Spotlight & Excerpt: Rarely Pure and Never Simple + Giveaway

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Book Title:  Rarely Pure and Never Simple

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: June 28, 2022

Genres: Science Fiction, M/M Romance

Tropes:  Enhanced Humans, Slow Burn Romance, Annoyances to Lovers

Themes: Minority oppression/exploitation, law vs. justice

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length:  67 000 words

It is the first book in a new series and does not end on a cliffhanger.

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Variant children are vanishing at an alarming rate. It will take a uniquely mismatched pair of trackers to untangle a web of conspiracy and misdirection to find them.

Blurb 

In his isolated cabin, variant Damien Hazelwood avoids human contact as much as possible to prevent attacks of blind berserker panic. But his rare talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for tricky missing person’s cases and when agents bring him a troubling contract involving missing variant children, he finds it impossible to refuse. Licensed tracker Blaze Emerson can’t help being irritated when he’s expected to follow the strange, twitchy locator’s lead on his latest case. He works alone, he’s damn good, and as a variant sparker, he has both the fire and the firepower to take on anything out there. Though he has to admit there’s something intriguing about a man who can find people with his brain. ​ With vastly different temperaments and backgrounds, Damien and Blaze need to negotiate quickly how to work together if they’re going to crack this case. Add in the sudden appearance of Blaze’s outlaw ex, the perils of tracking in the wilds, and a maddening lack of discernible motive or method, and they soon find themselves in as much danger as the kids they’re trying to rescue. Variant Configurations takes place in a future Earth where humanity is reclaiming its spot in a gradually healing world. This book contains mentions of past abuse, action-adventure style mayhem, and the beginning sparks of a slow burn, series-spanning relationship.

Excerpt

The ice around the weed bed glowed blue as first morning rays stretched tentative fingers across the lake. Even the sun was smart enough not to rush out of bed on a cold-as-a-penguin’s-pecker Vermont morning. Damien, however, apparently suffered from some intellectual deficiency since he was out on the lake already with his ice chisel, chipping away at a likely spot for a fishing hole.
His breath ghosted in front of him, every gulp of air biting into his lungs. It wasn’t that he liked the cold or enjoyed the self-sufficient, mountain-man lifestyle. He hated it. His hands always hurt. He was always hungry. It took him forever to warm his lonely bed at night no matter how many pairs of socks he put on, the frame rattling with his shaking for an hour or more.
Chip-chip-chip. The ice chisel on six-inch lake ice echoed back to him off his cabin in a strange, one-sided conversation.
The move wasn’t for his health or even part of a dream of a better life. He had left Raleigh to escape. Yes, he could have taken it a step farther and vanished. Away from the coasts, out in the abandoned wilds to the west, he might have found somewhere to hole up. Much of the land surrounding the Mississippi was still poisoned, but farther out toward Kansas, the remains of chemical skirmishes diminished.
The life of a wilding was dangerous for a lone person, though, and the constant need to be on high alert against scavengers who roamed the wastelands would have worn him down to nothing within a few months. Here, he was close enough to civilization for relative safety, far enough away for some peace. He’d given a promise for a promise, after all—his promise to Dr. Parma that he would still take the jobs he was uniquely suited to and her promise that he would be a last resort.
Mostly, the arrangement worked.
Up here, they couldn’t hound him so easily with every minute need. Up here, anyone seeking him out had to go to considerable trouble to reach him. They knew where he was, of course. The inconvenient locale enforced the mandate that they think long and hard before paying a call, and now they only showed up when they had exhausted other options.
So he pretended not to hear the crunch of the snow-crawler’s treads as it trundled up the snow-crusted hill accompanied by the whisper-hum of its solar battery engine. Then he deluded himself a few more minutes with the fantasy of late-season sport fishermen. The voices, when they reached him, shattered his careful illusion.
Chip-chip-chip. If I ignore them this time, will they give up and go away? Probably not. Please go away.
“That’s him? He’s kinda puny,” an unfamiliar voice rasped.
They hadn’t sent Cummings? What idiot was in charge now? They’d sent some stranger as the messenger, someone who didn’t understand him?
“Variants come in all the usual shapes and sizes, Wirth.”
There was Cummings. Thank God for small favors.
“But Sledge—”
“Is just one guy,” Cummings snapped, obviously losing patience with what had to be a rookie.
Footsteps crunched through the snow toward him. Damien tried to block them out, but his muscles tensed. The terrible sensation of having someone walking up behind him crawled up his back on millipede legs.
Chip-chip-chip.
“Wirth, hold up! You don’t want—”
Something touched Damien’s elbow. The millipede crawling up his spine leaped into his brain and exploded in a thousand spiny pieces. He whirled, snarling, and swept the ice chisel at whatever had put a hand on him without permission.
“Holy fuck!” A dark-haired man leaped back from the makeshift halberd. He fell on his ass and scrabbled backward on the ice, his eyes cow-patty huge in shock.
“I tried to warn you,” Cummings said calmly from the bank. A squared-off man with salt-and-pepper hair, he was the perfect bland-faced federal agent. He stood with his hands in his trench-coat pockets, stance relaxed and nonthreatening. There was a reason they usually sent him alone instead of sending a team or someone from the Guild, as they’d done once or twice. Cummings didn’t judge. Cummings understood Damien’s boundaries. “Maybe you’ll learn to listen now.”
“He tried to fucking kill me!” The intrusive man, presumably Wirth, still scrambled backward as he failed to get his feet under him.
“No. You invaded his space without warning. You don’t do that. I might kill you if you don’t stop acting like a jackass,” Cummings grated out, shaking his head. Then he gave a nod to Damien and said more evenly, “Hazelwood. Good to see you.”

About the Author  

Angel Martinez is the pen name of a writer of several genres who writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. (What? There are others?) Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, at least one cat at any given time, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |   Facebook  |   Twitter   |  Newsletter Sign-up  

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

a $25 Mischief Corner Books gift card

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Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Book Blitz: Sorcery’s Kiss + Giveaway

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Demon Tales and Fairy Games, Book 1

Welcome to the Fillery Hotel, home to the Bells and Balls Convention, and last stop for a runaway fairy prince and the grumpy demon hunter who loves him.

Dick Slumber is a growly demon hunter with a three-legged cat he doesn’t want and a secret he must keep at all costs. But Dick has a problem—he’s not who he says he is, and he’s running out of ways to hide it.

Gin Lark is a feisty fairy prince whose job is to help his sister keep demons out of the human realm. But Gin has a problem—he doesn’t possess an ounce of magic, and somebody wants him dead.

When Gin goes into hiding as a hotel housekeeper, and Dick is hired to find him, they discover themselves in the center of a cursed hotel, a resurrected pinball convention with its own secrets, and a tear in the sky called the rift, which is about to let loose a horde of demons.

Falling in love should be the last thing on Dick and Gin’s to-do list—unless love is the only thing that can save them.

Sorcery’s Kiss is book one of an exciting new MM paranormal fantasy series called Demon Tales and Fairy Games, where demons, fairies, and trolls live with unsuspecting humans. Sometimes light, sometimes dark, always sweet, magical, and romantic. Happily ever after guaranteed. Each book is linked but tells a complete story. No cheating, no unkindness.

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Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Sorcery’s Kiss, Kayleigh is giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card (US Winner) OR a $15 Giftcard from Pride Publishing (International Winner)!

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About the Author:

Kayleigh is a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Gay Romance. They currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area with Finn and Wilhelmina (Minnie, for short), two wild and crazy fuzz balls. Kayleigh’s forever cat, Sam, was a sweet, long-haired black kitty who met every day with a smile and marched to the beat of his own drummer.

Kayleigh loves tarot, crystals, bullet journaling, yoga, flowers of all kinds, and meditation. Other interests include alchemy, intentional positivity, and kindness. Love is love, and it belongs to everyone.

Connect with Kayleigh: Website Facebook Twitter Pinterest Kayleigh’s Newsletter Interest Kayleigh’s Facebook Group Bookbub Amazon Facebook Goodreads

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Red Pandamonium + Giveaway

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Red Pandamonium - Roan Rosser
Roan Rosser has a new queer comedic urban fantasy out: Red Pandamonium. And there’s a giveaway.

When you have chaos magic, the only thing you can do is expect the unexpected.

Zombies. Shoestorms. Illicit unicorn rides. A talking red panda.

Before today Max never believed in magic, despite bad luck so terrible he used to jokingly call it a curse. Now he’s a reluctant believer. His first day as a mage he draws the attention of the magic police, not to mention the mysterious hooded figures chasing him all over downtown Portland trying to kill him with magic.

With the help of his new speed-demon red panda familiar, his fortune-telling neighbor, a gadget-obsessed witch, a grumpy vampire, and his maybe-brother, Max needs to learn to use his chaos magic, and quickly, or his ‘curse’ is going to be the end of him and the people he loves.

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Roan is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Excerpt

Red Pandamonium
“Until this next one passes, stand in the center of the grass there. Based on the size of the licorice circle, it looks like enough space that you shouldn’t hit the sidewalk or the house.”

“But that’s in full view of the road…”

Kay shrugged. “So? Humans see magic all the time. Especially in this modern age, they’re likely to think that they imagined it.”

I was starting to understand why Kay was so dismissive of the PCA. “What if they don’t? Think they imagined it, I mean.”

“Who’s going to believe them?” Kay pushed me onto the grass. “Now go. I don’t want to see what would happen to me if I got caught in range.”

“It doesn’t bother Pog,” I protested, but walked across the pristine emerald grass to roughly the center of the lawn. I’d never seen such bright green grass. It was lush and almost springy under my flip-flops, and there wasn’t a bit of moss in sight.

So far, the magical effects had seemed to relate to what I was thinking, like the grass had turned to the candy I was craving, so maybe I could direct it.

“Pog, what if I tried to expel the magic with purpose rather than letting it just happen? It’s like a buildup of magical energy, right? So if I used it, no explosion.”

“It is,” Pog said, sounding skeptical. “But do you really think you can control it?”

“No,” I said truthfully. “But will it really hurt anything to try?”

“I suppose not,” Pog agreed.

I turned in a slow circle. Kay and Ynes stood on the mansion’s front porch, ringing the doorbell. No one else was nearby. My palms were on fire now. I needed to do this soon.

“Do I need a wand to focus things?”

Pog leapt from my shoulder, then stood up on two legs and faced me. Eir striped tail waved back and forth behind eim. “No. Magic for a mage is all about intent and focus, not the tools.”

“Thanks, Professor.” I quirked a smile at the diminutive red panda. Eiy looked so serious.

I did some of my hand and finger stretches, like I’d do to limber up before a drawing session. Focus, but on what? I kicked off my flip-flops and let my feet sink into the soft grass.

I wondered if I could turn the cheap plastic flip-flops into tennis shoes like I’d morphed Kay’s sweats into my normal clothes. Flip-flops to sneakers. Easy.

I thrust my hands at the shoes. Change! Nothing happened.

In the distance I heard a door open and then people talking, but I kept my attention on the orange flip-flops, vibrant against the brilliant green of the grass.

I could feel that Pog wanted to say something, but eiy kept quiet. I didn’t know how I knew that, but I did. And now that I’d noticed, it was very distracting.

Sneakers! I thrust again. Nothing still. The burning moved to my fingers.

“I said I have no idea what you’re talking about! I don’t have a brother!” a man yelled.

The raised voices caught my attention, and I looked up, chewing on my lip. Ynes was pointing at me. I should have told them I was trans, so they could have explained, but I thought I’d be there with them. Too late now.

The magic in my fingers reached the tipping point, and I fell to my knees with a scream. The fire engulfed me and expanded out. Sneakers! I thought at the magic.

The grass stayed grass, and as I watched, the ugly orange flip-flops morphed into a pair of sneakers. They stayed bright orange, damn it. But it had worked! My first proper spell!

I sat down to put my new shoes on when something rubbery thumped into my head. I winced and turned to look at what had hit me. A right sneaker, white with gray trim.

Pog’s eyes widened and eiy dashed under my bent legs as more shoes began raining from the sky. I covered my head with my hands and bent over my legs, trying to shield Pog from the onslaught. They bounced off my back, shins, hands, and elbows hard enough that I was going to be bruised all over.

A nearby window shattered with a crash and I risked a glance out under my elbow to see shoes bouncing off the mansion’s roof with solid thumps. Car alarms started going off in the street and there was the sound of more breaking glass. Honking horns and yelling started coming from the surrounding neighborhood.

Maybe my ‘create shoes’ spell had been a little too successful.

The arguing from the porch stopped as everyone stared in stunned silence at the falling shoes.

After a few minutes, the rain of sneakers petered off.

A Shoestorm.

I snickered to myself at the silent joke.

I found a right and a left of the white and gray rain sneakers. Just my size—at least one thing had gone right—and put them on, leaving the bright orange ones where they lay. Then made my way to the porch, kicking sneakers out of the way as I went. Pog ran along after me, bounding over the shoes like it was an obstacle course. Glad someone was having fun.

On the porch, Kay mimed bashing his head into one of the Corinthian columns. Ynes stared around, open-mouthed at the mess. And the man… he was staring at me. I stared back. He could have been my twin brother, except his shoulders were broader and his face a little rounder. But his hair was the same dark brown as mine and we had the same nose and the same dimple on the left cheek. I swallowed hard, not sure what to say to my maybe-brother.

A sneaker from the roof rolled off and landed on the pavement between us with a loud thump, breaking the staring contest. Pog stood on eir hind legs and tottered up to the shoe with eir front paws in the air.

“Quite the weather we’re having,” I said to him as Pog pounced on the shoe.

The man jerked his gaze back up to me in shock. “Maybe you should come inside after all.”


Author Bio

Roan Rosser
My urban fantasy novels mainly feature the trans and queer protagonists grappling with things like identity and found families that I wished I could have read about growing up.

Originally from Utah, I escaped up to the Pacific Northwest, where I’ve made my home in both Seattle and Portland. When not writing, you can probably find me beating up pixel baddies or in front of one of my sewing machines adding to my overstuffed closet or my army of homemade plush dolls.

If you find yourself blinded by the vivid colors and loud patterns of my homemade shirts, know that I’m only trying to warn you that I may be poisonous. Or venomous? Or both? Probably both.

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