99 Cent Sale: French Kissing Seasons 1-3 @HarperBliss

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Immerse yourself in three seasons of fast-paced lesbian romance, set in the most romantic city in the world

At over 800 pages with 100+ 5-star reviews for the individual books, French Kissing is serialised fiction at its most dramatic, romantic and steamy. Perfect for binge reading!
This boxed set includes the first THREE SEASONS (episodes 1 to 14) at one low price, saving over 30% off the price of the individual seasons.

Paris… City of lights, City of love, City of drama!

French Kissing follows a group of Parisian women as they navigate the stormy waters of love and life.
Claire and Juliette have been best friends for twenty years. Together they own a successful PR agency, but their journey to success has come at a price. Juliette and her partner Nadia have drifted apart after ten years together while Claire hasn’t been on a real date for as long as she can remember. Meanwhile, their happily single employee Steph is getting a bit too close to a new, high-profile client.

Warning: This title contains sensual language, ladies making love and possibly more feelings than you can process.

 

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New Release: French Kissing by Harper Bliss @HarperBliss

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Paris… City of lights, City of love… City of drama!

Two years have passed since Dominique Laroche was elected President of France at the end of French Kissing: Season Three. She and Steph are living together at the Elysée, but their relationship is strained by the demands of Dominique’s job.

When a rising star of the opposition proposes a new law that would affect lesbians’ right to have children, Dominique is torn between her personal feelings and her party’s political line.

Feminist radio host Aurore Seauve is advising the opposition on the new law proposal, but finds herself more caught up in the intrigue at the Elysée than she wants to be, not in the least because of her interest in Dominique’s uptight chief of staff, Solange.

Zoya Das has moved from Sydney to Paris to be with her new love Camille, and is finding it difficult to settle into her new country, new language and new job. Meanwhile Camille is finding out the hard way that not all her colleagues are comfortable with an out and proud lesbian at work, even if she is friends with the president.

Relationships will be tested, loyalties will be questioned and assumptions will have to be set aside as both familiar and new characters navigate the turbulent waters of love–and politics.

Warning: This title contains sensual language, ladies making love, overconsumption of French wine, and heated discussions on feminism and the right to orgasm.

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Lunav by Jenn Polish @GoIndiMarketing @jpolishwrites @ninestarpress

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Title:  Lunav

Author: Jenn Polish

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 26, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 89600

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, fantasy, YA, dragons, Fae

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Synopsis

They don’t have dragons where half-faerie Sadie was born—not living ones, anyway—but in the Grove, everyone knows dragon eggs grow on trees like leaves and need Dreams to hatch. Without faerie Dreams, the dragons won’t survive. And neither will anyone else.

Brash, boyish sixteen-year-old Sadie uses her half-human status to spy on the human monarchy, who’ve made it illegal to Dream. But spying is a risky business. Still, Sadie thought she was a pro until they sent a new human magistrate to the Grove. Evelyn.

Evelyn might be the most beautiful girl Sadie’s ever seen, and Sadie might be betraying her family by falling in love with the ruthless leader who locks them up. But that’s not even the biggest obstacle between the two: Evelyn is leading the charge against Dreaming, and there’s something she doesn’t know. Sadie can still Dream.

Excerpt

LUNAV
Jenn Polish © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The night hangs over us, in us, and I shiver a little in the cold. Even in the safety of my disguise, I swallow loudly. Lerian shoots me a look, pawing snow away from the packed dirt of the Tread with her front hoof. We both stare at the ground ahead of us, our ears straining for the signal that will indicate that we can proceed with our plan. We only have until the moon starts setting to infiltrate and sabotage the monarchy’s weapons shipment. A small thumping ahead of us, in the clearing where the caravan has curled in on itself, gives us the sign we’re waiting for.

“No need to hang back anymore, you two,” Osley tells us through the beating of quer paws. “Sadie, the freeze spell worked. Come see.”

Lerian meets my eyes before I reach down to receive permission from the grass for us to move forward. Her hooves and my feet barely make a sound as we slip across the thick layer of snow past the first wagon and the first pair of magically frozen guards. I pause to pat one lightly on the shoulder. He won’t wake—not as long as my growns are holding their freeze spell on the encampment—but in this weather, the small dribble of drool on his chin will be stuck to his face when we’re done here.

Osley stamps quer feet impatiently, quer long rabbit ears twitching with irritation, as Lerian bends way down to move the other guard’s temporarily stiff fingers into a position that would for sure offend Mom.

“Do I seriously look like them?” I whisper.

“Yep. Spitting image. With your wings tucked away, Sadie, you look exactly like a non.” I arch an eyebrow at the way she so casually refers to humans as nons: non-faeries, non-centaurs. Non-Grovian. Not like us. Except, I kind of am like nons, too. Ler pauses to consider me, running her fingers through her reddish hair. “Except probably you’re uglier.”

I roll my eyes and suppress a grin, not bothering to remind her that the front half of centaurs’ bodies pretty much look like nons too.

Osley’s thumps grow more insistent. “Sadie, we’re on a mission. Get Lerian over here.”

“All right, all right, we’re coming.”

I give Lerian a sharp tug, and we follow Osley as que leaps toward the heart of the coiled wagons. The air itself is crystallized with particles of dirt and flakes of snow, all hanging suspended around us, like bubbles floating in the ocean. There’s a fire pit in the middle of the encampment, but it, too, is still, with flames frozen in midcaress of the tree flesh it consumes, still midspark, midcrackle. The closer we get, the harder it is to breathe. The freeze spell has the Energies so deeply entangled it feels like walking through nectar. I limp even deeper than I usually do when I’m forced to walk.

A sharp smack from behind the fire pit makes our cautious steps turn into an awkward run and a graceful gallop. We round a bend in the encampment’s wagons to see Mom and Mama, hovering over two chained faeriesand their frozen non guards.

The faerie prisoners look like they’re from the Samp, a marshy province a few days’ journey from the Forest. The Sampians don’t look much older than Lerian and me. They’re nears, like us, but their wings are hidden away inside metal clamps, their necks connected by a piercing necklace. Their ankles and wrists, too, are chained together, and they’ve been propped up back to back, to sleep outside on the snow while most of the guards are around the fire or tucked into the relative warmth of their wagons.

One of the Sampians is flailing around, the chains from his wrists and ankles tugging on his fellow prisoner, threatening to both topple her over and whip her with their force. Mama’s webbed hand is on her cheek. She looks like she’s just gotten smacked—with flesh or metal, I can’t tell. My stomach is as shaky as my bare fingers.

One of the prisoners is reaching out to Mama, apologizing for her partner-in-chains, crying softly, explaining that he can’t help it, that it’s not his fault.

Mama dodges another blow. Both of his eyelids are closed, relaxed, but his body is the opposite. Mom is trying to calm him, like she tries to calm me when I…My heart threatens to fall out of my throat. He’s sleeping, yet he’s moving about in his chains like…

I step closer, in a daze, my attention on nothing but the Sampian boy. His wings are in those clamps, so he can’t move them except by thrashing his entire back around. To compensate, he’s flapping his golden brown arms about, as much as his chains will let him, just like a sparrow does when she’s taking flight. Soon enough, the motion of his arms evens out, like they’re catching the wind underneath them, rising…

I don’t realize I’ve stopped breathing until all my breath bursts out of me in one massive, cloudy white exhale, staying in the freeze spell instead of dissipating like it normally would. I step through the cloud so my attention doesn’t have to leave the sight in front of me. My mouth is desert dry.

The imprisoned Sampian can Dream. Like me.

No wonder he’s in chains.

Without even turning around, Mom calls back to me, “Sadie, don’t.” Don’t act as if I’ve just found my kin. Don’t act as if I’ve just seen, for the first time since I was a young one, another near, a nearly grown person, who sleeps as I do. Who hasn’t been Sliced.

I grind my teeth at the thoughts of Slicings—when they cut into the skull of newly born faeries, nons, and centaurs, and inject dragon blood into our brains. Sometimes, it kills us right then and there from so-called complications. Always, it stops us from ever Dreaming. From ever forming the connections we need to with our hatchling trees and dragons. From ever connecting with any of the lives across Lunav beyond our own.

I clear my throat and bend over to help Mama twist the Energies, already so stiff around us from the freeze spell, to unlock the chains around the Sampian who’s awake. When she notices me, she jolts back like she’s been burned, her thin golden eyes wide with terror.

Mama grimaces and holds up her own hands, showing the Sampian girl the webbing between her fingers, the way she flies horizontally with her stomach facing the ground, instead of upright, like Grovians.

“Look, it’s all right. I’m Sampian too. This is my daughter. She’s Grovian. Her wings are hidden under her cloak,” she says in Sampian faeric. The girl continues to stare at me. I look away. Lerian, shuffling behind us awkwardly, doesn’t even scoff. For once.

Osley hops between the girl and me, thumping out a message urgently. “Mara, these are the people I told you about on the Tread this sunup. These are the people the Grove has sent to help you sabotage the weapons shipment. To help you escape. It’ll be all right.”

The girl—Mara—sighs and glances toward her companion. Mom’s started to rouse him from his sleep, from his Dream. I wouldn’t wish a bad Dream on anyone, but I hope it wasn’t a great Dream, either. Waking from those is never exactly fun. Then again, it seems he was Dreaming some sort of bird, so compared to his chains… I look away and focus on Mara.

“Blame my moms. They made me tuck my wings away tonight so in case we got caught, I could pass as a non and maybe escape. I don’t usually look this—” I glance over my shoulder at Lerian and grin. “—ugly.”

Mara just bites the inside of her cheek. She turns to the boy and touches her webbed hands to the back of his neck, right above the chained collar. He jerks awake, eyes wide and pained. His breathing is ragged and shallow, and when his wild brown eyes find mine, he almost lets out a scream. Mama puts a gentle but urgent hand over his mouth.

“I’m sorry, so sorry, but you’re safe, and so is your secret. This is my daughter; she’s a faerie. We’re resistance, and we’re here to help.” He twists his neck and finds Mara’s eyes. She nods in the Sampian way, tilting her head all the way down to her right shoulder, confirming my mom’s words. He closes his eyes again, and even though I don’t know him, I can still tell what he’s doing. He’s willing himself back into the life of that bird. Willing himself to Dream again. But it won’t come back. They never do on command. Dreams only come when we’re in our deepest rest, when our Energies are most primed to be utterly synced with someone else, someone awake. After a moment, the boy sighs and opens his eyes again.

“You’re here to help us sabotage the weapons, right?” He turns his gaze down to Osley. Que shakes quer hind legs at him in confirmation, and Mom and Mama set about twisting the Energies to ease Mara and the boy out of the rest of their chains. They clank to the ground and force soft tufts of freshly fallen snow up into the air. The clumps of white just hang there, suspended.

“H-how’s it doing that?” the boy asks as he rubs his wrists, his neck, and sweeps his wings up eagerly, stretching them and sighing in relief.

“You never heard of a freeze spell?” Lerian asks as she tugs him to his feet, the boy’s thick sunset-red wings still crumpled from the clamps.

He stares around at the still guards blankly expanding the gill flaps on his neck. “Wish we could do ourselves a freeze spell,” he mutters to Mara. “How long will it last?”

Mom hovers in closer, seeming relieved that we can get started and do what we came here to do. “Long enough. But we’re gonna have to get going. Can you conjure any magic?”

“We can’t do anything like that freeze thing you did, but we can put some impurities into these weapons for sure,” Mara says before grabbing the boy and pulling him in for a deep, hands-everywhere kiss.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I study my feet intently. Lerian bends down to pack some snow into her fist, and Osley’s long ears press down into quer gray-speckled white fur. Mom bows her head, touches her forehead to Mama’s, and flies off toward one of the transport wagons, letting out a deep whistle into the disturbed Energies. That’ll be the signal for the others surrounding the enclosure to come and help her sabotage her chosen wagon, full of palace weapons.

Mama gestures for the rest of us to accompany her into another wagon. She peeks inside its Izlanian buffalo-skin covering before nodding at us—no nons are sleeping in this wagon. It’s just for weapons. Perfect.

I wiggle my fingers, preparing them to twist the already tensed Energies, which will work imperfections into the weapons they’re shipping to the Samp. My stomach churns as the buffalo skin brushes my shoulders when we crowd into the wagon, swords and arrows and axes scattered around in skin bags, hanging from the skin walls. I catch eyes with the Sampian boy, who’s slipped into the wagon behind me, still flexing his wings like he can’t quite believe they’re free of their clamps. I wonder if he’s ever Dreamed an Izlanian buffalo.

I have.

I look away quickly so he won’t see the question in my eyes. I know his secret. That doesn’t mean he has to know mine.

“Know what to do, all?” Mama asks as she tenses her arms, conjuring a fire out of the freeze. It hovers in midair in front of her. Ler and I nod, and Os stamps quer feet on the dead tree floor. The Sampian boy just tilts his head and grabs a sword off the skin wall. He sticks it into the fire, warming it so we can magick invisible impurities into it.

I follow suit, tossing arrows from their quivers onto the floor for Osley. Que starts chewing away, making slight adjustments in the arrows that will make them snap under tension, downing them on release from their bows. A genius at this sort of thing, que is. Quer black eyes are steely as que works. I wonder if que’s thinking of the non hunters who shot quer family with arrows like these.

“So name what yours is?” Lerian asks my fellow Dreamer in terrible Sampian faeric. She never was great at language learning pods.

“Leece,” he tells us quietly. Lerian puts her forehead to Mama’s before grabbing two swords at a time from the racks on the skin walls. I yank at the Energies to make a fire of my own, and Leece sticks a metal axe into it. We work in silence except for the crackling of the floating fires and the steady clicking of Osley’s teeth on wooden arrows.

“So,” Leece starts after a while, his attention carefully fixed on the axes he’s holding, now one in each hand. They’re glowing as red as his wings, and I’m sweating with the effort of pulling the Energies to magick impurities into the slightly melted parts. They’ll still look sharp, but they’ll be blunt and brittle in a battle. Or another massacre.

“You’re half non, huh?”

I nod in the Sampian way, not taking my focus off the axes or the swirls of purple and blue haze flowing from my fingertips into the reddened metal. Lerian nudges me, gesturing for me to pass her another sword. I grab one off the rack next to me.

“Ever gotten with a non with your wings tucked away like that?” he asks.

I drop the sword. Lerian swears and reaches for it, but Mama stills it magically, yanking the Energies hard enough so the blade stops just above my thigh.

“Thanks,” I breathe in relief, picking it up and passing it to Lerian. I look up at Leece, and the ghost of a playful grin is on his thin lips. I glance down at Osley with an arched eyebrow. Lerian’s glowering at the Sampian boy, but Osley contents querself with a twitch of quer ears.

“If by ‘gotten with’ you mean gotten information out of them for the resistance, yeah. The one good thing my non looks have done for me,” I tell him.

Mama smirks.

I change the subject. “So are you and Mara…a thing?”

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Meet the Author

Jenn Polish is the author of two young adult books, Lunav and Lost Boy, Found Boy. Their debut novella, Lost Boy, Found Boy, is a scifi re-telling of Peter Pan in which Neverland is a holomatrix, Hook is a bisexual cyborg, and Tink is an asexual lesbian computer interface. Their debut novel, Lunav, a lesbian faerie tale, features dragons that grow on trees and friendship amongst rebellion. They teach Theater and English in the CUNY system, where they are also a doctoral candidate in English. They live in New York with their fiancée and their fantasies of having multiple puppies.

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Tomboy by Janelle Reston @janellereston @GoIndiMarketing

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Title:  Tomboy

Author: Janelle Reston

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 19, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 17000

Genre: romance, historical, LGBT, Historical, lesbian, 1950’s, tomboy, student, blue collar, mechanic, NASA, scientist, friends to lovers

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Synopsis

Some kids’ heads are in the clouds. Harriet Little’s head is in outer space.

In 1950s America, everyone is expected to come out of a cookie-cutter mold. But Harriet prefers the people who don’t, like her communist-sympathizer father and her best friend Jackie, a tomboy who bucks the school dress code of skirts and blouses in favor of T-shirts and blue jeans. Harriet realizes she’s also different when she starts to swoon over Rosemary Clooney instead of Rock Hudson—and finds Sputnik and sci-fi more fascinating than sock hops.

Before long, Harriet is secretly dating the most popular girl in the school. But she soon learns that real love needs a stronger foundation than frilly dresses and feminine wiles.

Excerpt

Tomboy
Janelle Reston © 2018
All Rights Reserved

The first time I met Jackie, I thought she was a boy. Of course, she was only eight then, an age when most humans would still be fairly androgynous if our society didn’t have the habit of primping us up in clothes that point in one direction or the other.

Jackie was in straight-legged dungarees, a checkered button-down shirt, and a brown leather belt with crossed rifles embossed on the brass buckle. Her hair was short, trimmed above the ears.

“Who’s that new boy?” my friend Shelley whispered as we settled into our desks. It was the first day of fourth grade, and Mrs. Baumgartner had made folded-paper name placards for each seat so we’d know where to go. Shelley always sat right in front of me because our last names were next to each other in the alphabet. She was Kramer; I was Little.

I looked at the blond cherub in the front row. He—as I thought Jackie was at the time—had his gaze set toward the ceiling, eyes tracing the portraits of the US presidents that hung at the top of the wall. A cowlick stuck up from the back of his head. He reminded me of Dennis the Menace, the mischievous star of my new favorite cartoon strip, which had debuted in our local paper that summer. I liked the way Dennis talked back to adults but somehow never got in trouble for it. I wished I had the same courage.

Mrs. Baumgartner walked into the room. The class fell silent and we straightened in our chairs, facing her. “Good morning, class. I’m your teacher for this year, Mrs. Baumgartner.”

“Good morning, Mrs. Baumgartner,” we answered in unison. She spelled her name on the chalkboard in cursive and asked us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Back then, the Pledge didn’t have the gist of a prayer like it does today; “under God” wasn’t added to “one nation indivisible” until three years later, after Eisenhower became president. I wiggled my toes around in my hand-me-down saddle shoes as we recited the words.

The trouble began when Mrs. Baumgartner started to take attendance. “Jacqueline Auglaize?”

“Here, Mrs. Baumgartner,” Dennis the Menace answered from the front row.

Mrs. Baumgartner narrowed her eyes. “New year at a new school, and we’re starting with the practical jokes already?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Will the real Jacqueline Auglaize please speak up? This is your only warning.” Mrs. Baumgartner’s eyes scanned the room. I craned my neck around. I hadn’t noticed any new girls in the classroom before our teacher’s arrival, but maybe I’d been distracted by the Dennis the Menace boy.

“I’m Jackie Auglaize, ma’am,” Dennis the Menace piped up again.

Mrs. Baumgartner’s face screwed up as if she’d accidentally sucked on a lemon. “What you are is on the way to the principal’s office, young man.”

“I’m not—”

“And a detention for talking back.”

Mrs. Baumgartner called on one of the other boys to escort the new, nameless student to his punishment. From chin to scalp, Dennis the Menace’s face turned red as a beet. His flushed ears looked almost purple against his pale hair.

Kids playing pranks didn’t blush like that.

“I think that really is a girl,” I whispered to Shelley. But if she heard, she didn’t respond. She knew better than to turn around in her seat when a teacher was already angry.

An hour later, Mrs. Baumgartner was quizzing us on our classroom rules when the school secretary appeared at the door. In tow was a student in a frilly cap-sleeved blouse, knee-length blue corduroy jumper with a flared skirt, lace-trimmed white bobby socks, a pair of shiny black Mary Janes—and short blonde hair.

The cowlick stood like a sentinel at the back of her scalp despite the hair polish that had clearly been combed through since we’d last seen her.

An audible gasp filled the classroom. Actually, it was multiple gasps, but they happened in such synchronization that they had the effect of a single, sustained note.

“Mrs. Baumgartner,” the secretary said, “Jacqueline Auglaize is ready to return to the classroom. We’ve explained the school dress code to her mother. The behavior of this morning won’t be repeated.”

“Thank you, Miss Hamilton. Welcome back, Jacqueline.”

Titters filled the room as Jacqueline walked toward her desk. Mrs. Baumgartner slapped her ruler against her desk. “Does anyone else want a detention?”

We went quiet. Detentions are never an auspicious way to start a new school year.

We spent the rest of the morning learning how to protect ourselves from atomic explosions. Mrs. Baumgartner said this knowledge could save us now that the Soviets had the bomb. “When an air raid siren goes off or you see a bright flash of light, duck and cover underneath a table or desk, inside a corridor, or next to a strong brick wall. Then pull your sweater or coat up to cover the back of your neck and head,” she explained.

We all squatted under our desks as instructed. My father said the Russians weren’t stupid enough to bomb us, that they loved the common people and wanted to protect us. But Mrs. Baumgartner seemed to think they were. She went on in excruciating detail about the things that could happen to us if we didn’t duck and cover. Glass from broken windows could fly in our faces, we could get a terrible sunburn from the blast; pieces of ceiling might drop on our heads. I wasn’t sure whom to believe about the bomb—my dad or Mrs. Baumgartner. I didn’t want to think about it. I shut out my teacher’s voice and stared at my scuffed saddle shoes, pondering how a boy could magically turn into a girl in the wink of an eye.

“She’s not a girl,” Shelley insisted as we walked out to morning recess. “Girls can’t have hair like that.”

“They can if they cut it.”

“But no mother would let a girl wear her hair so short.”

“The school wouldn’t let a boy wear a dress to class.”

Shelley must have been won over by my logic, because the next thing that came out of her mouth was, “Maybe she has a little brother who likes to stick gum in people’s hair.” Shelley’s brother had done that to her once, but since he only got it on the tail end of her braid, she hadn’t lost much length to the scissors when her mother cut it out. “Or she got lice. Yuck.”

I didn’t like the direction of Shelley’s last comment. As it was, the new girl was guaranteed to have very few friends after the morning’s clothing incident. If the lice rumor spread, she’d have no friends at all. I’d been new once too.

“She doesn’t look dirty,” I said. “Maybe her hair got caught in an escalator and they had to cut it off.” I was terrified of escalators. My mother had warned me never to play around on one or my clothes would get snagged between the steps and I’d be pulled in, then smashed as flat as a pancake. Back when she worked in a department store, before marrying my dad, she saw a lady get caught by the scarf in an escalator’s moving handrail, and it would have been death by strangling if an alert gentleman with a penknife hadn’t been nearby to free her. I still get a little on edge every time I step onto one.

We got in line to play hopscotch on a board a couple other girls had drawn earlier that morning. I looked around. The whole school was out on the playground, and it was harder than I would have expected to find a short-haired girl in a blue jumper. There were lots of blue corduroy jumpers darting around the swings and monkey bars and jungle gym. Wanamaker’s must have featured them in its back-to-school sale that year. My dress wasn’t new. It was a hand-me-down from my older sister, with a ribbon tie and a skirt made with less fabric than the newer fashions. Shelley and I had done a test run of our first-day outfits the previous week, and no matter how fast I spun around, my skirt failed to billow as dramatically as Shelley’s.

Still, I tried to make the skirt swing gracefully as I hopped down the squares. I had no desire to be dainty, but I liked the aesthetic of fabric twirling in the air. We went through the hopscotch line four times before I finally spotted Jackie. She was over by the fence, poking at the dirt with a stick. Alone.

That last bit was no surprise.

It took three more rounds of hopscotch before I worked up the nerve to go find out what she was doing.

“Where are you going?” Shelley called as I marched off.

I didn’t answer her, afraid I’d lose my momentum. It was risky talking to an outcast. On the one hand, it was the only way to turn her into not-an-outcast. On the other hand, it might turn me into one too.

“What are you doing?”

Jackie looked up. “Thinking about digging a hole to China.”

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NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Janelle Reston lives in a northern lake town with her partner and their black cats. She loves watching Battlestar Galactica and queering gender. You can keep up with her at http://www.janellereston.com.

 

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New Release Blitz and Giveaway: Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack @ninestarpress @ManlyHamm @GoIndiMarketing

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Title:  Take Your Medicine

Author: Hannah Carmack

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 5, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 24400

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, LGBT, YA, chronic illness, coming out, lesbian

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Synopsis

Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Excerpt

Take Your Medicine
Hannah Carmack © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Golden Afternoons
I got sick the summer of 2010. At first, it was slow. A little fatigue here, a little light-headedness there, but by the time the scorching heat of July settled in over the little town of Echola, Alabama, I was having one or two fainting spells a day. My mother, bless her heart, was always trying to cure what ailed me, though it never quite worked. She was the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. She was known for the occasional sarcastic quip, wearing braids down to her belly, and a nearly unscathed OR record. They called her the Queen of Hearts.

But, no matter how sick I got, my mother always expected me outside right at seven o’clock, ready to tend the garden. The day I met the witches was no different. We were up and outside a good five minutes early, trying to beat the already record-breaking heat. Barely past six a.m. and we were already pushing ninety. I joined her in the rose bushes, pruning and picking as we talked about our plans for the day.

“And I want you to go over The Odyssey one more time. I don’t feel you got the Cyclops as well as you should have.” Ma was sweating more than a tall glass of tea as she worked those beds.

“I think I got it just fine,” I answered her. “I just didn’t like it.” I worked my dark hands deep into the soil and pulled out an overgrown dandelion. It seemed like no matter how many I plucked, five would grow back in its place by the next morning.

Ma turned to me, her brow finely arched and her lips spread in a smirk. “Give it another read. You’ll appreciate it more the second time ‘round.”

“Why don’t I just read Midsummer again?” I asked, sheepishly avoiding her gaze as I busied myself in the roses. “I mean, it is midsummer.”

“Because you’ve already read that one five times.”

“So?” I kept my expression genial, not wanting to risk my mother thinking I was taking a tone with her.

“It’s important you expand your library.”

“That’s it?” I raised my gloved hands to the sky and pretended to plead with a higher power in hopes of a better reading assignment.

“Well then, fine.” She let out a low hmph and brushed the dirt from her hands. “Let’s just say it’s because I told you to, Al.”

“You’ve always said that’s a lazy reason to give.”

My mother rolled her eyes to the clouds in the sky. “Lord help me.” She huffed. “Fine, don’t read it. When your teachers give you trouble, don’t you come cryin’ to me, ’cause I did all I could to help you.”

Anything sounded better than suffering through Homer again. “Just twenty pages or so then?”

“Twenty.” My mother tsk’d. “Arright, arright. Twenty it is, but don’t go runnin’ off today. We’ve got a lot of work to do when I get home. Your auntie is droppin’ in this weekend and I want the place sparklin’, foyer to the chimney. Collect some of the collard greens from the vegetable patch today, would ya? I’m thinkin’ we’ll make a casserole.”

I assured her I understood and then turned back to uprooting an especially stubborn creeping vine. She’d just brought over a big old tin water can when a little compact car drove up on our gravel drive.

“Guess that’s me.” My mother turned her attention to Jackson. He was a tall man who always looked just a little too big for his ride. He usually struggled to get out of the car in time to get Ma’s door for her. “I’ll be home ‘round supper.”

I wiped my palms on my pants before wrapping her into a hug. The smell of her morning coffee still clung to her blouse.

“And don’t forget to water out back,” she called to me as they were pulling off. “Those river birches need it!”

The car backed out of the driveway, and I waved to them as they left. As soon as she was gone, I tightened my headwrap and turned to my watering duties. I tended to each bush with care and pulled a few stray weeds along the way. Kudzu was coming closer and closer to our little haven, and even if gardening was more Ma’s hobby than mine, I didn’t want to risk losing all our hard work to that tangled-vine devil. After finishing the roses, I went back inside to cool off in front of the fan. I sat there for a little while and let the breeze hit my face.

I still had the back bushes to do, but I decided to treat myself to a couple of speckled eggs and toast before hiking it all the way back to the orchard. If Ma had been there to ask, I’d say I wanted a break from the sun so I wouldn’t burn to a crisp before noon. But on the inside, I knew I was only eating because I wanted to have a full stomach and energy to burn. There was something I loved about that thick brush. The hum of cicadas and june bugs, the lush green forestry, and the shade from the hundred-year-old oaks. I’d go to water the trees, but I’d stay for a chance to roam the land. Times where I could just wander were few and far between since I’d gotten sick. The chance of being out in the woods and having a bad fainting spell was too risky. You could end up seizing if you didn’t fall just right. Luckily, the orchard wasn’t too far, but getting there was always a trip that you had to respect. It was dangerous terrain. Since the spells started, Ma hadn’t wanted me going that far out, but this was day four in a streak of no fainting attacks. She must have had some kind of hope, or she would have told me to wait for her to come home so we could go water them together.

The last trip I took to the river birch, I snuck out our camera to take pictures of the flora and fauna. Between the most beautiful flowers you could find the deadliest of things. Last week, it was a rattler perched in a patch of lilies.

Before leaving, I skimmed through The Odyssey. I know Ma said I didn’t have to keep reading it, but her words got me wondering. Of course, she’d been right. I did appreciate the cyclopes more this time. Ma was always right. It drove me a little crazy but made for some sound advice.

After finishing my reading for the day, I descended, a bulk of water canteens slung around my arms. Eight jugs for the trees. One for me. The path to the orchard was long, twisty, and confusing if you didn’t know the property. But, we’d been living there our whole lives. Same as my mama’s ma, and her ma before her. For me, it was nothing. This was the air I grew up breathing. The trees I grew up climbing. The tilted rocks that I scraped my knees on and the river I’d caught my first crawdaddy in. So for me, this Southern jungle was nothing.

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Meet the Author

Hannah Carmack is a writer and spends most of her time connecting reluctant readers and bookworms alike to the world of literature and science. Although living with an auto-immune disease is difficult, she finds power in using her writing as a way to convey the world that people with disabilities live in to people who may not fully comprehend it.

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New Release Blitz and Giveaway- Psychic Underground: The Facility @ninestarpress @NeilaK20 @GoIndiMarketing

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Title:  The Facility

Series: Psychic Underground, Book One

Author: Sarah Elkins

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 5, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 70000

Genre: Suspense Thriller Paranormal, LGBT, action, asexual, paranormal, science fiction, thriller

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Synopsis

Being psychic is just another aspect of life for Neila Roddenberry. So are dreams of a past life as Nikola Tesla. She’s sure that last part is the result of reading the wrong mind at the wrong time without realizing it. Neither are things she talks about much. Her friends know she’s psychic, but no one knows about the dreams. She’s twenty-three, asexual, and unemployed with ambitions to become a freelance artist and writer.

On the way home from visiting friends, Neila gets caught up in a terrorist attack, then wakes up in an underground psychic testing facility. Raised by a doomsday-prepper father, Neila is unusually prepared for the possibility of being whisked away to a secret lab somewhere. When she is faced with the choice of working for the scientists studying psychics at the facility, she takes the job as both an agent and a test subject.

But not everyone in the facility wants to be there.

Excerpt

Psychic Underground
Sarah Elkins© 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 1: Oh, Well Shit
Traffic from the shift change at Fort Hood was clogging up the perpetually construction-riddled highway that ran through the town of Killeen, Texas near the base. Neila sat in her Camaro, inching along behind a short army convoy on the highway not far from the military base. To distract herself from worry she had said or done the wrong thing at lunch with friends she let her attention hover around the military vehicles ahead of her to play a bit of a game of trying to identify what they were. One armored personnel carrier, three Humvees, and a water truck. There was a small red car with a primer-colored hood in front of the convoy. She pushed her Third Eye higher to see over the traffic jam. A wrecker was in the process of moving a car that had stalled in the one open lane. She snapped her attention back to her car when she smelled the sweet humid odor the radiator gave off when it was beginning to overheat.

“Crap, crap, crap, crap.” Neila hurried to turn on the heater and roll down the windows. She didn’t bother to reach over for the passenger side nob; instead, she used her telekinesis because it was faster.

It was a warm day, and the heater would make the interior of the car almost unbearable inside of ten minutes. The needle on the engine’s temperature gauge began to fall back down to read in the middle. She really didn’t want to take her hoodie off but would have to once the car got hotter.

Three motorcycles sped by on the narrow shoulder while Neila stared at the temperature gauge on the car. “Please cool off. We’ll be moving again soon. Great, shit, I’m talking to my car. Maybe I should cut the engine off?”

There was a loud noise, like a car wreck ahead of the traffic jam but louder. Neila thrust her Third Eye up to see what happened. Smoke rose from the remnants of the car that had been between the army convoy and the stalled car. The motorcycles that had passed were facing against traffic, and the riders were armed with assault rifles. She pushed her Third Eye closer to get a better look, AR-15s with M203 grenade launchers attached.

Thanks, Dad, for teaching me about high-powered weapons. Neila was thrust back to herself when the Humvee ahead backed over the front of her car. Without thinking, she slipped out the driver’s side window next to the concrete barrier before the military vehicle flattened the cab of her car. The other trucks in the convoy were scrambling to move, but the six-foot-high barriers on either side made escape all but impossible.

Neila was glad she wasn’t a big person as she raced forward, running down the thin gap between the convoy on her right and barrier to her left. She heard the familiar sound of shots from assault rifles and the loud unfamiliar sound of the slugs impacting with the armored personnel carrier ahead of the Humvees.

A series of loud bangs echoed down the road as if someone was breaking wood against metal, beating the side of the APC with mechanized baseball bats. She stopped next to the APC as she let her Third Eye trail up so she could see the motorcyclist who was firing at the window of the APC. Then she extended her “sphere of influence” toward him and wrenched the gun from his grip.

“What the fuck?” the man in the black motorcycle helmet shouted as his weapon abandoned him to tumble toward the hillside past the concrete barrier.

The driver’s side door to the APC opened. “Get in!”

Neila climbed up the side step of the truck and slipped in the door, which the driver shut behind her just as one of the motorcyclists began firing where she had just been. The driver and his passenger were the only other people in the APC.

“Please tell me you have backup coming,” Neila said quickly.

“Traffic’s backed up. They’re going to send in a helo, but the closest place to land is a mile up the road.”

“Do you have any guns?” she asked.

“No, just moving the trucks on a civi highway, no arms authorized this mission,” the driver replied. “Suppressive fire would save our asses—shit.”

“Oh, well, shit,” Neila echoed.

Neila wasn’t his boss, wasn’t even a soldier, but knew from spending time with her family who weren’t exactly “normal” that life-or-death situations required confidence and force. Her default was to take charge. Her family always joked that she sounded like a “little drill sergeant.” It had annoyed her, but she needed that experience now to survive.

That little drill sergeant found she couldn’t see outside the APC with her Third Eye. She went up to the scarred front window to get a better look at the cyclist who was firing at the truck.

More bullets slammed into the side of the vehicle. The windshield cracked a little more, and she ducked reflexively.

“I’m gonna try something. Don’t freak out,” she shouted to the two men in the truck as she tried extending her sphere of influence toward the biker who was still shooting. It was more difficult than normal, but she was able to wrench the gun away from her hands and slide it under the burning car ahead of them.

“You did that? How the fuck did you do that?” the soldier in the passenger seat of the APC barked. “What the fuck are you?”

The driver was on the radio. “We need that helo. Two hostiles engaging. Non-com casualties. Requesting permission to engage hostiles.”

“There’s three,” Neila corrected. “I saw three of them. One red helmet, two black helmets. Two men, one woman. AR-15s with grenade launchers attached.”

“Correction. Three hostiles engaging convoy,” the driver continued into the radio.

“You, girl. How the fuck did you do that?” the soldier in the passenger seat barked again. He wasn’t in follow-the-confident-person’s-orders mode like the driver had been.

“You mean you can’t?” Neila replied and looked back out the window. She assumed he couldn’t. Most people weren’t psychic. Playing dumb about it always seemed like the thing to do.

Neila managed to pull the brake lines off one of the bikes just as the female biker ran to it. The biker stared at the bike for a moment as it tipped over onto its side seemingly of its own accord. The woman in the red helmet looked up and locked eyes with Neila in the APC. Police lights twinkled over a mile down the highway. Neila couldn’t see where the other two bikers had gone due to the APC’s damaged windows.

“What the fuck, lady!”

Oh, now it was lady, such an upgrade. At least, it wasn’t girl anymore. She had been knighted.

“Requesting permission to engage hostiles. We are being assisted by a civilian,” the driver continued into the radio. So he had noticed her using her powers and wasn’t fazed by it. Maybe he was psychic or knew someone who was.

“Do not engage. Helo en route, coming in hot. Sit tight.”

Neila looked around at the angular interior of the APC. Rows of seats lined the sides of the truck. She couldn’t see any weapons inside. “How much does this weigh?”

“Six tons,” the soldier at the radio replied automatically.

Could she move six tons? She’d never tried because that was a lot of fucking weight.

“You need to drive forward, over the burning car.” She pointed ahead of them.

“Over the car?”

“Your buddies in the hummer in back already smashed my car. You can drive this beast over a fucking Kia. Get us out of here!”

The driver gunned the gas and plowed into the burning car, knocking Neila off her feet. She fell backward and hit her head hard on the metal floor of the APC.

Shouting. Muffled gunfire. The sound of a hail slamming into the side of a metal barn in a thunderstorm. The heavy thumping of a giant drum.

Darkness.

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Meet the Author

Sarah Elkins is a 30 year old comic artist and writer who nearly had to give up art entirely due to a form of ossifying tennis elbow that forced her to be unable to use her dominate hand for nearly a year. She spent much of that time writing novels with her left hand as a means to deal with the pain and stress of possibly never drawing again. Thanks to a treatement regimen she is able to draw again albeit not as easily or quickly as she once did.

Sarah enjoys reading science fiction, horror, fantasy, weird stories, comics of every sort, as well as any biographical material about Nikola Tesla she can get her hands on (that doesn’t suggest he was from Venus.) She has worked in the comics industry since 2008 as a flatter (colorist assistant,) penciler, inker, and colorist. She contributed a comic to the massive anthology project Womanthology. Currently she (slowly) produces a webcomic called Magic Remains while writing as much as her body will allow.

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