I interrupt the latest chapter of Queer Eye for the Super Guy to let readers know A Hint of Thief and Invasion! are now available on most retailers! I sincerely apologize for the lateness, but I am getting caught up on books that were supposed to be out last year. Thank you so much for your patience!
The Mars Tranquilus finally arrives in Jing, but Chief Justice Anthea and High Brother Luc find their problems are only beginning.
A handful of Crown Prince Bao Quan Po’s cousins each make their own play for the dragon throne. The former imperial consort plots revenge on his stepson from prison. And then there’s the odd Skoloti woman who shows up every time there’s an attempt on Quan’s life. Is she an ally? Or does she plan to collect the Assassins Guild’s bounties on Anthea and Shi Hua?
And what’s her connection to Reverend Father Chen and his missing army?
Magic and mayhem have never been this suspicious. Or this lethal.
Amazon, all countries
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Demons trap three heroines from three different Earths in Otherwhere, a space between dimensions, and a newborn goddess of death acts as their mentor as she helps the ladies in their search for home.
Join four kickass ladies, Shan Wong-Washington (Seasons of Magick), Aisha Franklin-Garcia AKA the Ghost Owl (888-555-HERO), Chief Justice Anthea DiBalance (Justice), and Samantha “Sam” Ridgeway (Bloodlines), in a wild and crazy adventure across the multiverse where women are awesome and even the Fates are scared!
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Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Monday, March 27, 2023
If you can't find the email/newsletter, please check your spam folder. The offer is good until Saturday, April 1st. Make sure you download Invasion! before Saturday!
For everyone else, Invasion! will be available on retail sites later this week.
Thanks for your patience while I catch up on last year's books!
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Queer Eye for the Super Guy (888-555-HERO #11) - Chapter 6
But it's officially sprint and life is good! Here's the next unedited chapter of Queer Eye for the Supper Guy!
A knock on Harri’s office door interrupted her and Susan from ripping through the provisional contract Dale Bernhardt’s assistant had emailed.
Come in,” Harri yelled.
Molly poked her head around the edge of the door. “Oh, you guys are busy. I can come back.”
“What did your mother do this time?” Susan asked.
Molly paused. “It’s not her. This time.”
“Then come on in.” Harri waved the young super into the office. “We could use a break.”
“Well—” Molly stepped inside and closed the office door. A sheaf of papers were in her hand. “This is matter for my lawyers.”
She crossed the room and split her sheaf in two before she handed each portion to each attorney. “Before you start yelling at me, I haven’t signed anything. I’ve been invited to be a judge on a new reality series, but I told the producer I would have to have the offer reviewed by my attorney before I could give him an answer.”
The letterhead was Dale Burnhardt’s production company as Harri expected. The surprising part was Molly’s notes in the margins.
“When did you get this?” Susan asked.
“Yesterday.” Molly walked over to couch and perched on the edge. “I did as you guys and Aisha taught me. I listened to Dale’s pitch before I said he needed to send me a copy of the paperwork for you guys.”
Harri looked from the initial offer. “Why not have it sent directly to us?”
Molly winced. “Please don’t be mad. I’ve been helping Patty with LSAT flashcards while Arthur watches Grace.” Patty Ames, the firm’s paralegal, was scheduled to take the April test. She wasn’t happy with her October score on the law school entrance exam.
Panic flashed through Harri. “You’ve been leaving your mother alone?”
“Hell, no,” Molly bit out. “Patty comes up to Aisha’s loft. And Monica Reinhold is not my mom. She’s a supervillain witness to a murder who I’m guarding.” She slashed her hand through the air. “That’s the extent of our relationship.”
Harri leaned her elbow on her desk as she regarded the superhero. “Who’s with her right now?”
Molly almost pouted over the question about her common sense, but she regained control of her emotions. “Steve’s watching her while I’m down here.”
Harri relaxed a little bit. “Thank you, Molly. I don’t like having Monica here any more than you do, but we don’t have any place more secure where we can keep her. I don’t want her to end up dead.”
“Are you ever going to tell me who shot her?” Molly asked.
“For your own safety, no.” Harri waited for an explosion from the younger woman.
“I figured out on my own it’s the same person that murdered Trubble.” Molly’s eyes glittered more than usual. She was pissed as hell about being kept in the dark.
Harri walked over the couch and sat next to the superhero. “Which is exactly why I’m not telling you. I couldn’t handle it if the killer came after you.”
“May I continue?” Molly’s frosty tone indicated she wasn’t going to accept Harri’s reasons.
“Please do,” Susan said as she took a seat on the second couch. From the mischievous expression on her face, Harri was going to get an earful when Molly left the office.
“I read the offer letter and the contract—” Molly held up the palm of her hand briefly. “Before you start chewing a new one, I highlighted the parts I didn’t understand. But I did some research on the numbers some of these other reality shows bring in. With certain supers and designers as judges, potential new supers looking to build their fan base, and Dale Bernhardt’s name on the project, he can do a lot better on the offer he sent me.”
Molly grinned and lowered her hand. “Plus, it broke on the tabloids this morning Dale and Ultramegaperson are an item.”
Harri flopped against the back of the couch and rubbed her temples. “How fucking convenient!”
“Harri!” Susan snapped. “We do not use that kind of language in regard to our clients.” From the hot pink flushing Susan’s face, Harri needed to do some backpedaling.
“I’m sorry to both of you.” Harri straightened. “I just though Ultra had more sense—”
“Than I do,” Molly retorted.
“Molly, Burnhardt’s pulled in three of Winters and Franklin’s clients into this program of his,” Susan said. “Representing you in this matter may be a moot point.”
The superhero turned to Harri. “You’d chose one of the other clients over me? I was one of the first—”
“Slow down.” Harri grabbed Molly’s closest flailing hand before she accidentally poked out Harri’s eye with her wicked, glittery nails. “We need to talk to the others.”
“But according to the Mojave Revised Civil Code, if we all agree to Winters and Franklin representing us, you can still do it,” Molly said with a hopeful expression on her face.
“But that means we can’t keep secrets,” Susan added. “You’re all going to know how much each of you makes plus any perks.”
Molly nodded. “I get it. To give you a heads-up, Dale got some tax breaks to film the show here in Canyon Pointe instead of Los Angeles. That way, he’s paying less for housing the out-of-town folks. I marked that on page twenty since I’m a local. And…” She paused for a dramatic effect.
After several seconds, Harri blurted, “Spit it out, girl!”
Molly clapped her hands. “He wants to film at Lady Jaye’s Review! So now, you’ll have four clients to juggle!”
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Queer Eye for the Super Guy (888-555-HERO #11) - Chapter 5
Jeremy whistled. “I take it the kid hasn’t said anything to you about the show.”
“She has the right to have additional representation.” But there was an edge to his foster sister’s tone.
“Or maybe she and Aisha are talking again?” Jeremy ventured. “That would be a plus.”
Molly had been rather put out Aisha and Rey hadn’t asked her to go to Paris with them as Mitch’s nanny. In fact, the Franklin-Garcias had tried to encourage Molly to go to school and do something with her life than just superheroing. Especially since her twin sister had moved out of their grandmother’s house and was attending classes at a local automotive servicing school.
“Aisha would have said something to me if that were the case,” Harri murmured.
“Oh, geez, woman! Are you still jealous Aisha has the people skills?” Jeremy complained. Harri was a brilliant attorney and a good person, but her E.Q. was practically nonexistent.
“No, it’s…” Slurping came over the receiver. “I trust Ultra to look out for themselves. Molly can be a little naïve.”
He knew exactly where Harri was going with this, and he didn’t like it. Not one bit.
“No, no, no. I revamped her costume and look. I am not going to babysit Nix for you.”
“She’s not going to listen to me if I try to talk her out of joining this reality show,” she said.
Jeremy pinched the bridge of his nose. “Her whole life has revolved around rebelling against female authority figures.”
“That’s because her mom abandoned her,” Harri snapped.
“Oh, and Rue Liberty’s overprotectiveness had nothing do with it?” Jeremy immediately regretted his mocking tone. At least, Rue fought for her granddaughters. None of his extended family would have anything to do with him after his parents kicked him out.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “But make sure she’s actually going to be a judge on this show before you freak out. Producers sometimes dangle big names to land other suckers, and Nix is a big name thanks to you and Aisha.”
“You’re not going to take any responsibility?” Harri mocked.
“I was trying to be a little gracious here,” he shot back.
“All right, all right.” Harri’s sigh whistled over the receiver. “Let me talk to Molly and have Susan and Aisha look over your contract.”
“And I want more money if I have to babysit Screaming Orgasm again.” Jeremy grinned at Harri’s groan of despair. She and Aisha worked hard to convince Molly the moniker she chose to piss off her grandmother wasn’t doing the kid any favors.
“Fine.” Harri chuckled. “Then I’m claiming one of the dinners at La Churro’s you owe me for tonight.”
“You have to pay for your own husband this time,” he shot back, though he knew he’d pay so Leonardo didn’t give him grief about being cheap. Besides, he rather liked lording it over Harri’s ex-billionaire husband.
“Fine. How’s seven sound?”
“Don’t let me forget some takeout for my own husband. He’s stuck at the salon until closing.”
“I’ll leave mine at home, and if I have news, I can pick up dinner as a business expense,” Harri said.
Jeremy laughed. “You’re incorrigible, sister of mine. I’ll see you at seven.” He pushed back from his desk, grabbed his coffee cup, and headed for the kitchen.
Leonardo sat on a stool, bent over the breakfast island and intent on something. The rough scratching of pencil on paper came from the same direction.
Jeremy brushed back his husband’s electric blue-highlighted hair and kissed his neck.
Leonardo jumped and slammed his notebook shut. “Quit trying to sneak a peek!”
“I wasn’t. I swear.” Jeremy circled the island and reached for the coffee pot. “What did Elaine say?”
“About freakin’ time.”
Jeremy paused in pouring his coffee and eyed Leonardo. “Excuse me?”
“That was a direct quote.” Leonardo grinned. “I told you she needed to be promoted.”
Jeremy leaned his elbows on the granite surface of the island. “Maybe I didn’t want to replace my one and only.”
Leonardo narrowed his eyes. “The only place I’d object to being replaced is in your bed, love boy.”
“I’d never dream of anyone else with me between the sheets.” Jeremy took Leonardo’s hand in his and kissed the back. “When I said forever, I meant it, baby doll. By the way, what do you want me to bring you from La Churro’s?”
Leonardo laughed. “Harri’s collecting again, isn’t she?”
“It depends on if she has news about the TV deal for me by seven.”
“I was teasing this morning,” Leonardo said. “Are you really going to do this? Months in California?”
“Bernhardt let a few things slip in his email to Harri.” Jeremy repeated the tidbits his sister found in the first two pages.
Leonardo whistled. “I admit I feel better about shooting the series here, but Burnhardt really has no idea that you and Lady Jaye are the same person?”
“Oh, he’s done his research, all right.” Jeremy shook his head. “He knows Jeremy Harkness is Lady Jaye, but he doesn’t know Jeremy Harkness is Mel’s designer.”
Leonardo frowned. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“I don’t like the idea of a supervillain finding out who I am.” Jeremy tapped his fingers on the countertop. “If one of those bozos decides I’m worth kidnapping, or worse goes after you or the sibs, to try to force me to give up my client list—”
Leonardo exhaled gustily. “But Harri wants you to keep an eye on Molly if she really is a judge, doesn’t she?”
“The kid is sweet, but there’s a reason the other Canyon Pointe supers make sure she’s teamed up with one of them when stuff happens in the city.” Jeremy rolled his eyes.
“I’m sorry about the money crack I made earlier,” Leonardo said. “I know you wouldn’t risk me or your foster family.”
“It’s okay.” Jeremy leaned across the island and kissed his husband. Maybe they were still in the throes of being newlyweds, but he was so damn lucky to have Leonardo in his life. “You’re right. I have been obsessed with money the last twenty years. I need to get over myself.”
“But you’re still going to do this reality show to make sure Molly doesn’t get in trouble, aren’t you?” Leonardo asked.
“I won’t if you tell me no, darling,” Jeremy replied.
Leonardo shook his head. “I’m not going to tell you what to do.”
“But—” Jeremy drawled.
“I know you’ll do the right thing.” Leonardo made shooing motions with both hands. “Now, go change so we can have lunch with Elaine.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Jeremy winked before he strolled to their bedroom. Leonardo was right. He would do the right thing, and the right thing was to keep the naïve Nix from getting herself into big trouble.
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Queer Eye for the Super Guy (888-555-HERO #11) - Chapter 4
Things at Casa Harden have slowed down quite a bit. While I was writing in the wee hours of Friday morning, I got that lovely little tickle at the back of my throat indicating I caught DH's nasty cold, despite our best efforts to prevent cross-contamination. I actually managed to pull a chest muscle during a coughing fit yesterday. LOL
So here's another sample chapter of the next 888-555-Hero novel. Or you could curl up on the couch with some hot tea and watch the Star Trek:TOS episode "Arena."
"No, Gorn, no. That's my spot!"
Harri sipped her cinnamon coffee and stared at the e-mail she just received from Dale Bernhardt’s assistant Janna. She’d heard of Hollywood’s latest “it” producer, but the email made no sense. Janna referred to Ultramegaperson’s supersuit designer, but she didn’t mention the person by name. Harri couldn’t imagine Jeremy breaking his silence over that particular side hustle.
Was this Janna really Bernhardt’s assistant? If she was, how did Bernhardt know Harri had been representing Jeremy’s business interests? Surely, Ultramegaperson hadn’t outed Jeremy.
Harri reached for the intercom to get her IT guru Arthur Drallhickey to trace the email when the device buzzed. She punched the button. “Yes?”
“You busy?” Patty Ames asked. The firm’s receptionist and all-around Girl Friday was pretty good about screening calls when Harri was neck deep in work.
As she usually was these days with Aisha living in Paris for the rest of the year.
“It’s Jeremy about some contract that was supposed to be forwarded to you,” Patty added.
“Put him through.” Harri picked up the handset before the first ring completed. “Hey, sister dearest. Give some warning before you have someone send me attachments to emails. That’s a good way to infect the firm’s computers.”
“Dale already sent you the paperwork?” Jeremy sounded surprised. “I didn’t expect him to move that fast. Ultramegaperson called me a half hour ago while I was making breakfast.”
Harri leaned back in her office chair. “Ultra called you? Jaye, why don’t you start from the beginning?”
He filled her in on his conversation with Ultramegaperson this morning, including his agreement to let Bernhardt send the initial paperwork to Harri.
“A reality show?” She reached for her coffee. “Are you sure this is worth outing yourself over?”
“No, but I trust you to make sure this deal is worth outing myself over.”
“Has Bernhardt sent you copies of this deal?” she asked.
“I trust Mel not to name me,” Jeremy said. “All Bernhardt knows is Ultramegaperson uses the same law firm as the person who designs their supersuits.”
“Okay, let’s open up this puppy and see what Mr. Hollywood is offering my favorite sister.”
Jeremy snorted. “I’m only your favorite right now because Aisha’s in Paris.”
“Is it okay if I run this past her tomorrow morning?” Harri asked.
“What about Susan? You know, your other partner?” Jeremy sniped. “Or are you still holding a grudge?”
Harri clenched her teeth. Of course he’d bring up the fight she had with Susan a couple of weeks ago. She’d apologized to her partner, but things were still a little tense in the firm.
Especially after she found out the rest of the staff, including her own damn husband, sided with the newest partner.
“I was planning to have her look over the offer this afternoon,” Harri shot back. “If that’s okay, Your Majesty.”
“The more the merrier,” he said.
Harri opened the attachment. The cover letter laid out the basic offer, which made her whistle.
“Don’t leave me hanging, Harri!”
“Bernhardt wants you as the main judge of the show.” She named the number of zeroes after the first number.”
Jeremy whooped. “Are you shitting me?”
“Nope. He’s also already lined up the tax credits to film the series here in Canyon Pointe.”
“What do you mean film in Canyon Pointe?” Suspicion dripped from Jeremy’s voice.
She couldn’t blame him. Between normal everyday bigots and the illegal black-op organization known as Corvus, there were many reasons for his insane desire for personal privacy.
“According to this, he wants to complete the line up judges and contestants before he approaches famous Canyon Pointe drag queen Lady Jaye about using her nightclub for filming.” Harri laughed. “This is too funny to be true. You might want to do this whole thing as Lady Jaye.”
“It’s not funny,” Jeremy snapped.
“Actually, it might work better,” she said. “Few people outside of your lost boys and the family know Lady Jaye’s real identity. And you know the staff at the club will make sure no one finds out.”
“And you know Coco will go absolutely Miss Perfection if I agree to the show filming at the club?” Jeremy protested. “Not to mention security issues if Bernhardt is crazy enough to really have a supervillain as a contestant. Or have you not read that far yet?”
Harri ignored Jeremy while she scanned the second page of the proposal, and when she reached the list of pending judges, her blood ran cold. “Oh, shit.”
“What’s wrong, hun?”
“One of the pending judges is Nix.”
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Queer Eye for the Super Guy (888-555-HERO #11) - Chapter 3
“Are you friggin’ kidding me?” Jeremy shouted. “I will not have a supervillian wearing one of my creations!”
Leonardo frowned and laid aside the knife. Well out of Jeremy’s reach.
“No, no, no,” Mel replied. “He wants you to be one of the judges.”
If they weren’t totally immune to the effects of any and all drugs, Jeremy would suspect they were high on something.
“This Dale better be worth it in bed,” Jeremy grumbled.
“Oh, he is.” Mel laughed. “Why do you think I’m just getting home?”
“Let me talk it over with Leonardo and call you back.”
“Can I have Dale’s assistant send the contracts to Winters and Franklin for their review?”
“That’s awfully presumptuous of you,” Jeremy retorted.
“Puh-leease. We both know you won’t sign a damn thing without your foster sisters’ input.”
Jeremy looked at Leonardo who wore a shit-eating grin. Oh, he was definitely going to hear about this over breakfast. “All right, e-mail the contracts to Harri. But this is not a yes by any means, Mel.”
“Of course. Talk to you later.” Mel made kissy noises before they ended the call.
Jeremy at Leonardo. “What are you laughing about?”
“We both know if the money’s right, you’re going to do it.”
“Did you know about this?” Jeremy laid his phone on the counter before he pulled out the carton of eggs from the refrigerator.
“There’s been rumors in the gossip rags that TV wunderkind Dale Bernhardt has signed a producing deal with the ABS network.” Leonardo shrugged and popped a mushroom slice in his mouth. “The execs want a show to compete with the reality series on their rivals. Between cable and streaming, they are hemorrhaging money like crazy.”
“You mean reality shows are cheap.” Jeremy cracked two eggs into his mixing bowl, added two tablespoons of water, and whisked everything until it was evenly smooth and yellow. Did he really want to out himself? Mel didn’t care if they were outed or not. Very little could hurt them. Plus, they always kept their relationships casual. Jeremy, on the other hand, had Leonardo and his foster sibs and foster parents to worry about being used against him.
Jeremy cut a pat of butter into the small non-stick skillet and turned on the heat. He had some issues with two villains when he first started designing for supers. If it weren’t for Mel, he’d be dead. But the odd thing is Mel never it over his head when they asked for a favor.
“It would mean living out on the West Coast for a few months,” Jeremy murmured.
“What’s the point of having your clients train the local Alphabets to take care of themselves if you can’t stop being a mother hen?” Leonardo asked while he diced the onions.
“Your parents accepted you for what you are, babykins.”
“Being gay, yes. Marrying you, yes, though Mom sides with Betty about us eloping. But my parents didn’t agree with a lot of other stuff in my life.”
“That’s because you can freaking do calculus in your head. You should be teaching at MIT.” Jeremy sobered and swirled the melting butter around in the pan. “You have no idea what it’s like to live on the streets.”
“The only reason you do is because you let your pride get in the way,” Leonardo responded gently. “I know damn well once Harri and Aisha found out what had happened to you, they talked Betty and Marvin into helping you.”
Jeremy shuddered. If it weren’t for Aisha’s parents taking him in along with Harri—well, he’d come pretty damn close to prostitution in order to eat. On the other hand, Leonardo was right. He’d lived on the streets out of a misplaced sense of pride.
“A couple of months in California would be a perfect opportunity to see how Elaine can handle the salon,” Leonardo continued. “We get a furnished apartment. I can take my laptop and work on my designs while you’re at the studio.”
“You’re jumping way ahead here.” Jeremy poured the eggs into the bubbling butter. “I haven’t agreed to a damn thing yet. But you’re right about giving Elaine a probationary period as manager.” He added the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and shredded Swiss cheese.
“You want me to talk to her.” Leonardo rose to refill his coffee cup.
Jeremy considered the matter. “When is your first appointment today?”
“I’m booked from one to nine.” Leonardo set his filled cup on the breakfast bar and reached for Jeremy’s mug.
“Let’s go in early and take her out to lunch,” he suggested.
Leonardo paused and looked at Jeremy. “Mabel Longwood is my first client.”
“She can handle it if you’re late.” He shook his head. “You can’t let people like Mabel run roughshod over you.”
“Oh, please, darling.” Leonardo glared at him. “You let her run over you when she was your client, too.”
“And then, I did the smart thing and dumped her on the cute, naïve, new stylist who joined my salon.” Jeremy smirked while he flipped the omelet over in the pan.
“You are evil.” Leonardo laughed and shook his head. “It’s a wonder you didn’t become a supervillain.”
“And have a certain foster sister beat the crap out of me if I did?” Jeremy slid the finished omelet onto one of the waiting plates and handed it to his husband. “No, thank you.”
“I admit Harri’s a lot of bark—” Leonardo said.
“Harri would only yell at me. I wasn’t referring to her.” Jeremy dropped another pat of butter in the omelet pan and cracked two more eggs in the mixing bowl.
“Aisha would only resort to fisticuffs—”
“Not her either. She’d give me the same disappointed parent look Marvin would have.” Jeremy whipped the eggs with two tablespoons of water.
“LaShun?” Leonardo wore a confused expression. “Wouldn’t she break a nail?”
“Do not underestimate her, darling.” Jeremy poured the egg mixture into the bubbling butter. The liquid hissed and steamed. “When we were kids, she towed Mama Betty’s line, and she made sure the rest of us did, too. And that was long before Betty and Marvin let Harri and me move in with the Franklin clan.”
Leonardo giggled. “What would LaShun do?”
“Pull my hair.” Jeremy ran a hand over his locks. “Sit on me, or dig those damn claws of hers into very sensitive flesh as a last resort.”
Leonardo winced in sympathetic pain. “What did you do for LaShun to resort to the third option?”
“I used her makeup without permission.” Jeremy smiled at the memory while he added fillings to his omelet. “But the next day she took me to Arrow’s and helped me select my own makeup while she lectured on not sharing products because of germs. She even pitched in her own allowance to pay for everything and gave me my first lesson on proper application.”
“And here, I thought she had no heart.” Leonardo chuckled.
“She and Betty are a lot alike.” Jeremy flipped his omelet in half. “In a way, they care too much. Then, there’s the perfectionistic streak. Eat your omelet before it gets cold. And please call Elaine after breakfast so she doesn’t have lunch without us.”
“And what will you be doing?”
Jeremy slid his omelet onto his own plate. “I need to call my attorney to draw up Elaine’s paperwork and consult with her about the contracts Mel’s boyfriend will be sending to her.”
As he dug into his breakfast, he wondered if would really be worth his time to participate in Dale Bernhardt’s reality show. Because the idea of an unknown supervillain involved worried him to no end.
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