Tag Archives: gay

Guest Blog: J. Scott Coatsworth on “The Great North”

Where to Tell the Story

They say write what you know, but that’s always seemed like dubious advice to me.

As a writer of sci fi and fantasy, I often write tales set in distant or unknown locations – to date, these have included London; Althos; Avalon; Purgatory; Oberon and Titania; Forever; a half-drowned San Francisco; faery; Thompson Falls, Montana; and some imaginary village in northern Quebec, to name a few. More about that village in a moment.

Most of these places are imaginary, and the ones that aren’t are either places I’ve never been or real places that are far separated from our own time.

So when I planned to write a retelling of a Welsh myth, reset to a few hundred years in the future, I knew I needed to find the right place to tell the story, even if it was a place I’d never seen.

With climate change and warming a virtual certainty in our future, I decided it had to be somewhere in the North. I decided to try Canada, and pulled up Apple Maps to scan the terrain for someplace currently out in the wilds that might make a good setting for a future agrarian village. I started out near Vancouver and worked my way east.

When I saw this lake in Quebec, I knew I’d found my story’s setting:

That’s Lake Manicouga, formed in an ancient asteroid crater by a dam that sits at the far southern tip of the lake. It met all my criteria – In the far north, the site of something ancient and mysterious, and just a really cool place.

Turns out there’s a little highway that runs along the eastern side of the lake, which provided the perfect setting for my village of Manicougan (see what I did there?). And with a little more imagination (and research), I moved some of the plants and animals from farther south up to central and Northern Quebec, where the climate should be quite a bit warmer than it is now.

So it’s not really “write what you know.” It should really be “write what you can research. And then throw in a bit of fantasy to keep it interesting.” 🙂

—Scott

Blurb:

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

—————

The Great North was inspired by St. Dwynwen’s Day, also known as Welsh Valentines Day:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwynwen

Excerpt:

“We celebrate Dwyn’s Day as a testament to true love and sacrifice. It’s a remembrance of the way things were and the way they’ve come to be. In the end, let it be a reminder that every one of us has the power to change the course of events through love.”

—Dillon Cooper, New Gods and Monsters, Twenty years After Dwyn

The gray clouds scudded by overhead, blowing in quickly from the east.

Dwyn shivered and pulled on his woolen cap. It was cold out, unusual for so early in the fall. The rains had been heavy this season, the wettest in a generation, and Circle Lake was close to overflowing its banks. If he stretched to look over the rows of corn plants, he could see the waters lapping at the shore far below, as if hungry to consume his village of Manicouga.

His father had consulted the elders, some of whom had seen more than fifty summers, and everyone agreed things were changing. Whether that augured good or ill was anyone’s guess.

He shrugged and moved along the row of plants, breaking off ears of corn and throwing them into the jute sack that hung from his shoulder.

Ahead of him, two of his age-mates, Declan and Baia, were working their way down the next two rows.

Dwyn frowned. He got distracted easily, and he’d let the two of them get a jump on him. That wouldn’t do.

He redoubled his pace. He moved with focus and purpose, and soon he was closing the gap with his friends.

“Someone’s being chased by a lion,” Baia said with a laugh.

“Or a tiger.” Declan grinned, his nice smile only missing one tooth, lost to a fight with one of the Beckham brothers the year before.

Dwyn grinned. “Or a bear?” Dwyn only knew lions and tigers from the fairy tale his mother used to tell them, “The Girl and the Aus.” He had no idea what an Aus was, either.

Bears he knew. The hunters occasionally brought one home, and old Alesser had a five-line scar across his wrinkled face that he claimed came from one of the beasts.

A shout went up from ahead of them. Dwyn craned his neck to see what the ruckus was, but he couldn’t make out anything. “What’s going on?”

Declan, who was half a head taller, looked toward the commotion. “Hard to tell. Something down by the road.”

Dwyn laid down his sack carefully and ran up the hill to one of the old elms that dotted the field. He climbed into the tree, scurrying up through the leaves and branches until he had a clear view of the Old Road. It ran from up north to somewhere down south, maybe near the ruins of old Quebec if the merchant tales held any truth. Hardly anyone from Manicouga ever followed it, but occasionally traders would follow it to town, bringing exotic wares and news from the other villages that were scattered up and down its length.

They swore it went all the way down to the Heat, the great desert that had consumed much of the world after the Reckoning.

“What’s going on down there?” Baia called from below.

Dwyn tried to make sense of it. “There are three wagons coming down the pass. They’re loaded up with all sorts of things. They don’t look like traders though.”

The first of the horse-drawn wagons had just reached the field above the main township. It stopped, and someone hopped off to talk with the villagers who had gathered from the fields.

“We need to get down there,” Dwyn said, scrambling down the tree trunk. “Something’s happening.” Nothing new ever happened in Manicouga, and he wasn’t going to miss it.

He grabbed his sack and sprinted toward the Old Road, not waiting to see if Declan and Baia followed.

 

Buy Links Etc:

Mischief Corner Books: http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p121/The_Great_North.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07172TL6H?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-great-north-j-scott-coatsworth/1126572845?ean=2940157258634

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-great-north

Smashwords: Coming Soon

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/ec62jb.l

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35182345-the-great-north

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.

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://twitter.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

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Blog Tour, Excerpt, Fantasy, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance, Young Adult

Guest Blog: “Welcome to my writer cave” by J. Scott Coatsworth

skythane8-1The writer cave.

Every writer has one.

Mine is one corner of the office I share with my husband Mark, and doubles as my work desk for the EDJ, although it’s probably less evil than most, since we work for ourselves. Still, it’s not writing, so I guess it qualifies.

Look around, and, you’ll find my little collection of desk things Mark has given me. Chief among these is my Buddah Board, this little stone board that came with a bamboo brush. You paint with water, and your works fade away in moments, as ephemeral as the wind. It’s a very Zen thing, learning to let go of your art. I use it every day.

There’s “the eye”, as Mark calls it, my round, color-changing clock that always seems to be set to the wrong time.

There’s the magnetic hourglass Mark gave me for our anniversary, and of course, my little Marvin the Martian flash drive.

I love my desk toys.

On the walls, you’ll find my mounted posters for Guy Gavriel Kay’s “Tigana” and for “The Lord of the Rings”, as well as a painting by a local author called “View From Mars” that I look at when I need a little inspiration.

Last but not least, my music – the collection of a lifetime, on a phone the size of my hand. We truly do live in wondrous (if scary) times.

Stop by sometime and I’ll give you the grand tour.

Unless I’m busy writing, in which case you’ll have to settle for Marvin the Martian tour guide. 😉

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Authors: J. Scott Coatsworth

Cover Artist: Anne Caine

Blurb:

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

skythane8-1Excerpt:

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

 I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 Buy Links Etc:

Dreamspinner – eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/skythane-by-j-scott-coatsworth-8154-b

Dreamspinner – paperback: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/skythane-by-j-scott-coatsworth-8155-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Skythane-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B01MUF8D9G/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/skythane-j-scott-coatsworth/1125557133?ean=9781635334036

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/skythane

iBooks: https://linkmaker.itunes.apple.com/en-us/details/1195468498?country=us&mediaType=books&term=Skythane

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33899235-skythane?from_search=true 

j-scott-coatsworthAuthor 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. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Tour, Fantasy, gay, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, SciFi

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

 

Leave a comment

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

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.

3 Comments

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

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)

21 Comments

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

Leave a comment

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

Trying my hand at category romance

Main Street in Gorham, NH.

My publisher, Dreamspinner Press, recently came up with the idea of putting out category romance novels — light, quick reads between fifty and sixty thousand words without much angst or too much sex. Think some of the old (and probably current) Harlequin and Silhouette romance lines. I actually like this idea a lot. It may come as a surprise to many people, but I used to love category romances. Not all the time, certainly. But as a pleasant distraction now and then.

The new Dreamspun Desires line seems to be doing quite well with readers. And now a lot of writers I know are working on books for it.

I’m not normally one to jump on bandwagons, but this particular bandwagon appeals to me. So with that in mind, and knowing full well that my submission will be at the tail end of a lot of other author submissions, I’m going to try my hand at it. No rape, no child abuse, no murder. Just a nice, happy little romance.

I can do this!

My story is tentatively called Small Town Sonata, though I’m not utterly thrilled with that name. It was going to take place in a fictional community called Springhaven, NH. Unfortunately, I’ve just discovered there is a Spring Haven campground or something in NH, so I’ll have to come up with a different name. It’s based upon the town I grew up in, which was a pleasant little community of less than 2,000 people in northern New Hampshire, which goes by the rather unpleasant-sounding name Gorham. The picture at the top of the post is of main street in Gorham, and it looks pretty much like it did when I was a kid there in the 1970s. Parts of it have changed, of course. But that’s why I’m setting my story in a fictional, idealized version of the town, rather than the real one.

The story follows two characters: Dean Cooper and Aiden Clark. (Uh-oh. I just noticed both last names begin with “C.” I might change that….)

Dean is a local handyman. Everyone in town knows him, and most like him. He’s openly gay, but the prospects for a gay man in a town that size are somewhat small. In place of a love life, Dean has the dubious honor of being mothered by a host of elderly women in town. The ladies have taken it upon themselves to organize the annual town fair. Mr. Robinson, who used to conduct the band, passed away two years ago, so the ladies decide it’s up to Dean to continue the tradition this year. Aside from playing clarinet in the band, when it existed, Dean has no idea how he’s going to get everyone back together, especially when confronted by band members moving away and broken instruments that can’t be replaced.

In the meantime, Aiden Clark, who moved away from town when he was a teenager to pursue a career as a concert pianist, is back in town. He’s pleasantly surprised to discover his best friend from high school, Dean, has grown up to be sexy as hell. But the last thing Aiden wants is to get involved with someone. He hasn’t told anyone the reason for his return — that his career as a pianist was ended by an injury to his hands, and he just wants to withdraw from the world for a while. Possibly forever.

As a blurb, this is awfully wordy and somewhat awkward, but you get the idea. I’m having fun with it. It’s up close to 8,000 words now, and if I can keep up the past I’ve set, I should have it done in four to six weeks.

12 Comments

Filed under Contemporary, Drama, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Romance, Writing