Tag Archives: LGBTQ Sci Fi

Red Dot by Mike Karpa Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In a world where people automatically make the right decision, one young man finds himself compelled to follow his artistic pursuits and his love interests, in author Mike Karpa’s “Red Dot”. 

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The Synopsis

After the disaster of global warming, the world has gotten its act together. People are positive, sensible and creating a better future and a just present. So, in a world where everyone makes good decisions, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, other people. Twenty-something gay man Mardy dreams of becoming a full-time machine-tool artist. He brims with ideas, puts in the hours, has a solid circle of artist buddies—and forbidden friendships with artificial intelligences, the virtual slaves he works alongside of in his day job. But he’s always coming in second to an irritatingly successful rival. When he meets the rival’s twin, unexpected consequences drive Mardy to pursue not only his artistic passions but also love. And just possibly make the world a better place in the process.

The Review

This was such a beautifully constructed sci-fi world the author has crafted. The way they were able to bring about this post-dystopian world was so refreshing and unique, exploring a somewhat more hopeful future that sees environmental disasters conquered and technological wonders an everyday part of life. The emotional depth of a novel of this caliber that delves into the morality and heart of what an AI is or can be in life, and whether they can develop the same level of consciousness that humanity has, was absolutely outstanding and kept the reader both hopeful and teary throughout the read.

The character development of this narrative was stupendous. The LGBTQ representation that could be found throughout the entirety of this cast of characters was phenomenal to see and more relevant to the world we live in. This backstory for many of the characters, including protagonist Mardy himself, was perfect to mirror the themes and atmosphere that the AI conversation crafted naturally, making this such an exciting read. 

The Verdict

Mind-blowing, thought-provoking, and emotionally investing, author Mike Karpa’s “Red Dot” is a must-read post-dystopian and sci-fi read! The fantastic character growth and rich and futuristic setting made this a captivating story, while the mix of romance and sci-fi morality themes made this one of those novels that readers won’t be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Red Dot - Mike Karpa

Mike Karpa has a new MM sci-fi romance out, The Dot Trilogy book 1: Red Dot. And there’s a giveaway!

After the disaster of global warming, the world has gotten its act together. People are positive, sensible, and intent on creating a better future and a just present. And it’s working! So, in a world where everyone makes good decisions, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, other people. Mardy is a 26-year old gay man who dreams of being a full-time machine-tool artist. He brims with ideas, puts in the hours, and has a solid circle of friends—both fellow artists and the artificial intelligences he works with. But he’s always coming in second to another machine-tool artist at his makerspace. He’s dealing with that, thanks to the highly effective psychotherapy of the future, but then he meets his irritatingly successful rival’s twin—and falls for him hard. Consequences ensue, and fast, driving Mardy not just to pursue his artistic dreams, but to try to liberate his AI friends from servitude, and find love in the process.

About the Trilogy:

Powered by art, the search for true love leads to freedom for enslaved AIs.

Publisher | Amazon


Giveaway

Mike is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47230/?


Excerpt

Red Dot meme

Chapter 1

Mardy’s ExMail delivery jet was vectoring in fast on San Francisco.

“Coming in a little hot, don’t you think?” he said to the plane.

“It’s fine, Mardy,” the plane replied.

Mardy gripped the open side-portal of the plane. Hoverdown would normally have engaged by that point, but there was little at the moment to distinguish their trajectory from a kamikaze run at his apartment building rooftop.

“Plane?” Mardy asked, panicking a wee bit. They were plummeting. Mardy clamped his lips against the wind. He wanted to make the designstation time he’d booked for the evening, but as much as he wanted to be a full-time machine tool artist, he’d prefer not to die in the attempt.

One hundred feet, fifty feet. Twenty.

The plane hit its thrusters hard, sending Mardy sprawling out of the portal. He managed a shoulder roll onto the hot concrete roof, ending in a crouch. His heart pounded as the impact of his landing reverberated through his bones.

His plane floated above the roof. “See you tomorrow, Mardy.”

Mardy stood. Did he detect a smirk in the plane’s voice? It maintained its hover, wheels retracted. Was it waiting for Mardy’s reaction?

“See you tomorrow,” Mardy mumbled, shaken, sweating, and not just from the sun beating down on them.

The plane waggled its wings ever so slightly. It was laughing, Mardy was sure of it. Mardy waved slowly as the plane left for who knew where. The official story was that all the delivery jets were operated by a central AI, a single intelligence. But Mardy had sensed differences between planes almost from day one and found it harder and harder to pretend he didn’t. And this plane, a jokester, was his favorite. It knew Mardy was light on his feet, able to handle the abrupt braking. It was playing with him. Mardy wanted to give it a name.

Phil.

The name popped into Mardy’s mind, unbidden. Which felt more alarming than the idea of plunging to earth through an open portal, because naming AIs was illegal—not just technically illegal, but illegal enough to land you in jail.

Mardy caught the beautifully air-conditioned elevator down the thirty-three flights to ground level, legs tired from a full day on the job, and hoofed it one block down Mission Street to WorkShop Downtown SF, sweat now dribbling from him despite the near-dusk hour. The batteries of the personal cooler strapped to his chest must have filled up from harvesting his body heat as he’d raced through his workday.

Mardy pushed through the WorkShop front door. He planned to spend an all-nighter polishing his latest machine-tooled design. It was nearly ready to submit for the salon, the competitive exhibition WorkShop held every month. Salons had only one slot per discipline and he had never been selected, but this was the month he would finally beat out their resident star, Smith Hunt. Mardy could feel it: this month, he would be the salon’s chosen machine tool artist.

He dropped his satchel next to his designstation, already feeling the hours of slogging to come.

His design was a whirligig, one of the middle genres of machine tool art. He’d been working so far in gizmos, the very bottom rung of the genres, but having failed every single month he’d competed, he’d decided more ambition was called for. His whirligig was essentially a mobile cooling fan intended to track the person it was paired with, walking after its target on tiny legs to provide continuous cooling. The best part? When the person settled, their whirligig would dance a cha-cha. It naturally wouldn’t be as convenient or effective as the personal cooling units everyone wore to survive their globally warmed world, but it would be adorable.

His best friend, Cat, a plastic surgery artist, hurried over to Mardy’s designstation, their bushy black hair bouncing. “We’re heading over to Uncle Mix for drinks.” They were dressed in work clothes—sweatshirt and jeans—except that their jeans had a starscape of Milky Way and crescent moon splashed in yellow against the dark blue denim, likely the work of one of the resident fabrics artists.

Mardy shook his head. “I haven’t finished my entry.” Plus, he really wanted to do more than design it. He wanted to build this sucker, an expensive, full realization. And on his pilot’s salary, he couldn’t afford another night out. A minimum-wage job like ExMail pilot was enough for a tidy supplement to universal basic income, but it left little room for art.

Cat bent over to look at his screen. “Show me,” they said.

“I want it to be a surprise.”

“I already know it’s a whirligig. You’ve been dropping hints for a solid month.”

“Are you submitting?” Mardy asked.

Cat cocked their head at him. “Think a question will distract me?”

Mardy chuckled. “Okay, not subtle. But your plastic surgery is so great. I really want you to submit a routine. Use me as your blank.”

Cat gave him a skeptical look.

Ever since Cat’s controversial near-triumph at Vegas Regionals last year, their plastic surgery performance recordings had gotten astonishing view metrics. Now everybody wanted to be in a Cat performance. But Mardy had shied away, despite Cat’s repeated requests and flattering remarks about his bone structure. Mardy trusted Cat’s ability to restore his face and/or other body parts afterwards, but he was afraid of knives. He’d only volunteered now to avoid showing Cat his design. But he’d said it, and if he’d said it, he’d do it.

“Done. And just to warn you, I submitted an hour ago,” Cat said.

“I’m not scared.” Mardy tried to hide a gulp of terror. “In bocca al lupo.” Over the last decade, the Italian phrase—in the mouth of the wolf—had thoroughly supplanted the nonsensical break a leg, part of a global migration of slang, as verbal fashions swarmed over the face of the planet like birds on the move.

Cat ran a finger down Mardy’s jawline, the plans for imagined cuts bubbling behind their eyes.


Author Bio

Mike Karpa

Mike was once a woodworker in a makerspace and knows how semiconductors are made. His novels hop around between genres, dabbling in scifi (Red Dot), romance (Red Dot again), suspense (Criminals), and forthcoming in 2022, a snarky comedy of manners set in New York and Arkansas and a YA novel about five puppies in search of a dog rumored to be their dad. Eventually, a behemoth about love, war and espionage in India in the 1960s (Between Countries) will see the light of day as well.

His goal these days is to write novels for queer audiences that are entertaining rather than esoteric, upbeat rather than angsty. His more recent shorter fiction, memoir and nonfiction (some in the more angsty vein) can be found in Tin House, Foglifter, Tahoma Literary Review, Oyster River Pages and other magazines.

Mike has roots in Texas and Estonia, and has lived in California, Michigan and Ohio, not to mention eight years in Asia in the early part of his life. Now he lives in San Francisco with his husband and dog in a house soon to be celebrating its 130th birthday. Red Dot is Mike’s second book, after Criminals (2021), and is the first in a planned trilogy.

Author Website: https://mikekarpa.com

Author Facebook (Publishing): https://www.facebook.com/mumblerspress

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/mike.karpa/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/mumblerspress

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mumblerspress/

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/mike-karpa/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/mike-karpa/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Karpa/e/B09GTNWKVY

 

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The Left Hand of Dog by Si Clarke Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

An innocent hiking trip takes a strange and dramatic turn when strangely adorable aliens aboard a teapot ship abduct Lem, leading to a bizarre race to discover why they were taken and must face alien worlds, space stations and more in author Si Clarke’s “The Left Hand of Dog”. 

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The Synopsis

Escaping intergalactic kidnappers has never been quite so ridiculous.

When Lem and her faithful dog, Spock, retreat from the city for a few days of hiking in Algonquin Park, the last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by aliens. No, scratch that. The last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by a bunch of strangely adorable intergalactic bounty hunters aboard a ship called the Teapot.

After Lem falls in with an unlikely group of allies – including a talking horse, a sarcastic robot, an overly anxious giant parrot, and a cloud of sentient glitter gas – the gang must devise a cunning plan to escape their captors and make it back home safely.

But things won’t be as easy as they first seem. Lost in deep space and running out of fuel, this chaotic crew are faced with the daunting task of navigating an alien planet, breaking into a space station, and discovering the real reason they’re all there…

Packed with preposterous scenarios, quirky characters, and oodles of humour, The Left Hand of Dog tackles complex subjects such as gender, the need to belong, and the importance of honest communication. Perfect for fans of Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater than Death – especially ones who enjoy endless references to Red DwarfStar Trek, and Doctor Who. This book will show you that the universe is a very strange place indeed.

The Review

The author has crafted a truly brilliant and expertly crafted sci-fi story for the ages. The novel takes the humor and wit of sci-fi sagas like Doctor Who and The Orville, and the mind-bending galactic storytelling of Star Wars and Star Trek. The author found the right balance of homages to classic sci-fi storytelling while still incorporating modern-day storytelling that highlights LGBTQ themes and character developments.

Lem was a brilliant protagonist, showing the complexities of their personality and inner struggles with their identity while also stepping up to the plate to become a new sci-fi hero who readers could root for. The author’s ability to craft such an incredible juxtaposition of identity struggles and the hardships of the outsider with the more silly or obscure sci-fi tones the genre is known for is just amazing and really drew me in as a reader.

The Verdict

A gripping, fun, and reflective sci-fi and LGBTQ-driven narrative, author Si Clarke’s “The Left Hand of Dog” is a must-read novel of 2021. The engaging way the author connects the reader with the themes of the narrative without sacrificing any of the humor or character growth really helped this story to shine brightly and should be read by any and all fans of classic and modern sci-fi storytelling. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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The Left Hand of Dog - SI Clarke

SI Clarke has a new quirky queer sci-fi book out (ace/aro/agender): The Left Hand of Dog. And there’s a giveaway!

Escaping intergalactic kidnappers has never been quite so ridiculous.

When Lem and her faithful dog, Spock, retreat from the city for a few days of hiking in Algonquin Park, the last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by aliens. No, scratch that. The last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by a bunch of strangely adorable intergalactic bounty hunters aboard a ship called the Teapot.

Falling in with an unlikely group of allies – including a talking horse, a sarcastic robot, an overly anxious giant parrot, and a cloud of sentient glitter gas – Lem and the gang must devise a cunning plan to escape their captors and make it back home safely.

But things won’t be as easy as they first seem. Lost in deep space and running out of fuel, this chaotic crew are faced with the daunting task of navigating an alien planet, breaking into a space station, and discovering the real reason they’re all there…

Packed with preposterous scenarios, quirky characters, and oodles of humour, The Left Hand of Dog tackles complex subjects such as gender, the need to belong, and the importance of honest communication. Perfect for fans of Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater than Death – especially ones who enjoy endless references to Red Dwarf, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. This book will show you that the universe is a very strange place indeed.

Warnings: anaphylactic shock, minor injury to a dog, this book is not for TERFs.

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

SI Clarke eBooks giveaway

SI Clarke is giving away four eBooks with this blog tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47201/?


Excerpt

MEME4 - The Left Hand of Dog

Copyright © 2021 by SI CLARKE – All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Startled by the sound of movement behind me, I whirled around to face three … they had to be children in bunny costumes. ‘What?’ That’s what they had to be, right? I mean, they weren’t actually rabbits. Definitely not. For one thing, they stood upright. Real bunnies don’t normally do that, do they? For another, they were about the size of Spock.

But the costumes looked real in that no skin showed through – not even on their faces – and I couldn’t see any zips. Also, I was pretty sure rabbits didn’t come in pastel rainbow colours. Actually, they reminded me of a toy I’d had as a child. Bunnyboo, I’d called it. Four-year-old me was terribly inventive.

‘Check out your floopy-floppy ears! How adorable are you?’ Nervous sarcasm still intact then.

I was nauseated enough that shaking my head seemed like a bad idea. ‘It was beer I had last night, right? Not, like, psychedelic mushrooms? Maybe some natural tree spore that makes a person have trippy visions?’ No one answered me. Or even looked at me.

Spock sat neatly and dropped her brain in my lap. She lifted a paw towards the nearest of the bunnyboos – for want of a better word. The creature’s mint green fur matched the emerald hue of its humongous Disney princess eyes. ‘Yip,’ said Spock in her smallest, most polite voice.

This is not happening. I must be dreaming. Or hallucinating. Something.

Pulling a device from a holster like a carpenter’s apron, the bunnyboo pointed it at Spock. Or maybe it was merely reading what was on the screen – if it even had a screen. Who was I kidding? I had no idea what they were doing.

Another, slightly taller bunnyboo – this one periwinkle blue with eyes like Wedgewood plates – stepped forwards and ‘spoke’ to Spock as well. That is, its mouth moved and Spock’s full attention was on it. But no sound emerged. Spock yipped again in response to whatever it was I couldn’t hear.

Spock pointed at me with her long, sable nose then looked back at the bunnyboos and emitted a low noise, not quite a growl.

‘Would someone please tell me what the bollocking pufferfish is going on here?’ I demanded. Okay, not demanded. Requested. Well, pleaded. Whined, maybe. Whatever verb it was I verbed, no one paid me any heed.

The bunnyboos of my strange hallucination were too deeply engrossed in their silent conversation with my very real dog to spare me any of their attention. It was like watching a TV on mute – except I could hear movements and breathing and the sound of my heart beating a drum on the inside of my chest.

After a few further moments of this bizarre fever dream, Spock leapt down out of the coffin and turned to face me. She sat on her haunches and looked me in the eye. Then she lifted one paw at me in a clear imitation of the ‘stay’ command I used with her.

A bunnyboo with heather purple fur lowered a rope lead over Spock’s head. Spock stood and followed them from the room.

‘Where are you taking my dog, you fluffy bastards?’ I clambered out of the coffin-bed and scrabbled after them as fast as my besocked feet would carry me. But the thick metal door slid shut seconds before I got to it.

I pounded impotently on the door, screaming, ‘Spock! Come back. Don’t let those fuzzy arseholes hurt you.’ Unable to find a door knob or control panel or anything, I leant against the wall next to the door and slid down until I landed on my arse. I shivered and hugged my knees to my chest.

Why can’t I wake up? Letting my head fall forwards, I cried for a bit, whimpering Spock’s name periodically.


Author Bio

SI Clarke

SI CLARKE is a Canadian misanthrope who lives in Deptford, sarf ees London. She shares her home with her partner and an assortment of waifs and strays. When not writing convoluted, inefficient stories, she spends her time telling financial services firms to behave more efficiently. When not doing either of those things, she can be found in the pub or shouting at people online – occasionally practising efficiency by doing both at once. 
As someone who’s neurodivergent, an immigrant, and the proud owner of an invisible disability, she strives to present a diverse array of characters in her stories.

Author Website: https://whitehartfiction.co.uk

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/clacksee

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/clacksee

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/32693/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SI-CLARKE/e/B082GXW66G/

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Travelers (Nel Bently #1) by V.S. Holmes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young archeologist must contend with angry militants in Chile, a dangerous benefactor to her dig and a growing mystery that could define her career and change history as we know it in author V.S. Holmes’ “Travelers”, the first in the Nel Bently series.

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The Synopsis

No One Fights Dirtier Than an Archaeologist

Archaeologist Nel Bently has her own crew, her own research, and a private patron to fund her passion for dirt. With her trowel barely into the dry earth of Chile’s coast, however, Nel learns she and her crew are being watched.

Los Pobladores, known to Nel only as vandals and looters, take issue with any archaeologist brave or stubborn enough to set boots on their land. Nel is both and far from willing to give up the site that will make her career. She must keep her crew, her friends, and her life’s work safe, but with a benefactor playing chess with their lives, and angry militants who may actually have a point, Nel is ready to fight dirty.

X-FILES meets LARA CROFT in this snarky sci-fi about where we came from, and where we’re going

The Review

A fantastic, short yet powerful sci-fi adventure, Travelers was an amazing start to this series. The author has crafted a beautiful tapestry of archeology and history, science-fiction drama and LGBTQ+ driven characters, and did so in a way that felt cohesive and engaging all at once. 

The story and characters did a great job of drawing the reader in immediately, from Nel’s relationship early on with her archeology friend Mikey to Nel’s journey as the site’s discoveries lead to some shocking twists and turns. What really stands out was the author’s way of incorporating real archeology techniques and methodology into the narrative, giving both the characters and their work within the novel a more realistic approach. 

Another thing that really was great to see was a strong, female-driven narrative and protagonist as well as a powerful LGBTQ+ sci-fi hero. Nel’s hold-no-bars approach to the challenges in this novel made her a true standout, and the emotional highs and lows she underwent helped to showcase just how much her character grew overall throughout the narrative, making this one of the more engaging sci-fi series with a LGBTQ+ protagonist. 

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining and investing read, author V.S. Holmes’ “Travelers” is a must-read start to an incredible sci-fi saga. With emotional and action-packed twists and turns and an ending that leaves open some great story possibilities for future books, the author has crafted a masterful narrative and memorable characters that many readers will be able to identify with. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

V. S. Holmes is an international bestselling author. They created the REFORGED series and the NEL BENTLY BOOKS. Smoke and Rain, the first book in their fantasy quartet, won New Apple Literary’s Excellence in Independent Publishing Award in 2015. In addition, they have published short fiction in several anthologies.

When not writing, they work as a contract archaeologist throughout the northeastern U.S. They live in a Tiny House with their spouse, a fellow archaeologist, their not-so-tiny dog, and own too many books for such a small abode. As a disabled and queer human, they work as an advocate and educator for representation in SFF worlds.

https://vsholmes.com/index.html

The Stark Divide: Liminal Sky #1 by J. Scott Coatsworth Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

As Earth is on the verge of collapse, one of three ships makes the journey across the stars to find a new home as several generations look to become humanity’s future in author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “The Stark Divide”, the first in the Liminal Sky series. 

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The Synopsis

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

The Review

A truly engaging, emotional and heartfelt sci-fi epic that does a phenomenal job of setting up the saga the author has laid out before readers. The way the author is able to take a universally used concept of Earth on the verge of destruction and humanity’s last hope and blend this theme into a wholly original mythology and sci-fi goodness was a real work of art. 

The defining drive behind this novel was the amazing character development. These characters quickly became the heart of the story, showcasing the diversity and natural way the characters interacted with one another in this sci-fi epic story. The author’s use of LGBTQ+ characters felt natural and part of the fabric of this universe the author has created more than something forced, making these characters and their stories shine brighter than ever before. 

The Verdict

A truly one of a kind read filled with action, emotionally charged stories spanning multiple generations, and a wonderful cast of characters, this is a great sci-fi story that is not to be missed. The Stark Divide is a magnificent story filled with a unique mythology surrounding the survival of the human race, and the eloquent mixture of epic sci-fi with personal character growth and interactions make this a truly memorable read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Ushered into fantasy and sci-fi at the tender age of nine by his mother, he devoured her library of Asimovs, Clarkes, and McCaffreys. But as he grew up, he wondered where the gay people were in speculative fiction.

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

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently–he sees relationships between things that others miss, and often gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He transforms traditional sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He also runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband, Mark, sites that bring LGBTIQA communities together to celebrate fiction that reflects queer life and love.

Facebook Profile: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Website/Blog: www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Dreamspinner Page: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_1189

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

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

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