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Harmonious Hearts 2016 - Stories from the Young Author Challenge

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Harmony Ink Press - Young Author Challenge

A Harmony Ink Press Title

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 identiyies, 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 AJ

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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Seventeen-year-old Connor works his butt off to maintain the golden-boy persona he’s created. He has the grades, the extracurriculars, the athletics, and a part-time job at his dad’s shop… every detail specifically chosen to ensure the college scholarships he needs to get the hell out of the Podunk town where he lives. The last thing he needs is an unexpected attraction to Graham, an eyeliner-wearing soccer phenom from St. Louis, who makes him question his goals and his sexuality. Sure, he’s noticed good-looking boys before—that doesn’t have to mean anything, right?—but he’s got a girlfriend. There’s no room on the agenda for hooking up with Graham, but the heart doesn’t always follow the rules.

As he and Graham grow close, other aspects of Connor’s life fall apart. Family pressure, bad luck, and rumors threaten to derail his carefully laid plans. Suddenly the future he’s fighting for doesn’t seem quite as alluring, especially if he has to deny who he really is to achieve it.

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Justin Walker is used to being the hookup but never the boyfriend, and that’s okay. Justin has goals—he might sling burgers by night and work on his car by day, but he has plans to go to school and make a life for himself. He also has a few friends and loving parents. 

What more could a guy ask for?

Hot, muscular, manly Shane Steel is a walking wet dream. Justin fantasizes about having Shane as more than a casual acquaintance, and one night he works up the courage to flirt with Shane. To his surprise—and terror—Shane is interested. Very interested.

As they bond over their love of cars and drag racing, Justin begins to believe he can be more to Shane than a side guy. Too bad Shane’s manipulative and dangerous ex is dead set against letting that happen.

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Where We Left Off

Middle of Somewhere | Book Three

Middle of Somewhere: Book Three

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

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2nd Edition

When it comes to relationships, college roommates Greg and Keith are polar opposites. A recovering addict, Greg avoids sex because it’s too closely tied in his mind with the alcohol and drugs he gave up. In contrast, Keith protects his heart by limiting sex to one-night stands and weekend flings.

As the two get to know each other better, they feel drawn together, and slowly they take tentative steps toward something real. Their attraction soon flares hot, but Greg’s fears overwhelm him, sending him running. It’s up to Keith to help Greg learn to trust in himself—and in the way they feel about each other.

First Edition published as Accidental Love by Amber Quill Press, LLC/Amber Allure, 2012.

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Stories drive life. Sometimes life is good; sometimes life is bad. But it’s the nature of our community that in the aftermath of an act of hatred, we respond with love. Because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Cruelty cannot stand against compassion. Negativity will never overcome hope.

To show our support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we celebrate the triumph of love over every obstacle.

 

Jon Keys—A Single Night

Alicia Nordwell—About Best Friends & Boyfriends

Mickie B. Ashling—Adíos

M.T. Aspen —Asking for Trouble

M.A. Church—Chasing Tyme

Caitlin Ricci—Coming Out

George Seaton—Cucurrucucú

Jayce Ellis—Dance

Bree Cariad—Everyday Miracles

Chrissy Munder—Everything I Need

Ellis Carrington—For the First Time

Felicitas Ivey—Get Me to the Church Town Hall on Time

John Amory—Happy Pride

Grace R. Duncan—Hope

John Goode—Let Them Eat Cake

J. C. Long—Magical Boys Just Wanna Have Fun

Elizabeth Noble—Magicicada

Renee Stevens—More Than a Pact

Troy Storm—One Big Happy… Bunch

Connie Bailey—One Heart at a Time

Dev Bentham—Perfection

Andrea Speed—Pride

Laura Lascarso—Pull

Lila Leigh Hunter—Raffled Kiss

Emery C. Walters—Ranch Dressing

C.C. Dado—Read My Lips

Sera Kane—The Stag's Bane

KC Burn—The Tithe

Vicktor Alexander—The Wooing of the Marqués de Sierra de Outes

Edmond Manning—They Danced

 

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Eighteen-year-old Joe Vasquez leaves Denver for Texas with Harley Bray, the cow kid who never fit in at their high school. In spite of discovering there’s another side to Harley’s nature—occasional “withdrawals” from roadside convenience stores, a nefarious skill he teaches Joe—Joe shares Harley’s dream of riding bulls and a life together on the Texas plains outside of Abilene. A life that will hopefully see the fulfillment of another of Joe’s dreams—to become a veterinarian.

When a rank bull kills Harley in a rodeo in Longview, Texas, Joe accepts an offer from another bull rider, Shane Thorpe, to partner up and ride the circuit together. The problem is that the blond-haired, blue-eyed Shane found Jesus a long time ago, and he’s torn between his faith and his attraction to Joe. As they make their way across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona to their final stop on the circuit at the National Western Rodeo in Denver, Joe bides his time for what he hopes will be a relationship with Shane as fulfilling as the one he’d had with Harley. His hopes for the future, however, are challenged along the way when he discovers that his “withdrawals” have captured the attention of a dedicated Texas Ranger.   

 

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

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After a suicide attempt left him hospitalized for seven months, Jesse Holbrooke is returning home to live with his parents. Despite the treatment he received, his depression hangs like a cloud over his head, casting his life in a perpetual darkness he can’t seem to escape. But just when the obstacles become insurmountable, a glimmer of light appears.

Life hasn’t been easy for Adam Foster, a barista with a bad stutter, but he keeps his chin up and tries not to let the mockery of others get to him. Though shy, Adam is sweet and romantic, and Jesse knows they could be perfect for each other. Adam’s support gives Jesse the courage to face the darkness and believe in the possibility of happiness at last. But if their romance is going to last, both young men will have to look inside and find acceptance—for themselves as well as for each other.

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Back Off! That's My Jock

The JOCK Series | Book Three

The JOCK Series: Book Three

Defining his sexuality didn’t make sense until his best friend spelled it out.

Doug Archer did some pretty idiotic things in the first eight weeks of his junior year of college. First, he kissed his gay best friend, and second, he kissed a guy he’d mistaken for a girl. Not stellar moments for Doug. If he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his spot on the soccer team to the new freshman, or worse, he might misconstrue his new friend Rob’s overly affectionate tendencies for flirting. But if Doug isn’t bothered by another guy’s attention, and he normally dates girls, does that mean he’s gay or bisexual?

Sam Garber suppressed his same-sex attraction his entire life. His father told him it was immoral, and Sam did everything he could to bury his feelings. However, after meeting Doug at a party and kissing him, Sam can’t think of anything else. He decides dating girls is the best way to keep his secret hidden. With playoffs in sight, this is no time to think about guys in any other context than soccer. Only neither boy anticipates the difficulty in suppressing his attraction for another jock!

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North Star

North Star | Books One - Three
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Hugo and Kevin were best friends and secret lovers in high school, but a chance meeting years later proves that the spark that drew them together before is still there. In Spark, Hugo and Kevin must try to put together a relationship while overcoming the obstacles of coming out, divorce and children. In Fusion, an unexpected illness may tear apart all they’ve been building. And in Flare, though they’ve finally settled together happily, outside forces are working hard to upset their family.

See excerpt for individual blurbs.

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Good as Gold

Heroes at Heart | Book Four

Sequel to Code Yellow

Heroes at Heart: Book Four

It’s been two and a half years since aspiring writer Yancy Bell met troubled jock Curt Donovan. Yancy works at the NY Public Library, and Curt is studying dance at Juilliard. It’s summer in New York City, and the devoted couple couldn’t be happier together.

Yancy’s book is the story of Curt’s survival of depression and attempted suicide. When his former English professor, Hume, encourages him, Yancy is surprised and pleased—only to be devastated when Hume commits an unethical act. This adversity leads Yancy to a new understanding of depression as he spirals down to his lowest point ever.

It’s Curt’s turn to step up to the plate and become Yancy’s hero.

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2nd Edition

At eighteen, Ashley seems to have everything: looks, talent, and even a girlfriend. What more could a young man want? Yet something is missing, and he has to come to terms with his sexuality and the possible implications for his career in the public eye. He begins dating Chris but isn’t sure he’s head over heels in love. It’s not the knight-in-shining-armor feeling he always imagined.

When Ashley is offered a big modeling job, he leaves his university in small-town Canada for a very different life in sunny Los Angeles, California. There he meets a slightly older man who makes him feel like he’s in a storybook romance. But is Ashley ready for real love, or is it just infatuation? The world is spread out before him, at once limitless and daunting, full of endless possibilities one moment and opportunities cut short the next.

Ashley floats between certainty and confusion as he tries to unravel new feelings, deal with past pain, and decide what he wants from life—and who he wants beside him during the journey.

1st Edition published by Palari Publishing LLP, 2009.

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Nineteen-year-old college student Levi Reed has spent his life with hollow emotions and a darkness so deep that he’s convinced he’s losing his mind. He’d give anything to feel something, anything, real.

When a mysterious stranger appears, Levi is convinced the man is trying to kill him. When he’s near, Levi experiences head-crushing pain and something surprising—real emotions for the first time. Jeb Monroe is arrogant, self-assured, closed-off, and handsome, but he isn’t the harbinger of doom Levi assumed. Jeb’s mission: help Levi find his missing soul.

Levi is pulled into the secret world of Seers and Keepers, those born with the innate ability to manipulate souls and tasked with balancing the negative energy they can produce. Levi learns he possesses a rare gift, and he’s in danger. As Jeb and Levi grow closer, they discover a group of zealots who want to harness Levi’s power to cleanse the world of damaged souls. Everyone Levi cares for is threatened unless he agrees to become their tool of death. But agreeing could spell the destruction of humankind. With no one to trust and nothing as it appears, it’s up to Levi to save them all.

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A Harmony Ink Press New Adult title appropriate for ages 16+

Nineteen-year-old Mace Danner is a college freshman—and a male prostitute. He specializes as a submissive-for-hire to dominant clients. Mace has never experienced any erotic longings, but his profession satisfies much darker needs. He believes he deserves the abuse because he was responsible for the death of his brother. When ill-treatment at the hands of customers isn’t penance enough, Mace turns to the bottle, hoping to drink away the demons still plaguing him.

RA Dex Hammel doesn’t like the road he sees Mace going down, and he offers his help before it’s too late. There’s no denying the chemistry between the two young men, but a lingering lack of physical desire continues to confuse and upset Mace. He seems set on destroying himself, and Dex might not be able to save him.

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Shift into love with romantic short stories featuring at least one character who is a shapeshifter. These lovers are taking a walk on the wild side, indulging their animal instincts when they find love.

Summer reading fun! A story delivered automatically to your bookshelf each day in June. More than 370,000 words of romantic fiction in 30 stories that would sell individually for a total of $87.70. 

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Shifter

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

When Gray Fox sets out by canoe to visit Elk Horn, his childhood friend and secret crush, mysterious forces strand him on a terrifying hunk of ebony rock known as Black Island. During the dark, cold night, a strangely androgynous being seduces the young virgin. In the midst of his passion, the creature shifts into a comely youth, shocking the naïve young man. He can hardly wait to tell Elk Horn about the experience. But does he dare?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Un amour à Laguna, numéro hors série

Comment à vingt-cinq ans peut-on ignorer qu’on est gay ? C’est une question que Billy Ballew évite de se poser. Après l’échec de sa scolarité, il apprend à lire par sa propre volonté. Sa vie est conditionnée par son besoin d’aider ses parents en travaillant comme ouvrier du bâtiment, d’envoyer ses sœurs à l’université, d’entraîner son équipe junior de baseball et de ne surtout pas penser à ses trois échecs amoureux. Sa phobie des examens l’empêche de passer des validations pour devenir Entrepreneur en bâtiment comme il le souhaiterait, et la crainte du jugement de sa mère l’empêche de voir ce qui pourrait le rendre réellement heureux.

Puis, aux préparatifs du grand mariage de sa sœur, Billy rencontre Shaz  Chase Phillips – une étoile montante du stylisme qui est tout ce qu’il y a de plus gay. Pour Shaz, Billy incarne ce qu’il a toujours recherché : fidèle, honnête, courageux. Mais même si Billy se révèle être gay, sera-t-il capable de sortir avec quelqu’un comme Shaz ? Comment deux hommes que tout sépare réussiront-ils à être ensemble ? Est-ce que le Styliste de l’année et le chevalier de l’avenue de l'Océan peuvent s’aimer ?

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Tales from Foster High Bundle

Tales from Foster High
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Welcome to Foster High! Small-town Texas and being gay may not mix well, but Kyle and Brad have no choice but to try. In Maybe with a Chance of Certainty, Kyle and Brad bond unexpectedly over a history study session and have to come to terms with their developing feelings amidst the scrutiny of their peers. In The End of the Beginning, Brad must face the consequences of being out and no longer the favorite star baseball player of Foster High. In Raise Your Glass, Kyle and Brad have to return to school and face hostility from students and staff alike. In Taking Chances, Matt Wallace and Tyler Parker run into each other in Foster, Texas, again, years after Matt escaped to California. Can they take a chance to make a relationship work the second time around?

See excerpt for individual blurbs.

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