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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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Enjoy J.S. Cook’s best mysteries, with a side of lust and romance, in this collection. In But Not for Me, gangster boss Nino Moretti rescues beautiful mob accountant Stanley Zadwadzki from a rival, but the consequences may cost them any chance at a relationship. In A Little Night Murder, insurance investigator Frank Boyle may have escaped from danger once with help from detective Sam Lipinski, but a new investigation is turning up trouble once again. In Come to Dust, Inspector Philemon Raft is set adrift among the deceitful ton of turn-of-the-century London, trying to locate the kidnapped Miriam Dewberry. In The Lovely Beast, Jacob van Willingen is on a mission to exterminate the evil Caleb Donnithorn, but things aren’t quite what they seem to be at this Romanian castle. In Skid Row Serenade, novelist and war hero Tony Leonard visits his estranged wife only to find her beaten to death. On the run, he decides to fake his own death, with a little help from private investigator Edwin Malloy.


See excerpt for individual blurbs.

But Not for Me previously published by Dreamspinner Press, March 2013 Cover Art by Aaron Anderson aaronbydesign55@gmail.com A Little Night Murder previously published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2013 Cover Art by Catt Ford Come to Dust previously published by Dreamspinner Press, November 2013 Cover Art by Maria Fanning The Lovely Beast previously published by Dreamspinner Press, July 2014 Cover Art by L.C. Chase http://www.lcchase.com Skid Row Serenade previously published by Dreamspinner Press, August 2015 Cover Art by Aaron Anderson aaronbydesign55@gmail.com

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Mongrel Trilogy

The Mongrel Trilogy | Books One - Three

One day a shadow is cast on the Mechanical Circus, a rollicking seaside carnival where imagination meets machinery, when a tall, cloaked figure approaches the stand of Will Marchman, a young patent-medicine salesman. Thus begins the adventures of Will; Fanule Perfidor, commonly known as the Dog King; vampire Clancy Marrowbone; and Clancy's former lover, the mortal Simon Bentcross.


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Ordell Rutledge lives in the small town of Blackwick where he helps in his father’s modest automaton shop. While he enjoys interacting with the few people who grace his father’s business, he feels isolated because he can’t relate to them. For ten years, life’s been quaint and peaceful, but Ordell has a secret: he is an automaton, sentient enough to pass as human.

Ordell’s life is upended when the person he trusts most betrays him. Heartbroken, he sets off for Linnesse, a city that accepts automatons as people and is booming with the latest technology. With another sentient automaton, Elias Griffith, at his side, he overcomes obstacles and uncovers the strange truth behind his past. But sometimes the past is best left in the dark.

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From steampunk to fantasy, don't miss these four favorites of alternative-universe gay romance from Amy Lane in this exclusive bundle!

Immortal: As Teyth grows in the craft of metalwork, he also comes to love Diarmuid, the gentle, clever young man who introduces him to smithing. Together, can they keep their village safe and sustain the love that will make them immortal? —Under the Rushes: While Dorjan fights to save the world, Taern joins the battle simply to save Dorjan, knowing everything hinges on the heart of a man in armor and the strength of the man who loves him. —Truth in the Dark: Knife's entire existence has been as twisted as his flesh and his face. He's offered a way out: keep company with Aerie-Smith, cursed to walk upright in the form of a beast, on his island for the span of a year... and perform one "regrettable task" at year's end. —Hammer & Air: Graeme ("Hammer") and Eirn have no words for what they are to each other. They negotiate the dangers of magic and motion, of sex, obsession, and tenderness, hoping to learn the word that can make sense of it all—one word they must earn for themselves.


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Keys

City of Keys | Book One
2015 Award Winners

My name is Octavius Septimus Stalk, but my friends call me Oss. I live in the City of Keys, a town of gears, keys, locks, and wonder. Our forefathers banished magic long ago, bolted the doors and locked everything up tight to keep people out and the town’s secrets in. Four Lock Lords control what information is left, and everyone else is left struggling to survive.

Despite what Thorne, my naïve lover, thinks, I was an orphan, but not a victim. When I walked the streets at the age of twelve, I learned fast where to steal the best food, how to use my daggers, and where to hide my would-be attackers’ bodies. No one suspected me of such violence. No one knew then or now that I have magic inside me.

Now, power-hungry men intend to release the magic for their own benefit—at the expense of the rest of the city. We will stop them, even if Thorne must battle his own kin, even if I must reveal my hidden talents and the role I seem destined to play.

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Jack Wolf

2015 Daily Dose | Never Too Late

Henry Dalton is sent across the country by train to the western town of Woolridge in order to investigate the werewolf problem they’re having during the monthly moon cycle. The townsfolk are not forthcoming with information, making it difficult for Henry to solve the case.

Even more distracting is Jack, a handsome older lycanthrope. Known for his rebellious youth, Jack has settled down into life and routine in Woolridge, working as the local blacksmith. He assures Henry he’s no longer trying to stir up trouble, that those days are long gone. Henry must attempt to ignore the spark between them, the indication of their potential to become mates, which is rare because Henry is human. Henry remains professional and focuses on his job, but each meeting with Jack adds to the draw, and Henry isn’t sure how much longer he’ll be able to resist.


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Daily Dose package "Never Too Late."

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Bloody Aria

The Laitha Chronicles

A Laitha Chronicles Tale

When the aero Antoine Suvalese is traveling on comes under attack by the infamous pirate ship, the Bloody Aria, Antoine is taken hostage by the Aria’s dreaded captain, Rivas the Ramshot. Antoine is uncertain if he’s to be ransomed to his father, owner of the powerful Suva Coal Company, or something far more sinister. While awaiting his fate, Antoine is unexpectedly accepted into the crew.

Sailing on the Bloody Aria opens Antoine’s eyes to a wider world and his unexpected attraction to the handsome pirate captain who holds him captive. When he realizes the attraction is reciprocated, Antoine is intrigued. But can he afford to trust Rivas when everyone on the Aria seems to have their own agenda?

Antoine learns there was more to his kidnapping than money, and that morality isn’t as simple as he grew up believing. As the date of the ransom exchange draws near, so do the forces conspiring against the Bloody Aria's crew. Antoine will have to determine who he can trust and who will profit from betraying him, or none of them will survive the imminent confrontation.

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The city of New Alexandria is filled with powerful magicians-in-training and mechanical follies, the world’s largest library, and marvels beyond compare. The allure of this modern metropolis draws young people from all over the world, but Idrian has come instead for the opportunity to learn the new art of alchemy.

He’s been taken as an apprentice by Maketh, a scholar experimenting with new ways to combine technology and the ancient mystic arts. Together they’ve animated a living ice sculpture. Idrian cannot wait to unveil the sculpture alongside the other wonders at the annual Spring Festival.

After witnessing his master in a passionate embrace with another student, Idrian’s mind drifts to things beyond alchemy. And when a warm touch accidentally awakens the consciousness within the living sculpture, Idrian learns firsthand about physicality and the magic of passion.

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Hachisuka Narihiro is a pilot in the Shogun’s elite unit of musha-ki, robotic armor automated by steam and magic for the defense of Nippon in a slowly modernizing 19th Century, when he’s requested to help with political negotiations. Compromises are difficult, with American Admiral Perry determined to open Japan to the West but only on his terms. Like most Western leaders, the admiral is unaware of the advances the Japanese have made with steam and thinks Nippon is an isolated and backward nation. Narihiro’s uncle, the twelfth Tokugawa Shogun, believes Narihiro is the best man for the duty. Despite his extensive training, plans might not go as well as expected.

With the American delegation comes closeted former Pennsylvania Dutch farmer, Maarten Zook, a shy translator who catches Narihiro’s interest. As negotiations stall, the Japanese are left with few options to convince America that Nippon is its equal. Japan is ready to open its borders, but a show of force may be needed, and that force may destroy the budding relationship between Narihiro and Maarten.

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Dieci anni dopo che Dorjan ha creduto alle parole di un ragazzino anziché a quelle del suo ufficiale, lui e il suo miglior amico, Areau, ne pagano ancora le conseguenze, e cercano di fermare l’uomo veramente responsabile. Bloccato in una meticolosa danza per far cadere un governo corrotto, Dorjan si sforza di bilanciare il suo dolore con la rabbia di Areau. Proprio quando raggiunge il limite della sopportazione, vede un volto familiare nell’ombra, e il ragazzo di cui si era fidato un decennio prima gli offre una gentilezza inaspettata.

Taern ricorda il soldato che lo ha trovato sotto ai giunchi e ha ascoltato le sue preghiere di salvare la sua famiglia. Quando Dorjan riappare nella sua vita, Taern è conquistato dal suo impegno per la giustizia, ma è anche terrorizzato dai rischi che si assume. Tutto ciò che vuole fare per lui è guarirlo, ma la distruzione imminente ha richiesto dieci anni di lavoro e Dorjan non vuole il suo aiuto. Non se questo lo mette in pericolo.

Gli scontri di potere e il destino del mondo sono in bilico tra la follia di Areau e la nobiltà di Dorjan. Mentre quest’ultimo combatte per salvare l’umanità, Taern si unisce alla battaglia solo per salvare lui, sapendo che tutto dipende dal cuore di un uomo in armatura e dalla forza dell’uomo che lo ama.

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A Grimoire for the Baron

Steamcraft and Sorcery | Book Two

Sequel to Boots for the Gentleman
Steamcraft and Sorcery: Book Two

Former archivist Reg Whitney, expert thief Querry Knotte, and the clockwork boy known as Frolic are fugitives from Halcyon living on a small island. While Reg is content to lead a safe and settled life, there is trouble in paradise: Querry is bored, and Frolic can’t help but ponder his own existence.

When Querry and Frolic get caught breaking into Baron Starling’s villa, all three men are bamboozled into accompanying the baron on a quest for arcane knowledge. But their jungle destination holds more danger than anyone on the expedition expects.

Reg knows their crew is made up of criminals—the kind who can’t be trusted—which puts a strain on the trio. He’s certain the baron and the mercenary Jean-Andre, are hiding something that puts them all in danger. Querry and the baron grow close, leaving Reg and Frolic feeling alienated. Frolic’s friendship with a fey servant just strains the trio’s dynamic further. Even if Reg, Querry, and Frolic survive the quest, their relationship will never be the same.

2nd Edition
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, October 2012

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Boots for the Gentleman

Steamcraft and Sorcery | Book One

Steamcraft and Sorcery: Book One

Hired by a mysterious faerie gentleman to steal seemingly worthless artifacts, Querrilous Knotte is seen as a traitor by the humans of Halcyon. But as long as he’s getting paid, Querry doesn’t mind. When his client makes a cryptic comment about a certain house, Querry contacts his old flame Reg—a former street rat who now works in the Royal Archives—to learn if the property contains anything of value.

Though Reg has no answers for him, Querry learns there is indeed something precious in the house, something Reg is convinced will bring nothing but trouble. The armed guards that attack the thief prove Reg’s prediction true, and he can’t leave Querry to face it all alone. Not when Reg’s feelings for the man may not be as extinct as he'd thought.

The trouble is, Querry's heart doesn’t just belong to Reg anymore, and surprisingly, Reg’s heart no longer belongs only to Querry. In the end, it may not even matter, because if Querry, Reg, and their hearts’ desire can’t stop Lord Thimbleroy from draining Halcyon’s magic, they won’t live long enough to regret their unresolved romance.

Second Edition
First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, August 2011

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Snowdrop

Steamcraft and Sorcery

A Steamcraft and Sorcery novella

When pickpocket Robin Pastorious comes across some graphic photographs of a young man suffering in bondage, he knows he has to liberate the victim—even after seeing the long, distinctive ears that mark the subject as a faerie, a creature Robin has been taught to hate and fear. Robin finds that the fey Snowdrop is afflicted with somewhat loose morals, a desire to be restrained, and a learned fear of reprimands, so naturally his ensuing encounters with Robin are both blistering and sporadic. But the faerie’s distant, fickle nature eats away at Robin’s sanity, and Robin ends the relationship.

That’s when the village comes under attack by the fey and Robin is captured and put on a train with the very man who tortured Snow. Will Snowdrop mount a rescue and find a way to convince Robin of his sincerity? Or will the pain of their shared past darken any possible future?

2nd Edition
First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2011

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Wishing Wings

Isleshire Chronicles | Book Two

Sequel to Lofty Dreams of Earthbound Men
Isleshire Chronicles: Book Two

Two weeks after their encounter with a ripper, engineering sage Jules Sterling and Earth mage Obadai Bashim are surprised to learn Aelfric Fairburn, a bureaucrat from the Divine Theocracy, has arrived in County Isleshire to reward Jules for his courageous defeat of the ripper.

Fairburn’s visit couldn’t come at a worse time, as Jules is in the field-testing phase of his dream project—flying. But the Virtuist Church of the Spirit Gods views man’s pursuit of flight as heresy and a contemptuous abomination of the ultimate ambition of the faithful—ascension.

But Fairburn’s judgment is the least of Jules’s problems. While he struggles to work out the kinks of his flying apparatus, a mysterious figure operates behind the scenes toward an unknown end. Once again, Jules and Obadai face a lethal foe.

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Jacob van Willingen arrives in a remote Romanian village aiming for a short visit. A member of the highly secretive Society for Psychical Research, Jacob has been charged with exterminating Caleb Donnithorn--but the society's intelligence about the reclusive nobleman is less than complete. As he studies his target, Van Willingen is drawn to Donnithorn, enthralled with the nobleman's alluring brides, three of society's most luminous geniuses gathered from the corners of Europe to create a fantastical machine: a resurrection engine that can capture a human soul at the moment of death.

Caleb Donnithorn represents everything that is evil in the world, but there is more to him than is initially apparent. What he knows about van Willingen is a truth so shocking it will shake the young scholar's world to its very foundations. Cast out from his friends and his beloved Society of Psychical Research, Jacob van Willingen will jettison everything he holds dear to remain with one whose love commands the highest price of all.

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The Border

2014 Daily Dose | Mended

Injured in a war that has stretched on for years, Sergeant John Peterson guards a lonely border. Aside from passing contact with railship captains, the only person he sees is the enemy: the man who guards the other side of the border. A bad fall places John’s life in the other soldier’s hands. He’s wary of his rescuer, First Lieutenant Thomas Fellowes, but over time he finds himself drawn to his new companion. Both soldiers carry the war in their souls, but they might find peace in each other.

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Called to Hyde Park, New York, ex-Air Corpsman turned detective Victor Van Voorhis comes to only three conclusions about his newest case: the gulf between his status and the wealthy Westbrook family is no trifling matter; someone brutally killed a young mother; and the victim’s brother-in-law is one of the most intriguing men Victor has ever met.

Inventor Abraham Westbrook lost his wife five years ago and is worried about the effect another death in the family will have on his children. He spends most of his time tinkering with steamships, but even his inventions can’t distract him from wishing Victor was in his life for any reason other than a murder investigation—one where Abraham himself is a suspect. He’s hidden his desires all his life, but no longer. Somehow, he’ll catch the detective’s eye.

With murder standing between them and a killer stalking the Westbrooks, Abraham and Victor’s chance at happiness could go up in steam.

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