To celebrate Hallowe’en, I’ll be posting a brand new spooky short story set in the world of the MOTH & MOON! If you want to get it early, sign up to my newsletter using the form below and you’ll get the story before anyone else! Otherwise, come back here to read the story on the 27th October 2021!
Who is the star of your book?
Franklin! He’s an eighteen-year-old neuro-diverse gay man who is absolutely, positively, one hundred percent (well, almost) ready for his first boyfriend. He needs order, structure, and clarity—all of which goes out the window when an apocalyptic man-made virus is loosed upon the world, killing nearly everyone. But at least the disaster brings Patrick into his life. If only Patrick wasn’t…what was it again…ace?…grey ace? Demisexual?
What is your story about?
Franklin in Paradise is a queer post-apocalypse romance. It’s about overcoming labels and the constraints we all place on ourselves and others. It’s about finding love and community against the odds. After all, every TEOTWAWKI needs a happy ending, right?
When is it set?
The book is set in the near future. I starting writing it before COVID, so you can imagine I needed to tweak it a bit once an actual real-life virus started disrupting all of our lives.
Where is it set?
Much of the story takes place at the fictional Paradise Shaker Village in northern Maine. The Shakers were a religious community consisting of many thousands of members at their peak in the mid-1800s. They lived apart from the rest of the world in well-developed villages with successful, respected industries such as furniture making and textiles. Paradise Shaker Village is such a community, restored to its pre-industrial age glory as a living history museum.
Why this story?
It’s about the labels really. There is such a broad spectrum of conditions under the autism umbrella, and each individual has their own complexities—which is true for all of us, of course. Queer neuro-diverse young people face their own unique challenges, and I thought it would be both enlightening and entertaining to see the ever-changing LBTQIA+ acronym through the eyes of a young queer person who needs definition and clarity. Spoiler Alert: Love wins out in the end. It always does.
Life is good for eighteen-year-old Franklin. He lives on the spectrum, structuring and organizing his days, avoiding messy situations and ambiguity. But what he really wants is a boyfriend.
Twenty-one-year-old Patrick has a past he can’t seem to shake, and a sexual identity that’s hard to describe—or maybe it’s just evolving.
When a manmade virus sweeps the globe, killing nearly everyone, the two young men find themselves thrust together, dependent on each other for survival. As they begin to rebuild their world, their feelings for each other deepen. But Franklin needs definition and clarity, and Patrick’s identity as asexual—or demisexual, or grey ace?—isn’t helping.
These two men will need to look beyond their labels if they are going to find love at the end of the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ohn Patrick lives in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where he is supported in his writing by his husband and their terrier, who is convinced he could do battle with the bears that come through the woods on occasion (the terrier, that is, not the husband).
John is an introvert and can often be found doing introverted things like reading or writing, cooking, and thinking deep, contemplative thoughts (his husband might call this napping). He loves to spend time in nature—“forest bathing” is the Japanese term for it—feeling connected with the universe. But he also loathes heat and humidity, bugs of any sort, and unsteady footing in the form of rocks, mud, tree roots, snow, or ice. So, his love of nature is tempered; he’s complicated that way.
John and his husband enjoy traveling and have visited over a dozen countries, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and—most importantly—discovering new foods. After such travels, John invariably comes down with a cold. During a trip to Japan in 2019, he was amazed by how many people wore surgical masks in public to protect both themselves and others from viruses. “Gosh,” John thought, “wouldn’t it be great if we’d do this in the US?” John sometimes regrets the wishes he makes.
Thanks for stopping by, John. Best of luck with the new book!
For the first ever IQARUS Book Con, I designed a mascot named Alix Q. Starr. I drew them in a bunch of different costumes and poses to be used in social media promotions and in our scavenger hunt. Below are some of the designs we used.
I was commissioned to design a logo for DETAIL BEE.
Who is the star of your book?
CAPTIVATED follows Dr. Theophrastus Campbell, the missing twin from the first book in the series, through his abduction and subsequent adventures in space. Chaotic, intellectual Theo clashes with Captain Park, his mysterious tattooed captor, at first, but they soon discover they have more to gain from working together.
What is your story about?
It’s about love and adventure, above all. The story also explores themes of corruption, redemption, and self-acceptance. It’s about breaking free to live a life true to yourself, which Theo only discovers once he is captured. Captain Park has lived a dangerous life with a checkered past, but Theo helps him to live in the present and open his heart to new experiences.
When is it set?
CAPTIVATED is set in a nebulous future/past, with Victorian elements woven into a futuristic sci-fi setting.
Where is it set?
The majority of the story is set in space, aboard a ship crewed by Captain Park’s ragtag band of misfits. Along their journey, they visit various settlements and planets with a wide variety of cultures.
Why this story?
The first book in the series, RESTRICTED, followed Theo’s twin’s journey to find his missing brother. In CAPTIVATED, we get to see what Theo has been up to the whole time. While Ari was frantically searching through space, and finding a love of his own, what was Theo doing? CAPTIVATED answers that question and more.
Thanks for stopping by, A.C., and all the best with CAPTIVATED!
I’ve been experimenting with a new drawing style using ink. Here are some recent portraits I’ve done.
After a pandemic-related technical hiccup at the start of the week, I’m pleased to announce that WE CRY THE SEA print edition is now live! It will take a day or two to filter through book distributors but you can get it right now on Amazon or if you want to support your local bookshop you can order it with ISBN 978-1648902345
Today’s the day! The third book in my Moth and Moon series, WE CRY THE SEA, is out now! Currently, it’s available in ebook right now and the print edition is coming, I’m just waiting on the ISBN number. The pandemic has slowed everything down, unfortunately.
You can get the ebook format from all the usual places. Books2Read has a universal link so you can buy from your preferred place.
After the explosive events of The Lion Lies Waiting, life has returned to normal for burly fisherman Robin Shipp. That is until the innkeeper of the ancient Moth & Moon approaches him with a surprising proposal, and an unexpected arrival brings some shocking news that sends Robin on a perilous journey alone.
While he’s away, his lover, Edwin, anxiously prepares for the birth of his first child with his friend, Iris. Her wife, Lady Eva, must travel to Blackrabbit Island for a showdown over the future of the family business. Meanwhile, Duncan nurses an injured man back to health but as the two grow close, the island’s new schoolmaster makes his amorous intentions clear.
Robin’s search for answers to the questions that have haunted his entire life will take him away from everyone he knows, across a dangerous ocean, and into the very heart of a floating pirate stronghold. Pushed to his limits, Robin’s one last chance at finding the truth will cost him more than he ever imagined.
I’ll have info about signed copies of WE CRY THE SEA next week. I can reveal that each one will come with a brand new bookmark.
I’m very happy to welcome fellow Ninestar Press author Harry F. Rey to my blog today. He’s got a brilliant sci-fi series and you read all about below. There’s even some extracts! Over to you, Harry.
Title: Siege Weapons
Author: Harry F. Rey
Series: The Galactic Captains Series #1 (of 7)
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Length: 143 pages
Genre: Sci-Fi, M/M Romance
Price: 99c sale!
Captain Ales is a lonely smuggler at the galaxy’s Outer Verge, and the last of his people. He’s been trying to move on from a life of drugs and meaningless sex, but finding love in this forgotten corner of the galaxy is difficult.
When he’s sent on a mysterious smuggling mission to a world under siege, he’s enticed by promises of the domination he craves. But soon Ales finds himself entwined in a galactic power struggle that could cost him everything.
Alone at the space station bar, I checked the screen on my wrist-tech for the hundredth time. The smooth silvery material as thin and flexible as a flower petal contoured perfectly to my bumps and scars. The device came alive, but still no message from him.
He wasn’t late anymore; he wasn’t coming. I sighed and pushed away the plate of imported meat I’d picked through for the last three hours. I didn’t know why I’d even wasted the money on it. When I’d arrived at Baldomar, this crummy little flank-yard station orbiting a dead star, I’d been horny, not hungry. As the hours went by, my anticipation had turned to anxiety, then nervousness, and finally, a dejected state of knowing I’d been right all along. He never was going to come, and I was stuck footing the bill for an expensive dinner I didn’t want and a shitty room I wouldn’t sleep in. Plus, I was at least eight hours away from where I needed to be.
The bar curved around the station’s front edge, the long window displaying a view of a black starless nothing. It was busy, but I happened to be the only homosapien here. Finding someone else to keep me occupied in this array of tentacles and translucent eyeballs was out of the question. Call me a racist, but I was only into humans. Besides, I doubted there would be any humans at all out here, let alone male ones interested in me. This was heterosapien space. They didn’t like that term, but with hundreds of thousands of sentient, space-faring, nonhuman species in the galaxy, there was no way anyone could remember, let alone pronounce most of their native names. So since forever they’d been lumped together as heterosapiens, hetero meaning different, as opposed to us homosapiens.
The dark expanse of the Outer Verge was the most isolated and sparsely populated place in the galaxy. But to be sure, I checked my wrist again. No messages. Again, I conducted a pointless scan of who might be around. As the wrist-tech searched for any homosapien male who’d registered at least a passing interest in the same sex, alerts flashed and danced around the screen. The more annoying ones swerved around the screen to the back of my wrist before I could swipe them away.
Free ship repairs with a room booking on Rastel Station. I saved that; my own one-person transport ship was older than me and held together with little more than hope.
Mineral ore prices continue to plummet. That would hurt those bastards over at Galactic Shipping Co., my ex-employer.
Trades Council rules against Jansen in galinium mining dispute. Jansen was a planet at the edge of the Verge, beyond the slipstream, and a place I couldn’t even pretend to be interested in.
There are no users matching your requirements on this station.
Same as five minutes ago. I dragged my fingers across the screen and expanded the search.
There are no users matching your requirements in this system.
Shit; not one dick in the whole damn system. I sighed again, harder, waving my wrist at the infra-ceptor for another drink of something strong and orange that burned my throat. I turned on my stool away from the crowd of ever-rowdier heteros. I’d entertained their squealing for hours and was beyond sick of it.
“Eat enough of that stuff and you’ll lose your hot body, mister.”
I immediately recognized the fake, sickly sweet voice of an AI. Rent a bot for one night and they’ll follow you around forever.
“Heard that line before,” I said without even turning.
“Well, with an ass like that you can have anything you want. Feel like buying me a drink, mister?”
Out Now from NineStar Press!
It slid itself across the bar to get right in my face, flexing fake muscles under a poly casing and fluttering cheap plastic eyelashes over its visual receptors. It disguised itself as a hot young blond guy, pecs poking through a black mesh shirt, thick legs encased in tight shorts showing off a butt big enough to dock a ship in. All this happened to be pretty much my type — well, my conventional type at least. The other things I liked could only be provided by a select few, with Ukko being the only one in the whole damn Outer Verge I knew of right now.
“It’ll fry your circuits. Now buzz off before I shove an EMP up your ass.”
Its elbow lifted off the bar with a faint electronic snap and it slinked away. The bot scanned the rest of the place, no doubt after some leaky data to go code itself into the next unsuspecting soul’s metallic fantasy. Although there’s fat chance with this crowd of heteros. I didn’t even want to imagine what sick sexual thoughts went through their minds.
With a beep, a new message displayed on my wrist. Finally.
Hey Ales, couldn’t make it, had to jump. Something came up, you know how it is. I should be on Targuline next week; maybe we can get a room there instead? See you. Ukko
I waved for another drink and slammed my fist on the bar. Why did I believe him? We’d met once, totally random, in a system I couldn’t remember. We’d fucked in his ship, a security patrol vessel. It’d been everything I’d fantasized about, and the best thing to happen to me in a long, long time. I could get what I needed in any pleasure palace in any major world or even a decent-sized station. But, like renting a bot, it only gave the illusion of gratification. Ukko had given me what I wanted, what I craved.
We’d met, chatted. He’d made me laugh, bought me a drink. His job made it more exciting, more dangerous. We’ve got to use your ship, not mine, I’d told him, as he might’ve arrested me if he’d seen what I had stored in my hold. Of course, I hadn’t been joking. Ukko worked in security, or what passed for it here in the Outer Verge; the loose band of a few hundred self-ruled systems occupying the spiral ““arm” that juts out from the rest of the galaxy. We were too insignificant and too isolated to attract the machinations of galactic power. Out here, we operated under our own rules.
Prospering meant being the smartest, quickest, or strongest, and I was none of those. Across the vast distances of the Outer Verge, to venture beyond the atmosphere of your own world was to wrestle with smugglers, gangs, and astronomical phenomenon that wasn’t found in any training manual or weather forecast.
The danger also gave rise to opportunity; no tolls, no tariffs, no taxes. Only Ukko flying around collecting bribe money in between his busy schedule of fucking everyone who wasn’t me, apparently.
I downed my drink, not caring about its cost anymore. As soon as my boss got his tentacles on me, I’d be in major shit. Enough time and fuel had been wasted to end up nowhere near the last delivery or the depot, so there was no reason for me not to get drunk.
All because what seemed to me as a solid promise wasn’t even a second thought from Ukko. I meant nothing to him. Was nothing to him. And the worst part was I couldn’t even blame him. It was my fault, trying to turn a sly encounter into a lasting relationship. I considered my response. Sending a snarky message or even showing him what he’d missed, but what would be the point? Stuck somewhere between unrequited and unfulfilled, Ukko was the story of my love life over and over again. Never fulfilling enough to gain any real satisfaction, but never unrequited enough to be able to let it go.
My scalp suddenly itched, probably from this cup of orange engine fuel, which on second thought maybe wasn’t fit for homo consumption. My fingers dug through thick black curls, cursing the fact I kept any hair at all. The thought of shaving it all off frightened me. Perhaps the fear that someone from my distant past wouldn’t recognize me if I did. I shook my head at how ridiculous that was, and I caught the itch. Finally came the soothing sensation of nail on skin.
Where was he, my rescuer? The one who would fight through life with me, make the pain of past dissipate to mere atoms.
Out of the din of unfamiliar languages came a shriek at the other end of the bar. Followed by the sound of a wet and heavy thing hitting the floor. I tried to ignore it. Normally I’d love to watch a good hetero fight. Or even join in. But I couldn’t enjoy the spectacle in this depressed state.
I cracked my neck, the closest thing to satisfaction I’d get now, and it shot through me like a syringe full of Kri. Maybe there would be some of the bright blue drug on the station. I brought my wrist halfway up, thinking about searching for a vial, and ordered another drink by accident from the infra-ceptor. On second thought, Kri on my own was no fun. Without an orgy to go to, all that nano-induced energy went to waste. The bar-bot refilled my glass, and I knocked back the extra drink. I tried to stand. Drunk again. This time, I pushed myself against the bar and made it all the way up.
Shit. Guess I’d be using the room after all.
I stumbled along to the exit, almost holding it together. It was so much easier to fly drunk than walk. I glanced over to check out the fight’s aftermath. A gaggle of blobby and tentacled heteros were huddled around whichever one had gotten injured. I couldn’t figure out if it had lost a vital appendage, but it seemed like they were trying to scoop a blob off the floor and reattach it. Seriously, what was the big deal with losing one glutinous blob if your entire body was literally glutinous blobs? I didn’t know if they were crying or laughing. Damn heterosapiens.
Something beeped, another message. In the hazy moment before my eyes adjusted, a spark twitched in my trousers. Perhaps this trip wouldn’t go to waste.
Ales — get your scrawny black ass back to the depot nows. I gots a jobs for you.
Javer still hadn’t learned plurals. My boss, the dumb-fuck tentacle dick. How did he even know my skin was black if his globby-ass species had sniffers for eyes? There were certain places his type couldn’t even set a blob in, let alone order around a homo. Us skin bags might dominate most of the galaxy, but out here was cold, hard equality. Part of me so wanted to hit back at Javer. I reminded myself I’d come to the Outer Verge to get far away from that sort of oppression, any sort of oppression. Plus, I wasn’t exactly captain of the week. The last job dropped my punctuality rating to less than 50 percent, well below the firing threshold.
The truth was I didn’t want to go back. I was done, beyond done. I couldn’t take another yelling from him, or another job basically smuggling contraband. Javer didn’t even pretend the planetary import licenses had anything to do with the cargo anymore. He didn’t care about the moments of terror I faced while bribing or blagging my way through another delivery. The free-trading worlds of the Verge were his opportunity to sell anything and everything that would bring a profit.
A sudden stab of pain hit my lower back, the muscle memory of my last delivery gone wrong; twenty-four hours chained to a wall in a customs prison on Kerjan. All for what? Another planet; another lonely bar, another fruitless search for satisfaction at the lost edge of sentience. Another message.
Get backs nows.
The elevator took me to the right corridor, and my hands ran along either side of the fluorescent-lit wall, steadying myself while avoiding condensation drips from the ceiling. I tried to figure out how long I might reasonably expect to live if I ever decided to fuck it and run.
The room had a chill, the kind you only get in deep space. I stumbled, still couldn’t figure out how to get the lights on. Ukko wouldn’t have been impressed anyway. Probably a good thing he’d never showed after all. The promise of sex was usually better than the real thing, I’d come to learn. I pushed off my boots and, seconds before collapsing, carried out my nightly ritual.
“I believe in the continuity of existence, in the eternity of our people. That the glory of our past will never be forgotten and the greatness of our future will always be remembered. Oh victorious one, conqueror of the universe, restore us, your faithful army. Oh merciful one, mother of all, deliver us from exile. May your people grow strong and numerous, as in the days before. May we sweep across the stars, and may tomorrow herald the coming of your dominion over all worlds.”
I fell onto the bed, my mind full with the heavy despair of many years and the memory of many deaths, and I was the only one left alive in the galaxy who knew these words.
Only $0.99 for a limited time. Pick up the first in a long series for a great price.
About the author
Harry F. Rey is an author and lover of gay themed stories with a powerful punch. He writes sex-positive stories that explore realistic queer lives and loves, whether in deep space or wearing a crown.
From contemporary to historical, romantic to dramatic, his books are packed with love and heartache, action and adventure and gripping characters which range from erotic shorts to galactic space operas to tender gay love stories. Harry strives to deliver plot-twisting, action-packed, edge-of-you-seat queer stories he wished he had growing up gay in Glasgow.