Blaine D. Arden

How Six Saved the Frogs

'How Six Saved the Frogs' by Blaine D. Arden. The cover features a red-haired man standing confidently with his arms crossed, set against a futuristic cityscape and alien landscape. The title is displayed in large metallic letters at the bottom. The top includes the author's name and the 'Interplanetary Hearts' series logo with a heart-shaped emblem.

COMING AUGUST 2024

Can you leave your heart on the other side of the galaxy?

When Wouter, a down-to-earth dyslexic caretaker, accidentally activates a travel disc sent by his late brother, he finds himself whisked away to a distant planet. Desperate to go home and reassure his grieving mother he's alive, he's instead stuck struggling to fill his brother's shoes to keep the amphibian bani from freezing to death.

Nif, a bani healer, clings to human music as a lifeline to memories of joy and a world beyond grief after losing his mate. Intrigued by the culture behind the songs he cherishes, he volunteers for Wouter's support team—even as many of his kin distrust the humans, fearing exploitation of their fuel production.

Their first meeting is one of necessity—a human in need and a bani ready to mend. As they navigate mistranslations, killer plants, and space pirates, a deeper connection blossoms between them. Each shared moment and conquered challenge draws them closer to an inevitable farewell. Will Wouter leave his heart or his home?

In this slow-burn ace romance, discover a low-angst intergalactic adventure where true connection transcends stars and species.


Available for pre-order @
 

 

Interplanetary Hearts 1
Science Fiction | Adventure | Romance
TransM/M | asexual | aliens | dyslexia | fish out of water
89,600 words | 360 pages (pdf) | novel
ASIN: B0D7ZV9N4C
ISBN (ebook): 978-94-92678-16-4
ISBN (print): 978-94-92678-17-1 COMING SOON!
6 August 2024 by Cayendi Press
Cover design by Getcovers

With heavy heart, Wouter trudged up the stairs to Ruben's flat on the fifth floor. The building had a perfectly functional lift, of course, updated to the latest voice recognition software, too, but Wouter rarely used it. He liked to walk. Using the stairs was his way of exercising during the day. The door to Ruben's floor slid open when he approached it, revealing an empty corridor. Not that Wouter had expected anyone to be there. Most of the tenants were at work. Except Mrs Dees, but at this time of day, she was no doubt chatting to her granddaughter, who was stationed on the base on Vasaris.

Ruben's flat loomed at the end of the corridor.

Wouter put the moving boxes against the wall and fished the keycard out of his auto-sealing back pocket with a trembling hand but couldn't make himself open the door. Instead, he leaned his head against the cool wall and breathed.

From the moment the Heiland family had adopted Wouter, he and Ruben had been thick as thieves. Ruben had been about a year and half younger than Wouter, but sprouted a similar unruly mop of red hair and had been nothing but cool about having another brother, whereas others persisted in calling Wouter by his dead name.

And Ruben could read. Read to Wouter, that was.

Wouter had never got on with letters much. Or the other way around. The letters wouldn't stand still long enough for Wouter to make sense of them. If he concentrated hard, he could recognise some short words, but that was about it. He sighed against the cool wall. He missed Ruben.

His phonet rang out in the silence, startling him. Ma's ringtone. He thought about not answering, but she'd only continue calling him if he didn't. He put the keycard in his left hand and tapped the dot behind his right ear—he preferred it to telling his phonet to “answer”. “Ja, Ma. I'm here.”

“Are you sure I shouldn't come and help you?”

Wouter shook his head. His other brothers had offered to help, too. “Nee, Ma. I think it's best I do this on my own.” Confronting his own feelings was hard enough. The last thing he wanted was Ma coming out here and breaking down crying. She'd been in such a bad way when they'd packed up Pa's things last year. He would not put her through that again. “I'll see you at dinner, okay?”

“Je bent een goeie jongen.”

Wouter couldn't help but smile when she rang off. She considered all her roost good boys.

“Turn on do-not-disturb,” he instructed his phonet, and took a deep breath as he pushed the keycard against the reader with a trembling hand. The door slid open… to the most horrible mess inside. Wouter froze. Tables and chairs turned over, books scattered throughout the room, the cupboards upended, and pillows strewn everywhere.

Ruben's flat hadn't looked like this when Wouter and Ma had picked up Ruben's brown trousers and dark orange button-down for his funeral. How could someone desecrate Ruben's home like that? Like it meant nothing.

Anger rose to the surface as he tapped his dot. One moment, he was rattling off the number for the police, the next, a dark-clothed figure rushed at him, and knocked him into the doorpost.

Wouter grabbed at the burglar, but it was useless. They ducked, rammed their fists into his stomach, and disappeared into the corridor.

“Oof. Hey!” Wouter rubbed his stomach. “Stop!”

His foot caught as he moved to chase them. Ruben's duffle bag. Wouter didn't hesitate. He grabbed the duffle and flung it after the burglar. It missed. Just.

A door opened across the corridor, and Mrs Dees popped her head out.

“Bel 112,” was all Wouter could get out before he took the stairs, two steps at a time, to catch the schoft.

He descended as fast as he could without stumbling or diving headfirst onto the concrete floors. The burglar's panting rang out through the stairwell, despite the heavy echo of pounding feet. The schoft was fast, and Wouter couldn't narrow the distance between them.

When he reached the ground-floor hall, the front doors were just closing. Wouter waved his hands and waited bouncing on the balls of his feet, bursting out of the building the moment they slid open. There was no burglar in sight. Instead, he found poor Mr Tol, the postman, sprawled on the pavement, holding his left arm awkwardly to his chest. Wouter helped him up and set him on the steps, reassuring him that Mrs Dees had called 112. Then he rounded the building, but found nothing there, either.

The back door was closed, and his bike still stood locked into the rack, holding the remaining moving boxes. Heaving, resting his hands on his knees, Wouter cursed the burglar. He had no choice but to go back and wait for the police.

...

Though, I try to keep these as generic as possible, they may contain spoilers.

On-page or notable reference:

  • Ableism
  • Administering first aid
  • Assault / abduction of side characters
  • Conversation about gender affirming surgery & packing
  • Cursing
  • Death of side characters
  • Disability: dyslexia / migraines
  • Grief over loss of family/friends
  • Life-threatening injury
  • Physical assault and burglary
  • Vomiting (as a result of travelling sickness)

Off-page or minor reference:

  • Deadnaming in the past
  • References to troubled childhood / abuse (both main and minor characters)

If you feel I missed some information in this list, feel free to email me. My contact details can be found on my contact page.



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BOOKS IN THE INTERPLANETARY HEARTS SERIES AND SERIES EXTRAS

Mockup cover with textured, crumpled paper background. At the top in purple text 'Coming August 2024'. Below, a torn paper effect reveals a cosmic starry background with the title 'HOW SIX SAVED THE FROGS' in orange. Coming... Some day mockup cover with textured, crumpled paper background. At the top in purple text 'Coming... Some day'. Below this, a torn paper effect reveals a cosmic starry background with the title 'JACK'S CRAZY RICH ALIEN' in orange.



How Six Saved the Frogs © 2024 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved