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Harmonious Hearts 2016 - Stories from the Young Author Challenge

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Harmony Ink Press - Young Author Challenge

Harmony Ink Press is delighted and honored to showcase the short fiction of some of the best up-and-coming authors working in the LGBT genre. The stories in this third volume of Harmonious Hearts represent the winners of our Young Author Challenge—a group of talented writers between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one. 

The stories in this anthology are as diverse as their creators and range from the speculative to snapshots of everyday life for people growing up in a society in flux. They confront many issues facing young adults, and they celebrate the joys of this sometimes rocky period of transition: friendship, loyalty, first love, and learning to feel comfortable in one’s own skin. These experiences are universal, and thanks to the courage and talent of authors such as these, young people of all gender identities, expressions, and orientations are starting to see themselves included. Everyone deserves a story that speaks to them, and in these pages, they’ll find that story.

 

Dani Anderson—To Lauren

Nick Anthony—Scrapyard Sunsets

Hilda Friday—A Progression of Love

Arbour Ames—You Saw Blue

Chloe Smith—Plenty of Fish

Caleb Andrews—I Am Logan

Sarah Caulfield—Make Mad the Guilty

Xoe Juliani—Loving You Through the Years

Irene Grant—Jordan and A.J.

Latitude Brown—Equinox

Julia Dupuis—Let No Sin Rule Over Me

Anika Olivo—Melodimensional

Frisk Gillespie—Ten Words


See excerpt for individual blurbs.

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A Green Creek Novel

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

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A Matchless Man

Lexington Lovers

Lexington Lovers

None of the matches caught his eye as much as the matchmaker himself.

Growing up poorer than poor didn’t leave Navashen Bhattathiri many options for life outside of school. All of his concentration was on keeping his scholarships. Sixteen years later, he’s fulfilled his dream and become a doctor. Now he’s returning home to Lexington and is ready to prove himself to the world. In doing so, he reconnects with Brent Carpenter—high school classmate, real estate agent, all-around great guy… and closet matchmaker.

Brent makes it his mission to help Navashen develop a social life and meet available, interesting men. Unfortunately Navashen’s schedule is unpredictable, and few of those available, interesting men value his dedication like Brent does. Brent’s unfailing friendship and support convince Navashen he’s the one, but can he capture Brent’s heart when the matchmaker is focused on finding Navashen another man?

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Breakaway

Scoring Chances

A Scoring Chances Novel

Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He's put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.

Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.

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Order in the Court

The Survivor's Club

A Harmony Ink Press Title

Sequel to Out of Order
A Survivor's Club Novel

Corey Nguyen watched her three best friends fall victim to a killer, but it’s becoming clear her ordeal won’t end there. While trying to be a college student, have some kind of social life, and just be normal again, she learns the murderer is demanding a trial. He claims he’s innocent and was forced into confessing—which means Corey will have to testify to what she saw.

The idea of facing the killer in court worsens Corey’s anxiety and forces her to relive the horrifying events of that night. And just when she thinks things can’t get worse, she realizes her mother and the prosecuting attorney are probably more than friends. All Corey wants is to put the tragedy behind her, but it’s clear the end is not yet in sight.

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Fish Out of Water

Fish Out of Water | Book One

Fish Out of Water: Book One

PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.

Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.

Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.

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Merlin's Moon

The Sun Dragon | Book Two

A Harmony Ink Press Title

The Sun Dragon: Book Two

Mani doesn’t know much about his powers except that he turns into a blue dragon every night. His adopted mother Allanah has told him he hatched from an egg. He’s half-human, half-dragon, and she found him after his dragon mother died.

When his best friend and crush witnesses his transformation, Mani flees to the wizard Mansion, where he finds a group of fellow creatures called the Animal Guard. They assume that Mani has also been transformed by the sorceresses, and they enlist him in their quest to find the evil women and bribe them to turn the Animal Guard back into their human forms. Mani decides to help after he falls for one of the Animal Guard’s members, a wolf-boy named Lup, but little does he know that his own blossoming powers will soon come between them. Mani must keep the sorceresses from using their greatest weapon, the North Star, while struggling to find out where he belongs in the rapidly changing world of magic.

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It might be a sham to his boss, but it's all too real to him.

Administrative assistant Jonah Hollis has nurtured a hopeless crush on his boss, millionaire cattle rancher Lincoln Courtwright, ever since he started working for him. But hope is kindled when Linc and beautiful rodeo star Melissa Cutler break up just weeks before the biggest event of the Dallas social season, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and Linc asks Jonah to accompany him in her place.

Is it all a ploy to make Melissa jealous? Can Jonah fit into Linc’s world? It takes some encouragement from his roommates and his best friend, Caylee, for Jonah to agree. Before long, Jonah dares to believe Linc might just feel something for him… until interfering family and a series of misunderstandings threaten his fragile dream of happiness.

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Russ Michaels has his whole life ahead of him but no plans beyond dropping out of school as soon as he turns eighteen. He’s been in and out of juvenile detention for the last four years and thoroughly expects to end up in an adult penitentiary at some point. He hates life and everyone in it, especially this latest community service that he earned in lieu of juvie yet again.

CJ Calhoun has big plans. He wants to bring joy and happiness to sick and injured children for as long as he can by performing as a clown. The problem is, he has stage-four cancer and a horrible prognosis.

When circumstances throw these two polar opposites together, they find they have more in common than they imagined. CJ discovers Russ’s talent for art and arranges for Russ to create a mural in the hospital foyer, which leads to a tentative scholarship to the Art Institute. As life changes in ways neither of them could have expected, Russ must work harder than ever to better himself as CJ struggles with his deteriorating health.

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The Sun Dragon

The Sun Dragon | Book One

A Harmony Ink Press Title

The Sun Dragon: Book One

It’s been many years since the beauty of dragons riding the wind disappeared from the skies, destroyed by the corrupt King Roland and his greedy minions.

Or were they?

Instead of killing the dragons, Roland transformed them into humans so they could mingle with his people and breed him an army. Teenage Allanah saves her friend Victoria from falling victim to his scheme with newly manifested magical abilities. Another surprise comes when Allanah’s first high school crush, Jason, reveals he’s been sent by a clandestine council of wizards to test Allanah and Victoria’s arcane talents. No one is more amazed than Allanah when, during her trial, she produces the world’s first light dragon.

Allanah might be the only hope not just for her best friend but also for the survival of all the world’s dragons. In addition to her monumental task, she struggles to understand her feelings between her new attraction to Cormac, the wizard general, and her emerging desire for a beautiful, forest-dwelling Igreefee girl named Dena.

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A Harmony Ink Press Title

Celebrate with Harmony Ink Press as we recognize the talented winners of our second annual Young Author Challenge. This anthology showcases the LGBTQ genre’s best up-and-coming-authors between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one.

The road from childhood to adulthood can be a bumpy one, especially for LGBTQ youth. Travel beside characters of all identities, orientations, and expressions as they search for a place to belong and people to love and support them just the way they are. From cities to the countryside, across diverse nations, and in fantastical realms of imagination, these young people struggle against society’s expectations, judgment from friends and family, and their own confusion—all while trying to enjoy their teenage years. Join them as they find the strength to be the people they’re meant to be and the courage to show their beauty to the world.

Angelicque Bautista—Hummingbird Heart
Alice Blank—I Wouldn't Let You Drown
Erica Engelin—My Friend, My Sister
Melissa Dollison—Home Before the Moon Turns
Shaye Evans—Boarding Discovery
Danielle Eyer—The Love Song of Amalia Savage
Jordan Gillespie—Love in the Time of Figure Skating
Juli Philippo—Ceilings
Zig—The Three Poly Teens
Hannah Irene—Black Rose
CJ—The Pirate and the Princess
Sheila McIntosh—Leucippa
Gabriella Reeb—Just a Little Bit Late
S. A. Star—Chance Encounters
Sara Stark—Stardust
Laura Swogger—This Photograph
Imani J. Walton—Three Stages of Agony

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Fox-Hat and Neko

2015 Award Winners

A Harmony Ink Press Title

Tsukino Ayumu is new to Yuuyake. When he lived in Tokyo, he always kept his head down, content to remain unnoticed in the crowd of students around him. Now in a small fishing village, he connects with Ikehara Haruki, his first real friend, and builds a close friendship with two girls, Shizuka and Chou. The four friends stick together as they forge their path through the haphazard world of dating and relationships while preparing for life after school ends. But fate will intervene, with Ayumu’s plans in particular, as the village’s young people are targeted by an unseen threat. Suffering violent and shocking dreams, Ayumu comes to discover that the spirit world has plans for his destiny. Despite his personal belief that he’s nothing but ordinary, he must learn to fight—and lead—to protect the friends he would die for. The mysterious Fox-Hat and Neko know Ayumu better than he knows himself, and he must decide if they will point him toward a path that leads to a happy ending for all… or the end of everything he knows and loves.

 

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Out of Order

The Survivor's Club

A Harmony Ink Press Title

A Survivor's Club Novel

Corinna “Corey” Nguyen’s life seems perfectly average for a closeted bisexual whiz kid with her eyes on college and a budding romance with her friend Kate. Sixteen and navigating senior year with her tight-knit group of best friends through crushes, breakups, and pregnancy scares, Corey mistakenly believes that running for valedictorian and choosing the right college are the worst of her worries. That is, until prom night, when she’s left alone and in shock, hiding inside a diner restroom, the only witness to a multiple homicide.

With graduation looming, the pressure is on for Corey to identify the killer and ensure that the crime that has changed her life forever will not go unpunished.

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I'll Always Miss You

2015 Award Winners

A Harmony Ink Press Title

Isa Zaman might forgive his parents for taking in a friend’s son if only he wasn't the most boring teenager in the universe. Macklin “Mackie” Cormack’s only interests are reading and the outdoors. Yeah, right. Isa's convinced Mackie is either a pyro or a klepto. Plus, as a white kid, Mackie looks ridiculous in the Zamans' Arab American household. Forced to share a bedroom, the boys keep butting heads until an absurd fight finally breaks the tension between them.

Isa’s just starting to figure life out: this new houseguest, his cultural identity, school, and even girls, when the entire family is uprooted from their home for reasons Isa can't understand. They move from their tiny city apartment to a giant, old house in a small town, hours away from everything he's ever known. Oh, and the new house? It's probably haunted, or so says the blank-faced ten-year-old next door. As if things weren't weird enough, Isa's friendship with Mackie suddenly takes a strange turn down a path Isa's not sure he’s ready to follow. It turns out Mackie Cormack isn’t nearly as boring as Isa once imagined.

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A Harmony Ink Press Title

Gay teenager Hart could finish his fairy tale for class if his horrible stepsiblings would stop harassing him. Talia’s depression is like a sleeping curse and may kill her if she doesn’t ask for help. Independent, overweight bisexual Sienna deals with her “nice guy” neighbor while visiting her grandmother. When a mysterious girl climbs up Rachael’s fire escape, Rachael might finally break free from her overprotective mother. Transgender Amelia is bullied regularly for her identity, but she’ll show everyone exactly who she is. Princess Rellyn must face down a dragon since she’s seventh in line and battle her father since she's not a boy, and she’s not sure which one is scarier. An adventurous knight whisks away genderfluid Noll when all they want is a quiet life on their farm. Mermaid Astrid wants revenge on the man who betrayed her, but is confused by her attraction to the one sailor immune to her song. Asexual Myka might love Princess Lysandria, but Myka must learn to control her inner werewolf before the king marries her off to “cure” her. With the help of a witch, blacksmith’s apprentice Malcolm must find his missing prince.

You’ve never heard stories like these at bedtime.

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A Harmony Ink Press Title

Life in a small mining town can be like living in a fishbowl, where everyone knows everybody else's business. Fifteen-year-old Jodi's mother wants her father to quit his binge drinking and his dangerous job at the mine—even more so after a collapse leaves two miners dead and three trapped deep underground.

As tensions escalate both at home and around the town, Jodi seeks comfort with her friends but soon faces a double betrayal. Meanwhile, her ten-year-old brother Jake reacts by joining a gang of schoolyard bullies who engage in increasingly dangerous antics.

As Jodi struggles to gain autonomy over her life, she begins to discover the person she really is. But with everything around her spiraling out of control, it may not be the right time to let her family, friends, and ultimately the whole town know—no matter how much she wants to.

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Faith & Fidelity

Faith, Love, & Devotion | Book One

Faith, Love, & Devotion: Book One

Reeling from the recent death of his wife, police officer Evan Cerelli looks at his four children and can only see how he fails them. His loving wife was the caretaker and nurturer, and now the single father feels himself being crushed by the pain of loss and the heavy responsibility of raising his kids.

At the urging of his partner, Evan celebrates a coworker’s retirement and meets disgraced former cop turned security consultant Matt Haight. A friendship born out of loneliness and the solace of the bottle turns out to be exactly what they both need.

The past year has been a slow death for Matt Haight. Ostracized from his beloved police force, facing middle age and perpetual loneliness, Matt sees only a black hole where his future should be. When he discovers another lost soul in Evan, some of the pieces he thought he lost start to fall back in place. Their friendship turns into something deeper, but love is the last thing either man expected, and both of them struggle to reconcile their new and overwhelming feelings for one another.

Second Edition
First Edition published by Loose Id LLC, September 2008.

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Triane's Son Reigning

Bitter Moon Saga | Book Four

A Harmony Ink Press Title

Sequel to Triane's Son Fighting
Bitter Moon Saga: Book Four

From the moment Torrant Shadow realized Consort Rath murdered his family, he’s lived a dual identity: a healer and poet by nature, a predator out of necessity. It’s not just exhausting, it’s perilous.

In the deadly city of Dueance, Torrant must succeed in both lives, because while the predator may save the Goddess’s folk from Rath’s brutal policies, it is the poet who will sway the minds of the people to revolt against the oppressive government. As his cause falters, Torrant finds his worst nightmares come to pass as the people he loves most—his family from Eiran, his former lovers, and his moon-destined, Yarri—all come to his aid, despite the danger.

They must succeed—there is no other option. If they fail, Rath will eliminate joy from the heart of the lands of the three moons, and all that Torrant and his family cherish will be lost. But success could exact devastating cost, one Triane’s Son was never prepared to pay.

2nd Edition
1st Edition published as Bitter Moon II: Triane's Son Reigning by iUniverse, 2009

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