Today I’m on “Because quirky characters deserve love, too”

Today is the next stop on my blog tour to introduce The Songbird Thief to the wide world. I’m over on Aidee Ladnier’s delightful, brainy blog, Because quirky characters deserve love, too. Come visit!

I’m a big fan of Aidee’s fiction, and she has technology powers beyond most mortals, which is impressive in itself. So to say thank you to both her and you, I want you all, my lovely readers, to check out her new release. The Moonlight Market is a fantastical tale about circus performers, family ties, and an obstacle-studded romance between two boys. It will, and don’t say I didn’t warn you, give you a craving for cotton candy. And it’ll renew your faith in love.


Spindrift Gifts review

Aidee Ladnier’s Spindrift Gifts is a sequel to The Klockwerk Kraken, the story of how space pilot Jimenez and bartender Teo met and fell in love. We follow these two completely adorable characters to Teo’s home planet of Celos in Spindrift Gifts, where Jimenez, who was once a slave, undergoes a kind of medical deprogramming.

We meet Teo’s family, all of whom are loving, strong-minded, constantly up in your business, and have tentacles. One of Aidee Ladnier’s strengths is how she integrates alien qualities into a character without making him or her seem all that alien. This is a good thing. There are wonderful descriptions of how the Celosians are different from humans, and the tentacles are just one aspect. The communal nature of their living style sets Jimenez on edge at times, but part of his journey is to accept the love of his new partner and family, and that is delicately demonstrated by positive details such as how most rooms in their home do not have doors (so there’s always a smiling face in view), and how the family love-bombs Jimenez by including him in their yearly “Spindrift gifts” celebration. The family seems almost unrealistically supportive at times — not only in their acceptance of Teo’s same-sex partner, but in all their other interactions too. It’s a powerful contrast to Jimenez’s fear-based life before Teo, and that contrast comes to life in ways large and small throughout the story.

The big plot is Jimenez’s struggle to overcome his conditioning – the mental or psychological structure of slavery. That involves a lot of doctor-y and science-y treatment, and a lot of traumatic, visceral time in Jimenez’s head as he relives his past. Ladnier is a little too good at describing the experience of reliving trauma with that new awareness of having been broken down, and all the shame that can come along with it. Those passages were hard to read, but that’s a compliment; nothing about a subject like that should be easy.

But whether Jimenez succeeds has just as much to do with him accepting Teo’s love. This is a real winner of a romance plot for that reason. The two very different members of an already-committed couple are each still fighting as individuals for love to prevail. That balances the hard subject matter with hope and sweetness, and it’s much needed here.

Spindrift Gifts is well-crafted, original, deeply felt, and way too short. Bring me Book 3.


Spindrift Gifts by Aidee Ladnier

Today is the release day of Spindrift Gifts by Aidee Ladnier! This is Book 2 in the series started with The Klockwerk Kraken. Aidee will be a guest blogger here on Dec 20. Here’s a teaser about the new story.


When his memories begin endangering his happily-ever after on Celos, Jimenez is forced to choose between forgetting his lover Teo, or accepting the sometimes painful gifts of Spindrift.

Scars and a tattoo may be the only physical reminders from his years as a slave, but when Jimenez suffers a setback in his medical treatment, the only option is a therapy that will wipe away all his memories of the past including his time with Teo. Teo, torn between supporting his lover’s decisions and the good intentions of his family, sets out to teach Jimenez about Spindrift Gifts and how memories are celebrated on Celos even when they are painful. Can Teo and Jimenez weather the storm to find their happily-ever-after on Celos?unnamed

Spindrift Gifts Giveaway!

Aidee Ladnier’s new book Spindrift Gifts was released last week. And lucky readers, one of you is going home with your very own copy!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post. I’ll pick a winner at random next Sunday, December 27. Which is just about the time you’ll be wishing you had a good holiday-themed read to get you through the rest of the weekend.

I’m about halfway through this wonderful story myself and I just had to share an excerpt. There’s still time to pick it up as a holiday treat for that special bartender or tentacle-fetish-having loved one on your list! Read on to be teased.


Excerpt from Spindrift Gifts by Aidee Ladnier:

“Is it a memory box?”

Teo set it on the table with a clack. “Same principle. It’s our Spindrift gift for the rev. We each put a memory in one to add to the family collection. And then at the gala they all glow on the lighted tree.”

“Tree? Do you grow trees on Celos?”

Teo chuckled. “Not really. It’s a light-painted representation of a tree, like one of those from old Earth. It’s a family tree. Each branch holds the most important memories for the rev from that branch of the family.”

“A shared memory?” Jimenez ran a finger along the smooth top of the tiny cube. It blushed a delicate pink at his touch.

“No. It’s personal, a gift, a painful or a pleasant one. One you share because it hurts, and you smooth the edges by giving it away, or one of your favorites you want others to experience. But you give one from the past rev.”

Their conversation grew hushed. Teo attempted to lighten the mood. He grabbed the leftover paper from his package and folded it into the shape of a little boat.

“I’ve been trying to think of one that would be suitable for family viewing.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

Jimenez glared at him. “That’s not the all we’ve done this rev.”

He picked up the cube and activated it. Teo stared transfixed as Jimenez pulled it close to his mouth and breathed a puff of air over it, his fingers whitening at the tips as he remembered.

Teo wondered which memory put that serene smile on his lover’s face, smoothing the furrows lining his brow. Was it onboard his ship in the Nothing? Or maybe one with Teo on Switchpoint?

“What did you record? Can I see it?” He whispered, unwilling to break the spell of Jimenez’s memory.

Jimenez opened his eyes, and his fingers clutched the small cube. But he smiled at it like it held a secret.

“I’m not sure this is one to give away. Do you have extra cubes?”



Buy Spindrift Gifts here:

The Klockwerk Kraken and Famous Tentacles in Literature


Today I am thrilled to host Aidee Ladnier, one of my favorite writers, whose intriguing new book The Klockwerk Kraken was just released. This book and I are clearly a match made in heaven, between my love of things steampunk and my love of things seafaring. Aidee has insights about the tentacle in literature. I’ll let her explain.

Famous Tentacles in Literature

By Aidee Ladnier

So my new novel, The Klockwerk Kraken, has a tentacled bartender. There, I’ve said it. I wrote a romance novel with a character who has tentacles.

But tentacles have actually been present in literature for a long time. Besides appearing in Norse sagas, creatures with tentacles have had poems, books, even screenplays written about them.

Most lovers of tentacles cite the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Kraken:

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber’d and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea has a famous scene where Captain Nemo’s submarine is attacked by giant squids. And lovers of horror are well versed in H.P. Lovecraft’s slumbering, tentacled god, Cthulu. Even Herman Melville speaks in Moby Dick about “the great live squid”. Most of the depictions of tentacled beasts are those of slumbering giants on the bottom of the ocean, quiet, until man awakens them.

But my hero, Teo is anything but hiding. He’s one of the few people on his planet that have traveled extensively in the galaxy before settling down at the Switchpoint Waystation, far from home and family. He’s a little lonely, but that quickly changes at the start of my book. I hope you’ll check out The Klockwerk Kraken and meet Teo, my tentacled hero.


Review: The Break-in by Aidee Ladnier

It may be that I’m not used to novellas, but this sweet little book was over before it started. I’m still walking around the house looking for that book I was reading with the time travelers and robots – queer time travelers, no less! I loved the relationship between cautious, sentimental Forbes and feisty Oliver. I loved the immediate sense of high stakes; Forbes has to convince Oliver of the truth, like NOW, or all will be lost. I loved the steampunk vibe of the inventor’s mansion setting. But the icing on the cake was Jeepers, the robot cat. I must get me one.

I’ll admit I got a mite confused at first about who Oliver was and what his history with Forbes was, but the story takes us there in time. Be patient and you’ll be rewarded. And hopefully the author will reward us all with more books in this charming series.

Look for The Break-in on Amazon or Dreamspinner Press.