Ascension by RJ Scott – *A Brush of Wings* anthology

March 21, 2010

Hi,

I am so excited to be included in the anthology *A Brush of Wings*, with *Ascension* my first ever submitted story. I think I am still in shock! I am in amongst so many awesome authors in the anthology and I wonder how long the high lasts!  I thought I would post a glimpse into the world of the angel Sabrael and his mortal Adam Riley…

A Brush of Wings

Ascension: an excerpt


“You can have that,” a voice came from the back of the shop, and Sabrael turned to locate its owner, wondering how a mortal had managed to see him when Sabrael hadn’t even sensed he was there. He looked down at the book in his hands, the last of the readers’ responses making his eyes tear. He was always stunned at the range of emotions the written word could conjure up in people’s minds.

“Thank you,” he responded simply. “How much do you want for it?”

The owner of the voice that had suggested he keep the book moved into the light, flooding in through the wide lettered glass store front. Sabrael blinked at the man with the deep voice—he was tall, so very tall, his chestnut hair worn short and neat, his eyes the hazel of fall greens and browns, and his body a trim build. “Seriously, take what you want, maybe donate something to charity, if you want to,” Adam James Riley said simply. “It’s all got to go.” His voice hovered on the edge of sadness, full of emotions that Sabrael hadn’t seen in this boy before: anger, distrust, and a choking fear of the future. The last leaked into his words, no matter how he hard he tried to hide it.

“Tell me?” Sabrael asked gently, losing his ability to form a full sentence as the man stopped in front of him and the sadness inside of Adam came, overwhelming, through Sabrael’s link to him.

“Tell you?” At first, Adam seemed confused, but immediately he snapped into comprehension. “Oh. The shop, you mean.” He waved his hand at the empty interior. “Usual story, I guess. We just can’t compete anymore, with website sellers and the book superstores, so we decided to shut down. Cut our losses while we could.” Sabrael listened carefully to what Adam wasn’t saying and the use of the word we, when he knew there was no we. Adam was the last of his family, the last child of the original mortal Sabrael had been tasked to watch.

That word said much.

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Welcome!

March 21, 2010

Welcome to the virtual release party for the new Dreamspinner Press anthology A Brush of Wings. I’m Anne Regan, the editor of the anthology, and I hope you’ll enjoy meeting our authors and reading previews of the stories throughout the day.

I was thrilled by the number and quality of the responses we received to our Call for Submissions for this anthology. The theme – guardian spirits, whether of the celestial or the human variety – seemed to touch a creative spark in a lot of authors. In A Brush of Wings you’ll meet all kinds of intercessory spirits, from traditional guardian angels to less familiar divine beings to those who are wholly human – or are they?

Throughout the day, authors will be stopping buy to post excerpts from their stories and tell you a little about themselves and what inspires them. Please feel free to ask questions, ask for more, or just leave a comment. We’ll be giving away a free eBook copy of the anthology, to be chosen at random from among everyone who posts comments during the release party – so don’t be shy. There will also be a trivia contest – an easy one, I promise – to give away a free paperback copy of the anthology, so watch for that too.

In the meantime, stop by the Dreamspinner Press website at www.dreamspinnerpress.com to read more about the anthology, sign up for our newsletter, Facebook, Twitter or Yahoo alerts, and of course place your order for A Brush of Wings!

Anne Regan
Associate Editor
Dreamspinner Press

A Trail of Feathers – Sarah Ann Watts – A Brush of Wings Anthology

March 21, 2010

The opening to my story published in A Brush of Wings tomorrow!

A Trail of Feathers

I’M stumbling out into the late dawn of another New Year’s Day, trying to pretend that, like everyone else at this all-night party, I have somewhere to go, a family to welcome me—the prodigal son returning to the fold, a lover to keep me warm. I remember how Luke would have laughed at my headache and told me I deserved it, while at the same time giving me his own comfort. Now my new “friends” are dispersing in a scattering to lit homes. There was no milk for coffee, and the Bailey’s we used instead only seemed like a good idea at the time, leaving a sickly taste upon the tongue.

This day is all too short; grey, crisp, and already people are out taking down festive lights, reeling in Christmas decorations, and stripping walls bare. The holiday is over, and after a score of crowded nights when I laughed louder, partied harder, went home to strangers’ beds, and tried to lose myself in revelry, the truth hurts.

Another year later—another year older—and what do I have to show for it?

God, I feel the cold. I wrap my arms around myself to keep warm. I was a fool to venture out without a coat, and I left the car at home. I never expected to be walking home alone; somehow, when the inevitable invitation came, I said no.

That was one hell of a New Year’s resolution, to say no, and for what? The chance to shiver just short of noon and trek back to a cold and empty flat. This glow of virtue doesn’t keep me warm, but what else is there? Today of all days, on the cusp of a new year, I should be looking forward, not back. I should do a lot of things; caution tells me, there is grief in memory. I know I can’t run forever. Not today. Not when I remember the day we first met. Today is for Luke.

There is nowhere more pointless than a church on New Year’s Day, all festivity gone, burnt out like the Christmas candles, leaving only a mess to scrape away.

Still, I find myself drawn to the doors, and I push them open. There is little light in the grey skies, and the interior is subdued, a fusty taint to the air of stale incense and scattered prayers. The greenery is fading, brittle holly leaves and dying flowers spilling petals. Dust shifts beneath my feet, waiting for the cleaners to come in after the holidays.

There is nothing here to welcome me. I linger, trying to recapture the past, but it slips though my fingers.

I try to think why I came in here, why I want to light a candle for Luke, and why I won’t put the taper to the wax to remember. Luke is worth more than a candle. I don’t need to see his face new-kindled in the flame when it is with me always.

 paperback

ebook

This is my first publication with Dreamspinner Press and I’m delighted to be in such great company. I couldn’t resist writing an angel story and the idea of tripping over a man shedding feathers in the street led to everything else…

I knew from the beginning that this had to be a New Year’s Day story and I wrote it either side of the holiday – so at the time I was writing the first paragraphs I was putting up decorations even as Daniel, my MC is watching everything ripped down around him.

The Bailey’s detail is true life – everything else is fiction but the story is all about hope and new beginnings.

Please visit me at www.sarahannwatts.com

Gatekeeper by Rayne Auster

March 19, 2010

Gatekeeper by Rayne Auster is now available in paperback and eBook.

Duiem, the Land of Earth and Fire, is doomed to destruction unless a prophecy requiring Kaji, the king of Duiem, to bond to one of royal blood is fulfilled. But fate sends an escaping slave stumbling into the ceremony, and Kaji ends up bonded to a total stranger. Shy and withdrawn Aniol is an exotic enigma, a puzzle for the impatient and headstrong Kaji to solve amidst growing chaos: His world is a shambles. His people are at war. The prophecy is lost. And he is inexplicably and passionately drawn to his new bondmate.

A painful betrayal forces Kaji and Aniol on an impossible quest, guided only by a myth that tells of a gate leading to the Land of Air and Water. Though facing incredible danger, they must find that mystical gate, for its keeper holds the key to both Duiem’s salvation and the secret behind Kaji and Aniol’s growing love.

Perfect Gift for a Voyeur by Anel Viz

March 17, 2010

Perfect Gift for a Voyeur by Anel Viz is now available in eBook.

I suppose I ought to feel guilty, spying on him this way, but I don’t. After all, he can’t help but know he’s clearly visible at night in a lit apartment. Either he’s a bit of an exhibitionist or he knows that another man lives across from him and assumes he has no interest in seeing him naked. If he doesn’t care, why should I?

Start from the Beginning by Chrissy Munder

March 17, 2010

Start from the Beginning by Chrissy Munder is now available in eBook.

A heart attack leaves Miles wrangling with a slow recovery and a quiet retreat, just one cabin down from wounded warrior Drew. Although he’s unhappy to have his solitude invaded, Drew finds himself fascinated with Miles, but he can’t bring himself to push aside his skittish nerves. Both men fear rejection for different reasons, and it will take a real change of heart to seek the acceptance they crave.

Reprint: This short story was originally published in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Size Still Matters.

Stretching Limits by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

March 17, 2010

Stretching Limits by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna is now available in eBook.

Sequel to Exploring Limits

Having made a commitment to see where their relationship leads, actors Jonathan Braedon, Devon Aldridge, and Kit Webster are taking advantage of a long weekend break from filming the miniseries Camelot to escape their castmates and head for the coast of France. They’re already exploring options they’d never before considered, and at a cottage with a private beach, they’ll stretch the limits of their growing intimacy and introduce a new level of kinkiness to their loveplay.

Timing by Mary Calmes

March 15, 2010

Timing by Mary Calmes in now available in paperback and eBook.

Stefan Joss just can’t win. Not only does he have to go to Texas in the middle of summer to be the man of honor in his best friend Charlotte’s wedding, but he’s expected to negotiate a million-dollar business deal at the same time. Worst of all, he’s thrown for a loop when he arrives to see the one man Charlotte promised wouldn’t be there: her brother, Rand Holloway.

Stefan and Rand have been mortal enemies since the day they met, so Stefan is shocked when a temporary cease-fire sees the usual hostility replaced by instant chemistry. Though leery of the unexpected feelings, Stefan is swayed by a sincere revelation from Rand, and he decides to give Rand a chance.

But their budding romance is threatened when Stefan’s business deal goes wrong: the owner of the last ranch he needs to secure for the company is murdered. Stefan’s in for the surprise of his life as he finds himself in danger as well.

Simple Men by Eric Arvin

March 12, 2010

Simple Men by Eric Arvin is now available in paperback and eBook.

Chip Arnold is a well-liked football coach at a small liberal arts college, but his personal life is in a bit of a rut. He goes out drinking with his colleagues, gets along well with his players, and dates all the prettiest women in town—he has the life most straight men dream of. But lately none of the women he dates seem to be igniting any passion in him. Then he meets the new school chaplain, Foster Lewis.

Romantic attraction to another man is new and terrifying, and Chip just can’t put his finger on why he’s drawn to Foster, but it’s stronger than anything he’s felt for anyone in his life. Never one to back down from a challenge, Chip decides to go for it. But love is never simple, and sometimes it’s a downright mess!

Prayer Waltz by K.Z. Snow

March 10, 2010

Prayer Waltz by K.Z. Snow is now available in eBook.

For eight months, the peculiar circumstances surrounding the sudden death of Steven Brandwein’s lover, an enigmatic ex-priest, have weighted his mourning with mystery. Desperate for emotional closure, Steve makes a journey he’s put off for years: he travels to the town that was once an integral part of his late lover’s life. Steve hopes his pilgrimage will help him better understand Frank, serve as a final farewell, and allow him to move on.

His visit to St. Jerome’s Church one snowy, silent night proves more consequential than he’d ever anticipated. Evan McAllister, an unassuming man still grieving over the death of his son, befriends Steve. As their bond grows, they both make startling discoveries—not the least of which, for Steve, is that he’s ready to love again.