QSFer J. Scott Coatsworth has a new MM fantasy short out in his Liminal Sky series: Lamplighter. And there’s a giveaway!
A city plunged into darkness.
Fen Theora’son is a handsome journeyman in Thyre’s Lamplighter’s Guild. He’s in love with Lewin, a Mason’s Guild journeyman, but they have to keep their affair secret. If they’re discovered, the cross-guild relationship could get them both thrown out.
When the spindle – Forever’s main source of light – goes dark, the whole city looks to the lamplighters to bring light and hope. Fen must choose between loyalty to the Guild Masters and compassion, and risk putting himself, Lewin and his friends on the line.
“This is a short story that is part of the Liminal Sky world. And it is fabulous. This quick read is the perfect dip into the world building skill of J Scott Coatsworth and his Liminal Sky series. From word one, you are yanked into the story and, somehow, in just a few sentences, you are immersed in what could be the end of the world. I really loved this little story.” –Melissa, Paranormal Romance Guild
Email a copy of your receipt to [email protected] along with your format preference (mobi, pdf, epub) and Scott will send you an eBook copy of Liminal Sky: Ariadne Cycle book one – The Stark Divide.
Panting heavily, back against a whitewashed wall, Fen prayed for the shaking to end. He mumbled one of the Guild Cantos:
We are keepers of light
In the river of night
when the black tides of darkness advance.
Then he ran as if Davien the Betrayer were after him. Behind him, walls that had stood since long before he was born crashed to dust, and the smell of char and the metallic tang of blood hung heavily in the morning air. Clouds of smoke and dust blotted out the spindle above, blocking its golden light, and Disembodied voices screamed around him. He needed something to light the way….
Fen Theora’son woke with a start, sweat-drenched, alone. He looked around—his narrow bedroom was empty, with only the whispering of the wind through the open window. He ran his fingers through his black, sweat-drenched hair, unsettled. Just a dream.
Why not believe in the world-mind too, while I’m at it? Fen snorted. His mother had spun tales of the creature that made the winds blow and the light of the spindle shine and the rain fall inside this pebble of a world, but he’d always taken it for a fairy tale.
Another of her old stories sparked in his head. The one about liminals, who in his mother’s telling were half human and half something else, people who did magical things, like talking mind to mind or communing with the world by touch. Who dreamed strange dreams that often came true.
I’m letting the quiet and the darkness get to me. He laid back and closed his eyes, pulling his blanket up over his lanky form, but the easy rhythms of sleep were lost to him. The hard straw pallet that was the journeyman lamplighter’s only bed for his first year was worn down and flat, but at least he had a bed frame now. And his own small room.
There’d been no new straw for weeks to stuff the mattress with. The scent of Lewin’s amber skin was gone too, worn out of the sheets like an old half-forgotten song. Anger creased red at the edges of his mind, but he thrust it away. I won’t let him do this to me. Slowly it receded.
Sleep eluded him, dream fragments and unwelcome memories and overheard rumors chasing one another in his head like a pack of street dogs. So many rumors, filling the city like worms in a rotten apple.
As the earth shook and the Enders—a wool-headed pack of idiots who claimed knowledge from the world-mind—proclaimed the apocalypse, his own world had shrunk down to almost nothing. Buffoons like Luz Tamars’son, Fen’s cousin, who’d follow a sheep to slaughter without thought.
Would the gates still be closed when the spindle lit up the inside of Forever with its golden morning light? The council sat behind closed doors, seeing no one, only sending out pages. Outside Thyre’s walls, food was rotting in the fields as farmers were locked out.
Fen’s stomach grumbled. Perhaps his vivid dreams were the sign of an upset stomach, fed too little from stores that were stale and old.
Dreams of a morning with no light, of falling walls and unearthly screams. And a room so full of light it hurt his eyes.
Would there be war? It was a word unused since the Chaos Years.
I just want to sleep.
He closed his eyes and drifted off into a troubled rest.
Scott 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 author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).