Potato Surprise: A Brimstone Prequel
Hell for the Company
Fear of Frogs
Beside a Black Tarn
And the flash fiction collection:
The Brimstone Journals: Collection One
It's Friday, and by special request, I'm reading one of the ficlets from The Brimstone Journals: Collection One. The Brimstone series - if you're not familiar - is science fiction that can't be taken too seriously with an exiled demon prince as the ship's captain, a drag queen AI, and an ever-stranger cast and crew. The Brimstone Journals are supplementary flash fiction pieces for the series, a new one every Tuesday on the Mischief Corner Books blog. The first year's worth was gathered up and published in convenient book form in chronological order with some extra charts and explanations and a bonus holiday story that did not appear on the blog. The journals live here:
And on to today's reading - This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things:
The Brimstone series - four stories and a prequel - are, in order:
Potato Surprise: A Brimstone Prequel
Hell for the Company
Fear of Frogs
Beside a Black Tarn
And the flash fiction collection:
The Brimstone Journals: Collection One
I've had something of a rough year. We all have, of course. 2016, you were the year of suckiness. Go away and never come back. Mine's had some personal ups and downs too, though, with elderly parents trying to navigate some new normals in their lives.
Anyway - I've needed a little pick me up from time to time and one of the things that helps is giving people stuff. So watch the Facebook group for that. (Not a member? Come over and join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/angelmartinez )
Also, just a reminder that The Brimstone Journals: Collection One, with the new, exclusive to the collection holiday short story, is up for pre-order. Releasing 12/24.
It's going to tough to muster much enthusiasm this week. Doing my best to continue as usual, but it's not an easy thing. This doesn't mean I'm going to curl into a ball for the next four years and hope we come through it. So much no. Those of us who write queer stories need to keep writing them, now more than ever. As I said on my front page:
We need to tell stories, whether these are contemporary or through the tools spec fic gives us. We need self-expression. We need heroes. As Bernard Hayman writes, "fictional worlds have the potential to act as irreplaceable portals through which we can grapple with not only our tumultuous past and difficult present, but also the promise of a more hopeful future."
So. Onward. We had the release of Boots this week on the Pride Publishing site. You can snag it now or pre-order at Amazon. All the rest of the linkies and distribution releases arrive on 12/6.
In other news this week - the first volume of Brimstone Journals will be released at Mischief Corner Books on 12/24. That's a holiday present for you guys and will contain a little holiday ficlet that didn't appear on the MCB website in the weekly Brimstone Journals.
In which Angel brings out some things to show you all and laments the shortage of anti-gravity cows:
Hell for the Company
By Angel Martinez
From The Horns & Halos Anthology
Release Date: January 4, 2014
Word Count: 22,700
Mischief Corner Books
Demons and Angels have been among us for thousands of years, in many cultures and in many forms. What happens when you set the Mischief Corner authors loose on the vague prompt "Write a story about angels or demons?" The poor unsuspecting world is about to find out.
From Angel Martinez - Hell For The Company: Brimstone #1
Shax, the Demon Prince of Thieves, has reconciled himself to exile. He has a grand time careening around the galaxy as a high-end, intergalactic purloiner of pretties. Everything's going just fine, thank you very much. All right, fine, the anti-gravity cows are a bit problematic and some of his buyers are bad for his health, but he manages until he comes across an injured angel in a psychedelic alien jungle.
He only rescues the wing boy for his golden feathers, but what Shax doesn’t know about angels could fill an intergalactic encyclopedia.
3rd Place, Best Gay Fantasy - 2013 Rainbow Awards
The Gay Romance Literature Retreat for 2014 will be held at the Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, IL. While registration is required for most events, the signings are open to the public. GRL 2014 takes place October 15-19.
Here's a fun game Lisa T. came up with on her blog:
(Attention is Arbitrary, M/M Romance Book Reviews)
I'm gonna have a lot of stuff with me, of course, some and swag and giveaways, books and maybe even a toothbrush. Yeah. Might not want to forget clothes. Y'all really don't want to see me naked.
But my answer for the game?
I'm going to Rainbow Con and in my suitcase I'm bringing...
Shax and Leopold!
Feel free to send me your link in the game and I'll add you below ;)
What Mrs. Condit is bringing
We had tons of fun with the posts and giveaways for this blog tour - winners are posted at the Mischief Corner Books blog:
The Mischief Corner
If you missed any of the posts - Silvia's yummy recipe, Kou's three part interview of characters, Matty Watson's post about bull riding - stop on by. We're always glad to see you:
Silvia Violet's post
Angel Martinez's post
Freddy MacKay's post
Toni Griffin's post
Mathilde Watson's post
And...we're still trying to hit 150 Likes on the Facebook page - there's a prize still out there to be claimed when we hit it!
Mischief Corner Books on FB
Don't forget to read all the way to the bottom of the post for the Rafflecopter info on entering for prizes :)
Shax, the spacefaring Demon Prince of Thieves, is visiting Freddy's house today. He's a little ticked, but you'll have to read Fear of Frogs to understand exactly why. Likewise for the answer to what the heck does this have to do with cowboys? Our intrepid interviewer, Kou, manages to keep this moving despite interruptions, digressions and a surprise guest...
*Shax saunters in wearing his best spit-shined cavalry boots, skintight leather pants (mocha brown) and a sleeveless mesh shirt (cream.) He plunks his feet up on the desk and points to Freddy* "I am not, under any circumstances, talking to that one."
Freddy: *tears form* “What did I do?”
Shax: "Kou, tell that one that sending Angel the article on those horrid, nasty, revolting...frogs wasn't funny. Not in the least."
Kou: “Freds, Shax doesn't like frogs.”
Freddy: “But they're cute and fun, and do weird things at mating times!”
Shax: "Not funny. Not speaking to you. It's all your fault. The whole mess."
Kou: “Uh-oh, what'd you do this time Freddy?”
Shax: "She gave Angel...ideas. Horrid, dreadful ideas. I can't talk about it."
Kou: *runs over to Shax and hugs ankle* “Freds can be scary sometimes. It'll be okay.” *pets pants* “I like these. Where'd you get them?”
Shax: "Oh. These? Let me think...ah." Shax gives Kou a wink and a grin as he scoops him up to set him on his knee. "A very wealthy shipping tycoon bought them for me."
Kou: *eyes get real big* “Were you traveling again?” *snuggles, then pokes mesh shirt*
Shax: "Always traveling, little one. It's how we live these days. This was back on Rigel 4, though. You know. BN."
Kou: *tail flicks* “Ummm, BN?”
Freddy: “So, I'm just going to get ignored while you two have a love fest? Kou, you're rubbing!”
Shax: *shoots a glare across the room, then pets Kou's head with one finger* "Yes. Before Ness. When I was still wild and sleeping with everything with an interest."
Kou: *purrs* “Oh! Oh! Before the pretty angel.” *raises hand while jumping* “Like Tadaashi when he turned into his fox... Except he only slept with me? Why did you need so many things to help you go to bed?” *eyes get bigger, lip wavers* “Do you have nightmares?”
Freddy: “It's not my fault. Is really isn't. Not 100% anyway. I did not know frogs could do that!”
Shax: "Did you hear something? No, neither did I." *Shax smiles at Kou* "Everyone has nightmares sometimes. Yes, I do. But 'sleep' is a euphemism, you know. For mating. It can be fun picking and choosing and moving on sometimes."
Freddy: *sighs* “I would so dunk you if I thought I wouldn't get snapped in two. Maybe Verin will help me.”
Kou: *steps back, puts paw over mouth* “Ooooh, mating.” *blushes* “I was, um, changed before I ever, you know.” *slides a look at Freddy then leans closer to Shax* “How fun?”
Shax: *leans in and whispers* "So incredibly much fun. But it's more fun having one person you can count on to be there for you." *leans back and raises an eyebrow at Freddy* "Dunk me in what?"
Freddy: “Water, to cool your head. I hear you have an interesting new game that I think we could have a lot of fun with.”
Kou: *rubs absently against Shax* “One person? Yeah, Tadaashi has his person, and now you have Ness. It'd be nice to have a person. Tadaashi says I'm still too young in human years.” *pouts* “Does Verin have a person?”
Shax: *finally looks directly at Freddy* "It's not a new game. Trauma ball is about a century old but that's for a later story. I'm not sure I'd let you on the trauma ball court. I don't need someone more devious than me playing. And Ver would be on my side. I think." *turns back to Kou* "You've all the time in the universe, little one. I didn't find my person until I was several thousand years old, after all. Oh, and Verin has indeed found an interesting person. A cowboy person. Whether that's THE person, I guess we'll see."
Freddy: “You know, we could be a really good team.” *waves back and forth* “Me and you. I heard you did some interesting things on old Earth.”
Kou: *gives Freddy the paw* “You're interrupting.” *looks at Shax in awe* “So you're saying you're really, really, really old? Did you see the pyramids built? What about the chariot races? Oh, oh, what about the Hoover Dam?”
Shax: *laughs and hugs Kou* "You're so damn cute. Can I keep you? Yes, I saw the pyramids go up and I may or may not have acquired a lovely golden cat statue from the Pharaoh Khufu. And Rome was just a lovely mess of decadence. The parties! The orgies! The pretties to be had by the handful! Helped that everyone was drunk off their asses half the time. The Hoover Dam, I'm afraid, wasn't quite as interesting."
Freddy: “Hey! No stealing my squirrel!”
Kou: *ignores Freddy* “Can I see the cat statue? Orgies and pretties. Hmmm. I wonder how Ness would feel about that? But… There's nothing interesting about the Dam? Doesn't it hide government secrets and aliens?”
Shax: “I'd have to take you to the ship to show you my pretties. Ness is...resigned to my appetite for pretties. But the orgies?" *shudders delicately* "My possessive fallen angel might toss people across the room if he saw me in someone else's arms."
Kou: *perches for a moment* “I think I'd bite you... A lot.” *jumps up and down* “I want to go on a space ride!”
Freddy: “Another trip to Australia?” *stops talking* “Who'd be knocking at the door now?”
Namid: *sticks head through door* “I'm told there was a patient I needed to see at this address.” *takes a long look at Kou cuddling up to Shax* “I'm not sure I know much about demon anatomy, but I'm good with my hands, so we can find out.”
Shax: *lets his boots down from the desk and indulges in a long look up and down* "Well. I may forgive Freddy after all. Since when did doctors get so drool-worthy sexy?"
Kou: *nips Shax's finger* “I'll tell Ness.”
Shax: “Ow! I’m just looking!”
Namid: *squints at Kou* “A talking squirrel?”
Kou: *puffs up* “Yeah, you got a problem with that?”
Namid: *steps inside room with his med bag and walks up to the desk* “Nope. No problem, just wanted to verify I heard right. So, sexy demon, who are we going to piss off playing doctor?”
Shax: *clears his throat but offers his brightest smile* "My Ness, my angel. Though I'm sure he wouldn't mind so long as we keep things on a professional level and our dicks to ourselves." Shax rubs at the base of his right horn. "I can't seem to get rid of the headaches, Doc. You don't mind treating a demon? You are 21st century, aren't you?"
We're going to leave everyone here for now and let them pick up tomorrow on Freddy's blog where Dr. Namid Rivers (from the Hot Off The Range story, "Sock Poacher and the Shower Thief") will have his say, too. For the full story on Kou and Shax's first story, pick up the Horns and Halos Collection from MCB (Kou is in "Internment," Shax's first story is there, too, "Hell For The Company, Brimstone #1")
For the full bog hop schedule, go back to the Mischief Corner Blog
A little bit on Fear of Frogs, Brimstone #2, appearing in the Hot Off The Range anthology from Mischief Corner Books:
Hot Off The Range (a Cowboy Anthology)
Mischief Corner Books
Barnes and Noble
While Shax recovers from a near fatality, his shipmates have been busy. He's rather proud of them taking the initiative and finding them a lucrative cargo run. His pride turns to outright horror, though, when he finds out what sort of cargo. Unfortunately, he'll soon discover that a healthy fear of frogs doesn't prevent frog-driven disasters. Time travel has never been so messy.
“We have cargo,” Ness began excitedly.
“Delivery cargo. Nothing hot,” Verin hastened to add.
“No, bonehead. Not cows.”
Shax ignored the insult and grabbed the coffee and cinnamon roll Ivana sent down the conveyor for him. “I like cows. The anti-grav ones. I miss them.”
“Hell’s sake, Shax, we’ll get you a damn cow.”
“I want two cows.”
Verin flung up his hands. “Fine! What the fuck ever! After this delivery, we’ll get your damn floating cows. You wanna see the cargo or not?”
“I do. Let me have breakfast first, please.” Shax sipped at his coffee, grateful for at least the illusion of it, even if he was certain he’d lost the decaf debate. His companions left him in peace even though Ness practically vibrated next to him and Verin leaped up to pace, claws clicking on the decking.
When he finished, he got up carefully to make certain of his balance. “All right, lead on. Let’s go see what has you two all wound up.”
He let Ness wrap an arm around him for the short trip. It was chilly in the hold, after all. Even with his jacket on, Ness’s heat would be welcome.
“So who’s the client?”
Shax stumbled. “The Humboldt U? On Europa? Really? Not some little knockoff?”
“Yeah.” Verin had the audacity to sound smug.
“Well, aren’t we moving up in the world. How did you snag something so highbrow?”
“Angel twink batted his eyes and I negotiated the contract.”
Ness took up the story, no offense in his tone. “We were in port on…a planet. I’m afraid I wasn’t paying attention to which one. Ms. Ivana said we needed sulfur for your meds. So Verin said I could go purchase some.”
“Generous of him,” Shax murmured but otherwise kept any caustic comments to himself about letting naïve angels wander around unfamiliar ports alone.
“Don’t make that face,” Verin growled. “It was on freaking Elistrus. He was safe.”
Ness nodded and continued, “As I was making the purchase, a man came to me. He seemed distraught. He said he overheard that I was spacer crew and did we take cargo? His previous contractor, apparently, had ended up imprisoned for certain… unseemly and destructive acts the previous evening.”
“So Twinkles calls me and I talked to the guy and told him, yeah, we’d take it. Easiest job we’ve ever had.”
To Shax, it sounded like Ness had landed the job rather than Verin. Who wouldn’t trust an angel’s face, even a fallen one’s? But his newly healed heart was more than grateful for the well-timed source of income, one that didn’t come with fencing stolen items and possible weapons fire. “Well done, cupcake.” He nuzzled under Ness’s chin just to watch him blush. “I mean that.”
They turned the last corner and Verin hit the door pad for the cargo hold. When they emerged onto the catwalk above the cavernous space, Shax stilled, trying to take in a sight so bizarre his brain refused to process it. He placed both hands on the railing and leaned out carefully. His beautiful, pristine hold was full of clear hard-plas tanks, what appeared to be several dozen pallets of them secured to the deck plates. He thought they were fish tanks at first, which would have been bizarre enough, but there wasn’t enough water in them for fish. There were creeping things inside those tanks.
“Are those…” He leaned out farther, as if getting closer would change the truth. Ness pulled in a sharp breath and clamped a hand around his arm. “Are those…frogs?”
“Yes, special ones,” Ness offered with breathless excitement. “Rhinella proboscideus frogs. Apparently very rare outside of certain Earth habitats. We’re also delivering an experimental dark matter generator, but that doesn’t take up nearly as much room…” Ness trailed off. “Shax? You’ve gone terribly pale.”
“There are frogs…on my ship…” Shax put a hand over his mouth to cover a sudden, indelicate belch. Over the engine hum, he became aware of a noise, an ugly, creaking grunt as if an ancient door with mud in its rusted hinges were being swung back and forth. The frogs were croaking. Hundreds of them.
Shax turned and fled, careening off walls and door seals as he stumbled through the corridors, trying to put space between himself and those horrid amphibians. He barely made it to his cabin and his private bathroom before he lost his breakfast.
Tired of the holidays already? Yeah. I kind of am, too. All the fuss and hoopla. The running around, the agonizing, the spending, the general hysteria. Don't get me wrong. I do like a lot of things about this time of year - those quiet, peaceful moments of magic only cold and snow and bright lights can bring.
If only it could all be like that.
In honor of those moments, I thought I'd offer some new release news for the remainder of the season. You know, so you can hunker down by the fire with a couple of furry friends, a cozy blanket and a book (one of mine would be nice - feed an author, buy a book?) while the cold winds and the crazed shoppers howl outside.
First Up - Releasing 11/29 at Totally Bound!
50's Mixed Tape Anthology
A few friends kidnapped, er, persuaded me to get involved in a Mixed Tape antho - I've never been so glad to be shanghaied. These were such fun stories to write. (And it was with some of my favorite people :) )
‘Chantilly Lace’ by Em Woods
When appearances aren’t everything…
‘Rush Around the Clock’ by Silvia Violet
Finn McMurphy convinces himself his spoiled dogs are all the company he needs. Then he meets Crawford, his sexy new neighbour, and everything changes.
‘It’s Only Make Believe’ by Havan Fellows
Dyer’s whole life is nothing but a game of play pretend. When he attempts to drag Derrick into his make-believe world, it tips on its axis. Suddenly Dyer doesn’t want to play anymore.
‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ by Hank Edwards
Floyd has trouble staying interested in men, but meeting Gavin changes everything. Until Floyd learns his boss is dating Gavin. Now Floyd wants him even more.
‘His Dream Lover’ by Lee Brazil
Through the gates of the sun lies the land of dreams, and beyond that…the realm of the lost.
I‘The Line’ by Angel Martinez
Rafael Schiller, vampire and sexual god without peer, believes himself the top of the food chain, until a bizarre creature feeding in an alley scares the deathless hell out of him.
A mere week later, we have the anthology the Mischief Corner Authors are so excited about! Releasing 12/7 from Mischief Corner Books:
Hot Off The Range
(Toni Griffin, Silvia Violet, Freddy MacKay, Mathilde Watson and Angel Martinez)
We asked out readers what type of anthology they wanted next - the overwhelming winner (much to my dismay) was Cowboys. I can't write about cowboys, I said. Yes, well, with the right encouragement, apparently anything is possible.
Riding and herding. Those spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle. What is it about cowboys that so doggedly fires the imagination? Join the Mischief Corner authors as they give you their own unique takes on the cowboy mystique and mythos, from the American West, to Australia, to outer space. The cowboy story will never be the same…
In between, you can always pick up my newest SF novel from MLR - you know, to get away from it all.
Rarely Pure and Never Simple
These boys are trouble - and they'll be back for a second round, never fear ;)
Damien just wants to be left alone. Too bad his variant talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for the government's missing person cases. He can refuse, but it's not so easy when the missing are variant kids.
Blaze Emerson is a sparker. People fear him as much for his ability to call fire as his obnoxious, violent temperament. He's good at what he does, though, and he's intrigued by the quiet man who can find people with his brain. Conspiracies, treachery, and wild rumors are only the start. First Damien and Blaze have to survive each other.
Then for New Year's when you need a little humor to help you get over that hangover you've been nursing for days - releasing 1/4/14 as an individual story from MCB:
Hell For The Company, Brimstone #1
Originally featured in the Horns and Halos anthology, a Rainbow Awards finalist and nominated for Best Anhology in the M/M Romance Readers' Choice Awards - we have Shax, the Demon Prince of Thieves, his business partner Verin (the demon of impatience) and Ness, an angel quote definitely out of his element.
Oh. Did I mention the anti-gravity cows? Yes. You heard me.
This is the very first Brimstone adventure - the boys return in Fear of Frogs (in the Hot Off The Range antho) with more in the works for next year.
Sure, the holidays are busy. But too busy for reading? I know you guys. That would be like too busy for breathing.
Stay safe this season, stay sane, and make sure you take your mandatory reading breaks.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.