Blog Tour · Guest

Guest: Ingrid Sterling – All The Way Out

 

Hiya…I hope you’re all well

I’d like to give a warm welcome to my guest Ingrid Sterling with her debut novel.  Upon reading the words: ‘rhythm and pacing of the prose are as important to me as my complicated, imperfect characters and my guaranteed happily-ever-afters’ I couldn’t help but suspect that her story will prove a real treat to read. I hope it’s a huge success…

 

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Book Title: All the Way Out

Author: Ingrid Sterling

Publisher: Literary Wanderlust

Release Date: April 1, 2021

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, New Adult

Trope/s: One-night stand turned into true love; Forced proximity; Athlete with musician; closeted sports star

Themes: Self-acceptance, coming out publicly

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 79 000/263 pages

It is a standalone book.

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Literary Wanderlust | Bookshop.org

 

 

Blurb

Even at that young age Zach knew that those two truths – all-star athlete and homosexual male – could not exist concurrently. So, he’d started dating Rebecca, his devoutly Catholic girlfriend who wants to wait to have sex until she’s married, during his junior year of high school and never looked back.

But on the last night of a team trip to Rome, on the cusp of his senior season at Northwestern University, a Heisman, a number 1 draft pick and a National Championship, Zach seeks out one last anonymous encounter. He opens Grindr and slips out into the Italian summer night to meet Liam – Liam who has a face that looks like it was carved from Carrara marble by one of the ancient greats and whose brazen facade becomes sheepish when he’s asked about his past in Paris. The night is intense, better than Zach could have imagined. But like all one-night stands, it comes to an end by morning’s light.

But what happens to Zach’s carefully manicured plans for a professional football career and a life in the closet when Liam shows up, not only on the Northwestern campus the first day of the fall semester, but in Zach’s upper-level Plato seminar, too?

 

 

Excerpt

“What are you doing in my upper level classics seminar?” Liam snapped.

Um, I’m fulfilling my degree requirements,” Zach snapped back. “What are you doing in my upper level classics seminar? You live in Rome.”

“No, I was regrouping in Rome. I’d been going to school in Paris before that but—Wait, degree requirements? You’re a Classics major? Mr. Hotshot-starting-quarterback is a Classics major?” Liam’s voice came out shriller than he would have liked.

Zach set his hips back against the table, crossing his arms with a sudden smugness. “A Classics major focusing in Pax Romana philosophers with a 3.7 GPA, you mean? Yeah. I am. How do you think I recognized that ridiculous Metamorphoses quote on your Grindr profile?”

“I figured you Googled it like everyone else usually did.”

Zach’s face softened at Liam’s unintentional reveal. “Why didn’t you say anything about coming to school in the States that night?” Zach asked.

Liam leveled him with a look. “I don’t remember us doing an awful lot of talking.”

“We talked enough. You could have mentioned it.”

“I’d only decided to come here a week or so before we met,” Liam explained. “I barely knew anything about Northwestern aside from the fact that it has a pretty well-respected music program. Certainly not enough to know it has some big deal football team. And besides, what were the chances?”

“I’m not a betting man, but I definitely wouldn’t have taken these odds.” Doe-eyed panic lingered on Zach’s face even as he shifted to a more conversational tone. “So, the music school, huh? That’s cool. I remember you had music on your desk. What do you play?”

“Piano mostly, but I’m a composition major. I added a Classics minor ‘cause I can, here. My other school didn’t offer liberal arts courses.” Zach nodded, and Liam realized it was probably his turn to attempt conversation. “A jock with a brain, then. Color me impressed.”

Zach gave a bored lift of his shoulder. “It makes for a great human-interest story. I think every bad pun about Greek gods or Roman gladiators has been made about me at least once. The ESPN announcers think they are so fucking clever.”

Liam stared at him. “You keep saying these things thinking I know what they mean.”

“ESPN.” Zach gave him a patient grin. “It’s a cable sports network that shows games. You know, on the TV.”

“Yeah, alright.” Liam’s pursed lips morphed into an unbidden smile.

It was impossible not to note how the tension in the room had slipped away. The looks that passed between them carried a certain playfulness once they were forced to accept the inconceivable fact that they were both here in the same city, at the same school, and even in the same class. And into that ease slipped the feelings of attraction and memories of the intimacy they’d found on Liam’s mattress by the end of their night together. Liam had sought hidden parts of Zach’s body with his fingers. That small, insinuating touch, burned into his memory, had ignited such terrified want in Zach’s bright blue eyes that Liam had known that he would have been allowed to feel Zach from the inside if only they’d had more time. One more night. One more hour, even. And now here Zach was, standing before him. It was as baffling as it was thrilling. Liam certainly wouldn’t mind if they wound up hooking up again.

“Look,” Zach started, “This is crazy that you’re here, and I hope you love your time at Northwestern as much as I have, but it’s probably for the best if we don’t interact.”

Liam was rendered mute.

“I mean, I know we’re in class together,” Zach continued. “We’ll have to interact, discussion grades and everything, but what I mean is, we shouldn’t be friendly.”

“Why not?” Liam asked after another stunned beat.

“It’s nothing personal. In fact, I think you’re—” Zach stopped. He pressed his eyes closed and shook his head sadly. He took another steadying breath before speaking again. “It would make things really difficult for me. Like I told you in Rome, no one knows about me. About me and…” He spoke the next word at a careful volume. “Men. In fact, you’re the only person on this entire campus who does.”

Zach’s sexuality was a secret that should have bound them. But instead, Zach was using it to put a wedge between them, between even the possibility of them. Liam didn’t think the conversation could get any more ridiculous.

COMING SOON 2

About the Author

I named myself “Ingrid” after a character in a story I started writing and will never finish.

I named myself “Sterling” after my dad’s boyhood dreams.

I’m a Yankee who has lived south of the Mason Dixon for a decade and I use ‘Y’all’ without irony. I dance in my kitchen. I vote. I love all the cats in the world and a good IPA. I will scream over college sports.

I write about love, with love, because #loveislove.

With two degrees in music performance, I strive to make my words sing. The rhythm and pacing of the prose are as important to me as my complicated, imperfect characters and my guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

 

 

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Blog Tour · Guest · New Release · Release Blitz

Guest: Sky McCoy – Wounded Inked

Hi,

I hope you’re all safe and well. I’ve almost finished My Way and am hoping to include it in a giveaway on Prolific Works starting February 1st. In the meantime…

I’d like to welcome my guest today, Sky McCoy, with a story that has far too many of my favourite things to resist…

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Wounded Inked

Author and Publisher: Sky McCoy

Cover Artist: Coverinked

Release Date: January 15, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Straight to Gay, Hurt/Heal, Fake Boyfriend

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 60,000 words/200 pages

It is book 1 in the Wounded Inked Series.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

“How can I explain this? There’s really no explanation for the way I feel. It’s beyond me. Maybe it happened on my last tour of duty, where I’d been wounded in the leg, spent months in the VA hospital with nothing but therapy, and reading love letters to pass the time, or to keep me sane.

The letters weren’t from my wife, but an admirer. I hadn’t heard from my wife in months. I think her last note informed me that she’d moved on, taking our dog with her, and filed for a divorce. I guess she couldn’t handle a damaged man without a job, with little or no income, and coming home.

Now it’s time for me to accept that I’m a broken man. I’ve lost my identity because I was a soldier, a leader of men, and all I have now are these few love letters from a strange woman to give me comfort.

Can this woman be as broken as I am? What will it take to make me whole—two broken pieces coming together?”

What will happen when Tony falls in love because of a few letters and texts only to discover that the person behind the letters isn’t who he imagined?

The “Wounded Inked” 3 book series contain hurt/ comfort, straight to gay, and fake boyfriend with HFN, and HEA in the final book.

Excerpt

Prologue

Tony

I’d just received a letter I had been anxiously waiting for. Just when I’d given up and I knew I had to get some sleep, because of the mission in front of me, and because my men needed me more tomorrow than ever before, I got this ray of hope through the letter I held doggedly in my hand. I wanted to take the time to sit and read it, savor every word, every phrase, and every time Sergeant appeared on the paper.

My men called me Sergeant, but it meant something different to them. I was their leader, I was their mentor, I was the one who would teach them and bring them home.

We were marines and we left no one on the battlefield, no one behind, and especially not our hearts, because our hearts were with the ones we loved. My heart had been shattered early on when I received what they called a Dear John letter. With every letter coming through the mail, from a special unknown woman, my heart began to come together.

I needed a clear head more now than I’d ever needed one before, because this would be my last mission.

My squad had to travel into this town, relieve another squad of marines, and I wouldn’t be able to receive mail or my care package, therefore, receiving this letter now meant so much to me. After I read it, I placed it next to my heart, because it would be the final one for a month or more.

The first words of that letter caught my eyes and I turned, looking to the side as if I was a squirrel hiding a precious acorn that would last until winter when I’d need something to sustain me. That something was this letter I held tightly, keeping the wind and the sand, or the helicopters bringing in supplies from dislodging it from my fist.

Lights strung everywhere provided what I needed to see the words scrawled carefully on

the paper. Repeating the words with a smile, I murmured to myself as I read, “I’ll give you a kiss. It’s my secret to you, because if you were here beside me, my lips would whisper in your ear, I love you.”

Holy fuck! Did she just write that? My cock twitched and I moaned, looking around to see if anyone had heard me. With all the noise, how could they? I rationalized. Fuck me, but my cock hadn’t responded to anything in months. Let alone words on a paper.

There was no way I could feel something for somebody I’ve never met. I didn’t understand what could be going on with me. Maybe I’ve been out here too long, and I’ll feel different once I get home.

INSTAGRAM 2

About the Author

I write steamy gay romance books, and I love to read hot M/M romance. Maybe steamy is too mild a term for my books. Maybe I should say that my gay romance books are hot, hot, hot. I enjoy writing about strong, flawed men who don’t mind saying they’re sorry when they hurt the ones they love.

I read and write across genres and what gives me pleasure, and there is nothing more pleasurable or satisfying to me than to write a happy ever after hot M/M romance with a kink or two.

My favorite books to read are anything M/M and vampires, werewolves, mystery, and steamy romance. I have been busy with reading and writing to bring you the best M/M romance books. Enjoy!

Social Media Links

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Blog Tour · Guest · Interview · New Release

Guest: Philip Gambone – As Far As I Can Tell

Happy December!

A very warm welcome to my guest Philip Gambone with his new release, a memoir entitiled As Far As I Can Tell. Many thanks to Philip for kindly answering a question I posed about writing this most personal of stories. 

***

BLOG TOUR

As Far As I Can Tell: Finding My Father In World War II

Author: Philip Gambone

Publisher: Rattling Good Yarns Press

Release Date: October 30, 2020

Genre: Memoir

Trope/s: Father/Son Relationships

Themes: Connecting to the past, Understanding our fathers,

Father/Son silence and the inherent lack of communications,

Coming to terms with history

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 155 000 words/474 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Publisher

(Note – The Rattling Good Yarns online store only ships within the US)

Amazon US | Amazon UK

2021 Lambda Literary Award Nominated

Blurb

Philip Gambone, a gay man, never told his father the reason why he was rejected from the draft during the Vietnam War. In turn, his father never talked about his participation in World War II. Father and son were enigmas to each other. Gambone, an award-winning novelist and non-fiction writer, spent seven years uncovering who the man his quiet, taciturn father had been, by retracing his father’s journey through WWII. As Far As I Can Tell not only reconstructs what Gambone’s father endured, it also chronicles his own emotional odyssey as he followed his father’s route from Liverpool to the Elbe River. A journey that challenged the author’s thinking about war, about European history, and about “civilization.”

Philip Gambone weaves a moving memoir of his family, a vivid portrayal of his travels through the locales of WWII, and a powerful description of what that war was like to the men who fought it on the ground into a seamless and eloquent narrative.” — Hon. Barney Frank, former Congressman, Massachusetts

“A single question pulses through As Far As I Can Tell: why didn’t my father talk about his time in the war? With meticulous research, Philip Gambone puts sound to silence, offering us a book-length love letter, not just to his father, but to anyone whose life has been hemmed in by obligation, obedience, and the brutality of the system. It’s also a coming to terms with the unknown in others, which is its own hard grace. A vital, dynamic read.” — Paul Lisicky, author of Later: My Life at the Edge of the World

“As Far As I Can Tell is a fascinating mix of autobiography, travelogue, and historical research that not only takes us on a great adventure in search of what World War Two was like for those who fought in the European theater but probes that most difficult of all subjects, the relationship between a father and a son — in this case, a gay son. Extensively researched, highly literate and profoundly thoughtful, the story Gambone tells uses not only soldiers’ memoirs but writers as disparate as Samuel Johnson and James Lord to make this a reader’s delight.”— Andrew Holleran, author of Dancer from the Dance

AS FAR AS I CAN TELL

Interview

A special thank you to Philip for taking the time to write this post for us in answer to my question:

 As far as you can tell…which of your discoveries has had the most profound impact on your present self/life? 

I made so many discoveries as I wrote this book.  They fall into three camps: (1) historical discoveries; (2) deeper understanding and appreciation of my father; and (3) discoveries about myself.

I had only a layman’s knowledge of WW2 when I started the book.  So I picked up a lot of information, much of it quite shocking and painful.  The extent of physical devastation, of loss of life, of psychological harm, of the atrocities was often so overwhelming that would burst into tears as I did my reading and writing.

I also learned a lot more about my father.  While we were certainly not estranged, we didn’t communicate much.  He certainly remained silent about the War his entire life.  What I learned is what a brave, resilient, steady, reliable soldier he must have been.  And how modest he was about what he endured and what he contributed to the war effort.  His contribution was one of millions—a small part—but nevertheless one I hope he took pride in.  I certainly am proud of him in ways I never was before I undertook the book.

Finally, I learned a lot about myself.  One of the questions that runs through this book is whether I could have met the challenge of going off to Vietnam as a soldier.  Without giving away too much of what I say in the book, I can say that I never fully answered that question.  No person knows how he or she will behave under the kinds of tests and stresses of war.  But I do know that I came out of the project with greater respect for soldiers.  I still abhor war, I still have little sympathy with jingoistic patriotism, with invoking God in matters of politics, with all that old, paternalistic nonsense; but the many stories I learned about soldiers—their courage, their loyalty to one another, the sheer grunt-like tenacity that they brought to the task—those stories moved me profoundly.

***

Excerpt

On February 12, 1942, Dad reported for induction. The chief business was the physical examination, which was conducted assembly-line fashion. The inductees were naked, wearing only a number around their necks. It was the most comprehensive physical most of them had ever had. For some it was intimidating, for others embarrassing.

Most inductees were eager to pass the physical exam, so eager in fact that in many cases, they indulged in “negative malingering,” trying to conceal conditions that might get them disqualified. Once the physical was out of the way, the only screening that remained was a brief interview with an army psychiatrist, who had been instructed to look for “neuropsychosis,” a diagnosis that covered all sort of emotional ills from phobias to excessive sweating and evidence of mental deficiency.

Paul Marshall, who ended up in the same division as Dad, remembered being asked at his physical if he liked girls. “I didn’t quite understand what he meant about it. I told him, ‘Why sure, I like girls.’” Later Marshall figured out what he was really being asked. “The ultimate question mark of manliness,” James Lord, himself a homosexual, recalled. “Do you like girls? Or prefer confinement in a federal penitentiary for the remainder of your unnatural life.” The terror of being considered a sexual leper or worse, “unfit to honor the flag of your forebears,” was real. Lord answered, Yes, he liked girls, and was promptly accepted into the army.

Not every homosexual inductee lied. Some, like Donald Vining, came clean with his interviewer, who turned out to be “marvelously tolerant, taking the whole thing easily and calmly, without shock and without condescension.” The interviewer marked Vining’s papers “sui generis ‘H’ overt,” and he was out.

My father passed his induction physical. Hale, hearty, and decidedly heterosexual, he needed none of the remedial medical work—dental, optometric—that millions of other inductees did. With the physical and the psychological screenings done, Dad signed his induction papers, was fingerprinted, and issued a serial number. The final piece of business was the administration of the oath of allegiance, done, according to army regulations, “with proper ceremony.” Once sworn in, Dad was sent home to put things in order before he went off to Camp Perry to be processed for basic training.

Twenty-eight years after Dad’s, my own induction notice arrived, during my senior year in college. I was instructed to report to my hometown on May 6, where the Army would put me on a bus and drive me to the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in South Boston. I remember standing, before dawn, on a curb outside the town offices waiting for the bus. Other fellows from my high school were there, and I nervously tried to make small talk with them. We’d had nothing in common in high school, and the situation hadn’t changed in the intervening years.

My recollection of that day is shrouded in numbness. I remember standing in a line, stripped to my underwear, making my way from one examining station to the next. I kept assuring myself I could not possibly go to Vietnam, that the good fortune I’d enjoyed so far would see me to a different destiny than the one where I would end up dead in a jungle in Southeast Asia.

I was clutching a letter from my dentist attesting to the fact that I needed braces, in those days a cause for rejection. But aside from that, I had not taken any steps to ensure that I wouldn’t be taken. I’d heard stories of guys planning to go to their induction physicals drunk, or stoned, or wearing dresses and makeup. Others said they would flee to Canada or apply for conscientious objector status. I had made no such plans. Throughout senior year, I had been sitting on my damn butt, still banking on magic or luck to get me the hell out.

I passed every exam. I was not overweight. I did not have flat feet or a heart murmur. My blood pressure was excellent. At one station, I handed over the dentist’s letter. The examiner gave it a perfunctory glance and tucked it into my file.

At last, I came to the psychological screening area. All I remember is the examiner asking me if I’d ever had any homosexual experiences. And when I said yes, he followed up with a few more questions. Had I sought counseling? Did I intend to stop? That was it. He thanked me and I moved on. Less than two weeks later, I received a notice from the AFEES: “Found Not Acceptable

for Induction Under Current Standards.” I’d been declared 4-F. In the parlance of the day, I had “fagged out.” My parents thought the dentist’s letter about braces had done the trick.

***

About the Author

Philip Gambone is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. His debut collection of short stories, The Language We Use Up Here, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. His novel, Beijing, was nominated for two awards, including a PEN/Bingham Award for Best First Novel.

Phil has extensive publishing credits in nonfiction as well. He has contributed numerous essays, reviews, features pieces, and scholarly articles to several local and national journals including The New York Times Book Review and The Boston Globe. He is a regular contributor to The Gay & Lesbian Review.

His longer essays have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Hometowns, Sister and Brother, Wrestling with the Angel, Inside Out, Boys Like Us, Wonderlands, and Big Trips.

Phil’s book of interviews, Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers, was named one of the “Best Books of 1999” by Pride magazine. His Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans was nominated for an American Library Association Award.

Phil’s scholarly writing includes biographical entries on Frank Kameny in the Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford) and Gary Glickman in Contemporary Gay American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. He also wrote three chapters on Chinese history for two high school textbooks published by Cheng and Tsui.

He is a recipient of artist’s fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. He has also been listed in Best American Short Stories.

Phil taught high school English for over forty years. He also taught writing at the University of Massachusetts, Boston College, and in the freshman expository writing program at Harvard. He was twice awarded Distinguished Teaching Citations by Harvard. In 2013, he was honored by the Department of Continuing Education upon completing his twenty-fifth year of teaching for the Harvard Extension School.

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Blog Tour · Guest · Interview · New Release

Guest Post & Interview with Eric Huffbind

Hiya,

I’m working on the final edits of My Way and formatting it as a freebie from Prolific Works. Having always used Amazon before, I fancied venturing further afield and wanted to release a perma-free novel in a fussless sort of way.

In the meantime, I’d like to welcome my special guest, Eric Huffbind with his new release Surrounded by Silence. Many thanks to him for agreeing to be interviewed and for sending along a picture of the adorable Linus.🥰

***

BLOG TOUR

Surrounded by Silence

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Release Date: October 14, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Trope/s: Billionaires, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Divorce, Middle Age

Themes: Learning what it means to be selfless rather than selfish.

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 71 000 words/259 pages

This is a sequel to The Rescuer, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon UK

Lonely billionaire, Samuel Barron, has finally met someone he finds himself falling for, but can he handle a romance for a gentleman whose entire world is surrounded by silence?

***

Blurb

After public humiliation, Sam Barron has come to the realization his billions can’t buy him love or happiness. Despondent and feeling like his life is in a downward spiral, he comes to realize he needs some professional help. Despite trepidations, Sam turns to Jason Parker, a social worker who at his heart, is a rescuer. Even though Sam had been so hateful towards him in the past, Jason can’t help but think Sam deserves to suffer. Jason tells Sam straight out, “You’re a spoiled brat without a shred of humility!”

Jason has deep concerns about helping Sam, but might be willing, if Sam volunteers at a soup kitchen. Grudgingly, Sam accepts Jason’s condition, and while performing his volunteer work, meets the flirtatious Noah Wagner. Noah is close in age, attractive, and Sam likes the way he feels whenever he’s around him. Noah is the first person Sam has known who is profoundly deaf. So, how is Sam to navigate a romantic interest with a man who can’t hear a word he says?

Surrounded by Silence, a Contemporary Gay Male Romance, is a sequel to Mr. Huffbind’s debut novel, The Rescuer. However, this book can be read as a stand-alone. If you enjoy a story where the villain becomes the hero, you will love Surrounded by Silence.

***

Interview with Eric

*

Introducing Eric and his writing… 

My home is in West Chester, Ohio. It’s in the southwest corner of the state and  a suburb of Cincinnati. I have been with my husband Paul for 16 years, and legally married since January of 2013.  As much as I wish I could simply write fiction all the time, with the need of income and health insurance, I have been working full time as a travel agent. Unfortunately, due to the current Covid-19 crisis, I was recently placed on furlough and praying I will be able to return to work some time in 2021. I have a 25-year-old autistic son who lives in a nearby group home. Plus, we have an 11-year-old Pomeranian dog who goes by the name Linus. 

ZAKARRIE POST IMG_1470

I write Contemporary Gay Male Romance. This is the book genre I most enjoy reading and, consequently, gives me the best emotional, feel-good high. They always say, write what you love! So, to me, there is no other genre I would ever wish to write in. 

How long have you been an author?

 I have been writing for three years. Not full time, as nice as that would be, I need a more steady, consistent income.

What/who inspired you to start writing? 

Writing a book was just something that had been on my bucket list. As to why I wanted to write a book at all, not sure. It was just something I wanted to accomplish during my time here on earth. Once I fell in love with MM Romance, it simply dawned on me, “I can do this!” If someone had said to me 10 years ago, I would be writing Gay Male Romance novels, I would have thought they were crazy. Once I discovered the world of self-publishing, it somehow felt like a no-brainer. 

Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it? 

At its heart, Surrounded by Silence tells a love story of a billionaire, who historically has been selfish and spoiled, falling in love with a gentleman from the deaf community. Inspiration for my stories has always been from real life. I have distant cousins who are deaf. My mother had a female first cousin, who married a man who was deaf. And from that marriage, there have been a fair number of descendants who are deaf, as the cause for this deafness is genetic. Many of these extended deaf family members have married individuals who were hearing. So, the concept of this story had its roots in real life. Let’s just say, I had a little bit of knowledge about the deaf community, and how some of their attitudes shape what motivates them. My husband and I were out to breakfast with another couple, and our friend Linda said, “Why don’t you write a story that involves a main character from the deaf community?” That was all it took for my inspiration for Surrounded by Silence.

How did you decide on the title? 

It just hit me all at once. Since I was writing a love story between two men, one from the hearing world, and one from the deaf world, the title made perfect sense. For Sam, who cherishes music and the sounds in nature, meets a man with a heart of gold, but lives in a world Surrounded by Silence.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

Without a doubt, the hardest part of writing this book was the ground level research for the development of credible story lines. Yes, I had some knowledge of the deaf community, and even have a friend who is both deaf and gay. Still, my knowledge was not sufficient. I have no skill in the use of sign language. Now, my friend Harold, who belongs to both the deaf and gay communities, lives in California, but is originally from Ohio where I reside. When we are together, it is challenging, since I have no American Sign Language to access, but nevertheless, my husband and I manage. I wanted to have a clear knowledge base of what it’s like for someone in the hearing community to fall in love with someone from the deaf community. How does one cope and deal with initial communication barriers?

Additionally, I desperately needed an understanding of the inner workings of child welfare and protection laws. I had zero knowledge in this area. Thank heavens for the power of Facebook. From a single post, I met my dear friend Amy, who has a wealth of knowledge. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it? 

Most definitely! I learned that is is quite possible for a child born deaf and given the tool of cochlear implants, to grow up with full use of verbal language–individuals raised without any need to learn sign language. 

I learned how critical it is for cochlear implants be placed during early childhood when the language center of your brain is most receptive to learning spoken language. Not that this should be a surprise to anyone if we all think back to learning speak as we grew from infancy, as compared to the struggle of tackling a foreign language during high school. With all that being said, It is this capability that has many in the deaf community worried that American Sign Language will disappear. A language that is so entwined in the fabric of the deaf community. Not sure that that would ever happen. Not all deaf individuals have success hearing with cochlear implants. Unless in the future, technology is enhanced to bring hearing to those individuals as well. 

Why M/M?

 I’m a gay man. I can see numerous films of heterosexual romance, which I totally enjoy, but finding gay romance in films, with positive story lines is extremely difficult to find. Quality MM Romance removes that limitation. As a gay man, there is something special and entertaining in these love stories between two men. I want to read stories that for me, reflect real life.

What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow?

That is easy. My answer has to be Agatha Christie. I love murder mysteries, and she had genius talent. 

Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?

Most definitely! In both my first book, The Rescuer, and this book, Surrounded by Silence, Jason Parker, is based on me. I’m a retired RN, and I have always thought of my self as a rescuer. As Jason discovered in The Rescuer, trying to mix being a rescuer with romance, often ends badly. With the man I fell in love with and married, there was definitely no rescuing required.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I am most definitely a pantser! Lord knows I have tried to become a plotter figuring it would help be to write the book more quickly. I’ve read books on how to convert from being a pantser to a plotter. However, regardless of my efforts trying to plot out the entire novel upfront, those attempts have been met with complete failure. I just don’t feel that my brain functions in that way. 

I start with a character that is flawed in some aspect. When I begin writing, I know where I want that character to start, and I know how I want that character to end up. As to how I will accomplish my character’s goals is something that has to organically unfold in my head. I often have a small basket of scenes in my imagination I would like to see during the course of the novel. And I will pull from the basket as I pants my way along.

Is there a downside to being a pantser? You better believe there is! At times during my writing, I will slam against a brick wall as to what I am going to do with my characters. Perhaps I have written 30,000 words and think, “I need a whole lot more story than this before I can conclude my book.” I have found myself stuck brainstorming 2 – 3 weeks before a good idea comes to me. That would frustrate me to no end, but now, I just relax and wait for an epiphany to hit me.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?  Tell us about your pets. 

Great question! Although, to be honest, I would probably say I am both a cat person and a dog person. In the past, I have had as many as 4 cats at one time. However, I came to realize that is just too many animals for me. It starts becoming a big job caring for that many animals. Between taking each cat to and from the veterinarian for care or keeping the litterbox clean. 

For years, during my twenties and thirties, I dreamed of having a dog, but never felt like my work schedule would allow for it. When I was an RN, I worked 12-hour shifts. That was just too much time away from my home to properly care for a dog. After my husband Paul came into my life, getting a dog felt much more doable, as he worked more sane hours.

So, currently, we have just one dog, a Pomeranian by the name of Linus. I must say, he is crazy cute. Linus will be 12 years old in February 2021. He’s a tri-color, which is a coat pattern not seen as much as a solid color. And It is just one dog, not several. As much as I love dogs, I don’t want the cost and upkeep to care for multiple animals again. My husband and I did have 3 cats at one point in time. After getting Linus, as they passed away, we didn’t replace them.

***

INSTAGRAM

Excerpt

Coming through the front door of their apartment, Jason called out, “Honey, I’m home. Where are you?”

Poking his head out, Christopher announced, “I’m in the kitchen making dinner.”

Strolling into the kitchen, Jason gave Christopher a kiss, and asked, “How was work today?”

“Oh, it was okay, same old same old. Not particularly exciting. How about you?”

Jason took a small step backwards and began rubbing his eyebrows. “Well, an old friend of yours came to see me today, without any forewarning, of course!”

“An old friend of mine? I can’t imagine what old friend of mine would come to see you.”

“I’m being facetious,” Jason said. “Calling this man a friend is a bit of a stretch, and he’s someone I wasn’t happy to see.”

Christopher’s eyes narrowed as he squinted. “Please, tell me it wasn’t Sam Barron?”

“I’d be happy to tell you it wasn’t Sam Barron… but I would be lying. Yes, it was Sam. Admittedly, I was floored! And as you can imagine, especially since he showed up unannounced, I was less than ecstatic to see him.”

“Dear God, almighty! What in the hell did he come to see you about?”

“As you might suspect, I was a bit miffed. Not trying to change the subject, but something smells awfully good. What’s for dinner?”

“Just a frozen entrée of lasagna. Don’t get too excited, but it’s your favorite brand. So, go on, why did Sam show up at your office?”

Jason took a seat at the small dinette table. “As hard as you might find this to believe, he came seeking my professional help. As far as I can gather, ever since all the bad press in the media hit the airways, he’s fallen into a deep depression. Perhaps, a deep depression isn’t the best choice of words. Significant emotional distress is more accurate. Complains of loneliness and being guilt-ridden.”

Christopher said sharply, “And why should you care if he’s guilt-ridden? He deserves to feel guilt-ridden!”

“You’re not going to get an argument from me. Still… I felt bad for him. It was as if he was pleading for forgiveness, and begging for my help. He says he wants to become a better person. The guy was crying. Sounded desperate.”

“Christopher responded, “It sounds like he needs a psychologist, not a social worker.”

“Exactly! That’s what I told him, but he insisted he wants me.”

“No offense, but why does he want your help?”

“You know Sam,” Jason answered. “He always wants the best. In his mind, I’m the best. In addition, I’m gay, which is especially important to him, and I get that.”

Christopher started shaking his head in utter disbelief. “Wait now! Wait just a minute here! After the way that man treated you! And treated me for that matter! He has the gall to come and ask you for help!”

“He said he was a nervous wreck coming to see me! He knew damn well I wasn’t going to be happy having him show up on my doorstep. The thing is, honey, I felt bad for him, and believe me, I hear myself saying this, and yet, I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth.”

Christopher crossed his arms against his chest. “Let me guess! Your inner rescuer kicked in.”

Jason nodded his agreement of his husband’s quick and accurate assessment.

Jason waved his hand in a gesture to encourage Christopher to sit down with him. He pushed the chair away from the table giving Christopher easier access to sit.

“He saw how much I helped you. So, he trusts me. That’s why he wants my help. You’re right, of course, my inner rescuer did kick in. I told him I had to speak with you, and I would only help him if you granted me permission to. I wasn’t going to do it without your consent. The guy looks pitiful. He said I could name my price! He even offered to pay me five hundred dollars an hour. Mind you, not during my regular working hours. He knows this is something that must take place outside the realm of my job. He was willing to come here, or I could go to his home. Tell me, what do you think? How do you feel about it? Would you be okay if I worked with him? Trust me, I have my own reservations, and… I can’t lie, the money does sound appealing. I’m not a licensed therapist, but what I do isn’t such a stretch from what a psychologist would do. So, I’m asking, would you be comfortable with this?”

Christopher asked, “The question you should be asking yourself is, how do you feel about it?” Although, I must admit, I know that man. If he wants you bad enough, he’ll pay you whatever price you want. Ever since you sold your condominium and decided to live in my apartment, you’ve wanted to buy a house for us. Remember the model home we saw? The one built by Kirkland Home Builders. That money could help a lot towards a down payment. It’s just so ironic! This is the same man who sent you into a panic attack, and now he comes crawling to you for help. Although, I know what you’re talking about. There’s a side of Sam Barron he doesn’t let people see. I’ll be okay with it—if you’re okay with it.”

About the Author

Eric Huffbind is a man of many talents. Over the course of his lifetime, he has worked as a Registered Nurse, a Travel Agent, and an Uber driver. He characterizes himself as a hopeless romantic and is the eternal social butterfly. Among his passionate interests are history, genealogy, romance books, and travel.

Although his novels focus on the romantic relationship of two gay men, regardless of your sexual orientation, his stories are meant to rekindle the spirit and euphoria of falling in love.

Eric is a lifelong resident of Southwest Ohio. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he currently resides in West Chester, Ohio with his husband Paul and their Pomeranian, Linus.

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Blog Tour · Guest · Interview

Guest Post: Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

Hiya,

Today, I’m delighted to welcome my guest, Sara Dobie Bauer with her new novel, Abstract Love. The moment I saw its cover I was hooked. I’m so looking forward to reading Sam & Donovan’s story. 

Special thanks to Sara for being kind enough to be interviewed too. I couldn’t agree with her more about what makes a great story…and very much suspect Abstract Love will prove itself a portrait of exactly that.

 

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Abstract Love

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: September 4, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary MM romance

Trope/s: enemies-to-lovers, age gap, co-workers, office romance,

bisexuality, businessmen, artists, bondage, comedy

Themes: sexual awakening

Possible triggers: depression, suicidal ideations, biphobia

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 71 000 words

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

I hate Sam Shelby. So why do I want to kiss him?

 

 

Blurb

 

 

Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.

Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.

Well, shit happens.

After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.

After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.

Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.

Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?  

💙

 

Interview with Sara

 

Do you use images to develop your character’s looks?

Oh, for sure! I ROUGHLY base my characters on actors I love. In Abstract Love, for instance, Donovan is Daniel Craig and Sam is Timothee Chalamet. (Yes, the characters are ROUGHLY based on these men, but Sam’s fashion choices are actual outfits Timothee has worn in real life, for better or worse.) In the past, I’ve used Benedict Cumberbatch, Alexander Skarsgard, Armie Hammer, Tilda Swinton, and more.

Are your characters based on people you know?

Not usually, but in the case of Abstract Love, yes. Monica is very much based on my beautiful friend Keri.They have the same hair, tattoos, glasses, and style. They’re both sassy, smart, confident women. I love women who stand out amongst the masses and embrace their identities without fear. That’s Keri.

Do you use your experiences in your books?

I’d say I use my feelings more than my experiences. As a theater minor in college, I used to channel my emotions into my performance on stage, and I’ve transferred that catharsis into my writing. So, nope, you’re not going to see anything autobiographical here, but the emotions—heartbreak, joy, fear—come from a place that is very, very real.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Nope.

What do you think makes a good story?

Strong, complex, believable characters with chemistry. The plot doesn’t much matter to me if I’m spending time with characters I love. Especially characters with a great sense of humor. I have a weak spot for snarky protagonists. 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energize. More than anything else in my life. Except maybe sex. (My mom isn’t going to read this, right?)

What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

I released Handsome Death in April through Carnation Books. Due to the pandemic, we weren’t sure what kind of sales we might get. The night of the book’s release, my publisher messaged me freaking out. She couldn’t believe the sales numbers. We broke that publishing house’s record that night. I couldn’t sleep. I was so pumped, I stayed up, watched Clue, and drank absinthe. It was such a dark time for me and for the world; Handsome Death’s book birthday was an unexpected bright spot.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?

They think it’s awesome … but don’t really understand what it means to be “a writer.” (My hubby is an engineer, so it’s the same when he talks about work. Since his words don’t make sense, I just focus on how hot he is.) My friends and family celebrate new releases and read my books, but my day-to-day existence is a great mystery of the universe to most people. I like it that way.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Bartend and practice yoga to stay healthy and sane. Oh, and I read. So much reading. 

Do you like music or silence when your write?

SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

Thank you.

 

💙

 

ABSTRACT LOVE 2

Excerpt

Donovan sifted through a few hand-drawn logos on the desk and froze when he found a crudely drawn sketch of himself. Sam must have done it during a meeting at some point, capturing Donovan’s faux hawk, wide jaw, and severe expression.

Jesus, was this what other people saw when they looked at him? Did he really look so miserable?

“Make yourself at home?” Donovan dropped the picture and stood straight at the sound of Sam’s voice. He leaned against the doorframe, with one ankle crossed over the other.

“It’s really bullshit when people say that, you know?” Sam said. “Make yourself at home. No one actually wants their friends to take off their pants, drink all their beer, and binge The Great British Bake Off.” He paused. “What are you doing in my office?”

“I didn’t mean to snoop.”

The office door closed as he stepped inside. “Sure you did, or you wouldn’t be in here, so what’s up?”

Sam circled the desk, so Donovan circled the other way, although he noticed it was true what coworkers said: Sam did smell good—like clean laundry and cedar.

“I think we started off on the wrong foot.” Sam snort laughed and flipped through some files on his desk.

“More like wrong continent, man.” When he found what he was looking for, he tapped the file’s corner against his palm. “I can handle guys like you, you know.” Donovan shifted back on his heels.

“Guys like me?”

“Hmm. Corporate assholes. All you see are dollar signs. You take no pleasure in your work. Advertising is money to you, not art, but without the artists, there wouldn’t be advertising, so…”

He sucked his cheeks into his mouth, a momentary fish face.

Donovan wanted to tell him it wasn’t true. Donovan loved art. He used to love art.

Sam continued, “I know I look like a six-foot-two Disney princess, but you’re not gonna rattle me.” To prove his point, Sam got right up in Donovan’s personal space until Donovan took a step back. Again, he was not used to dealing with someone his own height. “And I’m right about the Great Lakes ad campaign. If you’d pull your head out of your ass, maybe you’d notice.” He turned away abruptly.

“Sam.”

“What?”

“I’m sorry.” Ouch, that hurt coming out.

Sam’s rebuttal: “Prove it.”

“Excuse me?” He rested a hand on the desk and cocked his hip out—the very picture of young attitude.

“Listen to me in meetings.”

“I was listening.”

“Nope.” He shook his head and ran a hand through his unkempt, unprofessional hair. “No, you were hearing. I need you to listen. There’s a difference. And I know I’m just some fucking kid to you, but I ruled the New York City advertising scene. I know what I’m doing, Donovan, so let me do it.”

“Fine.” He’d had enough. He’d apologized, okay, so he’d done his Monica-enforced duty. He didn’t owe Sam anything else.

He didn’t run for the door, but he definitely moved with speed.  

 

💙

 

About the Author

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film.

 

 

Author Links

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Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up | Freebies

 

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts, interviews, and reviews here

 

💙

 

Blog Tour · Guest · Reviews

Guest post & review: The Experiment by Rebecca Raine

 

Hi… 🥰

I posted Chapter 50 of My Way last night, perchance you missed it. https://zakarrie.com/2020/08/22/my-way-50/

Today, I’d like to welcome my guest Rebecca Raine with her wonderful new novel, The Experiment. Many thanks to Rebecca for the copy I received, read, and reviewed below. In a nutshell? It was a delight to do so.

 

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: The Experiment

Author: Rebecca Raine

Cover Artist: Bec Rivers

Release Date: Tuesday, 18 August (AEST)

Genre/s: Contemporary MM Romance

Trope/s: Friends-to-Lovers, Gay for You, First-time Gay

Themes: Friendship, Self-discovery, Self-experimentation

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 85 000 words/ approx. 210 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

When a single kiss calls your sexuality into question,

there’s only one sure path to a reliable answer: further research.

 

Blurb

 

Patrick

I like to think I know myself outside and in. As a developmental psychologist, I’ve spent years exploring the true foundations of my identity. So, when losing a bet means kissing my best friend, Logan, I already know I’m going to hate every second of it. All the relevant questions regarding my sexuality were asked and answered years ago. The results were conclusive: despite the odd same-sex attraction, I dislike being touched by men.

That is, it seems, until Logan is the man doing the touching. The intense desire aroused by his kiss contradicts all my expectations and I have no idea how to integrate the new information. Thankfully, I know exactly how to uncover the truth about myself—once and for all.

Logan

I’ve put a lot of effort into keeping Patrick out of my fantasies and in the friend-zone. Our recent lip-lock may have unleashed my feelings for him temporarily, but I’ll get them back on their platonic track in no time. Falling for a friend, especially a sexually ambivalent friend, is a one-way ticket to heartache.

But, when the unforeseen impact of our kiss inspires Patrick to conduct an experiment into the extent of his bisexuality, I can’t resist volunteering to help. If any man is going to join Patrick on his journey of self-discovery, it’s sure as hell going to be me.

 

 

Review

 

I’m more reluctant to request ARCs than my interest in a novel merits. The reason is simple, I can’t bear the thought of being gifted an author’s work, only to enjoy the book a lot less than I’d hoped. As a result of which, I worry that I’ll wind up feeling dreadful and trying to write a review that doesn’t wound the author. I know…I’m not supposed to take that into account. A fair and honest review is not a personal attack on them or their writing. It is just my not-a-jot defining opinion about a story, that’s all. 

As I’ve never been able to pay heed to what I’m supposed to feel, do, or say, it’s pointless telling me otherwise. So…in order to brave the whole process? I’ve come to regard reading with a view to review as an…experiment of sorts. One I don’t repeat as often as my interest is piqued by the premise, as much as I might wish I could steel myself to do so.

Now you know why I found this book so irresistible…and why I started my review as I did. Patrick’s thought process is about as far from mine as I can imagine; I unerringly follow my instincts, so I found it fascinating to be given such an intimate window into workings of a mind so removed from my own. Particularly, as it transpired, when formatted as research for a psychology dissertation. I was riveted by the end of the first chapter and read the first three quarters of the story in one sitting.

The book was described as gay-for-you, which made me pause before requesting it—aware that some find the trope troubling—but I’m so glad I did. Particularly when it wasn’t a gay-for-you story.  It may have seemed that way, at the start…but it quickly became apparent that, rather than being an avowedly straight man who’d repressed his sexuality? Patrick had spent a great deal of time pondering the issue and trying to ascertain his truth. Doing just that is an intrinsic part of who he is: a developmental psychologist determined to live his life authentically. All of which meant he’d already run a tentative experiment to discover if he was, indeed, bixseual as a teen. An experience so awful that the answer was an unequivocal no.

It is a drunken bet that gives him the courage to reassess those findings. You may find that unfeasible but in all honesty? I’m not sure that I’ve ever found the set up of a favourite trope ‘realistic’ . I don’t read tropes for realism, I read them purely for pleasure. While I love ‘fake relationship’ novels, I don’t for a minute imagine that the world is crammed with pretend boyfriends, fiances, and husbands living elaborately planned lives to inherit a fortune or fool some decrepit family member into believing the lie they’re being sold. Annnd just so happening to fall in love along the way, with an all consuming intensity as luscious as it is…unlikely.  I care not…that’s exactly what I wanted to read when I chose the book.

So…don’t bother reading this story if you find the ‘experiment’ set up ridiculous or unrealistic. You missed a delightful read you wouldn’t have enjoyed.

I did…and loved every minute I spent with Logan and Patrick. A story about two adorable loons in love, told with a ‘methodology’ I found fabulously fresh. I didn’t stop reading until I realised that I was about to be coshed by The Conflict. Yes…I know it’s considered an ‘important part’ of a plot arc. I care even less about that than the realism thing. So…I went for a snack and pulled my unisex pants up. I can do this, thought I. Endure a few chapters of ‘misunderstanding’ or muddle-headed madness, in order to relish Patrick & Logan’s happy ever after. 

Thankfully, it didn’t drag on for long. Better yet, I found myself persuaded that its inclusion did indeed explain the flawed reasoning that forms the premise of Patrick’s experiment. His panic is induced by a family dinner, in which we discover what led to his determination to avoid a latter day epiphany. Thus, he’s hell bent on nailing his sexuality, once and for all, and instigates the experiment to discover his ‘authentic self’. A bit bonkers when sexuality is rarely set in stone, but that’s the idea he’s dead set on, to head off the devastation his dad’s life changing accident wreaked. So, who am I to quibble? Do what you need to in order find your peace…it saves a lot of heartache along the way, not least for yourself. 

I haven’t mentioned Logan very much, but suffice to say…he’s a very willing participant in The Experiment with his ‘best friend’. I adored him, he was my favourite of the two men. He’s witty and warm with a twinkle in his eye, infinitely patient and as hot as hell. The banter between them is an additional delight and I was rooting for them all the way. I loved it.

🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

Teaser - Drag and claw

Excerpt

“You can do your experiment with me.”

My heart pounds, as I wait for him to respond to my offer. The part of me that’s sure he’ll say yes is already weak with relief that he won’t go out looking for anyone else. I don’t want other men touching Patrick. If he’s only ever going to do this experiment with one man, I want that man to be me.

“I thought you wanted to go back to the way things were.” His gaze is wary, and he has yet to move a muscle. “We’re friends, nothing more. That’s what you said.”

“Yes, and it’s still true,” I assure him. “I do want to go back to being friends. But we can do it after the experiment.”

His breath has quickened and, when he speaks again, his voice is rough. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“It’s the best viable solution,” I tell him, as if coating my possessiveness with a thick layer of pragmatism will make it less obvious. “Don’t forget, it was my kiss that breathed life into your queerness.” My body reacts to the idea of doing it again… and again… and again. However many times he needs to be satisfied. I make a show of licking my lips, enjoying the way he watches with rapt attention. “How much do you want to bet I can get more than a boner out of you?”

With a start, his eyes narrow and he points a finger at me. “No more bets.”

Laughing out loud, I nod. “That’s right. How could I forget?”

He runs a hand over the back of his neck as he looks around the bar, before returning his gaze to me. “I’ll admit, when I decided to do this, my first instinct was to come to you.” He gestures at me with an impatient hand. “You’re the only guy I’ve ever enjoyed kissing and it totally blew my mind. Why do you think I’m doing this in the first place?” he growls, his frustration coming through. “It’s not just because of what happened when we kissed. It’s the fact I can’t stop thinking about it.”

He’s not the only one. I’ve rubbed my cock raw in remembrance. The urge to shove him back against the nearby wall washes over me. I want to give him something new to think about. Ignoring the impulse, I swallow hard and speak in a low voice. “When you’re thinking about it, are these analytical thoughts about what it all means? Or are they wanking thoughts?”

He glances away, trying to appear nonchalant. “Both.”

My muscles tighten at the thought of him with his hand wrapped around his throbbing dick, fantasising about kissing me while he pants and moans his way to orgasm. I want to know what he looks like when he comes. What he sounds like. How he feels.

“But,” he says, with emphasis, interrupting the lustfest going on in my head, “I decided against it because I know you don’t—” The words cut off and his eyes close briefly. “I don’t want us to stop being friends.”

“I don’t want that either but, Patrick, you’re playing with fire here and assuming no one will steal the matches. I’m the only one I trust to do this right.”

He’s still reluctant. I can feel the force of his doubts. But he hasn’t said no.

“Patrick, listen to me.” I slide a hand around the back of his neck, urging him to meet my gaze. “You need someone you can trust to stop when you say stop, no matter what’s happening when you say it. Someone who won’t get pissed at you and accuse you of being a tease when you leave them with blue balls.” Releasing him, I grin. “Besides, you tried looking for someone else to kiss. It didn’t work. You chose me and now you’re stuck with me for the duration.”

He huffs out an indignant sound. “I could find someone else to kiss,” he blusters, “if I looked really hard… for about ten years.”

I laugh out loud, knowing I almost have him convinced. “Yeah, but even if you did, it wouldn’t matter.”

“Why is that?” He leans closer, as if he’s looking forward to my response.

In that instant, I realise how badly I want this—him. I want to tug on every thread of his sexuality, freeing each strand for thorough inspection. I want to tie him in knots, before making him unravel for me. And I want him to know, every second along the way, I’m the one who is doing this to him. That I’m the only man to ever make him feel this way.

Licking my lips, I take a step closer and bring my face in next to his. “Because even if you did hit your limit with someone else, you’d always wonder how much further I could have taken you.” I lower my head, so he can feel my breath against his neck as I go in for the kill. “Patrick, my friend, I’m going to drag your arse so far down my end of the spectrum, you’ll have to claw your way straight.”

 

 

About the Author

Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.

 

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The Experiment - larger size

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one of five mobi copies of The Experiment

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Blog Tour · Interview · New Release

Guest Post & Interview with C F White

Hiya…

 

I have a special post today, which includes an interview with my guest, the wonderful C F White, with her new release: Fade To Blank…

 

 

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Fade to Blank (London Lies # 1)

Author: C F White

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Rhys Everly-Lawless

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic Suspense

Trope/s: Slow burn, hurt/comfort

Themes: Enemies to lovers, Revenge, Secrets, Mystery

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 78 000 words/ 280 pages

It’s the first book in a new series.

Book 2 is coming later in the year. Book 1 ends on a HFN for the couple.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

A celebrity accused of murder. A writer needing his big break. The lies that tie them together.

 

Blurb

Accused of a murder he didn’t commit, vilified celebrity Jackson Young enlists the help of a rookie journalist to clear his name and write his biography.

Jackson has a secret though. One he must keep from becoming public. But Fletcher’s dreamy green eyes, Irish drawl and effortless charm makes it hard to suppress those long-buried feelings, even if it could compromise his innocence.

Uncovering the murky past behind Jackson’s rise to fame, Fletcher grows closer to a man he’d once declared as talentless, and their intense attraction starts to affect not only his professional integrity but the life he’d made since moving to London.

Falling for the subject of his book could be fatal for Fletcher, and Jackson should know better than to trust a journalist.

Fade to Blank is the first book in the London Lies trilogy set in 1999, and is a slow burn, enemies to lovers, hurt/comfort romantic suspense.

 

Excerpt

Fletcher drew troubled eyebrows in. “Are you okay?” he asked.

“Okay? Okay?” Jackson breathed out a laugh that was more a release of pent up anguish. He’d always been taught to laugh in the face of adversity. He hadn’t been able to do much of that lately. Any flicker of amusement seeping out when in Flaymore would only have been captured by an inmate wanting a name for himself and used against him in the media. He rubbed his stinging eyes. “My girlfriend is dead. Someone strangled her whilst I was passed out in the other room. The world thinks I did it. I’ve spent six months inside because I wasn’t granted bail. This morning I wasn’t told that I was free because they believed I didn’t do it. They just couldn’t prove that I did. I can’t quite see how I would be okay after all that. Do you?”

Perhaps that was too blunt. Too much, too soon? Perhaps all this seeking the truth was coming across more selfish than he’d anticipated. It was. But the world was pointing at him. So he needed to prove his innocence to force people to look at who might have killed her, instead of allowing them to tie the noose around his neck.

And on that thought, his heart almost stopped. So the desperation kicked in. “I need you. Your help.”

Fletcher softened before him. “Okay,” he said. “Go on. Why would I, the fella you tried to knock out due to one bad review, want to write another article about you?”

“I want more than an article. And you’ll have a ready and waiting readership for this. It’ll rocket you to a fortune you never knew existed.”

“Wind your neck in, lad, that’s a touch arrogant there.”

“Arrogance doesn’t equal guilt.” Jackson leapt up from leaning against his bike, new found energy resumed. “Nor does it equal untalented.”

Fletcher glanced away, flicking his gaze back just as quick. “What are you talking here, then? A featured piece?”

Jackson forced a smile. “A full exposé of Jackson Young and why he isn’t the man he’s been depicted as in the media of late.”

“So this is all about you? Not… Tallulah?”

Jackson sucked in a breath at her name. It still stabbed at his heart, strangled his chest, erupted bile into his throat. He wondered if it would ever stop.

Scrubbing fingers across his perspiring forehead, Jackson had to find the right way to explain what he needed. What he had to do before it was too late and this was all hidden under the carpet as so many of the lies and manipulations already had been. He wasn’t sure how far he should go. How much he should admit he knew. There was the whole story. And there was his story.

“I was arrested for something I didn’t do,” he settled on. “I’ve been painted in the media as a monster. Pretty much all my friends and family have abandoned me because they believe people like you.”

“People like me?”

“People with the ability to write words and print them for the public to read, to believe and to act upon.”

“I never wrote about what happened to her. I’ve avoided talking about you, or her, since.”

“I know. Now I want you to.”

Jackson waited for the faint glimmer of understanding to work its way across Fletcher’s face. He had to know this would be the ultimate scoop for him. A writer, a journalist, a gossip columnist…whatever the man claimed to be, if he took this opportunity he could retire.

“I don’t write news. I write…gossip.” It sounded a lot like he hated to say that word, and his gaze blinked away from Jackson toward the glass frontage of London Lights HQ.

“I don’t want you to write for a paper. I don’t want this to be news, or gossip. This is the truth. My truth.”

“I’m not sure my editor will buy into it.” Fletcher sighed. “And if she did, she’d pass it onto the more seasoned journalists.”

“I don’t want your editor. I don’t want this in your poxy magazine.” Jackson spat the word, nodding toward the office block in contempt. He wanted nothing to do with any of that. Especially not London Lights. “This has got to be independent.”

“I don’t understand. I thought you wanted an exposé?”

Jackson stepped forward, a hair’s breadth from Fletcher, so close he could taste the man’s coffee breath. “Ever want to write something different? Something good. Something that could make a name for yourself away from the trash rags? Don’t you want to see your name on a shelf?”

“What type of shelf?”

“A book shelf. I want you to write my biography. So if you ever wanted your fortune handed on a plate, Fletcher Doherty…” Jackson held out his arms. “It’s here.”

 

 

A warm welcome and big thank you to my guest C F White – who incidentally has the most excellent taste in ice cream – for our interview…

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.

Hi, I’m C F White and I write contemporary British gay romance. I have to add the British in there as my books all do tend to stay in or around London as that’s where I live. My tag line kinda sums up what you can expect from me and my books: Romance, mainly. Gritty, often. Love, always. It means you can expect a bit of angst, a bit of gritty realism but a HEA always guaranteed – even if it’s a long time getting there! 

Writing goals are to keep on writing! 

 

Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?

My latest book is the first in yet another three-book series. I have a thing about writing in trilogies! Fade to Blank (London Lies #1) is a romantic suspense set in 1999 and centres around Jackson Young, one half of UK TVs presenting dream team, who is serving time for the suspected murder of his socialite girlfriend. But with no evidence to convict, he is released with a fierce determination to clear his name that has been smeared in the mud by the press. He enlists the help of Fletcher Doherty, a writer stuck in the reviews and gossip column of the newest online magazine, who has had enough of chasing gossip and uncovering scandals for a celebrity hungry nation. The potential to elevate his career and reap the royalties that such a book would bring, ultimately make Fletcher accept the job that no one should want.

But there’s a murky story beneath Jackson Young’s rise to fame and the two men find themselves entangled into a web of lies and manipulation that runs deep into the underbelly of British television. There are people determined to silence Fletcher from giving Jackson a mouthpiece. But with every word written and every fact checked, Fletcher peels away the layers that had made up the captivating persona of Jax to reveal the true, vulnerable man underneath. He’s unable to walk away despite the threat to his career, his relationship, and the life he’d made for himself since settling in London.

Fade to Blank starts the series off with a slow burn, enemies to lovers romance fizzling between Jackson and Fletcher and that’s the part I loved writing—creating that unresolved sexual tension and seeing them fight with each other about their true feelings. I couldn’t say that I liked one character over the other and Jax and Fletch kinda come as a package.  

 

Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?

Complete pantser. I can’t plan. I’ve tried it and I hate it. I feel like the book is already written if I plan. I prefer to be surprised where it goes, much like the reader! I tend to start with a basic idea, I’ll know where I want to go with it, where it needs to end. Then I just write and see what happens. It’s worked out so far, there’s only been a couple of occasions I’ve slipped up and fallen into a plot hole.

 

Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?

I try ever so hard not to give myself deadlines. But to be honest, they do tend to motivate me otherwise I would tinker forever. 

 

Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?

I fit writing in as and when I can. I work full time and have two kids, one with special needs to writing oftentimes takes a back seat to everything else. It’s why I do a lot of drafts online first, it means I can write on the go, directly onto my phone. So, no, I don’t have a schedule. I see and free window, I sit down and write. I’d love to be able to set aside time but for the time being, I have to stick to this method. I’d probably discover if I did schedule time to write then the words wouldn’t come to me. 

 

What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?

Keeping the suspense going. As I knew this was going to be spun over three books, it was hard to keep everything in and not give it all away to start with. I actually started the whole book without knowing what happened, which helped keep up the suspense and mystery for myself. I know now! 

 

What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?

I tend to go for the romantic suspense or mystery and crime elements within an MM romance. I love a complex plot series over multiple books with that slow burn that has you screaming at the couple to just do it already! Josh Lanyon, Gergory Ashe, Dal MacLean, Cole McCade, A E Ryecart are all authors I admire and read regularly. And I do favour an ebook. I like to collect paperbacks but I won’t read from them anymore. They’re more for display. And signatures! 

 

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Social Media. 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

To keep writing. And reading. To trust in my own words and not compare myself to others. My voice is my voice. No one can be a better me than me 😊 

 

What is your favorite underappreciated novel?

Won’t Be Fooled Again (St Cross 2). It’s the least read and bought novel of mine. It’s the second in a series but it’s vastly different from the first. It’s a friends to lovers story that deal with quite a few issues—addiction, abandonment, poverty, disability, interracial relationships. It’s a raw and emotional story but I think as it’s book 2 people think they have to have read book one, but they really don’t. I wish more people did pick it up. 

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

My book usually! I make playlists for my books I’m working on that I’ll play in the car to help me think about scenes. It’s a great motivator. I just need a car that will then write my book for me whilst stuck in traffic. 

 

What was your favorite toy growing up?

A teddy bear I named Chunky. It was a Christmas present from my nan and grandad who died when I was fairly young. I slept with it, took it everywhere and even came to university with me. It was so squashed and ripped from how hard I hugged it when I finally had to give it up to the dustbin in my mid-twenties. 

 

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Haagan Dasz Pralines and Cream. 

 

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Pheobe Waller Bridge from Fleabag. I love her humour and writing! 

 

INSTAGRAM 2

 

About the Author

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.

Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly search for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.

She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.

After her second son was born with a rare disability, C F White’s life changed and brought pen back to paper having written stories as a child but never the confidence to show them to the world. Now, having embarked on this writing journey, she can’t stop. So strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

Follow C F White

Twitter @CFWhiteUK | Facebook | Blog

Instagram | Newsletter Sign-up

 

 

 

Giveaway

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Blog Tour · Guest

Guest: The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth

Hi… I’ll post an update to My Way later today, but in the meantime…I’d like to welcome my special guest, the fabulous J. Scott Coatsworth…

 

The Stark Divide - J. Scott Coatsworth

 

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out book one in the Ariadne Cycle: “The Stark Divide.” This is a re-release.

 

***

 

 

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

 

Get It On Amazon


 

BANNER2 - The Stark Divide

Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, and a signed paperback trilogy of the Oberon Cycle (Skythane, Lander and Ithani) – two winners! Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

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Excerpt

“Dressler, schematic,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

###

Anastasia Anatov leafed through her father, Dimitri’s, old paper journal. She liked to look through it once a day, to see his spidery handwriting and remember what he had been like. It was a bit old and dusty now, but it was one of her most cherished possessions.

She sighed and put it away in a storage nook in her lab.

She left the room and pulled herself gracefully along the runway, the central corridor of the ship, using the metal rungs embedded in the walls. She was much more comfortable in low or zero g than she was in Earth normal, where her tall, lanky form made her feel awkward around others. She was a loner at heart, and the emptiness of space appealed to her.

Her father had designed the Mission-class ships. It was something she rarely spoke of, but she was intensely proud of him. These ships were still imperfect, the combination of a hellishly complicated genetic code and after-the-fact fittings of mechanical parts, like the rungs she used now to move through the weightless environment.

Ana wondered if it hurt when someone drilled into the living tissue to install the mechanics, living quarters, and observation blisters that made the ship habitable. Her father had always maintained that the ship-minds felt no pain.

She wasn’t so sure. Men were often dismissive of the things they didn’t understand.

Either way, she was stuck on the small ship for the duration with two men, neither of whom were interested in her. The captain was gay, and Jackson was married.

Too bad the ship roster hadn’t included another woman or two.

She placed her hand on a hardened sensor callus next to the door valve and the ship obliged, recognizing her. The door spiraled open to show the viewport beyond.

She pulled herself into the room and floated before the wide expanse of transparent plasform, staring out at the seed being hauled behind them.

Nothing else mattered. Whatever she had to do to get this project launched, she would do it. She’d already made some morally questionable choices along the way—including looking the other way when a bundle of cash had changed hands at the Institute.

She was so close now, and she couldn’t let anything get in the way.

Earth was a lost cause. It was only a matter of time before the world imploded. Only the seeds could give mankind a fighting chance to go on.

From the viewport, there was little to see. The seed was a two-meter-long brown ovoid, made of a hard, dark organic material, scarred and pitted by the continual abrasion of the dust that escaped the great sails. So cold out there, but the seed was dormant, unfeeling.

The cold would keep it that way until the time came for its seedling stage.

She’d created three of the seeds with her funding. This one, bound for the asteroid 43 Ariadne, was the first. It was the next step in evolution beyond the Dressler and carried with it the hopes of all humankind.

It also represented ten years of her life and work.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re ready for the next step.

###

The crew’s third and final member, Jackson Hammond, hung upside down in the ship’s hold, grunting as he refit one of the feed pipes that carried the ship’s electronics through the bowels of this weird animal-mechanical hybrid. Although “up” and “down” were slight on a ship where the centrifugal force created a “gravity” only a fraction of what it was on Earth.

As the ship’s engineer, Jackson was responsible for keeping the mechanics functioning—a challenge in a living organism like the Dressler.

With cold, hard metal, one dealt with the occasional metal fatigue, poor workmanship, and at times just ass-backward reality. But the parts didn’t regularly grow or shrink, and it wasn’t always necessary to rejigger the ones that had fit perfectly just the day before. Even after ten years in these things, he still found it a little creepy to be riding inside the belly of the beast. It was too Jonah and the Whale for his taste.

Jackson rubbed the sweat away from his eyes with the back of his arm. As he shaved down the end of a pipe to make it fit more snugly against the small orifice in the ship’s wall, he touched the little silver cross that hung around his neck. It had been a present from his priest, Father Vincenzo, at his son Aaron’s First Communion in the Reformed Catholic Evangelical Church.

The boy was seven years old now, with a shock of red hair and green eyes like his dad, and his mother’s beautiful skin. He’d spent months preparing for his Communion Day, and Jackson remembered fondly the moment when his son had taken the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time, surprise registering on his little face at the strange taste of the wine.

Aaron’s Communion Day had been a high point for Jackson, just a week before his current mission. He was so proud of his two boys. Miss you guys. I’ll be home soon.

Lately he hadn’t been sleeping well, his dreams filled with a dark-haired, blue-eyed vixen. He was happily married. He shouldn’t be having such dreams.

Jackson shook his head. Being locked up in a tin can in space did strange things to a person sometimes. I should be home with Glory and the boys.

One way or another, this mission would be his last.

He’d been recruited as a teen.

###

At thirteen, Jackson had learned the basics of engineering doing black-tech work for the gangs that ran what was left of the Big Apple after the Rise—a warren of interconnected skyrises, linked mostly by boats and ropes and makeshift bridges.

Everything north of Twenty-Third was controlled by the Hex, a black-tech co-op that specialized in bootlegged dreamcasts, including modified versions that catered to some of the more questionable tastes of the North American States. South of Twenty-Third belonged to the Red Badge, a lawless group of technophiles involved in domestic espionage and wetware arts.

Jackson had grown up in the drowned city, abandoned by his mother and forced to rely on his own intelligence and instincts to survive in a rapidly changing world.

He’d found his way to the Red Badge and discovered a talent for ecosystem work, taking over and soon expanding one of the rooftop farms that supplied the drowned city with a subsistence diet. An illegal wetware upgrade let him tap directly into the systems he worked on, seeing the circuits and pathways in his head.

He increased the Badge’s food production fivefold and branched out beyond the nearly tasteless molds and edible fungi that thrived in the warm, humid environment.

It was on one of his rooftop “gardens” that his life had changed one warm summer evening.

He was underneath one of the condenser units that pulled water from the air for irrigation. All of eighteen years old, he was responsible for the food production for the entire Red Badge.

He’d run through the unit’s diagnostics app to no avail. Damned piece of shit couldn’t find a thing wrong.

In the end, it had come down to something purely physical—tightening down a pipe bolt where the condenser interfaced with the irrigation system.

Satisfied with the work, he stood, wiping the sweat off his bare chest, and glared into the setting sun out over the East River. It was more an inland sea now, but the old names still stuck.

There was a faint whirring behind him, and he spun around. A bug drone hovered about a foot away, glistening in the sun. He stared at it for a moment, then reached out to swat it down. Probably from the Hex.

It evaded his grasp, and he felt a sharp pain in his neck.

He went limp, and everything turned black as he tumbled into one of his garden beds.

He awoke in Fargo, recruited by AmSplor to serve in the space agency’s Frontier Station, his life changed irrevocably.

###

A strange sensation brought him back to the present.

His right hand was wet. Startled, he looked down. It was covered with blood.

Dressler, we have a problem, he said through his private affinity-link with the ship-mind.”

 

BANNER1 - The Stark Divide


 

Author Bio

J. Scott CoatsworthScott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

A Rainbow Award winning and runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, Liminal Fiction, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

 

MEME3 - The Stark Divide

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jscottcoatsworth/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth?from_search=true

Author QueeRomance Ink: Liminal Fiction: https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Edale Lane – Secrets of Milan

Hiya,  I’ll be back later today with the next chapter of My Way but in the meantime…

A very warm welcome to Edale Lane and the second book in The Night Flyer Trilogy  Secrets of Milan”

 

55dc01e78ef5ff-ornament-2

 

Secrets of Milan - Edale Lane

 

Edale Lane has a new FF alternative historical fantasy out, book two in the Night Flyer trilogy: “Secrets of Milan.”

The Night Flyer had brought Florentina and Madelena together but now threatens to drive them apart. While Florentina searches for a mysterious underworld organization that has attempted to murder the woman she loves, Maddie struggles to deal with the danger Florentina is courting. Her brother, Alessandro, has become the most prominent merchant of Milan, but the Night Flyer uncovers a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.

Secrets of Milan is the second book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like drama and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and s romance that deepens into true love, then you’ll want to continue the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy today!

Past and Prologue Press | Amazon | BookBub | GoodreadsMEME Secrets of Milan-01


Giveaway

Edale is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

MEME Secrets of Milan

 

Turning her attention back to the pulpit, Maddie determined to listen to the homily. When they returned home, she would invite Fiore to her room to try to explain the emotions she had been struggling with and to reassure her and ask forgiveness. It was time to put everything right and stop letting fear rule over her life.

Madelena had just cleared away the mental replays to concentrate on the service when a most unusual occurrence diverted her complete attention. Florentina had scooped up Betta and Matteo and was pushing her out of her seat toward the aisle. “Run,” she commanded fiercely as she jerked her chin at the door.

For an instant Maddie was too stunned and confused to move, but for only the blink of an eye. Florentina–the Night Flyer–had the most excellent instincts and if she was bolting out of Epiphany Mass, imminent danger surrounded them. “Get out now!” Florentina shouted as she continued to push Maddie down the center walkway.

There were likely murmurs and stirring among the congregation members at the outburst, but Madelena, heart racing, dashed ahead with a glance over her shoulder to see her tutor with one child under each arm a mere step behind her. The sudden noise was deafening, but it was the shock wave from the blast that sent them all flying. Maddie hit the floor hard amid screams and the sounds of breaking glass and crashing bricks. Smoke began to fill the chapel, and someone stepped on her hand in their haste to evacuate.

“Remain calm!” a tenuous voice intoned as panic broke out in earnest.

“Mama!” Maddie pushed up to her scraped hands and bruised knees and turned toward Betta. The wide-eyed, frantic child clutched her arms around her mother’s neck.

“I’m here, baby; I’ve got you,” she comforted and reached a hand to Matteo. “Are you both alright?”

“Florentina saved us,” Matteo said in astonishment. “We aren’t hurt; don’t be afraid, Mama.”

“Keep moving,” Florentina insisted as she stumbled up to the trio. “Out the door, now.”

Madelena did not argue, but with somber eyes fixed on Fiore’s gave her a nod. Carrying Betta in her arms, she forged on through wreckage and stampeding parishioners toward the open doorway. Florentina followed, holding tight to Matteo’s hand. Once past the archway, they collapsed on the steps.

“Are you injured?” Florentina’s voice was drowned in concern. They were all covered in pink brick dust with small scraps of debris having showered over their hair and clothing.

“No, just some bruises from falling. What about you?” Maddie turned her gaze to Fiore who sat an arm’s length away leaning against the exterior wall of the church.

“I’ll live,” she replied queasily. “My back feels as if it’s on fire and my head is pounding like a chorus of drums.”

“My children,” Maddie uttered in disbelief. “You saved them, and me.”

With smudged face and disheveled hair, Florentina raised radiant eyes to hers. “Si. You may not love me anymore, but I am still devoted to you and to them. I would lay down my life to save any of you without hesitation.”

Panic of a different sort grabbed hold of Madelena’s soul, threatening to undo her. “Is that what you think?” Grief clouded her verdant gaze, and her mouth fell into a gape of horror.

“What am I supposed to think?”

“I am so sorry!” Tears swam in Maddie’s eyes. “That is not the problem; it never was.” Quite the opposite, she thought.

“We love you, Florentina!” Betta declared and left her mother’s lap to hug her tutor. “How did you know the church was going to fall down?”

“It didn’t just fall down,” Matteo stated as he took his turn to embrace his mother.

“No, it didn’t,” Florentina confirmed exchanging a look with Madelena and then it clicked.

Even greater shock swept over Maddie’s features, turning them pale as death. “A bomb? Someone bombed the church?”

“Someone did indeed, and I need to go back and help. People are injured and some may even be dead.” Florentina started to push to her feet but collapsed on the step again with her head in her hands. “Seems I’m a bit dizzy still.”

“You don’t have to do everything,” Maddie said and reached a hand to tenderly stroke her head. “Look, some city watchmen have arrived and the fire brigade will be here any minute. You alerted everyone and saved lives, including ours. How did you know?”

“Paying attention,” she answered with difficulty. “Knew something wasn’t right, then glass breaking, saw the bomb… was on our row… two of them.”

“Fiore, don’t try to talk now,” she instructed. “I’ll secure a carriage to drive us home and then I’m going to inspect you for injuries.”

“It’s only a few blocks,” Florentina dismissed. “I can walk.”

“That may be, but we aren’t sitting here waiting for tomorrow, and that’s about when you’d be able to walk home,” Maddie declared.

“I’m scared,” Betta said in a small voice as she snuggled back against her mother again. “Church is supposed to be a safe place.”

Matteo took her hand in his as he settled on the spot between Florentina and Madelena. “Don’t be scared, Betta,” he said with assurance. “I’m right here.” Then with his other hand he patted Florentina’s shoulder. “Thank you. I’m glad you are the smartest person in Milan and that you’re with us.”

“I’m glad I’m with you, too, Matteo,” she replied and offered him a weak smile.

Maddie could tell by her pained expression and weakness that Florentina had absorbed some measure of shock from the blast. She was also certain that without Fiore’s lighting reflexes they would all be seriously wounded or dead. Feet rushed past the spot where they sat; men called out, women screamed, children cried. She looked around, between those coming and going, to see a gigantic hole in the side of the brick facade, broken windows with smoke trailing out, and a body lying on the ground. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard.

“Make way for the fire brigade!” a man shouted.

Madelena pushed to her feet and reached a hand for Fiore. “Come now,” she instructed. “We have to move out of the way. Let’s get you in that carriage and home.”

 

MEME Secrets of Milan-04


 

Author Bio

Edale Lane is the penname used by Melodie Romeo for LGBTQ fiction novels. She is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida.

Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has had short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, Less Than Three Press, and Past and Prologue Press.

Edale Lane’s first novel, Heart of Sherwood, is an historical retelling of the Robin Hood story supposing that the hooded outlaw had been a woman:

https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/heart-of-sherwood1/

In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna.

Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4

In 2019 Melodie founded Past and Prologue Press. Please visit her website.

Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.Ipaged.co/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/melodie.romeo

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/edalelane

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melodieromeo/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edale-Lane/e/B07GRFPDRZ/

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