Pieces of Identity with Santino Hassell – Post + Excerpt

December 11, 2015

Pieces of Identity

If you’re a New Yorker, there are certain things you pick up over time.

  1. The accent. It’s like going to the bodega or the cawnah staw to get a cuppa cawfee and then releasing questions or comments at a speed that’s somewhere between an audio cassette on fast forward and a machine gun. “Wassup? Howya been? Whaddya doin? Didja heah?” Or, of course, just giving the quintessential New York head bop (that is my favorite.)

  2. How to make a proper deli sandwich. It’s important, okay? Deli food is a big part of NY culture (bodegas, bagel shops, salumerias, kosher delis… trust me, it’s a thing). And it’s not just about meat quality, although that’s numero uno. It’s about the thinness of the meat (nearly translucent), the way the meat is layered, and the bread.

  3. You know that everyone, everywhere, will ask you at least once “Where are you from?” And this question isn’t referring to just your address or the borough you just rode in from on the subway. They’re asking where your family is from. What’s your “old country”? Where do your roots lie?

The last question is kind of a big deal, and it plays into SUNSET PARK. I have written stories set in New York before, but writing from the point of view of someone living in New York City but who wasn’t born here is an interesting experience. For me, NYC is not just a setting or a backdrop. It plays into who my characters are as people and the little idiosyncrasies that make New Yorkers a distinct group.

One of the main differences I’ve discovered between NYC culture and culture in the South, is that many New Yorkers celebrate their ethnic identities and nationalities rather than only identifying as American. They tend to play a lot of value on family history—where they, their parents, or their great-great-grandmother came from. Whether their family fled Europe in the years leading up to WWII, flew over from Puerto Rico in the 1950s, or came on a boat during the Irish potato famine in the 19th century, many people are knowledgeable about their family history.

Then there’s the matter of the borough you live in, which one you grew up in, whether you’re blue collar, white collar, or a city worker—all important aspects of the people who live in the city, and they all play into how people interact with their environment and how they perceive others.

So, how would a transplant view these customs? How will David deal with falling for a man who may not consider his queerness to be the most prominent part of his identity, when he feels it has shaped who he is from the very beginning?  Tell me what you think in the comments, and please enjoy the below excerpt from SUNSET PARK.

SP graphic 2

**

“You’re not eating the bread?”

“Um, no. I’m already gaining eighty-seven pounds by eating all of this caloric stuff. I at least want to avoid the carbs.”

“God, you’re pathetic.”

Raymond shook his head and snagged a piece of my bread. It was still drenched in sauce and had remnants of pepper and onion on it. We kept walking, and before long, he paused at one of the many cannoli stands. Before I could protest, he bought two and thrust one into my hand.

“You’re determined to make me fat.”

“Shut up and eat.” I didn’t protest too vehemently. It was delicious.

“So what were you thinking about before? You were staring into space.”

“Nothing pressing,” I said. “I was just thinking about New York and how different it is from where I’m from. It’s so diverse, and people celebrate every part of who they are. It’s not just this… blend.”

“What do you mean ‘people celebrate every part of who they are’?”

I regarded the question, the fragments of my own thoughts, and the people around us. “Just… well, take you, Michael, and Nunzio for example.” I raised my voice as music exploded from a nearby booth. “You have all of these different identities. Being gay or bi is just a fraction of who you are. You’re primarily New Yorkers, but also Puerto Rican or Italian, lapsed Catholics, and then there’s the other parts— sons and brothers, teachers, gamers, etcetera.”

“Uh-huh. Is that a bad thing?”

“No, it’s not a bad thing.”

Raymond stopped walking, and I realized we had reached the end of the festival’s line. The evening was growing darker, and I was momentarily distracted by the stretch of the street going back toward the west side. Colors, lights, smells, and sounds, and a constant motion of people meandering along the festival route.

I looked up at Raymond and the play of light across his face, becoming aware of how close we were standing and the furtive glances we were receiving from the woman at the nearest game booth. I had tried to make this outing seem less like a double date by inviting our friends, but everyone had backed out of traveling way downtown on a Sunday. And the more he purchased my food and drinks, the harder it was to shake the feeling that it was a date.

But I knew it was just me assigning meanings that weren’t there. Again.

“What were you thinking about it, then?” Raymond pressed.

“I told you it’s nothing bad. I was just wondering if that’s why being out is so monumental to me but not to Michael. Being a gay man has always been my primary identity, but for him it’s just one of many facets. I was trying to figure out if that’s why his lack of absolute outness as a gay man doesn’t make him feel like he’s pretending to be someone he isn’t.”

“Is that how you would feel?”

“I think so, yeah.”

Raymond looked at again, his eyes drawing to a young couple with three small children crowding by their legs. “I think… you think too much.”

“Oh, that’s so helpful. Thank you for the insight.”

Raymond grinned and leaned against a lamppost. “You do. You always want to figure things out and ask yourself what they mean instead of letting things be the way they are.”

“Inquiry is good,” I said like a good little Common Core educator. “It’s how we explore the world around us.”

“I’m not saying it’s wrong to be curious and ask questions, but you do it because you want to make everyone fit into certain boxes, and that’s unnecessary. You don’t have to understand why Michael is the way he is. He’s never going to sit down and help you figure it out, and in the long run, how he chooses to live his life doesn’t affect yours. So who gives a damn?”

“I can’t help it, I guess. I just want to know why people make the choices they do. Maybe if I understood, I wouldn’t be so frustrated when people don’t agree with my point of view.”

“You get frustrated by that because you’re a control freak and you like being right.”

“Tell me how you really feel.” Raymond finished his pastry and slid his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. “Just being honest, man.”

A breeze caused the overwhelming smell of food to waft in our direction. The chill made me want to move closer. Press into his side or his chest, and pretend that was okay. Like platonic friends kept each other warm on fall nights in New York City.

Get your copy of Sunset Park today!

SunsetParkFS

 

Author Bio:

Santino is a writer of queer romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Find Santino:

Website
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Amazon

Tropes in Cascades with Charley Descoteaux – Post, Excerpt, + Giveaway

December 9, 2015

Tropes in Cascades

Hello! I’m Charley Descoteaux, here to celebrate the release of my holiday story Cascades!

Cascades is a standalone holiday novella…sort of. It stands alone, but doesn’t include a decorated tree or anyone in a red suit, or even a massive holiday meal (there is a string of fairy lights, however). The story opens the day before Christmas and ends on New Year’s Day, but that’s about it. If you’ve read my short story “Toy Run” you probably know how much “holiday” to expect from this story.

During the editorial process, while I worked with my lovely editors to polish the sharp edges from this rough little story, I played with the idea of including one of those snappy warnings in the blurb. You know the kind, they usually start out with a real warning and end up talking about sex in trees or a hairstyle you can see from space. I love those, they can be fun and still give enough of a hint that the story might include a trope I’m not interested in reading that day.

The warning for Cascades might’ve gone something like this: Warning: this story includes a man who leaves the country to escape the holidays, a random hookup with a stranger, a love interest living on the streets, references to girls deflowering boys, and Canadian potatoes.

Maybe I should’ve subtitled this story Unpopular Tropes. (Except for the potatoes, those are always popular.)

I’m laughing, but it’s true. Male-Male Romances usually don’t allow the love interest to be homeless—unless he’s a rent boy, engaging in survival sex until the main character rescues him from the streets. Doug isn’t a sex worker (and not because he’s pushing 50) but he does things most of us wouldn’t want to seriously consider doing to survive.

Probably less popular, though, is JB’s dalliance before the two heroes get together. I can understand this, sort of, but if we want stories to reflect the experiences of real people we have to accept that it happens. Sometimes real people jump immediately into monogamous relationships and sometimes they don’t. Especially if the hero has been alone for a long time. And that goes double if the hero has no idea the love of his life is waiting for him a few pages later.

Cascades is one of those stories I wasn’t sure if I should submit once it was finished—it’s about two older dudes and neither are easy to know and love. I enjoy stories with atypical heroes, though, so I held my breath and hit Send. Cascades isn’t your typical holiday tale, but the folks at Dreamspinner took a chance on it and I hope you will too.

 

What are your favorite “unpopular” Romance tropes?  Do you love a story about sex workers who don’t give up their careers for love? How about a December/December Romance or an overweight hero who doesn’t lose weight by the end of the story?

Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a backlist book of your choice.

I’ll be in and out for the next couple of days and will choose a winner on Friday, 12/11.

Join me on the Dreamspinner Press Facebook page on 12/12 for more chances to win!

CascadesFS

You can read all of Chapter One on the Dreamspinner store. Just about all the unpopular tropes are included there!

This excerpt is from Chapter Two: JB and Doug are having breakfast on Christmas morning at a dive that shares space with the hostel where JB is staying. It might explain the potato reference above.

***

A guy who looked lonelier than I felt brought our breakfast. Two steaming plates full of eggs, bacon, toast, and potatoes. His Merry Christmas sounded more like fuck you.

Yeah, me too, buddy.

Doug and I ate without talking. He seemed to relax as his plate emptied. For the most part. The tension in his face didn’t ease, but he leaned back in his chair and his breathing slowed to normal.

After a while the silence got to me. “Damn, these potatoes are good.”

Doug snorted.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Too lowbrow for you?” I tried for a joking tone, but didn’t quite make it.

He frowned. A moment later he looked up at me. The lines on his face cut deeper than Uncle Pete’s. “It’s just seasoned salt. You can get it at any grocery store.”

“I’ll have to remember that.” The smile I tried out didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. He frowned deeper and turned his whole body away from me.

Neither of us spoke again until the lonely guy had bussed the table and we’d both finished a third cup of coffee.

“Come on back up to the room with me.” I stood, paused a moment to give him a chance to answer, and then headed back the way we’d come. By the time I rounded the corner, his footsteps were right behind me.

He followed me up the stairs and pushed past me into the room. I locked the door, and when I turned around, he was stretching out on the bed. Nude.

 

Blurb:

Justice “JB” Bishop tells himself he’s satisfied with life in the small town of Upright, Oregon. He was born and raised there, and has settled into a comfortable, if lonely, routine working at his uncle’s bar. JB doesn’t expect anything to change after he turns fifty, until an old friend drops in. She suggests he get out of town for the holidays, and soon JB finds himself on an Amtrak to Canada. JB expected to feel different in Canada, to see things he couldn’t see at home. He never expected to find the one who got away.

Buy Cascades: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7112

 

About the Author:

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

 

Rattle my cages—I’d love to hear from you!

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3

Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

Eyes Only For Me – Excerpt.

November 23, 2015

EyesOnlyForMeFS

 

For years, Clayton Potter’s been friends and workout partners with Ronnie. Though Clay is attracted, he’s never come on to Ronnie because, let’s face it, Ronnie only dates women.

When Clay’s father suffers a heart attack, Ronnie, having recently lost his dad, springs into action, driving Clay to the hospital over a hundred miles away. To stay close to Clay’s father, the men share a hotel room near the hospital, but after an emotional day, one thing leads to another, and straight-as-an-arrow Ronnie make a proposal that knocks Clay’s socks off! Just a little something to take the edge off.

Clay responds in a way he’s never considered. After an amazing night together, Clay expects Ronnie to ignore what happened between them and go back to his old life. Ronnie surprises him and seems interested in additional exploration. Though they’re friends, Clay suddenly finds it hard to accept the new Ronnie and suspects that Ronnie will return to his old ways. Maybe they both have a thing or two to learn.

Purchase a copy:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7090

 

I changed in the locker room while Ronnie talked to everyone. His big personality was back, and it was good to see. After filling my water bottle, I went up to the mezzanine to the treadmills. I got on one, dropped my phone into one of the cup holders, then started the machine and began my workout. I had a good view of the workout floor, so I watched as the others went through their routines, talking constantly as they did. A few times I saw Ronnie glance up, making the occasional rude gesture and then grinning like a naughty child. I was about to give him one back when my phone rang. I picked it up and answered it.

“Is this Clayton Potter?” I heard a strange voice ask.

“Yes, it is,” I answered, figuring this was some sort of telemarketing call. I made a mental note to check the do-not-call lists.

“I’m Dr. Greenway down at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Your father listed you as next of kin. He was brought in earlier today. I’m afraid he’s had as many as three strokes in the past few hours.”

Hearing the word stroke, I forgot what I was doing or where I was. The machine kept working even as I stopped, and it pushed me off the back. I stumbled and managed to keep from crashing to the floor but ended up in a heap nonetheless as my legs gave out.

“Mr. Potter, are you all right?”

“I don’t know” was the only answer I could form. My head buzzed and my ears rang, hands and legs tingling. “How is he now?”

“Howard is stable at the moment, but he’s slipped into a coma. Part of it is the body’s way of protecting itself. We need to run some more tests to determine the cause of the strokes, and then we may need to perform surgery to try to correct the blockage in his neck. Is it possible for you to get here? We will need permission to perform the surgery. I can do emergency surgery without it, but I would prefer we time this as best we can.”

“Yes. I’ll see about leaving as soon as I can.” I stared at the phone, sitting on the floor while other people began gathering around me. I scanned the faces, people I didn’t know all asking questions that didn’t seem to register. Then Ronnie pushed his way in, and I took a deep breath as the fog over my mind lifted somewhat.

“What happened?”

“It’s my dad,” I told him. Those words galvanized Ronnie into action. He helped me to my feet and grabbed my things from the machine before turning it off.

“What happened to him?” Ronnie asked.

“Stroke,” I answered. “Got to get to Johns Hopkins.”

Ronnie stared into my eyes. “You can’t drive. Not like this.” Even as he said the words, he was already leading me down the steps and toward the locker room. “Change your clothes.” He left me in front of my locker, and I stared at it, forcing my hands to work. I pulled off my gym clothes and got back into the regular ones. By the time I was done, Ronnie was dressed.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“My dad was at Hopkins,” Ronnie told me, and then he snatched up my bag and took me by the arm. My head was clearing, and the feeling was returning in my arms and legs, but I still felt shaky on my feet. He half propelled me toward the door, stopped at the desk briefly, and then we continued outside.

“My car is over there,” I said, but Ronnie guided me to his and somehow managed to get both gym bags in the tiny trunk of the Lamborghini.

“I’m taking you down.” He unlocked the car and lifted the door upward. It felt like I was still almost on the ground once I got in. Ronnie pushed the door down to close it and came around to the driver’s side. As soon as he got in, he started the engine, which roared to life, and within minutes we were out of the lot and entering the freeway.

“You don’t have to do this,” I said, a little belatedly, though I was pleased he thought enough of me to take this much care. Ronnie and I were friends, but he was a very busy man whose time was extremely valuable.

“Of course I do.” Ronnie reached over and patted my leg a few times, then returned his hand to the wheel. “When my dad was in the hospital, you came in all the time, talked to him and Mom.” Ronnie’s voice faltered for a few seconds. “She told me how you used to sit with her and just listen while she spouted all kinds of crap. Her words. She said she needed someone to talk with, and you were there.” Ronnie continued driving as I stared out the window. I’d made the drive from Harrisburg to Baltimore more times than I could count. It had been just my dad and me for a long time.

Yellow Streak Release Party, #6

November 13, 2015

Susan Laine here, saying big thanks to everyone reading these posts about Yellow Streak by Dreamspinner Press. I hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpts, pictures (few more delicious ones below), and insight into the issues being dealt with in the Heroes At Heart series. Thank you for your company and comments, and I hope you continue to enjoy my stories. Goodbye, and see you around the internet :)

YellowStreak-900-1350YellowbellyHeroFS

THE GIVEAWAY: Anyone who comments on any of the Release Party posts is part of the giveaway, for one e-book copy of Yellow Streak, Yellowbelly Hero, or any book in my backlog. The winner will be named tomorrow, so comment anywhere and stay tuned! :)

——————————

A few last pictures to whet your appetite <3

CrisArt 18 CrisArt 19CrisArt 20CrisArt 21

 

(CrisArt) The last picture hints at the future of Yancy and Curt’s relationship, as Yancy wants to be a writer and Curt just loves listening to his voice <3

——————————

Susan Laine is an award-winning, multi-published author of LGBTQ erotic romance. Susan lives in Finland, where summers are wet and winters long. Thankfully, she’s kept plenty warm by the spark for writing, which kindled when Susan discovered the sizzling hot gay erotic romance genre. Trained as an anthropologist, Susan’s long-term plan is to become a full-time writer. Susan enjoys hanging out with her sister, two nieces, and friends in movie theaters, bookstores, and parks. Her favorite pastimes include listening to music, watching action flicks, eating chocolate, and doing the dishes while pondering the meaning of life.

Susan Laine

Web: http://www.susan-laine-author.fi/
Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5221828.Susan_Laine/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.laine.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Laine_Susan
E-mail: susan.laine@hotmail.com

BUY YELLOW STREAK
Dreamspinner Press e-book
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Yellow Streak Release Party, #5

November 13, 2015

Susan here, still talking about Yellow Streak, and Heroes At Heart series by Dreamspinner Press. I’m entering the last hour of my Release Party for Yellow Streak. I hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpts (one more below, a sexy one!), pictures, and insight into the issues being dealt with in the Heroes At Heart series.

YellowStreak-900-1350

Now… the Giveaway: Anyone who has commented on any of the Release Party posts is part of the giveaway, for one e-book copy of Yellow Streak, or any book in my backlog. The winner will be named tomorrow, so comment anywhere and stay tuned! :)

——————————

 

Intense Kiss

Now… time for a steamy, sensual (R) excerpt:

Five minutes later Curt and I lay together on my bed, side by side, butt naked.
His hand rested on my hipbone. Every so often he made a tiny circle with his fingertips, gliding over my skin soft as a feather, a flirtation of touch. For a while we locked gazes. I believe what we did could be called communing without words. He was asking me questions about what we would do tonight, and I answered with wantonness that I was ready for anything.
Finally he slipped his hand over my hip down to the small of my back and gently nudged me closer until our bodies touched. His chest hair tickled my hairless chest. His hot, hard cock kissed my equally needy organ. He shoved one leg between my thighs and thus brought our balls into a nuzzling bond. And his lips fell on mine, the touch at first fleeting, a brief savoring, but soon growing into fiery urgency and a deep-seated need to taste.
Curt used his knee to pry my legs farther apart and then settled between them.
He was on top of me, his crushing weight hovering over me, held back by the strength of his steely muscles. I had to feel him on me, lying on top of me, being mine. When he finally did allow himself to lie down and press fully onto me, we breathed simultaneous sighs of satisfaction. I wrapped my arms and legs around him, pulling him closer, like I couldn’t get enough of him.
His kisses grew harder, more voracious and demanding. His tongue seemed to search my mouth like an explorer in an unknown land. He sucked my tongue gently, though, and I knew he didn’t want to hurt me.
I showed him I didn’t mind his roughness—it was a part of him—and scraped my nails across his back, summoning forth tiny drops of blood. Curt moaned, and his hips bucked into me, his cock rubbing mine.
Hot, sticky droplets landed between our writhing bodies and got smeared. I didn’t know if they were mine or his, precome or pee.
“Shh,” Curt whispered into the kiss, his breath fanning over me. “It’s just us. Forget everything else. I want you. So fucking much.”
It seemed Curt didn’t care what the droplets were.
Therefore neither did I.
Reseizing my mouth, he devoured me.

 

———————

Susan Laine is an award-winning, multi-published author of LGBTQ erotic romance. Susan lives in Finland, where summers are wet and winters long. Thankfully, she’s kept plenty warm by the spark for writing, which kindled when Susan discovered the sizzling hot gay erotic romance genre. Trained as an anthropologist, Susan’s long-term plan is to become a full-time writer. Susan enjoys hanging out with her sister, two nieces, and friends in movie theaters, bookstores, and parks. Her favorite pastimes include listening to music, watching action flicks, eating chocolate, and doing the dishes while pondering the meaning of life.

Susan Laine

Web: http://www.susan-laine-author.fi/
Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5221828.Susan_Laine/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.laine.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Laine_Susan
E-mail: susan.laine@hotmail.com

BUY YELLOW STREAK
Dreamspinner Press e-book
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

Yellow Streak Release Party, #4

November 13, 2015

Susan Laine here, hanging around for any questions or chats you wish to have. Now promoting my latest release, Yellow Streak, and it’s prequel, Yellowbelly Hero.

The previous book, Yellowbelly Hero, shows our two heroes, Yance Bell and Curt Donovan, meet. In a dark college bathroom where Curt plans to commit suicide. His father had thrown him out and called him vile things. It takes Yancy to show Curt his life wasn’t worthless or over.

YellowbellyHeroFS

Here’s the blurb for Yellowbelly Hero:

“Yancy Bell was bullied in high school for being a yellowbelly, not because of any cowardice, but because of his nervous bladder condition. It’s Yancy’s first year in college, and he’s hoping to make a fresh start.

Three days before Christmas, the campus is empty. Having to pee on a midwinter night leads Yancy to meet Curt Donovan huddled in a dark shower stall. Curt’s a troubled jock whose coming out went badly, so he plans to end it all.

But Yancy adamantly refuses to let Curt go through with his irrevocable plan. With just one dark night to talk Curt around, Yancy has to win the trust of a stranger who only sees one way out.”

———————-

Here’s an excerpt from Yellowbelly Hero, which you can also get from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and ARe:

CrisArt 16

(CrisArt)

His gaze connected with mine. I could see the exact moment he made his choice, a steely flash of determination. “I’m Curt Donovan.”
Oh. A name now attached to that masculine, beautiful face. I smiled. “Hi. I’m Yancy.”
He chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Yeah. You said so. My memory’s A-OK.”
“Well, good.” I cracked a smile too, and we shared a laugh. But my memory was fine too, and I couldn’t shake the thought Curt was stuck in a dark place. “So, um, can I ask… what are you doing here tonight?”
His smile faded. His frown was firmly back in place and he looked away. Stiffening, he didn’t seem able or willing to find the words. I didn’t know how to encourage him. These were uncharted waters for me.
The defensive look and tone were back in force. “Are you telling me to pack it in and be on my way, or you’ll call the cops on me for trespassing or some shit like that?”
“Of course not.” I couldn’t keep the hurt out of my voice.
Curt looked embarrassed as he saw my response. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” I decided being magnanimous was the best approach here. It seemed to draw him out of his shell, bit by bit. “I just….” I chewed on the inside of my cheek, nervous all of a sudden. “When I came in, I thought… I thought maybe you were hurt or something. I guess I just wanted to… you know, help out. If I could. That’s all.”
Curt threaded a hand through his spiky black hair. It was a gesture born of frustration, I could tell. “Look, I… I don’t wanna bore you. I’m sure you’ve got better things to do right now.”
I shook my head steadfastly. “Nope. Free as a bird.”
Curt seemed to find that baffling. “But… you’re up.”
A quick flash of guilt had me worrying he could see my semihard dick through my hands in my lap. But then I realized he meant I was awake in the middle of the night. I chuckled. “I had to take a leak.” Or I’d been leaking without wishing it, but I wasn’t going to tell him that.
“Oh.” Curt accepted my explanation at face value, for which I was immensely grateful and glad. “Well, anyway… bet you’re wishing you were in bed, though.”
My naughty dreams of this ruggedly handsome man took a turn for the wild side, and I had to shake my head to clear it from such distractions. “I don’t sleep well, usually. I wake up a lot.”
“Nightmares?”

 

If you or anyone you know plans to commit suicide, please call or urge them to call a suicide hotlineNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline

———————

Susan Laine is an award-winning, multi-published author of LGBTQ erotic romance. Susan lives in Finland, where summers are wet and winters long. Thankfully, she’s kept plenty warm by the spark for writing, which kindled when Susan discovered the sizzling hot gay erotic romance genre. Trained as an anthropologist, Susan’s long-term plan is to become a full-time writer. Susan enjoys hanging out with her sister, two nieces, and friends in movie theaters, bookstores, and parks. Her favorite pastimes include listening to music, watching action flicks, eating chocolate, and doing the dishes while pondering the meaning of life.

Susan Laine

Web: http://www.susan-laine-author.fi/
Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5221828.Susan_Laine/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.laine.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Laine_Susan
E-mail: susan.laine@hotmail.com

BUY YELLOW STREAK
Dreamspinner Press e-book
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
All Romance eBooks

 

Yellow Streak Release Party, #2

November 13, 2015

I’m Susan Laine, here to chat with you good folks, especially about my latest novella, Yellow Streak. There will be a giveaway and an excerpt coming soon, so stay tuned :)

YellowStreak-900-1350

So without further ado, I’m diving straight in. This series, Heroes At Heart, deals with some heavy issues. Among them, youth angst, depression, and suicidal thoughts. The cause for Curt Donovan, a college jock, is his bad coming out as gay when his parents threw him to the curb without a backward glance.

In the first book, Yellowbelly Hero, Curt plans to end his own life, unable to face the holiday season without a family the belong with or a home to go to. To his aid comes an unlikely hero, Yancy Bell, a geek English lit major who suffers from a bladder problem. In Curt’s darkest hour, Yancy refuses to let Curt go through with his plan. They talk and try to find a solution to Curt’s problem.

In the second book, Yellow Streak, Curt has survived his suicide attempt, thanks to Yancy. But upon his return to college, Curt acts like nothing’s happened. It’s up to Yancy to figure what’s wrong with Curt, and learn if those dark thoughts still remain. I offer no simple solutions, as there are no quick fixes. In fact, two more books in the series will come out next year, in May and July 2016, making this series a quadrilogy.

Thoughts of suicide, depression, and suffering are common among youths of all ages these days, not just to LGBTQ teens. It feels like the world is full of hatred and venom, and often that extends to the home when parents turn on their children, siblings against one another, and there seems to be no hope for the future. But, as Curt too discovers, no one is truly alone. So, if you or anyone you know plans to commit suicide, please urge them to call a suicide hotline.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

———————

Susan Laine is an award-winning, multi-published author of LGBTQ erotic romance. Susan lives in Finland, where summers are wet and winters long. Thankfully, she’s kept plenty warm by the spark for writing, which kindled when Susan discovered the sizzling hot gay erotic romance genre. Trained as an anthropologist, Susan’s long-term plan is to become a full-time writer. Susan enjoys hanging out with her sister, two nieces, and friends in movie theaters, bookstores, and parks. Her favorite pastimes include listening to music, watching action flicks, eating chocolate, and doing the dishes while pondering the meaning of life.

Susan Laine

Web: http://www.susan-laine-author.fi/
Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5221828.Susan_Laine/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.laine.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Laine_Susan
E-mail: susan.laine@hotmail.com

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Out of My Own Books, Chaser Is One of My Favorites with Rick R. Reed

November 12, 2015

ChaserFS

When you begin to lose track of how many books you’ve had published, it’s really hard to say which one is your favorite. It’s like asking Mrs. O’Farrell, a staunch Irish Catholic who lived next door to us when I was growing up which of her nine children was her favorite.

“They’re all my favorites,” I imagine her replying, “Each for a different reason.”

And the same holds true for me and my books. But today I am thinking about Chaser. For its humor, its insight about body image (and the gay ideal or lack thereof), and its theme of attractiveness being a highly personal and relative thing, Chaser truly is, of my own stuff, one of my favorites.

Since its publication back in August of 2012, I’ve gotten many letters from readers thanking me for introducing a romantic hero who is not the ideal. See, the object of desire/affection in my story is Kevin and Kevin’s a little overweight. The “chaser” in the title refers to the gay lingo term for men who prefer their men on the meatier side: chubby chasers.

My other main character, Caden, is one of those men. Although Caden is a runner, with a lean and what some might call a perfect body, he prefers his men to have a little something to hold onto. Here’s Caden’s first glimpse of Kevin in a bar one night:

Caden did have his eye on one guy, down on the lower level at one of the high-topped tables, talking with a couple of friends. He stood out because he was not built like most of the guys here, who were, to a man, either too skinny or too pumped up to register on his attraction meter.

This guy seemed comfortable in his own skin and Caden liked the way he threw back his head and laughed when one of his buddies said something funny. Unlike most of the other guys in Sidetrack that night, he did not show any signs that he was conscious of his appearance. Caden liked that he wore comfortable clothes, a cotton sweater of faded blue-gray and a simple pair of carpenter pants, most likely Carhartt. He peered over the rail and saw the guy’s feet were encased in work boots. Ah. A blue-collar man. A working guy. Just my type. Caden also liked his tousled blond hair, which revealed fetching layers of color that went from almost brown, to wheat, to pale blond, to nearly platinum, yet revealed no indication, Caden thought, of the attentions of a hairdresser. And what put him on the “edge of glory” was the crowning touch: a thick beard, not manicured into tortured geometric lines.

And he was blessedly overweight. Not fat. But a bit of gut protruded, and his thighs, in denim, looked like tree trunks. When he turned around, he revealed an ass of ample proportions, the kind Caden could just imagine as two perfect, creamy white spheres perfect for grasping and pulling apart.

“Is it hot in here?” Caden shouted in Bobby’s ear. He took a gulp of beer and fanned his hand in front of his face.

Most of the time, in gay or straight romance, you don’t find men like the one above. But in Chaser, I tried to show that objects of desire and/or love can and do come in all different shapes and sizes.

The vagaries of sexual attraction are definitely not a one-size-fits-all affair.

But if that was all there was to Chaser, there wouldn’t be much of a story, now would there? As an author, I like there to be some drama, some tension, so I asked… “What would happen if….”

…and filled in the blank with “Kevin lost the weight that drew Caden to him in the first place?”

So, when Caden has to leave town suddenly for an extended period, he returns home to a man who is not at all what he was originally drawn to. How does one deal with such a situation? As the tag line on the cover of Chaser wonders: “Is it really what’s on the inside that counts?”

Well, is it?

I think open-hearted people everywhere know the answer to that question, even if might be modified somewhat by “within limits”. But to find out if Kevin and Caden are still a love match when body images change, you have to read Chaser to discover what happens.

I leave you with a sentence near the end of the book that may give you a clue to how things turn out:

Caden turned back to Kevin. The fight had gone out of him. He appraised him with new eyes.

And what do you think he saw?

Chaser is available from Dreamspinner Press and at all the usual suspects—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, and so on. And if you want more, check out Raining Men. It explores another side of gay life that may not be at the forefront of gay romance—sexual addiction and its power to thwart the very love for which one might search within its clutches.

Sukie Rick Palm Springs Rococo

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed.
E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

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A Kiss from Jaime Samms’ New Novella

November 12, 2015

His scream split the afternoon, and he jumped, probably five feet straight back, dropped the cup, and minced on feet that barely touched the ground until his tight butt fetched up against the fence.

“Easy.” Dusty rushed forward, crouched, and flicked the errant spider free of Conrad’s leg. She landed in the grass and promptly disappeared.

“Ohmygodohmygodohmygod,” Conrad was chanting under his breath, fingers clenching around the wooden slats behind him, eyes closed tight. “Okay.” Dusty had put a hand on the side of Conrad’s thigh, about to get up, to offer some sort of reassurance, when Conrad’s eyes flew open, luminous and wide, and fixed on him. “Is it gone?”

Dusty smiled. “She’s gone.”

“Good,” Conrad whispered, gazing down at him, freezing him in place. A heartbeat later, Conrad’s hand came free of the fence and his fingertips brushed over the back of Dusty’s hand, still on his leg.

“S-sorry.” Dusty stood so fast vertigo tilted the earth under his feet.

Conrad’s hands, unyielding but steady and gentle, gripped his upper arms, and Dusty blinked. He’d barely drawn a breath when Conrad took a step toward him, lips parted.

Like gravity, the sight of Conrad’s soft expression drew Dusty to him until Dusty touched his lips to Conrad’s. Or had Conrad done the touching? It was impossible to tell, and it made Dusty sigh out a little breath of expectancy. Then there was no air to breathe, no space, and nothing but the pressure of the kiss.

Dusty closed his eyes, ran fingers over the sides of Conrad’s face, and pressed the advantage of the gasp that ran through Conrad at the touch. He pushed his tongue into Conrad’s mouth and moved them until Conrad was pinned against the fence. Dusty had to stand on his toes to reach properly, but that didn’t stop him until they both needed to breathe.

When he stepped back, lips tingling, breath short, Conrad’s eyes were wide, and his chest heaved. His lips, red and parted, curved in a bemused smile. “Was that meant to make me forget I just screamed like a little girl?”

“I—” Dusty took a hasty step back. He’d just kissed a complete stranger. He’d had this job for exactly three hours, and he’d tripped over a spider and kissed the man who signed his miniscule paycheck. “Oh shit.”

Conrad’s smile grew. The hand that had come to rest at the side of Dusty’s face exerted a tiny amount of pressure, thumb pad ghosting over his cheekbone and back, like he had brushed away a bit of hair….

“I’m so sorry,” Dusty blurted. “I—I didn’t mean—Sir—I—”

Conrad grinned then. “You kiss me like that and then call me sir?”

“Oh God.” Dusty broke away and moved back, out of reach. “I am so sorry.” He turned and fled back inside, through the studio, and out the front door of the building. He had hiked back to his own apartment and was letting himself inside when he remembered he never had emptied the bucket of dirty floor water.

LikeNoOneisWatchingFS

Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men; what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love, she’s never come up with a clear answer.  Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they should also be the stories she wrote.

Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Reported Lost by Anne Barwell

October 31, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

 

“Got you!” Rupert Milne muttered under his breath.

Ghosts could be pesky things and next to impossible to spot, unless they wanted to draw attention to themselves.

This one appeared to be a man in his thirties, his dark hair cut in a style popular several decades ago. While age could be deceptive—Rupert appeared to be in his fifties but was closer to four thousand and fifty—the ghost’s clothing confirmed it.

Rupert slid into the seat next to the spirit.  He’d always admired the way they could appear to be sitting on furniture although they were incorporeal. But Halloween was fast approaching; a night that often changed the rules.

“Good evening,” he said pleasantly. “Nice trick you have there, turning pages without touching them.”

The ghost looked up in surprise. “You can see me?” His eyes narrowed. “You’re not human,” he said flatly. “Who sent you?”

Rupert sighed. Better to get the formalities out the way first. He lowered his voice to make it harder for a human to overhear his side of the conversation.  “Would you mind telling me why you’re haunting this library? It’s creating attention that is better avoided. My name is Rupert Milne, and I have some experience in this kind of thing.  I’d like to help if I can.”

“How can you see me?” The ghost wasn’t going to let go of that one. “You’re not human. You feel…different. You’re not one of those with powers either. They can see me, but most of the time they don’t say anything.”

That’s because they don’t realise they’re talking to a ghost.

“Yes, yes, of course they can see you.” Rupert didn’t have time to go into Paranormal 101, and doubted the ghost would appreciate it. “I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to help you work through whatever or whoever is keeping you here.”

“You haven’t answered my question.”

One of the librarians walked past pushing a book trolley. She frowned in Rupert’s direction, probably wondering who the crazy guy was talking to himself. He waved cheerily and turned his attention back to the ghost.

“I’m a vampire. That’s why I can see you.  I overheard one of my students talking about you, which is why I’m here.”

“Someone noticed me!” The ghost glanced around, panicked.  At least he was more worried about that than the fact Rupert had just outed himself as a vampire.

“You pulled books off shelves.  People talk.”

“It was an accident!” The ghost sighed. “I’ve been here so long and I’m tired. I just want to move on.”

“I know how you feel.” Rupert had been teaching at Victoria University for over twenty years. It was almost time for him to move on too, before someone realised he wasn’t getting any older. “Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell me your story, hmm? Then I’ll see what I can do to help.”

The ghost smiled, a glimmer of hope in his eyes. “My name is Bernard Pollard and I was on the Wahine when it went down in Wellington Harbour in 1968.”

 

***

 

“I shouldn’t be here.”

Joseph Tomley gripped the top of his walking stick. His breath came in gasps. Rupert hoped it was nerves, and not a sign that Joseph was about to expire on the spot.  While breaking into the library after hours hadn’t been that difficult, Rupert didn’t want to have to explain a dead body to whoever was in charge of security.

“Yes, you should.” Rupert guided him to the corner, and sat him down under the large windows. Although the building was dark there was enough light coming through them so Joseph could see.

Rupert had figured with it being Halloween, it was easier for the two men to meet close to midnight.  At least this way they’d be able to talk to each other directly. Rupert had acted as a go between for this kind of thing before and it wasn’t something he enjoyed.

Joseph paled when Bernard stepped out of the shadows.  “Bernard. Oh my God. It is you.”

“Joseph?” Bernard said, his voice cracking. “You… I waited but you never came.”  He bit his lip, brushed one finger across Joseph’s wrinkled cheek, and sat down next to him. “I… can touch you…”

“Halloween,” Rupert told him. “You only have a short time. Make the most of it. I’ll be close by if you need me.”   He headed toward the fiction collection, his attention taken by a familiar name on one of the books in the romance section.

He’d read at least one chapter of a book he wished he’d never opened before he caught a glimpse of someone behind him.

“Thank you.”  Joseph and Bernard stood together, in appearance a young man with his arms around the waist of someone old enough to be his grandfather. Both had tears running down their cheeks.

“It’s almost time,” he reminded them.  “I’m sorry.”

Bernard smiled. “Don’t be. I know now he didn’t forget me, that he never stopped loving me. I’ll wait for him.”

“I feel so foolish.” Joseph kissed Bernard softly. “This library was always our place, so I avoided it because I couldn’t bear the memories. I’d lost you, and I couldn’t tell anyone about our relationship. Then it was too late.”

“And I waited for you here because it was our special place. We were both idiots.” Bernard took a step back. “Good bye, my love. I’ll see you again soon.”  He turned and walked toward the back wall, before disappearing from sight.

“I love you too.”  Joseph watched that section of wall for a few moments but Bernard was gone, at least for tonight.  “Thank you,” he said again. “From both of us.”

Rupert nodded.  It was never easy losing the person you loved, and these men had done it twice.  “I’ll take you home now.”

Joseph smiled, although his eyes were sad. “You already have.”

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