I've run out of books to read to you - yes, I've read all the books in the world. (No, not really - I had an opening this week.) So, this week we delve into the backlist for a scene from the AURA series. Because I felt like it. :D
The AURA books are available singly, at all the usual places and also in a handy Box Set.
Angel Martinez, Bellora Quinn
AURA, the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation: it’s a weird job, but somebody’s got to do it.
A magical catastrophe tears the fabric of reality, causing unpredictable holes between worlds through which anything might fall—elves, centaurs, trolls, yeti. The brave officers and employees of AURA struggle daily to help the lost and injured, and contain the irretrievably violent while their research staff scramble to find a way to reverse the effect.
Anything can and does pop through into the human world, sometimes with disastrous and deadly results. It’s a race against time to see if the AURA mages can repair reality and stop the inter-dimensional flood before something crosses over that proves strong enough to destroy the world.
Barnes and Noble
One of the things I promised myself at the end of 2017 was that I would make time to read. Unless there was a deadline looming, I was going to make time to read. Denying myself that as a writer is a mistake (for me) and just makes me miserable.
In 2018, I succeeded in reading many things. Some romance, some not, largely queer - and for the most part, I'd say I enjoyed the reads. There are far too many to list, but I'd like to do a quick rundown of some (emphasis on some) of my favorite reads from this year:
The Bones of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory
M/M contemporary, small village, bit of a mystery
I love small town stories. Throw in archaeology, a local museum and the preservation of local history, and I'm all in. This is an absolutely charming story with wonderful characters.
Lancaster's Luck by Anna Butler
M/M Alternate Universe (Victorian)
This is a two book series currently consisting of The Gilded Scarab and The Jackal's House - adventure, mystery, magic and tech entwined. The world building is excellent and the narrative voice superb. Anna can post an unnamed snippet and the reader will know instantly when it's Rafe Lancaster. Brilliant fun.
The Long Past and Other Stories by Ginn Hale
M/M and F/F Alternative Universe
I've said it before, I'll say it again. I would read a grocery list written by Ginn Hale, I love her work that much. This is a collection of three stories that take place in a shared universe and timeline - and there are dinosaurs in the Old West. I mean...how does it get better than that? Three exciting stories with engaging characters - I adored these. (I could also add the Cadeleonian books here - but I did read most of that series in 2017, so that doesn't seem fair.)
The Parasol Protectorate (series) by Gail Carriger
M/F Steampunk Paranormal (though there are both M/M and F/F stories as well)
So much fun with an interesting, quirky MC who is that wonderful female protagonist whom the author has granted AGENCY. So much yes for that alone. But there are also werewolves and vampires in high society, an entire paranormal community living right out in the open, and stories that don't take themselves too seriously.
Tyack and Frayne (series) by Harper Fox
M/M Paranormal Mystery
I'd never read Harper Fox before this year - though she's an oft-recommended to me author. Sometimes that makes me wary, but in this case the recommenders were so right. Gorgeous writing, beautifully portrayed settings and characters who are allowed to grow and reveal as the books progress. Again, small town settings and Cornwall becomes a character unto itself with it's history and it's legends under your feet at all times.
The Farseer Books by Robin Hobb
High Fantasy, main non-binary character
Characters who live on with you, superb (superb) world-building, complex plots and motives, all the emotions, so much all of them. Prepare to have your heart shredded if you go into this, but it's a gorgeous, amazing ride.
Ardulum (series) by J.S. Fields
Space opera, F/F, non-binary characters
I believe I started these in 2017, but finished in 2018, so they count. The Ardulum universe contains humanoid and decidedly non-humanoid aliens, only two humans appear throughout the books (and are not the MC's) and non-binary identities are the norm. I love the sheer variety and imaginative nature of all the aliens, and while there are characters/species who make better choices than others, no one's evil here. Everyone thinks they're doing the right thing.
Also, sentient fungi. :)
Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
Science Fiction, F/F
No idea why I put off reading Nicola Griffith for so long. This book is superb in its world-building and storytelling. The author takes two well-trodden tropes - the scientist/anthropologist going native and the planet without men - and creates something astounding both from a societal point of view and a narrative one. Too often, single gender societies want to show that women would either be not whole without men or more compassionate and kind without them. This book emphasizes that women are not a monolith - that left to create societies of their own, those societies would contain all the possible human traits and perhaps some new ones.
Aisling Trilogy by Carole Cummings
High Fantasy, M/M
I've loved every world of Carole's that I've read. They feel real, solid - tangible. Her characters are complex, often difficult characters, ones who often come with as much internal conflict as external and their journeys of self-discovery are breathtaking. Aisling is no exception. Lost people coming into their own is a favorite of mine, especially when those people doubt themselves right up to (and often beyond) the ending.
Mask of Shadows/ Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller
High Fantasy, Non-binary main character
This is the story of a thief turned assassin whose sole ambition is to avenge their murdered family. If you think you can't read a sympathetic story about an assassin, you would be wrong. Sal is a marvelous character - so brave and reckless, so unsure, and so very flawed - and again, the world-building is superb.
So many others I enjoyed this year, but these are at the top of the list and represent the kind of variety I'd like to keep reading with a mix of romance and non-romance genre fiction.
Happy Solstice, everyone! May your hearth be warm and your household merry!
This week I'm reading from No Fae Is An Island: Endangerd Fae 4, which releases on January 15 (sorry, I get the date wrong in the recording) and is up for pre-order now. :)
This one wraps up the series!
No Fae Is An Island
Endangered Fae 4
releasing January 15, 2019
Barnes and Noble
Three years ago, Danu banished Diego from the human world for a time. Three years and three days doesn’t seem that long to be away from home but time among the wild fae can change a man and the human world returns the favor by changing while he’s gone. There’s a vampire on Tearmann Island’s security force. A curious selkie’s followed him home. So much to do to keep the world safe…but Diego’s no longer sure he has the right to interfere.
Theo Aguilar started his vampire life on the wrong side of the law. He’s killed and knows he’s dangerous if he doesn’t stay in control every moment. But the fae took him in and Prince Lugh has given him a position of trust. So when Diego and Finn are arrested on a diplomatic mission far from home, he knows his duty. He’s striking out on his own to rescue them, a lone vigilante once again, this time for the good guys. The only glitch? The selkie, Limpet, can’t seem to understand the alone part.
*deep breath in - deep breath out* OK, if you haven't seen yet, the release for Yule Planet was moved up to 12/22 - this Saturday. (!!!!) So, yay, early release!
Pre-order is up in all the pre-order places.
Join me and Sofia as she goes on the perfect holiday for the holidays - and, naturally, things go horribly wrong. :D
Escape From The Holidays
release date 12/22/2018
Also coming in Paperback!
Barnes and Noble
Sofia Cancino is tired of her mundane life, her artificial environment and her large, boisterous family descending every holiday season. She's promised herself this year will be different and books a stay on the exclusive—and expensive--holiday-themed resort, Yule Planet. She looks forward to being pampered while reconnecting with Old Earth traditions steeped in the magic and mysticism of nature. Everything will be perfect and she'll leave as a more authentic human, better connected to her roots.
Naturally, things go horribly wrong. Sofia's landing pod goes off course and instead of stepping out on the landing pad at the resort, she finds herself in the snow-swept perpetual winter of the planet's hinterlands. If that wasn't bad enough, she's "rescued" by a band of criminals on work release who run deliveries to the resort from far-flung shuttle delivery sites. They refuse to take her, a paying customer, to the resort and insist on dragging her along on their parcel run. Riding giant monsters. In frigid weather. Not to mention, Marta, who handles the monsters, obviously hates her.
If Sofia survives her vacation, she's definitely yelling at someone's supervisor until she gets a refund.
Happy December and Happy Friday! Today I have excerpts from the second set of Escape From The Holidays stories from MCB. This is a bit longer recording than I normally do - but this is something special. :)
I'm in that space now where nothing's really due, everything coming up is in edits, and I have room to work on all the things.
You know that means I've been baking and doing everything but starting something new, right?
To be fair, it is the holidays and I do have family obligations, but I can't let this go on too long. There are things to get back to.
So where am I now?
Look for Yule Planet next - coming later this month!
Happy Friday, everyone! Today I have an excerpt from the lovely Kris Jacen and her newest With Me story Learn With Me. Feels timely, since this is Pearl Harbor Day, to remember those who serve:
Learn With Me
With Me #3
by Kris Jacen
Barnes and Noble
Josiah "Siah" Kent has always loved learning; now he's living his dream of teaching children to love it too. After getting his degrees in New Orleans, he accepted a teaching position outside of Washington DC. What a better place to be able to teach and continue learning?
Sergeant Carter May joined the Army right out of high school. He's always struggled to succeed in school but has found a place in the military but has dreamed of getting a college degree--he'd be the first in his family if he did. Being stationed with the Presidential Firing Battery at Arlington National Cemetery will give him the opportunity to take the chance, but will he risk failing?
A chance meeting years ago in New Orleans, had sparks flying between Siah and Carter. Another chance encounter between the ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, blow those sparks into a full flame. Can Siah and Carter find some common ground to learn more about each other and a possible future together?
Took me a few years to start writing holiday stories. Just never had the urge. Until one year a certain squirrel said they wanted a holiday science fiction story from me. Now there are several.
That first story was a romance between an Alaskan bush pilot and an exiled alien general, as you do:
The second holiday story was a lesbian space opera humor romance as part of last year's A Holiday To Remember collection. Which, just so you know, is 30% off at the MCB store until the end of the month. :) (You can get it at all the other outlets - but sale!)
There have been a couple of Brimstone holiday flash fics over the years, too. Look in the Brimstone Journal blog for:
A Thousand Krampuses
A Shaxmas Carol
Also "Mandatory Festivities or We Don't Say The C Word", which only appears in the Brimstone Journals Collection 1 volume.
This year, I'm scrambling. It's going to be a lesbian space opera humor romance - because we needed another one - and I will get this done. But it's gonna be a tight squeeze.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer 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.