Category Archives: New Release

Christmas music in Iceland!

I have yet to actually visit Iceland. So when I was writing my novel A Viking for Yule, I had to rely upon a friend (Sigríður Valdimarsdóttir) who lives there, a lot of research, and Google Maps. But I wanted to experience as much as I could, so I ordered food from Iceland (the shipping cost was more than the order, not surprisingly) and tried the rye bread, licorice, and chocolate Sam eats in the novel. I also ordered Appelsin and Malt Extract, so I could make Jólabland. (It was all absolutely delicious, and I want more!)

Another thing I wanted to do was experience Icelandic Christmas music. What’s Christmas without music?

So I dug around on the Internet and talked to my Icelandic friend to learn what might be on the radio during the yule season this year. I ended up putting together a CD that I listened to pretty much constantly, as I worked on the novel.

It drove my husband insane, but I picked a couple of songs to use in the story.

The first time Arnar turns on the radio, this song comes on, which I thought was a wonderful upbeat pop song. It’s called Jólin eru að koma (Christmas is Coming) by the group Í svörtum fötum (In Black Clothes).
Here’s the scene where they come across it:

Arnar fiddled with the radio and a contemporary rock song came on. Unsurprisingly, the lyrics were in Icelandic.

“What is that?” Sam asked.

“Christmas music.”

Sam grinned at him. “It doesn’t sound very Christmassy. It’s more like the J-pop I heard in Japan.”

“Stop being so provincial.” Arnar looked scandalized. “That’s ‘Christmas is Coming’ by In Black Clothes.”

“In Black Clothes?”

“That’s the name of the group. It’s actually a pretty old song, from when I was at university.”

“Oh.” Sam wasn’t sure if he liked it or not. For that matter, he wasn’t sure if Arnar liked it or just didn’t like Icelandic music being mistaken for J-pop. He closed his eyes for a bit to listen.

After a moment, he heard Arnar softly singing along with it.

 

Later, when they are sitting in the car, waiting to see if the Northern Lights will put in an appearance, a song called Ef ég nenni by Helgi Björnsson comes on. It was Sigríður’s favorite Christmas song, and I fell in love with it too. The line Arnar “sings” to Sam was translated by Sigríður from the original Icelandic.

Arnar turned the radio on, tuned to the same station they’d been listening to wherever they drove, and Wham’s “Last Christmas” washed over Sam, comforting in its familiarity, though it wasn’t normally one of his favorites. He settled back in his seat, relishing the warmth of his new sweater and the smell of clean wool. The song ended, and another song came on that he didn’t know.

“This is my favorite Christmas song,” Arnar said softly.

It was in Icelandic, so Sam had no idea what it was about, but it was slow and pretty, with sort of an ’80s pop ballad feel. Arnar sang along in a smooth baritone, which made it sound beautiful. After a few lines, Arnar said, “He’s singing about how he wants to give his love all these wonderful presents for Christmas, if only she’ll have him—gems and pearls and a golden crown for her forehead, all the kingdoms of the world, the most beautiful roses from the bushes of the past, the Water of Life….” He sang a little more, then translated, his pupils glinting in the faint light of the GPS, “‘Never again will you have to endure any evil in this world, my angel, because I’m here and watching over you.’”

That sent a shiver down Sam’s spine. He smiled sadly and glanced away. “For a couple more days at least.”

“Já,” Arnar said gently, lifting Sam’s hand to brush his lips against it. “For a couple more days.”

But of all the songs I listened to while I was writing A Viking for Yule, this Icelandic version of A Spaceman Came Traveling by Frostrósir struck me as the most beautiful. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a live version I liked as much as this one, so this video just has the album cover.

For that matter, Frostrósir has become my favorite Icelandic “group.” Actually, they’re not really a group, so much as an annual concert with different performers each year. The music director is Karl Olgeirsson, who writes a lot of the music and lyrics for the songs each year. Another of my favorite Icelandic Christmas songs springs out of it. This one features an appearance by one of Iceland’s openly gay male singers, Friðrik Omar, along with Margret Eir, and it was released for the 10th anniversary of the Frostrósir concerts. It’s just so… cheerful!

Next, we have two quieter songs. The first is Dansadu Vindur (Danse Wind) by a singer known as Eivør:

Then, a beautiful ballad called Hin fyrstu jól (The First Christmas) by another openly gay Icelandic singer, Páll Óskar.

Sigríður pointed me at another favorite of hers: Það á að gefa börnum brauð (We Should Give Children Bread) performed by Reykjavíkurdætur.

The next two are just songs I enjoy listening to: Heima um jólin (Home for Christmas) by Helga Möller and Þú komst með jólin til mín (You Brought Me Christmas) by Bo Halldorsson and Ruth Reginalds.

Lastly, Sigríður tells me the song “Morning Has Broken,” popularized by Cat Stevens in the 1970s (it actually originated as a Scottish hymn in 1900, with English lyrics written in 1931 by Eleanor Farjeon), has become a very popular Christmas song in Iceland. This is the version I stumbled across while writing A Viking for Yule, called Líður að Jólum (Christmas Is Coming) performed by Stebbi Hilmars.

This is a really long post, so I’ll stop there. But I hope you enjoy the sound of Christmas in Iceland!

AFTER SAM’S GRANDFATHER nearly died in a blizzard one year ago, Sam has panic attacks in snow storms. So where does his friend Jackie propose they spend the holidays, as the last stop on their trip around the world?

Iceland. Of course.

But there’s more in Iceland than snow. When Arnar, a handsome Icelandic man, offers to escort Sam on a several-day tour of the beautiful countryside, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. But Arnar is firmly rooted in his native soil, and Sam has to return to the US in a week to care for his ailing grandfather.

Suddenly, yule can’t last nearly long enough.

NOTE: Though this novel includes characters from “A Cop for Christmas,” it is a standalone adventure. It isn’t necessary to read “A Cop for Christmas” first.

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Filed under Christmas, Contemporary, Excerpt, Jamie Fessenden, LGBT, New Release, Romance, Viking

This Christmas, let’s go to Iceland!

This Christmas, I wanted to write about a couple of secondary characters in last year’s A Cop for Christmas: Sam and Jackie.

Sam Wilson was the ex-boyfriend of Steve Coleman, and he was kind of a sad, lonely person, whose life nearly fell apart when his grandfather had a heart attack in a blizzard, and help couldn’t get there in time. Fortunately, Steve was able to drive them to the highway through the storm, and they made it to the hospital.

They spent the night at Jackie Montgomery’s house. Jackie is an older woman who knew Steve’s mother in college, and she’s been a close friend of the family since Steve was born. She’s a bit like Patrick Dennis’s Auntie Mame—a woman who believes in living life to the fullest, who travels the world in search of adventure and has the financial means to do so. In A Cop for Christmas, she immediately took Sam under her wing, drawn to his insecurity.

As A Viking for Yule begins, Sam and Jackie have been traveling through eight different countries in as many months, and Sam is a bit more self-confident. He’s been to baths in Japan and Russia, experienced an earthquake in Indonesia, and had monkeys steal food from his pockets in Bali. But nothing has prepared him for a week in Iceland with Arnar Thorsteinsson as a guide….

The Christmas season in Iceland is still called Jól—Yule—as it was before the country was Christianized, and many of the popular traditions still have a very pagan feel to them. At this time of year, the sun doesn’t rise until nearly 11:30 a.m. and sets around 3:00 p.m. The shortest day (the winter solstice, December 21st) is just four hours long. So most of the day is dark. But the largest city in Iceland, Reykjavik, is lit up like a Christmas tree!

Like other cities in Europe, Reykjavik and the neighboring Hafnarfjördur  have Christmas markets where you can go from booth to booth, buying Christmas ornaments and decorations—many locally made—and the hot chocolate Sam and Arnar are so fond of. Akureyri in the north also has year-round Christmas shops.

But my favorite thing is (are?) the Yule Lads. Since about the twelfth century, and possibly dating back before then, Icelanders have warned their children that, if they’re not good, the troll, Gryla, will scoop them up in her sack and take them to her cave to devour them. She is aided in this by the Christmas Cat. Less sinister, however, are her thirteen children—the Yule Lads.

The Yule Lads are trolls, but they’re more mischievous than evil. Each one has a particular vice. Window Peeper looks into windows to spy on people and steal what he sees. Door Slammer stomps around your house in the night and slams doors, to prevent you from getting any sleep. If you can’t find your… *ahem*… sausage, it’s probably because Sausage Swiper absconded with it, when you weren’t looking.

If children are particularly good, however, the Yule Lads just might leave some candy behind for them.

Each lad comes to town on a different day of the yule season and remains thirteen days before departing. So, for example, Sheep-Cote Clod (who steals the milk from sheep) shows up on the 12th and remains until the 25th. His brother, Gully Gawk (who hides in gullies and watches people), arrives the next night, and stays until December 26th. The last to arrive is Candle-Stealer on the 24th, which is the night Icelanders typically open all of their gifts. He remains until January 6th (Epiphany).

The Reykjavik Art Museum-Hafnarhús put out a booklet called Christmas Creatures in Reykjavik, which gives brief descriptions of the Yule Lads and Gryla, and shows the locations of them on a map. If you go to these spots during the yule season, you can see animated projections of them on the sides of buildings.

AFTER SAM’S GRANDFATHER nearly died in a blizzard one year ago, Sam has panic attacks in snow storms. So where does his friend Jackie propose they spend the holidays, as the last stop on their trip around the world? 

Iceland. Of course.

But there’s more in Iceland than snow. When Arnar, a handsome Icelandic man, offers to escort Sam on a several-day tour of the beautiful countryside, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. But Arnar is firmly rooted in his native soil, and Sam has to return to the US in a week to care for his ailing grandfather. 

Suddenly, yule can’t last nearly long enough.

NOTE: Though this novel includes characters from “A Cop for Christmas,” it is a standalone adventure. It isn’t necessary to read “A Cop for Christmas” first.

Buy Linkhttps://www.amazon.com/Viking-Yule-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B077TLWLZ4/

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Filed under Christmas, Contemporary, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Romance, Viking

Excerpt from “The Stark Divide” by J. Scott Coatsworth

Some stories are epic.

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

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

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

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

Excerpt:

Colin sat on an outcropping of rock with absolutely nothing to do. It was a strange feeling, after the hectic pace of events these last twenty-four hours. The enormity of what had happened rushed in on him and threatened to crush him. He turned off his comm link, wrapped his arms around his chest, and wept unabashedly. For Hammond, for the Dressler, for his own endangered life.

The suit’s recycling systems dutifully removed the water his tears deposited within the helmet, the soft whir of the suit motor the only external sound.

After a while, he began to calm down, taking a few deep, ragged breaths. The worst was over. Jackson was in no pain, and they had escaped the wreckage of the Dressler.

Now he would witness the birth of a new world, something good come out of this otherwise unmitigated disaster. I can do this.

He turned the comm link back on.

The doc’s voice was in his ear. “—can’t seem to reach you. Are you okay? I’m coming back as quickly as I can—”

“I’m here, Doc.” Colin kept his voice steady. “Just a glitch on the comm. Don’t rush back. Just take it slow and steady.”

“Oh God, it’s so good to hear your voice, Colin.” She sounded close to losing it. “I don’t know what I would do all alone.”

“I’m okay. Just get back here so we can get this done.” He stood and stretched.

“Affirmative.” She was all business once again. “Give me about ten minutes.”

He put his hands on the seed, trying to feel the life within, wondering what it would lead to. The thing he held between his hands was destined to become a world all its own, mankind’s first interstellar ship.

What would its occupants think of the world around them? Would its strange interior be as natural to them as the Earth was to him?

He looked up at the stars as the spin of the asteroid pulled them away from the sun’s glow once again.

Where would it go, and how long would it take to get there?

It was a liminal moment in the history of mankind, the threshold of a new era, and he was here to see it.

For a moment, he forgot all about Jackson Hammond and the Dressler. He was filled with an intense longing to go along with these future star travelers, to see what was out there. It was what had fueled his passion to become a pilot, to come out here into the vast unknown. Though ultimately he’d become nothing more than a highly paid delivery boy.

There was so much more beyond where they were allowed to go.

We have such short lives in the grand scheme of things. He’d be unlikely to live long enough to see her launched into the void, let alone to see where she went and what she found there.

“I’m almost there, Captain,” Anatov called.

He acknowledged her tersely, turning back to look at Jackson’s corpse lying there in the starlight.

He just wanted to get this over with and get back to the safety and comfortable confinement of the lifeboat.

It was too big out here for one man, no matter his grand ambitions.

Buy Links:

DSP Publications (paperback): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-416-b

DSP Publications (eBook): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-415-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Stark-Divide-Liminal-Sky-Book-ebook/dp/B074G2NJP6/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stark-divide-j-scott-coatsworth/1126901106?ean=9781635338324

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-stark-divide

iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-stark-divide/id1266474103?mt=11&at=1l3vtqV

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35834187-the-stark-divide

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/the-stark-divide/

Author Bio:

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

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

 

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Filed under Cyberpunk, Excerpt, gay, Guest Blogger, LGBT, New Release, SciFi

New QSF Flash Fiction Anthology: Renewal

QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer


Included Authors

‘Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera

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Filed under Excerpt, Fantasy, LGBT, New Release, SciFi

Polyamory Is About Love

I’ve read a number of MMM books over the years, and many were excellent—Us Three by Mia Kerick (this one is YA), The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles, Polar Reaction by Claire Thompson, and Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood are all great—but I was surprised to discover how strong the connection appeared to be between MMM and BDSM. Don’t get me wrong. BDSM is fine. It’s just not something I’m into, and I wouldn’t classify the poly relationships I know of in real life as having much to do with BDSM—certainly not all of them. (None of this is meant to imply anything about the content of the novels I listed—some have BDSM, some don’t.)

As I was developing the blurb for my novel, The Rules, it was mentioned more than once that I should emphasize that the book was hot, hot, HOT! and kinky… except that it isn’t, by my definition. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of sex and those scenes are hot. But the novel isn’t specifically meant to be kinky or about a hot menage or threesome (both of which terms imply a temporary, sexual circumstance to me, rather than a permanent relationship).

It’s about three men with emotional holes in their lives coming together to form a loving, polyamorous family. (The search engine on Goodreads tells me “polyamory” is mostly used for nonfiction. Seriously?)

Hans feels alienated from his family. After his parents divorced, his father drifted away, and his mother and sister grew close, more or less excluding him. Thomas was thrown out of his family and cut off from his inheritance for being gay, and Boris… Boris is a mess. He survived bullying and worse at the hands of his country, Russia, and has a dark secret he’s afraid to reveal to anyone. But they come together to heal and love one another. The sex (and there is a lot of sex for a Jamie Fessenden novel) begins as kind of a kinky situation, but quickly becomes more than that.

My point is simply that a polyamorous relationship should be viewed as an alternate type of relationship. Polyamorous families are families. They involve more than two people, but they are still families. They aren’t about sex (exclusively)—they’re about love.

Family is how you define it.

BLURB

WHEN HANS BAUER, a college student in New Hampshire, accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, he soon learns the reason they’ve hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won’t work there. Thomas is a successful businessman whose biggest goal in life appears to be giving his husband anything he wants. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of the things he endured in his native country.

He also refuses to wear clothes—ever.

While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. Boris gets flirtatious and Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.

At that moment, The Rules are born—rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship….

WARNING: This story deals with themes of sexual assault and past abuse.

BUY LINK

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B075FPT1VF/

EXCERPT

[Hans comes to the house to ask Boris to pose nude for his art project.]

The house was wonderfully cool. They must have been running the air-conditioner, though Hans couldn’t hear anything. The place was absolutely silent, as if nobody was home. Hans closed the door and called Boris’s name, but there was no response. From the front hall, he could see the sofa, and it was bare. Hans did a quick check of the downstairs rooms. The study door was open, and the room was empty. It also smelled kind of like a men’s locker room. Hans wondered if Boris would let him in again to clean on Tuesday.

At the end of the hall, Hans looked out the French doors and spotted his quarry. Boris was lying on the lawn, sunbathing face down on a large blue-and-white beach towel. Hans opened one of the doors and stepped outside.

Boris heard him and raised his head. “Hans! I did not expect you today.”

“No.” Hans crossed the patio to where he was stretched out. “I’m not normally… Boris Ivanich, do you have sunblock on?” The Russian’s back was getting a little red.

“It did not occur to me.”

Hans set his backpack on the grass. “Do you have some in the house?”

“Thomas might. I do not know.”

Hans frowned at him. “Hold on.” He went back inside. I swear, it’s like looking after a kid. He wasn’t sure where to search for sunblock, but the bathroom seemed a good possibility. He checked the downstairs half-bath first. There was nothing in the medicine cabinet, but he found an old plastic tube of sunscreen under the sink. It was nearly empty, but there was a little left.

He went back outside and knelt in the grass beside Boris. “You really should put some on. You’re getting burned.”

Boris took the tube and opened it. He scrunched up his nose. “It smells like coconut.”

“I got this out of your bathroom. You must have used it at some point.”

Boris waved dismissively. “Not me. Maybe Thomas.”

“Well, it’s the only one I could find, so stop being difficult.”

Boris grinned, and Hans’s heart did a little flutter. That wasn’t good.

“Okay,” Boris said, handing the tube back to him. He put his head down and wiggled his butt like an excited puppy. “You may put some on me.”

“Oh, may I, your majesty?” Hans was using sarcasm to disguise his sudden discomfort. It really didn’t seem like a good idea for him to rub lotion on Boris’s… anything.

Boris snickered. “Please put some on me?”

“I’m not sure I should do that, Boris Ivanich.”

“Why not?”

“Well, because you’re naked.”

“I am always naked.”

“Yes,” Hans explained patiently, “but I’m not always touching you.”

Boris lifted his head again and cocked an eyebrow at him. Then he grunted and nodded. “You are worried about Thomas.”

“I don’t want to do anything that would upset him,” Hans said. Then he quickly added, “Or that we’d have to hide from him.”

Boris held out his hand. “Do you have your phone?”

Hans hesitated, but Boris made an impatient gesture with his fingers, so he dug his cell out of his pocket and handed it over. He watched nervously while Boris dialed. Boris put it on speaker while it rang, placing it on the towel between them.

“Hans?” Thomas asked. “You still can’t find him?”

“I am here,” Boris said.

“Oh. Why do you have Hans’s phone?”

“He gave it to me in exchange for a blow job.”

Hans gasped. “I did not!”

Thomas laughed. “What’s going on?”

“Hans tells me I will get sunburned,” Boris said, “so I should put on this nasty-smelling coconut shit. But I cannot reach my back—I am not a comic book character—and he will not put it on me.”

“You’re sunbathing? Since when do you sunbathe?”

Boris made a rude noise. “That is beside the point. I need you to tell Hans you won’t divorce me and come after him with a butcher knife if he rubs coconut shit on my back.”

“You two will be the death of me,” Thomas muttered, but there was a note of affection in his voice. Hans assumed that was for Boris, but the way Thomas had said “you two” sounded as if they were all somehow together. Hans was surprised by how much he liked that. “Hans, I won’t divorce Boris and come after you with a butcher knife if you rub coconut shit on his back.”

“Thank you,” Boris told him.

“But Boris? You behave.”

“Me?” Boris sounded scandalized.

“Don’t think I can’t see what’s happening.”

“What is happening?”

“You’re attracted to Hans,” Thomas said calmly.

Hans was suddenly dizzy. This is not normal. People don’t have conversations like this! He wanted to run away, but he was riveted.

Boris looked at Hans for a moment, as if he were evaluating the truth of Thomas’s statement. At last he said, “That is true.”

“And I think Hans is attracted to you.”

Hans tried to answer but couldn’t speak. Boris smirked and said, “He might answer that, after he stops pissing himself.”

“Shut up,” Hans said, finally finding his voice. Boris grinned.

“I’m not going to flip out over it,” Thomas went on, “but I think we should all sit down and talk about this, especially if Hans decides to move in for the summer. For today, I need you both to understand what my boundaries are. I’m fine with you rubbing lotion on each other’s backs, chests, arms, and legs. I guess butts are reasonable. But don’t be rubbing lotion on each other’s dicks—your crotch is not a hard-to-reach spot.” Then he dropped the bombshell. “If you get so turned on you absolutely can’t stand it, jerk off in front of each other, but don’t jerk each other off. Are we clear?”

“Yes, yes,” Boris said, clearly enjoying this. “We’ll fondle each other’s asses and jerk off, but no touching of dicks.” He glanced at Hans, who was sure his face had turned bone white. “Or maybe Hans will run screaming in terror and never come to our house again. I will keep you informed.”

“Buck up, Hans. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Be nice to him, Boris.”

“I will be very nice to him.”

Thomas groaned, but he said goodbye and hung up.

Hans wasn’t sure what to make of the exchange, and he was pretty wigged out. “What just happened?”

“You were worried about how Thomas would feel,” Boris said matter-of-factly, “so I asked him.”

“Did he just tell us to jerk off together?”

“No,” Boris replied. “He explained what would bother him and what would not. Jerking off together would not bother him. That does not mean we have to do it.”

“All I wanted was for you to put on some suntan lotion!”

 

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Filed under College, Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, Gay Marriage, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Nudity, Rape, Romance, Russian

Excerpt from Roe Horvat’s new novel “Dirty Mind”

Alexander Popescu is a university lecturer in a quiet German town. He’s a respectable man in his thirties who stays fit, has a decent career, travels alone—his only vice is an occasional greasy meal. And beer. And violent computer games. Nobody has to know about the other Alex—the acclaimed porn writer. His ingenious erotic fantasies earn him good money and keep his capricious mind harmlessly entertained.

When his young friend and protégé Christian transfers to Freiburg for medical school, Alex is overjoyed…and terrified that Christian will find out about Alex’s indecent alter ego. The time they spend together, as lovely as it is, could overturn Alex’s carefully balanced life. Suddenly, the writing is not good enough, his hair seems to be thinning, his careful hookups leave him unfulfilled, and his dreams are haunted by the innocent young man he’s vowed to protect.

However, Christian is not a boy anymore. He’s a grown man of twenty-one, clever and deadly attractive. And he’s hiding some secrets of his own.

Excerpt

I was just waving down the bartender when a tension-charged silence fell on us. It was like in a spaghetti western when the hero walks into the saloon, and everyone turns their heads. Christian entered the bar, and every guy within a ten-meter radius looked his way. I could swear there were gasps.

He wasn’t too tall, maybe one seventy-five, and he had the shiniest blond hair. The sun-bleached mop of golden strands surrounded his head like a halo as if he’d descended directly from heaven to save our lost, dirty souls. But angels probably wouldn’t come down to earth dressed in faded cut-off jeans and purple flip-flops.

Christian had some insignificant friend or two with him, but I didn’t notice their gender let alone their faces. His bright-blue eyes were all I could see, almost turquoise in the colorful night lights. His nose and cheeks were covered with summer freckles, and he glowed. He was so young.

I admit I was one of those who gasped. Just before I got genuinely scared for him.

He looked a little dazed, like a newborn foal looking around the barn for the first time, big eyes, gangly limbs and all. The innocence and naiveté drifted with him like a glittering mist.

The couple who had come with him hit the dance floor as soon as they got their hands on two beer bottles. Alone, Christian sat on a barstool a mere few meters away from me, facing the crowd, faint wonder on his angelic face.

He wasn’t going to last. I could see the mob forming already.

It took thirty seconds for the first man to hit on him. I watched Christian’s face as his eyes widened, and his mouth formed a perfect O. Whatever the guy said to him, it was not the right thing. The boy turned bright red and leaned back, trying to get as far away from the man as the bar counter allowed. He mumbled something; the other man shrugged and took off, leaving Christian stunned.

It was like some sick, speed-dating reality show, the guys coming and going, the bewildered boy rejecting them all. He laughed from astonishment several times. Until it wasn’t funny anymore.

The last candidate was probably my age, fake tan, extravagantly dyed hair, beefy arms, colorful designer clothes. Sleazy, with a fucking gold chain and a geometrical black goatee that was so perfect it looked glued on. And he didn’t leave, he leaned closer and closer, ignoring the boy’s protests. Then one big paw landed on Christian’s thigh, a thick thumb massaging along the inner seam of the boy’s jeans, and for the first time, I saw genuine fear in those bright-blue eyes. It was sobering to watch.

In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest thing I’d ever done, but I acted quickly. I slid off my stool and closed the distance between us in five strides. I cast my arm around the boy’s shoulders careful not to add weight, trying to signal him subtly that it was all for show. He flinched anyway.

Quickly, I offered the most cliché phrase there was.

“Sorry I’m late,” I said. I hoped the douchebag hadn’t noticed me on the other side of the bar, sitting there for an hour straight. “Been having trouble without me, Squirrel?” I looked the fake-tanned sleazeball in the eyes as I said that. Was he wearing tinted contacts? Close up, the guy looked like an oiled, airbrushed spawn of Steven Seagal and a Ken doll. Bleh.

There was a second when Christian seemed to weigh his options, in the end deciding that I was going to be the lesser of two evils.

“A bit,” he quipped next to me, playing along at last. “You were supposed to be here an hour ago.” He was clever. His voice shook, though. He had a heavy German accent.

“My apologies, gentlemen. I am intruding, obviously. Have a nice evening.” The sleazy guy, Scottish apparently, nodded my way and left. Not drunk, then, but that only made it worse. I despised those pushy, slimy daddy-types who wouldn’t accept a simple “no” without puffing their chest.

I turned towards Christian and dropped my arm, taking a step back, giving him much-needed space. “Are you OK?” I switched to German, and his head snapped at that.

“Yeah,” he said uncertainly.

“I’m not going to hit on you, I swear.”

He chuckled nervously. “That is a relief.”

“Where are your friends?” I looked around, but the couple was nowhere in sight.

“Hooking up on the beach, I imagine,” he answered, frowning.

“You need better friends. You shouldn’t be here alone. Not the smartest thing for your first time in a gay bar, abroad, and without backup.” Seriously, someone should have been looking out for this kid.

He scowled. It only made him more adorable. “How do you know it’s my first time?”

I pointed my finger at his sunny hair. “It says so right here, in big neon capital letters. Do you have someone to call to pick you up?”

His shoulders slumped, and he shook his head. “God, no! My mom would freak. We said we were going to a pizza place two blocks away from the hotel. She can’t know I’m here.”

“Which hotel?” I asked and immediately regretted it. His eyes narrowed. “Forget it, don’t tell me. How about I put you in a cab?”

“I should wait for Mischa and Gustav. I’m sure they’ll be back in half an hour tops.”

“Want me to keep you company until they arrive, to chase away the hyenas and such?”

He smiled nervously and shrugged.

“Like I said, I’m not going to hit on you. I like my men legal, thank you very much.”

He scowled again, making my smile broader. “I’m eighteen.”

“Do you want me to hit on you, Squirrel?”

“No!” he squealed, and I had to laugh out loud.

“There you go. You look sixteen, by the way. I’m buying you a drink but no alcohol. And watch it! I could easily slip some shit into your glass.”

“You are worse than my mother,” he grumbled, but his smile was warm.

“Thank you for the compliment. So, small talk, where are you from?”

“Berlin. We’re here for two weeks, with my mom and my uncle’s family.”

“Family holiday, huh?”

“Yeah. And you?”

“I was born in Berlin. The last few years, I’ve been living in Freiburg.”

“And your English? You have an American accent.”

“Observant,” I nodded, impressed with his quickness. My accent was faint, blotched with German, and I’d said what, two sentences in English earlier? “My mom is American and my dad Romanian. They met in West Berlin in the seventies and stayed.”

“So you speak Romanian, too?”

“Sadly, no. I don’t have any fascinating language skills. Only a weird name.”

“How weird?” he prompted.

“Alexander Popescu. Alex for you.”

“Christian König.” He offered me a hand, like the nice-mannered boy he was. He was lovable all around. And skinny.

“Are you hungry? I might order patatas bravas.”

Book Buy Links:

Amazon: http://a.co/eTpgqfi

Publisher: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/dirtymind

Paperback: http://beatentrackpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=dirtymind

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36086082-dirty-mind

Author bio

Roe was born in former Czechoslovakia and endured a miserable adolescence in the post-communist wasteland. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, they left for Germany and later, Spain.
Finally, they settled in Sweden, where the weather is nasty but the freedom great. Roe works as a motion graphics artist, loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and everything in between, preferably by the fireplace with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Roe writes contemporary romantic fiction—it conveniently balances out their real-life pragmatism.
When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

Get in touch with the Roe:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98

Website: https://www.roehorvat.com

Twitter: @roehorvat

 

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, New Release, Romance

Excerpt from “When Heaven Strikes” by F.E. Feeley, Jr.

Can love survive heaven’s wrath?

Artist Ted Armstrong lives a solitary and eccentric life. The survivor of child abuse disguised as religion, Ted has cut himself off from the world.

Then Ted meets Anderson Taylor, and it’s like being struck by lightning.

Anderson is a cardiac surgeon whose passion for his work has consumed him. He fears he’ll never find a partner—until he sets eyes on Ted. It’s happening fast, but both men know what they feel is right.

Confronted with an angry preacher, a scandal, and an act of God that threatens to destroy everything, their relationship will face it’s first true test.

EXCERPT:

The wind chimes danced in the gentle sigh of the night, but for some reason Ted jerked awake. He wasn’t sure why at first but he was alert. Slowly, he sat up and took in his surroundings. Anderson who had rolled onto his back was unusually tense. His eyes shifted hard behind closed lids, and a light sweat had broken out on his head. His body jerked once, twice, three times.

            “Ted… get…way….”

            “– ooooooove!”

            Ted moved to touch his shoulder but hesitated when Anderson shouted.

            “Teddy!”

            Anderson started thrashing in his sleep.  Not wanting to startle him, Ted reached out and rubbed his face.

            “It’s okay, Anderson. It’s just a dream.”

            “Oh…Teddy….”

            Ted smiled to himself. Anderson was calming down. His lips were pursed, and his hair was sweaty against his forehead, but his breathing had slowed.

            “It’s just a nightmare. I’m right here,” Ted whispered gently.

            Anderson was caught in the twilight, halfway between wakefulness and dreams.

            “… the storm….”

            “There is no storm, Anderson. It’s a nightmare. Okay?”

            “…kay….”

            Anderson rolled over in bed toward the reassuring voice and placed a hand on Ted’s chest. Ted took the hand and kissed his knuckles, then his fingers, the open palm and then put it on his own face as if he could absorb the talent and know-how, the brilliance that it took to do what Anderson did.  Ted marveled at the softness of it, the warmth and tenderness, and was moved. Carefully, he got out of bed and disappeared through the door, only to return carrying his sketchpad.  Anderson stirred again, and the blankets slid down Anderson’s body to where they just covered his hips. He was on his side, snuggled deep into a pillow, his mouth partly open.  Ted sat in the wingback chair opposite the bed. Moonlight streamed through the window bathing the scene in silver light. He turned on the dim side table lamp to add shadows and definition to Anderson’s sleeping form. With one eye—his right eye now completely swollen shut– with a bruised hand, he sketched the sleeping form furiously. He worked, inhaling deeply over and over again as adrenaline rushed through his body and down his arm to his fingers.

            He paid attention to the curve of Anderson’s shoulder, the slope of his arm resting on the mattress where Ted had lain just moments before, the gentle slope of his side as it dipped down toward his hips, and the cleft of his buttocks. He painstakingly captured the slight openness of his mouth, the tender eyelashes, his chin jutted out defiantly in his sleep, and the curls spilling over his pillow.

            When he was done, he wiped sweat from his forehead with the back of his aching drawing hand and smiled softly at the man who was in his bed.

 Outside, the wind picked up and the night called out its lonesome song of crickets and the rustle of trees. He had the window open and watched as the curtains sucked to the screen, suddenly billowed outward as the breeze shifted direction, and assailed the room with the fragrance of coming rain.  With that change of direction in the wind, Ted had a realization that made his heart hammer slowly and deliberate.  As his body relaxed, cooled by the breeze and lonesome for the comforting warmth of another person, and the bed became more and more attractive to him, he said aloud something only he and the night heard.

            “I’m falling in love with you.”

            Anderson murmured in his sleep and rolled over on his back, throwing his hand above him before settling down. His chest was bare, and Ted reached out to stroke it.  He knew his drawing was good. Yet he lamented silently that no matter how good a work of art could be, it was a mere reflection of the realness of the man. His silky skin.  The way he smelled. The observer would not understand the tone of voice nor the mind that lay dormant beneath closed eyelids.  In a way that made Ted sad, but then again, it also made him happy in the place where he kept his jealousy bone. That place that was always tender to the touch, easily made sore.

His eyes—or rather, his eye—was getting droopy and he wrote a title above the drawing before setting it on the floor next to his bed.  He crawled underneath the covers once more and reached for the light to turn it off.  The rain clouds rolled in, and darkness washed over the room. He wrapped an arm around Anderson, who turned turn his back to him.  Easy, as not to disturb him too much, he pulled, and Anderson scooted back until his ass was flush to Ted’s groin, which twitched its appreciation. The night sang, and the rain began to fall. Mr. Jefferson leaped onto the bed. As Ted closed his eyes, he felt the cat curl up at his feet, and with a slight smile tugging at his lips, he bid farewell to the day.

Amazon eBook: https://www.amazon.com/When-Heaven-Strikes-F-E-Feeley-ebook/dp/B07452W7HK/

Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/When-Heaven-Strikes-F-E-Feeley/dp/1521910529/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the US Armed Services; having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, he turned college student, pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas where he is married to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser.

As a young man, reading took center stage in his life, especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice, whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’ dreamer of a man with a wonderful husband who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories.

F. E. Feeley Jr

Author of The Memoirs of the Human Wraiths
Web Coordinator for The Paranormal Romance Guild
‘Where the pursuit of extraordinary love, romance, and passion is first and foremost.’

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Filed under Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, Religion, Romance