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A Christmas Cactus for the General

by Angel Martinez

Book Cover: A Christmas Cactus for the General

Exiled to Earth for perhaps the worst failure in Irasolan history, General Teer must assimilate or die. Earth is too warm, too wet, too foreign, but he does the best he can even though human males are loud, childish louts whom he can't imitate successfully. When a grieving seaplane pilot strikes up a strange and uneasy friendship with him, he finds he may have been too quick to judge human males. They are strange to look at, but perhaps not as unbearable as he thought.

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Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
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Excerpt:

So much water. General Teer checked the boards again, but he had read his instruments correctly. In the entire vast universe, there were bound to be planets such as this one, but his Irasolan brain refused to accept it. So much water.

Granted, much of it was saline, but those huge salt-laden expanses drove weather patterns. There would be rain more than once every few years. Enough rain that plants grew on the surface, huge plants in some cases, the likes of which he could not have imagined in dreams.

Oxygen levels ran a bit high, the average temperature too warm for comfort. I have only two choices remaining, though: acclimate or die. Perhaps it would be better…

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No. His Exalted Keeropness had taken that from him. Denied an honorable execution and sent into exile, his last shred of honor would burn in the winds of this alien sun if he took his life now. No one would know, of course. Still, the idea was too repugnant to entertain for more than a moment.

Teer tapped into the record pod to send his final message home. "I, General Teer of the Second Horath, hero of the Violet Day Offensive, acknowledge my arrival in orbit around the planet of exile. I confirm that I have no knowledge of this system's coordinates. My stasis sleep remained uninterrupted throughout transit. I failed you, Karet. For that, I am deeply sorry. For the good of the people and the Keerop, I resign myself to this uncharted gravity well. May the mother of seeds have mercy on me."

With a sharp hiss, the landing pod closed around him, molding to his body so tightly he felt he would suffocate until the inner membrane began to feed him oxygen in little sips, just enough to keep him alive. The edges of his vision darkened. It was better to make these pod flights half-conscious.

The words of an old spacer's prayer whispered in his head as the pod launched. I step out of the great night into the unknown. May the gravity pit's clutching embrace leave me breath and bone.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:PizzyGirl on Prism Book Alliance wrote:

5/5

I really enjoyed this story and found myself smiling more often than not. I connected emotionally with both Bruce and Teer. I loved their story. The way they each dealt with grief and the friendship and easy camaraderie that naturally formed between the two. I loved Teer’s perspective on humans and Earth. His outlook was often humorous though he did not mean to be. His understanding of human traditions was a subtle or maybe not so subtle way for the author to point out the absurdities in some of the ways things are done without being disrespectful to those readers who follow those customs. Bravo Ms. Martinez. Finally, I loved the ending. It was perfectly beautiful.


About the Author

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, gave birth to one amazing son, and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.


Flight

Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction Contest V2

Flight
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 4.99 USD
Pages: 262
Paperback - First Edition: $ 12.99 USD
Pages: 262
Paperback - First Edition: $ 24.99 USD
Pages: 262

A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.

Queer Sci Fi's Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. "Flight" leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.

Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.

Discovery

Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction Contest V1

Discovery
Part of the Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction Contest series:
Editions:Paperback - First Edtion: $ 9.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1514735473
Pages: 232
Kindle - First Edition: $ 3.99 USD
Pages: 232

The rules are simple enough. Write a complete story—either sci fi, fantasy, or paranormal. Make sure it has LGBT characters and/or an LGBT vibe. And do it all with just 300 words.

The stories in this volume run the gamut, from platypus shifters to alien slug monsters, from carnival horror stories to haunting stories of ships with souls. There are little jokes, big surprises, and future prognostications.

Between the Lines

by J. Scott Coatsworth

Between the Lines
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 3.99 USD
ISBN: B011A0STW4
Pages: 53

What if you could hear the words behind the words? Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the chief of staff for a Republican California state senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex. Sam Fuller is Brad’s young blond blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad breakup, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken. While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad’s not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a whole new light. And nothing will ever be the same.

Excerpt:

It began with a medallion.

The piece was a simple wooden disk, hand carved with the shapes of leaves and forest boughs and polished by centuries of use, giving it a patina of great age.

It sat upon a small green velvet pillow—the kind jewelers sometimes use, rather unsuccessfully, to enhance a plain necklace of false pearls. The kind you might expect to find on your grandmother’s settee, in a slightly larger size, embroidered with “Home Sweet Home.”

Yet there was something compulsive about it—something hidden in the dark crevices of the carving, filled with the dust of ages.

At least that’s what Brad would recall years later, when he thought back on the first time he saw it: the moment when the lines of his mundane life suddenly snarled, snapped, and ultimately recombined into something quite different.

Of course, he didn’t know any of this at the time.

Reviews:Janette on Three Chicks After Dark wrote:

…The medallion is a brilliant twist on a familiar trope, adding a paranormal edge to conventional elements. I was anxious to see what would happen each time Brad wraps his hand around it, and I found myself wondering what it would be like to truly see the thoughts of people around me. Would l like it? What would they be thinking? After seeing what happens in Between the Lines, I’ve pretty much decided ignorance is bliss, although for Brad it does have a silver lining… Raring: Bad Ass Boots


About the Author

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

 

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him "the only one stopping you from writing is you."

 

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories - some new, some that he had started years before. He is currenty working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (https://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.