Across the Transom

Across the Transom - J. Scott Coatsworth
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition: $ 0.99
Pages: 36

I'm chasing him from world to world, to stop him before he kills again. Before he destroys another of the beacons and releases the agents of chaos.

This time, I'm early. This time, I'll get to the beacon first.

Too bad I landed in you.

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Between the Lines

A River City Story

Between the Lines - J. Scott Coatsworth
Part of the River City series:
Editions:Kindle: $ 2.99
ISBN: B08RYMFVZ8
Pages: 104

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.

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Reviews:Janette on 3 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


Ithani

Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle Book 3

Ithani - J. Scott Coatsworth - Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle
Part of the Oberon Cycle series:
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition: $ 4.95
Pages: 332
Paperback - Second Edition: $ 18.99
Size: 9.00 x 6.00 in
Pages: 332

Time is running out.

After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani―the aliens who broke the world―have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.

The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.

Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the ability to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike.

And in the north, the ithani rise….

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Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream.
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Erina’s iridescent wings fluttered in distress.
The time of the Great Migration was almost upon them. Overhead, the sun turned redder day by day. Soon it would unleash a torrent of heat and radiation that would destroy the ithani, the Heart, and Erro itself.
Ze had foreseen the end of the war years before and had passed zer knowledge on to Thshnel’Jirron, trusting zi to protect them all. But zis plan had gone too far, and soon the ithani would destroy themselves in a bid for immortality.
Only zi would survive, immensely more powerful than now. A virtual vengeful god.
Ze had seen that, too, but it had come to zer far too late.
Each generation of the ithani had a seer, and ze had been born from the Heart with that heavy responsibility upon zer small shoulders. Even a seer didn’t know everything about what was to pass. Only the bits and pieces that were passed on to zer from the athrà. Besides Jirron, no one else knew ze had the gift.
Something, or someone, was coming, ze didn’t know what yet, but ze could feel it in zer bones.
Ze was at a loss for what to do next. Ze let out a whoosh of breath, resigned to waiting. It would come to zer, the vision she needed. When the gods thought it was time.
Until then, ze would keep zer wings low to the ground and do nothing further to draw attention.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Melanie on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words wrote:

"This book is magical in its reach and edifying in the joy and depth of its conclusion... an absolute tour de force... That’s just the way this whole novel goes…like dancing lights above a lake. It will entrance you, pull you in, leave you to wonder at it all. And then make you want to take the journey all over again."

Joscelyn Smith on Goodreads wrote:

"FINALLY! This was an absolutely brilliant ending to the Oberon series. The cliffhanger ending of Lander left me desperate for more but Ithani more than made up for the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, my only complaint is that this is the end and I'm going to miss these amazing characters. I have no doubt that I'll be rereading this series more than once."


Fix the World Anthology

twelve sci-fi writers save the future

Fix the World Anthology
Part of the Liminal Fiction Anthologies series:
  • Fix the World Anthology
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 6.99
Pages: 238
Paperback - First: $ 16.99
ISBN: 978-1-7323075-8-2
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 238

We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics,  an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world.  From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society,

The future’s not going to fix itself.

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The rumbling increased to a roar, and more dark patches appeared in the green lagoon waters. So expensive. So laborious to stabilize what was left. But every bit worth it, in this moment.

A great spume of water sprayed high enough to throw a shimmer of mist across her face as the first part of the old city broke the surface. As the spume cleared, the top of the Campanile di San Marco rose above the water, green roof gleaming like new. A nice touch. The Restoration Guild must have worked overtime on that one. Its golden weathervane was gone, but the bas relief of the lion of St. Mark made her clutch her heart.

“Mamma, what’s the lion for?” She licked chocolate off her hands, desperate to make her afternoon snack last just a little longer.

“It’s the symbol of the city.” Mamma put her hand on Cinzia’s chest, patting it—boom boom, boom boom. “The beating heart of who we are.”

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Cinzia stumbled. It felt like yesterday.

“You okay?” Gio’s brow creased.

“I… sorry, yes. So many memories.”

Skipping over the bridges. The bad days of the quarantine. The corner market where mamma used to do her grocery shopping…

The Flood.

Another building broke the surface nearby—the Santa Maria della Salute, the beautiful basilica. Water poured off the gorgeous green domes in a thundering flood. They were mostly intact, though one of the smaller ones had a gaping hole—water poured out of it, cascading down to the lagoon like a waterfall, joining the general uproar of the Rise.

“Look, Kendra. You can see the outlines of the Canal Grande now.” The old waterway—the pulsing artery of the city—snaked away from them like a backwards ’S.’ In the distance, she could make out the edge of the Sestriere Cannaregio, the district where her mamma had lived in a modest apartment in an old stone palazzo that looked out on a concrete courtyard.

Waters rising, as it rained for close on a month, coming ever closer to their own second-floor balcony.

What if the water doesn’t stop coming?” Cinzia stared out at the concrete courtyard, where the seawater swirled and churned.

“Don’t worry about that, tesoro. The water always stops, eventually. Now come here and help me with dinner.”

She had been lucky. She had survived.

All across the lagoon, the buildings of Venice were rising from the water. Many were broken, piles of bricks and debris covered with algae and surprised fish that flopped around on suddenly exposed land. The outlines of the city were becoming clear as water poured out of the buildings, churning the lagoon into a muddy, frothy mess.

A row of palazzos along the edge of the Canal Grande collapsed, sending up a deafening roar as they crumbled into rubble. Cinzia stepped back instinctively, pulling Kendra with her as the platform rose thirty meters into the air to avoid the cloud of debris that briefly rose above the lagoon before settling back to earth.

“Nothing to be alarmed about. Not all buildings were stabilized prior to the Rise.” Doctor Horvat’s lined face nodded reassuringly from the hovering screen before them, her voice broadcast across the world and to the Lunar colonies far above. “We expected some collapses. We will keep you away from the dangerous areas.”

“What if the city doesn’t stop rising?” Kendra grasped the railing, her gaze locked on the scene below.

Gio knelt next to the girl. “There’s no chance of that. The polyps have a very short lifetime…”

Cinzia was grateful to him. He probably understood the science behind all of this far better than she.

Her mind drifted.

They ate the last of the almond cantucci, savoring the hard cookies even though they were stale. Cinzia was still hungry, but she knew better than to ask for more. There was no more.

Outside, the rain had finally slowed to a constant drizzle.

Mamma ruffled her hair, managing a wan smile. “I need you to stay here, Cinzia. Someone will come for you, I promise. I will find us help.”

The helicopters had stopped coming days before, and the boats that had been plentiful the first few days, with men telling them to stay put, had bypassed their part of the city ever since.

The rumbling subsided.

Cinzia opened her eyes and looked around. For just a moment, there was absolute silence on the traghetto, along the shore, and on the sky board.

She looked over the railing.

Venice—her Venice—lay before her. It was in sad shape. Many of the landmarks she remembered were tarnished or broken. Whole zones of the city had collapsed, and except for Piazza San Marco, a green film covered the risen city. She was a ghost of her former glory.

But she was there, as solid and real as the hand before Cinzia’s face.

—From "Rise," by J. Scott Coatsworth

COLLAPSE

Lander

Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle Book 2

Lander - J. Scott Coatsworth - Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle
Part of the Oberon Cycle series:
Editions:Kindle - 2: $ 4.95
Pages: 296

The world needs saving, again.

Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander's kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive.

Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them. In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.

Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel artificial? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?

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Innovation

Queer Sci Fi's Flash Fiction Contest Book 6

Innovation
Part of the QSF Flash Fiction series:
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 4.99
Pages: 249
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First: $ 16.99 USD
Pages: 248

IN-NO-VA-TION (Noun)

1) A new idea, method, or device.

2) The introduction of something new.

3) The application of better solutions to meet unarticulated needs.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Excerpt:

The Serpent and His Summoner

Matt Doyle (300 Words)

 

“Why?” Kourt whined, his feathered, serpentine tail tensing in shock. “Why would you do this?”

David smiled and willed himself forward, traversing the electric haze of the containment unit with ease. “For us.”

“No,” the demon replied, turning his head away. “You died. And now you are trapped.”

“I don’t view it as being trapped,” David replied, crossing his arms and shooting his companion an indignant look. “You once told me that you would do anything to be with me. Was that true, or just part of the summoning contract?”

“It was true,” Kourt huffed. “Not that it would matter if it were not.”

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David nodded, turned, and tapped three times on the wall. After a few seconds, three more answered and the wall faded from view. “Two taps would mean I made a mistake and I’m coming out,” he explained. “Three means I stay, and the exit can be shut down.”

“Fool! Bring it back!”

David shrugged. “I can’t. My assistants can use the tech I created, but I was the only one with magic. Without me, they can’t even redraw the summoning circle.”

“So this is your machine. Damned new-age wizard, combining magic and nature into something less efficient. What if the power cuts?”

“Back-up generator.”

“And if it cuts permanently?”

“We’re free. You return to Hell, and I do whatever human spirits do.” David ran his hand along Kourt’s tail, raising it gently to his face so he could breathe his scent. “I know this isn’t forever. But it’s more time that we would have had otherwise.”

Kourt frowned. “It no longer hurts you to touch me?”

David smiled. “I am electricity now. In a way, I’m yours to command, oh feathered, electric serpent.”

Kourt sighed, and finally, smiled. “Then…let us find ways to enjoy our time.”

COLLAPSE

Cailleadhama: Through the Veil

Cailleadhama: Through the Veil
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 2.99
Pages: 100
Paperback - First: $ 8.99
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 100

Colton is a trans man living in a climate-changed world. He plies the canals that used to be city streets, earning a living taking tourists on illicit journeys through San Francisco's flooded edges beneath the imposing bulk of the Wall.

Tris is an elf who comes through the veil to the City by the Bay - the Caille - on a coming of age pilgrimage called the Cailleadhama. He is searching for his brother Laris, who went missing after crossing through the Caille years before.

The two men find they have common cause, and together they set off to find Laris in a world transformed by the twin forces of greed and climate change. And in the end, they find out more than they ever expected, both about the warming world and their own selves.

Note: This story was originally published in the "Myths Untold: Faery" anthology from Wilde City Press. It is presented here in its original form.

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Reviews:Chris Sweeso on Bayou Book Junkie wrote:

I loved how the author wove action with mythology and romance and gave us a very detailed story that I just couldn’t put down until it ended! Colton and Tris were both amazing on their own, but together they seemed unstoppable and I was very happy with how their relationship progressed and the resolution in the end.


Migration

QSF Flash Fiction Book 5

Migration
Part of the QSF Flash Fiction series:
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 4.99
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 258
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First: $ 16.99 USD
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 258

MI-GRA-TION (Noun)

1) Seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.

2) Movement of people to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.

3) Movement from one part of something to another.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Excerpt:

Homecoming

Second

Homecoming - J. Scott Coatsworth
Editions:Kindle - Second: $ 2.99
Pages: 100
Paperback - Second: $ 8.99
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 100

Spaceman meets wolfman.

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 becomes a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from deep sleep on Earth, 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 human-wolf hybrid, whose people harbor secrets which just might cost the crew their lives.

Will Hari and Aldiss uncover the secrets of the past and find common ground? Or are Aldiss and his team doomed to failure?

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Reviews:Paul on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words wrote:

“This book clicks on just about every level... a ride worth taking.”


Spells & Stardust

Spells & Stardust - J. Scott Coatsworth
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 3.99
Pages: 136
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First: $ 9.99 AUD
Pages: 136

Spells & Stardust is Scott's first anthology - eight sci fi and fantasy shorts that run the gamut from regeneration to redemption.

The Bear at the Bar: A gay fish out of water tale with a pinch of magic.

Tight: What happens when your lover disappears in midair?

Morgan: The year when everything changed.

Re-Life: What if you were reborn in a strange new future?

A New Year: They met every eleven years. And each time, Hank's life changed.

Repetition: What if you wanted to go back in the closet?

Gargoyle: Sometimes you get what you deserve. Sometimes it happens on All Hallows Eve.

Avalon: A few bright moments in the sun, stolen from outside time.

Most of these stories have been previously published in various anthologies and journals. This is the first time they have all been collected in one place.

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The edge of the old cement pediment crumbled away beneath Hank’s feet into the river far below, glistening in the light of the almost-full moon. The bridge railing was cold at his back—he could feel it all the way through his jacket and shirt to his skin. He could see his breath glowing in the night air.

The nearly-frozen water rushed by in the river below, flowing under the bridge behind him and on toward the ocean far away in a steady flow, silver in the moonlight and heavily laden with winter rain. As soon as he gathered his courage, Hank would let go of his grip on the railing and fall into those icy waters, to disappear forever from the world of men.

It was New Year's Day, 1986, an hour after midnight, and it was the end of things for Hank.

Or it should have been.

It was also the night he first met Dale.