocks so far below.
What do I do?
But some instinctive part of me knew what to do. I folded her into my arms, next to my heart, where she belonged. Always. I felt her try to pull away, but I wasn’t ready to let her go, and I pulled her in closer for another minute before releasing her.
“Dad, you haven’t said anything. What are you feeling?” Kari whispered.
Holding her, I felt my balance coming back. I was scared, still. Scared for her. But I knew something at that moment.
“We aren’t on a tightrope,” I said.
“What?” she asked.
Oops, that was my outside voice. That must’ve sounded extremely weird to her.
“Sorry sweetie, I’m a bit shell shocked. But we’re going to be fine.”
I didn’t know that. Some part of me knew that peril surrounded us—surrounded her, who I would’ve gladly fallen off any cliff to save, but I also knew that it wouldn’t be an act of physical bravery on my part that would help. It would be something else.
Summoning that something else, I said, “I want to be respectful in my response. It’s a lot to take in all at once. But I want you to know that I love you and I’m here to support you through anything and everything, always.” I exhaled, clearly understanding that things had changed in a big way. Not knowing quite what to do. I stared at my girl sitting on the couch. I heard the birds chirping outside. Nothing had changed for them. “How do I support you, Kari? What do you need from me?”
Kari released the air she’d been holding in, and a small smile touched the corners of her lips. “Ok, there are a few things I need from you right now: I would like you to start calling me Carson, not Kari. Also, use the pronouns ‘him’ and ‘he’. I know this will take some getting used to, but I’d appreciate it if you’d start trying immediately. I’ve closed the door on Kari; she’s gone.”
Gone? What do you mean gone? You’re sitting right here. You’re Kari, but you’re not.
My brain was scrambling, trying to find some semblance of logic and organization. I was grasping at straws and failing miserably.
I felt the air again. The high cliffs and the endless fall below. I was back on the slackline. I knew I shouldn’t say anything until the swirling stopped.
I’m not on a tightrope. We’re not on a tightrope.
If Kari was gone, I now had Carson.
Nikki Sitch is a mom, volunteer coach, landman, athlete, and more recently, she discovererd her passion as a writer. A Land Negotiator in the Energy Industry by day, Nikki fills her off hours, when not writing, with things she loves to do: spend time with family and friends, swim, bike, rollerblade, read, travel, golf, and walk.
Nikki wrote Daisy’s Adventures in Love, her second book, while living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her two boys and one dog.
Daisy’s Adventures in Love is Nikki’s second book and is a continuation from Love, Lust and WTF – Daisy’s Dating Adventures. Stay tuned for book three, picking up Daisy’s adventures where Daisy’s Adventures in Love leaves off.
Jaymie Wagner has a new FFF urban fantasy out, Sing For Me book 3: Herald’s Call. And there’s a giveaway.
Woe to the wolf who dares to call
With unworthy hearts lest darkness fall
Dour note this horn will play
The hounds shall rise and wolves shall bay
Through the horn Herne shall command
By blood of the Hunt and a worthy hand!
It is said that long ago Herne, the god of the Hunt, could use his Horn to make wolves obey his commands. A legend that Amy Oakley, Alpha of the Howlers pack, learned as a child and stopped believing in long before her first change beneath the full moon.
After spending three years fighting for her lovers and packmates’ right to live among the werewolves of Londinium, all she wants is a chance to breathe, go back to running her pub, and never see the manipulative Marcel Charron again.
As an ancient prophecy begins to unfold, can Amy and the Howlers find the Horn of Herne and keep it out of Marcel’s hands, or will his web of schemes and plots spell doom for their pack and the rest of London’s werewolves?
When Leah Corbyn was bitten on her mail route by a dog, she expected to go to the hospital for some stitches, a few days of medical leave, and for life to go on.
She had no idea that two weeks later she would become a werewolf under the full moon, or spend the next year trying to hide her ‘condition’, but after meeting and dating fellow werewolf Amy Oakley, it wasn’t long before she started to find an entire community in the shadows of London.
Surrounded by unexpected friends and dangerous enemies, Amy, Leah, and their packmate Amélie must fight to make a place for themselves, unaware that the conditions of an ancient prophecy are being met…
Jaymie is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:
Leah swallowed hard, and her voice was a hushed, raspy whisper. “Do you think…I mean…if my mum was a werewolf and she knew I wasn’t going to be. Could that be why she got rid of me?”
“Oh,” Amy breathed as she pulled Leah into a hug. “Oh, pup.”
“I mean…” Leah shook her head, tears starting to well in her eyes. “I never really knew anything. Where I came from. Why I was abandoned. Nobody even knows who gave me up. They just found me like a lost wallet!” She shuddered in Amy’s arms, tears running down her face.
“I finally learned something about where I came from and suddenly I wish I hadn’t!”
Abigail sat down slowly. “Leah,” she said in her most kind but firm doctor’s voice. “I can’t speak to why your parents made that decision. I wish I could. What I can tell you is that mitochondrial DNA takes a very long time to change from generation to generation, and the fact that you did not possess the full were sequences until you were turned suggests that it was a fairly distant ancestor. Five or six generations, easily.”
She waited for Leah to meet her eyes before she concluded: “Whatever their reasons, this was not one of them.”
Leah gave a sniff and dried her eyes with the back of her hand as she sat up. “That’s…that helps. Thanks, Abby.”
“Of course.” Abigail smiled at all of them before going back to the papers. “So – as I said, we don’t know as much, medically, as we would like about Turning. But this does suggest a few things to me. For one – it may explain part of why you survived the process, particularly with a diet that was…not terribly conducive to your new existence.”
That got a weak laugh out of Leah, and Amélie smiled with relief. If she could laugh…it was a good sign. “So – you think that explains my eyes, too?”
“It would seem so,” Abigail agreed with a nod. “I am not certain why it took so long to express, but my theory is that some of the latent werewolf traits you carry finally began to show through.”
Leah’s lips pulled into a slight frown. “Could that be part of why I’m a different sort of wolf than whoever turned me?”
Abigail nodded again. “Likely, yes.”
Amy reached up to lightly scratch at Leah’s scalp as she examined the different sets of results. “Does that explain Leah’s ear, too?”
Abigail shook her head and went back to the first chart. “The trait that affects the development of cartilage in the ear is an autosomal one. It most likely came from the were who bit you.”
Amélie looked down at the results again, and suddenly felt like she’d been given the last piece of a puzzle.
No one has been able to find the wolf who bit Leah…but they were assuming it was a were who lived in England.
Leah said the ‘dog’ who attacked her had a blonde and pale grey coat.
Marcel knew Leah was Turned.
Marcel knew Leah had no family.
Marcel knew where the Howl was.
Leah never spoke to Marcel at the trial, and Amy would not have told him anything about Leah or herself. If the records from Leah’s trial were sealed, there is no way he should have known any of the things he tried to use against us.
Marcel always said his ears drooped because of an old injury from a fight…but Marcel lied about almost everything.
Her chest felt tight as the facts began to add up.
Marcel is a liar.
Her mouth felt dry as she looked up. “Abigail?”
Everyone turned to look at her, and Amélie didn’t try to hide the dread and shock she felt.
“I know who Turned Leah.”
Jaymie Wagner is a queer, trans, polyamorous author who lives in the Twin Cities with her cats and an alarming collection of tiny giant robots.
She has been published in several anthologies, short story collections, and posts her “Fractured Fantasies” twitter micro-stories where she explores different ideas and kinks.
I am so beyond thrilled to share this amazing upcoming book, “She’s the One Who Won’t Behave” by author S.R. Cronin, as part of OWI’s latest blog tour. Check out this amazing read and grab your copy today!
S.R. Cronin has a new fantasy book out, The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters book 6: She’s the One Who Won’t Behave. And there’s a giveaway!
Gypsum, the sixth of seven sisters, has always been a rebel. Yet no one thought she would go so far as to join the reczavy, a group living in tents on the edge of the desert and known for their sexual promiscuity and playful ways.
But as the date of the Mongols’ return draws near, Ilarians of all types must work together if they are to have any hope of surviving. And the reczavy, for all of their odd ways, do have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Well, up their sleeves whenever they are bothering to wear clothes, that is.
Gypsum is touched when her oldest sister Ryalgar comes to call, and brings an olive branch with her. Ryalgar recognizes that the reczavy have as much to lose as anyone, and as much to contribute. Will Gypsum accept a key role in the plan to stop the invasion? Of course she will.
Unfortunately, her playmates don’t all feel the same sense of urgency. Many would rather simply enjoy the time they have left. A few claim to be allergic to long term planning. And some are too busy with their own poorly-timed plans to overthrow the government Ilari already has.
Good thing needlepoint is the one traditional skill at which Gypsum has always excelled. She will need to thread a fine needle in order to coax this recalcitrant group into becoming life-saving warriors of a very different kind.
About the Series:
People ask me what The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters are like. I’d say its Little Women acting like The Seven Samurai in Brigadoon with hints of Sex and the City.
The series consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. These historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, but together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.
Which sister saved the realm? That will depend on who you ask.
How do they save it? Each sister will offer you surprising information on why this didn’t go as planned.
Warnings: references to non-consensual sex in the past.
I knew every boy who went to my school and the smiling young man asking me the question was not one of them. He’d joined our circle of tidzys after the others arrived, standing around the fire with us as we sought a partner for the holiday celebration. He’d already introduced himself to several young women. Whatever he murmured incited giggles and a few unmistakable wiggles as well.
When he approached me, these women turned their wide eyes away from his face to give me a narrowed-eye stare of warning. I didn’t understand why. His lighter hair and tanned country physique weren’t that special, although he did have the confidence that makes everyone seem more attractive. And enough an indifference to make a young woman willing to do much to impress him.
I didn’t play games like that.
My first instinct was to make up a ridiculous name. Duck Piss came to mind. Then I decided the name my family had stuck me with was probably ridiculous enough.
“Gypsum. My name is Gypsum.”
“Isn’t that some ugly grey rock?” he asked.
“Yup. It was going to be that or Duck Piss, so I guess I lucked out.”
I turned away from him, and focused my gaze on several attractive men crouching in front of the fire, sharing laughter and ale. As I said, I don’t like stupid games or the men who play them.
“My name is Sheep Scump. Nice to meet you.”
I turned back. “Well, at least you play along.”
“Oh, I play along very well.”
“So what are you doing here? You got tired of playing with the tidzys over at your own school?”
“No. My school got tired of me. Or rather they tired of my attempts at humor and asked me to seek education elsewhere. I start classes here after the holiday.”
I don’t know why I asked the next question.
“Do your parents know?”
“They barely knew which school I was at then.”
“Oh.” Quite different than my overinvolved parents. “What did you do to get kicked out?”
He slipped an arm around my waist and in one slick move he turned the two of us away from the fire.
“I’ve a jug of particularly fine red dinner wine waiting in my saddle bag. I hoped I’d find someone worth sharing it with. Would you care to walk over to the stables while I tell you of my horrendous crimes?”
I liked the feel of him. His smell. Okay, I even liked the undercurrent of hurt under his bravado. And I liked the promise of something better to drink than the cheap ale being handed out around the fire.
“Sure. Let’s walk, talk, and see where this goes.”
He ran his hand up my side and gave my breast a friendly squeeze. I didn’t have much to offer in that area, but he didn’t seem to care.
I put my hand on his butt and squeezed back.
We both knew exactly where this was going.
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Although she’s lost several beloved cats on her journey, she’s been lucky enough to gain a husband and three kids who love her despite how odd she is.
Today she lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she also answers a hot-line, volunteers for SFWA, and plans her future travels.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Twenty sci-fi authors come together to tackle the very real threat of climate change and use their creative skills to find a solution to our current and future threats to our world in the collection “Save the World: Twenty Sci-Fi Writers Save the Planet”, part of the Writers Save the World Series!
Twenty ways to fix the planet.
Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.
We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.
Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.
The future’s not going to fix itself.
This was a fantastic and highly creative collection. The themes of climate change and the impact it’ll have on everything from worldwide pandemics to coastal cities being overrun and so much more were thought-provoking, to say the least. The imagery and detailed storytelling that went into the narrative really painted an image in the reader’s mind.
What stuck out in each story in this collection was each author’s ability to naturally infuse the themes of this narrative into their stories and still manage to implement a very human and emotional depth of character into each story. From a young woman seeking more of not only her life but the life of everyone on Earth, to a teenage boy separated from his mother and forced to make a new home for himself, each story adds so much emotion and heart to the more broad climate struggles that make this such an engaging story.
Heartfelt, entertaining, yet striking in its delivery, the short story collection “Save the World: Twenty Sci-Fi Writers Save the Planet” is a must-read book and a great continuation of the Writers Save the World Series! The balance of emotional character growth and stark yet hopeful themes of climate change and the progress needed to fix it all make this one collection readers won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
Other Worlds Ink has a new book out in the hopepunk cli-fi Writers Save the World anthology series: Save the World. And there’s a giveaway.
Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.
We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.
Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.
The future’s not going to fix itself.
About the Series:
“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology from Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.
No one ate for a full day. At night, they sat around their fires and counted the stars, their boats bobbing in the quiet, dark waters. No electricity was permitted. The drones were shelved. The holo-projectors unplugged. Even the radios were shut off. The next morning, they washed in the invigorating cold of the ocean, and beat their bodies with branches.
This was what Edgard instructed. And what Edgard instructed, everyone obeyed.
The waters seemed bright that morning, despite the depths below. Small dots of sea foam dotted the surface, reflecting the eager light of the new day. The weather was calm, and the ocean peaceful. It was an auspicious morning.
Jason leaned against the rails, elbowing between his crew mates as everyone shuffled for the best view. There was laughter and chatter, some singing, a few rude jokes. The ocean was alive that morning, all the ships of the tribe lining up, energy buzzing across the wide decks.
Then the drumming started, and silence fell. People leaned forward, craning necks.
The canoe emerged from between boats, paddled by a small crew, its painted bow slicing through the water. At the front was Edgard, standing tall. Jason felt someone nudge him, and as he looked over at Amelia, she nodded at the cloak draped over Edgard’s shoulders. The Thunderbird.
The canoe stopped, and Edgard placed a hand in the water. As he rose, he started to sing, lighting a bundle of dried cedar, and waving the smoke over his harpoon. He removed the muscle-shell hooks and wrapped them in cloth, tied rocks around the yew shaft, and placed it in the water. As it sank, his song ended. Edgard turned to face the ships, opened his arms wide, and smiled.
The crews erupted.
It was done.
The harvesting was complete.
—From “Thunder on the Ocean,” by Christopher R. Muscato
Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages. He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).
J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was 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 all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.
Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.
Jana Denardois Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.
Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.
CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.
J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.
Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.
M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.
Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse.
Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.
Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.
Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.
Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.
M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.
Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.
NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.
Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.
Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.
Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Hi everyone! Thank you for joining me today. I hope you’ll give author M.D. Grimm a warm welcome as we hear some fantastic insight into the development of “Sapphire: Home and Abroad”.
Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, “Sapphire: Home and Abroad.” This is the latest entry in The Stones of Power. I am overjoyed and relieved to finally release a new book in this series. After re-publishing back titles, I can now work on new projects. So, if you like magic, surly, anti-hero mages (wizards), and a fun setting with quirky supporting characters, this series might be for you!
So… Morgorth. He’s a difficult character, isn’t he? I don’t think I quite knew what I was getting into when I wrote the first book over ten years ago. I have an affinity for dark and/or damaged characters. Their journey and trials as they become better people is something I never grow tired of either writing or reading. One of the worst things in the world is for a writer to be bored with a character and/or a story. And when it comes to series, I strive to have a character(s) that needs to overcome something as they evolve over the course of several books. If I’m not interested in their journey, then why would anyone else be?
“Ruby: Lost and Found” was the third book I ever published. It presented Morgorth in a time of his life where he was bored with being a villain. He’d embraced the label after his peers, fellow mages, decided he simply had to be one because of his birthright: being the seventh son of a seventh son, which they determined meant he was to be the Destroyer of their world. It is said that we often create our own monsters, and in this case, it was true. Morgorth became what his peers already thought he was. However, when Aishe crashes into his life, the desire to be something different awakens within him. In my opinion, he becomes an anti-hero. Or, as he would say, a dark mage. He’s not out to wreak havoc on the world but he’s certainly not going to play by the rules, either.
My initial goal for this series was to challenge myself to write an anti-hero. I’m not quite sure if I succeeded or not, but I can’t argue with the result. Morgorth is wonderfully flawed, his struggles are real, and his desire to be worthy of his mate, Aishe, pushes him into uncomfortable situations and makes his choices harder. What I love most about Morgorth is his refusal to surrender. Despite the abuse he survived as a child, the hatred from most of his peers, and the struggle with his own internal demons, he continues to fight. The closest he came to defeat was in the previous book, “Lapis Lazuli: Forgotten and Remembered,” but even then, even without Aishe kicking his butt into gear, I don’t doubt that after a bit of time in self-pity, he’d roll up his sleeves and start fighting again. It’s one of the things I love most about him: he continues to get up every time he’s knocked down.
Due to the abuse from his father, Morgorth has always carried a deep-seated rage inside him. Unfortunately, it led him to unleashing his pain on innocents until he made a promise to his mentor that he would stop perpetuating the cycle of abuse. Morgorth has grown a lot from book one to book eight, but the core of him hasn’t changed. He still carries the rage, only now he channels it into protecting those he loves. He still has a darkness inside him, a thirst to hurt others, and yet again, he targets it at other villains and in defense. I find that the hardest balance to strike with such a complex character is letting them evolve without changing who they are at their deepest core. I didn’t want Morgorth to lose his edge. I didn’t want it to seem as if he simply flicked off his past trauma and that it no longer affected him. That is unrealistic and an insult to folks who live with trauma. However, he did find the tools and the support to work through his trauma and to use his rage for good instead of evil.
And how did he do that? By finding a mate who accepted all of him. With Aishe, he found the motivation and the reason to work on himself. That’s what I love most about their partnership—they make each other better and stronger.
The Stones of Power 1-8 are available for purchase at Amazon (also in print!) and Smashwords. I have a newsletter that I send out monthly with all the goodies you can expect in the future. That’s the best way to find out about my current and future projects.
For fans of the Saga of the Bold People series, I just finished the first draft of “Resistance,” book 3. I hope to release it October 2022, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I am also booked (pun intended) solid this year, working on the next shifter book, the next Stones of Power book, a couple single titles, and the next On Wings Saga book. Wish me luck!
More information on my catalog can be found at my website.
I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams,
M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out, Stones of Power book 8: Sapphire: Home and Abroad.
The Dark Mage, Lord Morgorth, and Aishe of the Ravena Tribe, are to become bondmates.
Morgorth is equal parts nervous and excited. He wants to unite with Aishe in the sacred dialen ceremony, to proclaim their devotion to the world, to show everyone that Aishe is his equal and deserving of respect. After all they’ve survived together, why shouldn’t they make the cosmic promise before friends and family? But duty must often come before pleasure. When Morgorth’s estranged mentor, Master Ulezander, comes to him with a time-sensitive mission involving a major stone of power, Morgorth has little choice but to acquiesce.
Aishe knows his mate struggles with the revelation of his true destiny, after a lifetime of defining himself as the future Destroyer of Karishian. All he can do is reassure Morgorth that being the Savior is a far better fate for both of them. But as Morgorth and Aishe leap through worlds and dimensions in pursuit of a stone of power, more pieces to the puzzle of Morgorth’s destiny are revealed. And they form an image of sacrifice and tragedy.
The dark cloud of an ancient enemy looms ever closer, and the path to becoming the Savior might prove more monstrous than that of the Destroyer.
About the Series:
Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life. Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.
However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness. Enter the world of “The Stones of Power.”
Morgorth stepped forward and stretched out his arms. He murmured a series of words under his breath and an opaque pinprick of light appeared. I stepped a bit closer, fascinated. The pinprick grew into a swirling, pulsing liquid silver gateway. It was beautiful and ominous. It made no sound, and yet gave off pressure that I felt against my body, and the hair on my arms stood on end.
The few trees bordering the clearing creaked and groaned as they bent away from the portal. I didn’t hear anything—not birds or squirrels, not deer. Nothing was near us, and the poor, stationary trees were doing their best to also get away.
Morgorth fisted his hands and widened his stance, still muttering. His skin glowed, and I silently shifted to his side. His eyes were a burning amber, his expression set in stubborn determination and intense concentration. Sweat slid down his face. The portal pulsed a bit faster, the beat knocking against my ribs. What was he doing?
Then the silver gained a bluish color before darkening to mossy green. Morgorth grunted and lowered his hands, though his magick still glowed.
“Take my hand,” he said in a stiff, strained voice. “And hold on tight, to both me and your bow.”
I swallowed hard and took a deep breath. I clung to my bow as I took his outstretched hand and pressed to his side. His skin was hot to the touch but not burning.
“What can I expect?” I asked.
“Discomfort and weirdness,” he said with a hint of a smile. “Just don’t let go.”
Then Morgorth ran and yanked me with him. We dove into the portal without hesitation, and he was right about the discomfort and weirdness. It wasn’t the emptiness of teleportation nor the whiplash of magickal speed. Morgorth charged through the swirling green, dragging me along. The green slipped over my skin and hair like cold putty and tried to capture my feet in its murk. It seemed to last forever but I was certain it was only a moment or two. Then we were somewhere else.
I caught my breath and stumbled forward, still clinging to Morgorth. He didn’t let go either, his magick still at the surface. He took a cloudy crystal from one of the many pouches at his waist and bent to place it at the base of the portal.
This time, I heard his word of magick.
Words of magick were supposed to be nonsensical, something each mage created for themselves. It was personal, each new word linked to a spell and used for nothing else. It took both words and hand flourishes for a mage to cast a spell or secure an enchantment. It was different for magick healers like myself. It wasn’t so much magickhealers used, it was our life essence, gifting a part of ourselves to our patients. Give too much and it could kill us. The missing part of our essence would replenish over time, faster if we were happy and balanced.
To open a portal and redirect it was remarkably heavy magick, and my mate never ceased to leave me in awe of his abilities and his continual growth in both strength and intelligence.
“Will the crystal leave the portal open?” I asked.
He nodded. “Only on this side, though. We don’t want anyone or anything following us.”
“I doubt any of Vorgoroth’s creatures want to follow.”
Morgorth shrugged and straightened. “I don’t want to take the chance. And I wasn’t just thinking of my minions.”
He was thinking of our guests. Probably about Lyli.
I sighed. Yes, that girl was fearless and far too curious for her own good. And wherever Lyli went, Olyvre wouldn’t be far behind. Then Elissya would also come.
“This will also prevent any of the creatures here of getting inside. The crystal is also a shield.”
“Draining,” he said with a sheepish grin. His magick settled into his core, causing his eyes and skin to lose their glow. “It won’t hold for long. In and out, no sightseeing.”
I snorted and glanced at our surroundings. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”
A thick, dense jungle surrounded us, and I was only now noticing the oppressive heat. My skin broke out in sweat and my clothes soon stuck to me in the most uncomfortable way. I exhaled sharply and let go of Morgorth to wipe at my brow.
“Aye, in and out, please.”
Morgorth grimaced as well and readjusted the bag.
“I hope you can track the bloody thing.”
“I don’t sense magick like on Karishian so it shouldn’t be a problem to open my third eye and spot the box. And if for some reason that doesn’t work, I can always try to meditate and find its aura and track it back to its location.”
“Wouldn’t the box shield the stone’s power?”
“Its power but not its signature. According to Melondia, the box doesn’t have enough layers to truly block it. Think about the layers of Geheimnis. A mage could use their third eye but not spot the stones I have in the tower because the barriers are too thick.”
I nodded, and he closed his eyes. This place did feel… empty. Magick was everywhere in Karishian, in the land, the water, in the creatures. In the sky and in the clouds, and in the sun. In the air itself. I didn’t like it here. I shuddered and fingered my bow. The familiar texture of the wood soothed me just enough to unclench my muscles.
I kept an eye on our surroundings as Morgorth once again called to his magick.
M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).
After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.
Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.
So happy to share this wonderful cover reveal for author S.R. Cronin’s “She’s The One Who Scares Us All”.
S.R. Cronin has a new historical fantasy coming out (The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters book 7), and we have the cover reveal: She’s the One Who Scares Us All.
Plus there’s a giveaway!
Iolite, the youngest of seven sisters, was born a frundle, a rare condition that makes her both shunned and feared in Ilari. This has made her family doubly protective of her, even though she only wants to live a normal life and have the sorts of adventures her sisters do.
Although frundles suffer from some physical and emotional challenges, they also have valuable powers that no one discusses. Iolite learns more when she forges a connection with a roving army on horseback from far away Mongolia. She soon learns that the adventure-loving men she enjoys riding with in her visions are planning to invade her homeland.
When the Mongols send envoys to discuss terms of surrender, Iolite goes into a trance and serves as translator. Her family fears for her, knowing such trances can damage a frundle’s health. But her own people become a more serious threat to her when a secret cabal inside of Ilari’s army contrives to imprison Iolite and force her to become on ongoing source of information.
How much does a daughter of the realm owe her country? Iolite has plenty of time to ponder the question trapped in her cold dark cell.
What she does once she is freed will determine the fate of her people.
The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.
Which sister saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you are reading.
How do they do it? Each sister offers surprise information on why this didn’t go as anyone planned.
S.R. is giving away a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card (winners choice) with this tour:
I didn’t know whether to answer the stranger or not. We seemed to both be in jail, yet I had no idea why. He wore well-tailored clothes on his tall, thin frame, so other than looking like he could use a good meal or two, he appeared refined.
“What are we doing in here?” I said.
“Ah, yes. That is the question. You’ll figure it out in time.”
We stared at each other between the thick metal bars. Me annoyed. Him amused.
“Iolite. My name is Iolite.”
“Really? Another one named for a stone? Your parents certainly lacked imagination, didn’t they?”
I said nothing. I’d learned long ago that engaging in meaningful conversation with the people in these dreams was pointless. I avoided it.
I already knew I’d meet this man eventually. If my previous dreams were any indication, he’d look the way he did here but he’d speak for himself, not echo my thoughts. We might find ourselves in jail when it happened, but more likely it would just feel like a jail to me. I’d probably meet him at a time when I felt confined by circumstances. Sadly, my dreams conveyed more about my future emotions than they did about any future reality, making their information hard to use.
“I’ve had enough of this,” I said to him. “I’m going to wake up.”
He shrugged. “Suit yourself.” Then he chuckled. “See you around.”
He kept laughing at his own witticism until he went into a fit of coughing and I woke up grateful to be in my small cot. Many of the girls at the school shared rooms with others, but I was allowed to sleep alone. At times like this, it was a blessing.
I pulled the blankets closer around my body trying to stay warm, thinking I didn’t mind the physical oddities life thrust upon me when it made me a frundle. Okay, my short stature was sometimes a nuisance but I rather liked my silver hair. I found my purple eyes attractive, too, though plenty of others averted their gaze rather than look into them. I always wondered what they feared.
My dreams, however, did present an actual problem. They had started a year ago, and happened more often now, leaving me wide awake in the middle of the night filled with questions. I kept both the dreams and the questions to myself. I knew people didn’t mind frundles, as long as they stayed in the background and caused no trouble.
The only troublesome ones were the ones who had the dreams. Or worse yet, the dreams and episodes.
But I wasn’t that kind. Not yet. Not as far as anyone knew.
Because I’d never had a single episode. For you can hide the dreams, but there is no way to hide that.
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and now writes a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. The synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. She’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up fine, both despite how odd she is.
These days she lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she also answers a hot-line, does things to improve her writing, and volunteers for the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) of which she’ s proud member.
It is her life’s dream to tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
Laura Navarre has a new erotic MM sci-fi romance out – Anticipated Angel (Prequel to the Astral Heat Romance). And there’s a giveaway!
On an alien world that crucifies men for prohibited desires, two boyhood best friends risk the ultimate punishment to explore a forbidden passion.
Nero: He’s the most intimidating guy at our intergalactic next-gen leaders’ camp, and his psycho galactic tyrant of a dad has a crucifixion fetish. Our two races are deadly enemies, but Dex was my boyhood best friend. Suddenly this summer, he’s all grown up—and suddenly he can’t seem to stop staring at me. I don’t know whether to be afraid that it’s all a figment of my telepathic imagination…or that every dangerous desire we’re forbidden to acknowledge is searingly real.
Dex: I’m one combat-to-the-death away from the imperial command I’ve devoted my life to achieve. All I need to do is keep my dick in my pants. Besides, Ben Nero’s my oathsworn brother. Not to mention the most gorgeous, most maddeningly unattainable, most sought-after guy at leaders’ camp. There’s no way he’d ever look twice at a buttoned-tight, hyper-competitive, compulsive overachiever like me.
Until the night I blundered in on Nero in the shower. Which was a total catastrophic mistake. Because now I’ve seen what he looks like naked…now I’ve heard the way he sounds when he’s moaning my name…how in blazes do I keep him at arms’ length? Because my father crucifies men for loving men.
Which means letting Ben Nero in close, the way I’m burning to do, means risking the ultimate punishment.
For both of us.
Anticipated Angel is a steamy, angsty, friends-to-lovers MM new adult sci fi romance novella and the standalone prequel to the award-winning Astral Heat Romance Series.
The Astral Heat Romance Series is a steamy, angsty, enemies-to-lovers MMMF poly sci fi action romance series with M/M. Perfect for fans of Tymber Dalton, Kathryn Moon, Ariana Nash, and Pippa DaCosta. Here’s what early reviewers are saying about this category bestselling LGBTQ+ sci fi erotic romance series:
“Fast-paced, erotic, and brutal.” – Library Journal
“Intense and incendiary! This is hot stuff not for the faint of heart.” – Viragos Reading Odyssey
“This book just grabs and doesn’t let go….One of the steamiest books I’ve ever read.” – Amazon reviewer
“Astronomically out of this world action suspense drama, topped off with XXX sizzle! …Hang on to your space helmet, this is one wild ride!” – Goodreads reviewer
“This swashbuckling reverse harem Roman Empire in space saga turns up the heat to incendiary…a pulse racing read…Fabulous fun! I loved it!” – Alicia on Amazon and Goodreads
This award-winning series has notched contest wins in the RWA Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal On the Far Side Contest (speculative romance) and the 2021 Chesapeake Romance Writers’ Rudy Contest (erotic romance).
The Astral Heat Romance Series contains explicit M/M, M/F, and MMMF encounters.
Laura is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this 3 day blast:
Still damp and dripping under the tunic and breeches he’d dragged over his desperately aroused body, breathless and panting from pounding through the jungle after his frenzied best friend, Ben Nero stood on the step outside Dex’s dormitory cabin and glared at the locked door.
Dex never locked his door. They’d been coming and going from each other’s dorms day and night for three summers straight.
Sure, Dex was arrogant, aggressive, pigheaded, surly, introverted, hypercompetitive, a compulsive overachiever. The golden boy at leaders’ camp. In other words, a typical Mogadon.
Nero had hated him on sight. Until everything changed.
Since the night Dex waded into battle to defend him, Nero had been secretly crushing on the guy.
Now—this summer—their final summer when they both gained their majority and left leaders’ camp behind forever, the sexual dynamic between them had torqued so much tighter. Their unspoken chemistry had condensed into an alchemical compound so volatile it was practically pyrophoric. With Dex grown into something between a deadly predator and a tawny god, Nero knew his secret summer crush stood in acute danger of developing into a connection fathoms deeper.
And far more lethal to his guarded heart.
But given Dex’s inherited battery of hang-ups and all that sexual baggage his best friend was carting around, the state of his heart was one secret Nero fully intended to keep.
Until tonight. Cat’s out of the cave now. Of all the possible, gods-cursed times for Dex to show up for a late-night shower…
For at least the twentieth time, he cursed his own rotten timing. Wryly he admitted the inferno of heat glowing in his chest and scorching his face had less to do with exertion than sheer embarrassment.
No use pretending it didn’t happen. Dex has been pushing me away all summer. What he just saw me doing while I moaned his name will probably finish the job and end our friendship for good.
Especially with their rival planets poised on the brink of war. Nero huffed out a breath harsh with frustration.
The next time I encounter Dex Draven after summer camp will probably be in deep space at the wrong end of a solar cannon.
Grimly Nero jabbed a finger at the entry button—for the third farking time. The chime caroled away like his whole world wasn’t imploding around him. Beyond that door, his psychic senses whispered, Dex was pacing his cabin’s spartan confines, wearing a path in the silica floor.
Staring at his own locked door, heart slamming against his sternum like a meteor bombardment. If he didn’t open it…if he didn’t answer…
Nero shoved a mental barrier between them to give the guy a little privacy as a basic matter of telepath ethics. Same way he’d been doing all summer. Fighting like hell to do the decent thing and respect his best friend’s boundaries and stay out of his head.
Now he scowled at the stubborn silence but held tight to his temper.
“Dex?” He pitched his voice to carry. “Let me in. We need to talk. Anyway, you, uh, left your blaster in the shower house.”
The silence stretched between them. A silence tighter than a pressurized airlock, shredded by the shrill scream of a hunting panther. Intuition told him the critter was on the prowl, hunting for blood and savage with hunger. If the cat tracked him to Dex’s doorstep, Nero would have to defend himself. Not with Dex’s blaster, which he’d buckled around his own hips, but with the psi fire he was learning to channel as he honed his rapidly expanding arsenal of psychic powers.
Doggedly he pounded on the door. “Come on, Dex. I know you’re in there. I could feel you fulminating halfway down the path. Open up.”
“No bloody talking. I’m not in the mood.” Dex’s muffled voice sounded surly. And more than a little desperate. “For gods’ sake, Ben, it’s after midnight. Go away.”
Nero squared his shoulders and hardened his voice. “Open this door or I’ll open it for you.”
Violet sparks flared at his fingertips. Fiercely he reeled in the billowing surge of psi fire sizzling through his channels before he lost control and blew Dex’s door through the opposite wall. Tonight he wanted to talk to Dex, not fight him. And a full-out assault would only trigger all those primitive Mogadon instincts Dex was always striving to suppress.
Apparently some god with a fondness for bisexual adolescent telepaths decided to take pity on Nero’s awkward dilemma and whisper a word of reason in Dex’s ear. With a chirp, the maglock released and the door swung wide.
“Finally.” Pushing out a breath, Nero strode into the moonlit darkness. “What the hells, Dex…”
His words stuttered to a stop.
In the narrow confines of the shadowy cabin whose angles and corners he knew by heart, Dex stood silhouetted against the viewport. Wearing nothing but an insubstantial pair of sleeping trousers that clung to his supple hips and spectacular ass.
The light of Paragon’s three moons limned his broad shoulders and corded back and bulging triceps in a way that made Nero burn to sink his teeth in and just nibble his way down the guy’s body. Starlight flamed in Dex’s cropped golden hair and caressed the sun-bronzed skin Nero longed to trace with his tongue.
Nero sucked in a hit of oxygen to clear his damn head and felt his senses spin. He was already half-drunk on lotus pollen, a seductive sweetness like spicy sugar tickling the back of his throat. Now his head was reeling with the potent kick of Dex’s scent—that heady whiff of pheromones Mogadon males exuded that telegraphed aggression, territoriality, or arousal.
Nero ached to know which of those stimuli was driving Dex tonight.
Ferociously he fought back the temptation to shove aside his inconvenient ethics, peek inside Dex’s brain, and find out for himself. And screw his farking ethics and screw his best friend’s privacy.
A long time ago in a galaxy far away, Laura Navarre was an award-winning dark historical romance author for Harlequin, while her diabolical twin Nikki Navarre wrote sexy spy romance. In a daring bid to escape a global pandemic, armed only with an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and a professional background in weapons of mass destruction, Laura voyaged through a wormhole to an alternate universe where she crafts turbocharged, epic, hyper-erotic poly science fiction romance starring three sexy bi heroes, one seriously kickass heroine, and plenty of sizzling outer space action.
Interstellar Angel is a steamy, angsty, enemies-to-lovers MMMF poly sci fi action romance and your gateway to the Astral Heat universe, where Star Wars meets 50 Shades by way of The Hunger Games. Outer space adventure just got a whole lot hotter!