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Phew, thank goodness today's over - meeting's from 9am to 5.30pm, and now my brain is fried! Still a better day than John in my charity sip blitz story though. Here's the summary:

When what was supposed to be a simple exchange of information goes to hell in the form of armed soldiers and two bullet wounds, double-agent John Grey makes a fairly desperate run for his rendezvous point. And doesn't make it.

Fortunately, luck's on his side, and he wakes up in the house – the bed – of a local clinic doctor, Mohammed Saleem. Attractive and smart, with a sharp sense of humor and a tattoo, Mohammed is exactly the kind of guy John falls for. Mohammed has very strict rules about what should and shouldn't happen during a recovery period, but John's sure he can change that.


Have Hope (published with Torquere's charity sip blitz, raising money for Medecins sans Frontiers) actually got its start from debates in the Supernatural fandom about writing white characters going out to Haiti and what a bad job the author did of writing the Haitian characters (to summarise a lengthy debate into one sentence!) So when I saw the call for international/healing themed stories, I wanted to write something in which its the character of color who does the saving and the medical brilliance - hence Dr Mohammed Saleem.

Who I'm sure would be an MSF doctor if he was (a) real and (b) not running a resistance movement. They're a fantastic charity, doing amazing work, and what better excuse do you need to go buy a story or two than that it's for a good cause?

Reviews

@ Reviews by Jessewave

@ Tam's Reads

Recommended Read @ Dark Diva Reviews

@ Cryselle's Craziness

@ Black Raven's Reviews
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Although the anthology won't be out until October 31st, Storm Moon Press have posted a few samples from the Cast the Cards anthology on their website, one of which is from a story of mine, Burn The Brightest.

"Burn The Brightest" use the idea of the fool both in common understanding (someone who acts in a way they see as unwise) and in the definition given in the tarot (confronting one's fears and taking risks).

Edith, a young lecturer at the University of Maryland, has a long-standing rule that she never gets involved with any active duty military personnel, whether as a friend or as a lover. But when her best friend, Tara, talks her into attending a beach barbeque with Tara's boyfriend's navy unit, Edith meets Jo, who'll cause her to consider what she really wants, and face the consequences of letting herself have it.

Read the excerpt
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And now we're getting towards the end, and poor Jay is starting to realize that there might be more to the hot guy he's falling into bed with than meets the eye:

The morning after the third night they spend together, Jay's having breakfast alone in the mess, Felix having been called down to where the rest of his ship's crew are staying, when Vastanen brings his tray over to stand by Jay's table.

"May I join you?" he asks.

Jay blinks, surprised. He knows Vastanen and Felix spend a lot of time together, but Vastanen's pretty much ignored him. "Sure," he says, pulling his coffee mug closer to make room.

"Thank you," Vastanen says formally. He sits, straight-backed, removes a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of something green from his tray, and then just looks at Jay. "You and – Felix – are becoming closer, I believe."

"I guess," Jay says, uncomfortable. Not that it's a secret, but he already had one awkward conversation about this with Indira, who wouldn't even say why she'd come to his quarters in the first place, and he doesn't really want to do it with someone he doesn't know at all.

"We will be at our world in two days," Vastanen adds, like the two statements go together.
Jay looks down at his half-eaten slice of toast. He doesn't want to think about that, because then he thinks about the evening before, curling on the couch with Felix to watch a movie, or the night before that, when Felix tried to show him how to play a card game from his world, and then he has to think about losing it all. He should have stuck to just sex – would have done, if the sex didn't feel like more than just lust and attraction. "I know," he says, since Vastanen seems to be waiting for a response.

"You must understand –" Vastanen starts, then cuts himself off with a frown. "Felix is a person of importance to us."

"Okay," Jay says. "Us?"

"My people," Vastanen says. "Not just those on the ship."

"Okay," Jay says again. It's too early in the morning for this conversation. "I'm not going to try to keep him here. I couldn't if I wanted to."

"You would not be able to, even if you wished," Vastanen says.

"Is that some kind of threat?" Jay asks, honestly not sure.

"Of course not," Vastanen says, sounding faintly insulted. "I only wish to make the situation clear to you."
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This is from fairly early on in the story - Jay (the narrator, a communications officer on the intragalactic ship Hydra) and Felix (a mysterious crew member on a ship the Hydra just rendered aid to) meet for the first time (well, the first time when they're both conscious and undrugged, anyway)

Jay's seen plenty of people who don't look like him since he joined up with Space Fleet, human and not. People with fur, people with scales. One group whose skin changed color to reflect their emotions. He's never wanted to touch any of them the way he does this man, his flawless purple skin.

He remembers the feel of the man's muscles under his hand, how tightly he gripped Jay's wrist, and when the man chooses that moment to stir, a worried noise slipping from his lips, it's instinct to reach out and cover his hand with his own.

The man turns his hand in Jay's, holding it loosely. Jay looks down at their joined hands, his own pale in the man's, then back up to his face, surprised to find silver eyes looking at him. "You're awake," he says stupidly.

The man says something in another language, then blinks, frowning slightly. "Yes," he says, tentative, like he's not sure it's the right language. "Yes, I'm awake."

"That's good," Jay says. "Um, I don't know what you remember…"

The man's eyes warm. "You found me. Rescued me."

Jay feels his face heat again, even though it's pretty much the truth. "Yeah. You're on our ship now, the Hydra."

"It seems very pleasant," the man says, looking around the small bay.

Jay laughs. "Sorry we don't have a better view."

The man meets his eyes. "The view is quite fine," he says solemnly.

"Right," Jay says. He wants to duck his head, but he can't look away. "Um, my name's Jay. Jay Du Lane, I'm a lieutenant here."

"Felix," the man says. "Of the clan Th – Hardasa."

Jay blinks at the stumble, but maybe it sounds different in Felix's own language, and he changed to Galactic part way through. "Pleased to meet you," he says, bringing his hand up to shake, and only then realizing that they're still holding hands. He lets go quickly, Felix's hand dropping back to the bed. "Sorry," he says, blushing again, and, Christ, if this is going to become a habit, he'll never survive.

"Don't be," Felix says.

There's a short pause while Jay tries to figure out if Felix is flirting
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Losing Sight Of The Shore
Secondary communications officer Jay is assigned to a boarding crew when the Hydra discovers a seemingly abandoned, powerless ship floating in space. While exploring the derelict ship, Jay finds a barely conscious man with purple skin and silver eyes. After surviving a raider attack, Felix is understandably afraid to let Jay go—even when cultural differences threaten to stop any contact between them.

Read it now in Dreamspinner Press' anthology Making Contact

I'll be over at Dreamspinner's facebook blog on Saturday 14th August 1.00-6.00 EST doing a meet the author thing - why not drop by and say hi?
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Roll With It
Leaving the army so they could run a surf school together was supposed to be the easy part of Mal and Owen’s relationship. And it is, mostly, except for days when the rain won’t stop, and Mal can’t sit still, leaving Owen behind to worry about him while he goes running on the beach.

For good reason, as it turns out, when Mal comes home bruised, damp, and unwilling to talk about it. Of course, after five years together, Owen might know a couple of ways to get Mal to open up.

Read an excerpt )

Buy it now from Torquere Books

Reviews

@ Goodreads
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Homecoming
Ben, one-third of a stable threesome, comes home to find his lover Raul in bed with another man…their third partner, Matt, finally home after months working away. What should be a happy reunion mostly is—but Matt’s had a rough time while away on his job, trying to get into the head of a serial killer. He needs to reconnect with his lovers, and what better way to do so than in bed between his partners? Sex, though, doesn’t fix everything….

Read it now in Dreamspinner Press' Necking anthology

Reviews

@ Goodreads

@ Dear Author
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In an attempt to corale everything I've had published into one place (she says, as though it's thousands of things, and not two!), I tracked down two short stories of mine that were published previously:

1. There You Are, Then You Go: in a post-virus city, ex-student Hannah is caught up trying to keep her ragtag group of displaced people alive and in food as a messenger. That is, until Grace comes back, with promises of getting them out, getting them safe. The question is: can they really trust anyone?

Published in Ripple Effect, a charity anthology for victims of Hurricane Katrina.


2. Rose Petals: from the large to the small scale, Rose Petals follows the days and weeks for a girl who's lost the love of her life, and is just trying to hold it together, particularly in the face of her girlfriend's parents, who never knew her as more than a friend.

Published in Chroma's Foreigness issue
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Over on the Dreamspinner blog, there's a virtual release party going on for the Necking anthology, to be released on 10th May, containing, amongst other things, a story I wrote.

Necking is all m/m/m threesomes, and various people are posting extracts of their own stories.

Mine is here - Homecoming.
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When I was a kid, we used to go to Saturday afternoon cinema - me and my little sister, and our friends from down the road, with our mum or theirs.

Of course, where I lived we didn’t actually have a cinema, but there was an old theatre in the town centre, and the Friends of the Theatre put on plays there and ran films when they were in rehearsal. It was a beautiful place, with red velvet seats and high ceilings decorated with gold scrolls and swirls. To an eight year old, it was another world, the kind of place where I believed magic could happen, and the films were real.

Read more )
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When she was a child, Mara’s father took her, once a year, to the huge horse fair held on the edge of the town. It was too far to go just for the day, so they stayed in an inn, then travelled back late the next afternoon, arriving after dark with treats for her mother and two younger brothers, who were never allowed to go.

Read more )

Eye To Eye

Mar. 22nd, 2009 02:01 pm
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“No,” Rebecca said firmly, not looking up from the papers spread out before her. “I don’t do stuff like that. You know that.”

“Becca,” Natalie complained, drawing out every syllable. “It’s just once and it’s so important.”

“No.” Rebecca scribbled a quick note in the margin of one page. “I don’t care how important it is.”

Read more )

Back Home

Mar. 22nd, 2009 02:00 pm
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Everyone changes, Fran says. It doesn’t have to mean…

It doesn’t have to mean the end. It doesn’t have to mean things are over; they took a long time getting here.

Maxie stays. She’s different too. The kind of difference that comes from a year at war, the kind of difference that she never sees in herself until she’s home.

Fran seems more changed than she really is, Maxie tells herself. Fran points out that it’s been twelve months; that she’s been on her own for twelve months; that they were only together for three months before Maxie got sent to Afghanistan.

Maxie knows what it’s like to be left behind.

She knows it’s more than this.

She wakes up every morning to an empty bed; to Fran in the garden, barefoot in February with her eyes closed.

She calls Fran at work one day, and finds that Fran hasn’t worked there for eight months. She doesn’t ask Fran, because Fran leaves for that job every day.

She finds a photo album in the bottom drawer when she’s looking for scissors; there are no photos of Fran in it, and when Maxie asks to take one, Fran refuses.

She dreams, when she falls asleep with her arm round Fran, and she suspects she wakes up when Fran slips out of bed.

She watches the woman she loves, and tells herself she’s imagining the golden blur surrounding her.

Everyone changes, Fran says; Maxie’s afraid to ask how she has.
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Anna smiled politely at a couple not much older than her she took their tickets and directed them to the back row. The man took the woman’s hand, leading her up the aisle.

The woman turned her head slightly as they passed by, to smile at Anna, catching her eye, and Anna forced herself not to reach out and take her arm. Deep behind her eyes, Anna saw fear, and a premonition of horrors still to come.

‘Enjoy the picture,’ she said softly.

Read more )
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He steps up, feels his boot graze the rock, and knows he should have stepped left. His fingers scrape over bare rock, then he’s falling, back and over, sky, rock, sky, rock, until he slams hard onto the platform he climbed off not fifteen minutes before.

It feels like a lot further going down than it did going up.

Read more )

A Rum Do

Mar. 22nd, 2009 01:58 pm
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This is not exactly how she imagined her life turning out. She supposes this is true for a lot of people, but if she’d known this was how hers would be, she’d probably have stayed in Jamaica.

Read more )
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“Broccoli? Seriously?”

Nearly stumbling into the root vegetables in surprise, Emma was grateful that the supermarket was nearly empty at half one on a Thursday morning. “Jesus! Where the hell did you come from?”

Read more )

Blue Earth

Mar. 22nd, 2009 01:56 pm
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The government falls in late July, after a year of constant rain, though in the end it’s not the rain that does it, but the hurricane that rips through London and takes the roof of the Houses of Parliament, and the spire of Big Ben. Maggie hears a rumour that someone was selling the authentic clock to the highest bidder, but no-one she knows has actually met the seller.

Of course, by the times the news gets to them, it’s early September. “Good thing we weren’t thinking of buying it, then,” John says with a grin.

“I don’t know.” Maggie picks at a strip of peeling wallpaper. “We could stand to brighten this place up a bit.”

“Everyone’s a critic,” John says, He pours the last of the pan of boiling water into the two remaining mugs and picks up the tray. “You ready?”

Maggie holds the door open for him. “Let’s go.”

*Read more )
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“I’m a cat,” Nick says, and it might not be the thing that *should* bring the meeting to a grinding halt, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is.

“A cat,” Ling echoes, looking over at him from her position at the head of the table. Well, as much as it can be called a position when the table is a battered chip board thing tucked in the furthest corner from the window, behind boxes of memorabilia stacked twelve high. One day, she’s going to hire on for a production that actually has money, one that isn’t being coordinated out of the backroom of a club tagged for demolition in a matter of weeks.

Today is not that day. She likes to think that tomorrow looks better; sadly, the slogan ‘today is not your day; tomorrow doesn’t look good either’ could have been written about her life.

Read more )

Crumbling

Mar. 22nd, 2009 01:52 pm
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I walled up my heart to you, five years ago, when… Well. Then.

I walled out more than you and what I once felt for you, keeping out what happened to me, what you caused. But in walling you out, I found that I walled myself in, with all the things I no longer wanted.

Read more )
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