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Synopsis

Fleeing the questions and horrific memories in Miami-Dade, Trevor Garrett accepts a deputy position in the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Plagued by anxiety attacks and an abhorrence to being touched, Trevor rebuffs his best friend’s attempts to set him up. He has no desire for any type of relationship; until the local golden boy strolls into his line of sight at the neighborhood dive…

Logan Andrews just wants to take care of his mama. After years of serving his country in the Army Special Forces, Logan resigns when he learns his mother is suffering from advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A night out with old friends turns heated when the newest deputy in town catches his attention…

When a sexually deviant killer sets his sights on the gay men in the area, Trevor is assigned the case. In a wicked twist, all evidence points to Logan. Can Trevor’s past be repeating itself? In a race against a killer, Trevor struggles to overcome his own insecurities and clear the man whose touch sets him on fire. Will he succeed or will their budding relationship become Collateral Damage?

Excerpt

Excerpt
Spray painted names decorated the walls, but none of the gang type graffiti he was used to seeing back home. Footprints tracked the dusty floor. Most of them overlapped heading for the short hallway. A few stray ones meandered off to either side indicating three, possibly four different shoe types.
“Careful where you walk, we don’t want to disturb the unmarred prints,” he said, indicating the intact ones to the left and right. Will huffed in annoyance. “Right, you already knew that. I’ll stop sticking my shoe in my mouth; it tastes like shit.” Will laughed and clapped a friendly hand on Trevor’s back.
“When you’re being an ass, believe me I’ll let ya know. Let’s just get this done so we can get back to the air conditioning,” Will said.
“Gotcha,” Trevor answered and realized as he moved toward the hall, he’d made his first new friend in Rolling Fork. Well except for Logan, and he wasn’t sure if friend was the right word for the man. Fuck buddy? Certainly not a lover; that implied too much intimacy. Trevor hastily shoved his thoughts aside when his cock took notice. He cleared his throat. “How did we catch this?”
“Couple of kids hunting a make out spot came in this morning, maybe an hour ago. While the boy was laying out a blanket and pillows, girlfriend went investigating. When she went to screaming, he thought she’d found a rat or spider. He called 9-1-1 when he finally got her to shut up and moved her outside,” the deputy answered from behind them.
“And, you got their names and statements, right?” Trevor left the question hanging and looked over at the younger man.
“Yes, names and statements. Contact information too, though Krissy wasn’t keen on daddy knowing she was out with Beau. She was supposed to be at Laney’s with her best friend.” Mike answered.
Trevor took several photographs of the hall and then walked carefully down the middle. In a room to the right, Trevor spied the abandoned love nest. The blanket lay stretched across a cleared expanse of bare wooden floor. The pillows lay scattered where the boy had dropped them. A few snaps, including several of the wide array of footprints and he moved deeper into the structure.
A postage stamp bathroom with peeling tile opened on the left. Mold and God only knew what else grew in the bathtub. The toilet had been completely smashed and the sink hung drunkenly from the wall.
At the last door, he found the corpse. He paused in the doorway and winced. Flies buzzed around the bloated body. The smell stole his breath for several seconds. Behind him, Mike again struggled to keep his breakfast down, but he didn’t bolt that time. Will waited for Trevor to survey the scene.
Male, mid to late thirties, dark brown hair, possibly well built beneath the distended, gaseous flesh. Maybe six foot, sprawled on his stomach and naked. Trevor lifted the camera and took a few dozen shots before moving into the room.
“No blood.” Will murmured as he came around Trevor’s left shoulder. “Interesting.” The man circled the body mumbling quietly, but was careful to avoid any clear footprints.
Trevor did his own look-see. The medical examiner was right. No blood marred the scene, but that wouldn’t have been the case if left for another day. The skin was dangerously close to rupture. Breathing through his mouth, Trevor took more pictures and then donned gloves to start the collection of evidence. Will Davis went to his knees beside the body.
Trevor found jeans, a Polo pullover, underwear and socks folded and stacked neatly by the door. He assumed, they belonged to the vic. Wallet, including seventy-five dollars in cash, and cell phone were both tucked neatly into the back pockets of the jeans.
The front pockets disgorged loose change and keys. With his finds, Trevor easily ruled out robbery as a motive. The young deputy bagged each item separately as Trevor handed them to him. Before the wallet was sealed, Trevor checked the I.D.
“Joseph S. Rutledge.” He read aloud.
“Scottie?” From the doorway, Deputy Vann spoke up. Trevor glanced up at him. The kid held the evidence bags against his chest like a shield. Disbelief wreathed his youthful features.
“You know him?” Trevor asked.
“Yeah, he went to school with my cousin, David. He owns the flower shop down on Main. Who the hell would want to kill him?”
“That’s what we have to find out,” Trevor said and rose to his full height. “He have any arguments with anyone in town? Unhappy customers? Old girlfriends?” Trevor paced away from the body and bent to pick up a flash of silver in the corner. Some type of coin, he bagged it and carried to Vann.
“Nah, he’s a homo,” Vann blurted and turned scarlet. His fair complexion lit him up like a Christmas tree. Trevor bristled at the slur.
“He was a man who didn’t deserve to die,” Trevor bit out. “It’s clear he wasn’t here alone.”

Collateral Damage Cover

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01FRM38RW

Giveaway

Prize: 5 ecopies of Collateral Damage by J.T. Cheyanne

 

About the author

#1 Best Selling Author of Grand Slam, J.T. Cheyanne is a genre crosser who writes romance and paranormal in the m/m and m/f genres. J.T. Cheyanne resides in the beautiful state of Alabama. J.T. lives with her two sons and daughter. An avid reader since fourth grade, she has only just started writing her own stories. She also has several works published with her co-author, V.L. Moon.

Social Links:

Website: http://www.lazandlachi.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jtcheyannestories
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JTCheyanne
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6534660.J_T_Cheyanne

Collateral Damage Print Cover

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Cervena coverBlurb:

When Joel Jones finds homeless Russian, Sasha, outside his gay nightclub in Prague, he cannot find it in his heart to turn him away, so he offers him a home and a job as a dancer and stripper.
Despite a fifteen-year age gap, romance develops between them, but is interrupted when Joel has to return to England for many weeks to deal with a death in the family.
Upon Joel’s return, he is horrified to discover his business partner, Karel, has gambled away the club’s money and put them all at risk. Joel buys him out of the club, but when Karel continues to gamble, the people he owes pursue Joel for the debt instead—and they’ll stop at nothing to get paid.
Suddenly Joel and those he cares about—especially Sasha—are in danger, and Joel finds himself with no choice but to seek the help of known criminal, Vincenc Jankovic. Ensuring a happy future for himself and Sasha will mean a struggle and some difficult decisions, but Joel is determined to protect what they’ve built together.

Excerpt:

“Who is that guy?” Karel hooked one ankle over his other knee as we waited for Sasha’s “dress rehearsal.” He’d been with us a week and that night he would take to the podium in front of hundreds of clubbers for the first time. Why did I dislike the idea of it so much?
“What do you mean? You know who he is.”
“His name’s not Sasha. I looked at the file.”
“It’s a pet name his sister gave him.”
Karel raised an eyebrow. “How well do you know him, Joel?”
“Not as well as you got to know Bohdan and Marek when they joined us.”
Karel snorted. “Have you not heard of ‘try before you buy’?”
“They audition to dance, not fuck.” I grimaced, but Karel laughed.
“They weren’t complaining.”
“Well, keep your hands off Sasha,” I snapped.
“Someone’s possessive.”
“No, I just don’t want to see you mess with him. He’s a sweet kid.”
“Right.”
I stopped talking and turned my attention to Sasha as he climbed onto the podium. He’d had his hair cut in a short crop that suited him perfectly. He’d gained three or four pounds and looked much healthier than he had when I’d found him scavenging in the yard. It was difficult to believe only a week had passed. He seemed to be fitting in well with the other boys. All five of the dancers had welcomed him with open arms, and Tomáš and Fran had taken on the role of “tutors.” They’d reported Sasha was good, but neither Karel nor I had seen him dance yet.
Sasha bit his lip and clenched his slender hands into fists as he waited for the music to start. His nervousness was obvious and I hoped he’d be okay when he got going. It wasn’t a job for everyone. We’d had two young men try out for us in the summer and neither of them had the balls when it came down to it.
Pavel started the music—a fast dance track. Sasha closed his eyes for a moment and his chest heaved as he took a breath. Then he began to move. He had perfect rhythm, swaying, bucking, and grinding with the beat, turning slowly so he’d be seen from all sides of the podium when he was doing it for real. He kept his eyes half-closed, lips parted, and gradually his face relaxed into an expression of pleasure.

Buy Links when available.

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Sometimes it’s really worth checking out backlists. There are some marvellous books out there but with hundreds of new titles every week it can be very hard to find them.
Authors – have you got a title a year or more old that could do with a little love?
Readers – have you got a favourite book that you think deserves some attention?

Message or email me and we’ll set something up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a double favourite this week. My guest is Charlie Cochrane, one of my favourite people, and the book is Awfully Glad, one of my favourites of her books. It isn’t very long but it covers themes close to my heart – people who dare to be themselves and who have the courage to try and get what they really want even though the odds are stacked against them. Please do check it out, I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do.

Blurb:

WWI hero Sam Hines is used to wearing a face that isn’t his own. When he’s not in the trenches, he’s the most popular female impersonator on the front, but a mysterious note from an anonymous admirer leaves him worried. Everyone realizes—eventually—that Sam’s not a woman, but has somebody also worked out that he also prefers his lovers to be male?

When Sam meets—and falls for—fellow officer Johnny Browne after the war, he wonders whether he could be the man who wrote the note. If so, is he the answer to Sam’s dreams or just another predatory blackmailer, ready to profit from a love that dare not speak its name?

Excerpt:

Corry ushered the gaggle of officers out, leaving Sam alone with the business of casting off one persona and putting his real face back on. While being Madeleine was always exhilarating—especially when some poor dupe fell for the trick—he was more comfortable in his own skin. He knew men who weren’t, of course, who’d have envied him this opportunity to prance about onstage and garner the temporarily deluded worship of ranks of young men, but that wasn’t his cup of tea. Somehow his being a rugby-playing, Military Cross-winning officer added a certain authority to the deception. A female impersonator he might be, but nobody would ever accuse him of being a pansy.
He considered his reflection, which was almost passable now that the red patches on his face, where he’d smeared off the make-up, had faded and his hair had been towelled to a tawny dark blond. He looked younger than twenty-seven, barely a touch of six o’clock shadow, which was why Madeleine was always so authentic looking, of course. He’d make some young lady a wonderful husband, as his family kept reminding him.
Except that was on the bottom of his list of priorities, possibly even below getting himself stuck on a piece of barbed wire.
Make some chap a lovely husband? Yes, well, less chance of that happening than George V coming out here, shaking the Kaiser’s hand, and putting this whole mess to an end right now. Still, he couldn’t deny that the last few minutes had been pleasant. Corry was a great bloke—if he knew, then he was keeping his own counsel—and the ginger-headed lad had blushed rather attractively, even if the rest of his face seemed to consist of rough and pockmarked terrain.
The other two officers had been a treat for the eye, though. Did somebody in the regiment have an eye for a handsome face and make sure the pair had been assigned to the same battalion?
A small shape, just at the corner of Sam’s vision, caught his attention: a small piece of writing paper, or something else of the same colour, between two jars of make-up on the makeshift dressing table.
He prised the thing out—a little piece of paper, which had clearly been folded with great care before being wedged in such a position as to be visible only to someone sitting in the chair. It hadn’t been there before the show, and he’d swear it hadn’t been there at the interval nor straight after they’d taken their curtain call, either. Which meant, presumably, that one of his little gaggle of visitors had left it. Except he hadn’t noticed anybody put it there, or even one of the officers touching the jars on the table. Someone must have had a good tactical eye, an appreciation for the lay of the dressing-table land, and the ability to make a bold but discreet move. That hardly narrowed the field, did it? They were army officers, after all.
He turned the paper in his hand, imagining some poor chump of a second lieutenant writing love lines to Miss Madeleine, leaving them here, and then not being able to retrieve them after the great denouement had occurred. How that chap would be squirming now at the thought of Sam reading the lines he’d penned and having a good laugh over them. Perhaps it would be kinder just to chuck the note in the bin, rather than making the man suffer embarrassment. He might have put his name to it, after all.
Still…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I asked Charlie for a recommendation and this is what she said:

Too much choice! I’ll go with the first book which came to mind, which is Tamara Allen’s charming Whistling in the Dark. Such a gentle, atmospheric and beautifully written book, conjuring up a post-war America that’s trying hard to re-find its feet.

Whistling in the Dark

Biog and links: As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, sometimes historical (sometimes hysterical) and usually with a mystery thrown into the mix.

She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, and International Thriller Writers Inc., with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes Books, Lethe, MLR, and Riptide. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames and is on the organising team for UK Meet.

To sign up for her newsletter, email her at cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com, or catch her at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18
Twitter: http://twitter.com/charliecochrane
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2727135.Charlie_Cochrane
Blogs: http://charliecochrane.livejournal.com and https://charliecochrane.wordpress.com/
Website: http://www.charliecochrane.co.uk

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Sometimes it’s really worth checking out backlists. There are some marvellous books out there but with hundreds of new titles every week it can be very hard to find them.
Authors – have you got a title a year or more old that could do with a little love?
Readers – have you got a favourite book that you think deserves some attention? Message or email me and we’ll set something up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My guest this week is Alexa Milne and the book is Sporting Chance, which has the utterly winning combination of love, Wales and rugby. I have no idea how I missed this one when it came out!!

 

Blurb

Sometimes keeping hold of love is just as hard as finding it.
Dan and Iestyn are looking for romance. A school trip, a love of history, a wedding, a tango, the game of chess, and their friends and family all help the two men to realise that they’ve finally found true love with each other.
Iestyn thinks that he’s completely ordinary and that Dan is the only out and currently gay rugby player anywhere. Being gay can be difficult enough. Being famous also has its problems. But being gay, famous and a sportsman can make finding love complicated. So when Dan Morgan meets Iestyn Jones and gives him his phone number, their road ahead has more than a few bumps to overcome.
Will Iestyn and Dan overcome the obstacles thrown in their paths? Or will fame destroy their lives as well as their love?

Buy links
Publisher – https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/sporting-chance
Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sporting-Chance-Alexa-Milne-ebook/dp/B00PC750DS
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Sporting-Chance-Alexa-Milne-ebook/dp/B00PC750DS
All Romance – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sportingchance-1667146-149.html
Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/sporting-chance-1
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/alexa+milne?_requestid=352600

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Oh hell!

His arse hit the ice.

This was going to be so embarrassing.

He really should have looked where he was going and taken more care. It wasn’t that he meant to show off in front of the kids when they’d goaded him into demonstrating how he could skate backward. But that was how he found himself crashing into another body, a rather large male body, then scrabbling, unsuccessfully, to try to get himself up as he apologised. Iestyn heard the kids laughing. How the hell was he going to get up and retain some sort of dignity? Whose bloody idea had it been to come on this skating trip from school, and why had he volunteered to go? He heard a voice—a rather gorgeous lyrical voice—say something, but he wasn’t sure what. He found himself looking up into the face of the most handsome man he’d ever seen.

“Would you like some help getting up?” the vision said, holding out a hand.

Iestyn took the help offered and let the good-looking stranger pull him to his feet. He was shocked to find, when he’d stood up, that the man appeared to be significantly taller than his own nearly six feet.

“Thanks,” he said, brushing the ice from his trousers. He glanced over to find the kids staring at him. “What? You’ve seen a man fall over before, haven’t you? Even a teacher.”

But they just kept on staring at the man who had helped him up.

I asked Alexa for a recommendation and this is what she said:

The book I’m going to pick is The Salisbury Key by Harper Fox. This is one of the first mm books I read and I was lucky enough to win a signed copy in a competition. I enjoyed the story because it wasn’t a straight forward romance and it was set in Britain. Some might  think the relationship between the two main characters moved too quickly, but for me they worked. The story involved solving a mystery as well as archaeology. The sex was well written – there, but not intrusive to the story. Overall, it was a great read.

Goodreads page – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9848848-the-salisbury-key?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

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On Being British

I am ridiculously British. To the point where even in my writing, it is glaringly apparent that I have spent the vast majority of my life on this damp cluster of rocks in the middle of a not especially welcoming sea. I even have, when I’m being all posh and shit, a BBC accent.

 

No prizes for guessing my writing’s like that too.

I am also bred from northern slum stock: my father remembers being moved out of the tenements after his four-year-old sister jumped out of bed and landed in the flat downstairs. Having more than two types of vegetable in a meal is ‘fancy’ and any meal without meat is a disappointing snack. And the only acceptable foreign food is curry.

The majority of me, including my author voice, stems from this upbringing. I don’t write the millionaire-meets-the-hooker trope, because a romance between the local drug dealer and a copper’s son is infinitely more interesting to me, especially the characters that would have to be involved. I love every minute of Red Dwarf, because the hero is a Scouser space bum who spends his existence playing the guitar (badly), riding around the ship on a dirty space bike (badly), and point-blank refusing to admit that his crewmates are his friends (badly). Because, you know, blokes. Not good at this emotional stuff.

Being British, I would never say ‘I love you.’ The nearest might be, ‘Yeah, well, you’re alright, I suppose.’ I would also never say ‘I hate you’ – that is measured on the scale from ‘he’s a bit of a knob’ to ‘he’s an absolute fucking cunt.’ The sentiment is there, but the words aren’t.

And that makes writing in a British voice both very difficult, and very fun. You’re massively open to misinterpretation of what you and your characters mean. What is affectionate between two British lads can often be viewed as rude, aggressive, hostile or even violent by outsiders. Show and not tell becomes not just a writing tip, but a writing necessity if you want your readers to follow the story, like the right characters, or even recognise subplots for what they are. It’s bloody hard, old bean.

But if you are like those lads, it can be very funny to watch the outsider struggling with what in the hell to do when they can’t read the situation. I’ve seen plenty of people on my Facebook struggling when I and another Brit – or even I and some of the most awesome non-Brits who really get this shit – start sounding off at each other. One of my oldest friends is a lad from Iowa with an intensely British sense of humour, and I’ve lost count of the number of times people have been thrown by our rude, aggressive, and very friendly and entertaining slanging matches. It’s hilarious, in a vicious little way, and something I do enjoy triggering on boring Sunday evenings.

It might not look like it but everyone’s having so much fun!

With Spy Stuff, I had an opportunity you might not expect out of a transgender character: I got to channel that entertainment.

Sure, Anton is firm in his identity as a boy. He knows what he is. But he’s also very new to other people identifying him as a boy. Because social transition isn’t just a transition in how a person presents themselves but, as a natural consequence, how others treat them. And as we all remember from being kids ourselves, boys and girls often act very differently in the presence of the other. So Anton’s a bit lost when it comes to the other boys for a while – is this friendly? Is this okay to join in with? Is he going to react in a way a girl might, and be teased or even found out for it?

And as the writer, I have to say, I enjoyed the shit out of those scenes: Anton watching warily from the sidelines while a personality smorgasbord of madcap British kids went for each other for…well, no real reason. From the habitual book-throwing at each other in morning registration to the technique of expressing happiness at the football results by jumping on each other, Anton is initially hesitant to join in for fear of reading the situation wrong, and being caught out.

In doing so, I found I’d managed to show one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my own experience in transitioning: sometimes, acceptance won’t be found in the crowd with rainbow flags on their profile pictures and who can recite the entire alphabet soup…but rather in the daft, insulting, aggressive, volatile clusters of idiots who don’t damn well care what you are, as long as you don’t support Manchester United.

About the Book

Anton never thought anyone would ever want to date him. Everyone knows nobody wants a transgender boyfriend, right? So he’s as shocked as anyone when seemingly-straight Jude Kalinowski asks him out, and doesn’t appear to be joking.

The only problem is … well, Jude doesn’t actually know.

Anton can see how this will play out: Jude is a nice guy, and nice guys finish last. And Anton is transgender, and transgender people don’t get happy endings. If he tells Jude, it might destroy everything.

And if Jude tells anyone else … it will.

 

Buy Links: ebook and print

 

About the Author

 Matthew is an asexual, transgender author dragged up in the wet and windy British Isles. He currently lives and works in West Yorkshire, and has a special fondness for writing the rough-edged British working class society in which he grew up — warts and all.

He roams mainly on Twitter and Facebook, has a free fiction page, runs a blog chronicling his own transition from female to male, and has a website. His young adult backlist can be found on his JMS Books author page. And as a last resort, he can also be contacted at mattmetzger@hotmail.co.uk.

An Excerpt from Spy Stuff

Anton slowly relaxed as Jude started to brighten up and just … talk. Jude chattering, Anton was starting to realise, was a sign that everything was alright. And Anton desperately wanted it to be, so he simply clung on to Jude’s hand — even though it was raining outside, and really too cold to not be wearing gloves — and let the noise wash over him all the way home.

Which meant, when he let them into the house and the smell of Aunt Kerry’s drunk spag bol invaded their clothes, Anton was … actually in kind of a good mood. Maybe he could do this. Maybe Jude would listen, even if in the end he still decided dating a trans guy wasn’t for him? There was a chance, right?

So when Lily appeared in the doorway, took one look at Jude, and screamed, Anton laughed.

“What the hell!” Jude yelped as she tore back into the kitchen.

“She’s –”

“Mummy, Anton’s friend’s on fire in the hall!”

“– kinda weird.”

“No shi — er, hell?”

“Just ignore her,” Anton advised, hanging up their coats. A nervous swoop made itself known when Jude grinned and kissed his ear, but he laughed it off and pushed him in the direction of the kitchen. “Go get us drinks or something.”

“It’s your house,” Jude said, but wandered off obediently. Anton took a moment to simply breathe before following him.

Lily had firmly decided — despite having seen Jude before and not having really clocked his hair — that Jude was on fire, and Anton had to wrestle a cup of water away from her before it ended up on Jude’s head.

“Nooo, give it back!” she wailed, stretching up to grab his belt as he put the cup in the sink and rummaged in the fridge for Cokes.

“Yeah, Anton, give it back. I might start melting the counter,” Jude said, sliding onto one of the stools at the island counters. Aunt Kerry, busy with dinner, simply chuckled at the both of them.

“You’re being mean!” Lily yelled, stamping her foot, then turned on Jude, skidding across the tiles to grab at his trousers. “You need a fireman!”

“It’s always that colour,” Jude said in a serious voice, but he was wearing an ear-splitting grin, and Anton’s heart clenched hard at the sheer beauty of him, despite the battered face.

“No, it’s on fire!”

“No it’s not,” Jude said. “It’s ginger.”

“That’s not ginger, ginger biscuits are ginger!”

“They’re brown.”

“If they’re brown,” Lily said seriously, “then why are they called ginger biscuits, huh?”

“Because they have ginger in them.”

“Which makes them ginger and that’s not ginger and you’re on fire!”

“Lily, leave Jude alone,” Aunt Kerry interjected.

“Jew?”

Jude dropped his head onto the counter with a muffled cackle into both hands, and Anton couldn’t help but laugh at sight of him. “Oh God,” he said. “Come on, let’s go into the living room, and –”

“Noooo, you can’t, he’ll put the living room on fire!”

“Lily, seriously, stop it with the fire, he’s not on fire.”

“Jew!” she screeched, and Jude did a full body twitch like he was trying not to curl in on himself. “Jew!”

“Jude!” Anton corrected.

Jude,” she echoed scornfully, throwing Anton a fabulously dirty look for a kid who wasn’t even six yet. “Jude!”

“What?” Jude managed, coughing and rubbing at his eyes, still grinning.

“Tell Tasha to stop it!”

Anton froze. Like a bucket of ice water being dumped on his head, every muscle seized up, and the Coke in the cans started rattling in his shaking hands. “Lily! Stop it!” Aunt Kerry barked, but Jude — oh God, Jude, totally oblivious Jude —

“Okay,” he said. “Who’s Tasha?”

Lily blinked, then flung her arm out, and pointed right at Anton. “Anton’s Tasha,” she said, like it was so obvious.

“Lily, that’s eno –”

“Anton was Natasha only then she became Anton and Mummy says I have to say he but I forget sometimes,” Lily continued in a loud, inescapable voice. It bounced off the walls and tiles, and one of the cans slipped through Anton’s hands and burst open on the floor. Coke was flung everywhere in long, fizzy bursts, soaking his socks and trousers, and through Lily’s indignant shriek and Aunt Kerry’s yell, all he could see was — was —

Jude.

The wide-eyed, confused stare that Jude was giving him. And the single word, that word, the word Anton hated.

“Natasha?”

Anton opened his mouth, found nothing coming up to save him, and did the only thing possible.

He bolted.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes it’s really worth checking out backlists. There are some marvellous books out there but with hundreds of new titles every week it can be very hard to find them.
Authors – have you got a title a year or more old that could do with a little love?
Readers – have you got a favourite book that you think deserves some attention? Message or email me and we’ll set something up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My guest this week is R J Scott and I want to show a little love for her backlist title The Gallows Tree. This is a gentle romance with an American adrift in the green peace of England, an historic house in need of restoration and a creepy paranormal twist. Great fun with a few little chills.

Blurb:

Cody Garret is only just finding his way after an abusive relationship ended with his ex in prison. Coming to England to restore Mill Cottage is his way of running so he has time to heal. His goal is simple-hire a company to help make the mill cottage saleable then go back to the States.

What he doesn’t count on is meeting Sebastian Toulson-Brown, the brother of his contractor and the man who may be able to show him he can stop running.

But first Cody and Sebastian must deal with the ghosts of lost loves and the destinies that are woven into the story of the mill and the sycamore trees that stand on its land, one of which might be the gallows tree.

Excerpt:

Lower Ferrers. Please drive carefully.

A big speed sign with a 30 in the middle and another warning for horses sat directly under, and he immediately lifted his foot off the gas until he was driving at more like half what the limit was. He wanted to remember every image of the next few minutes of his life. He had finally arrived at the place his mom’s gran, his own great-gran, had left at the end of the war as a Yankee bride. The long curve of the road ran through dense trees that formed an arch of fall golds and browns over his head, and then suddenly, the village was laid out in front of him.

He couldn’t just drive in. He needed to stop and think about this final step. What if this was all wrong? This could be the worst decision of his life. What the hell did he know about renovation? He indicated and pulled off to the side of the road just past the signs and onto a widening in the narrow road next to a gate into fields. This was the England his great-gran had spoken about.

The village was stunning. Beautiful. Old houses with crooked roof lines staggered drunkenly up the road all built in a soft weathered brown and gray stone. Each had a chimney and seemingly randomly placed windows. Cody counted six of these cottage-style houses and above them the top of twisted chimneys on a far grander building. Great oaks and sycamore trees, now with leaves of fall gold and red, towered over the cottages and the twisting road that followed their path upwards. Cody listed adjectives in his head. This was much better than green. This was an idyllic, picture-postcard place, and it was everything he had ever been told about this English village. On the opposite side of the road was a larger dwelling, and he saw the sign outside that proclaimed it as the Ferrers’ Arms.

The inn with the slate roof was where he was staying with an open-ended booking. He didn’t know how long his stay would be. It could be a month or it could be the full six months. When he moved on depended on so many factors, not least of which was having somewhere to move to. He had a strange feeling inside, and he realized it was a sudden and renewed sense of enthusiasm.

Panic and fear still clung tight in his chest, but his breathing was steady, and the sounds of the village—sheep in the field, horses, birds—and the perfect stillness of the fall sky was utter peace. He closed his eyes and breathed deep. One minute he had been on the highway to hell, and within an hour, he was in the quiet and calm of a village that had been here for centuries. What was it people said? Stepping back in time or something like that. Standing here it certainly felt like he was entering another world.

Was it possible that by his arrival here in the village where his family had roots he was taking a controlled step away from his past rather than running blindly?

The Gallows Tree

Bio:

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:

Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk) | Goodreads Page | RJ’s Blog | RJ on Twitter | Facebook
Library Thing Page | Tumblr (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos) | Pinterest

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Sometimes it’s really worth checking out backlists. There are some marvellous books out there but with hundreds of new titles every week it can be very hard to find them.
Authors – have you got a title a year or more old that could do with a little love?
Readers – have you got a favourite book that you think deserves some attention? Message or email me and we’ll set something up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My choice this week is the terrific magical steam punk novel, Mongrel by K Z Snow. It has everything – a well realised yet eerie world peopled with characters of surpassing oddness and plot, so much plot. Even the most sympathetic inhabitants of this world have flaws, even the most unpleasant have hidden depths. And the language – oh wow. I loved it to bits and, best of all, it’s the first of a series that are now being issued as a bundle. Really worth a go.

Blurb:

Hunzinger’s Mechanical Circus, a rollicking seaside carnival where imagination meets machinery, shines as the only bright spot in the dreary city of Purinton. A shadow is cast there one day when a tall, cloaked figure approaches the stand of Will Marchman, a young patent-medicine salesman. Fanule Perfidor, commonly known as the Dog King, isn’t welcome at the Circus. No resident of Taintwell is; they’re all Branded Mongrels, officially shunned. But Will is beguiled by the stunning, mysterious Perfidor. Their mutual wariness soon gives way to desire, and a bond forms.Soon the naive but plucky pitchman becomes embroiled in a dangerous quest. Fanule suspects Alphonse Hunzinger and Purinton’s civic leaders are responsible for the disappearance or incarceration of countless Branded Mongrels. But why? As Will’s passion and regard for his tormented lover grow, he’s determined to help Fanule get answers and prevent any further persecution… or worse. They just have to stay together-and stay alive long enough-to see their plan through.

Excerpt:

CLOUDS the color of soiled wool and urine threaded past a gibbous moon. The atmosphere may have produced them but the city had tinted them.

For Fanule Perfidor, the city was too close. Lying just to the west, that packed jumble of flaking bricks, weathered clapboards, and belching chimneys was a gritty distraction. Fanule sensed the pulse of life there. When the mania seized him, as it had tonight, he craved the city’s humid crush of bodies, the revelry that made them sweat and steam.

Wind slithered in from the sea and caught Fanule’s cloak, turning it, he imagined, into a black sail fluttering on a sturdy mast. He was a ghost ship plying moonlit seas and portending doom. He was at the mercy of the wind yet he was one with the wind.

He was a freak of nature and a force of nature. Perfidor, the Dog King. The epithet and the image it conjured made him laugh aloud.

The air’s agitation suited his mood. He strode rather than strolled down the boardwalk, his boot heels thudding with satisfying aggression on the planks. The crowd had thinned, but the remaining visitors made a wide berth around Fanule. Their aversion both amused and annoyed him. He considered sucking the light from the white globes atop the lampposts, just to see the silly humans’ reactions.

No, no, no. Can’t play. Must stay on task. Gods, look at that man’s legs; they could bind a body better than tarred rope! And then… no, must stay on task. But where to start? Where, where, where?

Fanule’s gaze darted along the overdone facades of the buildings he passed, all strung together like a lineup of gaudy, aging whores. Colorful pennants snapped above their roofs. How absurd to have elaborate cornices and quatrefoil windows, little gargoyles and square cupolas on structures so squat, so grayed by the hammering salt of sea spray. But, he supposed, fancy was the stuff of Hunzinger’s Mechanical Circus, the permanent carnival that stretched along and beyond the boardwalk and included whatever attractions were tucked behind those fancy fronts.

Look at the signs; look past the blazing and burnt-out bulbs and read the signs.

You can find the bundle here. K Z Snow can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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RDT_Banner

comfy chairMy guest today is Hans Hirschi who has very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his latest release Jonathan’s Promise. Don’t forget to scroll down for the rest of the blog tour schedule, excerpts and a link to a very generous Rafflecopter giveaway! But first the interview.

Welcome Hans.

The first time I interviewed you was in 2013 just before the release of your first published novel. Has your writing process changed much since then?

First, thank you Elin, for hosting me again. The most accurate answer would probably be a cautious yes. When I wrote Family Ties, quickly followed by Jonathan’s Hope, all in the space of five weeks, I had no idea what I was doing, what the whole writing process in the literary space was like. I had only written non-fiction prior to that date. So from a “crafts” process, I’ve learned a lot, from my editors, my publisher.

My writing process, in terms of the artistic aspects is still largely the same. Yes, I may plot a little bit more from a conscious point of view, e.g. knowing from the get go how Jonathan’s Promise would end. However, I still begin with an image in my mind and let the characters run with it, and I’m still the first reader seeing the story unfold in front of my eyes, with all that entails in terms of laughter, sorrow and the odd surprise I wasn’t prepared for.

How do you sustain the same tone for a character from book to book, especially when taking time off between to write other stories?

I hadn’t even considered this, honestly. First of all, I don’t write series, so Jonathan’s Promise was never even on the radar. When the boys came back, and I finally gave in and began to write, I was challenged with a timing question: when do I return? Do I return to a time after Jonathan’s father’s funeral (the end of the story), or do I return to the end of the book, after the epilogue, which is sixty years later. In the end, I did the latter, and the Jonathan’s Promise picks up around the time of the epilogue, so Jonathan is an old man, no longer an eighteen year old. So, to finally answer your question, it wasn’t a big thing, old men don’t really speak like their young selves, but to make sure I used the same terms of endearment within the couple’s conversations etc. I made sure to re-read Jonathan’s Hope. Turns out, my subconscious has a much better memory than my conscious mind does.

Now you are established in the genre do you have any advice for new writers? Is there any thing you wish that someone had told you?

There are a lot of things I wish I had known back then. I write gay fiction with a genre I’d call LGBT fiction, where the vast majority of people write gay romance. I usually feel like something the cat’s dragged in. However, even as someone who doesn’t write romance novels, I’ve been very warmly accepted by my peers, and I’m really grateful for that reception. I would’ve loved to have known about all those conventions back in 2013. I didn’t learn “that” lesson until a year later, and I missed out, because I’ve come to understand that much of a writer’s success in the industry lies in old-fashioned mouth-to-mouth propaganda, recommendations. And the readers who we meet at cons, the ones we form relationships with and with whom we communicate on social media in between the cons, they have huge networks and influence many people around them. I lost a good year there. Then again, I didn’t know what animal I was, and I had no real clue about what was out there, even though I had read a lot of books. I just didn’t connect the dots. Talking to colleagues has helped. So that would be my tip: talk to colleagues in the industry. It’s been my experience that authors are extremely helpful creatures! 🙂

What are you working on now? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I don’t have a WIP right now. I just sent a manuscript to one of my editors, a collection of LGBT shorts, very literary. We’ll see how I use those stories. The next project are my cons. After every book release, there’s lots of marketing work, and Jonathan’s Promise will be followed by Jonathan’s Legacy in the fall, the final piece in this unexpected trilogy. Once my publisher sends me back the edits, my work starts again, going through those and cleaning it up for publication. I have no writing plans right now, which is “odd”, but I tick differently than most others. I need to clean my head from an ongoing project before I can focus on something else. Once an image pops up, I’ll know if it holds up for a novel…

Can we have an excerpt please?

Sure. This scene shows us a glimpse of Jonathan’s “morning routine”. It doesn’t give away too much of the plot. After all, I want you to read it! 😉

“Jonathan woke up early the next morning. Outside, the night had not yet given up its daily rule, clinging on for all it had, growing stronger with the approaching winter solstice. Jonathan looked at his watch. Six a.m.? If only I could sleep a little longer. He got up and went through to the large en suite bathroom to relieve himself. He had to smile inwardly as he thought about how his body was falling apart for every year he got older. Even peeing was becoming a bit of a challenge, and he had to get up more than once during the night, feeling as if he’d drunk a couple of pints of beer. It’s just not fair.

But it was what it was, and there was nothing he could do. At least he didn’t have prostate troubles the way Dan had. Thankful for small mercies, eh? He looked up at the ceiling, shaking the last drops from his dick before flushing the toilet and washing his hands. He put on a robe and walked slowly downstairs to the kitchen. Coffee! I need coffee.”

Excerpt From: Hans M Hirschi. “Jonathan’s Promise.” iBooks.


AboutTheBook

jonathans promise
TITLE: Jonathan’s Promise 


SERIES:
Jonathan
Trilogy: Book Two

AUTHOR:
Hans M. Hirschi

PUBLISHER:
Beaten
Track Publishing

COVER
ARTIST:
Natasha Snow

LENGTH:
214 Pages

RELEASE
DATE:
March 31, 2016

BLURB:
Jonathan made Dan a promise – a promise that will affect the remainder of his
life. But what does he have left to live for?

When their grandson
Parker and his fiancé Cody move in with him, the three of them embark on a
journey to shed light on Dan’s roots.

A heart-warming sequel
to Jonathan’s Hope, Jonathan’s Promise deals with aging and the ultimate
consequences of wedding vows. Are we entitled to a second shot at happiness?
When is ‘for worse’ too much to handle?

In
this trilogy:

Jonathan’s Hope (Book
1)
Jonathan’s Promise
(Book 2)

Jonathan’s Legacy (Book 3) 


Excerpt

  



“Jon?”

“Yes, Hon, what is it?”

“I’m tired.”

“I know. Just rest. You
need your strength for tomorrow.”

“I’m not sure I want to…”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m just not sure it’s
worth it, Jon…” Dan started to cough. Jonathan rose from his chair at his
husband’s bedside to offer him some water, gently lifting and holding Dan’s
head while he took down the cool, soothing liquid.

When the coughing
eased, Dan patted Jonathan’s hand. He waited until Jonathan was seated before
he spoke further. “Thanks. I’m old, hon. And I’m tired. I’ve lived a long and
rich life, and you know what the doctor said. There’s only a very small chance
the surgery will help. The tumor’s already metastasized, and even with chemo
I’ll die sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s better to just get it over with.”

Jonathan began to cry,
tumbling forward in his despair. His head came to a rest on his husband’s
chest. They’d been a couple for so many years―six decades. How would he go on without
Dan’s strength? How could he survive without the man who’d saved his life?

“Hon, don’t worry about
me. I need you now, probably more than ever. I need to know you’ll stay strong
for the kids. They need you.”

Dan’s words began to
slur and his eyes closed. Even talking took so much effort. When he was sure
Dan was asleep, Jonathan left their bedroom and went downstairs, out to the back
patio, where he left the crisp, fresh fall air to dry the tears on his face. He
was tired, too. Dan’s cancer had come back. They’d thought he’d beaten it, but
the last screening showed the dark shadows in his bones and his lungs. After
three years of clear results, it had come completely out of the blue, and the doctor
said that it had also spread to other areas of the body.



That was just a few days
ago, and Dan had accepted the news with equanimity. He had made peace with
himself and the world around him when the cancer had first been diagnosed in his
prostate. Back then, there was still a sparkle in Dan’s eyes, a determination
to fight this, a will to survive. But at ninety years of age, Dan was tired,
and Jonathan knew―or rather he felt―that his husband was done. And he
understood, but that did not diminish the pain, the despair. Yes, he’d be
strong for the kids, the grandkids, but who’d look after him? Who’d make sure
he survived?
   

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER ON YOUTUBE!!

BuyLinks







AuthorBio

AuthorPic

I’m an author. I write books. I write about things that are important to me: family, parenting, children, our environment, our world. Contemporary, fresh fiction with happy endings. It’s what I like to read myself. I write because I don’t have a choice. There are so many stories in my head, constantly forming, constantly trying to get out. Feel free to have a look on the other pages to learn more, listen to me narrate from those stories, and – if you like what you see or hear – follow the links to buy the books. I’d greatly appreciate that, as this is how I try to make my living.

I’m an author. But I’m also a forty something male who clings to the illusion of still being twenty-seven, despite my body’s daily reminders to the contrary. I’m married to the most amazing man, and together we have a beautiful son, Sascha. I consider myself a citizen of the world, having lived on two continents and traveled extensively through another three. I have friends all over the world. When I’m not writing, I like to do public speaking or training (where I have my professional background) to actually earn some real bill-paying money. Not sure this author thing is ever going to get me there…



RafflecopterGiveaway

Winner’s
Prize:
$50 Amazon GC

Runner Up Prize: 5 e-copies of Jonathan’s
Promise (Book 2) / Jonathan’s Hope (Book 1) – Winner’s Choice


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Book Description:

When V’s life crumbles around her, she has two options: let it take her down with it or dive straight in

Virginia “V” Dunn is alone when her dog is hit by a car. Lucky’s back leg is shattered, and when she comforts him, his blood is wet on her hands. Suddenly, the monotony of V’s suburban life dissolves: Lucky is in a cast; her best friend, Eileen, is avoiding her; her mother’s drinking is getting worse; and her father is sick with a mysterious illness. Although V is surrounded by family, she is the loneliest girl in town.

As V begins to question everything—death, friendship, family, betrayal—she finds there are few easy answers. The people she thought she knew are strangers, and life’s meaning eludes her. Into this mystery walks the captivating Jane, and V soon realizes that the only way forward seems to break every rule, and go beyond all limitations.

Excerpt:

Sometimes the night never ends; it just breaks into light and we pretend. I am alive, though I tend to forget that when I’m pretending, and I’m fifteen. I have sweeping dark hair and hazel eyes that turn green when I cry. Sometimes I rub my hands together, maybe just to see if it’s really me. I wear the glasses I’m supposed to wear when I’m in the mood and when- ever I remember my sunglasses because the day hurts my eyes. Maybe the pretending has torn the edges of who I am, so the result is a frayed and sensitive me.

If the night never ends, who can see? The day boils down to pretending what is and is not there. Because she does not want me to, I do not see the black eye on my mother’s face as the bruise changes, fades a blotchy red to a tattered purple, then spreads to flat green.

Because he assumes nobody does, I do not see the increasingly bloodshot eyes of my brother as he stares past me at dinner. And I do not see the raised eyebrows on Baby Teeth’s face that settle more frequently into surprise as she watches and help-lessly learns this pretending game. I wish I could tell her she doesn’t have to play, though if she’s to survive life in this house, she will.

So I do not notice that on the days that we do not go to the hospital, she spends every afternoon at other people’s houses now. And I especially do not see the absence of my father at dawn when he does not kiss the sleeping Baby Teeth good-bye before he climbs down the stairs in his solid brown shoes and goes to work. And I do not see his absence as I pass his empty chair at night when I walk into the kitchen to feed my dog. The last thing I do not see is my tilting, limping Lucky as he waits by his empty bowl, or the image of the vile green VW that hit him.

So what do I see? That I have learned to pretend so well, I can do it with my eyes open. April has ended, and its cruelty too,   I hope, when we weren’t looking, or were busy pretending, or maybe while we slept.

So it’s May. And what does it bring? April showers bring May flowers. Well, really. I try to remember, uncertainly, if there was a lot of rain last month. No. But please flower anyway, all over me. I’ll keep my eyes open. Maybe it won’t happen all at once, the way change seems to. Now that’s something. Change blooms.

Bio:

Stacey Donovan is a critically acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. She is the founder of Donovan Edits, and has edited or ghostwritten more than twenty-five books, including three New York Times bestsellers and several nonfiction titles that have become leading works in their respective fields. Donovan lives in New York, where she continues to write and edit.

Author Links
Buy Links
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Rainbow Snippets

rainbow snippets

Happy Saturday, peeps. I hope you too are having mildish, sunnyish non-life threatening weather. It might not be exciting here in Wales but it’s reasonably safe!

It’s time for another round of snippets from a variety of authors writing stories featuring LGBT characters. Some of the bits are published, some are works in progress, some are raunchy and others are more plotty in nature. In short there’s something for everyone. Just click on the link above to be taken to the master list of snippet links.

OKay – back to early 20th c Wales. The Great War is still raging, farmer Nye Harrhy and and his wife Bethan have agreed that the friend of Bethan’s brother can come to help out on the farm. Alwyn has arrived with the stranger and Bethan is concerned that Nye is put out to swear about it:

“Nye Harrhy, language!”
“Yes I know, but you’d hardly credit it – good worker, my arse.”
Nye set the boots aside and stood at the window, which annoyed Bethan still further because it meant she couldn’t see out without squeezing past.
“What has Alwyn done?”
But Nye just shook his head, his lips tight, and turned to lean on the window sill, his shoulders blocking her view.
Bethan glared at the back of his head, then busied herself with warming the pot for tea, laying the table, and applying the bellows to the fire until the kettle purred and spat, lid lifting.

.

Sorry – i know it’s slow, but six at a time as they come!

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