H. L. Moore: Death’s Embrace

This morning I’ve got a fantastic new release for you, from H. L. Moore. It’s Soul of Ash, the sequel to Heart of Dust. I’ve been waiting for this second novel in the Death’s Embrace series pretty much since I read Heart of Dust in 2018. They are set in a wonderful, complex world with normalised queerness and an incredible slow-burn romance. I’ve got Soul of Ash on my Kobo for this evening and have pretty much told my family they’re on their own! I’ve embedded the preview thing from Amazon so you can read the first bit of each book.

Firstly, Heart of Dust (you definitely need to read this first)

“Doran had a problem, and it wasn’t that he’d been stabbed.”

Iole City is in turmoil. Doran Ó Seanáin, leader of the Black Lung Gang, is determined to bring the Lord Archon – Iole’s tyrannical ruler – down for his brutal treatment of the miners. But Doran has more to deal with than getting stabbed, a stalemate and city-wide lockdown that’s seeing his gang of ex-miners being slowly starved out of their base – his daughter Grace has turned against him, and the weight of his wife’s death two years prior haunts them both.

Things start to look up when he’s inexplicably drawn to Nathaniel Morgenstern, the apotheker with a mysterious past he owes his life to, but Doran is in way over his head. The fate of the mines hangs in the balance; the clock is ticking and the Archon is closing in. Doran’s plan to break the cycle may very well be his last.

Find and buy from Goodreads

Soul of Ash

You can run, but you will never be free.

Half a year after the events of Heart Of Dust, Doran Ó Seanáin now finds himself trapped between two worlds while belonging to neither. Held in contempt by the upper class for the turmoil he caused during Archon Bryson’s reign and resented by the miners for selling out, Leonora Darkwater’s bid to purchase the mines from the crown may be his salvation. But the offer is far more complicated than it appears, and the only person Doran trusts is the same man who threw his life into chaos.

Haunted by his past, held hostage by his debt to the Archon, and a slave to the poison that keeps him alive, atonement feels perpetually out of reach for Nathaniel Morgenstern. Too much damage has been done and too much has gone unsaid for time alone to heal the wounds between him and Doran.

Unfortunately, time is the one thing they don’t have as their lives collide once more. There are vipers in Arajon; the mines aren’t finished with Doran, and the sand in Nathaniel’s hourglass is running out.

Amazon : Kobo : Goodreads

H. L. Moore

H. L. Moore is an Australian writer of LGBT+ fiction. She is Jewish and of Middle Eastern (Egyptian) heritage, queer, and is an #OwnVoices writer. She has been writing stories since she was old enough to hold a pen. Her biggest literary influences are Adrian Tchaikovsky, Brandon Sanderson and C. S. Pacat. She has had two short stories published: “The Collector” in the 2014 Future Times Award Collection A Tick Tock Heart, and “Entente” in the 2020 Twisted Stories Award Collection Just Alice.

Find H. L. Moore: Website : Amazon : Goodreads : Facebook

Come and chat to me!

As I may have mentioned in passing (SNORT), Taking Stock is out tomorrow. I am dropping in to chat to a few places over the next day or two, so please do come along and say hello!

8.20 to 8.40pm BST (15.20 EST): Bryce Winters’s Wildflowers. Bryce also has a release, today! So I’m popping in there for a bit to chat.

9 to 10pm BST (4pm EST) I’m at the Talking RoMMance with a British Accent group! I’m considering doing a reading. Maybe. If the kids have gone to bed. Perhaps.

Tomorrow the 19th, I’m at QueerRomanceInk from 9pm BST (4pm EST) for an hour for a chat. Sarcasm and prizes!

Plus, I have five copies of Inheritance of Shadows to give away to celebrate! Join up here!

Anne Barwell: Family & Reflection

Today I’d like to showcase Anne Barwell’s re-release, Family and Reflection! It’s a 76k word story, part of The Sleepless City, a shared world with Elizabeth Noble.

When a rebel werewolf and a vampire thief fall in love, only one thing is certain—trouble.

For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Boggslake—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.

Declan has been away from Boggslake for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.

Authors Note: This story was originally released in 2015 by another publisher. This edition has been re-edited.


Excerpt:

“If someone had told me twenty years ago I’d be having a conversation about something like this with a vampire, I’d have told them they were crazy.”

“You’re having this conversation with a friend,” Declan corrected him. “It doesn’t matter what we are, but who we are.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“I want to.” Declan thought for a moment, wanting the right words. Why was this so difficult? He’d given advice to Jonas and Simon many times without any trouble.

“We’re both as bad as each other, yeah?” Lucas seemed sad.

“Why do you say that, and about what?” Declan let go of Lucas.

“I’m a werewolf, and you’re a vampire—”

“You’ve only noticed that now?” Declan interrupted dryly. He walked back to his chair, adjusting it so he was opposite Lucas and could see his face.

Lucas laughed, but this time it sounded natural, not forced. “I’ve gotten used to living at the castle. I love it here, and the guys are my friends. Most of the time I forget we’re different. They’re family. I don’t care what they are. It’s like you said. The important thing is who they are.” He sobered. “Then crap like this goes down… Why do I suddenly feel as though I’m a part of the pack again and need to follow their stupid rules?”

“You’re a part of whatever family you want to be, Lucas.” Declan knew what he wanted—needed—to say now. “One thing I’ve learned with having a long life is that family is who you choose. I didn’t get on with mine that well. I had a father who had expectations too.” He pulled himself up sharply before he went anywhere near those memories. Very little of what he’d done had pleased his father. “We might be different, you and I, mon ami, but in many ways we’re the same.”

“I kind of get the expectation thing with you guys.” Lucas paused and looked apologetic before continuing. “Simon’s not said much about his past, but I get the impression his father expected him to do stuff he didn’t want to do as well.” He scowled. “Be a good son and carry on the family name and traditions. I’m guessing Forge went through the same thing, but he’s never said anything about it. At least not to me.”

“Why do you get it with us?” Declan figured he already knew the answer but wanted to be certain he and Lucas were talking about the same thing.

“You’re a lot older than I am. I can understand this stuff going on a hundred, or even two—”

“Closer to three hundred,” Declan said.

“Yeah, that. You’re old. No offense.” Lucas waved one hand.

“None taken.” Declan couldn’t help but smile. “I know I’m old. But you know what they say about fine wine?”

“Yeah, and, hey, I’m not complaining.” Lucas took a long drink of coffee. “You interrupted my flow. I was making a point here.”

“Sorry.”

“So you’re old, so I expect that kind of stuff from you guys. It was a long time ago.” Lucas growled low in his throat. “But us… the pack… we… they’re carrying on like we’re still living in that society. I’ve told my father that he needs to move with the times or the pack will be left behind. Sure, they use technology, but for the rest of it, you’d think we’d only just gotten off the Mayflower or something.”

“It takes a long time for some people to accept change.” Declan leaned over and brushed a lock of hair back from Lucas’s forehead. “Some never do.” He’d seen vampires who couldn’t move past what their lives had been like as humans. Most of them hadn’t survived.

“Yeah.” Lucas swallowed. He shook his head when Declan started to move his chair farther back and away from temptation. “I don’t mind you touching me like that,” he said softly.

“I should…” Declan hadn’t thought, just reacted. He’d meant what he’d said about flirting and had no intention of leading Lucas on. “We’re friends,” he said finally.

“I wouldn’t be talking to you about this stuff if we weren’t.” Lucas looked like he was about to say something but cleared his throat instead. “I know you’re kind of touchy-feely and all that. So am I. So—”

A loud knock sounded at the front door.

“Now what?” Lucas muttered.

Boggs materialized in front of them. He looked annoyed. “There are two gentlemen at the door,” he said. “I don’t know who exactly they are, but I heard them talking before they knocked. They’re from the council.”

“I already apologized about that weird stuff in the garbage,” Lucas said.

“Not that council.” Boggs rolled his eyes. “The other one.”

About the Author:

:: Website & Blog—Drops of Ink : Facebook : Facebook Page : Facebook group : Bookbub : Joint Facebook group : Instagram : Twitter : Goodreads : Queeromance Ink Author Page : Sign up for my newsletter ::

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with Kaylee: a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning.

In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.  She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ.

Lost in Time audiobook!

The audio version of Lost in Time is now available on Audible! I am so, so excited. Callum Hale has done a wonderful job and you can hear a sample and/or buy a copy here. His quintessential British accent brings it all to life!

:: Grumpy detectives : magic : frustrated newspaper photographers : time-travel : suspense : 1920s London : gay romance ::

Lew Rogers’s life is pleasantly boring until his friend Mira messes with magic she doesn’t understand. While searching for her, he’s pulled back in time to 1919 by a catastrophic magical accident. As he tries to navigate a strange time and find his friend in the smoky music clubs of Soho, the last thing he needs is Detective Alec Carter suspecting him of murder.

London in 1919 is cold, wet, and tired from four years of war. Alec is back in the Metropolitan Police after slogging out his army service on the Western Front. Falling for a suspect in a gruesome murder case is not on his agenda, however attractive he finds the other man.

Both men are floundering and out of their depth, struggling to come to terms with feelings they didn’t ask for and didn’t expect. Both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures, and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?

Audible UK : Audible US

Zaya Feli talks about journeys

Zaya Feli is the author of the wonderful Stag’s Run fantasy-historical trilogy, the Icefjord duology and has an upcoming release, Wild Sky, which has dragons! Zaya is visiting today to talk about journeys in her work- both physical ones and mental ones. Plus, making world-maps!

Welcome, Zaya!

My name is Zaya Feli. I’m an illustrator and author living and working in Denmark, writing LGBT+ genre fiction, and journeys have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

I rarely sit down with the intention of writing about a journey.

My one exception is my upcoming novel, WILD SKY, where I created an expansive world I knew I wanted my characters to explore. From the backs of dragons, they could cover large distances in little time, so I deliberately focused on creating a world that would allow my characters to, quite literally, stretch their wings.

But most often, the physical journey simply happens. I’ll finish plotting an outline and realise I’ve dragged countless lines all across my world map in the process.

Sometimes, the characters’ mental journeys reflect their physical ones.
In my fantasy trilogy, IRON BREAKERS, the main character, Ren, is forcefully ripped from the comfort of home within the first three chapters, and doesn’t get a chance to return until the very end of the final book. At the start of his journey, the world around him feels almost like an enemy in its own right. By the end of the third book, he’s been across the nation and back, as at home in the wild as he once was in his comfortable castle quarters.

My stories rarely take place in the real world.

Maybe it’s the result of being an illustrator as well as a writer, but one of the first things I do when I start working on a new story is to draw a world map. I create a world first, then place my characters in it. The world might change as I write, and then I’ll redraw the map, but it helps me to have markers, locations and a solid layout of geography.

I think most authors have their own writing-related quirks, and mine include keeping track of distance and time. It’s something I’ve always done, even way back when I wrote my very first original story about puppy dogs when I was 10 years old.

How long will it take the characters to get from this town to this inn? On horseback? Dragonback? How much time has passed since they left home, and how long a distance do they still need to cover? I’ll cover whole pages of notebooks with timetables and charts.

In my Norse-inspired fantasy duology, THE ICEFJORD SAGA, the story takes place in two distinct locations – one for each book.

The first book centers largely around one of the main characters’ home town, while the second book sees them leave the safety and comfort of home behind, and sail to a hostile and uncharted frozen woodland in the high north, in search of a magical runestone.

In a way, this split of locations paralleled my own life at the time: when I wrote the first book, I based the map of the characters’ home on my own home. And just like my characters, I was uprooted midway through writing the series, having to adjust to a whole new place.

And that is perhaps why physical journeys keep being such a strong, subconscious theme in the stories I write.

I haven’t gone on many holidays in my life. I’ve only ever left the country twice, and have never been outside Europe. My physical journeys are on a smaller scale, but no less impactful. Throughout my life, I’ve rarely lived in one place for more than three or four years at a time.

I started my life in the capital city of Copenhagen, moved within city borders before moving to the countryside across the island. There, I moved around even more, before making a big switch to the other end of the country two years ago. And within the coming year, I’ll move again, to a different place.

Like my characters, I’ve lost and gained things and people along the way. I’ve changed and grown as a person, not to the extend I often force my characters to, but in a way that still feels profound.

Maybe I simply enjoy writing about new places and varied scenery. Or maybe I keep searching for the various ways in which I can translate the same core idea that means so much to me: that home isn’t necessarily a place. Sometimes it’s a feeling. Or a person. Or a soft sweater on a cold day. It’s what you make of it.

You can connect with Zaya here:

Twitter : Instagram : Amazon: Website : Goodreads

You can read my own post talking about The Flowers of Time and Edie’s Journey today, at Love Bytes Reviews