The speculative fiction anthology Queer Dimensions (edited by James E.M. Rasmussen and published by Queered Fiction), in which my story The Prettiest Girl in the Room appears, was released in eBook format a few days ago. \0/

The print version comes out on September 21st, but if you'd rather stick with the eBook, you might want to take advantage of this 35%-discount coupon at Smashwords:

Coupon Code: MN24S (code is not case sensitive)
Expires: September 21, 2009

ETA: Coupon code for the eBook has expired, alas. But the print version is out now (@ Amazon | @ B&N)!

This anthology is not geared toward m/m romance, but I hope that won't dissuade you from checking it out if you enjoy queer fiction in all its speculative flavors. Here's the pitch from the publisher's site:

"Visit the unexpected futures...where queer flowers bloom on strange new worlds even when that world is our own..."

QUEER DIMENSIONS presents queer futures in an exciting collection of 17 science fiction tales from both new and established authors.

Among those authors are [ profile] erastes and Fiona Glass, both of whom I had the pleasure of appearing alongside in the charity anthology I Do. ♥

My story in Queer Dimensions is different from anything else I've written, I think, and it's definitely a direction I'd like to keep heading in. Here's the blurb:

Duster Mann fell in love with Lyre at first sight and has been searching for her ever since. When he finally catches up with her, even the intriguing genetic make-up of one of her companions is not enough to distract him from the pursuit of his ideal woman..

And the excerpt:

Grinning at Lolly's enthusiasm, Duster ruffles her hair and lets his thumb slip down to scan her tattoo. He gets a flash of scrambled data before the goggles' readout goes black, then comes back with the message, ENCRYPTED.

It's a disappointment but, Duster reminds himself, he isn't here for work. It's not work but personal curiosity that makes him look anew at Lolly as she peels the orange. The doubts that started on the street about her biological sex get stronger the longer he looks: it's as if Lolly is shifting between male and female, shimmering lightlessly.

Resting his chin in his hand, he discreetly activates a series of filters in the goggles. The data stream confirms two things: Lolly is biological, and the shimmer is no illusion. It's there in Lolly's skin and beneath it, barely perceptible contractions and expansions, as if her molecules are rearranging themselves—or being rearranged. Nanobots. He's not certain. There's been work in the field, of course, but he didn't think it had advanced this far.

"We don't have a vidscreen."

Startled out of his fascination, Duster turns and sees Lyre leaning in the doorway that connects to the bedroom. She smiles at him. "Lolly loves vidtech. This is a serious treat."

"Then I'm glad I insisted on the room with the biggest screen." He joins her. There are no weapons to find, but he says anyhow, "Everything all right?"

She nods. "Faye's taking a shower."

Her scarf has twisted and tangled during the search. "Please, let me," he says, reaching for it. Her hand comes up, but since she doesn't say no, he straightens it, starting with where it rests against the back of her neck. The scan is quick, spilling data across his goggles: her former status as a certified Atlantic District whore and that she was assigned to reconditioning training. The data stream stops there, the file incomplete.

"Thank you," Lyre says. Duster doesn't remember if the flush in her cheeks was there when she walked in. Tilting her head and tucking a few strands of hair behind her ear, she steps away and turns to Lolly. "Hey, Lol—have you taken your meds?"

"I forgot." Lolly removes a small container from her front pocket. Popping the cap, she taps out a couple of pills and swallows them dry. "Do you want some of the orange Duster gave me?"

Lyre smiles. "No, thank you."

Holding the piece of fruit out to him, Lolly says, "Duster?" When he accepts it, she grins and re-rivets her attention on the vidscreen.

"You two seem to have hit it off," Lyre says.

"Lolly's a good kid." Duster turns to Lyre. "But what I want is a real woman."

He wants to hold her gaze but she looks away, saying she's going to go see how Faye is doing.

Duster sits with Lolly again and soon becomes aware that she is watching him as well, first out of the corner of her eye, then turning fully to meet his gaze. There's more: Lolly isn't shifting randomly now, but reading his responses to each shift, adjusting in return. Lolly has reached a sort of stability now, still shimmering, neither male nor female, and yet—somehow—both.

"Nicely done, Lolly," he says.

"Thank you, Duster," she, or he, or it smiles.

Duster doesn't like applying 'it' to people; the word is used too often to strip away humanity. Lolly is an 'it' of a different kind though; a glorious, magnificent 'it'.

(If the book trailer is not showing up below, you can watch it here on YouTube.)

I really hope you'll enjoy this one if you check it out!
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