You Sexy Thing - Tor/Forge Blog

Which Dysfunctional Space Crew Do You Belong In?

Which Dysfunctional Space Crew Do You Belong In?

by a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat & a cat

In space, everyone can hear you scream when you realize your roommate steals your lunch from the community space fridge. Has anyone every made it through a space voyage completely functionally?

Find out which dysfunctional space crew is your ride-or-die with this quiz!

And while you’ve got books on the brain, Cascade Failure by L. M. Sagas is out now! You should read it.

Order Cascade Failure Here

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8 Books to Read After You Watch Dune: Part Two

8 Books to Read After You Watch Dune: Part Two

Yeah, we’re into DuneDune lots of reading 📚😎

The spice must flow, and so will our sci-fi book recommendations! But what’s that you say? You’re not just looking for any space opera, you’re looking for the particular space opera that’s going to satisfy the exact reason why you’re already planning to see Dune: Part Two again? Fear not! Our recommendations are sorted by what got you excited for Dune!

By Julia Bergen

If you’re excited to see Dune because:

dune: the heir of caladan by brian herbert & kevin j. andersonDune seems really cool:

You should read: Dune: The Heir of Caladan by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

When you need Dune, you need Dune! Dune: The Heir of Caladan is the conclusion of a prequel trilogy by Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, and science fiction legend Kevin J. Anderson. This saga began with Dune: The Duke of Caladan, continued with Dune: The Lady of Caladan, and tells the story of the Atreides family’s rise to power, and this particular volume details how Paul becomes the leader he needs to be before the events of Dune

princess of dune by brian herbert & kevin j. andersonNo, really. Dune is the coolest and you’ll throw yourself into the maw of a sandworm if you don’t get more immediately:

You should read: Princess of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

When you need Dune, you need Dune! Set a few years before the events of Dune, this story explores the lives of Paul’s love Chani and his wife, the Princess Irulan. Both women will impact the trajectory of the whole galaxy as Paul Atreides brings it hurdling to its destiny. 

to sleep in a sea of stars by christopher paoliniYou love crazy space monsters:

You should read: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The sandworms in Dune are definitely some of the creepiest monsters in SF, and their connection to the spice is shrouded in mystery. While you wait to see sandworms on the screen, you can dive into the mystery of the creature discovered by a xenobiologist during what was supposed to be a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet. And make sure to check out Fractal Noise for more tales in the same universe!

Image Placeholder of - 49You love dudes fighting in suits in space:

You should read: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

If you’re most looking forward to seeing how Villeneuve envisions the stillsuits necessary to survive on the desert planet Arrakis, and to see some sweet suit fight scenes, calm you suited bloodthirst with a book about genetically perfected superhumans wearing futuristic body armor battling it out in a Hunger Games-esque competition for the solar system’s best job opportunities.

You Sexy Thing by Cat RamboYou love PEW PEW PEW space battles:

You should read: You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

Perfect reading if you want to be able to practically hear that “PEW PEW PEW” noise, and maybe even a Wilhelm scream or two while you’re reading. A group of retired space soldiers gets dragged back into war when they’re forced onto a sentient ship that’s convinced it’s being stolen, and in addition must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king.

The Genesis of Misery by Neon YangYou love space politics:

You should read: The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang

If you can’t resist competing galactic empires and political machinations in space, dive into The Genesis of Misery. A nobody from a nowhere mining planet becomes the center of a power struggle between dangerous players and royal families because of their forbidden powers. Plus, like Dune it’s full of prophecy and space magic. 

Poster Placeholder of - 68No, seriously, you LIVE FOR space politics:

You should read: A Desolation Called Peace Arkady Martine

Oh, so you’re one of those, huh? No judgment, just book recommendations here, my friend. And you definitely need to feast your eyes on A Desolation Called Peace, which should give you all the space politics you could possibly want. An ambassador from a backwater planet must untangle the webs of subterfuge at the center of the Teixcalaanli Empire.

winter's orbit by everina maxwellYou love space politics, but not as much as you love love.

You should read: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

If you can’t wait for Dune’s space politic glory, but you’re also looking forward to scenes between Paul and Chani, then as soon as it’s on sale you need to get your hands on this romantic space opera. Two neuromodified psychics, a flirty socialite and a duty-bound soldier, find themselves at the center of a decades-old power struggle and a dangerous treasure-hunt. If they sync their minds, they might avoid life under military control, but they’d be giving up their free will. And what are these FEELINGS they’re having for each other?

Which one are you reading? Let us know in the comments!


Literary Trick-or-Treat: 8 Book & Candy Pairings

Literary Trick-or-Treat: 8 Book & Candy Pairings

If Halloween’s about one thing, it’s the delicious candy. But! If Halloween’s about two things, it’s the delicious candy and good books (We’re Tor. We’re nerds).

Check out these pairings of sweet treats and matching reads!

the fragile threads of power by v.e. scwab in front of an array of sour patch kids watermelonsThe Fragile Threads of Power & Sour Patch Kids Watermelon

The tag for Sour Patch Kids might be Sour, Sweet, Gone—but not V. E. Schwab! They are BACK, returning to the expansive world(s) they created in the Shades of Magic Trilogy. The Fragile Threads of Power features both new characters and old, which is why we’ve paired it with Sour Patch Kids Watermelon. It’s everything you love and a little more. A little different. Familiar, yet new. 

traitor of redwinter by ed mcdonald in front of an ad for zombie skittles, reading BEWARE OF ROTTEN ZOMBIE SKITTLESTraitor of Redwinter & Zombie Skittles 

For very brief spans in 2019 and 2020, Skittles ran a special limited-time Halloween campaign, delivering unto us Zombie Skittles. They’re just like regular Skittles, but a few—visually indecipherable from their more delicious brethren—were zombies, and tasted awful. Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald is way cooler than Zombie Skittles because it brings all the scary candy’s suspense without tasting abominable (probably just tastes neutrally of paper, if you tried to snack on it). 

On Sale 10.24.23

Bookshops & bonedust by travis baldree in front of a golden array of wrapped reese's peanut butter cupsBookshops & Bonedust & Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup  

The much-loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup owes its storied position in candy history to its artful fusion of two flavors: Chocolate. Peanut butter. We honor Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree by pairing it with the peanut butter cup, because it too is a smooth blend of distinct flavors. Viv is a mercenary, but a warrior stuck in recovery in a tiny beach town. But adventures seldom play out as you expect. This sleepy town and its cozy bookshop are full of peanut butter, or they are peanut butter and adventure is the chocolate. This metaphor makes sense. We will not be taking any questions. 

On Sale 11.7.23

devil's gun by cat rambo next to a suspicious bad of 'Disco's' candy Devil’s Gun & Disco’s

Cat Rambo’s Disco Space Opera series (and playlist! Check out their playlist!) began with You Sexy Thing and continued with Devil’s Gun, named respectively after the rock time tunes “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate and “Devil’s Gun” by C.J. & Co. Fittingly, we have elected to pair this sci-fi adventure with Disco’s, a candy we’ve never heard of before and seems to be available primarily in the United Kingdom? But whatever. C’est la vie. We did it for the name. 

the first binding by r.r. virdi being flanked by two shiny gummi sharksThe First Binding & Giant Gummy Shark 

For R.R. Virdi’s hugely epic The First Binding, we’re hauling in the world’s largest gummy shark. Like this massive gummified carnivore confection, The First Binding will sustain you for a while. One will feed your body, and one will nourish the soul.  

Now Available in Paperback!

Starter villain by john scalzi in front of a rainbow array of sour patch kidsStarter Villain & Sour Patch Kids (Original)

Starter Villain by John Scalzi is the story of a hapless guy who inherits his uncle’s supervillain business, including among other assets, an array of espionage-ready cats. We pair it with the original Sour Patch Kids, harkening back to that aforementioned tag, Sour, Sweet, Gone. This is a book of cozy opposites—namely surprisingly cool supervillains. 

exadelic by jon evans in front of a rainbow array of monster energy drinks in different flavorsExadelic & Monster Energy 

Far from a traditional Halloween trick-or-treat staple, these energy drinks nevertheless taste like candy, and pair perfectly with Jon Evans Exadelic, which is a book about occult magic and computer code. A trusty goto beverage for exhausted software engineers everywhere, this sweet, sugary drink counts as candy for the purposes of this article, and is the perfect fuel to keep you awake late into the night as you read Exadelic

sandymancer by david edison in front of some red hot candiesSandymancer & Red Hots 

David Edison’s Sandymancer is a classic fantasy adventure of mad god-kings, regular people with extraordinary powers, and lots of hot climates. The final note is what inspires us to dedicate a spot on this feature to Red Hots. Can you feel the heat? Hopefully you can’t taste the sand. Hopefully you have escaped the ire of mad gods. 


Five Fine Feline Reads for Fans of Fantastical Fiction

Five Fine Feline Reads for Fans of Fantastical Fiction

Okay before we get into this list, we’re going to start by establishing some baseline facts about cats: 

  1. Cats are wise
  2. Cats are jerks
  3. Cats eyes can see into the astral plane
  4. Spying a black cat on a moonless night is a blessing, not a curse
  5. Cats enjoy attention
  6. Cats want people to read about them

So start those haunches a’wagglin’ and get ready to pounce on these book recs! 

starter villain by john scalziStarter Villain by John Scalzi

We’re kicking this list off with a book full of cats that embodies well the duality of felines: cats are simultaneously cuddly little guys and devious villains. In Starter Villain, some down-on-his-luck divorcee named Charlie inherits his uncle’s super villain business. There are giant lasers, but there’s also paperwork, and we’d go into greater detail, but honestly we’re not here for Charlie. We’re here for the cunning circle of feline specialists and spies employed by Charlie’s inherited organization, who are Super Evil™ but also pretty nice. 

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. SchwabThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

This list about cats in books wouldn’t be complete without a cat named Book. Now, this expansive literary fantasy from V.E. Scwab might be about an immortality-cursed woman who no one can remember, but you’ll never forget Book, the chill feline occupant of the bookstore where Addie meets the one person who resists magically forgetting her.

For every bookseller cat snoozing in a puddle of sun in the shop’s front window, we dedicate this spot on the list to you.

Legends & Lattes by Travis BaldreeLegends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

The cats in our lives keep so many secrets. Often, the known origin story of a beloved feline is as long as “No idea. Dude (gender neutral) just showed up and stayed.” This is the case for Amity, a dire-cat of menacing size who wanders into the coffeeshop started by veteran adventurer / recent entrepreneur Viv. Amity decides that Amity likes the place, and that’s that. There’s now a resident cat. 

(Amity is a Very Good Dire-cat)

the dead cat tail assassins by P. Djèlí ClarkThe Dead Cat Tail Assassins by P. Djèlí Clark

And now for a non-traditional cat book recommendation!

The Dead Cat Tail Assassins are not cats.

Nor do they have tails.

But they are most assuredly dead.

P. Djèlí Clark builds a fantastical city full of gods and assassins 😎

On Sale 3/12/24

devil's gun by cat ramboDevil’s Gun by Cat Rambo

Don’t look now! It’s another unorthodox cat book recommendation! Just kidding. Not about the recommendation, no. We mean that you should look, because we’re talking about most-definitely human author Cat Rambo’s science fiction Disco Space Opera series about space pirates, sentient starships, and a struggling restaurant. This series began with You Sexy Thing. Now a second installment arrives from the outer stars, heralding extragalactic adventure: Devil’s Gun!

Order Starter Villain Here

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Disco Space Opera Playlist!

Disco Space Opera Playlist!

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devil's gun by cat rambo

Cat Rambo’s Disco Space Opera series kicked off with 2021’s You Sexy Thing, a novel we’d pitch as Farscape meets The Great British Bake Off. It’s got grizzled old soldiers and other vagrants who have grown tired of the campaigns and tumult of central space opera life, and have elected to open a restaurant at the edge of the known universe where they can eke out a more fulfilling existence. This distance from chaos is, of course, an illusion—albeit a comforting one. There’s no accounting for the propensity of sentient spaceships and sadistic pirate kings to just show up!

Anywho, that was the first book, and now we’re talking Devil’s Gun, the continuation of their adventure. We’re also talking the far future, and disco jams. Cat Rambo has shared with us their grand Disco Space Opera playlist.

Check it out!

video soruce

by Cat Rambo

“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate

Why did I decide to name the ship what I did? I’m not sure, but early on in the writing the password exchange between Arpat Takraven and Niko appeared, and it led to the ship’s name. Like a lot of the songs on this list, it’s a big earworm and I’ve always loved it. Written by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson, this song was released in 1975 and became the group’s most popular single, and was the only song to achieve Top Ten status in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

“Devil’s Gun” by C.J. and Company

In naming the second book, I wanted something that conveyed the nature of the dangerous artifact the crew is seeking in the book. When I listened to the song, it was the perfect mood. The song, written by Barry Green, Ron Roker, and Gerry Shury, was the first song played at Broadway’s Studio 54.

“Rumor Has It” by Donna Summer

In the third book, which has been handed over to the publisher, the power of gossip and rumor becomes important as several aspects of Niko’s past come to confront her. You can’t invoke disco without invoking Donna Summer, in my opinion, and this was my choice to represent her. The song was written by Summer with co-writers Pete Bellotte and Giorgbio Moroder and released in 1978.

I have more adventures of Niko and her crew planned out – seven volumes worth, in fact. The main thread is a particular romantic plotline and by book ten, I’m hoping readers will be on the edge of their seats waiting to find out how it’s resolved. Without saying much more than that and not presenting any spoilers, I hope, here’s the names of the other seven books.

“We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

Dabry’s family history is revealed as the crew is forced to rescue his daughter – against her will. This song has always been one of my favorites, and for a book dealing with family issues, this seemed like a perfect pick. The song came out in 1979 and was written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers.

“Heart of Glass” by Blondie

What happens when You Sexy Thing turns its attention to the most mystifying emotion of all: love? Another favorite song, this matches what I want to explore in this particular volume. Written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein, the song appeared on the band’s third album in 1978 and was released as a single the following year.

“Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb

Skidoo must return to her home planet. But will both she and her planet survive the visit? I felt this song reflected the complicated personal dynamics of her homecoming. Written by Andy, Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb, the song appeared in 1978 and was that year’s Billboard Magazine top single.

“Take Me Home” by Cher

Petalia may have found a way to revive the almost-extinct Florian bloodline – but is Niko willing to pay the price that’s asked of them all? This song, written by Michele Aller and Bob Esty, appeared in 1979.

“You Can’t Lose What You Never Had” by Fantasy

Rebbe strikes off on his own, but You Sexy Thing and its crew must find him before he destroys a world. This song appeared in 1981 and was written by Tony Valor.

“Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead

The crew thinks they’ve finally caught a break, until finally the mystery of Atlanta’s past resurfaces and is on a direct collision course with her current role. The song was written by McFadden and Whitehead along with Jerry Cohen and appeared in 1979.

“Never Can Say Goodbye” by Gloria Gaynor

All good things come to an end, but I hope to end the series in a way that will keep the crew in people’s hearts. When the crew finds out what Arpat Takraven truly wants of them, they’ve got a very hard choice to make. Written by Clifton Davs, the song appeared in 1979.

Cat Rambo (they/them) is an American fantasy and science fiction writer whose work has appeared in, among others, Asimov’s, Weird Tales, Chiaroscuro, Talebones, and Strange Horizons. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, where they studied with John Barth and Steve Dixon, they also attended the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop. They are currently the managing editor of Fantasy Magazine. They published a collection of stories, Eyes Like Sky And Coal And Moonlight, and their collaboration with Jeff VanderMeer, The Surgeon’s Tale and Other Stories, appeared in 2007. They live and write in Washington State, and “Cat Rambo” is their real name. 

Order Devil’s Gun Here!

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Space (Is Gay) Operas, Assemble!

Space (Is Gay) Operas, Assemble!

Generations of scientists and philosophers have turned their gaze to the ever-blazing stars, searching for the answer to the question that pulses deep within their souls: Is space gay? 

We’re here to confirm that it is, and we’ve got the gay space operas to prove it. 

Check’em out 😎

devil's gun by cat ramboDevil’s Gun by Cat Rambo

Life’s hard when you’re on the run from a vengeful pirate-king…When Niko and her crew find that the intergalactic Gate they’re planning on escaping through is out of commission, they make the most of things, creating a pop-up restaurant to serve the dozens of other stranded ships. But when an archaeologist shows up claiming to be able to fix the problem, Niko smells something suspicious cooking. Nonetheless, they allow Farren to take them to an ancient site where they may be able to find the weapon that could stop Tubal Last before he can take his revenge.

Unconquerable SunFurious Heaven by Kate Elliott & Furious Heaven by Kate Elliott

Princess Sun has finally come of age. Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared. But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead. To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

The Genesis of MiseryThe Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang by Neon Yang

It’s an old, familiar story: a young person hears the voice of an angel saying they have been chosen as a warrior to lead their people to victory in a holy war. But Misery Nomaki (she/they) knows they are a fraud. The deeper they get into their charade, however, the more they start to doubt their convictions. What if this, all of it, is real? A reimagining of Joan of Arc’s story given a space opera, giant robot twist, the Nullvoid Chronicles is a story about the nature of truth, the power of belief, and the interplay of both in the stories we tell ourselves.

Ocean’s EchoOcean's Echo by Everina Maxwell by Everina Maxwell

Tennal is a vapid socialite with the ability to read minds, and Lt. Surit Yeni is a soldier with a chip on his shoulder who has been tasked with using his own neuromodifications to overpower Tennal’s will and conscript him into service within the space military. But Surit’s not (that much of) an asshole, so they lie to all the space soldiers with all their space guns. But then a chaotic salvage-retrieval mission upends a decades-old power struggle and also compromises the security of their falsehood. Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?

A Memory Called EmpireImage Placeholder of - 1 by Arkady Martine

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

Empress of ForeverCover of Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone by Max Gladstone

The end of time is ruled by an ancient, powerful Empress who blesses or blasts entire planets with a single thought. Rebellion is literally impossible to consider—until Vivian Liao arrives, catapulted through time and space from the chilly darkness of a Boston server farm. Now, she’s trapped between the Pride—a ravening horde of sentient machines—and a fanatical sect of warrior monks who call themselves the Mirrorfaith. Viv must rally a strange group of allies to confront the Empress and find a way back to the world and life she left behind.


Welcome to The Book Eaters Restaurant for People Who Eat Books

Welcome to The Book Eaters Restaurant for People Who Eat Books

by a stack of raccoons in a trench coat & a cat

the book eaters by sunyi deanStep into the world of The Book Eaters where mysterious families subsist on books alone. What’s that you say? You would like to sample the culinary delights of book eating? WELL WELL WELL we were here for you last year when this article originally published, and now we’re EVEN MORE here for you, because The Book Eaters is available in trade paperback!

Sit down and pull up a chair, and we’ll recite this month’s delicious specials for those voracious readers looking to literally consume their next read.

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka AokiLight From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Our book chefs recommend you enjoy this one hot and fresh like the donuts and spicy Hainan chicken described within its pages. It’s a book glazed with sadness but topped with a sprinkles of joy, music, and found family. Please pair with a coffee and one half of an Alaska donut to share with the space captain / mother of five you’ve been crushing on.

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette KowalThe Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

“Dear waiter, please bring me another!” you will declare as you finish Book Meal 1 with intent to move on to Book Meal 2. “I’ll have more of the same.”

What book? The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal, of course—a read that is flush with the decadent vistas of luxury space cruises and the witty parlance of high society. Each chapter begins with a cocktail recipe conceived by Mary Robinette herself, and these are the perfect drinks to sip as you relish every page.

But keep sharp! The Spare Man is a murder mystery, so don’t let its decadent trappings deceive you into letting your guard down in the face of its flavorful kick.

Oathbringer by Brandon SandersonOathbringer / All of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

We hope you came hungry! The Stormlight Archive contains notes of windswept plateaus, electricity in the air, and the metallic tang of blood. Coming in at 4,068 pages, you could always cut a neat slice for yourself with your Shardblade but why not consume it all in one go? You’ll never need to eat fiber again or maybe even eat at all!

Legends & Lattes by Travis BaldreeLegends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

This delightful pastry of a book is the perfect title to take to your local coffeeshop, both to read and to eat! It’s sweet—a high-fantasy, low-stakes romance about being a barista and falling in love with your coworker. And you’ll fall in love too. You’ll love this book so much, you won’t even notice the horrified stares of the other coffeeshop-goers, watching in despair as you monch your way through spine, paper, ink, and glue. Yum!

The Atlas Six by Olivie BlakeThe Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Wouldst thou like to live deliciously? We’re talking about books and not movies, but the quote applies to The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. This sinfully delectable literary experience calls to mind the opulence of old world liquor and fancy rich people appetizers that cost more than a full meal somewhere else. This is a book for the selective diner, one who enjoys exchanging bladed words in a dinner-conversation more akin to a duel than to casual chatter. Within The Atlas Six, the youngest cohort of powerful magicians compete for induction into a secret magic society, and you’ll enjoy every bite.

masters of death by olivie blakeMasters of Death by Olivie Blake

Look, Olivie Blake is the haute book-eater’s dream chef. The deliciously duplicitous taste of The Atlas Series compliments well the deep, sharp, and mysterious flavor contained within these pages. In this contemporary fantasy that begins with a slightly sleazy medium and vampire realtor trying to unhaunt a house for economic purposes spins into an intricate and emotional narrative filled with a cadre of immortals and entities and specters confronting that being undying, or even already dead, cannot free one of the complexities of being alive. Now that’s a lot of flavor, so we recommend diving in as soon and fast as possible. Whether life is short or unending, we at this strange conceptual restaurant recommend you dine on the gooey good stuff first, and this is that.

You Sexy Thing by Cat RamboYou Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

Hankering for some spice? Might we suggest You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo? It’s Farscape meets The Great British Bakeoff, and 110% as flavorful as that sounds. In this space opera, a former military commander of the Hive Mind has escaped the war to run a restaurant at the edge of nothing with his former unit. Now they’re stuck on a sentient ship that thinks it has been stolen and is MAD. Adventure ensues. You’ll dine well.


Hot Fresh eBook Deals of July 2023

Hot Fresh eBook Deals of July 2023

Hey! We’ve got eBook deals! Hot and fresh text for your favorite screen, and they’re ready now, so check them out!

The Ruin of Kingsthe ruin of kings by jenn lyons by Jenn Lyons — $3.99

Kihrin grew up in the slums of Quur, a thief and a minstrel’s son raised on tales of long-lost princes and magnificent quests. When he is claimed against his will as the missing son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds himself at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless power plays and political ambitions. Practically a prisoner, Kihrin discovers that being a long-lost prince is nothing like what the storybooks promised. The storybooks have lied about a lot of other things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, and how the hero always wins. Then again, maybe he isn’t the hero after all. For Kihrin is not destined to save the world. He’s destined to destroy it.

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The Library of the Deadthe library of the dead by tl huchu by T.L. Huchu — $3.99

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and they sure do love to talk. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to those they left behind. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and strength. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will rock her world. Ropa will dice with death as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. And although underground Edinburgh hides a wealth of dark secrets, she also discovers an occult library, a magical mentor and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

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You Sexy Thingyou sexy thing by cat rambo by Cat Rambo — $3.99

TwiceFar station is at the edge of the known universe, and that’s just how Niko Larson, former Admiral in the Grand Military of the Hive Mind, likes it. Retired and finally free of the continual war of conquest, Niko and the remnants of her former unit are content to spend the rest of their days working at the restaurant they built together, The Last Chance. But, some wars can’t ever be escaped, and unlike the Hive Mind, some enemies aren’t content to let old soldiers go. Niko and her crew are forced onto a sentient ship convinced that it is being stolen and must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king if they even hope to keep the dream of The Last Chance alive.

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Luna: New Moonluna: new moon by ian mcdonald by Ian McDonald — $3.99

The Moon wants to kill you. Maybe it will kill you when the per diem for your allotted food, water, and air runs out, just before you hit paydirt. Maybe it will kill you when you are trapped between the reigning corporations-the Five Dragons-in a foolish gamble against a futuristic feudal society. On the Moon, you must fight for every inch you want to gain. And that is just what Adriana Corta did. As the leader of the Moon’s newest “dragon,” Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status. Now, in the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation-Corta Helio-confronted by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies… and each other.

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Isolateisolate by l.e. modesitt, jr. by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. — $3.99

Industrialization. Social unrest. Underground movements. Government corruption and surveillance. Something is about to give. Steffan Dekkard is an isolate, one of the small percentage of people who are immune to the projections of empaths. As an isolate, he has been trained as a security specialist and he and his security partner Avraal Ysella, a highly trained empath are employed by Axel Obreduur, a senior Craft Minister and the de facto political strategist of his party. When a respected Landor Councilor dies of “heart failure” at a social event, because of his political friendship with Obreduur, Dekkard and Ysella find that not only is their employer a target, but so are they, in a covert and deadly struggle for control of the government and economy. Steffan is about to understand that everything he believed is an illusion.

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Psion psion by joan d. vingeby Joan D. Vinge — $3.99

When first published, readers young and old eagerly devoured the tale of a street-hardened survivor named Cat, a half-human, half-alien orphan telepath. Named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Cat’s story has been continued by Hugo-award winning and international best-selling author Joan D. Vinge with the very popular Catspaw and Dreamfall. Now, 25 years later, this special anniversary edition of Psion contains a new introduction by the author and “Psiren,” a story never before included in any trade edition of Psion. This tough, gritty tale of an outsider whose only chance for redemption is as an undercover agent for an interstellar government that by turns punishes and helps him, is as fresh and powerful today as it was in 1982.

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Spinspin by robert charles wilson by Robert Charles Wilson — $3.99

One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives. The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk–a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside–more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future….

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legacies by l. e. modesitt, jr. Legacies by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.  — $3.99

Millennia ago, a magical disaster caused the fall of a civilization, the end of a golden age. New civilizations emerged from the ancient destruction and chaos, knowing little of the past or the disaster. Corus today is a world of contending countries, humans, and supernatural creatures. It is a place of magical powers, and of a few people who are talented enough to use them. Alusius is drafted into the local Militia and must fight against the invading slave armies of The Matrial, an immortal ruler in a nearby land. If the evil surrounding The Matrial is not brought to an end, the world as he knows it could very well end.

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Excerpt Reveal: Devil’s Gun by Cat Rambo

Excerpt Reveal: Devil’s Gun by Cat Rambo

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devil's gun by cat rambo

No one escapes their past as the crew of the You Sexy Thing attempts to navigate the hazards of opening a pop-up restaurant and the dangers of a wrathful pirate-king seeking vengeance in Cat Rambo’s Devil’s Gun.

Life’s hard when you’re on the run from a vengeful pirate-king…

When Niko and her crew find that the intergalactic Gate they’re planning on escaping through is out of commission, they make the most of things, creating a pop-up restaurant to serve the dozens of other stranded ships.

But when an archaeologist shows up claiming to be able to fix the problem, Niko smells something suspicious cooking. Nonetheless, they allow Farren to take them to an ancient site where they may be able to find the weapon that could stop Tubal Last before he can take his revenge.

There, in one of the most dangerous places in the Known Universe, each of them will face ghosts from their past: Thorn attempts something desperate and highly illegal to regain his lost twin, Atlanta will have to cast aside her old role and find her new one, Dabry must confront memories of his lost daughter, and Niko is forced to find Petalia again, despite a promise not to seek them out.

Meanwhile, You Sexy Thing continues to figure out what it wants from life—which may not be the same desire as Niko and the rest of the crew.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Devil’s Gun by Cat Rambo, on sale 8/29/23

Chapter 1

Over the course of her military career, Niko Larsen had awoken to all sorts of conditions, including firefights, battlestorms, unexpected evacuations, and last-minute musters. This was, however, the first time she had awoken to the cries of a panicked bios.

“Captain Captain CAPTAIN!”

The words came from all around her, nearly blasting her out of her bunk. You Sexy Thing might have been a supra-intelligent being, but right now, it seemed reduced to far below that by panic. “They’re INSIDE me!”

Niko rolled out of her bed in one easy motion and didn’t bother with anything other than a gun and its belt. Still strapping it on, she raced down the corridor toward the central control room. The other members of the crew were less awake, startled faces appearing in doorways as she flashed past.

Her mind flipped through possibilities as fast as her footsteps. How could someone have gotten aboard? The ship was docked, but still double-locked. Surely the ship would have alerted them the moment someone tried to cut their way in. Was this the blow from Tubal Last she’d been expecting, or some other entirely new threat?

She hit the doorway running, prepared for anything except what she saw . . .

A perfectly normal control room, in its usual status. The bumps and bubbles of indicator lights played in their familiar flickering patterns, one of the Derloen ghosts nosing along the surface of a bank of controls, another following after it.

“What . . .” Niko said, looking around. She took a breath and holstered the gun in her hand. “What exactly is the problem, Thing?”

“I can’t see them but I can feel them! There’s one on the main panel!”

“The ghosts?” Niko said with sudden interest, watching the worm of light crawl along the panel. “They’re magic, Thing. You shouldn’t be able to sense them. You couldn’t before.”

The ghosts had not come with the original ship, nor had their installation been Niko’s idea. One of her crew members, the prophet Lassite, had insisted on bringing them along from the space station TwiceFar when they had vacated it in a hurried confusion of explosions. But mechanical beings had the disadvantage of not being able to perceive magic, and so far, the ship had in fact refused to believe that the ghosts existed or that Lassite had any power whatsoever to perceive the future.

Niko’s second-in-command, Dabry Jen, appeared in the doorway, looking calm and unflustered. He had, Niko noted, taken the time to dress, although he also had made his gun, currently held in an upper hand, a priority, just as Milly, behind him, had. “Captain?” he said.

“Stand down, Sergeant,” she said. “The ship seems to be able to perceive the ghosts for the first time.”

Dabry’s eyebrows rose, but he made no comment.

“They feel wrong,” the ship said with certainty.

“What changed? When did you notice feeling them?” Niko said. “And what happened to cause all the screaming?”

“I was learning to imagine,” the ship said apologetically. “Gio and Atlanta were explaining it to me, and then I started trying to imagine things, and I did that for a while and I couldn’t stop anymore and then I felt it and I knew I wasn’t imagining.”

Niko knuckled her forehead. “What time is it?”

“The fifth hour.”

“Goodness,” she said. “I had a whole three hours of sleep that time.”

“Do something!” the ship demanded. “I want to stop feeling this wrongness.”

“I’m not sure I can,” Niko said. “Dabry, go roust Lassite.” Sessiles slept deeply and it was no surprise that the little priest hadn’t appeared yet. Niko reflected with a touch of sourness that despite claiming to be a prophet, he seemed to be absolutely oblivious to what was going on. Perhaps he considered it too insignificant to note.

When Lassite appeared, the ghosts abandoned their exploration of the console and began to curl around his arms. Derloen ghosts were all that was left of a Derloen when they perished, and they were not particularly intelligent, but they did seem drawn to the person that had brought them on the ship.

Lassite, if pressed, could not have said why he brought them in the mad rush that had been their evacuation of the exploding space station. He had never envisioned the ghosts when seeing the Golden Path, the vision that had driven him through all his early years, the insistent prescience that had brought him to Niko, the individual destined to walk that path and change the universe as a result. But he liked them.

He said, “What is the problem?”

“Your ghosts are bothering the ship.”

He shook his narrow, snakelike head, the motion barely visible under the red hood he habitually wore over his plain black robe. “That is not possible.”

“I feel something,” the ship said. This emotion, it thought, might be sullenness. It was a mix of anger and stubbornness. It found dealing with the Sessile the least pleasurable of any of its crew, and sometimes actually unpleasant. But Niko would have objected to the disposal of any of her crew.

Lassite said to Niko, “I will keep them in their bag for now. I do not believe they find that space unwelcome. Is that acceptable?”

“Very well,” Niko said before the ship could reply. “I don’t see where anyone can object to that.” She looked around herself; the problem with being inside the individual at which you wanted to quirk an eyebrow was that you had no specific direction in which to quirk.

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

As long as they were all up, Niko thought, she might as well break her recent news to them. Coming on the heels of the warning that pirate king Tubal Last was still alive and would be pursuing them, it might not be the worst, but they had all loved the restaurant that united them, the Last Chance, up until the point things had started to blow up on the space station housing it and they’d been forced to steal the ship and escape.

“Come into the eating chamber,” she said. “Someone go and rouse Talon, if they can, and let Atlanta and Gio know to come as well. We need to be discussing some matters of our course.”

Dabry raised an eyebrow at her but disappeared to find the other crew members.

By now the ship knew that any meeting required caffeine, and it had produced plenty, along with protein bars that it had hoped would prove delicious and which seemed to be much less so, judging by their reception. Niko took one bite and left hers on the plate, while Lassite simply sniffed the deep purplish bar and declined to even taste it.

Niko spun up star charts on a console while they waited on the others. Though she scowled at the screen as she did so, she could feel herself trying not to smile. Much as she hated to admit it, life was more interesting now than it had been back on TwiceFar, where the day-to-day business had involved things like ordering cleaning supplies or wrangling with petty bureaucrats about licenses and how total working space should be reckoned when calculating monthly licensing and taxes.

Now the universe was full of danger again. Tubal Last lurked out there in the stars. And there were other people to outthink as well, all opponents in what was not a game, surely not just a game, something much more than that. But still something to be played with skill and heart and sometimes simply fierce determination to make things go the way you willed them to.

“We have to find Petalia,” she said once Dabry had returned with Atlanta and Gio, shaking his head at the mention of Talon. She saw his frown. Both of them knew she had promised the Florian that she would not pursue them.

It didn’t matter. What mattered was this new threat and keeping all of them—including Petalia—safe from it.

The Thing was displaying several charts, each a vast black balloon hanging in the air, its depths rippling with lines of light and the silver rings representing Gates. It lowered the lights so they could see the charts more clearly. Atlanta leaned into Skidoo, yawning sleepily and trying to blink herself awake.

“What about returning to the Last Chance?” Milly asked. “I thought that was what we were doing.”

Niko hesitated. Best to just let them know the news straight out. “There’s been word from TwiceFar,” she said. “It’s changed hands again, and all of the property has been claimed.”

“What?!” The exclamations came from all around her.

“Taken over by the bRinti.”

Her eyes met Dabry’s.

“The bRinti,” he said slowly. The bRinti, against whom Niko and he had fought when they first entered the Holy Hive Mind, and since then, who had been absorbed and released by the Holy Hive Mind.

“There was a rebellion on the station, taking advantage of the chaos,” she said. “The more things change, the more they stay the same it seems, sometimes. But, yes, what you’re thinking is correct. If they’re moving, then the Holy Hive Mind will have to react, or lose face, because their former conquest is out there making trouble. At least if they take the station back, we’ll have some claim again to anything of ours that hasn’t been totally destroyed, but what there is of that seems less and less likely every day.”

“What will we do, then?” Gio signed. His eyes held infinite trust that Niko would have a plan.

“Our best chance of figuring out what Tubal Last might be planning is Petalia.” She didn’t look at Dabry. Circumstances had changed since then, and she could not afford to give her former lover the luxury of anonymity. Petalia was in as much danger as the rest of them. Perhaps more. Tubal Last had never liked giving up any of his possessions.

She leaned forward and tapped a violet light, which brightened at the touch. “We left them here, on Montmurray, and there are only so many directions they could have gone in.” A spray of lines spiderwebbed outward to connect to other Gates.

Everyone nodded, including Lassite. Niko looked at him curiously. “No words to the contrary?” she said. She was used to his objections, his predictions that they were wandering from the appointed path.

But he only smiled at her. Ever since they’d made it through the pirates, he’d seemed more relaxed, even with the recent news.

Dabry’s chin was propped on his folded upper hands; the lower pair was clasped across his belly, a thumb rubbing over knuckles absently as he considered the column of stars and lines.

“Only so many ships, but it gets harder to trace with every hour. Starting at Montmurray is the best strategy—unless you know something I don’t, sir?”

She shook her head, scowling, then glanced out the port to the nearby station. They’d been here two days, scouting for prospective trade with little luck. Milly had made that absurd trade for Velcoran supplies, which, irritatingly enough, Dabry had applauded. Not that they’d be able to use them anytime soon. Staying any longer was foolish.

“Let’s prep for travel, then. The Gate’s a week away; wings out in three hours. That give you all enough time to wrap up any business? Gio, will you take charge of parting meal?”

There were no objections.

Atlanta sat listening quietly, although her mind was not quiet at all. She had no role and if she didn’t find one soon, she didn’t know what to do.

She woke every day at a loss as to what she should expect. When she opened her eyes, she was used to knowing what every moment would be, as dictated by her role as an Imperial heir.

She didn’t want to assume that they would keep her. She knew now that she could be played by false assumptions. She had demanded things in the pirate haven, only to find herself stripped of her bioweapons. The teeth and fingers had regrown by now, although sometimes those little fingers and back molars throbbed as through remembering their predecessors. She had mistaken her importance because she hadn’t realized the pirates didn’t care who she was, and now she didn’t even have that anymore.

It was particularly important to find that role here, as part of her new existence with Niko and her crew. Those around her were a team, twice over, and a team depended on its members knowing what they were supposed to do at any moment. A team worked together, and it was composed of people who each knew their place in it.

Most of them had been part of the military unit that Niko had commanded for the Holy Hive Mind, and there, they had roles: Skidoo for communications, Dabry as sergeant, Gio as quartermaster, Lassite specializing in magic, Talon and his lost brother as warrior scouts.

White-feathered Milly, yawning now as she listened, had not been part of that, but she had been part of their second manifestation as the restaurant’s staff, where Dabry served as chef, Niko as manager, Gio as sous chef, Milly as pastry chef, Skidoo again in communications, Lassite as maître d’, Talon and Thorn to bus and do the cleanup. The Thing had not been part of either of those crews, but it was the ship, and they would always need a ship.

Niko and Dabry were comparing potential routes to Montmurray now and going through trade possibilities along each route. She stifled a sigh.

Which team should she try to find a part with? But it would be best to find a role with both. While the group no longer served the Holy Hive Mind, they still had a foe in Tubal Last. They might still have to fight.

She had been thinking about this for a while now and had finally come to a decision. She would try cooking, first and foremost. That couldn’t be too hard.

They would surely need more people to do that. There were always tasks in a kitchen; she had seen that while watching Dabry working in it. Always things to chop or froth or heat or any of the never-ending multitude of ways to serve food that there seemed to be. Nothing went out from under Dabry’s attention in the same form that it had entered, and it was never worse for that attention.

She nodded to herself. Plenty to do in the kitchen. And how hard could that sort of thing be?

Copyright © 2023 from Cat Rambo

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Meet the Crew of You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo!

Meet the Crew of You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo!

Placeholder of  -94We are so excited that You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo is going to be hitting shelves in just one week and even MORE excited that the author has joined us on the blog today to introduce us to the crew of their upcoming book! Check it out here.

By Cat Rambo

Captain Niko Larsen is of human extraction, raised among the Free Traders, the loose affiliation of ships that survives by taking cargo from one point to another. She misses her people there, but has vowed never to return to them, due to a past and terrible wrong. Instead, she joined the military entity known as the Holy Hive Mind, and rose (and sometimes fell) within its ranks, before finally retiring and taking those of her crew with her that she could in order to found The Last Chance, a restaurant aboard a major space station, TwiceFar.

Favorite food: A spicy protein-paste that she remembers from childhood, which most people find far too hot. Dabry made her promise to stop cooking with it, but she still fries some up as a midnight snack every once in a while.


Sergeant Dabry Jen, Niko’s second-in-command and right-hand man, actually has two right hands of his own, since he comes from the Ettilite, a four-armed race. He and Niko met when they were both being tested for suitability after having just enlisted with the Holy Hive Mind, in Dabry’s case somewhat involuntarily. The two became fast friends, and have worked together so long that they can seem to read each other’s minds at times, though it’s the result of long experience and not telepathy.

Favorite food: Whatever he’s cooking next. An example of this is Velcoran cuisine, in which the flavors are contained in balloons of inhalable gas accompanying protein bricks. Dabry loves a good culinary challenge.


Communications officer Skidoo is a Tlellan, a race actually each made of a symbiotic pair of beings. Tlellans resemble Earth’s octopi, and the similarity has led to the nickname for them, Squids. Most of them don’t venture into space, but Skidoo has, not just in search of adventure but sensual pleasure. Flirtatious and open-hearted Skidoo’s efforts often go awry in her efforts to keep everyone happy, but she rolls with the punches and keeps on being her own sweet self.

Favorite food: Back on Tlella, there’s a tiny, heart-shaped shrimp usually consumed raw in a thin, briny soup. She hasn’t tasted it in a long time, but she tells herself it’s the only thing she misses about her home planet.


Thorn and Talon are teen weretigers who were entrusted to Niko’s care by their mother, a soldier in Niko’s employ. Impetuous, highly competitive, and just beginning to become adults, the twins are huge fans of warball, the training game they first learned while in the Holy Hive Mind. They usually perform clean-up and similar tasks for the restaurant, since when put in the front of the house, they tend to get too chatty with customers, while in the kitchen, they get overeager and impatient.

Favorite food: Something they’ve gotten to chop. With knives.


Reptilian Lassite is a Sessile, a member of his society’s priestly caste, driven by his need to see the Golden Spiral he has prophesied manifest. Niko is essential to the spiral’s culmination, and Lassite has dedicated himself to her—or rather, to moving her along its path. Small and grim, he has been known to drive off restaurant patrons by foreseeing doom in their future more than once, a habit that doesn’t work well with his role as the restaurant’s maître d’. Lassite is trained and adept in wielding magic, including taming the alien ghosts that haunt the space station quarter in which the Last Chance is situated.

Favorite food: None


Atlanta is a new arrival to the crew and utterly uncertain of her role, although determined to find one within their ranks. Her lack of experience and assumptions from her former life of luxury lead her into trouble more than once, particularly when confronting the sort of dangers chasing Niko and her crew.

Favorite food: Almond cookies


Pastry chef Milly is a Nneti pastry chef, feathered, graceful, and capable of a deadly, killing dance that she exercised in her former life as a soldier. She’s recently arrived to the crew, but has been a pleasant addition, one that everyone gets along with well.

Favorite food: Sour-picked grubs in spun sugar cocoons


Quartermaster and sous chef Gio is an augmented chimpanzee who’s ventured off his home planet of Earth in search of adventure and found it when Niko took him under her wing, rescuing him from an abusive and brutal captain. Gio’s followed her ever since, signing out his sardonic commentary but never objecting to danger or discomfort.

Favorite food: Fruit salad


Heads turn for Lolola Montaigne d’Arcy deBurgh, who wears a beautiful, high-end designer body and is a renowned food critic. She thought the day was going well when they arrived at Twicefar in order to dine at the Last Chance and possibly bestow one of the Known Universe’s most coveted awards, a Nikkelin Orb. It was a lovely evening, with lovely company, up until everything started to go not just downhill but right off the cliff. Now Lolola finds herself sharing meals with people who don’t know her greatest secret—and she’s got to figure out how to turn it all to her advantage.

Favorite food: Tacos


You Sexy Thing is an intelligent bioship. After it’s been moored at Twicefar while its owner checks out a certain restaurant he’s heard a lot about, the ship finds itself stolen when newly arrived cargo signal the start of the station exploding and the crew needs to get off of Twicefar as fast as possible. The Thing isn’t sure yet how emotions work, but it’s very “excited” to try them out, and getting the chance to test out its new skills with them in communication with the crew is more than welcome.

Favorite food: Companionship

Cat Rambo (they/them) is an American fantasy and science fiction writer whose work has appeared in, among others, Asimov’s, Weird Tales, Chiaroscuro, Talebones, and Strange Horizons. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, where they studied with John Barth and Steve Dixon, they also attended the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop. They are currently the managing editor of Fantasy Magazine. They published a collection of stories, Eyes Like Sky And Coal And Moonlight, and their collaboration with Jeff VanderMeer, The Surgeon’s Tale and Other Stories, appeared in 2007. They live and write in Washington State, and “Cat Rambo” is their real name.

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