Crocheting Journey

While browsing Facebook last weekend, I saw a post which highlighted crocheted dragon scale gloves. I’ve learned how to crochet in the past, but I’ve never completed a project. Seeing these gloves filed me with motivation, and when I’m motivated, I can do wonders!

I immediately called a friend and asked her to refresh my crocheting skills. Luckily, she agreed! We spent a few hours reviewing single crochets and double crochets, and then went to buy new yarn and needles. With her blessing and reassurances I could reach out to her when stuck, I went home and started practicing.

Though I haven’t perfected the basic stitches yet, I’m improving.

Confident in my budding skills, I attempted the dragon scales–with varying success.

Yesterday, (after four days of practice) it finally clicked in my brain. Tonight, I started a demo pair of gloves–I’m not TOUCHING my good yarn till I’m more confident! I got two scales done before realizing I made a mistake. But, that’s the farthest I’ve gotten in the pattern so far, so I’m counting it a success!

I’m going to start attempt number two.

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Release Day: Impact Anthology

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Today Impact, the fifth annual Queer Sci-Fi’s Flash Fiction Contest anthology, was released!  This collection features 110 amazing flash fiction pieces (300 words or less).  For the third year in a row, I’m honored to be included in this group of amazing stories, and amazing authors.

My entry, “Mas Mabuti An Aswang,” was awarded an Honorable Mention.  It’s a tale of horror and romance, an odd combination that I’ve never dabbled in before.  I’m glad I tried.  Writing outside my comfort zone is something I need to do more often.

Here’s a small excerpt from a few of the entries.  Just a taste of the morsels presented in this anthology.

“It touched Ligaya when she was a child. Or she touched it. A half-glimpsed shape under her bed.” Mas Mabuti An Aswang, by Foster Bridget Cassidy

“She’d needed new oil. She felt her joints grow stiff, her muscles grow tight, her follicles thickening. If she didn’t get fresh quarts soon, people she passed would start calling her sir, asking, Where’s your gun?” —Crossville Station, by Nathan Alling Long

“The mallet’s impact on the hard, bright disk shattered the silence in the talking chamber. The resulting deep tone reverberated through the vault, through Saskia, as she fidgeted beside her lover.” —Settled, by Aidee Ladnier

“This is how the world ends, or so they say. From where I’m standing, it simply looks like a rolling darkness as distant lights flicker and die.” —Visitors, by LJ Phillips

“’What have you done?’ The mechanical eyes came to rest on his face, the droning beep sounding loud in the small room.” —Identity and Change, by Jo Tannah

“’Once upon a world, we were the same,’ he said, lifting my hand to his lips; the ground shaking beneath us.” —Impact, by Jack Ladd

“I been a tinker and soothsayer long enough to know this country’s at the cusp of war. They stir up hate easy as breath. And, oh, it pains my soul to see it.” —Impact of Intervention, by Patricia Scott

“All lives begin with a messy impact of some kind. The crash of zygotes and gametes. Splats of silica gel between cybernetic synapses. Two women slam into each other carrying full cups of coffee.” —Quintessence, by E.M. Hammill

“If I venture far enough into the house, I’ll find my closet.” —The Closet, by K.S. Trenten

“Jam zipped down the neon track, feather-light in low gravity. She rocketed forward, a glowing haze in her starred helmet, and shot past the pack. “Space Jammer!” echoed as she neared the line. Time to rack up the points.” —First Bout: Andromedolls Vs. Crotch Rockets, by Ginger Streusel

With 110 stories, there are bound to be several you’ll fall in love with.  You can get Impact from any of the online retailers.

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Angus & Robertson

Goodreads

And, for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, enter Impact’s Rafflecopter giveaway.

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Review: On the Ice

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5 out of 5!  This was a fantastic story!

Synopsis:

For college sophomore Mitch Greyson, determination and persistence are the name of the game if he wants to make it as a professional hockey player. A busy schedule of practices, games, classes, homework, two part-time jobs—and now, working with a tutor to help him pass the class he’s failing so that he can keep his scholarship—shouldn’t leave him with enough time to flirt with the NHL player in town. But that doesn’t stop him.

Placed on the injured reserve list until his broken arm heals, NHL defenseman Alex Dean is using the time off to be with his ailing grandfather and get a head start on the book he’s been commissioned to write. He doesn’t expect to get roped into a tutoring gig, especially not for cocky, smart-ass Mitch.

But Alex soon discovers that there’s more to Mitch than meets the eye…and he really likes what he sees. Only Alex doesn’t dare risk his NHL career by coming out, and a relationship between them would jeopardize Mitch’s chances with the organization too.

It looks impossible. Then again, the best things usually do…

For this story, I was totally engaged from start to finish.  The characters were flawed but beautiful.  I loved the dynamic between Mitch and Alex, and their romance was sweet and perfect.  They were well-rounded, likable, and so interesting to read.  The romance bloomed at a great pace, and the rest of the plot fit in snugly with the romance aspects.  There was so much going on, but Amy handled each thread delicately and interlaced them into a cohesive novel.

Spoilers! After Alex got back on the ice and made that goal for Mitch, I was weeping!  The scene was so beautifully well done.  And after that, I was emotional reading the rest of the story.  There was so much emotion put into the characters that I easily soaked it up and related to their situations.  I loved these characters, and I loved how Amy made them so perfect for each other!

I read this story in a day because I could not put it down.  It’s been a long time since any story has captivated me so completely!

You can pick up your own copy of On the Ice here!

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New Release: Double Act

I’m so excited!  Today is the release of my novel, Double Act, from JMS Books!

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The main character is Sean Stirling, a Grammy-winning pop star.  He’s got a heart of gold, and is sweet, goofy, and full of charisma.  But, he’s impulsive, a major flaw when it comes to love and relationships.  He’s been burned by several past lovers, who took advantage of his giving nature.  When Sean takes a tumble on an icy street after a photoshoot, he’s sure he’ll be hit by a car.

Enter Emerson Willis.  He’s a hardworking businessman, with his life completely charted out: work for his company for the next thirty or forty years, climb his way to branch manager, then retire to Virginia Beach.  He wasn’t expecting to push a man out of the way of a moving car on his walk home.  And he definitely wasn’t expecting that man to be a famous celebrity.

Sean’s infatuation is instantaneous, and Emerson finds himself hoodwinked by the honesty and charm Sean shows.  Sean upsets Emerson’s plans without even trying to, and Emerson can’t find a reason to care.

I love this story!  These two make me so happy!  They balance each other well and have strengths and flaws that the other compliments and makes up for.  The idea for this novel had been floating in my head for years, and I had written a few drafts of their adventure before getting the details correct in this current version.  I’m so glad I can share their story with you!

You can purchase Double Act from any of these online retailers!

JMS Books

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

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Happy 2018!

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about the cons of “New Year’s Resolutions,” meaning, we often phrase them in terms of negatives.  “I’m going to give up soda.”  “I’m going to stay offline after 5pm.” “I’m going to stop bitching about doing the dishes.” And so on, and so on.

That’s an interesting way to perceive the start of a new year, full of rules you can’t do.  For that reason, I wanted to try to phrase mine in a positive way, focus on the good things I will do instead of the things I won’t.

Goal 1: I’m going to get three novels published this year

Goal 2: I’m going to draw one new piece of artwork a day

Goal 3: I’m going to add push-ups into my exercise routine

Goal 4: I’m going to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can

Not the most ambitious goals, but they’re things I feel I can succeed at.  So far, I have done a drawing a day.  So far, I’ve brainstormed and written on two different stories.  I haven’t done my push-ups yet, but there’s still time this week.  And I realized I really like Brussels sprouts.

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Released Today: The Accident Curse

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Today is the release date of my latest novel, The Accident Curse!  I’m so excited about this story.

It’s set in the city of Accident, Maryland, a place I have a personal connection to.  My husband was born and raised in Accident, and we’ve visited the town several times since we’ve been married.  Setting the story there was amazing, because I drew on so many of my own memories, like the way the air smells of trees and green plants, the humidity in the summer and the chill as fall approaches, the driving distance needed to get anywhere.  It is a place so unlike my own hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.

The story is about finding ones place in the world.  The main character, Marty, is so set against his town of Accident, its ways and its people.  But he discovers that he was judging them, just as he feared they’d judge him.  He realizes the world changes, even if it’s slowly.  It’s a theme of hope, in a world that still feels so off balance.

The Accident Curse can be purchased through JMS Books’ website, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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Released today: Renewal Anthology

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I am so excited to share the news about Queer Sci-Fi and Mischief Corner Book’s anthology, Renewal!  My contribution, “Springtime Fae,” was awarded an Honorable Mention!

This exciting and pleasing anthology is available now, in print and as an eBook.

From the Editors:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Excerpts:

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer

Buy Links Etc:

Mischief Corner Books (info only)

Amazon

Kobo

Or in Print:

Amazon (black and white illustrations)

Amazon (color illustrations)

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Casual Cosplay: Ahiru/Princess Tutu

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Ahiru (or Duck) is the main character in the anime Princess Tutu.  This anime really surprised me!  I was expecting a cute love story of a little duck who falls in love with a prince, gets magic powers, then the prince falls in love with her.  I was so, so wrong!  But not in a bad way.  While the major plot does follow this comfortable and familiar storyline, it also branches out far, far from this happy fairy tale ending we’ve come to expect.  This anime was so enjoyable, and the characters, and the romance, so perfect!

Anyway, I adore Ahiru as a character.  She does begin as a duck and transforms into a girl, and then when in trouble, she can transform again into the superhero Princess Tutu.  As a duck, Ahiru is cute; as a girl, she’s clumsy and not very skilled; as Tutu, she’s an amazing ballerina.  I love each and every side of this character!

Ahiru wears a uniform at the ballet school she attends.  I tried to mimic this with a gray skirt, white shirt, and gray cardigan.

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For accessories, I wore a heart-shaped red locket, to symbolize Ahiru’s red pendent that allows her to transform.

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And for a final touch, I wore a cute bracelet with a glass-blown Peep, since it sort of looks like a duck.

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Blog Tour: Fraud Twice Felt (#2 in The Oddities series)

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About Fraud Twice Felt

Three weeks after solving his old boyfriend’s murder, bounty hunter Derwin Bryant is trying to let go of the past and embrace his new life with Elliot Leed, a former rentboy and fellow Oddity. Elliot, meanwhile, is trying to adjust to working at Bob’s Bail Bonds and having a real relationship despite his strange power of Object Reading. Hanging over the couple is the fear that Roy Yoshiro, notorious gang lord, will make good on his threats to claim Elliot. If that happens, not even Derwin’s superhuman strength will be enough to protect the man he loves.

Their concerns are overshadowed when Derwin’s friend asks for help finding her missing son. It’s not long before the case takes Derwin and Elliot back to the crime-ridden underbelly of the city and straight into Yoshiro’s clutches. Two gangs are vying for power, and Derwin and Elliot get caught in the middle of their very public fight.

Derwin and Elliot must find a way to thwart both gangs’ plans and escape alive. This time, one misstep could spell disaster for all the inhabitants of Nis.

Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/fraud-twice-felt

 

About The Oddities Series

The government wants to control Oddities. Regular people condemn them. And the corporations want to study their DNA . . .

Derwin Bryant is a bounty hunter, a demon hunter, and has an Oddity that allows him to feed on pain to increase his strength and speed. Elliot Leed is a rent boy turned private investigator with a rare Oddity of his own—the ability to read objects with strong emotional imprints. Together they take on cases that no one else can, in a city full of corruption, crime, and the forgotten poor.

It’s a tough place for two men in love to make a difference.

Check out The Oddities! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/oddities

 

About J.T. Hall

J.T. Hall has been writing for many years under this name and others, and has appeared in magazines, anthologies, and online books. She earned her BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, her Master’s in education from Argosy University, and works as an independent technical writer for state and federal programs. In her free time, she volunteers for the LGBT community and is active in the leather scene. She has a teenage daughter and a partner of over ten years. They live in sunny Arizona with three adorably cute dogs, three black cats, and a hamster who loves peanuts.

Connect with J.T.:

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Casual Cosplay: Chihiro and Haku

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Spirited Away is one of my favorite movies of all time.  The themes of knowing a person, despite what appearance they have, is something that resonates with me.  As well as the idea of a person growing from tough situations.  It’s an amazing film.  Touching, emotional, humorous, and so, so sweet.

I had the idea for a Chihiro casual cosplay for the longest time.  The only problem I had was finding jersey knit fabric in that shade of pink (it’s sort of salmon or coral, I think).  When I finally did find something that would work, I crafted a maxi skirt.  I paired this skirt with a knit cardigan I bought.  This more-or-less suggests the idea of Chihiro without actually looking exactly like her.

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For Haku, I started with a blue gauze skirt to resemble the bulky pants he wears.  Under a white shirt, I wore a purple tank top for the purple sash he had tied around his waist.

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For both outfits, I accessorized with a beautiful bracelet I received from a friend.  It says, “Embrace the Journey.”  Fitting for these two characters.

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