Throwaway is nominated for LR Cafe Best of 2017 awards Best of Western/Cowboy. If you are inclined to vote the link is here.
Sorry, folks. There is a chapter 117, but somehow it didn’t publish. So, now you can enjoy a new chapter…even if it is out of order.
QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:
1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.
Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.
Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.
Welcome to Renewal.
Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!
“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose
“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner
“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed
“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright
“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright
“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter
““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich
“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne
“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones
“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel
“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton
“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase
“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer
Andrea Felber Seligman
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
E R Zhang
Elsa M León
Eric Alan Westfall
Foster Bridget Cassidy
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
Leigh M. Lorien
Lloyd A. Meeker
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Mindy Leana Shuman
R R Angell
Redfern Jon Barrett
Rory Ni Coileain
S R Jones
Zev de Valera
I’m so excited to have my friend and fellow writer on the blog today with the release of his newest novel, Skythame.- Jon
As part of my “Skythane” blog tour, Jon asked me to talk a bit about my current Work in Progress.
As it happens, I just started working on “Lander”, the sequel to “Skythane.” It’s a planned trilogy, full of secrets and reveals, a love triangle, and swamp bears. 😛
The new story picks up where “Skythane” left off. I’ve been working on it for a couple weeks ow, but I hit a bit of a pacing block – things were moving along way too slowly.
Then I figured out why (just this morning, in the car alone, listening to OneRepublic.” I was letting a certain moment and meeting of the characters drive the storyline, which resulted in one action scene, followed by three chapters of sitting around in a cave chewing the fat.
I had to shake things up to get things going.
So tomorrow I’ll set about ripping up what I have so far by the roots and sending the characters off in different directions, mingling action with pauses to let the reader catch their breaths.
Skythane was all about saving the planet; Lander is about what comes next – saving the people from each other. And book three, “Ithani”? You’ll just have to wait to find out.
My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!
Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.
Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.
His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.
The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.
A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….
He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.
Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.
The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.
For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.
When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.
“You’re still here.”
“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.
Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.
The man frowned. “I thought—”
“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”
The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.
I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.
He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”
Buy Links Etc:
Dreamspinner – eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/skythane-by-j-scott-coatsworth-8154-b
Dreamspinner – paperback: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/skythane-by-j-scott-coatsworth-8155-b
Amazon: Coming Soon
Apple: Coming Soon
Barnes & Noble: Coming Soon
Kobo: Coming Soon
Smashwords: Coming Soon
iBooks: Coming Soon
Goodreads: Coming Soon
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.
Historical M/M Romantic Suspense
In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.
As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.
But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.
Publication February 1, 2017
The sun thrust warm fingers into the ancient Tuscan earth. The gray-green leaves of the olive trees shimmered, and the woods beyond beckoned Morello to abandon the painters’ workshop for their cool refuge.
In the growing heat the apprentices inside settled into an afternoon nap, curled on benches in dark corners behind him. The harsh fumes of linseed oil and varnish had irritated Morello all morning, and he was unable to sleep in the miasma. Perhaps before their visitors from Florence arrived, he might escape the heat. A long tramp in the woods pulled at his bones.
He reached for the walking stick behind the door, but a horse’s whinny stopped him, and a man’s voice called out. When no one stirred within to answer, he cursed the sleepers and stomped back through the shop, thwarted. In the lane in front of the workshop, two men removed packs from their horses.
“Good day, Master Zeno!” From the doorway, Morello called to the older of the two. “You made good time!”
At the sound of Morello’s voice, the apprentices roused themselves from sleep and peered around him.
The gray-haired master raised his hand and smiled. “Good day, Master Morello.”
Master Zeno’s companion, a tall young man with flowing golden hair, took the older man’s pack for him and shouldered the straps of both.
“Take their horses to the stable and fetch Master Franco,” Morello ordered the apprentices, and they hurried to obey.
Master Zeno’s journeyman brushed dust from the sleeve of his sweat-stained linen shirt, slapped more dust from his long thighs, and ran a forearm across his brow. His smile was uncertain as his glance met Morello’s.
Donato stood at the window yawning and scratching his stomach. He shaded his eyes for a better look into the misty glare of the afternoon. “Who’s the beauty with the master?”
Donato’s fellow journeyman Primo jumped to his feet and crowded against Morello in the doorway. “Can it be? He’s brought Tagliaferro?”
Donato groaned. “The man you’ve been mooning about since you last went to Florence, Primo? You’ve only just finally shut up about him.”
Morello ignored them. His irritation over his interrupted walk had vanished. Primo’s garlic- and onion-laden breath on his neck registered only remotely. He gazed out at the man from Florence, who, in Morello’s memory, had once been a long-legged boy with a head of yellow fluff too big for his skinny body. Morello stepped out into the sunlight that appeared to pour itself over the grown man, and stretched out his hand in greeting. Maintaining frank eye contact, Benedetto Tagliaferro adjusted the packs and took his hand.
When flesh met flesh, Morello stumbled – at least, his heart did. As if the wind from the beating wings of the love-inspiring putti he had painted just that morning pushed them toward each other.
“Do you remember me?” Benedetto asked with the shadow of that boy’s grin.
About Heloise West:
Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of thirteen years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.
Where to find Heloise:
Hello all. The final blog visit for Camouflage is today. I thought some of you might enjoy it since I talk about my food plays such an important role is many of my stories. Yes, I admit it. I’m a hard core foodie.
I hope you enjoy a little more background on the stories.
Hello! The day has finally arrived for Camouflage’s release. I’m excited and love the story. I hope you enjoy it too.
Nash Gallo and Luke Meyers seem like complete opposites on the surface. Nash is a city boy from Atlanta, while Luke is a rancher from rural Oklahoma. Nash is covered in tattoos and piercings, while Luke is self-conscious about his muscular, hairy body. Luke doesn’t have much sexual experience with other men, while Nash has plenty to go around.
But both men are lonely, and neither of them has ever been in love.
They also both have secrets. For Luke, it’s his shame over an affair with a local closeted and married man, something Nash accepts. Will Luke be as tolerant of what Nash is hiding—his job as a prostitute back in Georgia?
A week-long vacation on Luke’s ranch and the idyllic landscapes surrounding it gives both men the chance to relax and explore the attraction growing between them. But can the budding relationship survive secrets and small-town prejudices? As they search for the place where their lives might intersect, Nash and Luke risk far worse than broken hearts.
Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.
Nash watched Luke as they drove down the road toward town. He’d looked good at the airport, at least what Nash could remember before Luke ran through the pouring rain, but once he cleaned up he was outstanding. The pullover shirt tapered to his hips, and Nash licked his lips in appreciation. Even more importantly, he seems like a nice guy. Not that I’m a great judge.
“So what do you think?”
Nash jumped, afraid he’d been busted. But he realized the question wasn’t what he’d thought when Luke motioned at the scenery that rolled past.
“The house is cool. I mean, you have all that space to yourself. It’s so quiet too. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep without sirens and squealing brakes.”
Luke fixed his eyes on the road ahead, his knuckles white on the steering wheel. “Yeah. It’s quiet most of the time.”
“Sorry. I forgot how you got it.”
“It’s okay. I just miss them a lot.”
Nash reached over, patted Luke’s leg, and gave it a squeeze. “Sorry, but at least you had someone who loved you.”
Luke started to say something, but Nash interrupted, not wanting him to get too inquisitive. “So, we’re going for barbecue? I love pulled pork.”
“This might be more Texas barbecue than you’re used to. I always get the brisket.”
“And you like their fries, right?”
Luke glanced over at him. “How did you know that?”
“Oh I don’t know, maybe because you told me one night when we were chatting.”
Luke relaxed his grip on the wheel and a grin appeared. “Oh. Yeah, I guess I did.” He looked over to Nash and then refocused on the road. “Makes me wonder what else I’ve told you and forgot.”
Nash chuckled and twisted in the seat so he faced Luke. “Let’s see. You like corn dogs with mustard and ketchup, which is disgusting. You also like to rope, but you can’t help but worry about the calves sometimes. What else….”
“Okay, okay. You’ve made your point. Enough Luke stories. And why don’t I know any of your embarrassing habits?”
Nash’s relaxed moment faded and he turned back to the wall of trees they were driving through. “Nothing worth sharing. Especially nothing as cute as how you got the crescent-shaped scar on your butt.”
“There was nothing cute about that. The damn dog was trying to kill me.”
“It’s the owner’s fault. They make the dogs mean.”
“Whatever. The owner didn’t bite me.”
They drove the rest of the way in silence. The typical small-town business staples rolled past as they got closer to their destination. Looks familiar, a lifetime and a thousand miles ago.
“You hungry?” Luke asked.
Nash’s stomach picked that point to rumble. “From that sound you’d think I was about to starve.”
“Good, ’cause we’re there.” Luke turned into the parking lot as Nash checked out the low-slung building with its simple “BBQ” sign in front. As Luke searched for a parking spot, Nash inhaled the hickory-smoke-laden air. When they rounded the back of the place, Nash spotted the monstrous black behemoth filling the area with the scent of meats of every kind.
They found a place to park and made their way inside. Luke threaded his way to the counter with Nash close behind. A smiling woman with her blonde hair pulled back motioned them closer. “What sounds good tonight, Luke?” she asked.
“I think a couple of the sampler plates and two sweet teas.”
She looked knowingly at Nash. “And fries. He always has fries.”
Luke grinned and shrugged. “Guilty. They’re the best.”
The woman motioned toward an empty table. “Grab a seat and I’ll bring it out to you.”
A short time later Nash had both elbows propped on the table and was halfway through a side of ribs. “You were right. The hot barbecue sauce is killer.”
Luke swallowed the piece of brisket he was working on and looked at Nash. “Told you. The beans are great too. The place isn’t fancy, but it’s delicious food.”
Nash pulled off another rib and gnawed it like an ear of corn. The food was good, but he thought the company was better. Feeling a little ornery, he leaned closer to Luke, making smacking noises, knowing his face was smeared with sauce.
“Hey, what’d you think? Want some of this?”
With a nervous laugh, Luke glanced around them. “Knock it off, you goof. You’ve got barbecue all over you.”
Nash gathered up a few paper towels and wiped his face. After considering Luke, he leaned across the table. “You okay? If me teasing around is making you uncomfortable….”
“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind.”
“Then what’s making you so uptight?”
“They might think it’s more than friends out for barbecue. I haven’t really been out with anyone before.”
“You’ve never been on a date?”
“Not really. I went out a few times in college, but not since coming back.” Luke paused and glanced at Nash before he continued. “Yeah, nothing I’d call a date.
“You’ve been out of college for a while. How could you not date? I thought you were out.”
“Oh, they know, but you know little towns and all their crap. It’s—” Luke stopped, and his eyes locked on the business’s door as it swung open.
Nash wondered what was going on when a mass of people swept through the entrance. They all seemed loud and excited. He watched closely and turned to Luke. “What’s going on? Did everyone get their egg money at once?”
“The high school football game’s over. It’s more important than money, at least around here.”
Nash watched the crowd for a few more seconds before he shrugged. “Doesn’t take much to get some people worked up, I guess.”
“No, it doesn’t.” Luke glanced at the crowd again, and he went rigid.
Nash looked again but couldn’t see anything more than the same milling throng. “What’s wrong?”
“Not a big deal. You ready to go? We could stop for some ice cream at—”
Nash laid his hands on top of one of Luke’s. “You might as well tell me. I’m going to worm it out of you eventually anyway, even if it takes liquor.”
Luke sighed deeply. “I suppose. It’s not like I’ll be able to avoid him the whole time you’re here.”
Nash waited for Luke to continue, but he realized more information wasn’t going to happen soon if he didn’t help it along. So he gave it another shot. “He who? What’s going on? You know you can talk to me. Hell, if it’s making you nervous, text it to me.”
“Yeah, apparently I’m a blabbermouth around you. So, you might as well know. My sort of ex just walked in. Long story.”
“Your ex? I thought….”
“Like I said, it’s complicated. Do you mind if we go somewhere else for dessert?”
Nash considered saying something, then decided against it. Instead he looked over the people, trying to decide which one was Luke’s former lover. His curiosity got the best of him. “Which one?”
“The blond guy with the red shirt that says ‘Stillwell Indians.’”
Nash started chuckling. “You’re kidding me, right? They’re all wearing a red Indians jersey.”
“Him. The guy in the corner….”
Nash looked again, and this time immediately spotted who Luke must be talking about. Almost as tall as Nash, but with the build of a fading high school football star. He was at the center of the mob of men waiting by the door and talking loudly.
Nash glanced at Luke. “The big blond guy everyone seems to want to talk to?”
“Yeah. His name’s Bobby. Robert Doyle.”
Wishing everyone a happy 2017!
May happiness and joy fill the months ahead of you.
For everyone celebrating the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving! For everyone else, have a delightful day filled with friends and food.
If you happen to have someone who looks like this cooking for you, oh my gosh!