Guest Post: “The Necessary Deaths” by David C. Dawson

necessarydeathsthe_headerbannerHello, and thank you so much to Jamie for letting me write on his blog! It’s great to be here, and I’m really grateful to get to share the details of the first book in the Dominic Delingpole Mystery series, and to tell you a bit about myself.

david_c_dawson_headshot_hi_resSome stuff about me:

I live near the university city of Oxford in the UK. This is my first novel, so I was really grateful to DSP Publications when they offered to publish it.

In the past, I’ve been a radio journalist, for which I won a couple of awards, and a TV documentary maker. Thanks to the BBC, I travelled a lot. I’ve filmed in nearly every continent of the world, and I’ve lived in lots of different places: London, Geneva and San Francisco. But now I prefer the Oxfordshire countryside, it’s a bit quieter!

I have a wonderful boyfriend who’s a masseuse and therapist. I also have a son from my previous marriage. He’s now twenty-three, and this year he set up his own video production company. He’s doing great, and occasionally I help him out with camerawork. He made the trailer for the book, which I think is a great piece of art in itself!

And in my spare time…

I like to ride around Europe on my ageing Triumph motorbike. I also sing with the London Gay Men’s Chorus, of whom I’m intensely proud. Our aim is to combat homophobia through the power of music. We’ve sung at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Roundhouse and the Royal Festival Hall. But I’m proudest of the time we sang at the House of Lords, campaigning for equal marriage to be legalized in the UK.

thenecessarydeaths_coverAnd so to The Necessary Deaths…

Dominic Delingpole is a country lawyer living near Oxford in the UK. He’s in his early thirties, good looking but shy and very “English reserved”. He’s been seeing Jonathan McFadden, a landscape gardener and occasional opera singer, for two years. Jonathan’s the opposite of Dominic, confident, outgoing, outrageous. They’re in love with each other, but there’s a big commitment question hanging over them. You see, Jonathan wants an open relationship… Two other characters you’ll meet in this first book are John, a twenty-year-old student at Brighton University, and his boyfriend Simon who’s in a coma in hospital from a suspected drugs overdose.

What next, is there more to this series?

I’ve mapped out the story arc for the five in the series and I’ve nearly finished the second book. This first book is set in the UK, in places that I’m familiar with, and that I love. But subsequent books are going to be set in Sitges in Spain, San Francisco, Berlin and Tanzania. It’s possible that any of the characters might come and go over the story arc, it’s also possible that one or two of them might do some very surprising things, and a couple of them might meet unpleasant ends!

BIOG: David C. Dawson is an author, award-winning journalist and documentary maker, living near Oxford in the UK.

He has travelled extensively, filming in nearly every continent of the world. He has lived in London, Geneva and San Francisco, but now prefers the tranquillity of the Oxfordshire countryside.

David is a Mathematics graduate from Southampton University in England. After graduating, he joined the BBC in London as a trainee journalist. He worked in radio newsrooms for several years before moving to television as a documentary director. During the growing AIDS crisis in the late eighties, he is proud to say that he directed the first demonstration of putting on a condom on British television.

After more than twenty years with the BBC, he left to go freelance. He has produced videos for several charities, including Ethiopiaid; which works to end poverty in Ethiopia, and Hestia; a London-based mental health charity.

David has one son, who is also a successful filmmaker.

In his spare time, David tours Europe on his ageing Triumph motorbike and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. He has sung with the Chorus at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Roundhouse and the Royal Festival Hall, but David is most proud of the time they sang at the House of Lords, campaigning for equal marriage to be legalized in the UK.

 

An Excerpt

 

“Mrs. Gregory,” said Dominic. “I would be very happy to have you as a client, but I’m not sure in what way I can act for you.”

Samantha smiled. “And neither am I just at the moment. Let’s call you a professional friend. I have no one else who I can turn to, and your legal mind will help me to see things a little more clearly. As you can tell, I’m a little emotional just now.” She turned away to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye. Then she looked at him steadily.

“Simon and I are very close. Ever since Richard, his father, died in a climbing accident, we have been a very tight family unit. I’d like to think Simon and I can tell each other everything.”

Dominic wondered if she was keeping up a brave front, or whether she really believed Simon told her everything. Her comments clearly contradicted what Simon’s housemate Jay had said an hour ago. Dominic decided that, as she was his client, he owed her the duty of honesty, and he should tell her about what he had learned in the last few hours.

“Samantha, I’m afraid I believe Simon may not have confided everything in you in recent times. I went to see John this morning before coming here. He told me about their relationship and how Simon was not yet ready to tell you.”

Samantha smiled.

“Dominic, I’m his mother. Do you think that I didn’t know?” She sighed. “I knew he was finding it difficult to tell me, and I was waiting for him to pick the right time. I didn’t want to rush him.” She paused. “But yes, you’re right, and I am wrong. Simon hasn’t confided everything to me; I merely know and am waiting for him to tell me. John is a lovely boy, and I was just pleased to know that Simon is happy.”

Samantha narrowed her eyes slightly as she asked, “But why do you think that means he must have kept other secrets from me? Surely you of all people must know how difficult it is to come out?”

Dominic blushed briefly. “Everyone’s circumstances are different, of course, and for young people it really is much easier….”

“Oh nonsense! Can I just say that I think it’s a bit rich for you to judge Simon when you’re so secretive about yourself? We spent nearly three hours in the car together last night, and I still don’t know whether or not you have a boyfriend!”
This time Dominic’s face turned crimson.

“Samantha, could we just get back to—”

“Well, do you?”

Dominic sighed. “I think it’s my turn to acknowledge that I am wrong. Yes, I do have a partner, and no, I am not very open about it. In this day and age, it probably is unnecessary for me to be quite so discreet. But after a while, it gets to be almost a habit.”

Samantha giggled. “Oh, Dominic, how delightfully bashful you are! I imagine that it’s rare you have a conversation like this with your clients.”

Dominic smiled. “Samantha, I can tell you truthfully that I have never had a conversation like this with my clients. You must meet Jonathan some time. I think you two would get on like a house on fire.”

 

Social links and buy links

 

Website www.davidcdawson.co.uk
Blog http://blog.davidcdawson.co.uk/#home
Dreamspinner https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-necessary-deaths-by-david-c-dawson-321-b
Amazon Kindle UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Necessary-Deaths-Delingpole-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B01LEFUI7O/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Amazon paperback UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Necessary-Deaths-Delingpole-Mysteries/dp/1634774507/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473839889&sr=1-1
Amazon Kindle US https://www.amazon.com/Necessary-Deaths-Delingpole-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B01LEFUI7O/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1473457953&sr=1-4&keywords=the+necessary+deaths
Amazon paperback US https://www.amazon.com/Necessary-Deaths-Delingpole-Mysteries/dp/1634774507/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473457953&sr=1-4
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-necessary-deaths-david-c-dawson/1124515983?ean=2940157009700
Apple iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-necessary-deaths/id1135889190?mt=11
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/david.c.dawson.5
Twitter https://twitter.com/david_c_dawson

 

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Bigfoot Hunters in Love

Bigfoot Hunters in LoveWay back in 2011, I wrote a short story about a guy who gets chased by Bigfoot and stumbles across a Bigfoot hunter in the forest. It was a cute story, if I do say so myself, but very short and not particularly satisfying. Even though I made it available for free, few people read it. (It’s still available here under the original title Finding Love through Bigfoot.)

So this year, I’ve gone back to the original story, tightened up what was there, and expanded it to a novella!

Bigfoot Hunters in Love is a more involved story, over three times longer than the first, which follows Stuart and Jake through several encounters with multiple creatures that might or might not be Bigfoots. The story also includes some guest appearances by Tom, Kevin, Sue, and Shadow from my novel Billy’s Bones a few years after the incidents in that story. And it features a wonderful, quirky cover designed by fellow author J. Scott Coatsworth!

Blurb:

When Stuart bought a house in the country, he thought he’d have some quiet time to write. The last thing he expected was to be chased through the forest in the middle of the night by something massive and hairy that can run on two legs. When he literally runs into a ranger named Jake, he learns the bizarre truth: he’s just had a Bigfoot sighting.

Jake rescues him, but Stuart soon discovers he hasn’t seen the last of Bigfoot. There’s a family of the creatures out there, and Jake has been tracking them for years through the state parks of New Hampshire. Soon Stuart finds himself caught up in Jake’s quest… and in very close quarters with the handsome ranger himself.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Bigfoot-Hunters-Love-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B01M8FGTED/

Excerpt:

“You can take the sleeping bag if you want,” Jake volunteered, still crouched at the entrance to the tent as he unlaced his hiking boots and removed them.

“That’s okay. I’ll just stretch out beside you on the mat. Can I borrow one of these blankets?”

Jake crawled inside and zipped up the door flap. “I suppose you could do that, but that insulating pad’s not very thick. You’d probably be more comfortable—and warmer—if we laid the sleeping bag out beneath us and shared a blanket. Up to you. I’m fine with whatever you want to do.”

Stuart wasn’t sure if Jake’s suggestion was sound wilderness survival logic or just an excuse to get close. Maybe it was both. Was Jake gay? At this point, Stuart couldn’t really say he cared. The light of the campfire had revealed a handsome, rugged man with a strong jaw softened by several days’ worth of beard growth, unkempt blond hair, and striking, emerald green eyes. Stuart would normally have considered the man to be extremely hot, but now that he was no longer pumped up on adrenalin, the only thing he could think about was lying down somewhere comfortable and closing his eyes for a while.

“All right,” he said.

“Do you mind if I sleep in my skivvies?”

“I guess not.”

Jake didn’t bother unbuttoning his shirt. He just slipped it over his head, along with his undershirt. The harsh, bluish light from the LED flashlight wasn’t exactly mood lighting, but Stuart was nevertheless impressed by the muscular arms and chest revealed. When Jake shucked his jeans, Stuart had to force himself to look away. In just a pair of gray boxer briefs, Jake was as beautiful as a Greek statue, though a bit hairier. And even though his crotch was covered by his briefs, it was easy to tell the Greek statue comparison didn’t extend to that part of his anatomy.

“You don’t have to keep the robe on,” Jake said.

“You know I’m naked under this.”

“I do,” Jake replied. “I’m just sayin’ it’s up to you. I know I wouldn’t be comfortable tangled up in that thing all night long.”

Stuart eyed him warily. It wasn’t that he was shy exactly, but Jake stripping to his underwear already felt kind of sexual. Now he wanted Stuart to get naked? “Um… you’re straight, right?”

Jake was in the process of unzipping the sleeping bag he was sitting on. He stopped and looked up with a sour expression on his face. “I wasn’t making a pass at you,” he said coolly, “but if it makes a difference, no. I am not straight.”

“You’re gay?”

“Bisexual, I suppose. I’ve fooled around with both.”

Stuart took a moment to process this. Did it really matter? Maybe. “Sleeping naked with some guy I’ve just met feels a little weird to me.”

“So don’t do it then.” Jake sighed, and his expression relaxed. “Look, just because I like men doesn’t mean I have the hots for every guy I meet.”

To his surprise, Stuart felt a little hurt by that though he knew what Jake meant. “I know that.” He decided he might as well come clean. “I’m… gay, actually.”

Jake snorted and shook his head. “I don’t see how that changes anything.”

“Is it that unusual to be uncomfortable sleeping naked with a strange man?” Stuart asked defensively.

“I guess not,” Jake conceded. He went back to unzipping the sleeping bag. “Like I said, it’s up to you. Gay, straight, bisexual… I’m still not gonna be gropin’ you in the dark. I said you could sleep without the robe if it would make you more comfortable. If it doesn’t, then don’t do it. Now why don’t you scoot to the front of the tent while I lay this out?”

The conversation died for a few minutes as Jake spread the sleeping bag over the insulated pad that covered the floor of the tent, then spread a blanket over it. The blanket was soft on one side, like polar fleece, but had a heavier insulating material on the reverse side. Jake slipped underneath it.

“Go ahead and crawl in,” he told Stuart.

Stuart stubbornly clung to the bathrobe as he wormed his way into the makeshift bed. It was a tight fit with both of them lying side by side, and the damned robe kept wrapping around his torso and legs in uncomfortable ways. But it wasn’t until Jake had switched off the LED lamp and plunged them into darkness that Stuart announced, “I’m going to lose the robe.”

“No problem.”

Wrestling his arms out of the stupid thing and pulling it out from under him was much harder than stripping before getting into bed would have been. Jake didn’t get to see him naked this way, but by now Stuart was beginning to think that would have been more dignified.

He tucked the robe under his head for a pillow and muttered, “I’ll try not to rub against you in the night.”

Jake chuckled. “Whatever.”

They settled down, lying back to back, and in the close quarters, it wasn’t actually possible to avoid touching. Stuart could feel Jake’s warmth against his skin and the gentle rhythm of his breathing. It made him feel surprisingly safe and comforted, despite the fact he was in the middle of the forest, snuggled up to a total stranger—a man he might have considered to be crazy had they met a few days ago.

Within minutes, he was sound asleep.

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Filed under Bisexual, Contemporary, Cover, gay, horror, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, Pets, Romance

“Abducted” (from Gothika #5: Contact) is now available for pre-order!

gothika-contactThe newest Gothika anthology, subtitled Contact, features four stories of alien encounters by me (Jamie Fessenden), Kim Fielding, B.G. Thomas, and a new addition to the list of Gothika authors, F.E. Feeley, Jr.

It’s available for pre-order now at Dreamspinner Press and will be released on October 24th, just in time for Halloween!

My story is called Abducted, and it’s about a man who initially doesn’t believe that his old college roommate is being abducted by aliens… until he is abducted himself!

Abducted – Blurb

One night, Marc receives a frantic call from his friend, Cody. When he arrives at Cody’s isolated farmhouse, Cody is filthy, half-starved, and under the paranoid delusion that aliens are abducting him and implanting things in his body.

Marc agrees to stay one night, as long as his friend will go to the hospital in the morning. But Cody isn’t mentally ill. Aliens have been abducting him, and in the process of trying to stop it from happening again, Marc is abducted himself. But that’s just the beginning of his nightmare.

Marc learns of two alien races at war. To make matters worse, the Alzhen have Marc and the evil Karazhen have Cody. Marc’s only ally is Dalsing, the Alzhen security chief he feels an unexpected attraction to. They’ll have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to rescue Cody… and prevent the creation of a deadly biological weapon.

Abducted — Excerpt:

I walked out into Dalsing’s living quarters and then stopped dead, gaping in awe.

I wasn’t sure what I’d expected. Gleaming chrome and florescent lights, maybe. Or more of the malleable greenish mesh I’d been seeing in other parts of the ship. The last thing I’d expected was a forest. By that, I mean trees. A lot of trees. Though not Earth trees. In the relatively dark space, bioluminescent lines of blue-green and pink highlighted the rough edges of their bark and created swirls around knotholes and the bases of branches. Under my feet, a carpet of moss sparkled with shimmering silver, and glowing orange cones four or five inches high shot up in clusters like mushrooms.

“This is beautiful,” I said, whispering, afraid to disturb the stillness.

“It is my home world.”

I turned to find Dalsing standing behind me, naked again and holding out his robe to me.

“I am sorry,” he continued, “but I was unable to find a robe. You may wear mine, if this isn’t taboo in your culture, or you may look at my other clothing to see if anything else might suit you.”

I took the robe and smirked at him. “Are you sure you don’t get off on running around naked in front of me?”

“Get off?” He seemed genuinely puzzled.

I slipped the robe on and cinched the belt around my waist. “It means to get turned on—become sexually aroused. I’ve known guys who get turned on by being naked in front of other people.”

“Why is that?”

I thought about that for a second. “Well, I suppose it only works in a culture where being naked in front of other people is a rare thing. That doesn’t seem to apply here.”

“If I become sexually aroused,” Dalsing said, taking my hand and leading me deeper into the forest, “you will know. It will be obvious.” This was the first time we’d touched, skin to skin, and his hand was disconcertingly warm.

He was walking sideways, so he could look back at me as he spoke, and I couldn’t help but glance down at his crotch. “Why? Because your… genitals will pop out?”

“Eventually. But before that, my shiri will glow.” He stroked the darkly pigmented spots on his face with his free hand.

“Oh!” I exclaimed. “I remember! Some of the… Alzhen in the lounge were doing that.” I felt my face flush as it occurred to me those people must have been aroused. And they just walked around like that? In public?

But Dalsing laughed and shook his head. “That is just a paste some of us wear on social occasions to mimic arousal. Mostly younger Alzhen. My generation generally considers it… I am uncertain what the word is in your language….”

“Crass? Tacky?”

“Perhaps. You understand my meaning? It is something the young do.”

I couldn’t help but smile at that, imagining all the 150-year-old Alzhens shaking their heads in dismay at the way the younger generation dressed. They probably disapproved of their music too.

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Guest Blog: Meet the Men of “Town Man, Country Man” by Jessica Sky Davies

TownManCountryManFSFirst off, thanks to Jamie for hosting today, it’s an honor!

Now, about these boys….  Characters tend to be the thing that pulls me into a story more than anything.  I blame my Anglo-Celt background for this.  As one fellow literati friend has put it, “Brits are the best when it comes to character studies.”  While the initial “seed” of Town Man, Country Man was the settings (as mentioned in my July 29 posting on Jana Denardo’s blog http://www.janadenardo.com/2016/07/29/guest-blogger-writing-your-own-backyard-jessica-skye-davies/ here), it was the characters which made the seed germinate and grow into a full story.

TMCM has been described as “opposites-attract”, and it is, but Josh and Ben have a lot in common, too.  It’s just that the things that are different between them are things which are deeply ingrained parts of them, things which are not always easy to examine in oneself, let alone change.

Josh, the town man, is immediately attracted to Ben, our country man, when he spots him in the crowd at a wedding.  Apparently, Ben is just as interested, as it’s Ben who strikes up a conversation then asks Josh to dance.  For either of them, it could have been just like any Saturday night at a bar or club.  Maybe it was the inherently romantic setting, but Josh and Ben both saw something more than a one-nighter in one another.

Josh finds himself surprised by wanting to date Ben, primarily because Josh hasn’t seen any of his lovers twice ever since getting out of a relationship that got steadily more emotionally abusive as it went.  Until meeting Ben, Josh felt no need to change what was working just fine for him.

TownManCountryManFSBen, on the other hand, has spent a long time looking for love in all the wrong places.  His home is much more rural (though still not far from the city), and he’s not out in his community the way Josh is.  Most of the guys Ben has met aren’t looking for any kind of commitment or strings-attached, some are even married and don’t consider themselves anything but straight.  So when Ben meets Josh, and Josh accepts his offer of a dinner-date, Ben begins to let his guard down more than he has in a while.

The passion burns fast and bright between them and it kindles a giddy, I-thought-I-was-too-old-for-this-feeling romance in both of them in very short order.  Both a bit love-drunk, neither of them pause to consider that wanting a relationship to become long-term and making that happen are two different things.  Lasting relationships necessitate sacrifice, which is a bit difficult to think through when you’re all loved up on romantic weekends together.

For Josh, the biggest problem is having to wait till the weekends to get together with Ben because of the distance between their homes (50 miles might as well be 500 to most Pittsburghers!)  When Josh finds out that his best friend, Dante, has been dealing with a personal crisis all alone, Josh realizes that the time he’s been spending with Ben has come at the sacrifice of making time for a lifelong friendship.  It knocks him for a loop and causes him to do some real soul-searching.

With Josh suddenly putting off Ben’s invitations but not opening up about what’s going on, Ben gets the feeling something is wrong and finally decides to stop by Josh’s place on a Sunday morning and talk about things.  Well, that lasts only until Ben finds out that Josh had a friend staying with him overnight.  Having been down that road before, Ben assumes the worst and doesn’t want to hear Josh’s ‘it’s not what it looks like!’  And yet… Ben has never had anything like what he’s had with Josh, and now it’s Ben’s turn to do the serious introspection and decide what’s important in his life.

Both of them are going to have to decide if what they have in common outweighs the differences in their personalities, and if finding a way to go forward is likely to be worth it.

TownManCountryMan_headerbanner

Town Man, Country Man

“Town man” Josh Douglass meets “country man” Ben Bauer at a mutual friend’s wedding, and passion kindles immediately. As urbanite wedding planner Josh and closeted contractor Ben spend more time together, they develop a deep, comfortable romance despite the fifty miles between their homes—and despite the drastic differences in their lifestyles. But as they grow closer, it becomes apparent that Josh and Ben have been enjoying the first flush of love without giving much thought to longer-term logistics.

A crisis leads Josh to ask himself serious questions about how his relationship with Ben can realistically work. But just as Josh is feeling ready to talk about the next step with Ben, a misunderstanding threatens to put an end to their love affair. Compromise is the key to any relationship, but it isn’t always easy to balance careers, friendships, and family expectations. Josh and Ben just need to see that bringing together the best of both their worlds is well worth the sacrifices they’ll have to make to remain in each other’s lives.

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/town-man-country-man-by-jessica-skye-davies-7273-b

Jessica Skye Davies

Author page: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/jessica-skye-davies-264

Blog: http://jessicaskyedavies.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaSkyeAuthor

 

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Does it matter if Lincoln was gay? Yes, it does.

UmbrellaNo Year

May 17th is the  International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, and from May 17-24, we will be celebrating with the:

Hop for Visibility Awareness and Equality

At the bottom of this post, you can check out the other authors, reviewers, and allies who have blogs in the hop, and if you leave a comment with an email address, or send me a private email at jamesfessenden@hotmail.com, you’ll be entered into a giveaway for any eBook in my back catalog, or the audiobook for my latest novel, Violated.

~ * ~

I’d like to talk a few minutes about one of our US presidents….

Recently, I saw another article about the sexuality of Abraham Lincoln making the rounds on social media. Abraham Lincoln: A life in the closet? made a good case for Lincoln being gay or bisexual, though as is often the case on Facebook, the article turns out to be several years old.

The evidence that Lincoln had very strong, even passionate, attachments to men throughout his life is fairly strong. He wrote several letters to these men, using language that seems oddly intense for just friendship, and insisted upon sharing a bed with more than one man. Times were, of course, different back then. Our culture wasn’t as quick to see sexual interest in an emotionally close friendship between two men, and the practice of sharing a bed was common when there weren’t enough beds to go around.

Several things seem… off… with this interpretation, however. One is that Lincoln continued to share a bed with men well into his later years, when he was no longer poor and living in mean circumstances. In fact, he was rumored to share his bed—and a nightshirt—with his bodyguard while president, whenever his wife was away. He certainly didn’t need to do so.

But, to me, the largest hole in the “it was perfectly ordinary for a man to behave this way in those times” argument is the fact that several of Lincoln’s contemporaries commented upon the fact that it was not ordinary. To quote wikipedia (which in turn, is paraphrasing Michael B. Chesson in an afterward of CA Tripp‘s book The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln):

Elizabeth Woodbury Fox, the wife of Lincoln’s naval aide, wrote in her diary for November 16, 1862, “Tish says, ‘Oh, there is a Bucktail soldier here devoted to the president, drives with him, and when Mrs. L. is not home, sleeps with him.’ What stuff!”

Of course, there are plenty of detractors of the book (one might even say “haters”), and the quote is equally picked apart, with people debating whether “What stuff!” meant “What juicy gossip!” or “What nonsense!” I personally sense a little of both, as in, “Nobody would take that seriously… would they?” Regardless, this salacious bit of gossip clearly was not describing something a lot of men might do. It was scandalous.

My big question is, “Why is it so important that Lincoln be 100 percent heterosexual?”

Not, “Why is it important for Lincoln—or any other well-respected historical figure—to be seen as LGBTQ?” I already know the answer to that. It’s important, because we have largely been eradicated from the history books.

Lincoln-Up-CloseLincoln lived in a time period where it would not have been acceptable for him to come right out and say, “I’m in love with a man, and I’m going to marry him.” Likewise, nobody could have asked him, “Were you in love with Joshua Speed?” It simply wasn’t talked about. So if we’re forced to glean the truth from insufficient evidence and hearsay, don’t blame the LGBTQ community. (On a side note, I often hear the assertion that since “gay” didn’t mean the same thing back then, people couldn’t really be “gay.” I’m sure that would have been good news to the men and women who were imprisoned and killed throughout history for same-sex relationships. Look, there have always been people who preferred sex with others of their gender—or both genders. Always. What changed over time was the idea that this could form the core of a person’s life and identity.)

But we live in different times, don’t we? Today it’s perfectly acceptable for a man to be gay, and even to marry another man. Isn’t that right? If that were really the case, I doubt the suggestion that one of our revered former presidents might have had sex with men would send people into such fits.

Consider this:

Another contemporary of the young Lincoln was a woman named Ann Rutledge. She was engaged to marry a man named  John MacNamar, but she knew Lincoln, and many speculate that he was in love with her. She died at the age of 22, when their town was hit by typhoid fever. Supposedly, Lincoln was asked by a friend if he’d been in love with her, and he replied, “It is true—true indeed I did. I loved the woman dearly and soundly: She was a handsome girl—would have made a good, loving wife… I did honestly and truly love the girl and think often, often of her now.”

Nobody knows if Lincoln really said this. According to JG Randall in an essay entitled “Sifting the Ann Rutledge Evidence”:

“The most obvious thing about this effusive statement is its unLincolnian quality.” Noting how disinclined Lincoln always was to express private feelings, Randall added, “In the face of such reticence, the Cogdal record seems artificial and made to order. It was given out after Lincoln’s death; it presents him in an unlikely role; it puts in his mouth uncharacteristic sayings.”

The Strange Case of Isaac Cogdal )

Yet there have been popular films and books about the relationship between Lincoln and Rutledge since 1919, and this incident is frequently used to “disprove” the assertion that Lincoln fell in love with men (as if he couldn’t possibly be bisexual). Rejecting the tenuous evidence for Lincoln’s same-sex relationships, while accepting the equally tenuous evidence for a relationship with Rutledge says “heterosexual bias” to me more than it says “desire for historical accuracy.”

abraham-lincoln-quotes-hd-wallpaper-4Ultimately, this isn’t really about Abraham Lincoln. It’s about all the historical figures where we have evidence indicating they may have been LGBTQ. Lincoln may or may not have had same-sex relationships. We’ll probably never know. But why on earth would we look at his history of close relationships with men, his fond letters to them, and the rumors surrounding his relationships, yet ignore all of that in favor of the assumption he couldn’t possibly have been gay or bisexual? Does that really make sense?

Only from the perspective of someone who assumes heterosexual and cisgender is “normal.” And that attitude needs to change.

Even if we’re wrong about some of those historical figures, we’re not wrong about all of them. Some were gay or lesbian or bisexual or trans. Their voices were silenced by the societies they lived in, so they were frequently unable to safely be honest about their sexuality. Either they pretended to be heterosexual and cisgendered, or they remained quiet and allowed everyone to assume they were. But LGBTQ people living today deserve to know that in the past many of us did great things.  We need to hear more about LGBTQ people in history than how the world treated us whenever we were discovered.

Yes, it’s possible we’re making false assumptions about some historical figures. But if we really do believe it’s okay to be LGBTQ, and we’re not just paying it lip-service, we shouldn’t look upon the suggestion that a particular person might have been LGBTQ as diminishing their memory. I grew up thinking Abraham Lincoln was heterosexual. It didn’t make me think any less of him. If somebody can’t respect the man after learning he might have been gay or bisexual, then that’s their failing—not his.

~ * ~

Remember to leave a comment with an email address, or send me a private email at jamesfessenden@hotmail.com, to be entered into a giveaway for any eBook in my back catalog, or the audiobook for my latest novel, Violated!

 

Blog Hop for Visibility, Awareness and Equality.

1. Tyler Robbins (M/M, M/M/M) 24. Heloise West (M/M) 47. Sean Michael
2. N.S. Beranek(Gay) 25. Angel Martinez (M/M GAY BI TR) 48. Remmy Duchene (MM)
3. The Novel Approach/Lisa Horan 26. Amelia Bishop (MULTI) 49. Sharita Lira writing as BLMorticia M/M
4. B. A. Brock (BI TR GAY LES) 27. Moonbeams over Atlanta – Eloreen Moon (MM, REV, MULTI) 50. Barbara Winkes (LES)
5. Jamie Fessenden 28. Helena Stone (M/M ) 51. Bronwyn Heeley (m/m)
6. Rory Ni Coileain 29. AM Leibowitz (M/M, F/F, BI, TR, NB, REV) 52. L. J. LaBarthe
7. Erica Pike (M/M) 30. L.D. Blakeley (M/M, BI) 53. VJ Summers (m/m, m/m/f)
8. Andrew Jericho (GAY) 31. Lila Leigh Hunter [M/M, BI] 54. Nikka Michaels (M/M)
9. Tempeste O’Riley (M/M (Bi) (NB) 32. Sharon Bidwell 55. Caraway Carter (LGBT)
10. The Macaronis [various] 33. Nicole Dennis (M/M, ACE, M/M/F) 56. L M Somerton (M/M)
11. Elin Gregory [mm] 34. Lexi Ander 57. Taylor Law (GAY)
12. Alexa MIlne 35. Barbara G.Tarn (M/M, ACE) 58. Anastasia Vitsky (F/F, TR, BI)
13. Nic Starr (M/M) 36. Kaje Harper M/M, TR, BI 59. Draven St. James (M/M)
14. Evelise Archer (MM) 37. JMS Books LLC 60. A.V. Sanders (GAY, ACE, NB)
15. Sue Brown 38. JM Snyder 61. Lynley Wayne
16. Elizabeth Varlet (M/M, BI, NB) 39. Dean Pace-Frech 62. DP Denman (GAY)
17. Raven J. Spencer 40. Kimber Vale 63. M.A. Church M/M
18. Sharing Links and Wisdom (REV) 41. Jacintha Topaz (BI, F/F, M/M, TR) 64. Andrew J. Peters GAY
19. Lisa Horan (REV/Multi) 42. Prism Book Alliance® (MULTI) 65. Dianne Hartsock MM
20. Archer Kay Leah (M/M, F/F, TR, NB, BI, ACE) 43. Eva Lefoy (M/M, F/F, F/M/F, BI, MULTI) 66. M. LeAnne Phoenix M/M F/F
21. Alexis Duran (M/M) 44. Lou Sylvre (M/M) 67. Cherie Noel (M/M)
22. Jules Dixon 45. Anne Barwell 68. Chris McHart (M/M, Trans*)
23. R.M. Olivia 46. Viki Lyn (M/M)

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Filed under Bisexual, Bloghop, gay, GLBT History, Historical, Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Hop for Visibility Awareness and Equality, Jamie Fessenden, Transgender

“Train to Sevmash” is now available! For FREE!

77When I was approached to contribute a story for 7&7: A DSP Publications Anthology of Virtue and Vice, I immediately chose “mercy” as the virtue I wanted to write about. My first idea had to do with a police officer chasing down a criminal, but ultimately choosing to let him go. Unfortunately, the more I thought about that idea, the less I liked it.

But I’d recently found a tutor to help me brush up on the Russian language, which I’d studied a very long time ago in college, and I’d also just read Ian Fleming’s original novel Casino Royale. Suddenly, it clicked! A secret agent! And he wasn’t trying to capture somebody—he intended to assassinate his target.

Since I’m not British, my secret agent wouldn’t be, either. He’d be American, a former member of the Special Forces. And less upper crust than Bond, with a bit of Mack Bolan and John Clark (from Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six) thrown in. Agent Jax Colby. I was setting this in the late 60s, during the Cold War, when the USSR was developing Victor Class nuclear submarines, so that would be the impetus of the agent’s mission.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time studying Soviet naval bases, and determined that the most likely place a submarine of that class would be docked for testing would be Sevmash. (I’d originally picked Murmansk, and I no longer remember why that wasn’t viable.) So how would I get an American spy into a high-security Soviet naval base?

Initially, the story was going to revolve around Colby’s adventures in Sevmash itself, once he’d infiltrated the base. He was there to assassinate an American defector. But a throwaway line I’d written in the first paragraph about how he’d killed an innocent man on the train to steal his identity intrigued me, and I found myself more interested in exploring how that had gone down, so I rewound the timeline to that night.

YuriColby needed a target who had a similar physical description to himself, and who was en route to the location on a fairly long journey, being transferred from another base—Murmansk. It was possible to travel by train between the two bases, but the trip took several days. This, of course, was in the days before information could be transferred easily over the Internet from one city to another, which would work to Colby’s advantage. He would have to have forged papers with his photo, but the Russian’s vital information—internal Soviet travel papers had a stamp across both the photo and the document, so simply replacing the photo would be an arduous task. As long as nobody in Sevmash had seen this man—Yuri Ivanovich Veselov—Colby should be able to get in and out. He just needed to kill Veselov on the train to Sevmash and step into his identity.

The only problem was, in order to kill Veselov, Colby had to get him alone. And that meant getting close to him. And the closer he got, the more Colby would be forced to realize Veselov was not only an innocent in this game, but in many ways a kindred spirit and downright likable.

In fact, he was kind of adorable….

After I finished the short story Train to Sevmash, it was clear to me that I’d just begun to explore these characters and the world they inhabited, so I got permission from DSP Publications to expand the story into a full-length novel (tentatively called Chimera). That’s about half completed now, with the Train to Sevmash story taking up chapters five through seven, and I’m hoping to finish it this summer. Then, perhaps, it will be released next year.

Train in St PetersburgTrain To Sevmash—Jamie Fessenden 

Jax Colby is an American secret agent operating within the Soviet Union in 1967. His assignment is to infiltrate the Sevmash naval shipyard in Severodvinsk in pursuit of an American scientist turned traitor to his country. But in order to do this, he must first kill a naval lieutenant traveling to the base and steal his transfer orders. He homes in on his target on the two-day train ride from Leningrad to Belomorsk.

But there’s one problem. Lt. Yuri Veselov is handsome and friendly. As Colby spends time with him, he begins to like him—and it might be more than friendship. The train draws nearer to Severodvinsk, and Colby grows increasingly reluctant to do what he knows he must—kill Yuri Veselov.

(This story is included in the free anthology 7&7: A DSP Publications Anthology of Virtue and Vice )

Buy Links:

DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/77-by-andrea-speed-271-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/7-Andrea-Speed-ebook/dp/B01DRIXN8M

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Filed under 7&7, Drama, gay, Historical, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Romance, Russian, Writing

Release Day! Thárros by C. Kennedy is out!

Tharros-Banner
Θάρρος
Thárros. Greek. Meaning courage
Courage. n. /ˈkərij/
1. The ability to do something that frightens one.
2. Strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief.
~*~
Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear,
not the absence of fear. ~Mark Twain
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. Almost. He has great friends, parents who love him just the way he is, and he was a champion hurdler until someone took out his knee when they kidnapped his boyfriend. Yet, Michael is determined to make the USATF tryouts in spite of his injuries.
~*~
Tharros - Hope is an anchor to the soul

Christy Castle is Michael’s entire world. Healing from years of abuse, his abduction by a predator has left him hiding a new secret as he tries to start his life again. Together, Michael and Christy work to recover from their wounds in time to make prom and graduate high school. To complicate matters, Christy is astonished to learn a fellow victim from his native Greece has survived. Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the US to keep him safe.

Tharros - Quote - I have your heartbeat in my ear again2But the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper looms large in their futures and the struggle to return to normal only worsens. Christy’s past continues to haunt them and, when the prosecution turns ugly and Christy’s new life is torn apart, only their unrelenting courage and determination can save them from the nightmare that threatens to destroy their future together.

Add Thárros to your Goodreads and BookLikes Lists!

Read Chapter One or Read en français

About Cody

Cody is an award-winning author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. Among many other awards, Omorphi was a runner up in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and Slaying Isidore’s Dragons was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Cody does respond to blog comments and emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.
Find Cody on Facebook, Twitter @CodyKAuthor, Pinterest,
Booklikes, and read a free serial story, Fairy

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, Romance, Young Adult