stories in and

Not Your Mary Sue by Rebecca Frost

A not so classic girl meets boy story begins when a televangelist’s adult daughter, Marcy, journeys to a secluded island resort where she awakens a captive of a handsome, charming, notorious serial killer who requests she pen his autobiography explaining all of his intentions and crimes in detail. She finds herself horrified that she is intrigued by him and maybe even...infatuated by him. He has more control than she realizes as he slowly begins to brainwash her just as the autobiography is completed. Once she is rescued and he is arrested, Marcy begins to pull her life back together only for her captor to escape and her brother becomes a new suspect in a murder.


Going Home by Jack T Canis

A short Gothic tale about a 9yo boy who is lost on his birthday outing - all he wants to do is go home.


Revenge Arc by Cat Voleur

When controversial comic creator Riley Langdon is faced with an unimaginable crime committed in her name, she retreats from the spotlight she spent years seeking. But as media, fandom, and obsession churn, Riley’s story takes on a life of its own.


Life After by genalea barker

Someone once asked August Haiz if twins realize one of them is an accident. Deep down, August knows if anyone was an accident, it wasn’t Benny—it was her. Granted, August doesn’t mind dancing in the background, letting Benny be the star musician and center of attention. In fact, she prefers it that way. Abandoned by their mother as children, the twins have spent a decade dodging the unpredictable nature of their alcoholic father in an attempt to stay off his radar. With graduation in sight and their freedom on the horizon, August and Benny look forward to fleeing their hometown together and starting fresh at college. But a tragic accident turns August’s world upside down, swallowing her hopes of a brighter future. Guilt-ridden and struggling to cope with her new normal, August shuts out the people who love her most, and nearly ruins her most important friendship. If August wants a chance at adjusting to life after tragedy, she’ll have to process her pain, let go of the past, and leave the darkness behind.


Dog Won't Hunt by XM Moon

Milo Nelson has learned plenty of things from necessity: how to tie a tie, how to change a tire, how to shave his face. He’s also learned that the truth may hurt, but the fantasy of a life he can’t have hurts even more, so when Richard Remington Abernathy III waltzes back into his life two years after the end of their definitely-not-a-relationship and says he’s changed, that dog won’t hunt. Remi’s drug of choice is denial, and he’s always been one hell of an addict. The only things he’s ever committed to are the expectations of his good Christian family, and Milo knows those don’t include a trans librarian even in the role of friend or roommate. Despite everything, a part of Milo wants to believe that Remi is capable of change; he’s just not sure that the time it takes to find out is worth the risk of being hurt again.


Beginnings: The Omniscients by Kevin Marstall

BEGINNINGS – The Omniscients – Book 2 Los Angeles, CA - It’s late 1993, as Detective Jason Markham embarks on a new investigation, one that will challenge his patience, his methods, and ultimately his mind. A heinous crime, an innocent victim, and a partner with whom working together is more difficult than solving the case. Struggling to train his attention on the clues in the continuing series of burglaries, instead Jason’s heart and mind remain focused on his personal investigation into the disappearance of the woman he loves. Driven to find her and know that she is safe, Markham’s actions stretch his physical, emotional, and mental state dangerously to its limits. New and old friends alike lend their support to Jason, but the detective’s tumultuous battle rages on against his new partner, his generations of memories that seem just beyond his grasp, and worst of all his own sense of self.


Discoveries: The Omniscients by Kevin Marstall

DISCOVERIES – The Omniscients Los Angeles, CA - It’s 1993 and Detective Jason Markham faces a new case, unlike any he’s seen before. A nameless victim, no clues, and not a soul to care about the man’s unfortunate death. To make matters worse, sleepless nights, haunted by his memories, have him on the edge, and now a few chance encounters send his previously ordered life spiraling dangerously out of control. Love, friendship, betrayal, all swirling around him and threatening to consume his mind, Jason’s heart desires to trust but is thrust into conflict with generations of wisdom passed down to him from his father and grandfathers before him.


By Your Side: A Queerplatonic Short Story by Margherita Scialla

Emma's relationship ends abruptly when she comes across her boyfriend cheating on her at a party. Yet another failed relationship brings her repressed platonic feelings for one of her best friends to the surface once more. Emma’s scared to voice her worries and desires, but even if she manages to bring up how she feels, how will Noah react to such a revelation?


A Case of Madness by Yvonne Knop

Andrew Thomas just got sacked. He's permanently drunk. He's got cancer. Is inescapably gay. Was hit by a bus. And he's fallen in love with a stranger whose life he saved. As a newly-unemployed Sherlock Holmes scholar, Andrew knows only Holmes can help him untangle the madness his life has become, but Holmes isn't real. Except he absolutely appeared in Andrew's house, told him he's in love with a man he just met…and then in a fit of pique Andrew sent him away. Sure Holmes is probably a hallucination or a specter or a ghost, but now Andrew desperately needs his help. So to find the answer to his case and the man of his dreams, Andrew takes to chasing a fictional character through London with his very own Watson.


Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson and other very short stories by Jack Remiel Cottrell

There are many messages in this book: Never go drinking using your passport for ID. Make sure to apply lidocaine before ripping out your toenails. Magic might be real, but it never fixes the worst of your problems. Try to fall in love with bastards. You or someone you know may be gayer than previously thought. We’re not going to make it to Mars. A locked psychiatric ward needs more books than a single copy of Jane Eyre. Asking time travellers for advice on your exams is considered cheating. It’s not just human houses that become haunted. The key message is this: Life in the early 21st century is often very strange. So are these stories. With a crisp insouciance and gliding charm, Jack Remiel Cottrell’s fiery, fey, finely-tuned fictions leap from sci-fi to fantasy, comedy to horror, literary realism to romance, and to hybrids of all of these. Featuring sport, friendship, love, health, family, climate change, artificial intelligence, desire, magic, Greek gods, ghosts, peanut butter, cyber pranks, racial prejudice, and creepy medical advances, his stories play with the allure of the past, the disturbances of our own times, and the dangerous idealism of our future technologies – each one in fewer than 300 words.


The Final Say by Brandie Nikole

They said all I’ll ever be is damaged goods.I don’t deserve the joys of life, ’cause I don’t care about the lives of others.Too bad their words don’t hold any merit when it comes to my life.I’m the boss.The only captain of this yacht.I’m the only one with the final say.Accompany Jerome on his journey as he walks his truth and follows his own rules. Nobody better get in his way, or they’ll find just what they’re looking for.Jerome: The Final Say


Fighting For Her Heart by Brandie Nikole

I love my life like it is. Full of amazing adventures and without a monogamous relationship.I've had my heart broken more than once and that's enough for me to know I don't want to do that again.I don't want a man coming all up in my mix trying to make me commit.After all, I'm Shavonne Jordan, a rebel, also known as a LimitlessSpirit! But then he comes along fighting me at every turn, invading places I never invited him to.Leaving his imprint every step of the way trying to win my heart with his suspenders and floggers, ropes, and suits.Making me see life in a way I never imagined I would or could. Will I let him in or will he eventually get fed up with the fight? Follow us on this adventure of love's tug-o-war.Fighting For Her Heart by ella Shavonne's Story


His Favorite Girl by Brandie Nikole

Imagine knowing a person most of your life. You know their flaws, the things that make them tick, the hearts they've broken, and the chipped pieces in their armor, and still, you love them completely… unconditionally. That is Khalil and Ajah. Best friends since they were eating dirt together. Their bond is unbreakable, but could they survive that one time in college? Khalil has tried moving on from the events of the past, becoming a serial dater with no satisfaction. His recent girlfriend, Destiny, is madly in love with him, and she refuses to accept rejection from Khalil or the destruction of their relationship. But are her feelings the same for her, or is he in love with someone else? Then there's Ajah. While enjoying the single life, she encounters the one-night stand that haunts her for longer than she wants. Will these two friends place all their cards on the table and see if revisiting unfinished business is worth it? Or will they continue playing friends while playing the field? Join Ajah and Khalil as they work to strengthen their bond as best friends while trying to hold on to the lives they have separate from each other. Life doesn't always go according to plan, and we all know there's a reason for everything.


Soul Survivor by Isobel Lynx

A reluctant psychic medium searching for meaning after a life-altering tragedy must confront the world of supernatural he's long ignored. Like any young man, Ian wants normal things like a car, a girlfriend, or another tracksuit, but he’s always in danger of being called crazy, or worse—creepy. After all, if he were normal, he wouldn’t be seeing things that aren't there. His survival tactic is to ignore his intuition and deny what he sees, no matter how real it appears. He’s been pretending to be ordinary for so long, he doesn't know who he is anymore. When a tragedy upends his life, Ian latches onto what he's sure is real, but the philosophy that's protected him thus far only further isolates him. So when a pretty girl enters his life, Ian jumps at the opportunity to find his ‘new normal.’ A down-to-earth, sweet girl is exactly what he needs to break out of the limbo of grief, but welcoming her into his private world risks revealing the truth and unraveling his illusion of normalcy.


All Our Faults by Charlotte Brough

A school rivalry. Twin brothers with dangerous vices. A fatal accident. Lakemere High’s star athlete, Jack Porter, is a master of denial. He doesn’t have an eating disorder, and his twin brother, Jared, definitely doesn’t have a drinking problem. Everything is rosy in Jack’s world–he’s headed to Duke, has his pick of the dating pool, and Lakemere are winning in their prank war with rival school, West Valley. Younger brother, Alex, is practically a genius, and Jared…he’s fine. Probably. Then the boys’ estranged mother returns, setting in motion a chain of events that will devastate their entire community. Spiraling into depression, Jack tries to play peacemaker between the schools, but Jared isn't about to forgive and forget. Fueled by his escalating addiction, he's out for blood...


Jenni’s Boy by Lewis J. Lewin

Jenni’s Boy follows Luke as he grows up, struggling to tell the woman that he has loved since high school how he truly feels. As he fails to communicate with her, other problems take ahold of him in life, and she drifts away, but she is ever present in his mind. His old friends fade away, and even his family members start to go their own paths. He realizes just how important communication is in relationships.


In Aeternum by Maxime Jaz

“For who could love a beast, forever?” Jay is a sensitive, traumatized young man selling his body to pay his college tuition fees and to send money to his gravely ill mother. Roman is a centuries old vampire who has no control over whom he bonds with. When they cross paths, it’s supposed to be for only one bite, but it ignites the fires of love within Roman. Jay gets caught in his own feelings for Roman, who needs to feed on humans to survive, even if following his own moral compass. And although danger lurks in the form of another bloodthirsty predator, Roman and Jay’s journey through life is also wrought with human monsters, as dangerous as the mythical ones. Will Jay and Roman find the forever love—a love transcending difference, mortality, and immortality—that they are both yearning for?


Home by Maxime Jaz

What if the edge of the world wasn't far enough to confront your biggest fears? Damian has it all: first-class ticket home, whisky to drown his fear of flying, snark, and arrogance to push away everyone. Just not the wife. Heartbroken flight attendant Gabe likes his flights uneventful. His training and gentle nature are enough to keep him from busting Damian's face in. Probably. A plane crash forces lives and worlds that couldn't be more different to become one. They fight each other, their biggest fears, a life so rough survival is just the beginning... can they win battles brewing far away, at home?


The Devil in the Woods by S. Jean

Fifty years ago, a girl walked into the woods with only matches to guide her and then disappeared. No one could find her despite the exhaustive search until days later when her body came out without her heart. Upon her skin was written a dare: "Come into the woods and find my still beating heart." It’s a silly urban legend, or at least, it’s supposed to be. When highschooler Felix Graves agrees to help his classmates, Vivian and Charlie debunk the urban legend of the Devil in the Woods once and for all, he doesn’t believe there’s anything to it. Well… until something finds him in the dark.


My Heart is Hurting by S.E. Reed

Jinny Buffett is lonely... She's never had the comfort of a white picket fence with a loving family. Her subsidized apartment in Hollywood Florida echoes with the void of her dead Daddy, and the nights drag long into twilight while her Mama works the block outside the Margaritaville resort. It's idealistic Ms. Fleming, who's brave enough to come knocking first. She wants to see Jinny rise up and use her ace scores to escape the wheel of poverty, convincing Jinny to start a school book club, where she finds the friends and boyfriend she never knew she needed. But when her Mama spirals out of control and threatens her entire existence, it's Jinny's Everglade ancestors who arrive in a mist of magic, bringing the swamp and hope with them.


Backmask by O F Cieri

BACKMASK is written in the style of 60s horror pulp. Inspired by pop music history, BACKMASK is the fake history of a conspiracy theory surrounding the Satanic agenda to control children's minds. Nicholas Hush, 1960s record producer, has a vision for the future of pop music. After a series of prophetic dreams he wants to combine occult imagery with upcoming trends to create a new, groundbreaking look. His secretary, Valerie Chill, is tasked with finding consultants and funding while he crafts the perfect album. Quickly their project becomes entangled in other, larger machinations, and two teenage pop acts become responsible for international intrigue, brainwashing, and an occult massacre. Taking inspiration from the lives of Joe Meek, Phil Spector, and Timothy Leary, BACKMASK is a speculative look at how hidden messages got into pop music.


Lockdown Laureate by O F Cieri

A 22 tale collection, with 22 illustrations by Soren Häxan. Dark, introspective, grimy, urban, strange. “Like a puddle of blood in a back alley of New York City that whispers to you of what could have been via a static-slathered Bluetooth connection…”


Andy and the Extroverts by Jessica K. Foster

Seventeen-year-old bookish Andy has no friends. When her over-involved mother has the audacity to ship her off to summer leadership camp, she's thrust into an introvert's nightmare. Everyone is a Communicator with a capital C, icebreaker activities are scheduled into every waking moment, and horror of all horrors: there's no coffee. Even the girls who take her under their wing are the kind of self-assured people Andy could never dream of becoming. Then she meets Lucas‐‐hot, attentive, and everything Andy reads about in her books. Though the girls in her cottage try to warn her about him, she's swept into the first romance of her life. But when she discovers her friends may be right, she'll have to find her inner confidence to save her summer and become the leader she was always meant to be.


Sushi and Sea Lions by Rachel Corsini

When a career-ending injury and a messy breakup send prima ballerina Daniela Verdi back to Queens, New York, she fills her days with countless distractions: meaningless sex, pinot grigio, and video games. It takes a chance meeting with her brother's best friend, Vincent LaBate, for her to remember who she was before the stage lights and distractions of the Upper West Side. She's convinced that Vincent could never love a girl like her: broken, insecure, and stumbling her way through life. What Daniela didn’t count on is that Vincent is as scarred as she is after divorcing his cheating wife and going through an equally messy child custody fight. Soon enough, old vulnerabilities rear their ugly heads, opening a crack in Daniela’s perfectly imperfect romance. As Daniela and Vincent's relationship develops, will Daniela learn to accept that a dream life isn't all it's cracked up to be?


Tamika Wood's Birthday Party by Le Kendall

Follow the stories of Alan Sebastian Parker and his family as they navigate life, love, family and parenting, queerness and neurodivergence.


Purity by Skyler Mason

What happens when a shy virgin raised in purity culture asks her gorgeous, player best friend to take her V-card? I’ve been in love with Cole Walker since the first day he walked into class and sat beside me. Who could blame me? Six foot five, gorgeous, and a sweetheart to boot. He’s charming enough to get any girl he wants. The plan was to make him fall in love with me, get married, and give him all my firsts. Too bad he’s never once looked at me that way. I don’t know how to flirt, and I’ve been stuck in the friend-zone for years. I’m 21 now. And this summer, I’m going to ask him to take my V-card with no strings attached. But when I tell Cole my request, his reaction is not what I expect. He’s furious and over-the-top protective. He won’t touch me, but apparently no one else can either. It doesn’t make any sense. Until we share a kiss that makes the world stand still, and I begin to wonder…maybe I’ve misread him all along. Author’s note: Suitable for ages 18+.Please see author’s website for a list of content warnings.


Our Darkest Hour by Gabriella E. Mari

Coming into his psychic powers by accident, Adrian Sinclair finds he has the ability to see and communicate with spirits yet zero understanding of how anything works. So when the YouTube-famous Crossroads Paranormal Research Society offers to take him under their wing, he knows he is in no position to refuse. As Adrian learns what it means to be a paranormal investigator and how to navigate his newfound online celebrity status, he discovers that psychics are quitting en masse, and there are only vague rumors as to why... ... until something beyond his reach starts stalking him.


Bodied by Eli Horowitz

Maya is a 20-year-old with a graveyard shift at the post office, a ma whose temper rises even faster than the rent, and all of the million daily headaches of life as a young woman of color in New York in 2011. Her one saving grace is her local arcade, home of New York's feisty, burgeoning fighting game tournament scene. But that respite is taken away from her after she gets banned for standing up to a trash-talker who goes too far. To get back into the arcade and fight for her independence and respect, Maya will partner with a team of up-and-coming players and learn to defeat not just her opponents, but also her own worst instincts. Beneath Maya's quest for FGC glory shines a deeper story about how all of us are made by history—and how we can make history in our turn. The connections between Maya, the women who raised her, and the generations who come after her, examine how our moment in time determines—often unjustly—the risks we take for the rewards we desire for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Bodied is a unique coming-of-age story with sneaky literary chops, a modern mashup between The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and A League of Their Own.


Lipstick Covered Magnet by Amber Herbert

She’s running from her past. He’s hoping to become her present. Skylar has avoided the past for three years. She can’t be plagued by guilt and regret if she never has time to process what happened. When a song triggers the memories she’s tried so hard to bury, she knows she can’t run anymore. Despite her ex being gone, he’s hiding in the quiet and stillness. There’s no escape. Connor has always been passionate. If he’s into you, he will follow you to the ends of the earth. Sure, his fixation once ended in a restraining order, but that was just one girl. When he meets Skylar, he feels that same itch. Despite her attempts to brush him off, he increases his efforts—even if that means tracking her movements and stalking her online. He knows he’ll win her over if he’s persistent. As Skylar does her best to heal, Connor sinks further into obsession. Lipstick Covered Magnet is a genre-bending debut that weaves the intricacies of healing with delusion and suspense. For fans of You and I May Destroy You *Content warning: contains sexual assault, mentions of suicide, and stalking.


The Girl Who Steals Christmas by C.G. Drews

A prequel short story about the De Lainey family from The Boy Who Steals Houses. It's set a week before Moxie meets Sam. Available for free on author's blog. Last year Christmas didn’t happen because their mother had just died... It's a hot miserable December and the De Lainey family are actively ignoring the festive season, but when Moxie finds her little sister's screwed up letter to Santa in the bin, she decides to bully Christmas to life. Includes various sibling dramas, a too-small tent, and confusion between Santa and a potato.


The Outing by Fabian Foley

When nowhere is safe in the world you know, you have to hide... or start making a new one. Robert is eleven when his best friend dies and he learns that if he wants to survive in the world he has to be ‘normal’. He buries his feelings, his awful childhood memories, and his suspicion that he is gay. Even when he falls in love with Johnny, he pretends it isn’t happening, and buries those feelings too, choosing safety in the closet, a career as a lawyer, a wife and kids, and suburban happy ever after… Until Johnny returns needing help, and then disappears, and Robert's façade begins to crack in heartbreaking and dreadful circumstances. Only one other person saw what happened that night, and after being arrested for drunk and disorderly, he disappears. It shares poignant and emotional elements of Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain and Craig Silvey’s trans-coming-of-age novel Honeybee, with the suspense of The Dry by Jane Harper, while drawing on the historical facts leading up to the airing of the dirty linen of the Bjelke-Peterson era with the broadcasting of The Moonlight State-1987 . Trying to keep his secret and himself safe isn’t Robert’s only priority. He wants justice too. But when the police force is corrupt from the top down, justice isn’t merely elusive, it’s an impossibility. Or so it seems when you’re fighting for yourself alone. But other people have been fighting for justice too. If Robert can convince them to help him, together they may set something unstoppable in motion. It will either run down the corrupt police or run over and destroy Robert’s life. Inspired by the true story of a suicide that was reclassified thirty years later as a gay hate-crime murder, The Outing is set in 1980s Queensland, (Australia), where corrupt police and politicians rule together, with an audacious disregard for the law. It shares poignant and emotional elements of Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain and Craig Silvey's trans coming-of-age novel Honeybee, with the suspense of The Dry by Jane Harper, while drawing on the historical facts leading up to the airing of the dirty linen of the Bjelke-Peterson era with the broadcasting of The Moonlight State-1987. Breaking a corrupt system can sometimes break you, and those you love… some, forever


The Pilgrim: Inferno Redux by Rohit Prasad

Roy Aron stepped off a sun-kissed beach and plunged into the fiery pits of hell. He had a life-altering vision. To actualize his epiphany, he metaphorically descended the bowels of hell to grapple with man’s ruinous frailties. He followed in the footsteps of Dante Alighieri as he witnessed each of the nine sins: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery. He came upon unexpected and macabre sagas, engaged in intriguing and enthralling events, which bore testimony to all that these sins manifest, and observed how the sinners end up sundering devastation around them. After observing the lowest of lows, he pulled himself out of these depths and vowed to fight the intoxicating attraction of sin. Roy undertook this odyssey, again and again, every year to make himself a better husband, a better father and a better human being. Journey with him through the heart of darkness, live through these bizarre and metamorphic incidents and emerge in the sunshine of hope.


The Kings of Nowhere by C.G. Drews

Avery Lou has given up stealing houses — now he’s meant to build them. Forced to stay with the De Lainey family until Sam’s return from juvie, Avery feels like he’s drowning. He hates that Sam chose the De Laineys instead of running away with him. And he hates working in their construction company while Vin, the thief who hurt Sam, still walks free. Avery wants revenge. Swapping the sharp-edged world of burglary and car theft for the homey chaos of big family life is a wild adjustment, and Avery’s determined to sabotage his time with the De Laineys and get locked up with Sam instead. Avery just has to stay immune to Jeremy’s charming shenanigans. Easy…sort of. But Avery’s war against Vin has brought trouble to the De Lainey door and he can’t survive this fight alone.


Sweet Baby Mine by Maria Daversa

Set in Paris, Sweet Baby Mine is about the secrets, lies, and mental illnesses that take a toll on two people who once thought they’d found their true love. The tale is brutal, oftentimes heartbreaking, but always hopeful. The message? On the road to self-discovery, you’ll learn that no matter what anyone says, no matter what flawed message you believed about yourself growing up, you are a good person and deserve love.


Summer's Second by Jeff Billington

Asher Brock’s last summer of youth is far from ideal. His hopes for the future, including an escape from his constricting Ozark Mountains hometown, seem increasingly fragile as he faces hurdles of poverty and abuse, all while coming to terms with being gay. Raised by an alcoholic single mother, he clings to his noted intelligence as an escape to a better life. But it will take more than brains—namely, strength of character and aspiration—for him to navigate the months leading to his senior year of high school. The pregnancy of his recent girlfriend, the heightened aggression of his long-time bully, and the increasing presence of his long-absent father create a season of turmoil, spurring unease and self-doubt. But with support from family and friends, an opportunity for love, and the shedding of generations of secrets, Asher sees beyond preordained fate and starts to realize the opportunities in his grasp.


Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory

Jenna Oliver doesn’t have time to get involved with one boy, let alone two. All Jenna wants is to escape her evaporating small town and her alcoholic mother. She's determined she'll go to college and find a life that is wholly hers—one that isn't tainted by her family's past. But when the McAlister twins move to town and Jenna gets involved with both of them, she learns the life she planned may not be the one she gets. Ian McAlister doesn't want to start over; he wants to remember. Ian can’t recall a single thing from the last three months—and he seems to be losing more memories every day. His family knows the truth, but no one will tell him what really happened before he lost his memory. When he meets Jenna, Ian believes that he can be normal again because she makes not remembering something he can handle. The secret Ian can’t remember is the one Luke McAlister can’t forget. Luke has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother until Jenna stumbles into his life. She sees past who he’s supposed to be, and her kiss brings back the spark that life stole. Even though Luke feels like his brother deserves her more, Luke can’t resist Jenna—which is the trigger that makes Ian's memory return. Jenna, Ian, & Luke are about to learn there are only so many secrets you can keep before the truth comes to reclaim you.


Black Licorice by Elaina Battista-Parsons

Freddi’s life is over. Her best—and only—friend needed her and she failed. After a series of bad decisions, Freddi is pulled out of music school and forced to prove herself, but a new school and volunteer work only add to her overwhelming anxiety. Freddi finds a potential new friend in Lorna, who forces her to face her insecurities head on, but Freddi isn’t ready to let go. When Freddi learns Lorna is keeping something from her, their friendship starts to crumble. Now Freddi must choose between chasing her past or rebuilding her future.


March & Feather by Emma Saska

At Stony Point Homeschool Academy, high school senior Audra Dunne spends her time hanging out with friends, cooking and baking, and dreaming of her not-so-distant future at the Culinary Institute of America. Sure, she wishes she were comfortable enough to talk to her much-older sister Madeline about something other than AP Calculus. And sure, she wishes new kid Matthew Harwell would stop invading her friend group. But Audra finds comfort in her digital persona Feather, exchanging texts with her best friend March, the pen pal she met on a homeschool forum four years ago. When March lets slip that he’s recently moved to her city, Audra’s curiosity begins to grow. What if she and March end their pact to stay anonymous? What if March goes to Stony Point? What if... March is someone she already knows? As unexpected family developments and a personal crisis (or two) threaten to upend Audra’s life, she’ll have to decide whether turning away from all she’s used to is worth it for the chance at finding more.


Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Between Before and After follows Indie film director Sebastian Foster, son of the famous author Regina Foster, as he embarks on a project to turn his mother’s award-winning novels into films. As he works on his third film in the project, a biographical novel that takes place in Paris and deals with the traumatic death of Sebastian’s five-year-old sister, the project and aspects of Sebastian’s personal and private life start to break down. Sebastian is confronted with a man from his past who holds the purse strings as far as funding for his films is concerned. He also learns that his mother has more secrets than he realized and as he dives deeper into this project, he learns that there was so much more to his sister’s tragic death than he realized. As the past starts to unravel before him, Sebastian must confront his issues with his mother and his desperate need to recreate a past that may not have been as idyllic as he remembered.


The Persistence of Vapor by Ralph Clementi

Thomas Marcelli, lead archaeologist at an excavation outside a small town in Jordan, is astonished when his assistant informs him that the local newspaper has just printed a sensationalistic account of their recent find. The article claims that the coprolite that was uncovered the previous day is a holy relic of Jesus. Over the next two days the site becomes overrun by hundreds of curious spectators. Chaos ensues and the coprolite gets stolen. The artifact quickly enters the dark underworld of stolen art and antiquities. Eventually, through a string of murders and deceptions, it is acquired by Michael Steadman, a major dealer of stolen art in the United States. He multiplies his profits substantially by selling counterfeits of "the holy relic of Jesus" that he crudely carved from locally collected rocks. In the meantime the news of the discovery and theft of the coprolite unleashes a flood of conspiracy theories. This misinformation continues to spread despite repeated assertions by the archaeologists that there is no evidence of a connection between the coprolite and Jesus. Then matters worsen. Fraudulent enterprises appear that advertise nonexistent tours to the site where the "the holy relic of Jesus" was found. Religious leaders, deeply troubled by these scams, try to intercede to protect their congregants from being cheated. However, their efforts backfire when the religious leaders become the targets of new conspiracy theories. Set in the U.S. and the Middle East, the novel traces the impact that the coprolite has on the people it touches. The story is part adventure and part intellectual journey and rides on a universal theme that underlies so much of human behavior: facts and logic often take a back seat to a blind hunger for the satisfaction of emotional needs.


bacon grief by Joel Shoemaker

“Readers will root for Charlie and Tim to find their way through the thicket of anxieties and droll snark to happiness.” — Kirkus Reviews Charlie, a musical-theatre nerd with deep appreciation for sprinkle-topped ice creams and other snack foods, is active in his church and comes from a family who loves and appreciates him for exactly who he is, purple pants and all. Tim, a lover of crinkle-cut pickles, black olives and other forgivably-disgusting crudités, belongs to a conservative Christian pastor and devout mother who move to the rural town to staff a small church that, predictably, holds little place for Tim. After meeting online and given the green light to attend a youth group at another church, Tim and Charlie become fast friends with more and more in common. When they consider more than friendship, Tim is faced with his reality and the choice to reconcile faith and sexuality or walk away from it all.


The PoArtMo Anthology: Volume 3 by Azelle Elric, Meaghan Beatty, David Ellis, and Cendrine Marrouat.

Welcome to Volume 3 of "The Auroras & Blossoms PoArtMo Anthology"! This collection of positive and uplifting works has been created in response to PoArtMo, a year-long movement launched in 2020 by Auroras & Blossoms. PoArtMo stands for “Positive Actions Rally Thoughts & Momentum.” The Auroras & Blossoms PoArtMo Anthology: Volume 3 features a variety of different works by four contributors: Azelle Elric (drawings), Meaghan Beatty (essays), Cendrine Marrouat (poetry), and David Ellis (poetry).


Happiest in Denial by Cassandra Cordini

Who doesn’t dream of true love? When Mia meets Wolfgang, she thinks all her dreams have come true. Blinded by her passions, she plunges into marriage, even though dark shadows seem to hover around him. Wolfgang can’t hide his true nature and in time even Mia is finally forced to confront the truth about her husband. Dignity and self-respect come at a terrible price – will Mia pay it or will she be forever Wolfgang’s plaything?


Ride Every Stride by Amy Maltman

Jed Carver hopes to put his troubled past behind him. After fleeing across the country, he finds refuge in his new job at a prestigious stable and commits himself to his goal: a spot on the Canadian Equestrian Team. Jed is confident in his riding ability, but the obstacles outside the ring could be his undoing. Will his dark secrets come to light? Can he ride every stride until his dream comes true? Or will his demons unseat him? Jump into this page-turner for the equestrian and non-equestrian alike!


Returning to You by Gwen Tolios

Monica’s relationship with her father is falling apart, made more obvious when her return to Madison after years aboard results in him throwing her out of the house. Lisa Carson, her BFF and old college roommate, takes her in. Turns out Lisa has her own issues with her parents – they’re pushing her to date despite her lack of desire. So when Monica joins a Carson family dinner, she lies and says it’s starting a relationship with Lisa that brought her back to America. Lisa goes along with the ruse – it gets her parents off her back and it’s only until Monica repairs her relationship with her father and moves out. What Monica failed to take into account however is that crush she had on Lisa in college? Yeah, that didn’t go away.


What The Stars Didn't Show Us by Margherita Scialla

Life isn't easy when you have a brother who's always considered better than you. Hyunsuk's situation is even worse since he shares the same face as his so-called perfect twin. His life starts to change, however, when a new student arrives at his school and she sees something in him no one else had ever bothered to look for. Hialeah, already too familiar with the feeling of being alone, is set on befriending him, but can Hyunsuk finally come out of his twin’s shadow and open up to someone, when his brother makes it clear he doesn’t want him to find happiness?


Slow Motion by Jennifer Pierce

Westview belongs on a postcard. Quaint, picture-perfect, a tiny New England town steeped in history and traditions. Angela has always been everything people in Westview want her to be. She’s supposed to be happy there, but she’s starting to see the flaws in her seemingly-perfect life and she’s afraid that everyone else will notice, too. Now, in her senior year of high school, she wants something more than small towns, something bigger than the life planned out for her by a family that has designed and destroyed reputations in Westview for generations. Owen knows that history can depend on who tells the story, even in Westview. But all he wants is to run away from his own past, from the bad decisions he’s made and the tragedies still haunting him. He’s focused on the future and proving people wrong, even if that means keeping secrets. Long before they understood the rumors and grudges that rule their hometown, Angela and Owen were friends for one perfect summer. Since then, they’ve stayed as far apart as possible. But when Westview’s tricentennial forces them to work together, they must face difficult truths about themselves, their community, what being perfect really means—and the devastating consequences of pretending.


Paint by Colin Brooks

How do you navigate your life when you can finally make your own decisions? As Tucker Peterson moves away from home for the first time to attend college in Orlando, this is a question he must ask himself. He still hasn't told his family he's gay, he has no idea what he wants to do with his life, and now that he can do whatever he wants, he hasn't the slightest clue what should come next. Tucker, with the help of his new assertive friend Kiara, must learn to balance his newfound freedom with school and a job, and if he meets a cute boy on the way, then that's just an added bonus. Paint is a story of self-discovery, of queerness outside the family-friendly safety net of a high school drama, and of drag queens when you need them the most. If you grew up enjoying coming of age stories like Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower and John Green's Looking For Alaska, then you will enjoy the similar themes expressed through a more adult and queer lens in Paint.


Mother Figures by Amy Barnes

Amy Barnes has a knack for what Jennifer Pieroni has called “smart surprise”. Each of these mother/daughter stories grabs the attention with its first sentence then continues to wrongfoot the reader willfully as it proceeds. The stories are focused, lean, yet packed with unexpected details – stigmata, plastic eyes, industrial bras, a watermelon called Trudy, vulture balloons. Barnes has a voice that is entirely her own. ―Michael Loveday author of Three Men on the Edge From the first sentence of each story in Mother Figures, Amy Barnes entraps us and stuns, taking us into a variety of worlds, strange and surreal—we embark on a journey involving distorted familial relationships, and through these contorted realities, there is a booming thread of truth, mirroring our need for love and friendship. Magically entertaining, Barnes is on the forefront of breaking barriers in the craft of flash fiction. ―Shome Dasgupta author of Mute Mother Figures both elevates and devastates. In twenty-three tiny stories, Amy Barnes explores the oft-searing complexities of motherhood and mother-daughter relationships through a funhouse lens of pop culture, religion and artifact. Each story is a tightly-woven portrait that exposes our most intimate relational fissures with surprising language and a playfulness that punches to the emotional core. ―Sara Hills author of The Evolution of Birds Reading Mother Figures feels like lifting a band-aid: sharp, ugly, and vulnerable, but tender too: and after, relief: you feel as though the new light and air will heal you. ―Meagan Lucas author of Songbirds and Stray Dogs, and editor, Reckon Review In ‘Mother Figures’ Amy Barnes explores the subtle complexities of female relationships. Each story, steeped in rich detail and nestled between the real and the surreal, will pull you in and keep hold of you long after you’ve finished reading it. An absolute delight. ―Laura Besley author of The Almost Mothers and 100neHundred


Ambrotypes by Amy Cipolla Barnes

We are all slightly askew,” says one of the characters in this delightful and moving collection of innovative stories that bend, at times, toward allegory. Here's a vintage world of cigarette vending machines, Jazzercise, Sears photography studios, McNally road maps, full-service filling stations, and Green Stamps dish sets, a world where a sister with sugar for shoes who desires an octopus lover, giraffes who give funeral eulogies, a student with a backpack wormhole that houses Einstein, and a woman who places a want ad to see if someone has found her name—all highlight our humanity, its losses and its longings, and in moments, the last times we don’t know are the last times. I loved these stories.” — Jill Talbot, author of The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir “Read this collection slowly. Each of these stories unfolds like a palimpsest of images you'll want to spend time unpacking. At the heart of Barnes' prose are the intricacies of human relationships made technicolor by magic realism and the author's expansive imagination.” — Christopher Allen, author of Other Household Toxins “No one aces the first sentence test quite like Amy Cipolla Barnes. Every story in her whimsical debut begins with a zing. With irresistible openers like: "There’s a beach ball in the apartment toilet," "I knew what I was doing when I swallowed the glass piano," "My great grandmother hung the moon," and "My third baby was born an alligator," how can we not keep reading? These may be AMBROTYPES, but Barnes writes in living, breathing color to bring us captivating, quirky family snapshots that engage faith, myth, fairy tale, and a little magic. For all the absurdist delight, there's no shortage of heartache or truth: "I prayed hard that my plastic Jesus would find my daddy either real pants or a job; It felt like too much to ask for both." Barnes is adept at rendering the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar in these sharply observed slices of life that never fail to snap, crackle, and pop.” — Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace “Nothing can really prepare you for the people you'll encounter in Amy Barnes's Ambrotypes: little girls with feet made of sugar; alligator babies; wives who grow feathers; fathers made of origami. These stories are surprising, wholly original, and go down easy -- the perfect reading for our current reality.” — Amy Shearn, award-winning author of Unseen City and The Mermaid of Brooklyn


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