Warmth, family, good cheer? Not everyone associates these things with the winter holidays. For some, it’s a time of longing and reflection. Mischief Corner Books invites authors to create stories set during the holiday season and centered on the fulfillment of a wish or desire.
Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris
Glass Artist Lucius Price works desperately to create a holiday symbol intended to help the town of Villatopia heal from a rash of unsolved hate crimes against gay men. When he is targeted next and his studio set ablaze, handsome firefighter Oscar Ramos rescues Lucius from the flames, creating a different kind of fire during an unforgettable Christmas.
Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth
Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world. Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again.
Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart.
Is there still hope for love at Christmas, at the end of the world?
Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone
Remi has prepared for over a year to be the king’s gift at the annual celebration of the Eve of the Great Frost on the planet Niobe. Twelve men, taught under the tutelage of the Pleasure Master, hope to be the one (or one of several) chosen to spend an erotic night with the mysterious alien king who always wears a mask. But when Remi’s turn comes to be presented to His Majesty, everything goes wrong from a costume malfunction to breaking protocol. What happens next is a shock, and a night he will never forget.
Publisher: http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/this-wish-tonight.html (info only)
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAEIP8C (preorder until 12/14)
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thiswishtonight-2181667-166.html (preorder until 12/14)
First, I want to say what an honor it is to be in This Wish Tonight with J. Scott Coatsworth and Gregory L. Norris. Also, a great thank you goes to Mischief Corner Books for publishing the anthology.
For this blog I am going to talk about the universe that I have created, which I call my “Starshiptopia Universe.” My story, Eve of the Great Frost, takes place in this universe.
So far I have five novels and two novellas set in that universe. All are stand-alone reads and all have a m/m relationship as their focus. They are:
Letters to an Android
The Moonling Prince
The Coming of the Light (The Moonling Prince Book 2)
The Android and the Thief (2017 from Dreamspinner)
The Secret Sharer (novella)
Eve of the Great Frost (novella in the Mischief Corner Books Christmas anthology This Wish Tonight)
I call this milieu where I set so many of my stories a Starshiptopia because it depicts a human-colonized galaxy where starships are as common as houseflies. I like to joke “There is a starship around every corner.” There are certain terms I also re-use like foldspace, vat-grown humans, etc.
My novels and stories are not epics. I prefer to focus in on character relationships and localized problems.
In Eve of the Great Frost, I focus mostly on one character, Remi, and the planet of his birth which over a couple thousand years has developed their own feudal culture on the low side of technology, mostly having forgotten the rest of the galaxy exists. The galaxy is so huge, with so many thousands of human colonies, the more low-tech backwater planets tend to be forgotten.
The character of King Shin in this story is the owner of a starship, and a non-native. He has come to usher Niobe, Remi’s world, into a more technologically advanced age.
I had to really think about that act of King Shin’s as I wrote, because on the surface it looks altruistic, especially since Niobe hit a devastating ice age a century before. However, in actuality King Shin is arrogant and narcissistic, especially in that he proclaims himself “king” simply because he can. I deal with some of that in the story.
Words are my favorite color of paint. I love to draw pictures and people with them. So if you read my stories, you’ll see that word choice is important to me. I’m a poet, so I connive ways to get my poetry into my tales. I write what I want to read. My stories are my fantasies I tell myself when I am bored, or sad, or simply want to be entertained. I hope readers will enjoy them as well.
About the Author
Wendy Rathbone has been writing for many years in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance and erotica. Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and won many awards. She is a Writers of the Future alum (second place, vol 8) and has two stories in the classic, still in print, Hot Blood series, as well as a story in the scifi volume of the classic gay anthology Bending the Landscape.
While she has always written GLBTQ characters in her fiction and fan fiction, in 2011 she began to delve deeply into the realm of male/male romance and erotica. She has many indie m/m romance novels, the most recent being “The Moonling Prince” and its sequel “The Coming of the Light”. This year she sold her newest novel “The Android and the Thief” to Dreamspinner Press for publication in April, 2017.
Wendy lives in Yucca Valley, CA with her partner of 36 years, Della Van Hise, and is currently hard at work on a new m/m romance novel.
Excerpt from Eve of the Great Frost:
I stood quiet and still as instructed, my hands clasped behind my back, my head slightly bowed. The red jewels on my sleeves caught the light, winking. All twelve of us glimmered in rubies.
The pleasure master was a short, portly man with gray-silver hair tied tightly back. His black shirt was trimmed in white fur. He held a traditional leather whip, black as onyx, that he gestured with the way a conductor of an orchestra might use his baton. Since the new ways and laws came into effect, whips were for ornament only, never used for punishment.
Some said the new young king wanted to do away with slavery for good. I did not know. If it were true, why were we here tonight, clad in the Cloaks of Erotic Promise? Was it for the ritual and nothing more?
My stomach lurched at the thought. I wanted more than ritual. I wanted this night to prove to myself I had something to give. I'd trained hard and with great dedication. I longed to belong to another in pleasure, in surrender. Decadence, sensual ardor, red passion's heat—these were things I craved. To be worthy. To be wanted. I would not have sold myself otherwise. I knew my family would be taken care of by being chosen, but honestly, I was doing this for myself.
I stood on that gold stage worried, nervous, excited. My fingers clenched to fists, something we were told not to do. The sounds of revelry began to diminish, the volume softening across the ocean of dancing, moving bodies until only the voices from the guests outside could be heard wafting on the cool breeze.
Heads turned. The celebrants looked in the direction behind me. I was not allowed to move. I could not see what was happening, but I could feel it: the electricity of his approach; the change in air pressure.
The king had made his entrance.
The air seemed to flutter about me. Light and flame, gilt and tinsel—everything glowed. The great hall seemed too small to contain it all.
I could feel his presence looming closer, a psychic weight, a change in the dimensions of reality both subtle and dramatic. Everything blurred, all heat and distant ringing of stemware and held breaths mixing with raised pulse rates, the inner hum of awe, the rustle of silks as people realized they now occupied the same space as a legend.
Every part of my being wished to break formation, to turn and look upon the origin of this catalyst of change and upheaval, this man who'd brought an end to our suffering ways.
Only my vow of discipline kept me in my place.
The pleasure master said from somewhere behind me in a voice of wavering bass tones, "Welcome, Your Highness, Emperor of Niobe, Greatest of Venerables, King Shin. I have the honor of presenting to you on this glorious evening the revered and most exotic gifts of our land, the finest and most beautiful physical representatives of our male citizens, trained in the esteemed art of exquisite gratification."
An enthralling voice replied, "The honor is mine."