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Hugh Likes Fiction: Legends and Lattes

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Legends and Lattes
Written by Travis Baldree
Audiobook read by Travis Baldree

The Skinny: What if the Coffee shop A. U. was the story?

Viv is a barbarian warrior ready to get out of the mercenary’s life. But before she hangs up her greatsword for good, she needs a plan. Fortunately, she has two things going for her: A lucky, if gross charm in the Skalvert Stone, a sort of a magical bezoar she takes from the skull of a monstrous giant insect. Trophy in hand, she travels to the town of Thune, following the ley lines to the place where she’ll start her new life: Opening a coffee shop.
Unfortunately, there are a few hurdles for her to overcome, including the local organized crime boss, the fact that nobody in town has even heard of coffee before, and her prime location is in fact an abandoned livery. But with the help of some new friends, and the occasional assistance of her former adventuring party, she’ll give her new life a go.
Legends and Lattes is the coziest of cozy fantasy stories. Not so much a tale of adventure and blood, but of steam and baking. There is some tension as Viv attempts to break from her old life and settle into the new one, but most of this audiobook’s six-hour run time is more concerned with the day-to-day running of the shop than fighting monsters or fantasy politics. It’s clear that these things are all going on somewhere, but this story is all about the beans.
As a professional narrator, Baldree does an outstanding job reading, and the text feels right as an audiobook. His voices for the characters feel distinctive without becoming forced, which is no mean feat as a male actor reading a book with two female leads.
While the story was engaging and satisfying, It did feel a bit on the short side to me. We get an eclectic cast of characters, both from Viv’s old life and her new one, but they are mostly supporting Viv. It would have been nice to have spent more time with Cal, Thimble, Tandry and the rest of the supporting cast. Also, this is a romance, but a very fluffy one. It doesn’t go much farther than awkward stammering and acknowledged feelings. I would have liked it to have been more, well, steamier.
Legends and Lattes  is a +5 cozy little story that is sure to warm your heart like a warm cup of coffee on a cold winter’s morning. It is available as an audiobook, print or ebook from the usual locations.

Podcast Repost: NP78 – Hotboxing the Gundam

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Welcome to Nostalgia Pilots! This week, Jason, Jurd, Spence and Hugh consider Mobile Fighter G Gundam Episode 15: Warrior’s Crest – Goodbye Shuffle Alliance!

In this episode: Domon immediately forgets that he is injured, Rain also can heal Domon’s clothes, and George delivers a sinister ‘Bounour!’
Pllus, the Shuffle Alliance believes in the heart of the cards, and the nostalgia pilots look forward to a multi-episode training montage!

Promo: Chrononaut Cinema Reviews

Everyday Drabbles #630: Mermaid Statue

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She rose from the water, a being of fire and light, birthed from the sea by a goddess’s will. Her upper half was human, a beautiful woman limned in streaming lava and sputtering flame. Her lower half resembled a fish’s tail ending in a forked fin that trailed in the water.
The creature sat on a rock and pondered her fate as she inexorably cooled into lifeless black stone.
The Mermaid Statue was later found by human explorers. They marveled at the craftsmanship, believing it to be the work of some lost civilization.
Which was exactly what the goddess intended.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #621: The Evergreen

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The tree stood in a corner of the little churchyard, a resilient and determined evergreen.
The city had grown up around the church, and after the old neighborhood had been demolished to build skyscrapers, nobody came to mass these days. The land the little old church sat on was valuable, and the city had grander houses of worship. It was only a matter of time.
The tree didn’t know any of this. But it was steady and had good roots. The priest strung it with lights for what would probably be the last time and thanked his most faithful parishioner.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #618: Dandelion Princess

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The Dandelion Princess dances through the meadow ins spring. She is short, green, clumsy. She moves awkwardly, still growing and still learning herself.
The Dandelion Princess stretches toward the summer sun, her golden crown resplendent in the shimmering heat. She dances alone, slapping those who get too close. She dances for herself.
Autumn paints the meadow in shades of orange, and the Dandelion Princes robes herself in white. She dances in graceful arcs, letting the wind lift her. This will be her final and greatest performance.
The Dandelion Princess lies curled under the winter snow, dreaming of her first dance.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #546: Night Shadow

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The figure crouched on the railing of the tenement balcony, snow swirling around its ragged cloak. It was tall, thin, and ghostly pale. The gaslight danced in its glassy eyes.
Inside the apartment, the child watched it fearfully.
The figure reached into a pocket and produced a pair of oranges, setting them on the windowsill. It put a finger to its bloodless lips.
Rumors said a hero defended the tenements, standing up to the greedy landlords and corrupt politicians. They said he wore a ghastly costume to hide his identity.
The figure leaped into the snowy night and was gone.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #528: Flagship

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The IMS Dominion, the Imperial flagship, was designed to inspire terror and panic in the empire’s enemies, which was everyone. It wasn’t a fast ship, but its appearance on the horizon, bristling with cannons and armored launches, always spelled doom for the free people of the continent.
The empire held the secrets of the Dominion’s construction close, frustrating rebel engineers and shipbuilders. A ship of that size and mass, they insisted, shouldn’t be able to stay above the waterline.
But the bravest of them didn’t need to know how it worked. All they needed was a way to sink it.

You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree! Thanks for reading!

Everyday Drabbles #466: Surge Pricing

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When the space station’s air tanks were struck by space debris, Station Management sent out a priority alert.
Until the repairs were complete, and the supply could be guaranteed, they would be initiating ‘Emergency Pricing’ for all essentials. The price for oxygen quickly skyrocketed by a thousand percent, and for some reason, repairs on the system took twice as long as expected.
Station Management sent frequent updates, mostly propaganda about ‘Duty’ and ‘Support.’ They wanted to recreate the old debt structures from the bad old days on Earth.
They hadn’t realized that some debts could only be paid in blood.

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Turning the Page – 2020 to 2021

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I’m going to be honest. 2020 sucked. This probably isn’t news to you, and I don’t want to turn my blog into a list of woes, but last year was the worst. It was a time of painful isolation and crushing losses. Friends and family passed away. I lost my job. And I didn’t make any of my creative goals for the year.

But the year turns, and we have little choice but to keep moving forward. So it’s time to retire the Page of Awesome for 2020 and look ahead to 2021.
2020 Goals and Achievements:

Daily Writing Goal – 57/300
Daily Editing Goal – 77/300
Short Story Submissions – 46/60
New Short Stories – 0/6
New Freelance Hunters stories – 1/6
New Flash Fiction Stories 2/6
Nostalgia Pilots – 17/25
Everyday Drabbles Audio Podcasts – 10/50
Blog Posts- 295/400

With 2021 comes new goals, and new opportunities. I have some things planned for this year that I won’t announce, but you’ll be seeing very soon, so please look forward to them.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and keep moving forward.

Hugh Likes Fiction: Black Sun

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Black Sun: Between Earth and Sky Book One
Written by Rebecca Roanhorse
Published by Saga Press

The Skinny: An epic adventure full of fascinating characters in a unique and vibrant setting.

Serapio is a god reborn. Before he was born, his mother’s people, the Crow clan, were brutally slaughtered in the city of Tova. His mother barely escaped with her life, bearing an unslakable thirst for revenge. Now, blinded and raised for a single purpose, he must make his way back to Tova and confront the Sun Priest, whose office orchestrated the genocide. But the path ahead lies through rough seas, and his only ally is a ship captain with mysterious powers who is distrusted by her own crew.Meanwhile in Tova, the newest holder of the office of Sun Priest, Naranpa, is caught in a web of political intrigue, and narrowly avoided assassination attempts. As the winter solstice and a historic eclipse approach, will there even be a city still standing when Serapio arrives?
With this this new epic fantasy series, Rebecca Roanhorse gives readers a look into a richly imagined world filled with deep and complex characters. Broadly based on Pre-Colombian cultures surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, The Meridian is a land full of mysterious magic, warriors fighting from giant crow-back, and Machiavellian ruling castes of priests and merchants. It is a very fresh take on the genre, and breathes new life into tropes so soaked in the trappings of medieval England.
But the real highlights of this compelling work are the deeply realized characters and the ratchet-tight pacing. Epic fantasy has a tendency to ramble and repeat itself, wallowing in feasts and camp tents, as heroes and heroines brood over politics. From the first page, Black Sun rushes towards the destined climax, as political machinations, ancient prophecies, and even the sky itself push the players towards their destinies as surely as Captain Xiala sings up a current. Speaking of which Xiala was my favorite character, an opportunistic and morally gray wanderer searching for a home she doesn’t know how to even ask for, let alone find. Her chemistry with Serapio was easily the most fascinating part of the book for me.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is available in print, ebook, and audiobook, from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local independent bookstore. I strongly recommend it!

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