Instagram Challenge for Writers

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Snowflake (CC0 Creative Commons)

I’m right in the middle (or more like one third into it) of an Instagram Challenge called #IGWritersOct created by Cheyanne Young.

I haven’t done any Instagram challenges before but towards the end of September, I saw Caraway Carter, whom I’ve been in a few anthologies with, post that he’d take part and decided to join.

Every day there is prompt, so hop over to Instagram and follow me (@ofelia.grand) to see my *clears throat* beautiful pictures. Today the prompt is #TeaserTuesday and it reminded me that I earlier this year said I’d do a Teaser Tuesday post every now and then…and then I mostly didn’t. But today’s the day!

The Snowflake will be released tomorrow, so here’s a little snippet from it.

“Dad.”

“Theophile.”

Silence filled the barn, making its walls belly out from the pressure of it.

“Still playing with ice?”

The chainsaw grew heavier in his hands. Theo searched for something to say, but, as usual, no words came to mind. “Sculpting.”

Dad snorted. “Still trying to be an artist?”

“I am one.” And soon, when he’d figured out what his next piece would be, his dad along with the rest of the world would be awestruck by his talent, his innovation, his…another good word that would make the masses bow in reverence.

“Theophile.” He tsked and shook his head. “The world has enough of queer artists trying to milk the stereotype. Grow up and get yourself a real job. You don’t have the grace to play the role.”

Theo couldn’t say what was happening. His mind clouded with black smoke, a roar sounded in his head, and in the next second, he pressed in the two start buttons on his chainsaw.

Blood splattered over the swan as the blade cut into his dad’s skin and continued through muscle and sinew. There was a small kickback as the nose of the blade severed the spine, but Theo gained control of the saw at the same time as the head thudded against the ground

The body collapsed, blood sprayed in pulses, turning the wood shavings almost black. Theo stared for a moment, unable to take it all in.

He’d beheaded his father.

For some reason, he’d always assumed death would be quieter, more…unique.

“Do you think the customer will appreciate the dye?” Cat tilted his head to the side as he watched the sculpture.

The ice was melting, no faster than it should, but talking to Dad had given it a few extra seconds. The blood glimmered like rubies around the swan’s neck and down its chest. “I think it’ll melt away.” Sadly.

Would it be more morally appropriate to bring out the other ice block and start over? But if they didn’t know the swan had been baptised in blood, did it matter?

Cat shrugged the way cats sometimes do and left the barn. Theo followed him with his gaze and then continued to look out through the open door after he’d disappeared from sight.

Filling his lungs with air, he looked down at his father’s head. He came across as so much nicer when he was quiet.


Snowflake
books2read.com/TheSnowflake

Nothing inspires art like love.

Theophile Lekas has spent the last seventeen years trying to build a name for himself as an ice sculptor. Ice is his world, but he lives for Dylan Mincer.

But loving from afar isn’t enough, and if Theo wants to win Dylan’s heart, he’ll need to sweep him off his feet. And what better way to do it than with a sculpture that will leave Dylan breathless and the world in no doubt of Theo’s genius?

After an argument leads to murder, Theo is hit with true inspiration. And he has the perfect block to begin his project. For Dylan, Theo will create his masterpiece. And it will be as unique as a snowflake.

Great art requires the perfect muse.

My Favourite Sci-Fi Stories

Yesterday, It Doesn’t Translate was released. A sci-fi story, yes sci-fi. I never thought I’d write one, not one taking place in space at least, and you’ll never find me writing hard sci-fi, sorry. I’m not techy enough to pull that off. But everyone needs a little alien love now and then.

I wouldn’t say that I read a lot of sci-fi, but I have my periods when my iPad is filled with spaceships and aliens. Many of these stories I’ve read several times so I thought I’d share in case you’re on the lookout for a good read. I won’t do any ranking because that changes from day to day depending on what I’m in the mood for.

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Bone Rider by J. Fally. I love this books so much, I’ve read it several times, and I would say it’s one of my absolute favourite stories, sci-fi or not. It takes place here on earth. A spaceship crashes and an alien armour system that crawls into a man and connects with his being escapes. At the same time Riley Coper, super hot Texan guy, figures out his boyfriend, Misha Tokarev, is an assassin for the Russian mob and runs away. This is such a great story, you get sci-fi, the mob, love, and a great adventure. Awesome!

Blind Space by Marie Sexton.  Now, we’ve gone on board on a spaceship. Captain Tristan Kelley is taking the Prince on a luxury trip when the ship is boarded by pirates. The Pirates uses a device that makes Tristan blind for a few weeks. They keep him as a prisoner, but one of the pirate captains (yes, there are several) takes an interest and soon love is in the air, there is just this little problem of them being pirates and someone in Tristan’s crew being a traitor, and all of that. If you like space pirates and a little lace with your men, check this one out.

Freighter Flights by Drew Zachary.  Some days I just want a healing-power-of-sperm book. You know when the traumatised MC meets Mr Right, they have sex, and then all troubles are fixed…if only real life what like that. Will is a pilot on a spaceship, Tab is his mechanic, and they too run from space pirates. This book is mostly arguing and sex, it starts out with a good plot but ends up in bed LOL. And some days that’s alright.

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala. While we’re in space, we might as well land on a planet, right? Here we have purple aliens with tails. Liam is a trader and a linguist, and he trades with Ondry, one of the Rownt (alien race). I love this story because of the cultural differences. It’s actually a BDSM story, and that’s not my thing, but I like this one. Liam is a sub, and Ondry most certainly isn’t, but it’s about living in a D/S relationship and not about the sex, and about living with an alien in a different culture of course. I’ve read this entire series, or I thought I had, because now when I went to check that I had the title right, I saw there’s a new book. Yay!

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Rarely Pure and Never Simple by Angel Martinez. This was published back in 2013, and it says it’s #1 but there isn’t a #2, I want a #2! Okay, we’re back on Earth again. Damien and Blaze are variants, humans with special talents. Damien is a human GPS and Blaze tends to blow things up with his ability to create fire. Damien isn’t doing well around people, but he has to find several variant children that have gone missing. There is also evil scientists, always a good thing. I love this one!

Seven by Adrienne Wilder. While we’re talking about evil scientists… This is a gruesome story. Seven is on the run, has been on the run for a long time, which isn’t easy when he has people with special talents hunting him. He can’t afford to get tangled up with Chase, love is not in the cards for him…or is it? This story is funny but there is also so much cruelty it’s hard to understand how anyone can do the things they do…but then again they’re not real, because they’re just characters in a book.

Falloucaust by Quil Carter. Now we’re really taking a step into the dark and gruesome. It’s been a long time since I read this story, and it hasn’t been one that I’ve re-read, but it’s hard to forget. We’re in a dystopic world where cannibalism is the new black. It’s long and, while I’ve read it’s now been edited, I read it unedited (if you want to give this a go, get yourself an edited copy). It’s unforgettable, but not for everyone! Cruel and dark and amazing LOL.

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The Disassembled Life of Duncan Cole by S. Hart. Now we’re stepping into another subgenre – steampunk! Every time I read a steampunk story I tell myself I need to read (and write) more steampunk. This is a long read, but I love Duncan so much, and his conversations with his coffee machine. It needs to be read. There is steam, and trains, and inventions, and love, and adventure.

That’s it, people! I’ve probably forgotten a few but, at large, these are my favourite sci-fi reads. What are yours?

Max Burgers – The Best Burgers in Space

What’s your favourite burger restaurant? For the last sixteen years, MAX Burgers AB has been appointed as the most liked hamburger restaurant in Sweden…every year for sixteen years, people! That’s something, isn’t it?

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Now you’re wondering why the hell is she talking about burgers? And yeah, I admit it might seem a little strange, but I wanted you to know that here in Sweden we have this hamburger chain – and there are actually four restaurants in Norway and two in Denmark too – that’s really popular among Swedes, and it’s called MAX.

So it only seemed natural that if I were to open a restaurant in space, at say the Luna Terminal – approximately a light year’s distance from Earth – I would, of course, have to tell all the aliens that it was a human restaurant, but I’d also want them to know that I had great burgers. And here, the name MAX is associated with quality, at least when we’re talking burgers.

And if I were to open a restaurant in space, I’d need someone to run it for me, because there is no way I’d ever set foot on a spaceship. And that’s how the main character of It Doesn’t Translate was born.

Max’s Human Hamburger Bar has the best burgers in space…or at least in a light year’s distance, Max says so himself.

Max Welch grabbed onto the counter as the sound of metal soles clinking against the titanium walkway on the arcades of The Luna Terminal reached him. They shouldn’t be here yet. It had only been two days since the last time.

With a deep breath, he forced himself to relax his shoulders. When opening the Hamburger bar, Max had figured they’d be kind to him since he was the only restaurant for at least a light year—days’ worth of travelling in the fastest high-speed ships—but of course, the fucking pirates didn’t care.

Maybe they’d only come here to fuel up… Yeah, right.

Maybe they’d come to the floating city to do some grocery shopping. Pirates probably needed to stock up on necessities too, right? They couldn’t steal everything they needed.

He held on to his hope as he glanced over to where Quam sat and sipped on his coffee. Max was proud of his coffee; not many were able to get it on their menu and Max had managed to land a deal with one of the top brands. It was the real thing, not the bland laboratory-grown kind you could pick up at any space colony.

When the hollers of men jostling and laughing came close enough to make the one customer who had been enjoying a cup hurry out of his—her?—seat, Quam sighed and put down the tablet. “They’re early.”

Max swallowed and gave him a terse nod. He hated when Bair and his crew came, but he’d be damned if he was to give them the satisfaction of showing it.


It Doesn’t Translate is a Tattooed Corpse Story, so in other words, it’s a stand-alone story where at some point a body will show up, and it’s the same body you’ll find in any of the other Tattooed Corpse Stories.

ItDoesn'tTranslateGifRelease date August 31st, but you’ll find the pre-order links here:

books2read.com/ItDoesntTranslate

There might even be an ARC or two left to grab on booksprout.co