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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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Quick Review: Starting His Engine

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Wanting something fun and flirty, I read W.S. Long’s NASCAR themed short story, Starting His Engine.  This was definitely what I was in the mood for!

Caleb Youngblood comes from a racing family, but he’s been kicked off the race team.  This argument with his father makes Caleb look closer at his life goals, and his budding relationship with steady boyfriend, Sebastian Rush.

After a few tense days, Caleb is able to finally get to the bottom of the family drama.  He discovers his father doesn’t want him racing because of his sexual orientation.  Dad thinks NASCAR isn’t ready for a gay racer yet.  Caleb also isn’t sure he’s ready to be out with the fans and racers alike.

This story was short, but so sweet!  Caleb had an interesting view on life, and I liked his thoughtful process for dealing with the pressures of his family, his fans, and his boyfriend.  Sebastian could have used a bit more definition in his personality, but when he and Caleb were together, the two were adorable.  I loved their interactions and their tender romance.  They are a super cute couple!

The plot was simple and straightforward, the family drama taking center stage.  But there was also the plot of a gay man racing in NASCAR.  I was surprised how much the subject caught my attention.  I’ve never watched a single NASCAR race, but I was very into the details of the sport that were added into the story.

With the sequel, Too Tough to Tame, being released April 8th, I’m really looking forward to where these characters wind up in the next chapter of their lives!

4/5

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Casual Cosplay: Aviendha

Aviendha, of the Nine Valleys sept of the Taardad Aiel, is an amazing character in Robert Jordan’s (and Brandon Sanderson’s) The Wheel of Time series.  The Wheel of Time is my favorite book series.  There isn’t enough I can say to praise it, and its authors.

Aviendha starts out as a Maiden of the Spear, a woman warrior dedicated to protecting her sept and clan.  As the story progresses (SPOILER) she is forced to give up the spear and become a Wise One.  The Wise Ones are the women leaders of the community; they help the clan–and the whole Aiel race–to grow.

This cosplay outfit is Aveindha as a Wise One.  They wear bulky brown skirts and white blouses.

To give it some Aviendha flair, I wore a necklace that was reminiscent of a rose (she wears an ivory bracelet shaped like roses) and I had a snowflake bracelet (she wears a necklace of Kandori design called “snowflakes”).

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And for just a bit extra Wheel of Time-ness, I added in turtle earrings to represent the amber turtle brooch angreal that Aviendha received from Elayne.

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Though Wise Ones should not be killing, I still wore a black scarf for a shoufa, just in case.

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Casual Cosplay: Kyo Sohma

Kyo-kun is a character in the anime/manga Fruits Basket.  In this tale, an unlucky family is cursed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac (Juunishi), and they turn into their designated animal when hugged by a member of the opposite sex.  Kyo-kun is an outlier in the story–the cat.  Though not an official member of the twelve animals (according to legend, he was tricked by the rat), Kyo-kun is still cursed.  His curse is worse than the others.  If he doesn’t wear a special bracelet, his “true form” is revealed: the vengeful cat spirit.

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Kyo is feisty, angry, emotional, and neglected.  He’s a very sad character with a lot of baggage.  Which is why I love him so much (though Yuki-kun is my favorite).

For the casual cosplay, I took a pair of my husband’s pants and combined them with a black shirt, and a green hoodie.

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And I even had actual Kyo-kun cosplay beads that I got from my sister!

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Quick Review: Cover Me

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I just finished Cover Me, by L.A. Witt.  This novel was very solid.  Solid plot, characters, setting, even sex.

Nick Swain is a paramedic who has to make a tough call while working an emergency scene.  One patient is too far gone to even try to save, so he moves onto the next.  When the first patient winds up dying, the media attacks Nick for negligence.

Andrew Carmichael is an undercover cop whose partner wound up stabbed in an operation gone wrong.  When Nick successfully saves his partner’s life, he’s more than grateful.  Their interaction at the crime scene leads to them meeting at Nick’s apartment for decompression sex.  Naturally, feelings begin to grow from the originally physical-based relationship.

What I loved about this story was how Nick dealt with his stress in his own way.  He needed sex to let his mind and body relax.  His previous partners didn’t understand that sex–not talking–was what he needed to get past his traumatic day job.

Throughout the story, Nick wonders if he’s just fucked up.  If his way of cooping isn’t right.  During those moments, I wanted to yell at him that he was fine.  That he didn’t need to conform to what others thought was “normal.”  So, when Andrew came along–with an equally stressful and traumatic occupation–I loved how he and Nick fell into sync.  These two were perfect together.

The writing was great, the pace quick, the sex scenes amazing.  I immensely enjoyed this book from start to finish.

4/5

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Casual Cosplay: Vyse

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I fell in love with the game “Skies of Arcadia Legends” when it was released on the GameCube.  It was one of the most in depth RPGs I’d played up to that point.  I adored the story lines, the graphics, the characters, the scope of the game play.  To this day, I still enjoy playing this game!

Vyse, himself, is a wonderful character.  He’s cute, charming, and with a strong moral compass.  Though he’s an air pirate, he’s also a member of the Blue Rogues–a group that only steals from the wealthy armada ships of the Valuan Empire.

Anyway, I really wanted to try my hand at a Vyse casual cosplay.  It’s a pretty simple outfit, and easy to tweak for work-appropriate attire.

I wore a black skirt instead of leggings. I also had a blue sweater with a thin, brown belt.  Vyse’s scarf is small, but I only had a long, fluffy red one to wear.  I think it still worked.

Lastly, I paired it with a purple whale bracelet.   Since (SPOILER!) the Purple Gigas turned out to be Rhaknam, the large arcwhale, it seemed to fit my theme!

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I also wore a crystal necklace under my scarf because it reminded me of moon stones.

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Casual Cosplay: Victor Nikiforov

I’m back at it.  For this outfit, I was inspired by Victor in his early days.  This outfit–based on one Johnny Weir wore–is adorable!  My purpose, though, is to be fun, not flashy.  I had to tone this down.

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I had a white shirt with a stain, so I crafted it with gel glue into a feather/diamond motif.

I paired the shirt with blue jeggings, and hipster type shoes I thought Victor would wear.

To complete the look, I added in a flower tiara.

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And some cute bracelets to show off Victor’s love of the ice (snow), and his love for Katsuki Yuri (the piglet).

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Put them all together and you’ve got a complete look!

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