Browsing Tag


Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Where Light Meets Shadow, by Shawna Reppert

I’ve had fellow Here Be Magic and NIWA member Shawna Reppert on Boosting the Signal before, with her book Raven’s Wing. Shawna’s got a new release out, the m/m fantasy Where Light Meets Shadow, chock full of things which are Highly Relevant to My Interests: music, elves, and queer-friendly fiction! Because I mean honestly, a fantasy novel involving a romance between elven bards? It might as well be subtitled Put This In Anna’s Eyes Now. And if you’re in the same boat with me, meet her hero Kieran, whose goal is nothing less than the saving of his people through song. Sign me up.


Where Light Meets Shadow

Where Light Meets Shadow

Those not rude enough to say it to my face are saying it behind my back. Crazy Kieran is going to get himself killed for sure this time. He thinks he’s the bard his father was, off on some fool quest for what? A new tune? A new song? What difference can that make to anyone?

The thing is, they’re wrong. Not the part about me getting myself killed. Time will tell with that, although I can hope they are wrong. And if not? Maybe I think it’s a fair risk, gambling on joining a little sooner my father and mother and my brother never born in whatever lies after this life. If I die like my father did, in service of our people, I can only consider it a death well met.

And here Dermot or Cuin would roll their eyes and tell me I’ve sung too many ballads and now fancy myself the hero. Brona would frown and say that I must put a higher value on my life. I have no death wish; I wish I could convince her of that. Life is too full of song and story and pleasures to leave it early except in a good cause.

But as for the rest, I am very much aware that I am not the bard that my father was. Perhaps, in the fullness of time and under his tutelage, I might have become so. We’ll never know, will we? The murdering, oathbreaking Leas have seen to that.

As to what difference a tune can make, perhaps no difference at all. Perhaps all the difference in the world. I have called rain down with a tune—accidentally, it’s true, but still it proves that music has power. My father, it is said, could bolster the failing courage of armies with a song.

Something must save our people. We have been dwindling since or defeat by the Leas. We all see it, though no one wants to talk about it. The hunters go out less often and bring back less game. Each harvest is a little bit more disappointing than the last. The old feasts and festivals are no longer celebrated, out of deference to the queen, it is said, although the truth is that none of us have the heart for it.

Maybe new tunes and new songs will revitalize our people. Maybe—and this is a hope I share with none, since it sounds mad indeed, maybe I can find the forgotten healing magic of the bards of legend. Maybe I can wake our queen from her long stupor and save us all.

Maybe I’m not the bard my father was, but I may be all the hope that we have.


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Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: In the Distance, by Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels

Y’all know I’m not normally a contemporary romance person, but there are times I’ll make exceptions here on Boosting the Signal and feature one anyway. Like when it’s written by Carina Press people. Or if it’s queer content, either M/M OR F/F. Or both! So today my first feature is In the Distance, by Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels, book 2 of their In the Kitchen series. If queer boys and cooking are relevant to your interests, check it out! Eileen and Nikka would like to introduce you to their character Trevor–whose goal is trying to get a certain gorgeous fellow out of his head. Since this is a contemporary romance, y’all know exactly how well that’s going to go, I’m sure.


In the Distance

In the Distance

Thanks for having us on Boosting the Signal, Angela! Trevor Pratt is a character our readers met in Book Two of our In The Kitchen Series, In The Fire. His nickname, Trustfund, is a pretty accurate description of how Trevor lives his life: “If it feels good and I can afford it, I’m all over it.” The problem is that Ethan and Jamie don’t want someone like Trevor around their sous chef and “little brother from another mother”, Tyler, forcing Trevor to man up and make some hard decisions that don’t, for once, affect only him.


The Trouble With Trevor Pratt

Here’s the deal: I don’t do relationships. I tried once it once, and to say it ended badly is an understatement. I almost lost my best friend, and since I don’t have too many of those, losing Jamie’s friendship would have been catastrophic. Luckily, we worked it out and he’s still a part of my life. Unfortunately, his husband is part of the package deal that now encompasses that friendship, and it’s a true testament to Jamie’s and my friendship that I haven’t killed Ethan. Yet.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that living the single life wasn’t ideal after things went to hell last year, but I was fine. There were times I was lonely and the thought of coming back to my empty condo, again, to spend the evening by myself instead of hitting the clubs, again, almost had me questioning my decision to remain single, but I was fine.

It’s not like I couldn’t find company when I wanted it. After JamieGate, I was happy to throw myself into the single scene, reveling in the warmth of the hot, sweaty body du jour pressed against me in between the sheets after a long day at work. But the thought of getting caught in anything even vaguely resembling an exclusive relationship was still so far off my agenda, it wasn’t even on the docket. Until last month. Until I took Tyler out for a quick bite to eat.

Let’s be honest, Tyler’s about as far from my usual type as you could get. My friends joke that my type is anything that breathes, has a nice package (both front and back), and has no problem doing the walk of shame the next morning. The truth is, that was pretty much my perfect guy until I made my way over to the West Coast last month to visit Jamie. You see, Tyler’s the type of guy you want more than one night with. In fact, Tyler’s the type of guy that makes you want things you were always too afraid to admit you wanted. Because the moment you admitted how much you craved waking up to the same person every morning and lying down next to them in bed every night, that’s the moment the shit hits the fan and they walk out of your life forever, leaving you with a huge gaping hole in the middle of what once resembled your heart.

And yet, even though I don’t do relationships and Tyler is so far off the menu of guys du jour it’s not even funny, I can’t seem to stop thinking about him. The slight smirk that crosses his face when he throws a zinger at me I wasn’t expecting. The shy exterior that only makes me want to peel back the layers to discover what he’s hiding from the rest of the world. And those eyes that still reflect the ghosts of living on the streets after his parents kicked him out, eyes that are a cross between light brown and hazel with tiny flecks of green and gold that makes it damn near impossible for me to look away from him.

Before I left, Jamie made me promise to stay away from Tyler. “He’s a good kid,” he said. “While you’re the love ’em and leave ’em type,” he added. Ouch. He wasn’t wrong, but it still stung like hell to hear my best friend say it. I promised him Tyler was safe from me. I’d keep my hands to myself and we could all go on living the perfect little lives we have. It shouldn’t be hard to keep my promise, right? He’s there and I’m here. He’s just starting out and deserves someone who thinks he’s their one and only, while I’m already jaded and the word commitment isn’t even in my vocabulary.

There’s only one catch. I haven’t been able to get those gorgeous hazel eyes or that soft, shy smirk out of my head since I got back home to New York. And I’m afraid the more time I spend on the West Coast, the harder it will be to keep my promise to Jamie.

But some promises were made to be broken. Right?

© Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels


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Boosting the Signal, Carina Press

Boosting the Signal: Lonely Shore, by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

Earlier this spring I featured fellow Carina authors Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen, with their debut SF novel Chaos Station. Book 2 of that series, Lonely Shore, is now available from Carina, and so Jenn and Kelly return to follow up on the tale of Felix and Zander with a peek at another character–Zander’s brother, who is very motivated to track down his sibling and find out what’s happened to him! Check it out.


Lonely Shore

Still Searching

Brennan Anatolius signed the holographic invoice and with a few key swipes sent it back to his assistant for routing to the appropriate department before closing his wallet’s interface. Darkness settled around him like an old, worn blanket. The emulated sunset beyond his office’s windows had come and gone God knew how long ago—he’d noted it, in the vague way you’d notice the air circulators switching off on their usual cycle. Nothing to worry about.

Leaning back in his chair, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. He should go home. His wife, Roz, was waiting for him and she’d been damned patient these last few weeks. She knew how hard it had been to almost catch up to his youngest brother on Chloris Station, only to have Zander avoid him so completely it couldn’t be an accident. But what, really, had he expected?

After falling into the black hole of Allied Earth Forces covert ops, Zed had stopped carrying a wallet. Any messages sent to his official, AEF-sanctioned account had gone unanswered. Then there’d been the viral holo of Zed and his team saving a bunch of civilians against orders—followed closely by the end of the war. Brennan had been sure that Zed would contact his family then. But he hadn’t. Six months had crawled by without any contact—until Zed’s override code had been used on their family-controlled station, Chloris.

Brennan slouched into his chair, a posture he’d never allow himself during business hours. He had to be calm, in control, a CEO worthy of his father’s legacy. Part of him knew that worrying about Zed wasn’t helping his health—the doctor had suggested his recent bout of insomnia was due to stress. Brennan figured it just gave him extra time to track down his brother.

He pushed forward and pulled out his wallet again. All right. The last lead he’d gotten was about a week ago, when the Chaos had passed through the gate near Mars. He tried not to think about how close Zed had been to their family’s home station of Alpha—Anatolius Industries’ oldest and most luxurious station, in orbit around Earth. Brennan had already established that the Chaos hadn’t docked on Hemera Station at the Hub—the central location where all the galactic gates led—but it wouldn’t hurt to check again.

In the back of his mind, he knew his search was fruitless. The only reason he’d found a trace of Zed before was that Zed had been desperate to get aboard Chloris to help an old friend. His little brother had skills. If he wanted to stay hidden—and clearly he did—Brennan wasn’t going to find him.

Still, he had to try.

When his wallet chirped with an incoming call, Brennan almost let it go to mail. Until he saw the name accompanying it. He scrambled for his wallet, fingers shaking.

“Zed? Zed? Please don’t have hung up!”


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Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Chaos Station, by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

One of the reasons I signed on with Carina Press for the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy was their willingness to publish same-sex fiction. Bonus if it’s SF–like Chaos Station, the new release by author team Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen! Even more bonus when a character named Julian is involved. As y’all know, I do like me some Julians! But Jenn and Kelly’s Julian is rather more of a clotheshound than mine. I can hear Nine-fingered Rab coveting his wardrobe now. And as for what this Julian wants, he definitely appears to be a man with acquisition on his mind.


Chaos Station

Chaos Station

Julian pulled at his shirt cuffs until an even centimeter of fabric peeked out on either side. The satiny gold offset the blue of his suit perfectly. It was a very particular blue—like the light captured within an arc of electricity. The smart fibers embedded in the material added just enough shine. He would stand out in this suit. He would be a commanding presence.

It was a pity the only notice he might attract would be the scruffy crew of that most annoying corvette. What did they call it again? The Chaos? Who in their right mind would christen a ship with anarchy!

Breath whistled between his lips. Julian shut his mouth and adjusted his cuffs again, aware the strain across his shoulders had pulled them askew. Then he tweaked the collar of his shirt to make sure the deep vee aligned with the point of his pendant. He caressed the solid gold cocoon and it warmed beneath his touch. When he let it flop back against his abundant thatch of chest hair, the heat was pleasant against his skin.

He was no uncouth mercenary. He was a man of substance and stature. He would not be bested by a ragtag team of bounty hunters. They couldn’t even dress sensibly. Well, the one… The tall, dark and handsome one. Zander Anatolius. He obviously had taste, but he’d been keeping the wrong company. He did not belong aboard a ship like the Chaos. No, a man of his pedigree had a much greater worth. A much greater value. With those skills and that name…

A slow smile stretched his mouth. Yes. Emma might have seemed like a prize, but she had merely been his entry ticket. And now it was time to cash her in.

He checked his reflection one more time and took a moment to admire what he saw. A man had to dress for success, did he not? What lay beneath might count for something, but when it came to first impressions, surely clothes made the man.


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