The First Step

Thanks, Kim, for letting me stop by and talk about The First Step, the first book in my new Coastal Carolina series! Please be sure to read to the bottom for an exclusive excerpt from the book. 

While series books take place in coast North and South Carolina, this first book takes place in one of my favorite coastal cities: Wilmington, North Carolina. All of the books feature men you might find working at the coast, and it’s safe to say that the Atlantic Ocean is a bit like a main character. The First Step features an ocean pilot—Justin Vance—one of the men and women who jump from a small pilot boat onto a huge cargo ship in the middle of the ocean, then navigate those vessels in and out of ports all over the world. It’s a dangerous job, and one that requires a lot of training and a long apprenticeship.

Bob and I have watched these huge ships pull into port and I’d often wondered about the men and women who steer them safely into the harbor. I had a blast talking to some real-life pilots about their work, and I had so much fun writing Justin and Reed’s story. I hope you enjoy it too. Happy reading! –Shira


A Coastal Carolina Novel

The first step is the hardest. After a scandal, New York political reporter Reed Barfield is lying low at the North Carolina coast, writing a story about the seafood industry. But it’s the harbor pilots on the Cape Fear River who capture his interest—men who jump across ten feet of open ocean to grab a rope ladder and guide huge container ships into port. Men like sexy but prickly Justin Vance. 

After surviving an abusive childhood and a tour in the Navy, Justin isn’t fazed by his dangerous job—it’s certainly easier to face than Reed’s annoying questions. Justin isn’t out at work, and he doesn’t need Reed digging into his personal life or his past. 

But Reed’s no stranger to using his considerable charm to get what he wants, and as he wears Justin down, they realize they have a lot in common—and that they like spending time together. Moving beyond that, though, will mean Justin confessing his sexuality and learning to trust Reed with his secrets—if Reed even decides to stay. Both men want a future together, but can they find the courage to take the first step?

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A huge wave slammed into the side of the tiny boat, sending Reed Barfield to his knees on the bow. In front of him, the shrimp boat he’d been photographing pulled away at full speed, and her captain waved his hands wildly. Reed grabbed the anchor rope as the dinghy rocked dangerously, giving him alternating views of blue sky and dark water. He brushed damp hair from his eyes and turned as he struggled to keep from falling overboard.

Once sure he wasn’t going to end up in the water, Reed followed the wake back to its origin.

Holy shit! An immense black wall the size of a thirty-story building and as wide as several city blocks obstructed his view of the rest of the Cape Fear River. As he clambered back inside the boat, Reed realized it wasn’t a wall at all but the side of an enormous container ship. It was almost close enough to reach out and touch and getting closer by the minute.

“Hang on!” Eddie, the captain who’d agreed to take Reed out on the water, pulled the cord on the engine.

Nothing happened.

“Damn!” Eddie kept pulling on the cord. The motor would rumble, then putter and stop.

The container ship’s horn had Reed covering his ears and wondering if his luck could get any worse. “Eddie, that thing’s going to be here in a minute,” he shouted over the roar of the larger ship’s engines. “We need to get out of here!”

“I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’! Sweet mother of—”

The motor finally turned over. Eddie revved the engine and the next second their boat careened to the right and out of the larger vessel’s path, avoiding it by only a few feet.

Reed’s heart pounded against his ribs as they headed up river back toward Wilmington. “What the hell was that all about?”

“I tried to warn ya.” Eddie’s face was pale. “Ya didn’t seem to hear me.”

“I didn’t? Wait a minute. You tried to warn me? When was that?”

Eddie glanced briefly away. “A few seconds before,” he said under his breath.

“A few seconds? You mean you didn’t see that thing coming either?”

“Well, I… I might’ve fell asleep,” Eddie replied sheepishly.

“Don’t you have a radio for that sort of thing?” Reed didn’t know a lot about power boats, but he was pretty sure you didn’t go anywhere on a river like this without a radio.

“I do. But I must’a forgot to charge it.”

Your fault for trying to cut corners and hiring someone off the docks. Reed sighed and eyed the container ship, which now appeared to be turning slowly—very slowly—with the help of a couple of tugboats.

“What’s he doing?” Reed asked.

“Him? Oh, you mean the ship?”

Reed nodded.

“They turn her around before they dock. That way she’s all set for leavin’ when they’re done unloadin’ and loadin’ it up again.”


“Them river pilots can turn those babies on a dime,” Eddie agreed. “Takes ’em years to be able to do that.”


“Yep. They get paid a bundle too.”

“You mean captains get paid a lot?” Reed asked.

“No. The river pilots do.”

“What’s the difference between a river pilot and the captain of a ship?”

“Pilots take over for the captains. Meet ’em out at sea and guide ’em into port. They’re local guys. Most of ’em live over in Southport.” Eddie smiled. “I used to dream of bein’ one. You know, meetin’ the big ships out in the ocean and hoppin’ onto one of those?”

Reed shuddered to imagine a guy like Eddie, who fell asleep at the wheel, in charge of a container ship. But already the idea for a story was percolating in his brain. Pilots hopped from one boat to another in the middle of the ocean? “Sounds dangerous.”

Eddie nodded. “Really dangerous. One of ’em fell a few months back.”


“Yep. Got hurt real bad.” Eddie pressed his lips together. “Sounds like he’ll pull through, though.”

“That’s good.” Reed watched for a couple of minutes, then remembered he had his camera hanging around his neck and took some photos as the container ship docked. He zoomed in on the ship’s name: Vanguard Asiatic.

“You gonna need more photos of the shrimper?” Eddie asked.

Crap. Reed had completely forgotten the reason he was on the water in the first place—he was supposed to be taking photos of the shrimp boat. This was about getting his old job back, not about his appetite for a good story. He was so close to wrapping this up and hopping that plane back to New York City.

He turned off the camera, thankful he’d had the presence of mind to buy a waterproof case for it, and flipped through the pics he’d taken before the near miss with the Vanguard Asiatic. Fortunately they looked okay. Good thing too, since he’d had a hard enough time getting the shrimp boat’s captain to pose with her on the river.

“Nah. I’m good. I got enough for the story.”

“We good to head back to town?” Eddie asked.

“Yes…. No. On second thought—” Reed eyed the Port of Wilmington across the water. The voice at the back of his brain was now screaming that there was a story here. “Why don’t you drop me off over there?”

“At the port?” Eddie stared at him as though he’d lost his mind.

“Yes. At the port.” He’d ask a few questions, maybe take a few photos, and the voice might shut up for a change.

“I can’t tie up there,” Eddie said.

“Why not?”

“It’s restricted.” He pointed to some signs on the docks.

“No need to tie up,” Reed said brightly. “All you need to do is drop me off.”

“I don’t know….”

“I’ll give you an extra fifty for your trouble.” Reed reached into his pocket and pulled out his slightly damp billfold, then handed Eddie a hundred-dollar bill. He’d pay the extra fifty out of his own money. If he played this right, he’d end up with another story out of it.

“If I get caught, they could fine me.”

Reed put another twenty in Eddie’s hand. “That help?”

Eddie nodded and pointed to a spot a few hundred feet behind the container ship. “Okay if I drop you off there?”

“That’ll be perfect.”

Ten minutes later Reed watched as Eddie zoomed off toward Wilmington. He pulled on the damp fabric of his shirt and shook it a little to stop it from sticking to his skin. In the bright sunlight, with the temperature in the midnineties, his shorts were nearly dry. His leather boat shoes would take a little longer, but at least they didn’t squish when he walked.

Reed fished his press ID out of his pocket and clipped it on his shirt. He rarely used it, but it would come in handy in a place where everyone seemed to be wearing a hangtag. In his experience, no one actually checked IDs so long as you were wearing something that looked like one. He walked down the docks to where they were tying up the Vanguard Asiatic.

The entire docking process seemed painstakingly slow. From the time the tugs pulled alongside to when the crew finally tossed ropes to the dockworkers, hours seemed to pass. Reed watched in fascination as port workers in small forklifts picked up the huge balls at the ends of the guide ropes and pulled the massive lines that would hold the ship in place taut over wide iron posts resembling enormous black mushrooms.

Reed snapped some photos, then sat on a stack of pallets to scribble a few notes. He’d just put his notebook away when a man stepped onto the docks and waved to several of the workers. Dressed in khakis with a button-down shirt and tie, he slung a small backpack over one shoulder and headed away from the ship. Reed jogged over to intercept him.

“Excuse me,” Reed said as he caught up with the man. This close, it was difficult not to notice his warm blue eyes, dirty blond hair, and muscular body.


“Reed Barfield.” Reed offered his hand, and the man shook it.

“Justin Vance.” Justin raised a questioning eyebrow. He looked to be in a hurry. “Can I help you with something?”

“I hope so.” Reed smiled, and Justin’s expression softened just a bit. “Did you just come in on that ship?” He gestured to the Vanguard Asiatic.

“Yes. Why?”

Man of few words. “I’m working on a story about the port,” Reed offered. This wasn’t true, of course—the story he was supposed to be working on was about the seafood industry and the effects of years of dumping of toxic chemicals into the river—but it could be true, right?


Reed smiled again. “I don’t know much about boats, so I figured I’d go to the source.” In his experience, playing dumb and asking for help usually resulted in people opening up and telling him everything they knew. It was human nature to feel good about knowing more than someone else, not to mention people enjoyed being helpful.

Not Justin. “Okay. And?”

Reed’s cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling, and it clearly had no effect on the guy. “And I was hoping to find someone who could tell me about the Vanguard.” As attractive as Justin was, he wasn’t a conversationalist. Reed needed to find someone else to speak with.

“What about her?” Justin asked.

“She’s pretty big, right?” Oh, that was just brilliant!

Justin didn’t seem to mind the lame question. “She’s one of the larger ships around.”


Justin nodded.

Pulling teeth would be easier. “Hey, do you know the pilot who brought her in?”


“I figured I’d talk to them. Find out a little about what it’s like to sail her into port. Maybe get a few sailing pointers?” Reed meant this last bit as a stupid, icebreaker kind of joke, but Justin wasn’t thawing. Instead, he seemed to consider Reed for a moment as though trying to decide whether to walk away. Then finally he said, “I’m the pilot.”

“What?” That was the last thing Reed expected. Pilots were super experienced mariners, right? This guy looked to be in his midthirties. With broad shoulders and a lean, muscular body, Justin looked more like what Reed imagined might be typical for a longshoreman.

“Were you expecting Blackbeard? Or maybe Captain Kirk?”

Reed laughed. So there is a personality hiding beneath the cone of silence. “Do you get that a lot?”

Justin shrugged.

“So what’s it like, sailing a boat like that into port?” Reed pressed.

“Why are you here again?” Justin frowned as he took in Reed’s hangtag and camera. “Did you get permission from someone in the operations office to be on the docks?”

“No.” Reed decided on a little honestly. “Really, I was on the water shooting some photos for a story when I looked up and there she was. Pretty damn impressive fifty feet way. And I had this idea—”

“Wait a minute.” Justin’s expression morphed from mild irritation to open hostility. “Are you the idiot we nearly rammed coming into port?”

“I wasn’t exactly driving—I mean, captaining the—”

Justin grabbed him by the collar and shook him, his face red with fury. “Do you know how lucky you are you weren’t killed? If I hadn’t figured you were too stupid to respond to my hail and get the hell out of the way, you and your boat would have been toast.”

Reed tried to pull Justin’s hands away, without much luck. The guy was as strong as he looked. “Whoa. Justin. Calm down.”

Justin seemed to realize he’d lost control, because he released Reed and stepped back. His cheeks were still red, but the murderous expression was gone.

“Look,” Reed said as he smoothed the fabric of his shirt. “I’m really sorry about what happened. When I get into the zone—you know, working on a story—I can get a little distracted.”

A muscle in Justin’s cheek jumped as he waved to someone over Reed’s shoulder and gestured for them to come over.

“Fred, meet Reed Barfield. Mr. Barfield is trespassing.” Justin smiled and turned back to Reed. “Reed, this is Fred Fuller. He’s the man who’s going to escort you off the premises.”

“Seriously, Justin. Just let me ask you a few questions. After that, I promise I’ll leave.” Justin was good-looking—he would make this pilot story easier to sell to Reed’s editor. One more reason for the higher-ups to give him back his job on the political beat.

“Now, Mr. Barfield,” Fred put in, “it’s my job to make sure nobody’s here that ain’t supposed to be here. If ya don’t come with me, I’ll have to call the police.”

Reed sighed. “Okay, okay. I’m leaving.” The last thing he needed was a run-in with the local cops, especially since he’d looked a New York judge in the eye not two weeks before and promised to stay out of trouble. He’d figure out some other way to get what he needed for the pilot story. “See you again soon,” he shouted over his shoulder as Fred escorted him through the locked gate to the parking area.

Author bio: 

Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, i Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. You can hear Shira singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca by clicking here: Shira’s Singing

Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.

In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies. Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.

Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 38′ catamaran sailboat, Prelude, at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.

Shira Anthony:     

Twitter: @WriterShira

Waving from oblivion

I haven’t blogged in some time. It’s not that I don’t love you, I promise. It’s only that life seems to be swirling even more chaotically than usual. The good news is that I have all sorts of new books on the way!

In case you missed it, last week I released a volume containing four short stories. Three of these stories originally appeared in anthologies that are now out of print; all of the stories are sweet and sort of fluffy. You can buy Act One and Other Stories at Amazon, Smashwords, or anywhere else ebooks are sold. And all royalties go to Doctors Without Borders!

My next novel, Drawing the Prince, releases October 1! Publishers Weekly called it an “enchanting royal affair.” You can preorder now at Amazon or Dreamspinner. It’s book 3 in the Stars from Peril series, but like the others, it can be read as a standalone.

And next? In November expect to see Convicted, the 5th Bureau book. You’ll also see a holiday short called “Christmas Present.” December brings “Get Lit,” another holiday short. And on January 14, Love Has No Direction will release. That’s the third Love Can’t book, and it’s Parker Levin’s story.

If you enjoy following my travels, I have more of those coming up: gold rush country, Seattle, San Francisco, and New Orleans are all in store during the remainder of 2019.

Ah, but the homefront. Where the semester is in full swing, my dishwasher is broken, my car has a burned-out headlight, and my kid just had her umpteenth monthly trip to the orthodontist.

Cover Reveal: Hope by Grace R. Duncan

Cover Art by Jess Small Genre: M/M Paranormal Length: 12,000 words Release date: September 6, 2019

Preorder now

  Miguel Garcia and Luis Rodriguez have been best friends all their lives. For the last year, they’ve been hiding the fact that they’re also destined mates. When Luis’s family finds out, they kick him out. Miguel’s family would keep them…except their alpha has been known to be downright violent against gay wolves. With the help of Miguel’s mother, they set out to find a pack that will accept them. They run into more that a few obstacles before they end up in Denver, at the national wolf headquarters, meeting the alpha prime. They’re stunned to find, not only offers to join more than one pack, but that their struggle can shine light on a bigger problem–and make things better for LGBT wolves across the country.
When they pulled into the Phoenix station, Miguel found himself annoyed that there didn’t seem to be anything nearby. He’d spent so much time in a city—a real, big city, with a McDonald’s and an In-N-Out on every corner—that to step outside and see nothing besides the bus station but an airport and desert was disheartening. He shoved the thought off and found the text from his mamá with the Tonto alpha’s phone number. In a few moments, he had directions to a McDonald’s a little distance away by city bus and where to pick it up. They stored their bags in a locker and headed out. But barely two hours later, he and Luis were once more waiting for a bus, this time with an even less friendly suggestion to move on. He couldn’t say the alpha was hostile necessarily, but the curled lip he got when he saw Miguel and Luis holding hands had said enough. The meeting had been very short, very tense, and ended with the alpha telling them there was a 2:45 a.m. bus from Phoenix going east and they “had better be on it.” Miguel was already tired of that reaction. While the pack in Palm Springs hadn’t been nearly as mean, he knew quite well it was because they were same-sex mates. Three packs, so far—their original and two others—hadn’t wanted them. “Maybe we shouldn’t tell them, Miguel.” Miguel sighed and kissed the top of Luis’s head. “I was just thinking something like that. If we didn’t, if we maybe… made something up about why we left, perhaps we could at least stay for a while.” Luis nodded. “We’ve only been gone, what… two days?” Miguel had to think. “Just over twenty-four hours, actually.” “Damn. It feels a lot longer.” Luis shook his head. “It doesn’t help that we haven’t really slept. With any luck, Gila will want us. Or at least, let us stay for a bit. Maybe we can get jobs to earn some money.” “That would be good. How much do we have left?” Miguel pulled out the cash they still had and carefully counted it, while trying not to be obvious that was what he was doing. The bus station was fairly empty, but he didn’t want to start anything, especially because the best way he had to defend himself and Luis involved claws and fangs. “After the tickets to Deming, just over a hundred dollars. The tickets from Deming to Silver City are another thirty for the two of us. We could see about selling Mamá’s ring in Silver City, if we need to.” “Let’s… let’s not do that until we are out of money.” Hugging Luis close, Miguel nodded. “Yeah, I don’t want to either, if we can help it.” They fell silent, occasionally glancing at the television in the corner, while keeping an eye on the Border Patrol officer sitting in another corner. They both had US driver’s licenses, but that didn’t mean much if he wanted to cause problems for them. He reminded himself to speak English. Then, trying not to worry, Miguel did his best to simply enjoy holding Luis. Luis’s breathing evened out, and Miguel did what he could to resettle his mate in the horribly uncomfortable metal nightmares they called bench seats. He wasn’t sure if he was more relieved or more nervous when they could start lining up for the bus. He so wanted Gila to be where they could stay, if for no other reason than they could stop moving from place to place for a while. He buried both emotions so he didn’t alert Luis to anything, and they got in line.
    noh8Author Bio: Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica. A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind. As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art. Website FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

Grace Duncan on gaming

  I am a gamer. I love playing video games, though I have limitations on which ones I can play. I don’t do well in first-person. My brain and my stomach disagree on what is happening. However, there are still quite a few games I can play and one of my favorites is The Sims (currently mostly The Sims 3). There seem to be a few very specific types of Sims players. There are those who get into the content creation side of it and spend way more hours designing and building extra stuff for the game than they do actually playing. There are those who, of course, actually play, making the Sims in the game go through daily life (and/or kill them by removing the ladder from a swimming pool or the door from a room…). And then there’s the third type, lovingly referred to as The Sims Architect. I fall into this third category. I love building houses in The Sims, especially the houses and locations in my books. I’ve done it a few times. My latest creation is the cabin Mark and Duncan take over in the time between Healing and Overcoming Fear. Today, I thought I’d share it.
He held a hand out at the round wooden table in the portion of the great room that acted as their dining area. The room itself stretched two stories, with a loft bedroom on one end, a study on the other, and a wide balcony open to the lower floor connecting the two that ran along the front wall above them. A large stone fireplace sat cold on one end of the first floor, outside the master suite. A spiral staircase next to it led to the study above. On the other side, two doors opened off the main room: one for Mark’s exam room and one for another half bathroom. Stairs between the two led to the second floor on that end.
I don’t describe the front of the cabin, but in my head it had a large glass window in front, to give lots of light.     No matter how hard I try, I can’t always make something look exactly as I had it in my head. I started thinking about what the cabin had originally been for—a vacation spot—and realized a few of the things I’d been thinking didn’t quite work. For instance, originally, I had just the two doors on the left side of the great room. However, when I went to build the house, I realized they’d have more—a mud/laundry room, and a door to the back.     You can also see the living area, the dining table Duncan leads Bryan to, and the fireplace off to one side, along with the balcony on the upper level. I kind of go a little crazy when I start building these things. I’ll even draw the layout on graph paper. I won’t subject you to my scribbles, but here you can see the general layout of the first floor:     In the story, there’s a point where Duncan is sitting in some chairs in their bedroom, looking out the window. There, he can see the lakeshore. Unfortunately, the way the geography was in the game, I couldn’t orient the house the way I wanted to so I couldn’t make the window face the shore. Still, I couldn’t leave them out.     You can see the whole album of screenshots including their kitchen, the upstairs, and more here. Thank you so much to Kim for the space today! I really appreciate it. And I hope you enjoy Overcoming Fear.   noh8About Grace: Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica. A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind. As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art. Website FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

Migration available today!


Queer Sci Fi has just released the annual QSF Flash Fiction anthology. This year, the theme is “Migration.”

MI-GRA-TION (noun)

1) Seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.

2) Movement of people to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.

3) Movement from one part of something to another.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300 word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Other Worlds Ink | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Queer Sci Fi is giving away a $20 gift Amazon certificate with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Migration meme

Each year, hundreds of writers send in stories for the Queer Sci Fi flash fiction anthology. Here are the opening lines from some of the stories chosen for the 2019 edition – Migration:

“Darkness has substance. It is tangible; different shades within the black, sounds, a taste. It is accompanied by self-awareness of time and thoughts, even when other senses fail.” —Hope for Charity, by Robyn Walker

“The sky has been screaming for five straight days when the shrimps come to take us away. They’ve been boxing up the others and hauling them off. Now they’re here for us, soaking wet, dragging cords and crates behind them.” —Shrimpanzee, Sionnain Bailey

“Allister always had faultless hair. He’d comb and gel it to perfection while gazing in the mirror. One day a pair of eyes stared back.” —Zulu Finds a Home, by Kevin Klehr

“On her sister’s wedding day Ari noticed that one of her ears had migrated to her hand. It was right after her high school crush, Emily, arrived with Cousin Matt.” —Playing It By Ear, Aidee Ladnier

“The wound was fatal. Their vessel wouldn’t live much longer. This is what came from leaving loose ends. Frantically they sought out a new vessel to migrate to. “ —The Essence, by L.M. Brown

“That night, we were sitting in the bed of her daddy’s old pickup truck and the radio was playing the best song. We had a pack of cigarettes between us and her hand was almost touching mine. The wheat field was silver in the moonlight. When they came, we weren’t surprised, just disappointed that our time was up already.” —Our Song, by Lauren Ring

“Willow said she was my wife, but I knew it wasn’t her, not the right her, anyway. Sure she looked like her with olive skin and bright pink hair. She even smelled of mango flowers, just like I remembered, but there was something about her smile that was slightly off, something about when she said she loved me that didn’t sit well in my old heart.” — They Said It Would Be Her, by Elizabeth Andre

“Agnes is eight when she first sees the river. Cutting its way through town, the only thing she knows not coated in coal dust. She sticks her toes in, comes home with wet socks and a secret. See, the river hadn’t been there yesterday.” —Stream of Consciousness, by Ziggy Schutz

“Terry twirled in her green synthsilk dress, looked at her reflection, liked what she saw. She felt good in her own skin, for maybe the first time.” —Altball, by RE Andeen

“The thing was in the corner. It had come through the window and had slid down the wall. Scratch went the sound. The noise of a hundred nails clawing at the wood. Nails of white bone. Alex pulled the sheets up quickly, covering every inch of skin and hair in a warm darkness.” —Whose Nightmare, by Jamie Bonomi

Author Bio

A hundred and twenty authors are included in Migration:

  • Butterflies, by A O’Donovan
  • The Return, by A.M. Leibowitz
  • A New Spring, by Aaron Silver
  • Universal Quota, by Abby Bartle
  • The Call of Home, by Adrienne Wilder
  • Starfall, by Adrik Kemp
  • Playing it By Ear, by Aidee Ladnier
  • Rabbit, by Amanda Thomas
  • That Does Not Love…, by Andi Deacon
  • Inborn, by Andrea Speed
  • Saving Ostakis, by Angelica Primm
  • A Dawn Wish, by Antonia Aquilante
  • Diaspora, by Ariel E. James
  • Transmigration, by Ashby Danvers
  • Across the Mirror, by Ava Kelly
  • Between, by BE Allatt
  • The Speck, by Bey Deckard
  • The King of the Mountain Cometh, by Bob Goddard
  • Before and After, by C. A. Chesse
  • Home, by C.A. McDonald
  • Too Much Tech, by C.L. Mannarino
  • Ze Who Walks Into the Future, by Carey Ford Compton
  • The Gate, by Carol Holland March
  • Our Last Light Skip, by Chloe Spencer
  • Passage, by Christine Taylor-Butler
  • The Perils of Pick-Up Lines, by Colton Aalto
  • Parched, by Crysta K. Coburn
  • Changeling Dreams, by Damian Serbu
  • Destinations, by Dave Creek
  • Another Job, Another Planet, by David Viner
  • Thiefmaster Rosalind’s Apprentice, by Devon Widmer
  • A Weight Off Their Shoulders, by Diane Morrison
  • Once a Year, by Dianne Hartsock
  • Mettle, by Die BoothForever Bound, by E.W. Murks
  • They Said It Would Be Her, by Elizabeth Andre
  • Til Death Do Us Part, by Elizabeth Anglin
  • Little One, by Eloreen Moon
  • GBFN, by Emilia Agrafojo
  • The Long Distance Thing, by Ether Nepenthes
  • Call My People Home, by Evelyn Benvie
  • Jace vs. the Incubi, by Eytan Bernstein
  • A New Tradition, by Foster Bridget Cassidy
  • The Curious Cabinet, by Ginger Streusel
  • Ready, by Hank Edwards
  • The Albatrosses, by Harry F. Rey
  • A Boy’s Shadow, by Helen De Cruz
  • Portrait of a Lady, by Isobel Granby
  • Beam That Is In, by J. Comer
  • The Hunt, by J. R. Frontera
  • Repeating History, by J. Summerset
  • Neil’s Journey, by J.P. Bowie
  • Homeward Bound, by J.S. Garner
  • Whose Nightmare?, by Jamie Bonomi
  • A Moment of Bravery, by Jessie Pinkham
  • Laetus, by Jet Lupin
  • Where You Go, I’ll Follow, by Joe Baumann
  • Ambrose Out of Ash, by Jonathan Fesmire
  • Shooting Modes, by Joshua Darrow
  • TerrorForm, by Juam Jocom
  • The Curse, by Jude Reid
  • Throwing Eggs, by K E Olukoya
  • Fly, by Kayleigh Sky
  • The Keep, by KC Burn
  • Zulu Finds a Home, by Kevin Klehr
  • The Risks and Advantages of Data Migration, by Kim Fielding
  • Irreversible, by kim gryphon
  • Looner, by Krishan Coupland
  • The Essence, by L.M. Brown
  • Our Song, by Lauren Ring
  • O Human Child, by Lisa Hamill
  • Goodbye Marghretta, by Lou Sylvre
  • Choices, by LV Lloyd
  • Endangered Species, by M Joseph Murphy
  • Planet Retro, Unplugged, by M. X. Kelly
  • Elemental, by M.D. Grimm
  • To Wish on a Love Knot, by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
  • Firebirds, by Marita M. Connor
  • Breeding Season, by Mary Newman
  • Kooks at Home, by Matt McHugh
  • Spring, by Mere Rain
  • Into the South, by Mindy Leana Shuman
  • Not How We Planned It, by Minerva Cerridwen
  • What Is Left Behind, by Monique Cuillerier
  • How Far Would You Go for the One You Love?, by Nathan Alling Long
  • Innocence, by Nathaniel Taff
  • Heart and Soul, by Nils Odlund
  • Tides, by Patricia Scott
  • Killer Queen, by Paula McGrath
  • Genesis, by Pelaam
  • If Pigs Could Fly, by Penelope Friday
  • Click, by R R Angell
  • Be Kind to Strangers, by Raina Lorring
  • Altball, by RE Andeen
  • Far From Home, by Riley S. Keene
  • Hope for Charity, by Robyn Walker
  • Night Comes to the Bea Arthur, by Rory Ni Coileáin
  • MIG Ration, by S R Jones
  • Going Back, by Sacchi Green
  • World Behind and Home Ahead, by Sara Testarossa
  • The Call of the Suet, by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • Research & Development, by Shaina Phillips
  • Into the Void, by Shannon Brady
  • The Silkie’s Dance, by Shannon West
  • Seal Hunt, by Shirley Meier
  • Shrimpanzee FIRST IN BOOK, by Sionnain Bailey
  • The Woman With No Name, by Siri Paulson
  • Memories of Clay, by Spencer Mann
  • Simulacrum, by Steve Carr
  • The Experience, by Steve Fuson
  • Flight, by Steven Harper
  • Birds of New Atlantis, by Stewart C Baker
  • Lurching Forward, by Sydney Blackburn
  • Spores of Retribution, by Tray Ellis
  • Skin Hunger, by Treasure Nguyen
  • Elvira, by Trevor Barton
  • Ever After, by Warren Rochelle
  • Into the Light, by Wart Hill
  • Dryads, by X Marduk
  • Stream of Consciousness, by Ziggy Schutz

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

Late July already?

As usual, the summer is slipping away much too fast. I’ve started seeing tomato trucks on the freeway, a sure local sign that it’s not much longer until school begins. Sigh.

I’ve managed to get some great travel in, though. I attended EuroPrideCon in Amsterdam last month, and it was great fun. On my way home I spent a few days in Iceland, a country I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. And man, I’m sure glad I did! What a beautiful place! Stunning scenery unlike anyplace else I’ve been, plus super friendly locals, cool history, and a sun that basically never sets in early July. I really hope I get to spend more time there soon.

One thing I did in Iceland was an 8-hour Golden Circle tour to take in some sights near Reykjavik. Waterfalls, geysers, horses, a continental rift…. Wonderful. My guide, Bjorn, was also wonderful, and he’s given me permission to make him a character in a book. I think he’ll make a great character, don’t you?

Bjorn and Spike and a waterfall

Back home, I’ve been working on three projects at once, which is unusual for me; generally I write one story at a time. But two of these are co-written, so it makes sense to rotate. I’m also going through edits on two holiday stories and will soon begin edits on Love Has No Direction, book 3 in the Love Can’t series. It should release early next year.

And later this week I’m off to Los Angeles for a couple of days with my younger daughter. We’re taking Amtrak, which means I get to visit beautiful Union Station again, and we’re staying at the historic Biltmore Hotel. Follow men Instagram and Facebook if you want to see photos.

My novella Chained is a finalist for the PRISM award, which is very exciting. The award winner will be announced this week during the Romance Writers of America meeting in New York. If you’re a fan of the Bureau series, you’ll be happy to know one of my current projects is Book 5 in the series.

So. What news do you have to share?

Cover Reveal: Overcoming Fear by Grace R. Duncan

Blurb: It’s been four years since a global pandemic has ravaged the world and almost a year since Mark and Duncan had their fateful meeting at a tiny pharmacy. Duncan has spent that time doing everything he could to ease Mark’s fears of losing him—fears that go beyond the normal danger of their new world. When a minister and his wife seek out Mark for help, Duncan sees an opportunity to show Mark another level of commitment—if Mark will dare to take it.

Available for preorder at Amazon!


About Grace:

<Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Website FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

The Book Army

Have you ever given thought to how many people put time and effort into making the books you enjoy? It’s a small army, really.

The author is obvious. Maybe our job is the hardest and most time-consuming, but we also get nearly all of the credit. There are our names, splashed across the covers.

But there are also editors. Before I submit a book to a publisher, a good friend who’s also an excellent pro editor goes through the complete manuscript twice. Of course she looks for grammar and punctuation errors, but that’s only part of it. She also makes sure the story makes sense, the characters stay in character, the facts are correct, and the entire prose flows smoothly.

Once the manuscript feels polished, I send it to the publisher. An editor will read it over and also likely send it to some reviewers for their response. If I’m lucky, the publisher offers me a contract (which is created by an admin person).

Now the manuscript will usually be seen by three different editors. Each makes suggestions, I respond, and then the ms moves on to the next editor. After that, a copy editor looks it over. This may seem excessive, but small errors often have snuck through this far. With a recent book, the copy editor found a spot where I’d mixed up the MCs’ names (something I do often)–and the prior 5 sets of eyes hadn’t caught it.

Next, somone in the design department takes the text and makes it look pretty. They’ll add the copyright info and title page, the chapter headings, and the stuff at the back of the book. Then the entire manuscript gets one last look by an proofreader–and by me–to find any problems.

Meanwhile, a blurbs coordinator has been helping me craft the blurb (the brief description that appears on the back of the book and in online listings). And an artist has been taking my (usually vague) ideas and turning them into cover art. The artist will also design the outside of the book as a whole, including the spine and back.

Other people at the publishing house will work on getting the book up on websites and sending it to distributors. Folks in marketing will be doing their jobs too. This might include working with review sites and bloggers to plan cover reveals and blog tours. Reviewers will be offered ARCs.

And finally… the book is in your hands! Ah, but we might not be done yet. If the book goes to audio, we have audio coordinators, talented narrators, and sometimes sound producers. If there are translations, those require a translator and proofreader too, sometimes new cover art, and all the work of getting a book set to go.

So the next time you pick up a new book, take a moment to thank all the hard-working people who put that book in your hands.

Landry’s Blog Tour

Redesigning Landry Bishop releases May 21, and I’m celebrating with a blog tour!

Each stop has unique content: interviews, top 5 lists, and bits of fun stuff related to the story. Stop by all of them to learn more about cravings, things to see in Nebraska, unique hotels, and lots more.

Chained playlist

Sometimes I listen to music to get me in the right mood while I’m writing. Since Chained takes place in 1989–and since music is important to one of the main characters–I had an appropriate playlist as I worked on that story. Not so much the stuff I listened to in 1989, which tended toward punk and dinosaur rock, but rather the songs you’d hear on a top-40 station or maybe dance to in a club. These are the songs that are so important to Terry.

In case you’d like to listen too, I’ve compiled a playlist of the songs alluded to in the story. Where possible, I’ve linked the original music video. Give them a listen and take a little trip backwards in time.

Do you have favorite songs from this era? List them in a comment!