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The Last Run

by J. Scott Coatsworth

The Last Run
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 2.99 USD
ISBN: B07WWH579T
Pages: 98
Paperback - First: $ 7.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1688284906
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 98

Sera is the last runner from Earth, bringing badly needed supplies to the Tharassas Colony across a twenty-five year gulf between the planets. Jas works on a hencha farm to make ends meet, harvesting berries from the semi-sentient plants.

Neither one that knows their lives—and worlds—are about to change forever.

Excerpt:

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.


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.


This Wish Tonight

by J. Scott Coatsworth

This Wish Tonight
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 4.99 USD
Pages: 228
Paperback - First Edition: $ 10.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1540736673
Pages: 228

Warmth, family, good cheer? Not everyone associates these things with the winter holidays. For some, it’s a time of longing and reflection. Mischief Corner Books invites authors to create stories set during the holiday season and centered on the fulfillment of a wish or desire.

Includes my story "Wonderland":

Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world. Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again.

Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart.

Is there still hope for love at Christmas, at the end of the world?

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Excerpt:

December 19

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Zeke stared up at the darkening sky from the porch of his log cabin. The clouds were rolling in over the mountains, thick as cotton. A year and four months he'd been here all alone, since he'd last seen another living human being. At forty-eight, he was resigned to the fact that nothing much was likely to change in his life from now on.
A good storm was coming—he felt it in his bones, although the winter had been unusually warm and dry so far. He'd need to haul some firewood inside the cabin and check his food stocks. He scratched at his scraggly beard as he carried in the chopped wood to lay it next to the fireplace.
Zeke lived off a combination of trout from the Clark Fork River and an assortment of canned goods from the local Grocery Surplus store, but even that vast source of food was starting to wear thin. Winter was just starting—and still not an inch of snow, though that looked to be changing quickly.
Sometimes he wished that he wasn't the last man on Earth. He'd always been a loner. He'd lived up here on the slopes of the Reservation Divide his whole life, first with his father, and then these last ten years by himself. He'd acted on his impulses once or twice, driving down to Missoula for some big-city life in the town's two gay bars, but he'd never found what he was looking for, and now it was too late.
It turned out that absence really did make the heart grow fonder. He wished that he had someone—anyone—to talk to. He snorted. If wishes were fishes, we'd all live in the sea—one of his father's favorite sayings.
Maybe I should think about heading south.
The first year after the plague, he'd stayed put as it ravaged Thompson Falls down in the valley below. Even rural Montana hadn't escaped its reach. Even so, he'd run into one of the besotted, still living a couple weeks after the end, and had blown it away with his rifle. Its blood had splattered all over his face, but he hadn't gotten sick.
He shrugged. Someone had to be immune. Maybe I was the unlucky sod.
Zeke covered the rest of the wood with a new waterproof tarp to keep out the snow and sleet. That was one advantage of being the last man in the world—there were so many things at his disposal, right there for the taking, and he didn't have to pay a dime for them.
He snorted. Money—such a strange, strange thing. Sometimes he would crack open a cash register in town to grab a handful of metal coins—quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies—just to run them through his hands.
He cranked up the generator out back and went into his library room to check the shortwave radio, just like he'd done every day since the plague. It was his ritual, though he'd long since given up hope.
He sat down and scanned through the bands, listening intently for anything signifying human contact. There was only static.
Zeke went back outside and sniffed the air. Cold wind whipped at his beard. Snow was coming, for sure, but he should have enough time to make it down to the market for a quick supply run before the storm began.
He checked the fuel gauge on his ATV. It was low—he should probably top off in town. The first month after the plague, when he'd deemed it safe again to go out, he'd found a way to tap the underground tanks at the old Sinclair gas station, so he had all the fuel he needed.
He strapped one of his heavy-duty canvas sacks onto the back of the vehicle and hopped on, firing her up. He took a deep breath of the cool pine-scented air and then started off down the canyon toward the empty town of Thompson Falls.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Molly Lolly on Molly Lolly wrote:

I really enjoyed this story. I found the world Mr. Coatsworth created fascinating and the reasoning behind the post apocalyptic world being completely hilarious but also totally plausible in many ways. Nathan and Zeke were interesting characters and I liked that we got to know them so well. They both focused on survival and making sure they had what they needed. The tiny bit of mysticism in the story was a wonderful touch. I figured it out quickly but I liked getting to see how Nathan handled it as he learned about it. The survival aspects of the story are amazingly researched. You can tell serious thought was put in to what would still be around, what would actually work, and what could be figured out with what’s on hand. There’s a wonderful happy ending for the story, or as happy as can be expected for a world completely decimated. But you can tell Zeke and Nathan are going to be together no matter what gets in their path.


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.


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.

Homecoming

by J. Scott Coatsworth

The Homecoming
Editions:Kindle - First Editiom: $ 2.99 USD
ISBN: B012U86JFO
Pages: 71

When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival. When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.

Excerpt:

Hari reached the edge of the woods just in time to see Neru crouching to leap at the two-legs. Young fool.

He gathered himself and jumped after Neru, knocking him aside as his teeth reached for the two-legs' throat.

Neru turned and snarled at him, backing away toward the woods.

Hari stood firm, ears back, hackles raised, and drew the corners of his mouth back to reveal his teeth. Back off, Neru.

The whelp shook his head and grinned with the brashness of youth, until Hari leaped at him and nipped his ear. With a surprised yelp, Neru turned his head, deferring to Hari's strength. As you say, brother. There was a cockiness to Neru's look that unsettled him.

The other wolf backed up slowly then turned to disappear into the woods.

Hari caught a glimpse of Mavi watching from the shadows. The old wolf snarled, and slunk off after her son.

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What do you seek, old mother? Hari wondered, watching Mavi's silver-tipped tail flicker into the darkness. It was clear where Neru's courage and cunning had come from.

Hari turned back toward the two-legs. He was holding a strange stick, not unlike the one that Hari's grandmother had shown him in the wolf dream.

But it was his face that caught Hari's eye. He knew that face. The two-legs' eyes were white-gray, and his jet-black hair was swept to the side.

Despite the danger, he shifted in the manner only a few of the clan are able to do in the cold. He grew quickly taller and less hairy but no less muscled, and stood naked before the two-legs.

They stared at each other for a long moment. Hari felt an immense attraction washing over him. He saw in his summer form that this two-legs was beautiful. His own body responded to this… man… in an unexpected way, seeing and feeling things his winter form could not. Hari leaned forward and sniffed the stranger, drinking in his musk. It smelled enticing. Strangely familiar.

He sensed the two-legs stiffen, and to reassure, him, Hari licked the man's neck.

The two-legs was trembling now like a young whelp, so he tried something else. He took the stranger's face in his hands and kissed him.

The shaking slowed, and then the man was kissing him back. Hari was hungry for him, like a starving wolf at the end of a long, hard winter.

It is not the time for this, the keh whispered in his ear.

He broke contact and turned away, ashamed that he was betraying his Clan, and for lust. An emotion of his summer form.

"I'm sorry," he said to the two-legs, without looking back. "It won't happen again." Even he was not sure if he meant Neru's attack, or the kiss.

He shifted back into his winter form and loped off into the woods after his pack mates.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Paul B. on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words wrote:

This book clicks on just about every level. The heartbreak Aldiss feels at the loss of not only his home planet but his ex (even though he states there is nothing romantic between them anymore) is palpable. The hope of a new home world is quickly set back first by the crash landing and the dangers that caused but also with the troubles of Cat’s illness coming out of stasis. Add in the inter clan squabbles about what to do with their now returned ancestors and it spells trouble. Hari is guided not only by his mother but the keh, the spirits of his ancestors. The two “Law & Order” type twists near the end of the book complete the upheaval. But the feeling of hope at the end of the book makes the ride worth taking. This author is new to me and I look forward to reading more from him.


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.


The Autumn Lands

by J. Scott Coatsworth

Book Cover: The Autumn Lands
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 3.99 USD
ISBN: B01APHN02W
Pages: 178
Paperback - First Edition: $ 8.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1523419227
Pages: 178
Audiobook - First Edition: $ 14.95 USD
ISBN: B01IAEO2PQ
Pages: 178

Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can’t remain in his hometown of Althos any more. Not that he wanted to stay.

Caspian still hasn’t figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he’s running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.

But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.

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In the end, Jerrith took off his shirt and wrapped his body around Cas’s gingerly. They lay together on the blanket for a long while, looking out over the lights of the valley and the spray of stars high above. The golden moon had set, and a cool breeze blew up from the Red Hills.

Cas was momentarily at peace for the first time in as long as he could remember. He’d lost track of the time he’d spent with the caravan, days that had rolled into weeks, weeks into months and more. It was close-on two years since he’d been exiled by his father, the King, from the Autumn Lands.

His back itched, but he’d learned to ignore that by now.

Jerrith seemed to notice, though. He pulled away to stare at Cas’s back, his warm hand feeling the nubs there. “What are these?” he asked, and Cas felt a shiver of pleasure go through him at the man’s warm touch.

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“That’s where my wings used to be,” he said softly, and squeezed his eyes shut. The darkness swelled in his chest again and threatened to overwhelm him. He could still feel the pain from when they had been cut off, at the order of his father. That he remembered. He pushed the darkness back down, and glimpsed something, almost lost in the pain. A strange wisp of a memory of his wings being removed, not cut off, crossed his mind. He shook his head to clear it and turned to look at Jerrith, sitting up behind him.

Jerrith’s face was drawn tight in a mixture of confusion and concern. “Wings?” he said, his brow furrowed. “You had wings?”

Cas nodded, sitting up. He was totally at ease with Jerrith, as if they had known each other forever, even though they’d only met hours before. It was a strange but pleasant feeling. “All of the Nevris are born with wings. You didn’t know?” There was something wrong with that statement, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Alexander on Love Bytes wrote:

The world building was well done, enough clear descriptions to allow my imagination to fill any gaps, and the science fiction elements were kept relatively clean and simple, which worked well in terms of ease of reading, and not to give anything away, but I did not see the story ending like it did, although once the final act had been played out, it made perfect sense, and I commend Coatsworth for that “wow” moment.

I really enjoyed Bastian’s narration of the story, how he brought such life to the characters as they undertook their forced journey back to The Autumn Lands. The characterization were distinctive and consistent, Bastian voice was, in my opinion, a great choices, as one of my pet peeves is when the narrator does not match the characters in therms of age / tone. On the technical side, I was pleased with the consistent and appropriate pace and clear diction, which made the story a pleasure to listen to.

I will definitely re-listen to The Autumn Lands and will search out more books by Coatsworth.


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.