Harmony Ink Presents… A Guest Post by Hayden Scott

March 22, 2016

Is there anything more annoying than a rule follower? Someone who always does what the instructions say, even if the shortcuts are obvious? Someone who doesn’t think too hard about why they’re doing something, because the process was created by people who know better?

I was that guy. I still am to an extent, but I really, really was in high school, even up through undergrad. I think it’s an easy trap to fall into. We spend a decade and a half training kids to trust authority and trust the system, and then we wonder why they resist change and don’t think outside the box. It’s also a great explanation for: 1.) why we as a society don’t fix broken systems, and 2.) the gnawing terror inside each of us that we are a fraud and everyone else has their life figured out.

One of my favorite things about turning thirty is the absolute certainty that nobody around me has any idea what they’re doing.

It was a gradual process to get here. I didn’t believe it at first. It had to be proven to me over and over that there really are very few “experts” in the world. Entering the corporate workforce helped a lot with that.

The quote that “decisions are made by those who show up” is equally inspiring and terrifying, because it’s true. Most organizations will make do with what they have, and that leads to people with generalized skill sets making decisions about very specific problems which they may or may not have any actual experience with. As far as I can tell, every major system and process in our society was created by a bunch of under-qualified people making educated guesses based on limited information.

Unsurprisingly, we screw up—a lot.

I think acceptance of that fact a right of passage. To me, the most important aspect of the coming of age tale is discovering that no one has the answers, especially not the adults you put your faith in. I’d say that’s more significant than finding your own self-confidence. Maybe one inevitably leads to the other.

In “Refraction,” Crush Goodman may be the love interest, but it’s his coming of age tale—Max just has to drag him to it, kicking and screaming. It’s hard to find out you’re not as heroic as you thought you were.

Crush’s mistake is that he assumes he’s the hero of the story because that’s what it says on his résumé. The city (or, the people in charge of running it) branded him a superhero, because it walked like a duck and talked like a duck. And Crush definitely fits the part—he believes in heroism down to his core. He just doesn’t realize that when he puts away bad guys, he’s also cleaning up messes for the corrupt city mayor and associated businessmen. It’s the perfect cover, and Crush is too virtuous to see a double-cross under his nose.

Which leads to another question—is heroism in the intention or the act?

Max and Crush figure it out together in “Refraction,” available for sale March 24th.

RefractionFS

Check out Refraction!

Blurb: 

Max Jackson is your typical teenage boy, concentrating on his classes at school and being accepted into a good university after graduation. There’s just the small matter of the bomb in his basement, one Max and his fellow members of the “Injustice League” plan to use to level their city’s unethical government. Too bad superhero Crush Goodman puts a stop to their plans. Max understands why Crush would steal the League’s doomsday device, but why is Crush following him around and acting like they’re friends? When the reprehensible Doctor Decay butts his head into Max’s business, Max has to figure out how to save the city he’s always worked to destroy—with or without Crush’s help.

 

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: Writing Sequels For Fun and Aggravation with Christopher Koehler

January 22, 2016

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air-

Hello, everyone in DSP/Harmony Ink-land. Christopher Koehler here today to talk about my latest release, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, the second installment in The Lives of Remy and Michael. I appreciate having the chance to talk about ATISMIA today. I hope you don’t mind me abbreviating the title like that, but it’s a mouthful.

AllThatIsSolidMeltsIntoAirMO

What inspired ATIS? Where did I get the idea?

Most of my books are spinoffs from earlier novels. That is, minor characters in an earlier book getting their own novel. Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink call these spin-offs. Sometimes the plot remains elusive, as in the case of Settling the Score, the fourth and final book in the original CalPac quartet, which is why Stuart’s story took so long to write. Stuart popped in and out of all the previous three novels, always the supporting character but never a protagonist until the very end. The inspiration for each novel came from Rocking the Boat, really.

I wrote First Impressions as a stand-alone, and in that case, I found inspiration in Pride and Prejudice and in my life at that time. Yes, my social life at that time resembled a Jane Austen novel, and let me tell you that was no end of fun. No joke. If life was Pride and Prejudice, my husband and I represented Mr. and Mrs. Gardner, Lizzy’s aunt and uncle, or uncle and uncle as the case may be, the sane and stable married couple. From the safe vantage point of our union, we watched the shark tank of the gay urban scene. As Austen said, for what else do we live but to make sport for our friends and laugh at them in our turn?

But for ATISMIA? This novel is a direct sequel to Poz and I’ve never written a direct sequel before. When I finished writing Poz, I was done with the story, but if you paid close attention to the final paragraphs, you could tell I wasn’t done with Remy and Michael. If you paid close attention, you might also have figured out how, at least to an extent, ATIAMIA would end, so don’t blame me for any feels you’ll have or have had. Notice how cagey I’m being? It releases today and I’m not spoiling anything. I’m evil that way.

I actually had the outline for ATISMIA underway before I finished Poz. I’d go to write something in Poz and realize that no, that was beyond the scope of Poz and needed to be told later in Remy and Michael’s lives. But wait, Christopher, I can hear you objecting from here. What if it’s much later in their lives? That’s why there’s a third book planned. You want details? You’ll have to check out my blog for details of the blog tour.

I’m evil that way, too.

So by the time I was done with Poz, I was outlining ATISMIA. By the time Harmony Ink had sent me edits for Poz, I was writing ATISMIA. The continuity is that direct, and to my regular readers I must apologize for that. You’re used to my books being more or less stand-alones. To new readers, if you go back and start with Poz, ATISMIA will make more sense. I don’t usually do this to readers. I hope you’ll bear with me, but at least Poz is on sale at Harmony Ink through January 23. Why? Because—shameless plug—the American Library Association named it to its Rainbow List for 2016.

Harmony_ALA2016_Badge_Poz

What does the title mean?

The title—All That Is Solid Melts Into Air—refers to the changes that Remy and Michael face in their lives and in their relationship throughout the novel. I felt bad for what I did to them, but not so bad that I held back. If you recognize where I lifted the title from, leave a note in the comments. There are Easter eggs littered throughout my books and no one ever calls me on them. It’s a great disappointment.

The Inevitable Soundtrack To The Book Question

I’m inevitably asked what music I listened to while I wrote a book, but before I answer it, I’m going to ask you what you listened to when you read it. Leave your replies in the comments, if you’d be so kind.

Here’s what I’m pretty sure I listened to while I wrote ATISMIA, because I failed to make a list. (Memo: Make a list for next time…anyone feel like keeping track to see if this actually happens?)

Bad Romance (Lady Gaga…I know, right?)
Cell Block Tango (“Chicago” Soundtrack)
The Killing Moon (Echo & the Bunnymen)
NYC (Interpol)
Out of My League (Fitz + The Tantrums)
Paris (Magic Man)
Summertime Sadness (Lana del Rey)
Transmission (Joy Division)
The Whole of the Moon (The Waterboys)

All of which probably explains why the book ends the way it does.

The thing is, though? I’ll listen to one song over and over and over before moving on to another.

Anyway, music is a huge part of my creative process, along with winking references to friends’ books, particularly if music is involved. Astute readers will have picked up on Outbreak Monkey in Poz and Kill The Wendybird in ATISMIA. I felt so bad for my editors in ATISMIA. Those heroic people checked everything I mentioned, and that included bands. One tried to find Kill The Wendybird in the International Music Database. The Wendybirds are from Settling the Score. They’re so alternative Sirius XM doesn’t even play them (h/t Jamie!).

I’m currently writing…

I needed a break from Remy and Michael, so now I’m working on a bit of Arthurian bit of fluff called Bullsh*tting Your Way To Camelot. There are people in the Arthur legends who show up in the historical record, specifically King Urien of Rheged, and his sons Ywain ap Urien and Ywain the Bastard, who preferred to be called Ywain the Adventurous for obvious reasons. Of course, where history goes off the rails is that Urien was allegedly married to Morgan le Fey. After that, everything’s just sort of bullsh*t….

Find me on:

On Facebook at Facebook.com/christopherkoehler

Twitter @christopherink

Blog: christopherkoehler.net/blog

Get your copy of All That Is Solid Melts Into Air today!

Harmony Ink New Release – November 13, 2014

November 14, 2014

Always Leaving by Gene Gant

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

As Ravi and Jason work through clues to Jason’s missing past, Ravi’s father’s prejudice threatens to tear them apart. Always Leaving by Gene Gant, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

AlwaysLeavingFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Jason Barrett wakes up, he remembers only one thing: his name. Frightened and driven by paranoia, Jason keeps moving, going from town to town working odd jobs and making no friends. When he stumbles onto an emergency in New Hanover and saves a fellow teenage boy, it offers him the first connection he’s felt in a while.

All Ravi Mittal learns about his knight-in-shining armor is his name. Jason. But New Hanover is a small town and it is easy to reconnect. To return Jason’s kindness, Ravi wants to help solve the riddle of Jason’s missing past. As they work through clues, Jason begins to feel settled. He finds a place he belongs with Ravi—maybe something more.

But Ravi’s father’s deep-seated prejudice against the African American teen threatens to tear Jason and Ravi apart… if the mystery chasing Jason doesn’t do it first.

Length: Novel (180p.) | Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: November 13, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-589-3) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-587-9)

Harmony Ink New Release: October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014

Guardians (The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two) by A.M. Burns

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Bigfoot Thom Woodman feels like he’s being forced to choose between the human and Oh Mah worlds, and life with or without his mate, Ben. Guardians (The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two) by A.M. Burns, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

GuardiansFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two

Thom Woodman is a bigfoot, although he prefers to be called an Oh Mah. When it comes time for the Oh Mah biannual gathering, he’s excited to go with Ben Steele, the human he bonded with.

To Thom’s surprise, he is offered a place among the Guardians, the leaders of the Oh Mah. But since he grew up half in the human world, he can’t make a decision before he finds out more about these Guardians.

When an Oh Mah is killed by a human, the growing antihuman sentiment runs rampant through the gathering. Thom’s family swears to help protect Ben, but when some of the Guardians join the anti-human faction, they aren’t sure they can live up to their promise. Even when Ben is kidnapped, Thom doesn’t know what to say when the Guardians demand his answer. Thom feels like he’s not only being forced to choose between the Oh Mah and the human world, but also between a life with or without Ben.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Fantasy: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy: High Fantasy, Paranormal: Other, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 30, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-389-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-389-9)

Harmony Ink New Release: October 16, 2014

October 16, 2014

When Ryan Came Back by Devon McCormack

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Ryan returns to tell Steven that he didn’t kill himself, he was murdered. Steven struggles to convince Ryan of the real cause of his death. When Ryan Came Back by Devon McCormack, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

WhenRyanCameBackFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steven’s life changes forever the day he discovers his childhood friend and lifelong crush, Ryan Walters, standing in his bedroom. The problem? Ryan Walters committed suicide just days earlier.

Ryan tells Steven that he didn’t kill himself. He believes he was murdered and that his death is linked to an article he was working on for the school paper. Steven sets out to solve the mystery, but as the story unfolds, so does Ryan’s secret life of sex with guys and depression. Steven realizes suicide is more plausible than Ryan’s conspiracy theory, but he struggles to convince Ryan of the real cause of his death. And despite revelations of his friend’s closeted life, he must face the truth that Ryan doesn’t—and never will—love him.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Western, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 16, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-456-) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-454-4)

Harmony Ink New Release: October 9, 2014

October 9, 2014

Under the Stars by Geoff Laughton

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Out and proud Ethan meets closeted Jason during his family’s vacation at a dude ranch. Their friendship grows into something deeper. Under the Stars by Geoff Laughton, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

UnderTheStarsFS
Ethan Tanner is an out and proud, fastidious, and fashionable sixteen-year-old vegetarian who likes theater and musicals. This year, it’s his sister’s turn to pick the vacation destination, so he ends up on a dude ranch he knows he is going to hate. What with the dirt, animals, and germs, he can’t possibly be happy.

Jason McCoy is the closeted sixteen-year-old son of the ranch owners and is trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t seem to fit him. He takes an interest in Ethan, shows him around, and gets him to ride a horse. When he invites Ethan camping, Ethan thinks Jason must be joking. But Ethan takes a risk, and the two boys bond under the stars.

After that, Ethan and Jason are inseparable. Their friendship grows into something deeper as they begin to figure out what they want from life. But Ethan’s home is in Chicago, and the distance might be more than the two teenagers—and their blossoming relationship—can withstand.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Western, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 9, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-308-0) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-306-6)

Harmony Ink New Release: October 2, 2014

October 3, 2014

All the Devils Here by Astor Penn

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

While struggling to survive a plague, Brie and another girl must ask how they can survive the version of themselves they’ve become. All the Devils Here by Astor Penn, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

AlltheDevilsHereFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Brie Hall, a sheltered and privileged teenager, is in her final year of boarding school in New York City when disaster strikes. A worldwide biological crisis, the origins of which are unknown, quickly decimates a large portion of the population, and there is no known cure. The threat of contamination is always present, and she cannot trust anyone she sees on the road, and as time goes on, she sees fewer travelers.

While journeying to find her family, Brie meets another wanderer, a girl with a past she can’t or won’t divulge. Circumstance force them together to escape notice of government-issued hazmat vehicles sent to deliver them to unknown conditions. With no hope of a cure, they do only what they can to survive and remain free, picking up new skills and hardening into people they never meant to become. While struggling to answer the question of how to survive a plague, they must also ask how they can survive the version of themselves they’ve become.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Lesbian | Release Date: October 2, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-254-0) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-252-6)

Harmony Ink New Release: September 25, 2014

September 26, 2014

Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgins by K.Z. Snow

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Jake and his friends become Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgin Order. It takes a tragedy to make the BRAVO boys realize what’s important in life. Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgins by K.Z. Snow, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

BenRaphaelsAllStarVirginsFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Jake McCullough and his friends Rider, Brody, Carlton, and Tim are the invisible boys of Ben Raphael Academy, an exclusive coed prep school. Brody decides they need “mystique” to garner attention. “Nobody has more mystique than a desirable virgin,” he declares. Thus is born Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgin Order or BRAVO.

The boys polish their appearances. Brody launches a subtle but canny publicity campaign. Soon, the boys are being noticed. But they’re emotionally fragile. Two have succumbed to a seductive female teacher. Jake and Rider, roommates and best friends who are attracted to one another, fear the stigma of being gay.

It takes an unspeakable tragedy to make the BRAVO boys realize what’s important in life, and that “virginity” has more than one meaning.

Length: Novella (124p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: September 25, 2014, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-257-1)

Harmony Ink New Release: September 18, 2014

September 18, 2014

Wet Paint (Transitions: Book Two) by Will Parkinson

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

When Addy’s past intrudes, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what they face, they belong together. Wet Paint (Transitions: Book Two) by Will Parkinson, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

WetPaintFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transitions: Book Two
Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.

High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.

When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what–or who–they face, they belong together.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: September 18, 2014, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-251-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-249-6)

Harmony Ink New Release: September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014

Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

When homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door, he must remember his true name and master his extraordinary abilities. Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

KeyofBehlisethFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Edition

On his way to meet a fate he’d rather avoid, homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door and is caught up in a whirlwind quest and an ancient war. He tries to convince himself that his involvement with sword fights, magic, and interworld travel is a fluke, and that ice-breathing dragons and fire-breathing eagles don’t really exist. But with each passing hour, he remembers more about who he is and where he’s from, and with help, he begins to claim his power.

Lucky might someday rule a nation, but before he can do that, he must remember his true name, accept his destiny, and master his extraordinary abilities. Only then can he help to banish the evil that has invaded earth and find his way home—through a gateway to another world.

Length: Novel (296p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: September 11, 2014, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-248-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-246-5)