Category Archives: Contemporary

What I’ve been up to lately

008Things have been pretty quiet on both my adult blog (https://jamiefessenden.com/) and my YA blog (http://jameserich.com/) over the past few months, so perhaps it’s time to let people know what I’ve got going on.

So I did have a novel (Violated) come out in the fall, and it did pretty well. It’s pretty dark, and the resolution — while happy — isn’t the big catharsis a lot of readers hoped for, simply because my goal was realism. A story like this isn’t resolved by an epic bout of sobbing in your lover’s arms. Ever. Derek and Russ find the best possible, realistic happily-ever-after for them.

At Christmas time, I was delighted to be offered the chance to do a Christmas story on the WROTE Podcast — one of twelve stories representing the twelve days of Christmas in the carol. I hadn’t had time to get out any of the Christmas stories I was working on (I have one contemporary novella in the works, a free holiday story that revolves around the characters in the Dreams of Fire and Gods series, and a re-write of a previously published novella), so this was a great opportunity. I’m delighted with how the story came out, and Brad Vance‘s wonderful narration! All of the stories are terrific, so if you’re still in the mood for Christmas….

Brad also conducted a great interview of me, aided by my friend, Scott Coatsworth, if you’re interested.

Moving forward, I’m currently working on a novella about alien abduction for the next Gothika anthology (see previous installments: Stitch, Bones, Claw, and Spirit). Eli Easton, who originated the series (I helped a little), won’t be joining us on this installment. The authors participating in this issue are Kim Fielding, BG Thomas, FE Feeley Jr., and myself.

As far as which novels I’m working on goes, I’m having a little trouble with that one. I have several in the works. My YA novel Martian Born, a novel about a spy in the Soviet Union during the cold war (currently called Chimera), and a novelization of the Jomsviking Saga, about a fortress full of Vikings in the tenth century. I’m also tentatively working on an untitled novel about “cavemen” (what we used to call Cro-Magnon Man, but is now referred to as “Early Modern Humans” or “Anatomically Modern Humans,” because they are physically no different from us).

This probably sounds like I need to focus, and that would be correct. Martian Born is closest to being finished, but it’s intended for the mainstream science fiction market. This means a long, tedious process of sending queries to agents — most likely over a year or two, if not longer — because mainstream publishers, by and large, no longer accept submissions directly from authors. So while I do want to get that process moving, I’m also looking at getting other novels out more quickly.

This probably means I’ll either finish up Chimera or The Vikings of Jomsborg. But both still have a lot of work to do on them.

In the meantime, I have two stories that will be coming out soon. One is actually the first part of Chimera, presented as a short story called Train to Sevmash. This will be part of an anthology published by DSP Publications. I wrote the story first, then got permission from the editor of the anthology to expand it into a novel.

The second story is in an anthology put together by BG Thomas called A More Perfect Union — a collection of stories about same-sex marriage written by gay men who are actually married. My story, Destined, is a fictionalized account of how I met my husband and how we created our life together. The characters aren’t exactly me and Erich, but the events are largely true.

This has gotten lengthy, and I haven’t even touched on other projects I’ve been working on, such as finishing the Dogs of Cyberwar trilogy (I’m nearly done the second novella (A Mote in the Eye), but my publisher wants the third, before we move ahead), the samurai tale I’ve been adapting (Shinosuke), and the sequel to Murder on the Mountain, which is in the plotting stages (murder mysteries take a lot of plotting).

Yes, I’m a bit over-extended. But it’s my fault — ideas keep popping into my head. I just need to focus and prioritize.

In the meantime, I have the re-release of my first novel, Murderous Requiem, available for pre-order on DSP Publications. It will be released on March 22nd. This edition isn’t enormously different from the first, but I did go through and tighten things a bit, as well as clarify some of the confusing sexual issues in the novel. The story centers around an occult order in what is basically a “free love” commune, so all of the characters are in open relationships. This upsets some readers, who regard it as “cheating.” I do not. I wrote it for my friends who are involved in open or polyamorous relationships where everything is up front and honest, and everyone’s feelings are taken into account.

But that isn’t actually what the novel is about, anyway. It’s about an ancient manuscript containing a requiem mass that, when performed, may cause death… or possibly may resurrect the dead.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Christmas, Contemporary, Drama, Fantasy, gay, Gay Marriage, Jamie Fessenden, Murderous Requiem, Mystery, occult, Occult/Paranormal, Rape, Romance, SciFi, Viking, Writing

“Violated” is now available!

ViolatedFSMy new novel Violated has just hit the shelves! And the early reviews are pretty good and it out on the online world, visit www.borse.pro/trend/ecco-perch%C3%A9-abbiamo-comprato-azioni-netflix for its trading at Italy. Check out what Caroline had to say at Prism Book Alliance!

This is probably the most difficult novel I’ve ever written. Yes, Billy’s Bones was a tough one, but it wasn’t hard to write, for the most part. A relative had gone through something similar to what Kevin experienced with repressed memories, and my mother is Susan Cross. Well, not really. But she’s a psychologist who works with victims of abuse. I was able to consult with her, and yes, the character of Susan Cross was based on my mom.

But I’ve never been raped, and though I do know some people who have been, most don’t like to talk about it in detail. I did find a friend who was willing to open up to me for the sake of the novel, and that made all the difference. And of course, I talked to my mom about it—she’s a smart woman.

I put a trigger warning in the beginning of the novel, and that wasn’t just to be sensational. The last thing I want is for someone who’s been through an experience like this to be further traumatized by one of my novels. But I hope my attempt at a realistic depiction of rape and its consequences can shed some light on the subject, and perhaps even help some people.

bigstock-depressed-man-sitting-on-top-o-48751034BLURB:

Derek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.

One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.

Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman. Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.

BUY LINKS:

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6713

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Violated-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B0131KQ5S6/

AllRomanceEbooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-violated-1856103-149.html

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Filed under Contemporary, Drama, gay, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Romance

Guest blog: J. Scott Coatsworth on his novel “Between the Lines”

BTL CoverI wanted to thank Jamie for inviting me to stop by his blog for my tour – I’m excited to have not just one, but two new novellas coming out in the same month.

Between the Lines is the first, my political mm-romance magical realism story set in my current hometown of Sacramento.

The Homecoming is much different – I call it my spaceman-wolfman story – set a few centuries in the future, exploring what might happen when man comes back to Earth.

I’ve known Jamie for a little over a year, but in that time he’s become a close friend. We hang out a lot on Facebook, and he’s one of a handful of friends I trust to give me guidance on my cover designs, my story ideas and much more.

Being a writer can be difficult. You don’t get into this business to make money. Some people manage to put together a living from it, and a lucky few make it big. You have to do it for the love of writing, and because you have to write.

Jamie is one of those great, prolific writers that does what he does for the love of the art. He inspires me, and I hope my new works are half as good as what he does.

Thanks, Jamie!

BTL CoverBlurb

Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the Chief of Staff for a Republican California State Senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex.

Sam Fuller is Brad’s young, blond, blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad break-up, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken.

While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad’s not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a new light. And nothing will ever be the same.

Excerpt

It began with a medallion.

The piece was a simple wooden disk, hand carved with the shapes of leaves and forest boughs and polished by centuries of use, giving it a patina of great age.

It sat upon a small green velvet pillow—the kind jewelers sometimes use, rather unsuccessfully, to enhance a plain necklace of false pearls. The kind you might expect to find on your grandmother’s settee, in a slightly larger size, embroidered with “Home Sweet Home.”

Yet there was something compulsive about it—something hidden in the dark crevices of the carving, filled with the dust of ages.

At least that’s what Brad would recall years later, when he thought back on the first time he saw it: the moment when the lines of his mundane life suddenly snarled, snapped, and ultimately recombined into something quite different.

Of course, he didn’t know any of this at the time.

Buy Links for Between the Lines:

Dreamspinner:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6645

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Between-Lines-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B011A0STW4/

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-betweenthelines-1840887-143.html

Buy Links for The Homecoming:

Less Than Three Press: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=95&products_id=929

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Homecoming-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B012U86JFO/

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-homecoming-31

Author Bio

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

Website:  http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

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Filed under Contemporary, Fantasy, gay, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, SciFi

“Murder on the Mountain” has won an award!

This past weekend, I was very honored to see my novel Murder on the Mountain win the Bisexual Mystery category at the Bisexual Book Awards in New York!

I’d been planning on attending the awards ceremony, and now I really wish I had. However, travel proved too difficult this time around. Fortunately, author Cecilia Tan tweeted the awards ceremony!

Click here to see the other winners!

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Filed under Bisexual, Bisexual Book Awards, Contemporary, gay, Mystery, Romance, Writing

Excerpt – “Isolation” from the “Claw” anthology

The next volume of Gothika was released this week and is available at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and other retailers!

This anthology contains three stories about werewolves and shifters by me, Eli Easton, and Kim Fielding.  Here’s the blurb:

“Beasts lurk in the shadows of wild and forgotten places and in the hearts and souls of men. They are the stuff of dreams and nightmares, but are they feral and savage, or just misunderstood? Creatures of myth and legend stalk these tales of dark desire and animal passions. Three men come face-to-face with such creatures and find they are much more than they seem. While there is danger, there might be unexpected benefits as well, if they can accept the impossible and dare to venture into the primordial regions where nature and the beasts still reign. Three acclaimed authors of gay romance explore the boundaries between man and beast and the place where their worlds overlap.”
My story, Isolation, is a classic werewolf story about a man (Sean) who gave up on a life-long relationship he’d had with his friend, Jack, to go to college and marry a woman. When the life he tries to lead falls apart, he seeks Jack out in a last-ditch effort to rebuild the relationship he foolishly tossed away.  But Jack has changed now. He’s living in a cabin in the woods, isolated from people, and though he’s happy to see Sean, he resists allowing him back into his life. I was going for a creepy and mysterious atmosphere, with a little humor tossed in and a good bit of erotic tension.

Here’s an excerpt:

He dreamt of that night when they were camping near Cedar Pond with the best camper accessories he has ever had. They were both fifteen, both randy as hell, and their friendship was still burning with an intensity few adults could understand. So it was little wonder that here, isolated from the rest of the world, they finally gave in to what they’d both been wanting for such a long time. They didn’t talk about it. Sean, especially, was afraid to. Talking might have given it a name, and he was terrified of that name, of the contempt his father and uncle would have had for him if they’d found out. So he and Jack just did… what they did. And when it was over, they held each other in the darkness of their tent, caressing and kissing until they drifted off to sleep.

Later he awoke and was disturbed to find himself alone in the tent. It was still dark, and without Jack’s body heat warming the tent, Sean felt cold. He hoped Jack had just crawled outside for a minute to take a leak or something, but he waited and waited and his friend didn’t return. Finally, with growing trepidation, Sean unzipped the tent door and peered outside. The moon provided a faint light, though the forest floor was thick with shadow.

“Jack?” His voice sounded quiet and a little fearful. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong.

He crawled out of the tent and stood, wrapping his arms around his naked body in a vain attempt to stave off the cold night air. Then he saw Jack, standing silent and still about fifty feet away. He was naked, beautifully illuminated by a shaft of blue-gray moonlight. But when Sean called to him again, there was no response.

Cautiously, Sean walked on bare feet through the ferns and pine needles blanketing the forest floor. When he drew near, and Jack still hadn’t moved, he reached out to brush Jack’s bare shoulder with his fingertips. Only then did Jack turn his head to give him a strange, enigmatic smile.

“Listen,” he whispered.

Sean was shivering and wanted nothing more than to crawl back into the warmth of their sleeping bags—both him and Jack together—but he cocked an ear and tried to listen. At first he heard nothing. Nothing, that is, except the usual sounds of a forest at night—wind in the trees, the rustling of leaves, the occasional snap of a twig as a squirrel or deer slipped past in the shadows. But then he caught something—a faint sound like people whispering. The voices were elusive and impossible to pinpoint. He couldn’t be certain what direction they came from, or even if he was really hearing them.

“What is it?” he whispered back.

Jack’s smile was rapturous, as if he were hearing the voices of angels. “It’s calling to us.”

“What is?”

“The forest.”

The next morning Sean woke to the sound of a vehicle pulling into the driveway. It was light out, and the clock on the fireplace mantle read nearly ten. Bright sunlight was streaming through the open curtains.

Before he could decide whether he was really awake yet, the door opened and Jack came in. Once again he was shirtless, which was a pleasant enough sight to wake up to, but the damp, sweaty T-shirt he tossed at Sean’s head was a bit less pleasant.

“Hey, deadbeat! You ever gonna wake up? I’ve been working for hours already.”

“Fuck you,” Sean muttered, but he sat up, tossing the shirt on the floor. “What have you been doing?”

“Landscaping at the Donnelly’s,” Jack replied cheerfully. He crossed the living room to turn on the water in the kitchenette sink, then started scrubbing his filthy hands. “They want to rent their house out when they move to Florida.”

“Oh.” Sean stood up from the couch, still fuzzy and half-asleep. He was wearing just a pair of tight briefs, and when Jack turned back to him, rubbing his hands on the dish towel, Sean was pleased to notice Jack eyeing his package a bit before looking away.

“Come on. It’s hot as hell, and I’ve got two hours ’til I have to deal with that old bitch, Mrs. Westcott, and her damned flower beds. Let’s go for a swim.”

“Where?”

“There’s a pond, just down the path behind the cabin.”

Sean rubbed his face with his hands and glanced down at himself. “I didn’t bring a suit.”

Jack quirked an eyebrow at him and tossed the dish towel onto the counter.

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Filed under Contemporary, gay, horror, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, occult, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Werewolves

Mrs. Sutherland’s Eggnog Recipe – Redux

I posted this last Christmas, but I love the recipe, so I figured I’d post it again this year.

My story The Healing Power of Eggnog deals with a family torn apart by the mishandling of their son Will’s coming out, and their attempts to patch things up years later.  Will’s mother, Mrs. Sutherland, always does Christmas up big, with homemade cookies, cakes, pies, and everything else imaginable.  And of course, she always makes up a batch of quite potent eggnog.

eggnogAs much as she loves eggnog made with raw eggs, she really prefers it to be cooked.  We tend to associate cooked eggnog with the thick, syrupy eggnog bought in stores, but homemade eggnog isn’t nearly as heavy, and its sweetness can be controlled by the chef.  At it’s heart, it’s a custard, made from egg yolks, milk, and sugar—but drinkable!

You can cook this in a heavy saucepan directly on the burner, but I prefer a double boiler, or placing the saucepan in a slightly larger pan with inch or so of water in it.  This distributes the heat of the burner better, so you don’t have a hot spot where the nog starts to burn before it’s cooked.

Ingredients:

12 egg yolks
1 quart (4 cups) milk or 2 cups milk and 2 cups whipping cream
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups sugar , depending on your sweet tooth
1 or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (2, as might be expected, gives it a strong vanilla flavor)
nutmeg.

Alcohol:

1/2 cup golden rum
1/2 cup bourbon (Southern Comfort)

Prepare a large pan or bowl of cold water you can set the pan you’re cooking into, when the eggnog is done on the stove.

Separate the egg yolks and place them in the double boiler, along with the sugar.  Whisk this together.  Then add 2 cups of the milk.  The tricky part about cooked eggnog is that it has to be stirred or whisked constantly while you bring the temperature up to the point where the hot custard coats the spoon, but not beyond.  This takes fifteen or twenty minutes, but you really just have to keep a close eye on it.  If you cook it too long, the egg starts to separate out of the liquid and this gives it a grainy feel.  It also works to use a cooking thermometer.  In that case, cook until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.  If necessary, you can strain it to remove any large bits of cooked egg.

Immediately mix in the remaining milk or whipping cream, and then set the pan into the bowl of cold water. Continue stirring until the eggnog is cool.  Add the vanilla extract and sprinkle in nutmeg to taste.

Alcohol:  The alcohol mix is an art form.  A good basic mix is half rum and half bourbon (Southern Comfort), which produces a mellower mix than just plain rum.  Using Irish whiskey in place of the Southern Comfort is a little more harsh, and of course a good scotch adds a distinctive—and strong—flavor.  Mrs. Sutherland also likes to add a splash of cognac, but not a lot.  Overall, a cup of alcohol mixed into four cups of eggnog produces a mix with a bit of a bite, but not so much alcohol that the eggnog is overwhelmed by it.  But of course that’s a matter of taste.

900x1350_TheHealingPowerofEggnog-FSThe Healing Power of Eggnog

Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet… and openly gay. 

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them? 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

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Filed under Christmas, Contemporary, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Recipes, Romance

Sex Positivity Blog Hop – My experience with slut-shaming

spbhbanner-3I’m posting today as part of the Sex Positivity Blog Hop created by Grace Duncan.  The idea behind it is for romance authors to share positive views about sex, as opposed to the negative views presented so often in the media and in our culture.  I’m a story-teller, so I prefer to discuss things like this as they relate to me personally, as part of the story of my life, rather than in the abstract.  And I’ll use kittens to illustrate my points, because… well, they’re cute.

To see the other stops on the blog hop, go here.

black catI’ve always had a very casual attitude toward sex—it’s fun and I enjoy it, but I’ve never connected it to love.  Love is how I feel about a very select few people in my life, including my husband, of course.  But sex?  I’ve had a lot of it.  Some of it was with friends, and some was with people I didn’t know.  I’ve tried nearly every position I can think of, and quite a few kinks.  Some of it was special, some of it was incredibly hot, some of it was awful.  But only when it was with someone I cared about deeply did it have any emotional power.

I’m not saying this is the way everybody should feel about sex, but it’s the way I’m wired.  Love is love, and sex is for fun.

It surprised me to learn, as I grew older, that some people found me disgusting because of this.  One of the most hurtful things that happened to me when I was dating was when I was on a second date with a man I was very attracted to.  We ended up back at my apartment, making out passionately on my bed.  I assumed this meant we would be having sex soon, so I joked, “I’ll warn you—I’m easy!”

386200_2673280425520_1061443511_32785704_1832786642_n.jpgHe jerked away and said in a disgusted voice, “I’m not!”  Then he left, and I never saw him again.  All calls to his number went unanswered.

I ran into more men like this over the years—men who initially found me attractive, but quickly dumped me when they found out I’d had a lot of sex in the past.  I was now “damaged goods.”  And because they saw me as worthless—certainly not as someone they could have a relationship with—to offer to have sex with them seemed to insult them.  “How dare you think I would stoop to having sex with someone like you?”

Once, when I went to look at an apartment, the landlord accosted me, pulling me into a dark room and yanking down my pants.  I didn’t want it—I was dating someone, at the time, and I found this man to be repulsive—so I struggled to get free of him, and ended up fleeing with one hand pulling my pants up as I ran.  I told my boyfriend about it that night, and he responded by sneering at me and saying, “That figures.  What did you do to encourage him?”

Luckily I continue dating nevertheless, meeting people everywhere and going online on those free trial chatlines,that helps people meet new people, and then I found Erich.

So, needless to say, by the time I met Erich, I was used to people thinking I was a “slut.”  It wasn’t so much that I thought badly of myself for my sexual history, but I was convinced I’d given up whatever chance I might have had for a permanent relationship.

kitten cuddleThank God for Erich.  Our first “date” was more of a geeky study group for two.  We were both interested in Old Norse, the language spoken by the Vikings, so we met at my apartment to go over some lessons.  When we got tired of that, we ended up making out.  I came onto him, and he didn’t play hard to get or act offended.  He acted as if he was lucky to have found me.  And I quickly realized I was lucky to have found him.

We’ve been together for thirteen years now.  We’ll be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary this week, in fact.  During this time, Erich has always enjoyed hearing about the sexual antics I used to get up to in my youth.  He hadn’t been quite so adventuresome himself.  But whenever I mention how men used to make me feel there was something “tainted” about me for being so experienced, he pulls me into his arms and laughs.  “Then they missed out,” he tells me.  “I love hearing your stories.  I think they’re hot.”

So I may not be the type of guy every man wants to marry.  But that doesn’t matter anymore, because Erich wanted to marry me.

I wrote about some of this, fictionalized, in my novel Screwups.  What happened to Danny isn’t true—not for me, at least, though sadly it does happen to some high school students.  Some have committed suicide over it.  But his feelings of being sleazy and not good enough to be Jake’s boyfriend—of having screwed up his life—I understood all too well.  And many of the events that occur in the dorm really did happen to me, though of course I’ve inserted my fictional characters into them.  Eaton House did in fact have nude pizza parties, people chasing each other through the dorm naked, and residents posing nude in the lounge for art students.

One thing I left out of the novel was the time I streaked the dorm covered head to toe in nothing but marshmallow fluff.

Ah… good times….

To buy a copy of Screwups, look for it at Dreamspinner Press or Amazon.

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Filed under Bloghop, College, Contemporary, Jamie Fessenden, Life, Nudity, Sex, Sex Positivity

“The Book of St. Cyprian” – Part of the “Bones” anthology

boneslgThe second Gothika anthology is coming out today!  This one is called Bones, and it features stories by Eli Easton, B.G. Thomas, Kim Fielding, and me, all based around the theme of voodoo.

Bones is 25% off from now until October 31st!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5564

My story is called The Book of St. Cyprian and it’s a contemporary, somewhat lighthearted story about two teenage boys who bite off a little more than they can chew.  The tone of this story is pretty much YA, so don’t expect lots of raunchy sex.  Expect a horror story with a thread of sweet romance running through it.

Alejandro is the grandson of an old woman who runs a botanica—a shop that sells herbs, powders, and religious/magical supplies—in a largely Latino neighborhood in Manchester, NH.  When his grandmother (whom he calls “Abuela” (“grandmother”)) sends him to New Orleans, where a friend has recently passed away, he rescues a number of items from the man’s botanica there to send back home.

Alejandro2One of the items he uncovers is a copy of El Gran Libro de San Cipriano—”The Great Book of St. Cyprian.”  An old book of black magic, it was rumored to contain so much evil that to merely touch it endangered one’s soul.  According to magical tradition, the book is sealed in a wooden box wrapped in a chain and padlocked shut.

Alejandro knows Abuela would never allow the book to be in her shop, or even in her home, so he sends it to his friend Matthew for safekeeping.

MatthewMatthew isn’t Latino, but he’s been living in the neighborhood since he was thirteen, and he and Alejandro are best friends.  They would both like to be more than best friends, and that wouldn’t seem like much of a problem, since they’ve been out to each other for years.  But it’s a big step to take, and one that has the potential to destroy their friendship.

So they just stay… friends….

SpartacusThings come to a head when Matthew’s beloved pit bull pup, Spartacus, chews his way through the package Alejandro entrusted to his friend, unleashing a dark spirit that takes control of the animal.

At this point, I would like to assure everyone that I adore all dogs, including pit bulls.  Spartacus is loosely based upon my friend Carmella’s pit bull, Neela, who is extremely mellow and affectionate.  So this isn’t a story about how evil pit bulls are.  It’s a story about how Alejandro and Matthew work together to save their little buddy.

Older Mexican womenOh… and it’s also about how Abuela is not particularly amused by this mess her grandson caused.

Not at all….

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Filed under Contemporary, Drama, gay, horror, Humor, New Release, occult, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Guest post: Sue Brown on “Falling for Ramos”

FallingForRamosLGYou know that phrase “I don’t know what I like, but I know it when I see it.”

That applies to me for art and music. I’m not really into either. I love wandering around art galleries but I know nothing about art, and rely on other people for details of the symbolism of the era or technical information.

In Falling for Ramos I mention the Tate Gallery, which later became the Tate Britain. Full points to eagle-eyed readers if they spot the change in name in the book.

I spent a couple of hours with an artist in the Tate Britain. I’m afraid we disgraced ourselves and earned some disapproving looks. Apparently, going up to a painting and saying “And this is where the artist learnt to paint fur,” or “He’s wrestling with his sexuality? I think his sexuality is winning,” upsets some of the more serious visitors.

I’m a Philistine where art is concerned. I like paintings from IKEA as much as the most expensive art piece in the Louvre. But I know what I like. And that is why Falling for Ramos has a painting for the cover. I saw “Real Men Wear Jocks” on Facebook and it was different. I contacted Ian Brown (no relations) and he agreed to let us use it. What a star.

Buylinks for Falling for Ramos

Dreamspinner, ARe, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

A glimpse of a group of businessmen in a newspaper tells Colin Hess his old love, Alejandro Ramos, is back in London a decade after they split up.

They met by chance as students, when Colin was pushed into Ramos’s lap at a party. Despite the disapproval from Ramos’s parents, Colin and Ramos were inseparable from that moment and settled in their own place as soon as they finished university.

But when Ramos’s father fell ill, Ramos was forced to return to the family vineyard, leaving Colin behind. When Colin joined him for a holiday, the plans Ramos’s parents had for their son became painfully clear—and those plans did not involve Colin.

Colin knows it would be stupid to rekindle their old love after the devastating end to their relationship. Still, neither can deny that they still have feelings for each other from the minute they meet, and Colin learns the meeting might not be as random as it seemed.

Sue’s bio:

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot and has got expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Sue’s internet links

https://www.facebook.com/suebrownstories?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/suebrownstories

mailto:suebrown.stories@gmail.com

http://suebrownsstories.blogspot.co.uk/?zx=711a0a0202d37ef6

http://www.pinterest.com/suebrownstories/

https://www.goodreads.com/sue_brown

 

FallingForRamosLGExcerpt:


January 23, 1998

COLIN LOOKED dubiously at the house. “It looks like a squat.”

The venue for the party was a three-story crumbling monstrosity hidden behind a huge overgrown hedge. Compared to the rest of the street, this house looked unloved and definitely out of place.

“So? It’s not the first time we’ve been to a squat.”

Tim dragged Colin to the front door. It was open, and without hesitation Tim went in, swallowed up by the crowds in the hallway. Inside was a pleasant surprise compared to the unprepossessing exterior.

For a split second, Colin was tempted to bail on his friend, but as he hesitated on the doorstep, Tim emerged, grabbed his hand, and dragged him into the maw of the house. Tim didn’t stop until they reached the huge lounge heaving with people. Then he let go of Colin’s hand. “Where is she?”

“Who?”

“Rita, of course.”

Rita was Tim’s current girlfriend. Colin hadn’t met her. He never bothered unless they lasted longer than a week, which was rare for Tim.

“What does she look like?”

“Short, blonde, and stacked.”

No change there, then. Tim had a type.

Colin looked around. “What about that girl over there?”

“Where? Oh yeah, that’s my girl.”

“She’s kissing someone else.”

“What?”

Tim ploughed through the crowd toward Rita with Colin following reluctantly. By the time they arrived, Rita had stopped kissing the other guy and launched herself into Tim’s arms with an ear-piercing “Timmy!”

Tim responded by shoving his tongue down her throat. Colin supposed it was more hygienic than pissing on her leg to claim possession. Still it was gross to watch and went on for a long time. Rather than watch them play tonsil hockey, Colin took the opportunity to survey the room. The usual suspects from his year were there, a couple waving at him as he caught their eye. He was mainly known as the person to call when Tim got out of hand. Colin decided to grab a beer before he settled into a long evening entertaining Rita’s friend. The beer was in large kegs along one wall.

As Colin reached for a plastic tumbler, someone went for the same one and their fingers collided.

“Sorry,” he muttered and pulled back.

“No worries.”

The rolling accent caught Colin’s attention, and he looked up to see the man of his dreams smiling at him. But before he could say anything, Tim appeared, dragging Rita behind him.

“Hey, dickwad. You haven’t met Rita. Beer, great.” Tim reached between Colin and the other man to take the tumbler and filled it up.

Rita caught Colin’s eye and smiled. “Hey, you must be Callum. Great to meet you. Come and meet Kyla.”

“It’s Colin,” he corrected.

She shrugged, obviously uninterested.

Colin smiled apologetically at the guy—who, Christ, pushed every one of his buttons—and let himself be dragged away without a beer, wishing he could touch the other man’s hand again because that brief touch had set all his nerves afire.

Once Kyla established that Colin wasn’t going to be interested in her no matter how much she thrust her cleavage in his face, she huffed and went off to find a guy who knew where to stick his dick, since she was already used to watching this at 18PlusPics.com, but needed more than that. Her words, not Colin’s, who already knew perfectly well where he’d like to stick it. Tim was all over Rita, and that left Colin bored witless and wishing he’d stuck to his guns and stayed on the sofa. His stomach growled every so often to remind him that Tim hadn’t allowed him to finish his dinner. He eventually found a tumbler, filled it with cheap beer, and retreated to a corner so he could drool over Mr. Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous in peace.

Whoever the guy was, he was popular. He’d got a seat on the sofa, and a crowd of people had gathered around him. Colin wished he could be one of those people. He stared down into his half-empty glass. He needed enough alcohol to survive the evening but remain sober enough to get Tim home.

Heading over to the dustbins, the unexpected shove between Colin’s shoulder blades lurched him forward, right into the people by the sofa. They scattered, and he ended up in the lap of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous. Normally he wouldn’t mind sitting in the lap of any gorgeous man, but he did prefer it to be consensual, and this man looked anything but happy. Then Colin realized his glass was now empty, the contents emptied down the man’s T-shirt.

The guy looked down at his soaked shirt, and his lips twitched. “I like to drink beer and have my men plastered against my chest. Not the other way round.”

 

 

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance

Some comments about “Murder on the Mountain”

I’ve picked up a habit from my friend Eli Easton of using the review section of Goodreads to put in some comments about my novels (without rating them, of course).  So I put some comments in about Murder on the Mountain.  But after several comments by readers I felt compelled to expand my comments a bit to clarify exactly what the novel is and is not.  At this point, the comment has grown large enough that I think it warrants a blog post.  So here it is:

Murder on the Mountain is a cozy—a murder mystery solved by an amateur detective, where all the suspects are gathered in one place. In this case, in a Victorian hotel at the base of Mount Washington.

I did a lot of research into the way a murder investigation on the mountain would be conducted, including sending a list of questions up with a friend of mine who was visiting the summit to stay with the rangers for a week.  In the process, I discovered that local police don’t really get involved.  The state park rangers have jurisdiction.  If they choose, they’ll call in the state police from the Major Crimes Unit in Concord, NH.  Autopsies are likewise done in Concord.

However, the novel isn’t a police procedural, despite Kyle being a state police detective. Just as Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote” somehow infiltrates police investigations wherever she goes, Jesse manages to do the same thing. I would never suggest that the real NH State Police would allow a civilian to tag along on an investigation. Although Jesse checking into the hotel and talking to the suspects is well within his legal rights.  Kyle could choose to dump him for it, but he couldn’t legally stop him.  Like other cozies, the story is largely about the puzzle.

This is another novel set in my home state of New Hampshire. I spent my early years in Gorham, near the base of Mount Washington, and my father worked at the summit of the mountain. I spent some time up there with him when I was about seven, at least once sealed inside the Observatory for a week during the severe winter weather—hurricane force winds and temperatures as low as 70 below zero.

2013-12-08 14.30.18The Sherman Adams building is fairly recent, since the Observatory building I remember burned down. Now Mount Washington Park rangers stay at the summit, along with the Observatory staff. They have jurisdiction over any crimes committed on the mountain, though they may call in the State Police Major Crimes Unit for a murder. This, of course, is what they did in the novel.

I set the bulk of the novel at the gorgeous Victorian Era Mount Washington Hotel. When I was a kid, we could never have afforded to stay there—I just saw it as we drove by. So I used writing this novel as my excuse to indulge my long-held fantasy of staying there for a weekend. My husband and I spent our anniversary there near Christmas, and the hotel was resplendent in more Christmas trees than I can recall. It was gorgeous.

That was also when we stumbled across the fifth floor…. I won’t tell you what we found there, but it was exactly as I described it in the novel. 😉

For those who have wondered about it, yes, I intend to write more mysteries with Kyle and Jesse as the sleuths!

I hope you enjoy Murder on the Mountain.

Buy Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5335

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery, New Release, Romance