A piece of Chaos Station for collectors’ bookshelves

We have a new book for you! Actually, it’s not entirely new. Zed and Felix have their happy ever after and we don’t want to mess with that. If we ever do revisit the world of Chaos Station, it will be with a different story with a new couple. Yes, we have plans! For now, however, we’ve been busy putting together a piece of Chaos Station for collector’s bookshelves. Continue reading

What I’ve Been Reading

After a bit of a slump where I tossed a few and flipped through a few more somewhat forgettable books, I’ve recently hit a patch of really good reads. So of course I’m going to share them.

18774964A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This book. Oh my goodness. What a lovely surprise. Nearly the entire time I was listening to it, I either wished I’d written it or wanted to write my own version. Ove is exactly the sort of character I like. Gruff, rude, apparently selfish and not at all charming. Yeah, I sure know how to pick ‘em. Thing is, when a character like that is the star of a book, you can pretty much read on with two assumptions. One, he’s not as he appears. There will be hidden depths. Two, finding out why he’s like this is going to be your reward. Continue reading

The Apocalypse Interview with Jody Wallace

Jody Wallace has a new book out called Prodigal. It’s the third title in her Maelstrom Chronicles. Because it features an apocalypse and aliens, I wanted to read it. They’re…kinda my thing. Spoiler alert: It’s a very entertaining book! It’s a great blend of apocalypse and aliens, plus action, a sexy romance and a hint of the paranormal with the way the shades and daemons operate.You can read my review here. Then I decided to ask Jody a few questions and that turned into us talking apocalypses. Apparently they’re her thing too. Continue reading

What I’ve Been Reading

27875367Red Envelope by Atom Yang

Holidays are moments in time. Atom Yang has taken these moments and used them to capture the essence of a love story, giving us what matters most: the beginning, the middle and the end. Layered with humour, pathos, culture and philosophy, Red Envelope delivers more than many novels—mostly due to the skillful way Atom voices his characters. They feel like someone you’ve met, someone you know. They’re real people, even those who don’t get a point of view.

I wanted to read more, but found the Happy Ever After immensely satisfying. Not only had I been invited to share the holidays with Clint’s family, but came away feeling replete—just as one should after a dose of good company and cheer.

 

13538873Mr. Penumbra’s 14-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

This is such a fun story. It’s a little Google-centric at times—in a creepy, but interesting, should I be frightened and omg, they actually fund projects like that kinda way. What I really enjoyed, though, was the mystery, which is a meaning of life question. The answer isn’t really a surprise, but that’s not why we read books like this. More, it’s the journey—through literature and philosophy, ideas big and small, and the personal life of Clay Jannon, which is more interesting than it has any right to be.

I listened to this one on audio and though I’m sure I’ve had enjoyed it as much in print, I think this was definitely a case where narrator, Ari Fliakos, added inflection and perspective to the story.

 

11289The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #4) by Dan Simmons

I’ve featured the Hyperion Cantos before and while I’m not in the habit of doubling up, I couldn’t let this edition of What I’ve Been Reading pass without adding this title—mostly because it’s the end of an epic journey with one of the most talented authors I’ve ever read as your guide.

All of the books in the Hyperion Cantos are long, involved, convoluted and startlingly literary. I often felt as if I barely clung to the meaning of a passage, and only then because I’d heard something about something, or had studied the referenced luminary in some way. It’s also space opera in the manner of encouraging the reader to care about a number of characters and societies, even those who shouldn’t have our sympathy. Finally, it’s just a heck of a good story, from beginning to end, one that kept me enthralled for over a hundred hours. I don’t often read series back to back, but this one absolutely required it.

 

7283762Touched by an Alien (Katherine “Kitty” Kat, #1) by Gini Koch

Men in Black with sexy aliens, hot federal agents and a kick-ass heroine who doesn’t suffer from “strong female character” syndrome. Katherine “Kitty” Kat is a hoot. She’s loud, obnoxious, flirtatious, disorganized, a fan of her awesome parents—which is just so damned refreshing—and always ready to rumble, even if the only weapon she has to hand is a pen or a can of hairspray, extra hold.

I loved that all the aliens were good looking and sexy. It could have come across as completely ridiculous and it does, but author Gini Koch has such fun with it that you do too. Also, I’m never going to complain about multiple hot men in one book. I also really loved the way the heroes were portrayed. Alpha when they needed to be, capable and manly. But also insecure when they should be; jealous, petty and sometimes just really, really dumb.

The love story was fun, the sex steamy and the adventure rip roaring. I’ve already read the second book in the series, which was even more fun, and I’ve got the third in the queue.

(Neat fact: Chaos Station was recently featured along with this series in Book Riot’s recent list of 10 EXCELLENT PARANORMAL AND SCIENCE FICTION ROMANCES)

 

29838610Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton

I love stories that challenge faith—it’s one of the aspects of the Hyperion Cantos that worked so well for me. In Between Sinners and Saints, Marie Sexton does it in a careful, insightful and respectful manner.

Levi is the sort of character readers will connect with. Not because he’s a nice guy—he’s not. But he is, deep down, and it’s that kernel of decency that saves him—as the hero of a romance novel and as a human being. He’s not superficial, not a stereotype. He’s deep, and beautifully flawed.

I was so moved by his struggle, and beyond pleased that he found a place of acceptance without rejecting who and what he was, and where he came from. Highly recommended.

 

13633035Mnevermind by Jordan Castillo Price

Another series I read back to back, purchasing each installment as I neared the end of the previous book—which I never do. Like, ever.

I’m fairly new to the JCP fandom, but I can see what makes her an auto-buy author for so many readers. Her stories are Interesting. The romance and feels you want are there, but wrapped in a story that turns the pages more compulsively than the need for the main characters to kiss. Her worlds are also wonderfully detailed—they’re places you feel you could visit, populated with secondary characters that brim with life.

Ultimately, I didn’t feel this story needed to be separated into three separate parts. It could have been condensed into one tight, thrilling novel. But you know what? I’m glad JCP decided to publish Mnevermind the way she did, because while Elijah was entertaining to read and I wouldn’t have missed his point of view for all the world, I can see how it might have interfered with the story as a whole, where giving over one single part to him worked as far as inviting the reader to understand and come to love him, while giving us the information we needed to really enjoy his part in the third installment.

Honeymoon: A Chaos Station story

Zander Anatolius and Felix Ingesson are two of the hardest working men in the galaxy. They really need a break. So, we’ve sent them on a honeymoon—and managed to do so without bringing them to further harm.

(Readers of the Chaos Station series are likely breathing a huge sigh of relief here, as they’re more used to people dying. Or at the very least losing limbs. This holiday has been a long time coming.)

We didn’t just write this story for the Zed and Felix, though. We wrote it for our readers, the fans who have followed the adventures of Zed and Felix from the very start. For those who have mourned their losses, and cheered their successes. For all the folks who sent us little messages saying: “I cannot believe you did that!” Or: “Hasn’t Zed been through enough?” Or, popularly: “OMG, Felix!”

In particular, I wrote my part of this story for Eileen Griffin who finished every book with the plea: “Zed and Felix, deserted island, one week. All sex, all the time.”

Felix doesn’t do planets, so we put the guys on a cruise ship instead. 😉

Jenn and I also wrote this one for ourselves. We’d said goodbye to Zed and Felix with the last edit round of Phase Shift (Chaos Station #5), and it was hard to let go. Many of our blog posts for the release of Phase Shift reflected on how hard it was to say goodbye to characters we’d given life to through five novels and a small collection of short stories. So “Honeymoon” is our last hurrah—a chance for us to just play with the guys, our dear fictional friends; to enjoy their love and everlasting happiness; to share their last adventure with our readers.

Thank you for taking this journey with us! We hope you enjoy this last story.

Visit our website at: http://chaosstation.com for more short stories, excerpts and deleted scenes.

HoneymoonHoneymoon

A Chaos Station story

Zander can’t quite believe a galactic emergency didn’t interrupt their wedding. Felix can’t quite believe he’s married. One thing is for sure, though, these guys need a holiday! So they book a cruise aboard the drift ship Biswas.

There is no death or dismemberment in this story. No hull breaches, no marauding aliens. This is Zed and Felix, though, so not everything is going to go according to plan.

Honeymoon is available to read now!

MOBI | EPUBPDF

Therapy

It’s been a month since the release of Phase Shift (Chaos Station #5). We miss our guys, but we’re working on new stories with new characters we hope you’ll come to love just as much as Zander, Felix and the Chaos crew.

In the meantime, enjoy this cut scene and a sneak peek at the cover of our last Chaos Station short, “Honeymoon”.

Therapy

If you thought the guys were in desperate need of therapy by the end of Skip Trace, you’re weren’t alone!

Skip Trace (Chaos Station #3) was probably the most heavily edited of the five books. We had to rearrange a few things and cut a few scenes we really loved. One of the cut scenes was a therapy session with Zander, Felix and Dr. McMann – who gets several mentions in the later books!

While we understood therapy would be an important element in the journey of both men, the following scene slowed the pace of the ending too much, so we ended up taking some of the relevant parts out (such as how Felix broke his hand) and using them in other scenes. As a whole, this scene remains one of our favourites, however, and we like to imagine this session did actually happen as written, shortly after the events of Skip Trace.

Read “Therapy” here

HoneymoonHoneymoon

Zander and Felix deserve a break! Downtime is difficult for these former soldiers; no doubt they’ll find an adventure or two aboard the drift cruiser Biswas. There will be no severed limbs, near death experiences or kidnappings in this story! But this is Zed and Flick, so not everything is going to go exactly as planned.

Coming at the end of June!

For more cut scenes, excerpts and short stories, visit the Chaos Station website!

 

 

 

Excerpt: Fire Up My Heart by Asta Idonea

A couple of weeks ago, I featured a cover reveal for a new science fiction romance novella, Fire Up My Heart by Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus). Today, to help celebrate the release, I have an excerpt and an audio sneak peek to share! Before I get to that, though, let me just say: I loved this story! Both Fane and Jo-E were engaging, but Jo-E especially stole my heart. The simplicity of his emotions and desires was so refreshing. Sometimes a love story doesn’t need to be more complicated than a need to be close. Of course, with Jo-E being a service Bot, this story is just a little more complicated.

FireUpMyHeart-PreviewFire Up My Heart

London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.

Available now at the following retailers:

Dreamspinner Press |ARe |Amazon US |Amazon UK

Excerpt

It was raining cats and dogs when Fane Maddox left the club and made his way through Soho’s neon-lit streets. His shift at Spunk, London’s rundown retro gay bar, had finished at 2:00 a.m., and his weary feet ached as he commenced the long walk back to his flat in Finsbury Park.

On foot, it was a journey of a good hour and a half, but it wasn’t as if he had any other options. The first tube service on a Sunday morning didn’t begin until gone seven, and since a lack of customers, combined with a recent petrol shortage, had led to the cancellation of all London’s night buses, it was a case of walking or taking a taxi. Thanks to the fuel hike, the cost of a black cab was extortionate these days, and the trip home in one would use up all his tips for the night. Therefore, he had no choice but to rely on his own two feet. At least the long walks kept him fit.

He would have passed the alley without a second glance. However, at that moment, the neon sign that wrapped around the corner of the building flickered, drawing his gaze. He started to turn away, then looked back, convinced he must be seeing things. Either he was losing his mind, or there were a pair of legs dangling over the side of the huge garbage bin at the entrance to the alleyway.

Fane dithered. He was tired and sopping wet. The last thing he wanted was to be responsible for finding a dead body. He’d have to call the cops, and who knew how long it would take them to show. If they turned up at all. In the meantime he’d be left standing in this downpour and, knowing his luck, would probably catch pneumonia. Then again, maybe the guy was merely drunk or injured and in need of assistance. Could Fane live with himself if he walked on by?

Heaving a sigh, Fane shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans and crossed the street. Once he reached the alley, he glanced left and right. Then, seeing no one around, he boosted himself up and into the dumpster.

The bags of rubbish crunched and shifted beneath him. He lost his balance and shot out a hand, grabbing hold of the rim of the bin to steady himself. One of the bags must have split under his weight, because a foul smell wafted through the air. Fane screwed up his nose. Determined to make a speedy exit, he scrambled two steps forward to reach the body.

Even in the dim, stuttering neon glow, it only took him a second to realize his mistake. This wasn’t a body. At least not a human one.

An audio version of this excerpt is available here!


Author Pic 2015About the author:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Where to find her:

Blog |Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Amazon Author US | Amazon Author UK