Guest Post – Not So Bleak Winter

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Some Christmas surprises change everything.

Getting ready for a quiet Christmas as the vet on call, Rick got the surprise of a lifetime when a gorgeous woman appeared in his office with a bleeding deer in her arms. Not only is he able to learn about a world that he never knew existed, but maybe he is about to experience a Christmas miracle of his very own.


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With only five minutes until closing, he was in back cleaning when he heard the bell on the door ring. A frantic feminine voice called out, “Is someone here? I need help! Help!”

Rushing out, Rick saw the woman cradling a small deer in her arms as she sat on the floor. In just a few moments, a pool of blood had already formed and started to spread on the stark white tiles. For a moment, he wondered at how such a small woman could have carried a deer inside without help, but then he figured panic could cause endorphins to kick in. “What has happened? Was it hit by a car?” Rick knelt down to examine the animal.

“No, she was shot. Some bastard shot her, even though it’s way past hunting season. Plus, she was on my land to begin with,” the woman said, tears streaming down her face even as anger entered her voice.

Changing his approach to search for a gunshot, Rick got the shock of a lifetime when the deer seemed to yell, “Ouch!”

He had touched the wound and was checking for an exit wound when he stopped shocked. Then he shook his head; he must be hearing things. Getting back to work, he gently felt beneath the poor animal, and there he found the exit hole. “The bullet passed through. That’s good news. If I can get the bleeding stopped, then I can stitch her up, and she should be fine. I need to get her back to the operating room. I can handle it from here.” He picked the deer up and stood.

“I’m staying while you operate. I need to know that she will be fine,” the woman said, also standing and moving with him. “Besides, are you alone here? I can help. Just tell me what to do, and I will assist you as best I can.”

“Do you have any sort of medical training?” Rick started to argue, but then the deer in his arms turned its head towards him, and he almost dropped her. “What the hell?” he asked. The deer stared back at him with human eyes and a pained expression on an almost human face, but with the face of a deer mixed with it. “What kind of creature is this?” Despite his shock and confusion, he automatically kept walking towards the operating room. Whatever he held in his arms, he had to help the poor thing.

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The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth

The Rising Tide

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.”

Earth is dead.

Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Control the AI, control the people.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.

Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Series Blurb: Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

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Scott is giving away two prizes with this tour – a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of “The Stark Divide,” book one in the series (US winner only for the paperback). For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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The Rising Tide Meme

Eddy Tremayne rode his horse, Cassiopeia, along the edge of the pastures that were the last official human habitations before the Anatov Mountains. Several ranchers along the Verge—the zone between the ranches and the foothills—had reported losses of sheep and cattle in the last few weeks.

As the elected sheriff of First District, which ran from Micavery and the South Pole to the mountains, it was Eddy’s responsibility to find out what was going on.

He had his crossbow strapped to his back and his long knife in a leather sheath at his waist. He’d been carrying them for long enough now—three years?—that they had started to feel natural, but the first time he’d worn the crossbow, he’d felt like a poor man’s Robin Hood.

He doubted he’d need them out here, but sheriffs were supposed to be armed.

He’d checked with Lex in the world mind via the South Pole terminal, but she’d reported nothing amiss. In the last few years, she had begun to deploy biodrones to keep an eye on the far-flung parts of the world, but they provided less than optimal coverage. One flyover of this part of the Verge had shown a peaceful flock of thirty sheep. The next showed eight.

The rancher, a former neurosurgeon from New Zealand named Gia Rand, waited for him on the top of a grassy hill. The grass and trees shone with bioluminescent light, and the afternoon sky lit the surrounding countryside with a golden glow. The spindle—the aggregation of energy and glowing pollen that stretched from pole to pole—sparkled in the middle of the sky.

The rancher pulled on her gray braid, staring angrily at something in the valley below. “Took you long enough to get here.”

“Sorry. The train was out of service again.” Technology was slowly failing them, and they had yet to come up with good replacements.

She snorted. “One helluva spaceship we have here.”

He grinned. “Preaching to the choir.” Forever didn’t have the manufacturing base yet to support anything close to the technology its inhabitants had grown used to on Earth. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you asked him. With technology came new and better ways to kill. He’d seen it often enough in the NAU Marines. “What did you find?”

“Look.” Her voice was almost a growl.

Eddy looked down where she was pointing. “Oh shit.” Her missing sheep were no longer missing. They had been slaughtered.

He urged Cassiopeia down the hillside to the rocky clearing. A small stream trickled down out of the mountains there. He counted ten carcasses, as near as he could tell from the skulls left behind. Someone had sheared a couple of them and given up. It looked like they had skinned and cut the rest up for meat, the skin and bones and extra bits discarded.

Gia rode down the hillside behind him.

“Didn’t you report twelve sheep missing?”

She nodded. “Bastards took the two lambs. Probably for breeding.”

“That actually might help us.”

“How’s that?”

He dismounted to take a closer look at the crime scene. “They’ll have to pasture them somewhere. May make it easier to track them down.”

“Maybe so.” She dismounted and joined him. “This was brutal work. Look here.” She picked up a bone. “Whatever cut this was sharp but uneven. It left scratch marks across the bone.”

“So not a metal knife.”

“I don’t think so. Maybe a stone knife?”

He laughed harshly. “Are we back to caveman days, then?” It wasn’t an unreasonable question.

She was silent for a moment, staring at the mountains. “Do you think they live up there?”

“Who?” He followed her gaze. Their highest peaks were wreathed in wisps of cloud.

“The Ghosts.”

The Ghosts had been a persistent myth on Forever since their abrupt departure from Earth. Some of the refugees had vanished right after the Collapse, and every now and then something would end up missing. Clothes off a line, food stocks, and the like.

People talked. The rumors had taken on a life of their own, and now whenever something went missing, people whispered, “It’s the Ghosts.”

Eddy didn’t believe in ghosts. He personally knew at least one refugee who had disappeared, his shipmate Davian. He guessed there must be others, though the record keeping from that time had been slipshod at best. He shrugged and looked at the sky. “Who knows?” It was likely to rain in the next day or so. Whoever had done this had left a trail, trampled into the grass. If he didn’t follow it now, it might be gone by the time he got back here with more resources.

Gia knelt by one of the ewes, staring at the remnants of the slaughter. “Could you get me some more breeding stock? This… incident put a big dent in my herd.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” He took one last look around the site. It had to have taken an hour or two to commit this crime, and yet the thieves had apparently done it in broad daylight. Why weren’t they afraid of being caught? “I’m going to follow the trail, see where it leads.”

Gia nodded. “Thanks. We’re taking the rest of the herd back to the barn until you get this all figured out.”

“Sounds prudent. I’ll let you know.”

Slipping on his hat, he climbed back up on Cassie and followed the trail across the stream toward the Anatov Mountains.

Author Bio

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. 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 the people like him were.

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

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

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.


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Author Interview: Aaron Speer

Are you a panster or a plotter?
If you asked me this when I first started, I’d say plotter. Every scene. All arcs. Now though? I’d say its 70 30 pantsing.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
Yes I do. Music is my best weapon. I’m always listening to specific download tracks based on the book I’m writing.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
The Godfather
Describe your perfect writing space:
Alone. Quiet. In a bedroom or small office type space.
Do you write your title first or story first?
Title always
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

She sent me a photo of tonight’s dinner. Strange, as she had cursed me out not an hour before. She had never sent me pictures of anything like this before.
I began to wonder, was this a message? A chilling warning of the night ahead?
My beautiful fiance had only been released from minimum security less than a year ago. I never asked her what her previous husband’s died of…
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Author Bio:
I love writing adult paranormal fiction. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts… oh my. I’ve been writing since I was 11 but I’ve always been a dreamer… often getting caught staring off into space as I created stories in my mind.

One of my stories, Night Walker (Undeadly Secrets Series Book 1), won the 2017 Golden Stake Award at the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival held in Transylvania annually. I’m still quite chuffed about walking away with it after facing some great contenders.

The Fourth book in what some refer to as The Undeadly Secrets Saga released in early 2018 and I followed that with my first Contemporary Romance (MMA) release in August of 2018. I also have a short story thriller series, The Independents, and will be branching out into other genres in the coming year.

My favourite activities include spending time with family, dragging my forever patient wife to watch my beloved St George Illawarra Dragons, popping into the movies for the latest blockbusters, going to the gym for my dream body. Or just a body. Anything, really.

My beautiful wife and I welcomed our first child into the world in 2017. My fans declared him the Prince of Speerverse and claimed he seemed to take after me in his want to build the tension as high as possible… making us and our loved ones wait 3 long days for him to make his entrance. My wife and I live with the love of our lives in Sydney, Australia: the setting for the majority of my works.
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Author Interview: Billie Dale

Are you a panster or a plotter?

I’m a panster, with a little bit of plotter hidden underneath. I write as the characters play out their lives in my matter how crazy they can be.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.
Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan is my goto, feel good read. Really anything by Mia gets my feels going. If I need writing inspiration I hit up an Amy Harmon book and revel in her genius!
Describe your perfect writing space:
For now it’s sitting at my kitchen table…but it would be a Starbucks infused, most comfortable office chair in the world and my ideas would flow freely. 
Do you write your title first or story first?
Story and let it determine it’s name
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:
“Woo Whip,” lights up my phone as a shrill whispered screech pierces the air sending me racing toward the bathroom door. The signature text from my youngest daughter spawn when she needs something while indisposed. A call for help that started when she was first old enough to alone in the bath turned into text lingo when she got her phone.
I tap lightly on the door cause no one and I mean no one is allowed in the restroom while she does her business, it’s a sacred time. My fingers tap lightly on the door, “Mom! Get in here!” She yells. There on the porcelain throne is my twelve year old and with a grumbling growl a gremlin holding a roll of toilet paper races between my legs and out of the room.
“Your pet slowed my roll again!” I laugh, hand her a fresh roll and exit to chase our house Gizmo down before he has time to shred the paper. Unable to locate him, I plop on the sofa where a few second later he appears with his tufty ears and buck toothed grin, offering me the still whole roll as retribution. I pat him on the head and snuggle into his velvet soft fur to watch some Friends reruns.
Just another evening in the Dale residence.
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Fairytale Fantasy
Labors of a Hero: Coming 10/19
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Billie Dale lives in no-where middle earth. Lost in a small village in the Midwest with four kids, three animals and an amazing, word inspiring book boyfriend worthy husband. 

A blogger by nature and a writer because she got tired of arguing with the voices in her head. She loves and lives the words on the page, whether writing them or reading them her life is consumed by the worlds her head creates. 
Her greatest wish is that readers will fall in love with her words as much as she loves writing them and as much as she loves reading others. She loves to create new worlds to explore and loves to write words that will take root in you soul. 
Paranormal, New Adult, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary — there is not one box she fits in. She’s a rebel in the author world who writes what her head tells her even it jumps from genre to genre. 


Author Interview: Julia Wolf

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Pantser with a little loose plotting mixed in. I have scenes I know I want to include, but I’m never sure how I’m going to get there until I’ve written it!
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
I do. I haven’t had it completely, but I have felt uninspired to write. I kick its arse by writing anyway. Even if it sucks, I write. And I read! My favorite authors always seem to get my own ideas churning.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
I’ve read Wallbanger by Alice Clayton more times than I can count. It hits all the right notes with me. Slow burn, funny, romantic, steamy. And the cat! I love Clive forever.
Describe your perfect writing space: 
Outside, in my backyard, on a sunny, cool day. The only sounds are the birds chirping and maybe someone mowing their lawn in the distance. If the weather is just right, I could sit outside and write all day.
Do you write your title first or story first?
I start the story first, and usually an element of the story inspires the title. 
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:
“We will leave in about 5,” my new neighbor, Jason said right before he disappeared behind his door.
What did he mean? Where were we going? Was I a part of the ‘we’?
I stood there, on the landing outside my apartment, stupefied.
We’d just had a meet cute, both reaching for the door handle to the building at the same time. Our eyes met, he smiled, and my heart went pitter fucking patter. On the walk up the three flights of stairs to our floor, I’d learned Jason had moved in over the weekend, worked as a computer programmer in Baltimore, and liked Indian food, like me. I’d told him the best spot nearby for Butter chicken, and he’d seemed intrigued. That was right before he left me standing there.
I fished my key out and slid it into the lock, when Jason’s door opened again and he stepped out. “Ready?”
I must have looked confused because he added, “For dinner?”
He smiled and my heart did that crazy thing in my chest again.
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Author Friends: Kitty Berry

Are you a panster or a plotter?
By “plotter” do you mean I get an idea while ironing my son’s clothes and jot it down in my notes folder on my phone? If so, then, yup, I’m a plotter!
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
Sure, I believe in it. I’m happy to say that I’ve never experienced it. That’s probably because I don’t get the chance to write that much. I work full-time as an early childhood specialist and write any and every chance I get.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
Is this a no judge zone? Yeah? Okay, I’ll say it…Fifty Shades of Grey.
Describe your perfect writing space: 
Let me begin by saying that it would NOT include my husband and boys repeatedly calling my name! Other than that, I sort of have a perfect space in my office right now.
Three walls are painted taupe, the accent wall is a deep, burnt orange. My middle son hung book shelves from floor to ceiling on one wall for my collection and a I have a copy of each of my books in a lighted display case. I have a white desk and a white leather chair. My Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers and a small fan sit on the left corner of my desk right near my phone holder. My notebooks and mechanical pencils are the on right next to a box of tissues and a candle that I light for when I write. I’m planning on purchasing a new laptop soon, but it’ll sit right in the middle of my desk where my current one does now.
I have a navy-blue sofa against the accent wall with orange pillows and my hubs keeps a desk in there too.
Do you write your title first or story first?
I do my titles first. 
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:
The last text I received was from my oldest son. It read, “Eating at home tonight.” I will write you a flash fiction piece that features Damian Stone from The Stone Series.
“Remember the first meal we ate together?” Damian asks his wife and mother of his four children. “We used to eat at adult places back then.”
Sydney smirks as a blush covers her cheeks. “How could I ever forget,” she says. “You fed me then said that I was better than any dessert your restaurant served.”
“You fed mommy?” Pebbles Stone asks her father with an excited clap of her hands. “Is this another part of your love story? Tell us, tell us!” she begs. “You’re so romantic!”
“Yuck,” DJ sighs. “Don’t make mommy and daddy tell us another story about how much they love each other.”
“Caden Stone,” Sydney reprimands her oldest son with his given name. His nickname, DJ, short for Damian Jr., fits him so well, she often forgets it isn’t his name. “You should be happy that your mommy and daddy love each other as much as we do.”
Sydney shifts her youngest daughter Piper on her lap then reaches for her phone on the table as she sees it shake from an incoming text.
Damian: You know what I wish I were eating instead of this shitty, kid friendly, tasteless pizza at an overpriced arcade?
Sydney rolls her eyes at her husband then begins typing.
Sydney: HMMM…steak?
Damian: Very funny. No. YOU!
Sydney’s body heats as the waitress approaches the table.
“Can I get you something else?” she asks.
“No,” Damian says. “Just the bill, please.”
“But you didn’t eat” the waitress points at Damian’s clean plate.
“I’m eating at home tonight” Damian says with a raised eyebrow for his wife.
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Kitty Berry Bio:
Kitty Berry is the author of The Stone Series and The Anatomy of Love Trilogy.
Kitty is an only child who never wished for a sibling and she openly admits that she’s a spoiled brat. She currently resides in the suburbs of Connecticut with her husband and three sons. During any given evening you can find Kitty curled up in bed reading.
She is the daughter of an avid reader, the “real” Kitty Berry. It was her late mother’s desire of becoming a writer that prompted Kitty to create the characters that she places in worlds of wealth, power, seduction, dominance and submission.
Kitty’s love for reading and discussing literature didn’t come to her until her late twenties. Angst-ridden romances always mesmerized Kitty and fast-paced entertaining mysteries as well as witty “chick lit” contributed to her desire to not only be a reader but also a writer. She recently found herself at a time in life when the busy balance of career and family made her crave an escape into the world of romance with an erotic twist. Multidimensional characters spurred on Kitty’s creative spark to write about seduction.
Kitty loves dark chocolate, music inspires her writing and she plans on enjoying life to its fullest as soon as she’s done driving carpools, attending youth basketball games, and coordinating the social lives of her three adolescent children who have way more fun than she does. 

Author Friends: Kelly Collins

Are you a panster or a plotter?

I’m an outliner which is neither. I always know where the story is going but I don’t plot scene by scene. I write down pinnacle moments and plan my way from one to the next, leaving plenty of room for organic things to happen in the book.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block as much as I’d say I believe in lack of motivation. If I’m not feeling a scene or can’t come up with something then I will scrap it because if I don’t like it my readers won’t either. No use writing yourself into a dead end.

What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.

I haven’t reread any book really. There are so many to read that would be knew and entertaining to me. Although I was gifted a book I read as a child called Harriet The Spy and I plan to read it again. It was my favorite book in like fourth grade. I also recently purchased The Outsiders by S.E Hinton which is also an elementary school read that I want to enjoy again. As far as a comfort read on a bad day, I love a good heart-wrenching romance. Anything Nicholas Sparks will make me cry and then it’s out of my system and I’m good. 

Do you write your title first or story first?

I’ve done both, but generally I have a title and a cover before I ever dig into writing the book. 

And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

The last text I received was, “Thanks for breakfast.”
“Thanks for breakfast,” she said.
You’re welcome.” His jovial tone didn’t match the war he fought inside himself. Did he pull her to him and kiss the breath from her lips? Did he walk her to her car and let her drive out of his life forever? He’d been in love with her since high school. Ten years later they were both single and back in town. This was his chance at love. “What about dinner?”
The amber flecks in her eyes brightened and danced. “You want to have dinner with me?”
He risked a kiss—really a brush of his lips to hers. “I want so much more, but let’s start with dinner.”
International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly lives in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her husband of twenty-seven years, their two dogs, and a bird that hates her. She has three amazing children, whom she loves to pieces.

You can learn more about Kelly at

I have a new small town series that recently released. Here’s book three. Aspen Cove is a sweet with heat series. These are connected full-length novels but can be read independently of one another. 

There is always a free read on my website: