It’s alive! New Release.

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Autistic, asexual, and almost forty, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley flees London with her cat and turtle to a quaint cottage in Cornwall. She craves the peace of life in a small village. The dead body buried in her garden isn’t quite what she had in mind, though.

Will Motts survive the onslaught of murderously bad luck?

Can she solve the mystery before it all spins out of control and off a cliff?

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/31oK3cb
All links: https://books2read.com/motts1

 

Excerpt: Poisoned Primrose

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Excerpt

Lemon curd on buttered toast soothed a multitude of problems. Motts had made three slices to get her through the morning. She hadn’t quite recovered despite spending an entire day alone in the cottage.

Although needing more time to recover, Motts had several early meetings. Vina had helped her connect with a few shop owners in Polperro. She hoped to convince them to consider commissioning some of her paper flower arrangements.

Motts stared mournfully into her empty mug. “Can I take a sick day?”

Meow.

She ran her fingers gently over Cactus’s head, rubbing behind his ears. “Is that a yes or a no? Or do you not want to be left behind?”

I could have another piece of toast.

Procrastinating won’t erase your need to meet Marnie and Peggie.

It helped Motts that she knew both women. She’d met them several times on the Mottley family holidays to Polperro. They were lovely people who’d make her feel welcome and comfortable.

And yet, her anxiety refused to settle.

She had a lifetime of experience forcing herself to get through dealing with the world. Her autistic diagnosis had come late—in her mid-thirties. She’d felt relief at having answers, yet in some ways, even four years on, she continued to struggle to adjust to the paradigm shift.

Changing out of her comfy pyjamas into jeans and a long-sleeved flannel shirt, Motts stood in front of the full-length mirror on the back of the bedroom door. You can do this. Origami flowers are your bread and butter. Talk about the paper arrangements—you don’t need to make small talk.

Motts redid the buttons on her shirt. “I’m Motts.”

You don’t have to introduce yourself. You’ve met them before. They know your name.

 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/31oK3cb
All links: https://books2read.com/motts1

 

Age of Exhaustion

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I don’t remember what my word for 2020 was. Progress? It might’ve been ‘progress’. In all honesty, whatever it was, it’s become exhaustion.

Everything lately feels exhausting.

The number of conversations I’ve had with friends about waking up tired. It’s a common thread everyone seems to be experiencing. I keep reminding myself how we’re experiencing a globally traumatic and stressful event.

It would be more shocking if we weren’t having some level of exhaustion.

Stress wears you out.

Through the pandemic, I’ve dealt with:

– Missing days. Seriously. Has anyone else just lost track of what day it and then felt like you’ve completely Missed one of them?

– Weird dreams. I am the queen of the odd dream but since the pandemic, they’ve been extra strange.

– Increased anxiety and exhaustion.

– A perpetual emotional rollercoaster.

How I’m trying to deal with it?

Being kinder to myself. Indulging in video games and reading. Accepting that some days are just not going to be productive ones.

No matter what all those ‘goal gurus’ claim. In the face of fear and anxiety, sometimes you don’t need to push through. Some days, you have to find a way to relax.

Self-care isn’t always movement.

Some days, self-care is sitting still.

What about you? How are you coping with lockdown?

 

An Intro to Polperro

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I’ve done introductions to a number of the characters in the Motts Cold Case Mystery Series. I thought it would be fun to share a few things about Polperro, Cornwall where Motts lives. There are a number of places in Poisoned Primrose that I made up. The Fish & Chip shop, Marnie’s shop to name two.

Here are real places to check out if you’re ever in Polperro. They are definitely on my bucket list.

Restaurants

The Kitchen – a quaint little restaurant with a great view

The Blue Peter Inn

Three Pilchards

An honourable mention to Talland Bay Beach Cafe which is close to Polperro (and mentioned in book 2 of the series.)

Locations

Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling & Fishing

South West Coastal Path, which also features in the series quite a bit.

Polperro Harbour and Headlands Walk

A lovely video of one of the walks –

 

(Also, please keep in mind when I pulled all of this together, Covid hadn’t taken over the world. Some of these places might have temporarily closed due to the pandemic.)

(Image by Volker Lekies from Pixabay)

Guest Post – The Stark Divide

The Stark Divide - J. Scott CoatsworthJ. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out book one in the Ariadne Cycle: “The Stark Divide.” This is a re-release.

Some stories are epic.

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

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

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

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, and a signed paperback trilogy of the Oberon Cycle (Skythane, Lander and Ithani) – two winners! Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47131/?


Excerpt

“Dressler, schematic,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

###

Anastasia Anatov leafed through her father, Dimitri’s, old paper journal. She liked to look through it once a day, to see his spidery handwriting and remember what he had been like. It was a bit old and dusty now, but it was one of her most cherished possessions.

She sighed and put it away in a storage nook in her lab.

She left the room and pulled herself gracefully along the runway, the central corridor of the ship, using the metal rungs embedded in the walls. She was much more comfortable in low or zero g than she was in Earth normal, where her tall, lanky form made her feel awkward around others. She was a loner at heart, and the emptiness of space appealed to her.

Her father had designed the Mission-class ships. It was something she rarely spoke of, but she was intensely proud of him. These ships were still imperfect, the combination of a hellishly complicated genetic code and after-the-fact fittings of mechanical parts, like the rungs she used now to move through the weightless environment.

Ana wondered if it hurt when someone drilled into the living tissue to install the mechanics, living quarters, and observation blisters that made the ship habitable. Her father had always maintained that the ship-minds felt no pain.

She wasn’t so sure. Men were often dismissive of the things they didn’t understand.

Either way, she was stuck on the small ship for the duration with two men, neither of whom were interested in her. The captain was gay, and Jackson was married.

Too bad the ship roster hadn’t included another woman or two.

She placed her hand on a hardened sensor callus next to the door valve and the ship obliged, recognizing her. The door spiraled open to show the viewport beyond.

She pulled herself into the room and floated before the wide expanse of transparent plasform, staring out at the seed being hauled behind them.

Nothing else mattered. Whatever she had to do to get this project launched, she would do it. She’d already made some morally questionable choices along the way—including looking the other way when a bundle of cash had changed hands at the Institute.

She was so close now, and she couldn’t let anything get in the way.

Earth was a lost cause. It was only a matter of time before the world imploded. Only the seeds could give mankind a fighting chance to go on.

From the viewport, there was little to see. The seed was a two-meter-long brown ovoid, made of a hard, dark organic material, scarred and pitted by the continual abrasion of the dust that escaped the great sails. So cold out there, but the seed was dormant, unfeeling.

The cold would keep it that way until the time came for its seedling stage.

She’d created three of the seeds with her funding. This one, bound for the asteroid 43 Ariadne, was the first. It was the next step in evolution beyond the Dressler and carried with it the hopes of all humankind.

It also represented ten years of her life and work.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re ready for the next step.

###

The crew’s third and final member, Jackson Hammond, hung upside down in the ship’s hold, grunting as he refit one of the feed pipes that carried the ship’s electronics through the bowels of this weird animal-mechanical hybrid. Although “up” and “down” were slight on a ship where the centrifugal force created a “gravity” only a fraction of what it was on Earth.

As the ship’s engineer, Jackson was responsible for keeping the mechanics functioning—a challenge in a living organism like the Dressler.

With cold, hard metal, one dealt with the occasional metal fatigue, poor workmanship, and at times just ass-backward reality. But the parts didn’t regularly grow or shrink, and it wasn’t always necessary to rejigger the ones that had fit perfectly just the day before. Even after ten years in these things, he still found it a little creepy to be riding inside the belly of the beast. It was too Jonah and the Whale for his taste.

Jackson rubbed the sweat away from his eyes with the back of his arm. As he shaved down the end of a pipe to make it fit more snugly against the small orifice in the ship’s wall, he touched the little silver cross that hung around his neck. It had been a present from his priest, Father Vincenzo, at his son Aaron’s First Communion in the Reformed Catholic Evangelical Church.

The boy was seven years old now, with a shock of red hair and green eyes like his dad, and his mother’s beautiful skin. He’d spent months preparing for his Communion Day, and Jackson remembered fondly the moment when his son had taken the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time, surprise registering on his little face at the strange taste of the wine.

Aaron’s Communion Day had been a high point for Jackson, just a week before his current mission. He was so proud of his two boys. Miss you guys. I’ll be home soon.

Lately he hadn’t been sleeping well, his dreams filled with a dark-haired, blue-eyed vixen. He was happily married. He shouldn’t be having such dreams.

Jackson shook his head. Being locked up in a tin can in space did strange things to a person sometimes. I should be home with Glory and the boys.

One way or another, this mission would be his last.

He’d been recruited as a teen.

###

At thirteen, Jackson had learned the basics of engineering doing black-tech work for the gangs that ran what was left of the Big Apple after the Rise—a warren of interconnected skyrises, linked mostly by boats and ropes and makeshift bridges.

Everything north of Twenty-Third was controlled by the Hex, a black-tech co-op that specialized in bootlegged dreamcasts, including modified versions that catered to some of the more questionable tastes of the North American States. South of Twenty-Third belonged to the Red Badge, a lawless group of technophiles involved in domestic espionage and wetware arts.

Jackson had grown up in the drowned city, abandoned by his mother and forced to rely on his own intelligence and instincts to survive in a rapidly changing world.

He’d found his way to the Red Badge and discovered a talent for ecosystem work, taking over and soon expanding one of the rooftop farms that supplied the drowned city with a subsistence diet. An illegal wetware upgrade let him tap directly into the systems he worked on, seeing the circuits and pathways in his head.

He increased the Badge’s food production fivefold and branched out beyond the nearly tasteless molds and edible fungi that thrived in the warm, humid environment.

It was on one of his rooftop “gardens” that his life had changed one warm summer evening.

He was underneath one of the condenser units that pulled water from the air for irrigation. All of eighteen years old, he was responsible for the food production for the entire Red Badge.

He’d run through the unit’s diagnostics app to no avail. Damned piece of shit couldn’t find a thing wrong.

In the end, it had come down to something purely physical—tightening down a pipe bolt where the condenser interfaced with the irrigation system.

Satisfied with the work, he stood, wiping the sweat off his bare chest, and glared into the setting sun out over the East River. It was more an inland sea now, but the old names still stuck.

There was a faint whirring behind him, and he spun around. A bug drone hovered about a foot away, glistening in the sun. He stared at it for a moment, then reached out to swat it down. Probably from the Hex.

It evaded his grasp, and he felt a sharp pain in his neck.

He went limp, and everything turned black as he tumbled into one of his garden beds.

He awoke in Fargo, recruited by AmSplor to serve in the space agency’s Frontier Station, his life changed irrevocably.

###

A strange sensation brought him back to the present.

His right hand was wet. Startled, he looked down. It was covered with blood.

Dressler, we have a problem, he said through his private affinity-link with the ship-mind.”


Author Bio

J. Scott CoatsworthScott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

A Rainbow Award winning and runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, Liminal Fiction, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

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

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

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

Author Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth?from_search=true

Author QueeRomance Ink: Liminal Fiction: https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

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

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink 

Excerpt: The Caretaker


Amazon

“Frederick?”

Freddie paused at his full name—no one other than his angry dads called him anything other than Freddie. He paused by the front door to see Taine had caught up to him. “Yes?”

“Thank you, Frederick, for coming out to help us poor sods out.”

He had to clear his throat to respond. The man’s deep voice saying his name caused his stomach to flip and his lower region to rise in interest. He smiled through it. “I’m always happy to help.”

They stood awkwardly. Neither knew what to say. A loud thud was their only warning before a stumbling Scottie slammed into the back of Taine, which sent him into Freddie like a row of dominos tumbling to the floor.

Freddie groaned under the mass of muscle. He cringed inwardly when it dawned on him that Taine would now be able to feel his earlier piqued interest. “Could you get off me?”

“Want me to help you get off?” Taine’s murmured comment sent a shiver down his spine. “I wouldn’t mind.”

“No, I want you to help me get up before my ribs decide to cave in completely,” Freddie replied tartly, if a bit unsteadily. “What do they feed you rugby types?”

“He’s calling you fat, Tens,” Scottie teased from somewhere above them. Freddie couldn’t see him through the bulk of the man crushing him to the floor. “Up you two get, or I’ll start making assumptions that’ll have me blushing.”

The weight of Taine lifted off him, and a hand reached down to yank him up to his feet. Freddie frowned at Scottie, who hadn’t quite removed his fingers yet. The tall, muscled, blond man had an edge to him that was worrying.

Scottie.” Taine shoved his friend down the hall away from them. “Go see Caddock.”

“Aye aye, Tens.”

“He’s—something.” Freddie chose to stick with his fathers’ advice to not be rude when it wasn’t necessary. He glanced up to find Taine’s intense gaze focused on him. “I should get going. My dads will wonder what happened.”

“Your dads?”

“My family is a modern one.” Freddie had no intention of explaining his family to a man he’d only recently gotten to know. “Was there anything else?”

Taine cocked his head to the side as if assessing Freddie. He slowly smiled—a wide, dangerous sort of grin, rather akin to a predator who had just caught his prey. “Can I have your number?”

Pardon?

Not the question I thought was coming.

“Why?” Freddie shook his head at himself. Do I care why an incredibly attractive man wants my number? He internally shrugged before holding his hand out. No, no I don’t care why. “Give your phone over—I’ll add it for you.”

The bemused expression on Taine’s face made the tingling in his spine at the brush of their fingers worth it. Freddie quickly entered his mobile number under the name Nurse Bunny. He imagined the man would have to go to great lengths to explain it to anyone who saw it.

“Enjoy your weekend with the lads.” Freddie started towards the door, tossing the phone over his shoulder. “Don’t get too drunk. I’m not making another emergency visit to cure hangovers.”

Review: Here Comes The Son

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This is an entirely different take on demons and Lucifer. It has an autistic MC, a lesbian character and a non-binary character. Absolutely loved reading this book!! No super smexy times, but a lot of love, affection and understanding. 5 Stars from B Hall