RELEASE BLITZ: Gods of Inthya by Effie Calvin #Fantasy #romance #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Gods of Inthya

Series: Tales of Inthya, Book 5.5

Author: Effie Calvin

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/17/2023

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 38600

Genre: Fantasy, anthology, Fantasy, gods, magic, romance, short stories

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Description

At the beginning of time, the gods came together to create Inthya, a world where magic is common and hatred never had the opportunity to take root.

But the Inthyan gods are young and imperfect. With countless failures behind them and unspeakable horrors lurking outside the borders of creation, they must not allow this world to meet the same fate as the last—without alerting their mortal worshippers that anything is wrong.

Nineteen short stories from the perspectives of the gods themselves, some humorous, some horrifying, and all united by a theme of protecting the mortals who love them unconditionally.

Excerpt

Gods of Inthya
Effie Calvin © 2023
All Rights Reserved

Inthi, God of Creation and First of the Ten, does not generally manifest in cities. This is somewhat paradoxical, considering most new ideas come from places where mortals gather in large numbers. But Inthi is a quiet, thoughtful sort of god and has trouble focusing when surrounded by too much noise and commotion. Even when they are called to a mortal’s private workshop, away from shouting vendors and screaming children, they cannot block out the soft but persistent hum of countless souls going about their daily business outside, each mind a bright beacon of wants and worries and dreams.

But today, unfortunately, they must make an exception.

Inthi is intimately familiar with their own Great Temple in Birsgen, and the enormous district surrounding it. Some call it the Flame District, but others simply call it Inthi’s District. Most large cities have one, a place where smiths and artisans and inventors come together to work and exchange ideas.

As Inthi approaches their temple, they hear mortal voices raised in argument. Standing on the steps are two people—a neutroi that Inthi recognizes as their own archpriest here in Ieflaria, and a priestess of Eran dressed in silver robes. The priestess is the source of most of the noise, waving her clenched fist in the archpriest’s face.

Inthi’s archpriest, however, is unimpressed. They wave a hand dismissively and say, “Your concerns are unwarranted.”

The priestess’s cheeks redden. From the rage that emanates from her mind, Inthi can tell reason has failed and now she is about to start cursing. Inthi walks up behind her and rests a reassuring hand on the prophet-priestess’s shoulder. “It’s all right,” they say. “I will handle it.”

Eran’s priestess looks at Inthi with wide, disbelieving eyes. She takes a step back, too dumbfounded to speak. Inthi’s own archpriest has not recognized them, but she has. With more effort, they can disguise themselves completely, but Inthi is not inclined to do so today.

“I appreciate your efforts,” they add. Only rarely do Eran’s priests take an active role in events. Most adhere to the philosophy that attempting to alter the future is pointless at best and disastrous at worst. This priestess must have decided that no outcome is worse than what she’s already seen in her dreams. “Excuse me.”

Inthi walks past the bemused archpriest and enters the temple. Inside is warm from the heat of dozens of forges, and every stone is steeped in magic. Countless prayers have been uttered within these walls. Generations of priests and artisans have labored here. Even if the temple was disassembled and all the stones cast into the sea, it would take centuries for the magic to dissipate from the air.

After taking a few moments to admire the new bronze statues decorating the temple’s anteroom, Inthi takes a side door into a hallway. All around them, mortal minds buzz with ideas; mortal hands wrest iron and copper into new shapes. It is still early, but most of them have been awake for hours. Some have not slept at all.

Inthi could have manifested directly at the source of the problem, but there is time enough to enjoy being in the temple. They pass a few priests in orange robes, but most of the mortals are dressed practically, with heavy leather gloves and large aprons. Some carry boxes, or tools, or push carts filled with scrap metal to be melted down and turned into something useful. Inthi brushes each mind as they pass, appreciating every mortal’s unique focus.

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Meet the Author

Effie is definitely a human being with all her own skin, and not a robot. She writes science fiction and fantasy novels and lives with her cat in the greater Philadelphia area.

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RELEASE BLITZ: These Young Wolves by Glenn Quigley #LGBTQ #EnemiestoLovers @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: These Young Wolves

Series: Knights of Blackrabbit, Book One

Author: Glenn Quigley

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/20/2022

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84900

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, Cornish coast, clockpunk, spec fiction, bears, sailors, law enforcement, historical, non-explicit, enemies-to-lovers, crime, redemption, revenge, tattoos

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Description

One year ago, Vince Knight walked away from his role as crime lord of Port Knot. In his absence, the gangs he founded went to war, and frightening new factions have risen from the ashes to tear at the town’s throat like hungry wolves.

Now Vince is back and has taken command of the Watch—working side-by-side with the very people who spent years trying to put him behind bars. Unbeknownst to him, Captain James Godgrave has been given his own team to deal with crime in the town, but while he and Vince share a common goal, they are not allies.

The murder of one of James’s crew puts Vince in a delicate position. Facing pressure from the council, the townsfolk, and the Watch itself, Vince must find the killer because if he doesn’t, James will, and Vince’s tenure as Watch Commander will be the shortest in history.

As Vince and James clash in their public and private lives, Vince starts to understand the damage caused by his abdication as crime lord, James sets about putting down the gangs once and for all, and the mysterious power behind the new factions exacts a terrifying plan that will change Port Knot forever.

Excerpt

These Young Wolves
Glenn Quigley © 2022
All Rights Reserved

He clicked his pale, meaty fingers twice, sending Crabmeat running along the narrow Entry while he hurried up the dry, cobbled road. He readied himself at a corner and stuck out the tip of his octopus-handled cane. A young man with a thatch of blond hair slammed into the cane at full speed, turning head-over-tit onto the cobbled road. A necklace and a handful of coins spilled out of his pockets, splashing into a horse-made puddle. Crabmeat—a tubby, short-nosed little bulldog—darted after him, barking furiously.

The young thief rolled onto his back, holding his shin and crying out, before being lifted wholly off the ground and slammed against the nearest wall. Vince Knight spoke with a voice like rolling thunder, “Assume you know the way to the Watch House?”

No one in the town of Port Knot could remember a warmer October than that of 1781. As the hazy sun rose in a saffron sky, the harbour stretched its cranes like waking arms and prepared for another day. Already several tall ships had docked and become targets for hungry gulls searching for scraps.

The briny air, awash with the stench of yesterday’s catch, stung Vince’s nose in a familiar and welcoming way. With his bag over his shoulder, he took the thief by the scruff of his neck, and marched deeper into town.

The crowds of traders, dockworkers, and sailors sundered themselves before him and fell quiet when he drew near. He kept his head down and carried on walking. He no longer needed the aid of his cane but thought it added some sophistication to his appearance, especially given his newest acquisition of a patch over his left eye.

Had he not already towered over the townsfolk, his clothing would still have set him apart. Sartorially speaking, he never truly overcame his brawler beginnings. His cream-coloured top shirt had seen better days and his black trousers had long ago begun to fray their edges. Yesterday, he’d attended his brother’s handfasting on the nearby island of Merryapple, and he’d accidentally left his favourite claret overcoat behind. Not that he needed it that morning. His tricorne cap, cracked and scaly in places, covered his snowy white hair and kept the morning sun from his lone icy blue eye.

Port Knot’s sole Watch House sat at a crossroads on the west side of town. Three storeys tall, it had a low front door painted in cornflower blue and a single window set with rusted iron bars. Above these, the sand-coloured bricks rose to an arch and then to a gable, in a wholly unnecessary architectural flourish. Like most buildings in town, thin copper pipes ran across the surface like veins under sallow skin.

The bridges of Port Knot infested the town like rats. Long, short, arched, flat, and each one different from the last. Lickbeer Bridge connected the road above Vince’s head to the first floor of the Watch House and protruded from the side of it like a hernia. The arch had been carved to resemble the open mouth of a bearded man, swallowing all who travelled through.

As with the rest of the town, the Watch House had been built too close to the surrounding premises, and indeed the entire street had the appearance of an overstuffed bookshelf. Within, Vince found a grimy pit of browns and mustards. The Watch House saw hardly any sun, so a plethora of lanterns fought bravely against the gloom.

Vince all but threw the thief onto a chair. “Stay,” he said, pointing. “Or else.”

Crabmeat sat in front of the thief and growled.

Vince let his bag of clothes slump to the dusty floor. He tapped his octopus-handled cane on the knotted wooden floorboards. “Anybody in?”

A voice from a backroom called out to him and presently a slim, dark-haired woman in her early twenties greeted him. She wore oversized tan trousers held up by braces, a striped shirt splattered with oil, and a pair of goggles perched on top of her head. She gripped a hammer in one hand and scowled.

“Got you a present,” Vince said, nodding to the thief.

“Ah, sure that’s very kind of you, altogether.” She raised the hammer a little and steadied herself. “And who might you be, now?”

“Vince Knight. Watch Commander.”

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Meet the Author

Glenn Quigley is an author and artist originally from Tallaght in Dublin, Ireland, and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland with his partner of many years. His first novel, The Moth and Moon, was published in 2018. When not writing, he paints portraits in watercolours and tweets too many photos of lighthouses. He maintains a website of his latest work at http://www.glennquigley.com.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Three Kings by Freydis Moon #Fantasy #LGBTQ #polyamorous @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Three Kings

Author: Freydis Moon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 11/22/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 38300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, fantasy/PNR, trans, gay, polyamorous, cozy romance, witches/modern witchcraft, cottagecore, shifter, interracial, magic, magical flora and produce, Icelandic folklore, lighthouse/small coastal town, stormy beaches, sexual tension, selkie

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Description

A polyamorous modern-day fairytale filled with magical flora, cozy romance, and Icelandic folklore…

Ethan Shaw—lighthouse keeper and local witch—lives a charmed life in his chilly, coastal hometown. Blessed with a flourishing garden and a stable livelihood, Ethan can’t complain. But when his husband, Captain Peter Vásquez, brings home a wounded seal after an impromptu storm, Ethan is faced with a curious situation: caring for a lost selkie named Nico Locke.

As Ethan struggles with the possibility of being infertile, insecurities surrounding his marriage, and a newly formed magical bond with a hostile, handsome selkie, his comfortable life begins to fracture. But could breakage lead to something better?

With autumn at their heels and winter on the horizon, Ethan, Peter, and Nico test the boundaries of a new relationship, shared intimacy, and the chance at a future together.

Excerpt

Three Kings
Freydís Moon © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Ethan Shaw carried two knives, one for lilies, the other for veins. The blade in his left hand curved like a smile, clipping stems at a sweet, diagonal angle. The second weapon was concealed in a petite leather sheath, tucked neatly in his right palm.

The ritual called for innocence, and he had none to spare, so he searched the shoreline for white-petaled flowers—speckled with saltwater, yawning toward the sky—and remembered the folktale that wormed through Casper, spoken quietly at the pub, hollered by sailors on the docks, cooed in the apothecary, and sung by children on the playground.

Those Casper lilies, the story went, are filled to the brim with what we’ve lost.

Like snakes, the townsfolk shed their innocence, leaving it to stew in the bay, sink into the soil, and beat against the lighthouse. And like snakes, the lilies drew their outgrown magic into tangled roots and narrow stems and gilded pollen: an ouroboros consuming itself.

Most people refused to use the term—magic—but Ethan found it appropriate. Harvesting long-gone energy from a living thing felt like its very definition. Using said magic to reanimate a corpse felt less like magic, though, and more like recklessness.

He yelped and flailed before he hit the water, bracing for the icy shock. Panic shot through him. Salt water rushed into his nostrils, and seaweed snagged his ankle. Swim, idiot. November wind nipped his face when he breached, sucking at the air, clutching drenched flowers to his chest. Casper lilies never promised to be easy, of course. But Ethan Shaw still cursed as he slushed through tidepools and mud. He sighed, relieved, when his soggy shoes hit the gravel path outside the tower.

“We need a lightkeeper, Ethan,” he mocked, shouldering through the wooden door. He left his boots in a puddle on the cheeky welcome mat: You Better Be Beer! “It’s a solid wage, Ethan. Not like it’s a—” The first knife clattered on the rectangular table, then the second. Sopping flowers landed with a splat next to an unopened power bill. “—hard gig, Ethan. Just take it.” He whined through the last three words, mimicking his mother, and trudged into the washroom.

He hadn’t the time for a bath, so he peeled the wet shirt from his back, unzipped his jeans, and wrestled out of his drenched binder. The chilly water had reddened his beige skin and left his boyish face chapped and raw. Droplets clung to his chestnut hair, shorn behind his ears and around the back of his skull, and worn long at his crown, hanging in messy strings over his brow. He slicked his hair back with an annoyed swipe and scrubbed lingering sea grime away with a warm cloth. He dried with a towel that smelled like gardenia and tobacco, like Peter, and set his palms on the vanity, studying his reflection. Rabbit-framed, small-chested, wide-hipped, and delicately masculine, Ethan Shaw wasn’t the optimal lightkeeper type, per se. He hadn’t a beard, only annoying stubble, and carried himself on dainty, soft-pawed feet. Much as the townsfolk whispered about lilies, they whispered about him too.

Witch—hissed like a match strike in the nave and murmured by joggers at the park—wasn’t entirely untrue, but Ethan still preferred friendlier terminology. Alchemist, maybe. Magician, even.

“Take the job, Ethan,” he mumbled and huffed at the mirror. “Surely the lifestyle suits you.”

A job doing, literally, anything else would’ve suited him better.

The front door heaved open, and the clip-clopping of heavy boots filled the living quarters. “Why is the floor wet?” Peter repeated the question, hollering through the lighthouse, “Darling, why is the floor wet?”

Ethan rolled his eyes. “I slipped,” he called, toeing the washroom door ajar.

Peter rounded the doorframe, square glasses crooked on his nose. Surprise shot to his face, but the expression faded, chased away by a frown. “You didn’t,” he warned, snaring Ethan’s reflection in a hard glare. “Ethan, we talked about this—”

“I don’t need your permission,” he snapped and slipped past Peter, striding confidently into the adjacent bedroom. He opened a drawer and fingered through his clothes, settling on a red sweater and corduroy trousers. “I’ve got the flowers; I know the ritual. Either have faith in me, or say I told you so if it doesn’t work, but hovering like a—” He batted at Peter’s broad chest. “—damn moth won’t change my mind. How was work?”

“Long,” Peter bit out. “Choppy water makes for terrible fishing, as you know. Even the local wildlife can’t handle the riptide—as you know—and consistently get thrown ashore, as you know, and—”

“You brought it home, not me.”

“I brought it home while it was still breathing,” Peter said, exasperated. He trailed Ethan into the closet, craning over him while he searched for wool socks—matching, preferably—and then into the kitchen, sighing dramatically at the waterlogged lilies. “Where’d you put the poor thing, anyway? Is it still in the garden shed?”

“No, I tossed it in the bathtub.” Ethan shot him an impatient glare. “Yes, of course, it’s in the garden shed, Peter. You think I’d let a selkie loose in our home? Give me some credit.”

“Okay, wait, hold on—wait.” Peter feebly attempted to catch him while he bounced around the kitchen.

Ethan yanked a bowl out of the cabinet, slid both knives behind his leather belt, unfastened the lavender from a rope above the sink, and stuffed his mortar and pestle underneath his arm. Before he could make for the door, two palms clasped his waist, turning him, and his beautiful, ridiculous husband wrinkled his nose. His copper cheeks were sea-bitten, angular bones pressing hard against his skin. As always, Peter Vásquez looked dashing, exhausted, and worried.

“Ay Dios mío, just wait, okay?” Peter asked.

Ethan arched an eyebrow. After a strangled pause, he lifted onto his tiptoes. “You brought it home,” he whispered and pecked Peter on the lips.

“It’s a leopard seal, Ethan. Not a selkie,” he said patiently, as he would to a toddler. “And it’s dead because animals that get caught in bad weather sometimes die.”

Ethan patted his cheek. “Sure, yeah. So, the next time you’re caught in bad weather and someone plops you on my doorstep, I’ll cash in your life insurance and call it a day. How’s that sound?”

Peter winced. “You’re impossible.”

“And you’re in my way.” Perhaps that was a little too far, considering. But impossible? Ethan scoffed. He wasn’t the one who’d mistaken a fae-beast—an extraordinarily obvious fae-beast, by the way—for a run-of-the-mill seal, and he wasn’t the one who’d whimpered when said not-seal had stopped breathing, and he certainly wasn’t the one who’d dragged a goddamn selkie home from work.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Freydís Moon (they/them) is a biracial nonbinary writer and diviner. When they aren’t writing or divining, Freydís is usually trying their hand at a recommended recipe, practicing a new language, or browsing their local bookstore.

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RELEASE BLITZ Blood Harvest by Meghan Schubert #LGBTQ #urbanfantasy @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Blood Harvest

Series: The Harvest

Author: Meghan Schubert

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 79200

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, paranormal, urban fantasy, lesbian, vampire, shifter, angel, succubus, roommates, blood, death, conspiracy

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Description

If you were losing your humanity, how hard would you fight to hold on to it? What would you be willing to do, to give up, to make sure you remained the human you were, rather than the demon you seemed to be turning into? Hope McKinley, former advertising student turned newly undead, finds herself wrestling with these questions and so much more.

Blood Harvest delves into the depths of the human psyche and grapples with the struggle between light and dark in all of us as seen through the eyes of one forced out of the human race and fighting to return.

Excerpt

Blood Harvest
Meghan M. Schubert © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“Shh.” He trailed the finger down my chin and rested it in the crook of my neck. I suppressed a shudder. He leaned in, too close for comfort, hands gripping my hips tighter and guiding my pelvis toward his while his lips grazed my neck. My stomach flipped. My insides felt like they were on fire.

Did he just sniff me?

“Ian, what’re you—”

“Quiet.” He kissed me once, twice, his lips caressing, teasing, the heat in me rising, then turning into a sharp, stabbing pain. A pain that shot through my shoulder, up my neck, and exploded into the back of my head. My eyes widened and then closed tight, mouth open in a silent scream as I tried to breathe. I forced myself forward, trying to push against him, but he was heavier than me, and all it seemed to do was aggravate him. Ian slammed his weight against me, and I yelped as the bricks dug into my back. The way he had me pinned, I couldn’t even shift enough to get a knee in his groin.

Shit, now what?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had people bite me in a kinky sort of way, but this was so much more. He was drawing blood, my blood, his mouth hot and wet on my neck. The gentle motion of his lips sent waves of electric heat through me, cascading down, the pain giving way to a pleasurable numbness, and I thrust my hips against him hungrily as his teeth sank deeper. I groaned, my body slumping against his as my legs started to give out. It hurt like hell, but it felt so good. I just didn’t want to fight anymore.

Everything began to blur and melt away as I succumbed to the bliss. It felt like falling; you know the end is coming but you just don’t know when. Is this what it’s like to die? What a way to go.

Before I was able to let myself completely go, something hot and sticky pressed against my lips. It smelled of old pennies and leather and cologne. Smelled like Ian. Without warning, a hand fisted into my hair, forcing my mouth on the warm liquid. I had no desire to taste it, but something inside compelled me, drew me to it. It smelled so good.

The liquid burned the whole way down, igniting my throat and stomach. I was torn between wanting to throw up and wanting to drink more. This was insane. What was I doing?

The mingling of pleasure and pain was almost too much, and soon I was seeing white. Still, I refused to let go.

Wait. Let go? What am I holding?

I finally blinked bleary eyes open to find myself sucking on Ian’s bleeding arm, my fingers clutching him like a vise. I still refused to let go. In fact, I started sucking harder, drawing more of his blood into my mouth, throat convulsing, burning, as I gulped it down.

After what seemed like several excruciating hours, he pulled away, and I whimpered like a kicked puppy. He knelt and kissed me gently, licking the excess blood from my mouth.

“I’ll be back, Hope. Until then, take care of yourself.”

I felt him run his hand through my hair and then the cold cement as I hit it hard.

I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t your typical vampire love story. In fact, love is a laughable concept for me, especially after the shit I’m about to get dragged through.

But you can see for yourself. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

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Meet the Author

Meghan Schubert, born in 1985 in the greater city of Philadelphia, has always been a nerd at heart. Dubbing herself an “elder millennial,” Meghan grew up with a love of video games, horror, and Goosebumps books. In high school, she wrote short stories for the school newspaper before working her way up to editor. That love turned into a passion when she took up Video Game Design in college, where the premise of her first novel came to light. Her pursuit of game design was short-lived, however, when Meghan realized that programming was not her forte; the stories behind the games were. Thus, a writer was born.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Listen – The Sound of Fear #anthology #horror #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Listen: The Sound of Fear

Author: R.B. Thorne, Lauren Jane Barnett, E.E.W. Christman, Eule Grey, Ridley Harker, Jon James, T.S. Mitchell, Alex Silver, A.R. Vale, Edited by Elizabetta McKay

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female, M/NB

Length: 75300

Genre: Horror Anthology, LGBTQIA+, historical, US circa 1800s, romance, gay, horror/thriller, in the closet, shop workers, old curiosity shop, knives, haunted object/ poltergeist, contemporary, lit/genre fiction, London art gallery, confinement, disorientation, fear, mental anxiety, mystery, suspense, British, mystery, cold case, lesbian, blogger, small town, over 40, pregnancy, gothic/horror elements, YA, paranormal, nonbinary, trans, queer, hearing impaired, students, haunted school, all-girls boarding school, mean girls, religious references, Deaf, ghost story, pets, historical, gothic romance, lesbian, European expats, OCD, longtime couple

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Description

A knocking. A ringing. A steady drip-drip-drip. These are the sounds that haunt us. Drive us mad. Draw us in like the songs of sirens, hypnotic and deadly. And we must either give in, or resist with everything we have…and hope it’s enough.

Listen: The Sound of Fear offers ten stories written exclusively by trans and nonbinary authors that explore the chilling, perplexing, terrifying nature of sound.

Excerpt

Kill Your Darlings. When two shop workers in 1894 New York discover a haunted phonograph, they must race to solve the mystery of its tragic past before it’s too late to save their budding romance—and their lives.

Exhibition. A performance artist inspired by the inhumane treatment of refugees finds her gallery transformed into an equally inhospitable environment. Trapped inside the confines of her Plexiglas box, she struggles to piece together what is happening—and how to keep herself alive.

On the Other Side of Sound. A ringing in the ears; a coded message from beyond explanation. It will only ruin your life if you let it.

Her Little Joke. When Mave Kitten is asked to investigate a creepy phenomenon, little does she know to what depths the trail will lead: Ghosts, a haunted well, ignorance, a flapping bird. What of the woman in green?

M/other. I am alone. I do not know exactly how long I have been alone. My husband and child are…gone. Aren’t they? As a storm rages outside my decaying house, I begin to hear and see things that cannot possibly be there. Or can they?

Holy Water. Adolescence can be hell. Adolescence in an all-girl’s Catholic school as a trans teen surrounded by mean girls is a special kind of hell—especially when your school is haunted.

Snipper-Snapper. Cats make the best pets—loving, thoughtful, and loyal. Amour even brings home his own takeaway meals. Except for the stains, and damage to the shag pile, Mummy couldn’t be happier. Everyone needs a playmate.

The Knocking Bird. Knock three times to keep yourself safe. Follow your love across the sea. Obsession threads through nearly every aspect of Steffi’s life. But what happens when it drives her to do the unthinkable?

Bride of Brine. Sylvie hasn’t heard the song of the siren in years. But when she’s called home to help her estranged father find her brother, she’s faced with an impossible choice: save him, or save herself.

Haunt. When Kevin inherits his family home and decides to fix it up with his partner, he quickly discovers that the past can haunt you in more than one way—and he must choose, once and for all, exactly who he is.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Space Stars by Mell Eight #SciFi #LGBTQ #pornstar @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Space Stars

Author: Mell eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 07/05/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 37800

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, space travel, robotics, musicians, celebrities, established couple, spies, secret agents, nerds, scientists, porn star/sex industry

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Description

This book is two short stories with one thing in common—the stars in space shine brightly, whether you’re on planet or soaring on a ship.

Cole’s star is rising like a rocket as his band tours the galaxies to sing to their adoring fans. Except, Cole’s real job isn’t lead vocals—it’s espionage.

Tarle’s star fell long ago after a horrific accident during a mecha showcase event for his new robot. Then he meets Aster, a porn star on the run. Hiding away together is far more appealing than being alone, but no one can hide forever.

Excerpt

Space Stars
Mell Eight © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“They’re definitely building something dangerous,” J said to begin the meeting as he walked into the spacious, albeit bland, room. There weren’t any windows, and the only ornamentation on the white walls was from the holoprojector across the room. He faced a long table with six chairs around it. All six were filled with stone-faced men and women who turned toward J when he stopped walking at the head of the table.

J touched the control panel for the holoscreen to turn the machine on and pointed out the building construction clearly visible from the spy satellite holograph that appeared seconds later.

“Planets have new construction all the time,” P cut in as she pushed her glasses higher up her nose. “With growing populations it’s inevitable, and planet 501b is certainly growing.”

“Look here,” J said as he pointed to the upper right-hand corner of the three-dimensional picture. The projector obligingly zoomed in to the location.

“Ah,” P murmured as she sank back into her seat. “Building a crono-generator is another thing entirely. But what could it be for? They’ve never been a particularly peaceful people,” she said, referencing 501b’s penchant for starting wars over the merest of slights, “but they’ve never been crazy enough to build a crono-bomb before. That could create a black hole large enough to engulf an entire galaxy!”

“How long have you had this picture?” Y asked slowly while he carefully studied the crono-generator.

J sighed. “Long enough that officials on 501b have already captured and executed six of our spies during their investigations of this issue. That’s why this task force was called to meet today. We need to find a way to infiltrate 501b to figure out if they have any plans to attack.”

“They did threaten the galaxy president two months ago in response to the president’s comments against their most recent war,” P mused.

“It’s more dire than just that,” Y said in his slow and contemplative voice. “As you all know, 501b is not actually a planet. Planet 501 was uninhabitable; only its second moon, known by the locals as Kamura, could sustain human life.”

“Moon settlements are always in desperate need of water resources.” P gasped as the full picture finally came clear for her.

“Exactly,” J cut in. “Our planet, 214, also known as Lacustrine, is almost entirely comprised of freshwater lakes, which 501b dearly needs, and our intelligence says they’re interested in acquiring. I’m afraid they don’t have any qualms about what methods they use either. So, the question remains: How do we infiltrate Kamura in order to find more information and, if necessary, destroy their crono-generator before they’re capable of building the bomb?”

P’s phone went off, a pop song currently topping the charts sounding into the worried and contemplative silence left after that final statement. One frequency was all that could reach through the protections built into the meeting room, and P’s phone only went off in an emergency anyway, so no one begrudged her the time she took to walk into the corner and answer her phone.

She didn’t turn on the holograph card to speak face-to-face, which was no surprise considering the nature of her clients, and everyone in the room tried not to listen in when she murmured into the phone. They all had something much more important to think about anyway: the answer to J’s question.

After a few seconds, P returned to her seat. J looked around at the assemblage, waiting for someone to finally say something.

L slowly tapped her finger on the table, and everyone’s attention turned to the elderly woman. L didn’t speak often, but when she did, they listened. This time was no different.

“We must use an unconventional means to sneak our spy in, and I do believe P’s impromptu phone call has given me an interesting idea. Popular music stars are welcomed across all galaxies. Often, they are begged to hold a performance on various worlds. We should put together a band, make them famous, and arrange for them to travel to 501b.”

J joined the others in giving L perplexed looks, but a smile slowly began to grow across his face. The idea was extremely farfetched, yet the very thought of how crazy a plan L had come up with decided him. If he didn’t think the idea viable, then how could anyone on 501b have plans to prevent it?

“That…” He paused to savor the idea a little further. “That is the most perfect plan I have ever heard.” He turned to the other members of the council. “What do we need to do to accomplish this?”

“A band, first of all,” P murmured. “That means at the very least a singer, a guitar player, a bass player, and a drummer if we want something conventional.”

“They’ll need a hit song,” Y added. “And a full album.”

“And good publicity,” P agreed. “I can get them a spot on the Morning Mumble, which will put them into the limelight, but the band has to be capable of proving their abilities, or they’ll go nowhere afterward.”

“So first we need a band,” J stated. “Any suggestions on who we could hire? We need people with musical talent, so we may have to go outside our regular recruits for this one.”

P nodded immediately. “The Star Slashers recently broke up and their drummer is pretty good. He also played for the Black-Hole Surfers,” she added when she received only blank looks. The Star Slashers had never been destined for greatness, but the Black-Hole Surfers had been legendary up until their singer and lead guitarist had overdosed on poorly cut and excessively laced Star Shine and the band dissolved. “His name is Kingsley,” she finished with a smile, “and he’s from this galaxy, so he’d probably be willing to work with us.”

J hummed thoughtfully. “We’ll start background checks on this Kingsley. Any other suggestions?”

L leaned forward with a groan. “I have a grandchild who promised me he would become a rock god by the time he turns thirty,” she said with quite a bit of exasperation in her voice. Her son worked for the agency, and she evidently expected her grandchild to do so as well. That didn’t seem to be in her grandson’s plans. “Solomon plays guitar and his mother tells me he’s quite good. I suppose if the ambition is present, we could give him this opportunity.”

“We have guitar and drums,” J said. “Any suggestions for the other roles? Can you think of any trained recruits we could call in to take the major roles in this operation?”

“It’s not a suggestion,” P cut in, “but we have to find a singer who is pitch-perfect without modifications or he won’t make it. We can’t just pull anyone from our basic training program and implant electronic vocal cords.”

“This is going to be an interesting search, then,” J said with a sigh. Not only did they need a band, but they also needed to find someone who could infiltrate the secret facilities on 501b without getting caught. It wasn’t going to be easy.

The meeting broke up soon afterward. P was the first person to rush out, her phone in hand. Whatever emergency she’d been called about must have been important. Considering P’s clients…well, J hoped there wasn’t a galaxy about to implode somewhere.

Z was J’s colleague from the same agency. He hadn’t spoken during the meeting, but Z was notorious for pulling J aside later to voice his thoughts. J wasn’t surprised when Z joined him in his walk down the empty hallways of the building.

“I might have an idea for a bass player,” Z murmured in his usual half-audible tone. “She’s a spitfire though. Barely passed her basic training before she quit, so I’ve no idea if the girl would like the idea, or if she’s what we want for this mission.”

“Submit her name and have a background check run,” J replied. “We’ll find some way to convince her and…” He paused, his head cocked to the side. One hand flashed upward to grip Z’s arm. “Do you hear that?” he asked excitedly.

Z tilted his head to listen and slowly nodded. “It’s probably a radio someone left on.” He sighed. “But it won’t hurt to go see.”

They both turned the corner, following the sound of someone singing. The door to the men’s locker room was left partially ajar, and J pushed it open the rest of the way so he and Z could walk into the space. J expected to see a holodisk left on inside one of the recruits’ lockers, so he was surprised when a young man, fresh from the showers with his back to J and Z, had his head tilted back and his mouth wide open as he sang.

His tone was pure and clean—perfect.

He was drying his brown hair with a towel, his eyelids closed. His naked back was thin but well sculpted, although the loose pants he wore hid his lower body from J’s perusal. A pair of old-fashioned Coke-bottle glasses sat on the bench next to him.

There were two gyms attached to the locker room, one for the regular staff and one for the special recruits. This far into after-hours, only the special recruits had access. Whoever the man was, he piqued J’s interest.

J glanced over at Z and saw that Z was just as mesmerized by the beautiful singing. Z finally glanced back over and nodded. Whoever the recruit was, he was about to be given a new mission.

The singing stopped as the young man finally finished drying his hair. He put his towel down and patted his hand across the bench until he found his glasses. Then he turned around to find his shirt and jumped when he caught sight of J and Z.

“Sorry,” the young man said, his face rapidly going red as he ducked his head. He got to his feet in a hurry, finding parade rest with his feet even though he was staring at the ground instead of facing straight forward.

“Not at all,” J replied. He stepped closer to the recruit, studying him closely for a long moment, which only made his face grow even redder. “What are your vitals, recruit?” J finally asked.

“Name: Cole! Just finished basic training two days ago, sir!” Cole said sharply, even though he still wouldn’t look J directly in the face. He had been trained well, if not perfectly. “I haven’t been assigned to a vector yet, sir.”

J glanced over at Z after that admission. Normally recruits knew their vector location a good few months before the end of their training. He was also still using his full name rather than a code name, which he would have been given as part of his first vector assignment. Z nodded discreetly. He would start a background check on Cole to figure out what had prevented normal procedure in his case.

“Thank you, Cole,” J said with a dismissive nod. “We’ll be in touch.”

J and Z walked off, leaving behind the man who was to become their lead singer.

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Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Music From Stone by Brenda Murphy #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance #BDSM @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Music from Stone

Series: University Square, Book Four

Author: Brenda Murphy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 07/05/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 67900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Romance, contemporary, family-drama, BDSM, interracial, lesbian, stone mason, concert pianist, stalker, PTSD, over 40, performance arts, visual arts

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Description

Celebrated concert pianist Nüwa Zhou had it all. Until she didn’t. Forced out of the closet while testifying at the kidnapping and murder trial of her obsessive former assistant turned stalker, she retires from the high-pressure world of performing to recover at her parents’ estate.

Stone mason, and frustrated sculptor Julia Johnson, spends her days stone building walls and patios while dreaming of quitting her day job.

After a chance encounter with Julia leads to more, Nüwa imagines a life with Julia. When her stalker returns, determined to kidnap Nüwa and end anyone who stands in his way, Nüwa will do whatever it takes to keep Julia safe, but will it be enough?

Excerpt

Music from Stone
Brenda Murphy © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“Who is Father talking to?” Nüwa Zhou stared out of the sliding door at the woman standing on the terrace, her short auburn hair a mass of curls that brushed the tops of her broad shoulders. Her stance was confident. Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt tight enough it drew Nüwa’s attention, she rested her hands on her hips across from Gerald Zhou. Her wide shoulders and sculpted arms tested the limits of the fabric of her shirt. Afforded the opportunity to stare openly, Nüwa savored the view, admiring the curves the woman’s loose jeans failed to conceal. Slightly taller than Nüwa’s father in her thick-soled work boots, the woman glanced back at the house. Nüwa held steady, confident the reflective window coating would hide her gawking.

“Former student. Inquiring about the cottage,” her mother called from the kitchen bar.

Nüwa tugged the belt of her robe tighter. “Early for a meeting.”

The not-so-subtle sound of her mother’s scoff drifted across the kitchen. Nüwa rested her chin on her chest. The unspoken scolding for sleeping late pricked Nüwa’s heart. A night owl born to a family of larks. Her sleep patterns had been her curse since childhood.

She lifted her gaze back to the scene outside.

Gerald Zhou stood close to the woman, occasionally gesturing to the yard and the firethorn maze covering the lower half of their estate. Wind pushed dark heavy clouds across the sky and a gust rattled the sliding door in its dull aluminum frame. He turned and pointed to the house. Nüwa stepped back and away from the glass into the shadows of the living room. She walked to the counter dividing the kitchen from the rest of the house.

“Have you eaten?” Her mother glanced up from her laptop screen.

Nüwa took a breath and blew it out. “Not hungry.”

A frown creased her mother’s sculpted eyebrows. “Don’t forget to eat.” Her gaze shifted to the window. “Your father needs to wrap it up. I don’t like the color of the sky.”

Nüwa perched on one of the stools at the counter and glanced at the sky. A green hue tinged the dark clouds. “It’s ugly.”

Fat drops of rain hit the glass as the peal of a weather warning spit out of her mother’s ever-present phone. Nüwa’s stomach twisted as adrenaline surged in her body. Storms were the worst. Lightning flashed. Nüwa placed her hands flat on the counter and started counting silently.

“Four. Not far away.”

The click of the computer keys increased. “I need to get these figures to Rowan.” Her mother continued to pound the keyboard as another flash of lightning lit up the kitchen with a sick yellow glare.

The skin on Nüwa’s arms prickled. The grate of the sliding door in its tracks sounded in the room a second before a crash of thunder rattled the house.

“Three.” Nüwa turned to the sliding door. “It’s moving toward us.”

“It’s crazy out there. Wait it out with us.” Gerald touched the arm of the woman from the terrace. “You remember my wife, Lian Tan? I don’t think you’ve met my daughter. Nüwa, this is Julia.”

“Hi Ms. Tan, nice to see you again. Nice to meet you, Nüwa.” Julia inclined her head to greet Nüwa’s mother before she turned and met Nüwa’s gaze.

Nüwa stared at Julia, the thin wet fabric of the T-shirt even more distracting now Julia was standing in front of her. “You’re wet.” Her face burned as soon as the words were out of her mouth. “I mean—” She scrambled around the end of the counter, snatched a clean dish towel from the basket next to the sink. “Here.” Nüwa held the towel out with both hands.

The tips of Julia’s fingers brushed the back of Nüwa’s hand as she took the towel from her. “Thank you.” She held Nüwa’s gaze for a moment, the hint of a smile twisting her lips before she dried her face.

Nüwa studied the tops of her house shoes and knotted her hands together as an awkward silence sucked the ease out of the moment. She crossed her arms over her chest, hugging herself, knowing she was acting weird, helpless to stop it.

The faint sound of a tornado siren spared Nüwa further torment.

“Basement.” Lian stood, tucked her laptop and a thick folder under her arm, before she walked to the end of the counter. She pressed the series of buttons under the countertop. The end of the cabinet slid aside revealing a stairwell. Gerald followed Lian.

Nüwa slid off the stool and followed her parents down the stairs leading to the storm cellar. She ducked her head as she entered the stairway. “Watch your head,” Nüwa called over her shoulder.

Heavy tread on the stairs behind her and the faint scent of lavender and sunscreen tickled Nüwa’s nose as Julia followed her to the safe room. Halfway down the steps, the lights flickered out, plunging the stairwell and room below into blackness.

“Damn it. Gerald, where did you put the lantern?”

“Use your phone.”

“Left it on the counter, and didn’t we talk about this? Use your phone.”

Her parents shifted their bickering to Mandarin. Nüwa prayed Julia didn’t understand as they devolved into one of their ongoing arguments.

Nüwa extended her hand behind her, and her fingers bushed the soft denim of Julia’s jean. “Take my hand. Stay close. The stairs turn here.”

Julia clasped her hand. Her broad callused palm rested against Nüwa’s hand. Nüwa led Julia down the stairs and toward the sound of her parents arguing. As they reached the bottom of the stairs the harsh light of an electric lantern flared to life, throwing twisted shadows over the walls.

Gerald closed off the door leading to the rest of the basement, sealing them in the long narrow windowless room. “There. Nüwa, lock the door behind you.”

Nüwa threw the deadbolt and sealed the door leading up to the kitchen.

Lian stood at the far end of the room, the glower on her face matching the ferocity of the storm. Arms crossed, she lifted her chin as she observed Nüwa and Julia. Her gaze landed squarely on their clasped hands.

Julia squeezed Nüwa’s hand once, then released it. “Thank you.”

Lian turned away from Nüwa, picked up a yellow wireless radio, and shoved it into Gerald’s hands. “Get the weather radio working.”

The echo of hail pelting the house increased in volume and drowned out Gerald’s reply. A roaring sound filled Nüwa’s ears, a steady hum. The hairs on her arm stood on end. Pressure in her ears increased to the point of pain and she swallowed, trying to clear them.

The ceiling over their head creaked and groaned as the vibration intensified. The house shook, rattling the shelves holding the food and water they kept stored in the small room. Nüwa wrapped her arms around herself to stop her trembling. Cans of food vibrated off the shelves and crashed to the floor, wrenching a cry from her, and she covered her eyes.

A warm hand settled on the middle of her back. Nüwa jerked away from the touch and bit down on her lip to stifle her yelp. The roaring increased, as if a train was bearing down on them. Nüwa dropped to her knees, covered her head with her arms, and folded herself into the smallest ball possible. The thin carpet over the concrete did nothing to ease her knees and sharp pain lanced through her. Her breathing was rough in her ears as her fear turned in on itself and drove every other thought from her mind. In the space of seconds, the patter of the hail softened, and the roaring stopped, leaving a heavy silence behind.

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Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Turtle Bay by John Patrick #LGBTQ #historical @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Turtle Bay

Series: Tides of Change, Book Two

Author: John Patrick

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/28/2022

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85400

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, gender-bending, cross-dressing, businessman, humor, law enforcement, political, PTSD, Postwar America, sexual discovery

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Description

It’s 1947, and New York City is awaiting the construction of the new United Nations building, the FBI is actively pursuing Communists and Soviet spies as the Cold War begins to build, and homosexual men have even more reasons to hide who they are.

Uptight FBI Agent Arthur Mason is so deep in the closet he doesn’t even realize he’s in one. Clueless about his own sexuality, he’s surprised at his reaction to both Hans Schmidt and his twin sister, Ada. Under pressure from work, Mason investigates Hans and his boarders, including the highly suspicious Hank Mannix, a known member of the Communist Party. Though Mason can’t seem to locate Ada, he can’t stop thinking about Hans and keeps going back to visit.

Hans Schmidt is a cross-dressing German immigrant running a boarding house for “a certain type of man,” and he wants nothing to do with Agent Mason and his ill-fitting suits and bad haircut. Until he begins to see Mason more as a man and less as a government official.

Hans enjoys dressing as a woman from time to time, and once his feelings for Arthur begin to change, he realizes he needs to share his Ada persona if they are to have a future together.

Secrets on both sides must be revealed and cherished beliefs challenged if these two men are to find the love and happiness they deserve.

This story can be read on its own; however, characters from book one, Dublin Bay, play a prominent role as secondary characters, so it’s recommended to read that first.

Excerpt

Turtle Bay
John Patrick © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Hans

Even after five years in America, Hans still startled every time the telephone rang—an abrupt, clanging sound insisting on attention. Why couldn’t a country capable of producing an atomic bomb be able to create a more discreet way of letting a person know about an incoming call? He vaguely remembered the phones in Ireland giving a soft chime first, before beginning to ring in earnest, but his time there had been short and chaotic, always one step ahead of capture, so he couldn’t be sure.

He didn’t remember the sound of telephones in Germany at all, even though he knew one hung on the wall in the university’s administration office. He pictured it there next to the corkboard but couldn’t reconstruct its sound.

He hoped the new dial telephone would have a more melodious tone. Assuming the phone company ever got around to swapping out his candlestick model for something more modern as they had been promising for months.

The telephone sat atop the counter in the small reception hallway. Hans swiveled his stool and picked up the entire device, bringing the mouthpiece forward and lifting the receiver close to his ear. He was surprised a call had even come through; most of the operators had gone out on strike.

“Schmidt’s Boarding House, Hans Schmidt speaking.”

“Hans, old boy! It’s Wally, up in Albany.”

“Oh, Wally, so good to hear from you. Is this business or pleasure?”

“Business, I’m afraid. I have a live one for you. And don’t forget I’m still on a party line here.”

That was code for anyone could be listening. Hans appreciated the reminder. The boarding house had its own private line, and he sometimes forgot most people outside the city still used party lines. As if to prove the point, Hans heard muffled soft breathing in the background.

He sighed and glanced at the wall clock, mentally rearranging his calendar for the afternoon. “Hold on.” He placed the transmitter back on the desk, switched the receiver to his left hand, and pulled a pad and pencil out of the drawer. He leaned closer to the mouthpiece so he could still be heard. “A day or two’s notice would make a nice change. But go on.”

“Sorry, there was no advance notice this time. He came right up to the counter and said, ‘One-way ticket to New York City, please, next available bus.’ You’ve got two more hours. I’m certain of this one, Hans. We served together.”

“Oh, were you…?”

“No. Nothing like that,” Wally responded. “But I knew, of course.”

“I understand. Greyhound?” Hans asked.

“Yes, arrives at three thirty.”

That was good news at least. The Greyhound terminal was next to Penn Station, which was only a half-hour walk if he hurried.

“Would you recommend Ada or Hans?”

“Oh, Ada for sure, dear boy. This one seems quite skittish. A direct approach won’t do. He needs to see what’s possible,” Wally replied. “He’s a good kid, Hans. Don’t let him get swallowed up by the Y.”

“Understood, and thanks for the tip. What will he be wearing?”

Wally laughed, and the connection broke up a bit. “Oh, not to worry. You can’t miss him.” Hans heard a click as someone hung up, or perhaps someone else picked up to check if the line was available.

“Will you be coming down yourself anytime soon?” Hans asked. “You absolutely must see David Brooks in Brigadoon. He’s in a kilt most of the time. We could make a weekend of it.”

“That sounds grand! Maybe next month.”

They exchanged a few additional pleasantries and ended the call.

Hans needed at least an hour to get Ada ready, and he was thankful he hadn’t yet put on cologne. He’d planned a shopping trip this afternoon to resupply a few staples—coffee, tea, and biscuits for the ladies’ reception parlor—but that could be rescheduled. But he couldn’t put it off for too long; the ladies did not like to run out of biscuits during their social hour.

As he descended the stairs to Ada’s room on the garden level—a New York euphemism for below ground—he was reminded how much easier things were for men. He wore a simple gray suit with a narrow navy tie, appropriate for all seasons and conservatively bland. Why, a fellow could disappear into any crowd wearing such an outfit.

Ada, though—she had a much tougher go of it. It was spring, technically, but still quite chilly. She’d need something…delightful. Yes, Hans thought, that was the right word. Not too frivolous, but sufficiently feminine to show the world there was still joy in beauty. But she’d also need to wear an outercoat and sensible enough shoes for a bit of a walk. She wouldn’t want to invite scrutiny, but she’d want people to see her and appreciate the effort she’d made.

Hans stepped into Ada’s room and opened the closet. He considered his options. He’d have to use last spring’s coat; he hadn’t had the time or funds to completely reoutfit this season. But it would do the job. It was robin’s-egg blue with a fitted waist rather than a belt. Five oversized white buttons ran down its length. Sadly, American fashion houses continued to insist on outrageously padded shoulders even now, nearly two years after the war’s end.

A thrill ran through Hans as he stood in front of Ada’s closet. It always did, right before the transformation.

He eyed the spring dress he’d bought two weeks ago and knew it would be perfect. He took it out of the closet and laid it flat on the bed. It was a creamy off-white cotton, with a hint of pink. It dropped to midcalf and had a layer of tulle underneath the skirt—an extravagant use of material that would have been unthinkable only a year ago, when rationing and scarcity were just starting to give way. Large red cherries created a pattern, and a back zipper allowed for a smooth, uninterrupted front.

Hans removed his suit and his baggy, shapeless boxers, making a mental note to remember to take the clothes back to his own room, behind the kitchen. He spent the next half hour on underclothing and shapewear, then makeup, and finally a softly curling blonde wig that matched his natural hair color.

Hans was more comfortable dressed as a woman than he was dressed as a man. He always had been; it’s what got him in trouble back in Germany.

Dressed as a woman, Hans absolutely sparkled. His slight frame and delicate features fit Ada better than they fit Hans, and more than once he wondered what it would have been like to have been born as Ada. He’d met men who claimed to actually be women, deep inside, but he didn’t fully grasp that. At the heart of it, Hans liked being a man and being attracted to other men. He just liked dressing and acting like a woman sometimes.

It was enough for him.

The dress itself—the item everyone saw—was the easiest part but for the back zipper, which he managed eventually.

He slipped on square-heeled navy shoes, tied a gauzy pink scarf around his hair as protection against the breeze, and then headed out the door.

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Meet the Author

Author John Patrick is a Lambda Literary Award finalist living in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where he is supported in his writing by his husband and their terrier, who is convinced he could do battle with the bears that come through the woods on occasion (the terrier, that is, not the husband). An introvert, John can often be found doing introverted things like reading or writing, cooking, and thinking deep, contemplative thoughts (his husband might call this napping). He loves to spend time in nature—“forest bathing” is the Japanese term for it—feeling connected with the universe. But he also loathes heat and humidity, bugs of any sort, and unsteady footing in the form of rocks, mud, tree roots, snow, or ice. So his love of nature is tempered—he’s complicated that way.

John and his husband enjoy traveling and have visited over a dozen countries, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and—most importantly—discovering new foods.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Queen by J.S. Fields #sciencefiction #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Queen

Series: Hidden Earth, Book One

Author: J.S. Fields

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/14/2022

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 95200

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi, action/adventure, lesfic, scientists, kidnapping/abduction, sand pirates, beetle riders, crazed bunnies, spaceships, AI shenanigans, grief/grieving, HFN, intersex

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Description

Nobody leaves Queen. On the tidally locked planet, a vulva and an authority problem are the only immigration requirements. Emigration is banned.

Ember spends her days cruising Queen’s endless sand dunes, hunting sand pirates and wallowing in memories of her dead wife. After an ambush, Ember is dragged to the pirate camp and learns her wife’s biggest secret—before her death, she’d joined the pirates, built an illegal spaceship, and plotted to leave the planet.

Ember, Nadia, and the sand pirates must take back the planet and expose the corrupt New Earth mining. Taming giant beetles, wrestling stinkhorn fungi, and enlisting Queen’s rabbit population in a high-stakes aerial battle are just part of the hijinks that will determine Queen’s fate as a galactic player, as well as the futures of all its conscripted inhabitants.

The newly minted outlaws must also grapple with Queen’s narrow concept of “womanhood” and where trans and intersex people belong in its future.

Excerpt

Queen
J.S. Fields © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Mornings on Queen always looked like blood. Ember stood at the edge of the habitable zone of the tidally locked planetoid. She scanned the crimson and rust horizon all the way to the perpetual sunrise. Her wife’s body was out here somewhere, buried in the coarse red sand. Desiccated, mummified, likely stripped naked by the roaming packs of sand pirates Ember was out here to track.

Well… Track. Kill. The line was blurry when it involved a spouse, and it wasn’t like the presidium—the administrative body of Queen—really cared one way or the other. Ember had cared, once, but she was on day seventeen of perimeter duty, and her whole plan of dealing with Taraniel’s death by shooting grave robbers was starting to look a little thin.

A rabbit shot across her field of vision, registering in a halo of blue inside the face shield of her envirosuit. TOPA—the suit’s AI—scrolled data across the screen, but Ember ignored it. Without thinking, she yanked one of the wide, flat stones from her exterior right thigh pocket (they were supposed to keep her calm, according to Nadia) and threw it at the flash of white, fluffy tail with precision honed from years of dealing with Queen’s nuisance rabbit population.

The rabbit’s hind legs skittered out from beneath it as it slipped on the sand. Ember wrapped her fingers around another stone, preparing to hit the head this time, when the damn thing started digging with its front feet, sand funneling around it, so that Ember lost her clean shot.

She stepped forward, grinding her teeth with an adrenaline surge that would again see no release if the little shit got away. She wiped sand from her face shield with a gloved hand, smearing red across her vision.

The area where the rabbit had dug settled flat with a slight pock. Tiny fans on the outside of Ember’s face shield blew the particulate from her vision.

The rabbit was gone and her stone along with it.

Ember cursed, the words bouncing around the inside of her rabbit-hide envirosuit, wasted on recycled air and a generic TOPA. Queen didn’t have stones like that—perfect for skipping over lakes that didn’t exist on the barren planetoid. Those she carried in her pocket were some of her last reminders of Earth. And the rabbit… Ember knelt at the soft indent in the sand. It’d descended into one of Queen’s giant beetle galleries. Of course, it had.

TOPA pinged as she reached a gloved hand into the depression. Ember debated the possibility of Queen’s native beetles—approximately the height of a small school bus and twice the length—grabbing her wrist and pulling her down in pulp-era sci-fi fashion. She dismissed the idea. If beetles hadn’t accosted her yet at this site, it meant the gallery was abandoned and being used by the feral European domestic rabbit population. They’d been brought over as food stock on the colony ships. Some had escaped. Big surprise.

Please read your notes, scrolled across the interior of Ember’s face shield, in lettering so large it blocked most of the landscape from view.

“The rabbit got away. I was stupid for throwing a rock that can’t be replaced. I wasted oxygen on the exertion. That about cover it?”

TOPA didn’t respond directly, but it did fire up a series of reports.

Landmass stability: within ten meters radius: moderate.

Sand for at least three meters below the surface with scattered hollow tunnels reinforced with clay from the temperate zone. Sand transitioning to silt loam noted in geographic surveys, with increasing occurrence toward the colony dome.

Silica content of the air: unbreathable.

UV index: ten point five.

Ember snorted. That did explain the suit smell.

She balled her hands as tightly as she could in the double-layered leather of her gloves wishing, not for the first time that day, that Gore-Tex was still a thing. Leather didn’t breathe, though both the buffer and the electrical linings of the suit were supposed to. Nothing from Earth breathed outside the habitable zone, and as much as the filters of her suit tried, they couldn’t filter out the smell of human, slowly marinating in her own sweat.

Awaiting input. Continue scan?

“Yeah. Sure. Why not?”

Ember stood, swallowing the dry air the suit pushed at her. The AI had a newly installed personality patch, but Ember would need to get a lot more bored before she turned it on. Instead, she pivoted on her right foot, keeping level with as much of the horizon as she could see, and let the suit feed data into the AI. Dunes and small valleys surrounded her, and TOPA disassembled each for content.

Silica: 100%

Silica: 97%, Chitin: 3%

Silica: 78%, Cellulose: 10%, Lignin: 10%, Chitin: 2%

Suggest moving 1.7 chains northeast for better visibility.

“Picturesque view?” Ember asked TOPA. Maybe a body?

“Hey, Ember!”

The red dunes faded into a semitransparent image of her sister, Nadia, displayed on the interior of the face shield. Ember clicked her right canines together to increase volume. The winds were too fierce outside the colony dome to hear much of anything without enhancement, even when the sound came from inside the suit. That wind was the same reason the damn rabbits tended to stay in the beetle galleries. Wind screwed with everything out here.

Nadia’s transmission showed her just outside the dome, her image picked up by one of her suit’s sleeve cameras. Sand licked her calves. Her goggles were up but her face shield down, and red soil caked her envirosuit. The only parts of her skin visible were her lips, chapped but grinning as she tapped the front of her shield and instructions scrolled across the inside of Ember’s own face shield. At the bottom of the message was a clear add-on from Nadia.

Your sentry duties now extend to Outpost Eight. Leave immediately.

–Dr. Narkhirunkanok

Hope you enjoy the sand. I’ll make you dune-nuts when you get home. Extra sprinkles. Served on a tablecloth of rabbit hide since you love the little shits so much.

Ember read the short message and scowled—a facial contortion Nadia would see in detail from the camera inside Ember’s suit. Puns and throwaway comments about the excess rabbit population had no place on an official director request. If Nadia was willing to deface government messages, it meant she was worried. But she wouldn’t say she was worried because, historically, the sisters’ ability to communicate was right around “bug and speeding windshield.”

“Leave for Outpost Eight? I’m supposed to be here for another three days.” Ember cinched her mouth into a caricature of a frown. “TOPA will be heartbroken. It hasn’t cataloged every dune within a one hundred-chain radius.”

“There’s been a change. Director Narkhirunkanok thinks the mella pirates are going to hit one of our storage units, the one where we keep sticking all the glassware we probably don’t need but can’t get rid of. We need a sentry. You’re the closest.” The wind whipped her words away, but the auditory sensors on Nadia’s suit caught them anyway.

This time, Ember did frown. It was one thing to watch for the mella and daydream about shooting one so you could avenge your wife, who didn’t actually need avenging because she’d been about to die from cancer and had chosen to walk into a sand dune. Chasing the mella to one of their targets, even if only to spy on them, so they could shoot you, was something entirely different. She didn’t have a death wish, just a need to see her wife’s body and maybe punch someone.

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Meet the Author

J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chain mail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, and always up for a Twitter chat.

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Release Blitz: The Magic Between by Steaphanie Hoyt #PNR #LGBTQ #slowburn @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: The Magic Between

Author: Stephanie Hoyt

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/15/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 105400

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, celebrities, athlete, pop star, magic, magic users, musicians, sports, college, MM romance, sexual discovery, in the closet, coming out, bonded, slow burn, gender non-conforming, mental illness (OCD), #ownvoices

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Description

In a world where everyone has magic coursing through them, legend says magic itself craves a mate. Legend says those with opposite magics have the greatest chance of forming the unbreakable Bond it desires.

A.B. Cerise is an obsessive-compulsive pop star with the ability to turn invisible. He’s an out bisexual with absolutely no belief in Bonds. He has a love-bruised heart, thinks dating in the spotlight is a hassle at best and a nightmare at worst, and has no intention of going through it all over again.

Matthew Hellman-Levoie is the NHL’s number one goalie prospect, the youngest in a hockey dynasty, and one of the rare few who can see the unseeable. He’s a straight man who wears his heart on his sleeve, has grown up searching for a Bond, and dreams of finding the love of his life.

Their magic is magnetic. Their touch is electric. They’re the textbook case for Bonding. But legend never said anything about what to do when sparks fly between people opposite in more ways than magic.

Excerpt

The Magic Between
Stephanie Hoyt © 2021
All Rights Reserved

AB Cerise is a disaster. He’s an obsessive-compulsive ball of barely checked anxiety surrounding his Invisibility being discovered and used against him. He has no rational reason for it. None at all. The fear is annoying, unreasonable, absolutely nonsensical, considering the whole world is full of magic. Like, AB knows no one would care about him being a Concealer beyond him cracking after years of dodging the particularly bold interviewers’ questions of where he falls on the list of categories.

But the real kicker, what makes this obsession of AB’s so much worse, is the absolute lack of proof to support the possibility of someone being able to manipulate him and his Invisibility just by Knowing he is. In fact, his Invisibility has always been tied to his emotions, so the obsessive way he fixates on being controlled and the compulsive way he avoids ever turning Invisible only further destabilizes his magic. Again, AB knows this. He does.

When it comes to magic, AB is his own worst enemy, but he can’t stop. He’s spent nearly five years in therapy, and he’s still plagued by the same insidious hell his mind has created for optimal torture. His intrusive thoughts are a terrible inconvenience that AB has spent an inordinate amount of time wallowing over, but despite her best efforts, AB can’t accept what Dr. Barnes says. Her end goal, since the beginning, has always been for AB to publicly Divulge and rob his intrusive thoughts of their power. Unfortunately, AB can’t even think about Divulging without breaking out in a cold sweat.

But therapy hasn’t been a useless waste of time. He is trying and he is making progress. Sort of. He hasn’t made as much progress as he should, but he’s made enough. He can now stay present when he’s anxious, no longer getting lost in his emotions to the point he has to run off and hide before he Conceals in front of people he’s never Divulged to. Hell, AB even survived a strange, and frankly traumatic, case of the Frits from two years ago that resulted in him Concealing the moment he stepped on stage at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.

Sure, the whole ordeal led to a spike in anxiety, a tightening of the grip the fear of being Known and controlled had over him, but the very thought never got the best of him. He never turned Invisible because of it. Which, in AB’s opinion, is a significant achievement, considering how Displaying in front of tens of thousands of strangers would’ve been a catastrophic, debilitating event at the start of his therapy journey.

AB thinks about going Invisible often. Thinks about the only indication he even had the Frits was the split second of spontaneous Concealment. About the two full weeks he spent monitoring for other symptoms that never appeared. About his Invisibility always coming with a spark and how the sensation at the Garden was wild and electrifying. How much more exhilarated he was on stage—as if the dial had been turned all the way up, maxed out. But mostly, AB thinks about the random times the same sensation has prickled beneath his skin while he wanders New York City—fast and intense but never as substantial as the one at the concert, never enough to bring on the Frits, not even a tiny blip of Invisibility.

He’s at brunch, smiling awkwardly as people recognize him on his mimosa-soaked trek to the bathroom, when the same electricity makes another appearance. This time, the sensation is accompanied by a sharp tug at his heart, and AB knows, deep in his bones, Invisibility will be inevitable no matter how hard he tries. He speeds to the bathroom; thankful the sensation doesn’t reach its peak until after the door shuts; annoyed as he checks to find his hand the same transparent purple he always is while Concealed.

Personally, AB thinks a lap full of mimosas is enough inconvenience for the day, but the universe doesn’t seem to agree. Not only can he not push the Invisibility down, but when he leans against the door to stop anyone else from coming in, and lets out a soft, frustrated groan, something clatters to the ground in front of him.

Because of course someone was already in here. Of course, AB couldn’t be spontaneously Invisible in peace. Of course, he already ruined his chance of getting out of the way without making a noise. Of course, this guy is staring at AB with wide bewildered eyes.

Wait.

Back up.

No.

That’s not possible.

“What the fuck?”

Is AB shrieking? He’s definitely shrieking. But… “You can see me! You can see me? Can you see me?”

Not only can this absolutely beautiful man—no, this bro—see him, but he’s staring at AB with absolute wonder in his eyes. He opens his mouth but then shuts it with a click of his teeth; instead, he looks AB up and down with such a methodical intensity AB begins to fidget. AB wouldn’t consider himself a blusher, but every sweep of this guy’s eyes leaves AB burning. His gaze settles back on AB’s face before speaking, and when he does, AB thinks he must be hearing things—there’s no way.

No.

Possible.

Way.

“Uh, what?”

Mr. Omnivision over there—because what else could he be?—purses his lips, then repeats, “I know this sounds ridiculous, but I think you’re my future Bondmate.”

AB might be short-circuiting. What the actual fuck! This guy, this gorgeous guy with his ridiculous sweatpants and his ridiculous backwards snapback and his ridiculous smile, can’t possibly be standing in front of him claiming they’re Bondmates. At brunch. While AB is covered in mimosa. This has to be fake.

Did he make an enemy of an Illusionist who’s messing with him? Is he seeing things? He must be seeing things. This guy has to be an Illusion.

“I can assure you I’m real,” Mr. Omnivision says, looking at his pants with bemusement before stepping forward with his hand outstretched. “Hi, I’m Matthew.”

Oh, great. He’s been thinking out loud.

AB knows he’s being rude—can faintly hear his mother’s voice chastising him in the back of his mind—but he can’t stop staring. Despite his awful outfit, which AB has apparently insulted to his face, Matthew is stunning. He has dirty-blond hair and a ridiculously strong jaw and a dusting of freckles. Which really isn’t fair—freckles are his kryptonite. How could he not stare?

“This isn’t going the way I’ve always imagined.”

Matthew drops his hand and awkwardly rocks back on his heels. The downward slope of his mouth knocks AB’s brain back online.

He thrusts his hand out. “Shit. Sorry for staring. And insulting you. I’m AB.”

“You also called me gorgeous, so I’ve decided to think of it as balancing out,” Matthew says, his mouth quirking as he takes AB’s hand.

AB is making a fool of himself, and he’d absolutely die of embarrassment if shit didn’t get downright weird when he takes Matthew’s hand in his. Simultaneously, bright golden light bursts from where their palms meet, and AB pops back into view.

“What the fuck?” AB squawks, snatching his hand away.

Even after breaking contact, the heat of Matthew’s hand burns against AB’s skin, and while he’s no longer Concealed, none of the electricity produced by their touch has dissipated. Instead, they’re encased in an invisible crackling bubble of it, as if the light of their handshake shocked the air surrounding them.

“So, that was weird,” Matthew says, after AB fails to add anything constructive to their conversation. He bites his lip, an indecipherable emotion flickering across his face, and then adds, “Uh. I kind of have to go? But I’m serious about what I said. And considering all of this—” He motions between them, pointedly staring at AB’s hand. “—I’m hoping you’ll give me a chance to explain?”

“Wait, what?”

“Uh, like, can I…maybe get your number or…shit.”

Matthew fidgets with his hat, the tips of his ears burning. “Look, I don’t live under a rock. I know who you are and how this could…I don’t know, come off as some sort of ploy to get your attention? You mentioned this could be an Illusion, which I’m not, obviously, but I absolutely understand if you’re not comfortable giving me your number, but I’d really like to explain myself when we’re not in a bathroom and my impatient friends aren’t ten seconds away from storming in here to drag me out. Or maybe your email? Or—you have Twitter, right? Who doesn’t have Twitter? Well, I don’t have Twitter, but uh…Instagram? Or if you’re into face-to-face chats we could agree on a time and public place to meet up again? I’m running out of ideas here. What else is there?”

Matthew blushes, turning his sun-tanned skin an adorable shade of ruddy pink, and all AB can focus on are the freckles, darker on his nose than anywhere else. He’s staring again. Or maybe he never stopped staring, and really, AB should be mortified, but this has been such a strange encounter he doesn’t think Matthew can judge him. He’s running through all the ways entertaining Matthew’s declaration is a terrible idea, how he clearly caused the one thing AB is so obsessed with happening, how he should be running far, far away, when everything clicks into place.

“Were you, by any chance, at my concert when I played Madison Square Garden a couple years ago?”

Matthew furrows his brow. “Yes, but what does—wait. It wasn’t actually the Frits? You think I caused your Concealment? Or, well, our magics Reacting made you Invisible?”

“Wait, sorry… How can you possibly tell what type of Concealer I am?”

“A guy’s got to keep some secrets,” Matthew says with a slow, crooked smile. “Maybe I’ll tell you one day.”

The smile tips him over, and AB makes a decision Carson might actually murder him for.

“I’m not sure about Bondmates, but you’re certainly affecting my magic. Which intrigues me almost as much as it pisses me off. So yeah, give me your number.”

AB unlocks his phone and brings up a new contact page, then hands it to Matthew. “I’ll text you once I’ve decided whether or not meeting up with you is a dangerous idea or just recklessly irresponsible.”

Matthew snorts when he reads the name AB put him in as.

AB shrugs. “Well, aren’t you?”

Matthew’s face is dazzling when he smiles. “Yeah, you got me there.”

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Meet the Author

Thematically, Stephanie likes magic and spies and magical spies. Aesthetically, she likes glitter and gold and pineapples. She wants to put more soft, sweet bi representation into the world so that people like her teen-self can see themselves in their favorite genres and know that who they are is nothing to be ashamed of.

She currently lives in the Great White North (Wisconsin) with her husband, daughter, and three dogs. The only thing getting her through these Midwest winters is the soothing sound of Tim Riggins saying “Texas forever” and the prospect of one day moving back there.

She loves a good astrology twitter but ultimately only believes in it when her husband calls her stubborn and then her response is: “Well, I am a Taurus.”

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