Saturday, May 30, 2015

Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

So, last week I saw this:

Yes, that would be Mad Max! And oh look, it has two of the most beautiful people in the world, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, being badasses! Hell to the yes, please.

There's been a lot of talk about whether or not it's got a feminist message,or whether really it's not feminist at all and the women are just as sexualized as ever. I found it to be more empowering than not with regards to the main female characters, but that's not why I went to see this movie. I didn't go see it for the actors, as amazing as they are. I didn't go see it because I adore the franchise either. I went to see it because I was in the mood for action, without being pilloried on the tropes of So Much Action I Don't Even Care Anymore or Let Me Dialogue You To Death (both Avengers, methinks). I went to see this movie because I wanted to see amazing stunts, scenery, and explosions with a soupcon of plot to get me through.

I got a fucking amazing deal, with those points in mind. The stunts are phenomenal, the scenery and filming breathtaking, the story decent and the acting spot-on. I'm so sick of seeing massive cities destroyed in action movies, or everyone delving so deeply into their personal angst that it overwhelms their character. This movie is pure adrenaline, with very little speech--the script must be kind of hilarious to read. It's exactly what I wanted, and goddamn, did I ever want it. Favorite movie since Kingsmen, definitely.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Release: Out In Colorado 2!

Hi guys! release! The writing group I'm a member of, Out In Colorado, has put together an anthology of stories set in our very own state. They run the gamut from contemporary sweetness to paranormal suspense to mythologically displaced (the last one would be mine, yeah;). All proceeds go to helping us pay for our Denver Pride booth, so any interest is truly appreciated. There are some really great authors in this antho, and some really excellent stories. You can find it here: Out In Colorado 2.

Want a blurb? I got one for you!

Seven gay stories that could only take place under the impossibly blue Colorado sky. Whether you want love (or lust) in the mountains, or prefer the busy streets of Denver and the eclectic environs of Boulder, we have your next read. Seven Rocky Mountain authors have joined forces to take you Out In Colorado. .
Join George Seaton, Caitlin Ricci, Cari Z, Jess Roth, A.J. Marcus, Carter Quinn, and P.D. Singer for adventure and a bit of romance.

How about an excerpt from mine? The title is The Price of Magic and the story is about the descendant of Vasilissa the Beautiful and his search for Baba Yaga in the wilds of Estes Park. Plus there's pot. And craft beers. Because Colorado, right?


The door opened a moment later, and Vasily found himself face-to-face with Baba Yaga herself. Well, more nose-to-nose with. Her nose seemed to take up most of the middle of her face, a jutting blade as pockmarked and warty as the stories said. She also, he noted with the small part of his brain that wasn’t currently consumed with terror, had a ring in one nostril. It was a little one way back at the base, probably silver but so tarnished that it looked like a circle of soot. Her teeth were jagged, her eyes were small and squinted narrowly at him, and her hair was as smooth as barbed wire.

“I smell something Russian!” she shouted. “Who are you then, little Russian mal’chik?”

Somehow he managed to pry his voice up from the bottom of his lungs and answer. “My name is Vasily, Baba Yaga.”

“Vasily, a Vasily, always the Vasilys of the world, they are the ones that give me trouble,” she muttered darkly. “The boys, the girls, all trouble, nothing but that. I suppose you do not come alone, then?”

“No, Baba Yaga.”

Her enormous eyebrows rose a bit. “You have the doll then? Authentic Vasily, at least, that is something. And what would you ask of me?”

“I need magic that will save someone’s life.”

Baba Yaga sighed. “Why couldn’t you just ask for fire, hm? I’m good with fire! I would give you fire for old times’ sake, no need to barter with yourself. Are you sure you don’t want some fire? Or some marijuana, maybe. The kids who play in the field, they plant some here and I tell you, it is very fine. Better now that I tend to it, better and stronger than ever before.”

Vasily was halfway to thinking he was high right now, honestly. This wasn’t exactly how he’d pictured his meeting with the witch of the woods going. “No thanks, I don’t smoke pot.”

“You don’t eat it neither, then. Not even in brownie? Is very tasty, completely legal.”

“No.” Vasily shrugged. “Sorry.”

“Well, fine then. You want to barter for a life, you need to step inside, you letting all my warmth out.” She turned around and he followed her inside, which was way bigger than seemed possible from out there. It actually looked pretty cozy: there was a ceramic stove letting off radiant heat that circled the room, cupboards and baskets full of food and blankets and there, beside the fireplace, an enormous mortar and pestle.

“Home sweet home,” Baba Yaga said with a sneer, but Vasily noticed that she patted the stove like a friendly pet before sitting down on top of it. “Pull the table over to me, my bones ache tonight.”

Vasily grabbed the wooden table in the middle of the room, which was laden with so much food it seemed about to collapse, and carefully shifted it over next to the stove. There was kvass, which he’d expected, and red wine, and also what smelled like a…porter, maybe? There was also cabbage soup, thick, dark rye bread and an entire roasted pig.

“You like beer?” Baba Yaga asked when she noticed him discreetly sniffing the mug. “I brew it myself, in the walls of my home! I think my little house is getting little drunk from it, eh?” She laughed and reached for the mug.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Redstone, Chapter Two

Notes: The next chapter of Redstone, in which I start to assemble the team. This is definitely an ensemble book, you'll be getting a lot of different perspectives as we go along, but let's start with an old friend!

Redstone: Chapter Two: Avengers Assemble


Raymond Alexander was a tall man, with long legs and a purposeful stride that made keeping up to him difficult for someone his aide’s height. After seventeen months she was used to it, though, and trotted alongside him as he headed for his private ship, taking notes all the while.

“I want you overseeing all of his medical care until the transfer to Redstone is complete. Don’t let them be soft with his mods. I want a complete shutdown per the court order.”

“Yes, sir.”

“No private communication, everything he says to anyone is to be monitored. I want copies sent to me of all exchanges, and be sure to flag the ones that occur between him and anyone in the Central System, especially Admiral Liang.”

“Yes, sir, except…”

The president scowled at his aide. “Except what, Tamara?”

“Well, sir, your brother’s conversations with his counsel are legally mandated to be private. I can’t get you copies of those.”

“True, I suppose. For now.” Raymond stopped, shut his eyes and rolled his shoulders out, the most visible signs of tension that Tamara had ever seen in him. “Get me everything else, and put an order into the courts for a tighter level of surveillance on speech monitoring for Kyle. We might get permission for keyword containment.”

“Yes, sir.” Raymond started walking again and Tamara jogged at his side.

“The transfer to Redstone should be done within a week. I want you to stick to him and his entourage until that transfer is complete, you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I don’t want him to have any opportunity to wriggle out of his incarceration period, Tamara, so mind that you keep everything strictly above board until Kyle is safely imprisoned. After that…”

“It’s a waiting game, I suppose,” Tamara said. “Until the trial, I mean.”

“No.” Raymond shook his head. “Redstone is endgame, Tamara.”

Tamara’s rapid steps stumbled for a moment, one hand going up to smooth her pale brown hair. “Uh…sir…”

Raymond didn’t stop until he was at the port to his personal ship. When he turned back to her, his face was full of sympathy. The expression looked odd on him, a prey mask stretched over a predator’s maw. “Don’t worry about that,” he said soothingly. “Just worry about keeping my brother firmly in hand before the transfer to Redstone. Once that’s done, I’ll bring you back home. I got an update from the genetic engineers yesterday, and they’re making real progress on a cure for you, Tamara. Soon all of this will be behind you, and you’ll have a very long, very productive life to look forward to.”

Tamara shivered slightly, her eyes wide, and Raymond chuckled and touched her cheek. “I thought you’d like that,” he said. “Just one more week, my dear.”

“Yes, sir,” Tamara murmured. Raymond turned and headed into the ship, the port closing firmly after him. Five minutes later The Regency had detached from the transport ship, and Tamara headed back to her temporary quarters, hustling head-down like a good little worker. Once she got to her private quarters and enabled blackout mode, she set her tab down and wiped a hand roughly across her cheek.

“Slimy fuck,” she muttered. “Sick, slimy fuck.” She pulled her hair back into a bun, then scratched her forehead. “Fucking fashion.” Why it had become la mode in the Central System for feminine to equal having your face mostly covered by your damn hair was a mystery to Tamara, except in all the ways it wasn’t. The resurgence in sexism over the past decade was directly linked to the dismissal of a lot of the Fringe planets and their “atypical” inhabitants, people who didn’t conform and didn’t care to. The idea that gender expression could even be an issue in this day and age had mystified Tamara until she met Raymond Alexander, and then it made too much sense.

If there had ever been a man who’d worshipped at the cult of masculinity, it was the president. He was the type to cherry pick at history, to wax rhapsodic about the great men of the past, most especially Alexander the Great. Not that that was coincidental, at all. And never mind that the guy had been a conqueror intent on expanding his empire instead of contracting it, or that he’d died young of illness and/or assassination, or that he’d had male lovers. Raymond was interested in the archetype: the fiction, not the fact. It both explained some of his idiosyncrasies and made others even stranger.

The president clearly wanted to be adored, and by a large swathe of the population, he was. Personally, though, he was alone, and seemed to prefer it that way. No close friends or spouses, no lovers, not even escorts spent any time in his bed as far as Tamara could tell. Raymond had no offspring, and the closest thing to genuine affection that Tamara had ever seen in him was what he expressed toward his little brother Kyle, and even that was poisoned.

The urge to take a shower was sublimated by the need to get in touch with Sir. Tamara shrugged out of her too-tight silver jacket—why the fabric refused to adjust properly was another fashion mystery that she wanted to set on fire—and settled on the narrow divan beside the false window. Currently it sported a jungle scene, but Tamara shifted it to a rocky cliff face overlooking a blue-grey ocean, with a dark purple sky in the background. She added the sound of waves and wind, and it was almost like being home. Then she assembled her private transponder.

Private, because of course Tamara needed something that didn’t hook into the prison ship’s network and also couldn’t be connected to Raymond Alexander’s communications. Assembled, because she would never have been allowed an actual private transponder. President Alexander demanded complete subservience in his employees, and that meant giving up all semblance of independence in most aspects of their lives, from what they wore to who they spoke to. Privacy was anathema, cohesion and adherence were everything. It was a good thing that Tamara had spent the time she had at the Academy learning how to make what she needed on her own.

She pulled part of her tab and set it on the divan, then pulled the retro-but-still-allowable chip from the center of her belt and slotted it into the top of the scavenged motherboard. Her earrings, completely inert when worn, became power supplies when dipped in an acid environment, which she got from the cleaning supplies in her bathroom. A few more tweaks and a minor calculation to get to the nearest bouncer, and Tamara uploaded her code and waited.

Sir answered after fifteens seconds. He looked as imperturbable as always, agelessly handsome in his crisp Academy uniform, his thick black hair a little longer than Tamara remembered it. In the background she heard Hermes say, “Mercury protocol activated,” and breathed a little sigh of relief. They were secure.

“Hummingbird,” Sir greeted her. “What do you have for me?”

“Nothing good,” she replied, wishing it was otherwise. “The President just left. I’m staying on as his liaison until Fledgling is delivered to Redstone.”

“So it is Redstone, then.”

“Yeah.” Tamara winced. She knew just how much time and effort Sir had put into getting a safety net in place at Caravan, where Kyle really should have been sent given his criminal history and family name. “His mods are going to be deactivated, and all his private communications are being monitored except those directly related to his legal counsel. I can’t guarantee that those will stay private for much longer either.”

“I’ll let Peacock know.”

Tamara snorted a little laugh, because if there was ever a more accurate descriptor for one of Sir’s operatives she didn’t know it. Garrett was one of her favorite people, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t kind of ridiculous too. “You do that. What’s our next move, Sir?”

“For you, monitoring, just like you’re supposed to. I sincerely doubt there will be any way for you to get close enough to Fledgling to speak with him, and I don’t want you to take undue risks with regard to your position. We do need to know what happens to him, though, so keep me updated as often as you can. Mercury will let you record messages in fifteen-second increments, so use the coded sequence if you can’t get me specifically.”

“Yes, Sir.” Who’d have thought a modified Morse code would be good for anything in this modern day and age?

“When you get to Redstone, the best option we have is for you to manufacture a reason to stay on the prison. You’re incredibly useful in your current position, but our top priority is the survival of Fledgling. See what you can do.”

“Yes, Sir.” Tamara would make that happen, if she had to give herself an actual heart attack to do it. “Are there any operatives in place at Redstone?”

“Peacock had two in positions of power at Caravan, but transferring them to Redstone will take time. The human guard population is only twenty percent compared with Caravan’s fifty, so it will be harder to get both of them in. There is someone on the inside at Redstone, but communication is extremely sparse.”

“Why’s that, Sir?”

“Because he’s in the prison population, Hummingbird.”

“An inmate?” Tamara was genuinely surprised. “I didn’t think it was possible to fake getting into Redstone. I mean, it’s the supermax for a reason. The only fakes that get in are the ones that have no choice, like Fledgling.”

“He isn’t a fake. Not exactly.”

“There’s a supermax prisoner in Redstone working for you? Seriously?”

“Peacock and Puffin both vouched for him.”

“Fucking Puffin,” Tamara grunted, because there was entitled and then there was dismissive, and none of her exchanges with Puffin had been anything but both of those. “How are we going to get him in touch with Fledgling?”

“He’s going to have to do it without our help, I’m afraid. Unless you can pass Fledgling information about an operative who’s largely in the dark, which I doubt. He’s modded, though, I do know that much. And Peacock oversaw the mods himself, so they’re going to be the best quality. If things go well, Fledgling won’t be alone in there.”

“Well, that’s something at least,” Tamara agreed. “Can I have a designation for this shadow operative?”

Sir smiled faintly. “Call him Magpie.”

Tamara raised one eyebrow. “Does he like shiny things, then?”

“He’s adaptable, or so I understand.” Something beeped, and Sir frowned as he glanced at a screen on his desk. “I have another communication coming through that can’t be delayed, I’m afraid.”

“I understand, Sir. Hummingbird out.” She cut the power with a sigh. If someone had asked Tamara when she was a teenager whether or not she’d enjoy spending so much time on her own, she’d have answered with a resounding “Yes!” Now that she’d been in the game for a few years, though, she could feel it wear on her a little. She hadn’t spoken with her father for months; they’d never been very close to begin with, but her dropping out of the Academy and then going to work for President Alexander were unforgivable, as far as Dad was concerned. She wondered if he was eating right, wondered how things were on Pandora. She wondered when the President would launch his attack there.

Not that she could prove that, not even with all her time as his aide. She was careful, but he was completely paranoid. He needed to go, and to manage that they needed Fledgling.

“Magpie better be good,” Tamara said to herself as she started to disassemble her transponder.

He had better be damn good.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Redstone Ch. 1, Pt. 2

Notes: Here's part two, and we get to meet Raymond! The interpersonal plot thickens, and a hint for next time: the POV is going to change. Kudos to whoever guesses who's perspective is coming next.

Also, I got a lovely piece of art from Caitlin Ricci to accompany this story. Isn't it beautiful? I'm so pleased to have it, huge thanks to her.

Title: Redstone Chapter One, Part Two: Brotherly Love


Kyle had never had a pet, growing up. Not a real one, not the kind that followed you and fawned over you, the kind that begged for attention, for any scraps of affection that you would give it. He’d resented it some as a child, because a lot of his peers—the elite, the richest of the rich—not only had designer pets, they were even allowed to bring them to boarding school. Kyle remembered looking at fluffy epaulet snakes and catterpets and even an actual dog once and yearning for something of his own, something that would love him without reservation. As he got older, though, he started to recognize that feeling, and the kinship it sought out within him. He knew that feeling, he did. And he both loved it and loathed it so violently that just thinking about it made him retch.

That was how Kyle felt about Raymond. And the worst part was, he had no idea why.

One and a half standard years of his life Kyle spent with Raymond Alexander, who was already the president of the Federation, already a phenomenally successful politician and businessman. Ray had never been married, never had children. He’d never tied himself down to his biological family; the animosity between him and Foster had been evident even to Kyle. Ray didn’t seem to love anything, and Kyle couldn’t remember why he felt the way he did about his brother.

He heard the outer door chime, and stood up off his bed. He wasn’t about to face his brother from a position of weakness. They were the same height in bare feet, and it was the closest to equal that Kyle could make them under his current circumstances. The inner door opened, and Raymond Alexander, the President of the Federation, walked in. He was tall and frosty in pale shades of purple and silver, golden-brown hair gleaming, his sharp-jawed expression of sternness familiar. An aide followed him in, a mousy-haired woman who’s head barely came to the middle of Raymond’s chest. He handed her his tab, then waved her away. She cast one wide-eyed look at Kyle before scampering back into the outer chamber. The door closed behind her, and the President was replaced by Ray.

“Damn it, Kyle,” Ray said, his unflappable mien giving way to something that looked vaguely tired and disappointed. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Don’t give me that,” Ray snapped. “There’s no monitoring in here, it’s against regulations. You don’t have to pretend to be mind-controlled when it’s just the two of us, now tell me the truth.”

Yeah, right. For all that his brother bothered with regulations, which was not at all when they didn’t suit his purposes. Kyle wasn’t about to victimize his own case by breaking protocol. “I don’t know what you mean,” he repeated. “I would hate to do anything that made you unhappy with me.”

Ray’s lips thinned as he frowned irritably. “Have it your way, then.” He sighed heavily and shook his head. “I have to say, I’ve been over and over this in my head and I still don’t understand why you’re doing this. What happened, huh? What happened to you, to turn against me like this? We’re family, Kyle. We’re almost all that’s left of the Alexander line. We should be allies, not enemies.”

“I agree,” Kyle said, as blandly as he could manage while his mind raged. You killed them, you were behind it, all of it, you killed them, you didn’t care that they were family then!  “I am your ally, brother. You wanted Cody Helms dead. I only tried to do what you wanted.”

“I never wanted anyone dead.”

Kyle couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled up out of him. “Right,” he agreed, trying to sound less sarcastic, less hateful. It was hard. “Of course not.”

“Shut your disrespectful mouth and listen to me,” Ray snapped. “Listen to what I’m telling you. I don’t need to kill children to get what I want, do you understand? It serves no purpose and would endanger me unnecessarily. I’m not responsible for the independent actions of all of my people or those who’d like to be in my inner circle, but I can guarantee you that I never spoke or wrote out an order to have anyone at The Academy killed.”

You never needed to say a word, when your assassin was a psychic. “I know,” was all Kyle said.

“You don’t believe me, though.”

“I believe everything you say,” Kyle said in a sing-song tone. “I love you the best, remember?”

Ray stepped in close all of a sudden, and Kyle’s breath caught in his throat. He was frozen, caught in the sights of a gun and unable to move away. Bright blue eyes stared into his, and Kyle felt his heart jackknife in his chest when Ray reached up and cupped his face in both of his hands. Ray had large hands, broad-palmed and long-fingered, and they covered the sides of Kyle’s face from the edge of his jaw to the soft, thin skin of his temple. Ray cradled Kyle, keeping him utterly transfixed.

“That’s the greatest shame of all of this,” Ray said, and there was genuine sadness in his voice. “You do, don’t you? You lost so much I never intended for you to lose, but you always kept that. I knew it, even when there was no good way for me to use it. She wrested you away from me again and I lost my chance to perfect you, but that stuck. The love stuck.”

It did. It had. The love Kyle felt for his brother was like a river running rapid through his body, filling him and scouring him all at once, rough and tumbling and cold. He loved Ray—he felt it like a sore he couldn’t excise, like a fate he couldn’t escape. Kyle loved him and he didn’t know why, or why it hurt so badly to do so. He just stood there and trembled with the force of it, the confusion of such an overwhelming adoration. I do, he wanted to say. I do, I love you, and I hate it, I hate it, I hate you.

“Kyle.” Ray shut his eyes for a moment, fine lines of stress radiating out from the edges of them, before he leaned in, tilted Kyle’s head down and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “I wish I’d done better by you. I wish I’d managed to keep you with me.”

Then he let go of Kyle and stepped back, and Kyle felt like he’d suddenly been saved from drowning. Ray straightened the violet collar on his suit, then his long cuffs, before speaking.

“You’re being sent to Redstone, as I’m sure you know by now. The length of your stay is undetermined, but the sooner the trial the sooner you’ll be out of there.”

“And the weaker my case will be.”

Ray smiled thinly. “It’s none of my business how your legal team is managing preparations. Your mods will be deactivated tomorrow, and you’ll leave the following day. No one in Redstone has active mods, so you won’t have to worry about competing,” he added, completely insincerely. Kyle shuddered lightly, and wished he hadn’t as Ray’s smile grew.

“You’re going to wish you’d never stepped out of my shadow, little brother,” Ray promised him. “You think you’re smart, but you have no idea the level I’m operating on. Whatever you have planned, whatever you’ve been counting on to save you—it’s not going to happen. You’re just a bump in the road, Kyle. I’ll roll over you and come back stronger than before. It’s a shame you won’t be around to absorb the lessons of your perfidy.” He nodded his head. “Goodbye, Kyle.”

Words fought behind Kyle’s teeth, curses battling entreaties, loathing toiling against pleas. In the end he kept his mouth shut, not trusting what would come out of it. Ray waited for a long moment, the strangely eager look of anticipation giving way to disappointment before he finally turned and left. The inner door shut, and Kyle felt like his legs had been snapped in half. He collapsed back onto the bed, folding into a hundred sharp angles like a protein, body and mind and soul all in a state of disarray. His heart was going too fast, and his brain felt like it was muffled from cryosleep, slow and dizzy.

No one else could do this to him, no one but Ray. Kyle hated the effect his brother had on him, he did, so why did everything in him feel like it was dying when Ray said goodbye, like it might be the last time they ever saw each other? Why did he want to scream and beg Ray to come back to him, to forgive him, to hold him again? Kyle would never give in to those impulses, but they were so strong, so fierce…

The sudden blare of the alarm startled him out of his swirling circle of self-loathing. Kyle looked up as a synthetic warden hummed into the room, an expression of polite concern on its artificial face.

“You have injured yourself, Inmate.”

“I have?” Too late Kyle realized that he’d bitten right through his lip, warm and sticky blood flowing over his chin.

“I will take you to the infirmary.” The warden moved forward and, before Kyle could object, picked him up off the bed, perfectly supporting the core of his body as its programming demanded.

“I can walk just fine.”

“That is not protocol, Inmate. I will transport you.”

Shit. Kyle rolled his eyes but didn’t try to escape the warden’s grasp. It might be the last time a jailer showed him any sort of consideration, even if it was completely unnecessary—he should get as much out of it as he could. Kyle touched his chin, then looked at the bright red stains on his fingertips.

How much blood did he really share with Ray? Why had he and Foster been so at odds? Those were questions that had plagued Kyle for his entire life, ever since he first met Ray as a small child. The introduction had been brief, an interlude in a space station as both parties traveled elsewhere. Kyle remembered the chill in both voices as his brother and father greeted each other, and the way Ray’s voice got somehow colder when he addressed Kyle’s mother Haven. Kyle had expected to be ignored, but instead Ray knelt down in front of him. He hadn’t said anything, just stared for a long moment. Kyle remembered how his mother’s hands had tightened on his shoulders to almost the point of pain, like she was going to jerk him back at any second.

He blinked in surprise as the warden laid him down on a Regen bed. “You will be well momentarily, Inmate. This event of self-harm has been documented.”

Just what he needed. “Great.” The Regen tube closed over his head and Kyle settled back against the soft, contouring surface of the bed. It was overkill for a bitten lip, but he had the feeling that this, too, was going to be the stuff of dreams before long.

He’d better enjoy being healthy while it was still an option.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New download links for Diferentes Esferas

Hi guys

So, there's a formatting issue on the download link I provided earlier, because naturally. I have access to others for PDF, epub and Mobi versions now, thanks again to Traductores Anonimos, so do not despair!

New download links:

You'll find these links on the page for this story at the right-hand side of the blog, too.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Redstone Ch. 1, Pt. 1

Notes: Hi guys! I'm back from Japan and unfortunately sick, naturally (I could feel it happen on the airplane, freaking person with a cough one row back from me) but still able to write. This is the beginning of Redstone, the newest entry in the Bonded universe. It's going to be multiple POV, Kyle Alexander and several others, and you're going to reacquaint yourself with all sorts of people from previous stories. It's also going to be kind of dark, because well...prison. And this universe is entering a kind of dark place for a while. But! You know I won't hurt you that bad. Keep the faith, darlings.

Title: Redstone Chapter One, Part One: Memories


It wasn’t the solitary confinement that bothered Kyle so much as the waiting. He could handle being alone. He honestly preferred it much of the time, despite being trained from a very early age to work a room, to capture the attention of a crowd and hold it. Kyle wasn’t naturally gregarious, but nature didn’t matter when the combined expectations of an extroverted father and a politically-minded brother had guided his actions for most of his life. Kyle was smart, and he’d always been able to gauge which way the winds of guardianship blew. He also learned far more about the darker side of family dynamics quite young, and if that meant he needed to become something new in order to survive, then he did.

Kyle stared at the ceiling of his cell, the surface undulating with a mint green light that was meant to be calming. It might have started out that way, but his anxiety was high enough now that it didn’t even come close to working. The lavender aromatherapy that scented the air was merely cloying, and the faint thrum of music that was meant to soothe grated instead. Kyle was well aware that his current imprisonment was just about as comfortable as it could be, given the charges, but the uncertainty of his future imprisonment took the comfort out of his present circumstances.

Would he get to stay here until his trial? During it? Or would he be sent off to Caravan or Redstone? He didn’t know much about either place and his implant had been curbed, cut down to only very basic functions, so he couldn’t look anything up either. His counsel could only come to see him once a standard week, and their conversations had been so busy that Kyle hadn’t remembered to ask about the details of the prisons.

Dwelling on it only made it feel worse, like the room was constricting, pressing in on him. Kyle hadn’t had a panic attack for years now, but thinking like he was thinking was tempting fate. He needed a new train of thought.

He rolled over on his mattress, felt it shift to cushion the new layout of his body. A smart mattress was just a little luxury, but probably one he’d be giving up if he went to prison. The last time he’d gone without that kind of amenity for any length of time was when he was seven years old. The escape pods on his father’s ship had been about the bare essentials, and Kyle had existed in the five-by-five foot space for ten days before his emergency beacon was located. By the time he’d been found the air in the pod had been redolent with the stench of vomit and urine, and he’d been unresponsive. He could remember his sister reaching for him, though, pulling him into her arms despite how filthy he’d been. Kyle’s memory had always been too sharp for his own good.

He shut his eyes, remembering. They’d been making a trip to Ceyla, his father at the helm, his mother and three of Kyle’s older siblings along for the ride. He was the youngest, the baby out of the eleven kids that Foster Alexander had fathered so far. His father had been larger than life, looming like a titan in Kyle’s young eyes. There was love there, but fierceness as well. Kyle hadn’t felt comfortable alone with his father, so he spent most of his time with his siblings. Ariana had only been two years older, and they’d played and done lessons together, his mother overseeing things with a distant gaze from where she sat on the couch and played with her tab.

Kyle remembered the alarms. Blaring sirens, flashing orange lights. His mother startling, dropping the tab to the ground. That had been odd to him—she never dropped things, was never less than utterly elegant. He remembered his father’s voice over the com: “Get the kids into the pods, Haven, now.” It was the last thing Kyle had ever heard his father say.

“Come on, you two.” His mother took his and Ariana’s hands and led them out of the central sitting room and down the hallway, past the bustling crewmen moving with a purpose that Kyle didn’t understand, all the way to the very end where six tiny pods waited, each with its own orange and yellow door. She’d opened one of them and pushed Ariana toward it. Ariana had balked.

“I want to stay with Kyle!” she’d insisted, taking his hand and pulling her along with him. He’d gone willingly, wanting to stay with her—and she wanted him to. Why should they be apart?

“They aren’t big enough for two of you,” his mother had replied. “It won’t be for long, Ari.” She’d leaned in and kissed his sister’s forehead, then forcibly separated their hands. Ariana had resisted, accidentally scratching Kyle’s wrist with her fingernails as they were pried apart. But she’d gone into the pod without more fuss, and a moment later it was Kyle’s turn.

“What about Bryn and Polla?” he’d asked as she’d settled him back, buckling him into the overlarge chair.

“They’re coming, Kyle, they’ll get into pods too.”

“And you and father?”

His mother’s smile had been tight. “Of course. We’ll all be together again soon. You just be brave and quiet and this will all be over soon.” She’d kissed his forehead too, stroked one hand over his cheek, then left the pod and shut the door. Kyle had been too stunned with the speed of it all to object, to cry, to do anything other than sit there, quiet and as brave as he thought he could be, as the pod was ejected from the ship. And then…

Nothing. For ten days. And he remembered it, he remembered every crawling minute of it, every awful fumble of his too-small fingers at the harness that restrained him until he finally just squirmed out of it, the work of hours. He remembered looking through the small porthole trying to see other pods, or the ship, or anything that looked familiar, but there’d been nothing. Nothing but the blackness of space.

Kyle had tried the rudimentary radio attached to the pod’s tiny control panel, but no one had responded. He had looked for directional controls but none existed for the tiny pod. He’d found the emergency store of food and the rudimentary toilet, and then he’d settled back in to wait. And wait. And wait.

He remembered being found, and too out of it to respond to his oldest sister’s gentle exhortations. Berengaria was one of the children from his father’s first marriage, and he’d never gotten to know her very well. But she’d smelled good, and her bright blonde hair was familiar, and Kyle had finally felt warm again once he was wrapped up in her arms. It had been hours before he felt ready to talk, but when he finally did he asked, “Ari?” Berengaria shook her head.

“Her pod doesn’t seem to have made it. There’s no sign of it in the wreckage of the ship, but there were no pings from her emergency beacon either.”

Wreckage? Kyle had wanted to ask, but that was when the tears caught up to him, the first time he’d cried since he’d been ejected into space. His oldest sister had held him and soothed him as best she could, but she wasn’t his mother, and she wasn’t Ari. She wasn’t important to him yet, and she couldn’t make him feel better about the horrible things. Not until later did that happen, and only briefly.

Kyle remembered everything, everything from about the age of three on, until he was eight years old and Berengaria lost custody of him to Raymond. Raymond was the oldest of the Alexander children, more than fifty years older than Kyle, and he hadn’t known much about Raymond other than his father had disliked him and Berengaria hated him. He could see the tears of frustration on Beregaria’s face, and hear the distress in her voice. He could hear his brother, projecting confidence like only a politician could. He remembered being swept up in strong arms that held him too tight, jerked away again from yet another sister and taken off with Raymond. And then…

Nothing. He had absolutely no memories from the next year and a half of his life, right up until he started boarding at the Academy prep school. It had taken years for Kyle to realize that that was wrong, that something had likely been deliberately done to him to wipe those memories from his mind. By the time he’d been able to do anything about it, he’d decided not to. He didn’t need memories from his childhood to know that Raymond was an absolute dick.

Kyle couldn’t have jumped onboard Admiral Liang’s covert operation faster. Research into his family’s deaths had been damning, not just about his parents’ but other siblings as well. The more he learned about Raymond Alexander, President of the Federation, the less he knew he could trust the man. Family was nothing to his brother, power was everything. Power and prestige. The chance to take that away from Ray was worth everything to Kyle, even his freedom. Even his life.

Although getting to keep those would obviously be way better.

The door chime dinged. Kyle sat up and turned to face it, curious. It wasn’t the right time for a meal, and he wasn’t supposed to see his counsel for another two days.

But there his head lawyer was, a grim expression on his face. Kyle felt his heart sink.

“Prison, then?”

“Redstone,” his lawyer confirmed. “Our injunctions were denied by the new judge, who incidentally was brought on just this week after Judge Carter succumbed to some very startling and unexpected allegations of misconduct.” He shook his head helplessly. “There’s nothing I can do to stop the move, Kyle. All I can do is push for a faster trial, which is going to make gathering the witnesses we need difficult. I’m sorry.”

Redstone. Not Caravan, which would have been bad but was at least in the Central System, which followed guidelines and had oversight for their prisons. Redstone was a maximum-security detention center in the middle of nowhere that held some of the worst offenders the Federation had ever taken alive.

“Also…your brother is here. He wants to meet with you.”

Fuck. And Kyle had thought that this day couldn’t get any worse.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

New Spanish Translation: Diferentes Esferas!

Hi guys!

Look at this gorgeous cover!!!

I've had this for a week but only had the time to post it today, now that I'm back from my trip to Japan. That was awesome and I'll talk about it later, but for now, Traductores Anónimos has graciously done a fantastic new Spanish translation of my story Different Spheres, which was published with Dreamspinner back in 2011. The original blurb is this:

Gil Donaldson returned to his hometown of Boulder, Colorado, after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis cut short his teaching career and his love life on the East Coast. Waking one morning to find that his vision has gone blurry, which makes driving himself to the hospital out of the question, Gil solicits the help of his slightly-reclusive neighbor, Warren Masters, to take him to the ER.

The two men become friends over the course of Gil’s recovery from his latest relapse, and while Gil recognizes he’s attracted to the other man, he refuses to act on it. Gil doesn’t like relying on anyone else to ensure his emotional or physical health, and he’s grown used to being alone, or at least that’s what he tells himself. Warren is a man of few words, but he’s there whenever Gil needs him, and he has only one request for them to be together.

Sound good? Try it in Spanish!

Gil Donaldson volvió a su ciudad natal en Boulder, Colorado, después de que un diagnóstico de esclerosis múltiple interrumpiera su carrera docente y su vida amorosa en La Costa Este. Una mañana se despierta con la visión borrosa pero no puede conducir hasta el hospital  y Gil solicita la ayuda de su  solitario vecino, Warren Masters, para que lo lleve a urgencias.

Los dos hombres se hacen amigos en el transcurso de la recuperación de Gil de su última recaída, y aunque Gil reconoce que se siente atraído hacia el otro hombre, se niega a actuar en consecuencia. No le gusta depender de nadie para garantizar su salud emocional o física, y está acostumbrado a estar solo, o al menos eso es lo que se dice a sí mismo. Warren es un hombre de pocas palabras, pero está ahí siempre que Gil le necesita, y solo pide una oportunidad para poder estar juntos.

You can find the Spanish translation of this story in my page links on the right side of the blog, under Diferentes Esferas, or here at AO3, where it's also downloadable: Diferentes Esferas.

Please read and enjoy, and thank you so much for the comments on Dando Bola--I'm sorry I haven't replied yet, life was immensely busy but I'm grateful for every kind word. And please, visit Traductores Anónimos and check out their massive collection of works, they are completely amazing: