Throwback Thursday | It Doesn’t Translate

I figured we could talk a little about It Doesn’t Translate. It all started with me reading that for six years in a row MAX hamburgers had been elected the best hamburgers in Sweden…that was all it took LOL.

I wrote a post about how my main character naturally became Max and that he serves burgers in space.

It Doesn’t Translate is one of my favourite stories, maybe my favourite actually…maybe. It’s hard, when in the middle of writing something I always think I have the best story idea and that my characters are the best, but then a little while after release, my focus is elsewhere and I have new favourites. Max and Noir remain favourites, though.

I like sci-fi, light sci-fi, but it’s not my go-to genre, not really. Most often my mind turns to witches and vampires, werewolves and psychics, but every now and then there is a completely ordinary human guy and sometimes there is an alien.

Here we have an everyday guy who decided to open a restaurant in space. He had no idea what he was getting into, but no matter how bad it turned out to be, there is no way he’ll head back to Earth.

Then we have an alien, a space pirate, an ice cream loving, tail swishing, humanoid cat species who decides Max is his mate – not exactly what Max was prepared for.

I had so much fun writing this story I can’t understand why haven’t written more in the same world. I intended to do so, I left a few threads hanging and planned to pick them right up, but this book is turning one this month – 1 year!

I get a little annoyed with myself, I’m too easily distracted. I get a new idea and I throw myself into the new writing adventure and completely disregard the plan I’d set up for myself. I’ll do better in the future, I promise.

Anyway, It Doesn’t Translate is a Tattooed Corpse story, which means a body will appear at some point and he’ll have a snake tattoo. That’s the only thing the Tattooed Corpse stories have in common.

Are you on the Queer Sci-Fi mailing list? If not, sign up now in August and you’ll get a free copy of It’s Doesn’t Translate.

Max walked up to the table, once again praying no one could hear his heart banging in his chest. He kept his face neutral—some species interpreted a smile as aggressive—placed the first cup in front of a purple-haired male with a large flat nose. Piercings adorned his face in more places than Max had believed possible, not that he looked directly at the guy, but he had a hard time not peeking when the gang came and went. He always treated Max like he was invisible and that was alright by him.

Moving on to the next person, he didn’t recognise the jacket, and he didn’t dare look at the man’s face. As he put the cup down the man reached for it, grazing the back of Max’s hand before he could snatch it away.

“Sorry.” The man’s voice was a low purr. Max put some distance between them, but he couldn’t look away as large hands closed around the cup, making it look ridiculously small. He hadn’t seen those hands before, they were dusted with black hair all the way out on the fingers, the pads were broader than the rest of the digit, and there were no visible nails. That didn’t mean there weren’t claws hidden in there somewhere. Max had seen sharp tips coming out after he’d convinced himself a customer was a harmless species. But, for some stupid reason, it pleased him that the creature had five digits on each hand.

The number of fingers didn’t matter though; he was one of Bair’s men—a recruit from the looks of it. He only hoped the guy wouldn’t do anything to prove his worth in here. Shaking his head ever so slightly, he placed the last cup on the tray in front of the quiet man in the corner, the only one who was as small as Max was. Not that Max had considered himself small until he’d arrived here, he was average in every way according to human standards—okay maybe a little shorter than average, but not short short.

The quiet guy always sat in the corner, he never took part in any conversation, he never ate anything other than vegetables, and never drank anything other than black coffee. Max had no idea what species he was, though unless they were Reptoid or human he wouldn’t. His skin had a soft yellow-brownish tone with some dark spots, and it looked almost human in its texture—always nice.

A quick escape took him back to the counter, and he was cursing his shaking hands as he placed Bair and the rest’s cups on the tray. He briefly met Quam’s gaze before heading towards the table again.

In slow-motion he took the few steps bringing him up to the gang. He passed Bair and served the man closest to the wall first. For each cup he put down, his pulse picked up, all too soon he only had Bair’s cup left. It wobbled slightly on the saucer and Max cursed. Bair chuckled too close to his ear, and he steeled himself for another burning onslaught.

“Excuse me?”

Max startled at the purring voice, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bair do the same. It was all he needed to be able to take a couple of quick steps out of Bair’s reach—not that it would stop him if he wanted to do something but at least Max could breathe a little easier.

“Yes?” He hoped the men didn’t notice the relief in his tone.

“You don’t happen to have any cream-based desserts, do you?”

Before Max could stop himself he met the man’s gaze, realised what he’d done, and quickly looked down at his worn sneakers. He had yellow eyes with vertical pupils, but the way the eyes had narrowed made Max aware of having overstepped his boundaries—or he’d probably taken more liberties than was expected of him. A flat nose, and a wide mouth…with lips—it was always nice when a face was human-looking. He was probably taller than Quam and broader too, but hey, five fingers, what more could a man wish for?

Max took a calming breath and cursed himself for spacing out.

He forced his mind to focus on what pastry he had to offer. Few species tolerated dairy products. “I…erm…I have vanilla ice cream.” Max kept it for himself. He liked eating some on those nights when he felt heartbroken, unwanted, and alone. Ice cream might not help that, but he still kept it for those nights.

“You do? Could I have some, please?”

Max was as stunned by the polite manner as he was of the request. “Of course, sir.”

He heard Bair mutter something as he hurried towards the freezer in the back of the kitchen. This was one strange day.

books2read.com/ItDoesntTranslate


It Doesn't TranslateNoir Kioko had only ever seen one human before his undercover work brought him to the diner at the Luna Terminal, and that was at a distance. Humans are rare, most of them disappear without a trace, and he hopes hanging around the restaurant will give him a lead on the smuggling ring he’s investigating. There was no way he could’ve known the human would turn out to be his mate, and no way he can let it show without putting his mate in danger and possibly jeopardising his mission.

Max Welch is the proud owner of the only restaurant within a light year’s distance. He left Earth four years ago to create a better life for himself, but he hadn’t considered the possibility of scary alien pirates making his restaurant their favourite hangout spot. As a measly human there isn’t much he can do about it, but as one of the pirates starts coming by almost every day he has to come up with something before he loses all his customers. That the giant cat man is rather nice to look at changes nothing.

When rumours of another human arriving at the space station start to circulate, Noir’s species trafficking infiltrate and observe only mission may need a revamp. But will Noir be able to protect his mate and another one of his rare species?


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Come Whatever Storms

I found Come Whatever Storms by J.M. Snyder waaayyy down near the bottom of my kindle library. I don’t recall getting it but apparently, I have at some point. Since a post-apocalyptic adventure sounded just fine to me, I began reading.

Come Whatever Storms is about Court and Ronnie, but also about Bree and Adam. There is a virus, people died left and right, but a selected few, about 1% of the population, are immune.

While I do love post-apocalyptic stories I seldom read the pandemic kind, I don’t know why that is really. I’m not saying I don’t ever read them, I’ve read a few, but it’s not what I go looking for.

I really enjoyed this, though. Court has loved Ronnie all his life. They’ve been doing everything together since childhood so when Ronnie decided to marry a woman, Court married her best friend.  He loved his wife, but he was never in love with her. He mourned when the virus took her, and he misses her but had the virus taken Ronnie he might not have survived it.

Ronnie and Court hear about a place where there’s supposed to be both food and electricity and start walking across the U.S. Along the way more and more people join them, but the only one Court wants to spend time with is Ronnie – and Bree and Adam on occasion.

I loved the road trip theme, the searching for food and useful things, the looking out for each other and the aspect of what really is important once electricity is gone and money have no value. I wish this would’ve been a series because many questions were left unanswered and I so want to know where Court and Ronnie ended up. I would’ve loved to be part of their journey and see them build a new life for themselves.

books2read.com/ComeWhateverStorms


Come Whatever StormsIn the near future, a deadly flu-like virus decimates the Earth’s population. The few who remain struggle to survive without electricity, fresh food, or any other amenities they once took for granted.

John “Court” Courtland and his best friend Ronnie Densch are two such survivors. Court has never known a time when Ronnie wasn’t in his life. They grew up together. But it’s only as they begin to move forward in the post-apocalyptic chaos of Virginia that Court realizes he’s in love with Ronnie. Always has been, and always will be, even if he never lets himself admit it out loud.

Ronnie is a private, inscrutable man who lets no one close to him except Court. With winter coming on, Ronnie wants to move farther south to warmer weather, and Court follows without question. Along the way, they’re joined by other survivors, a ragtag bunch all looking for guidance. As they travel, they hear faint radio signals from Fort Sumter, South Carolina, where a rebuild effort is underway.

The world Court once knew has changed, leaving behind a dangerous and lawless landscape. But come whatever storms, he knows he can weather them with Ronnie by his side. Will Sumter turn out to be everything Court hopes for and more? And will he find the courage to tell Ronnie how he really feels before it’s too late?


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Throwback Thursday | The Maddest of Men

Argh, another neglected series! In November it’ll be three years since The Maddest of Men was published. I actually wrote it for an open call where they asked for an MC who did bad things for a living but longed for something more…or something along those lines, I don’t really remember. It doesn’t matter, they didn’t want Grayham so he got a life on his own.

I don’t read a lot of sci-fi or post-apocalyptic stories, though I pick them up a lot more frequently than I used to. Some days I just long for a dark, gritty, post-apocalyptic book. The Maddest of Men isn’t dark and gritty, and yet it’s pretty dark.

Grayham can tell when someone is lying, he’s a living polygraph, and he’s never wrong. And, since he’s Cham Hovda’s – one of Carona’s drug lords – right-hand man, he gets to use his skill on a regular basis. And if someone refuses to answer his questions…a little torture goes a long way.

Creed is a retrieving agent. He’s hunting people with special abilities and he has a way of getting close to Grayham. Something is wrong, though. Grayham doesn’t have an implant – all the metas have implants – and Creed’s boss sent him on the mission alone. Alone.

Everyone getting close to Grayham dies and yet Creed has to get close, and he has to do it without backup.

I loved writing both The Maddest of Men and The Lords of Lettuce and I was supposed to have written Eight Fingers in the Game. I have a Scrivener file, I have it somewhat plotted, but that’s it. And it pisses me off that I haven’t written it. I love Carona and its drug lords, crazy opticians, and drug dealers.

I need to sort out my priorities – yes, I’m like Hermione in Harry Potter.

Metas were remnant victims of the wars, created to be super soldiers. No one had known until children started to pop up, some so traumatised by what they perceived in this world they couldn’t cope. It was a military program gone out of hand. Senses and bodily functions had been tampered with and enhanced. No one had believed it was something that would carry over to the next generation, but now three generations later, children were still born with metaphysical traits. How Creed would be able to bring one of them in against their will all on his own, he didn’t know.

He held his tray up to one of the beautiful women standing along the wall of the room. She, like everyone else here, was flawless. Their beauty always made him self-conscious. Why couldn’t the Bureau offer plastic surgery and enhancements like every other branch of society?

He clamped his lips together over his crooked teeth, totally ruining the smile he’d been aiming at her. They hadn’t even given him eye surgery. His fucked up eyes could be a danger in his line of work; he’d tried to make Howorth see it, but he didn’t listen. Not only was he half-blind but there was also the colour. Creed wondered how many here today would remember him because of the different colouring. And sure, even if he had surgery he would still need the lenses to read the results of the scanner, but really, no one, no one, was short-sighted in the modern world. He guessed he should feel lucky Howorth had given him eye correction lenses, but still.

“Are those vegetarian?” The woman pointed at a cucumber slice with some creamy stuff and a roll of smoked salmon.

“Erm…no.” Creed refrained from rolling his useless, short-sighted eyes. “There is salmon on it.” When she simply stared at him, he smiled again. “Fish.”

“I know what salmon is.” Creed swallowed a ‘why the fuck did you ask then’ and fought against the strain in his facial muscles. “What I meant was is there any meat in those.”

“Fish.” He continued to hold out the tray for her while she looked at the salmon rolls. Finally, she deemed fish edible and took one.

A glimpse of red hair weaving through the throng caught his eye. Instead of hurrying along, he stood still and observed as the mass made a path for whoever it was—Creed had a pretty good idea of who it had to be, but he didn’t want to get his hopes up.

Cham Hovda gave a small wave from where he sat on the lounge, his lips were tight, and he was paler than Creed had ever seen him. He hadn’t moved at all during the evening which made Creed believe the rumours of him being shot in the leg the week before were true. They hadn’t been able to find any medical records, but it wouldn’t be the first time someone from the underworld succeeded in staying out of the system—the inquisitor didn’t exist according to the system. Creed had spent a good week trying to dig up something, anything, and he hadn’t even managed to find a name.

Stepping a little closer to the woman, he tilted the tray ever so slightly. “One more perhaps?” He smiled and tried to be discreet in watching as the inquisitor bent down to whisper something in Hovda’s ear.

“Thank you. Could I get a glass of champagne too?”

Creed gritted his teeth. He was obviously not the champagne guy, and he was about to enlighten her when the inquisitor stepped away from the lounge. A few more steps and he would be right between Creed and the bar. “I’ll see what I can do, ma’am.”

He straightened his back and channelled his inner waiter. With an air of nonchalance, he neared the man. Milky white skin, bright red corkscrew curls Creed wanted to pull only to see them bounce back—an evil man shouldn’t look like that.

books2read.com/TheMaddestofMen


The Maddest of MenIs lying to a living polygraph really a good idea?

To prove his loyalty to Cham Hovda, one of the local drug lords, Grayham is willing to do anything—and he does. He helps Cham run his empire by finding out the truth by any possible means. It’s not as hard as it may seem, all he has to do is ask the right questions, and his internal polygraph will tell him if someone is lying or not. And when they lie—well he deals with that too. Life as an inquisitor can get quite lonely, not that Grayham plans on doing anything about it. It would kill him to have to off a lover.

Creed is a retrieving agent on a mission. He is to infiltrate one of Carona’s drug organisations to get to the inquisitor. Rumour states the man with the fiery red curls has supernatural powers; it also says anyone coming close to him disappears. Creed has no idea how he’s going to make it out alive or why his supervisor sent him in without backup. But, when an opening to work as a waiter at one of the drug lord’s parties presents itself Creed sets to work.

In a world where people compensate for the years of bombings and starvation with clinic bought physical perfection a man with crooked teeth and mismatching eyes stands out. Grayham notices the waiter watching him straight away. If he’s there to harm Cham, he’ll deal with it. Creed knows he must get his hands on the inquisitor so when he is invited to the man’s flat he agrees to come even though he knows it might be the last thing he’ll ever do.


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