Lydia reviews: Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation by John H Ames

31931520Title: Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation

Publisher:  Ai-Press

Author: John H Ames

Pages: 184

Kisses: 5++

 

 

 

Blurb:

Seventeen year old, blond-hair, blue-eyed and adorable Robbie Carroll, orphaned at a young age and mysteriously never adopted, has finally found his dream family. Nick Hawking and John Ames, now married, wealthy, and powerful, make Robbie their son, defying the young man’s past- one that Robbie himself has no memory of- that has scared all other prospective parents away. Now, Robbie has great parents and a hot brother, Nicky and beautiful sister, Lily, who take him into their midst and make him part of their tight circle of friends who all go to Elite High.

 

One of those friends is Tim Mercer, a gorgeous football player at Elite High. Tim’s dark looks and simmering eyes capture Robbie’s heart at first sight. But Robbie can’t be sure that Tim feels the same way, or even if he’s gay too. Moreover, even if Tim is available, there are some people around him who don’t want Robbie to get close to him, and will go to ANY lengths to keep him away. Why? What do they want with Tim? What is the secret that Tim is harboring? And who is that strange man in Robbie’s visions, who haunts his life and his dreams? Find out here!

 

Review:

Have you ever wondered what happens to  Nick and John, or the rest of the gang we met in book one of the Surviving Elite High series?  If you have then you really need to  pick up this newest addition to the series.

The book starts out by introducing Robbie, a young boy who has spent most of his time in a group home for unwanted boys.  Theres a bit of mystery surrounding Robbie, one that causes perspective parent to run the other way.  Luckily Allison, his case worker, has finally found the perfect home for him.  Soon Robbie finds himself in a home with loving fathers, Nick and John, older sister Lily, and brother Nicky.  He’s a little nervous but his new family goes out of their way to make him feel wanted and loved.  However, while Robbie is trying to settle in he’s also having flashback’s that terrify him.

The author really pulls you back into the world he created with this new story and in no time i found myself feeling for Robbie.  I wanted to hug him when he found himself crushing on his new brother, and when he started to wonder about Tim, i found myself holding my breath wondering what was happening.

Tim is the son of Johnny Mercer, who fans will remember being Nick’s biggest football rival.  Now a days the two are friends and Johnny’s son attends Elite High with everyone else.  Like his dad was, Tim is a BMOC with the perfect girlfriend.  Only things aren’t what they seem and the relationship is slowly tearing Tim apart.  When he finally has enough and leaves his girlfriend for Robbie, things spiral completely out of control.

Tim and Robbie take their time with the new relationship they find themselves in.  See how much Tim cares for Robbie is really something and it is easy to see that this relationship has the earmarks of becoming a forever love like Nick and John’s.

I love how the author was able to bring back former characters in a way that is believable, allowing fans to catch up on all their favorites.  I also like that the author continues to show the teens in a realistic fashion, instead of them being overly perfect.  That Nicky becomes a bit of an ass during the story, and is properly punished for his actions is a refreshing change from what we normally see.

Through everything that is going on in this story, the mystery surrounding Robbie’s parents and their death gets lost in the shuffle.  I can’t what to see how this is resolved and from the glimpse we got in Surviving Elite High: Next Generation, I am a little worried as to what Robbie went through.

Those new to this series need to know that the books must be read in order. 

Reviewer: Lydia

Buy Link

Please help us welcome our sweet friend John H. Ames (Juan)

Please come in and sit down, John- AKA Juan….It’s very good to have you here with US today. We are just a little bit excited to get to know you just a little better.  Shall we begin?

 

What’s your favorite comfort food?

  • My favorite comfort food is definitely Nutella with strawberries. I’m obsessed with Nutella. I keep a bottle of Nutella next to my bed every single night.

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Who do you turn to for encouragement when you feel your writing isn’t all you think it can be?

  • There are two individuals that I turn to, Sedonia Guillone and Michele Montgomery. I love Sedonia so much. She’s one of my favorite people in the world. She has taught me so much when it comes to writing that I could hear her in my head as I write. Michele to me is the bomb. Whenever I feel lost, I run to her and she always knows what to say. She can lift me up in a second and enlighten my way.

AWWWW…..I’m blushing here….you’re so sweet! I love to help those I love….I’ll be here for you always!

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Do you have pets? If yes, what are their names?

  • We’ve got a puppy name Clifford. He’s small and black, not humongous or red like the cartoon character. He’s a Havanese that we got when he was just two months old.

ADORABLE furry baby!

What do you think your strongest asset is in writing? Or weakness?

  • When it comes to writing, I’m very creative. Most of the time, when I’m working a new novel, another novel forms in my head. However, I’m very slow when it comes to writing them. I’m a perfectionist and I feel the need to write everything right the first time around.

 

What mundane thing do you have to do that you totally dislike?

  • Cleaning the toilet. Doing dishes. Rolling up the hose. Counting sheep when it’s time to go to sleep. You know, things like that.

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What is your favorite genre to read?

  • I love young adult novels with the famous jock and nerd theme. I go crazy for those novels. Yes, they have been retold hundreds of times, but they never get old.

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What is your favorite genre to write?

  • Right now, I’m only sticking to young adult novels. I don’t know if I’m ready to venture into a new genre just yet. However, as I write, I feel like I’m ready to take the next step. I just don’t know what genre to venture into next.

 

What classes have you taken – or want to take, to improve your writing skills?

  • I wish I could take all of my English and literature classes all over again. But this time, I would give it my all. I hated English and literature growing up. I was into science and math. Funny how things change, huh?

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What do you do for fun?

  • I love watching movies. Since I work and write most of the time, I rarely sit down and watch television. So, when I find the time, I sit down and enjoy a nice little old movie.

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Where is your favorite place to write?

  • At the kitchen while I watch my mom cook or in my room where no one is around. Those are the only two places that I sit down and write.

I’m coming for dinner!

How does your family and friends react to what you write?

  • They love my work, especially my friends. They are always asking when the next novel will be out and what I’m working on. They get so excited. I absolutely love them.

 

When you feel discouraged with a current work in process, what do you do?

  • What I usually do is that I take a break. I leave it for a few days and come back to it by reading it from the beginning. Most of the time, as I read it, new and better ideas form in my head.

 

What are some of your other creative outlets?

  • I’m very good at drawing and designing book covers. I wish that someday I could focus on those two things as well, but writing takes a lot of my time. I don’t think I’ve got the time to add drawing and designing to my schedule.

 

What’s your favorite season to write about? (Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter)

  • Anything but Winter. Winters are so different everywhere. Some of you have snow while others don’t even see it. This simple little thing has screwed up with my novels so many times.

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It’s so beautiful though!

 

Are you a morning, afternoon or night owl?

  • I write all the time or when I get the chance. It can be in the morning or late at night. You’ll always find me writing in my spare time.

 

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

  • I would say visit Portugal, meet Nelly Furtado, and have breakfast or lunch with J. K. Rowling. I’ll be happy if I can achieve one of those goals.

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Wonderful bucket list….Portugal is probably the easiest. It’s beautiful.

What music do you listen to when you write? Or do you have to have total silence?

  • I prefer total silence. However, I’m good at blocking anything but music. Music distracts me easily. I end up singing or listening to the song.

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What social medias seem to work for you?

  • I would probably say Facebook. Facebook has become the marketing tool for the new world. Everyone uses Facebook, even my grandmother and she’s seventy-three years old. Everyone is just one click away.

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How did you discover M/M romance?

  • I came across this genre in 2008. I wanted to read a novel with a gay jock and nerd theme in it and came across Mark A. Roeder’s A Better Place. After that, I came across Jeff Erno’s Dumb Jock. His little novel changed my world forever. I decided to become a writer that day.

 

Beverage of choice?

  • I love Pepsi. Pepsi is my favorite beverage ever. Some are obsessed with Coca-Cola, I’m obsessed with Pepsi.

Well here you go! pep

What kind of computer do you work on?

  • I do all my writing on my iPad 2 and all of my editing it on my Dell laptop. I spent so much time on these two things that I take them everywhere with me.

 

Do you hear voices in your head telling you what to write or are you inspired by what goes on in the world?

  • Definitely voices. These stories develop in my head and beg me to write them down. I have a new novel in my head all the time. It’s sort of crazy.

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How do you feel about the future of books? More e-books or will print always be around?

  • The era of print has come to an end. No one uses them these days. Everyone has a phone, kindle, iPad, or tablet. I prefer hardcover novels, especially mine. There’s no better feeling than holding the book you worked so much on.

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 I love the feel of a paperback in my hands. The smell is heaven.  Walking into a bookstore IS Heaven! I keep up with modern times but I still love my hold it in my hands type of girl. Though, I do love my e-readers. It’s easier to tote all of the books I do love around. And for the ones I don’t like, I don’t have to give it away. I just delete it.

What do you prefer to read? E-books, blogs, magazines or print?

  • E-books and blogs. They are easier and very convenient. Magazines and print are almost a thing of the past. Sadly, they will soon fade into nothing.

On those days you’re in a funk, what do you do to get back to the keyboard?

  • I read to get that spark lit and then I immediately run to my iPad and begin a new novel.

WAIT! John! Come back here! Put that down. We’re doing something here and…No…not right now. We have a few more questions for you. Here, how about some chocolate? candy

That’s right, let me have your I thingie there…ahhh….better. Now, where were we….OH Yes….Do you have a story or an author who inspires you?

  • Yes, Jeff Erno and J. K. Rowling. If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be an author right now. I would probably be somewhere managing a business full time, making way more money. However, deep inside, I wouldn’t be happy. Writing is what I love and no one will take it away from me.

I beg to differ, John. If you’re born with a gift, that gift will find its way out. Just like it did for so many others. What you found was the strength to share your gift with the world. You’re an author because YOU took that step all by yourself and we’re so very proud of you.

What do you look for when seeking out an on line friendship?

  • I like individuals who are sincere, honest and tell it like it is. I like to vent my problems to them and listen to what they have to say. Just a few have stayed with me since I started writing. Many have simply disappeared. It makes me sad, but that’s life.

friends

I agree one hundred percent! You’re a good person. A rare breed indeed. That’s why you’re so loved around here.

 

What makes you laugh/sad/angry?

  • I hate people who haven’t read your work, yet they give you a bad review. I’ve met several individuals online who spend their time going on sites, not reading an author’s work, and giving them horrible reviews. A few days ago, I was going through one of my favorite novels on a very famous site and this reader said that she hadn’t read the novel and would give it a one star rating because it was not her cup of tea. What? It it’s not your cup of tea, look away. Why trash a novel you didn’t bother to read? I was so mad for the author. Individuals like that need to be banned from the internet.

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I can appreciate that. There are plenty of haters but I believe there are more lovers than haters….I think the later individuals lack good thoughts in life. Maybe they’re really those awful customer service people we are forced to deal with on the phone…you know the ones.  They gotta take their hate out on everything and everyone they can. Especially artists. They know most authors won’t lash out. So, my advice…..continue to write from your heart and if you love it, that’s all that matters.

 

And last but not least…What is your favorite holiday?

  • Valentines day.   It’s about the chocolate!

Well, here you go… homemade and fresh….enjoy!mmm

 

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And there we have it, folks! All of our questions have tuckered John out…I mean, just look at this picture I snapped of him. 

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He wants to go to sleep and here I am, asking questions. I hope he remembers this when he wakes up!  Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for our review of John’s latest story….Surviving Elite High: the Next Generation.

 

 

The man who wrote the Surviving Elite High series is here!!! He answers the most asked question by his fans…..

Who is your favorite character from your novels and why?

 

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Readers from every corner of the globe have asked me this questions over and over again. And to be honest, this is probably the hardest question for any author. Why? You love every single one of your characters, even the ones you kill in your novels. They are a part of you. They are you. Picking one over the other is an extremely difficult thing to do. But I had to answer this question since everyone has been so keen to know. I chose two. I couldn’t chose one. I had to choose two. You guys ready? Here we go!

My first favorite character is the ever so sexy Nicholas Anthony Hawking, or better known as Nick Wild Hawk, from Surviving Elite High. But first, let me tell you about my first work of fiction, Surviving Elite High. Surviving Elite High was re-released on January 5, 2014 under Ai Press. This novels chronicles the life of John Henry Ames, a gay sixteen-year-old boy, as he makes his way through life as an outcast in the shadows of an elite high school where he is tormented by two psychopathic bullies. After befriending the school’s quarterback, Nick Hawking, their lives change forever. Their friendship blossoms and they discover a side of each other that no one knew. For my debut novel, I thought of everything. It has friendship, love, bullies, and even a school shooting. School violence is very serious topic these days and I needed to say something about it in my debut work. Now, let’s move on to Nick Wild Hawk.

Nick is the school’s quarterback and athlete extraordinaire. He’s the kings of the roots and knows it. He is the type of guy that every guy wants to be and the type of guy that every girl wants to be with, but there is more to Nick that meets the eyes. Nick comes from a neglected home and it’s evident by the way he goes around having sex with different girls. He’s looking for love and attention in the wrong places. When he meets John, however, that changes completely. John offers him pure and unadulterated friendship and support. As the story progresses, he becomes dependent on John and he begins to grow as an individual. Slowly, Nick becomes the perfect guy thanks to John’s help. In my latest novel, Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation, you guys will be able to see that Nick grew up to be the perfect husband, lover, leader and friend. Why? Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation is set twenty years after the last time we saw Nick on Surviving Elite High: Senior Year. Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation made me love Nick even more. He became the man that I always envisioned he could be. Hopefully, you guys fall in love with him like I did.

Now, my second favorite character from my novels is Ashton Hall from the third story found inside Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain. Now, let me tell you a little more about Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain. Love, Joy, Heartache and Pain is a collection of three short stories that can stand on their own, but can act as a full-length novel if you put them together. They appear in the following order: The not so unrealistic and detailed account of how my best friend and I switched bodies for a short period of time or Swapatized for short, Spirit Indestructible, and The Lake View Psychopath which stars Ashton Hall. As you can see, their names tell you a lot. The first one is extremely funny, the second can be sad and sweet, but the last one is very psychotic and gory. Now that you know a little more about them, let’s talk about Ashton Hall.

Ashton Hall hates his existence at Lake View High and he has very good reasons to hate it. The jocks have made his life a living hell and his friends have completely abandoned him. Why you may ask yourself? Well, Ashton Hall is openly gay and dating the love of his life, Austin Young, the school’s soccer star. Almost overnight, they became the center of every joke and every bully’s paradise. My heart breaks every time I reread their story. Without giving too much away, he loses the guy he loves and his mind snaps. It breaks into two and the only thing that keeps him moving forward is the need for revenge. He needs to avenge the love of his life and then move on with his life. And you know what? I can connect with him in so many ways. I would do what he did if they took the love of my life away from me. I would go crazy and snap at everyone. The Lake View Psychopath maybe the shortest story out of the three, but it will keep you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end. In my eyes, Ashton Hall is a hero, not the famous Lake View Psychopath they think he is. But I’ll let you decide when you read it.

So these are my top two favorite characters found in my novels. Picking them was hard since every single one of them is like a baby to me. I love them all, but you guys forced me to pick two. Hopefully, you read these two novels and bond with them like I did. Let me know what you think if you do.

You can stalk me at https://johnhenryamesbooks.wordpress.com or email me at authorjha@gmail.com. See you later guys!

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Life Without Parole by Jeff Erno Blog Tour

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Is Prison Romance Just another Form of “Gay for You”?

The idea of a prison romance has intrigued me for some time, but I hesitated to embark on the project due to a number of misgivings I harbored. For one thing, the very notion of situational homosexuality made me uncomfortable. It doesn’t quite fit within my personal view of sexual orientation and more or less contradicts what I’ve argued for many years—gay people are born gay. You can’t be persuaded or recruited into the “homosexual lifestyle”. Writing a story that depicts a straight person falling in love and becoming sexually active with a member of their same sex felt hypocritical to me. In a way, it seemed like a betrayal.

But in so many ways, this reasoning proved hypocritical. For one thing, “Gay for You” is a very common trope, and some of my previous works could arguably at least border on that categorization. And even more significantly, prison romance is a reality as is situational homosexuality. Rather than denying its existence, wouldn’t it be better to explore it and try to gain a better understanding?

I believe there are two valid explanations for situational homosexuality in a prison setting. The first is that most humans are not one hundred percent heterosexual or homosexual. Regardless how we identify in terms of orientation, few people land in the far outer reaches of the Kinsey Scale. So in the absence of the opposite sex, it makes sense that people who are mostly heterosexual but who’ve entertained homosexual thoughts or fantasies, could be willing to explore those feelings more deeply. If you’re in prison for a long sentence, possibly even a life sentence, wouldn’t you find a way to make the best of your situation?

Secondly, I don’t think sexual intimacy is always about expressing love and attraction. Sometimes, as in the case of rape, it’s about power and domination. In a prison setting, an entirely separate hierarchy exists from that in the outside world. And often it becomes a matter of natural selection where the fittest survive. The most powerful control those beneath them in the pecking order. I can see where a person would submit to the will (and sexual desires) of one more powerful in exchange of protection or other favors.

And then, setting all this aside, I would also add that gay people—openly gay people—do get sentenced to prison, as do transgender people. So it is entirely possible that a gay inmate could fall in love with another gay or bisexual inmate. Or a transgender person, forced to identify as their birth gender rather than their true gender, could fall in love with a person of their birth gender.

In Life Without Parole, I don’t offer distinct, iron-clad explanations for the orientations or genders of my characters. When a happily-married, middle-aged corrections officer receives oral sex from a transgender inmate, I don’t explain if he’s gay, bi, or straight. I don’t explain the motivation of the inmate either. It is what it is. It happens.

And when my main characters, Jeremy and Trey, fall in love, I let the reader decide how to label them. In my mind, this is not a gay for you love story, but I wouldn’t argue with any reader who sees it that way. I wanted to present a genuine love story within a not-so-typical setting and simply let the chips fall where they may. I allowed the characters to lead me into some situations I found shocking and confusing. Some twists and turns occurred I didn’t originally anticipate. But instead of trying to explain the “whys” I simply showed the story as I saw it.

I personally like what happens between Jeremy and Trey. They each broke my heart at different times. They cracked me wide open, made me angry, made me hurt in ways I haven’t for a long, long time. And this is the sort of writing I started out with so many years ago but somehow managed to veer away from in pursuit of approval and sales.

I’m not sure if Life Without Parole is going to be a huge success, and to be honest, I don’t really care as much as I probably should. It’s a story that seemed to find me, and not vice-versa. I had to let go of my concerns that my preconceived opinions would be challenged and simply follow my characters.

I do appreciate all who are willing to give this series a shot. I won’t lie and tell you it’s going to appeal to everyone. I understand in many ways it is controversial, possibly even offensive or capable of insulting one’s sensibilities. Yes, it’s raw and very harsh in some places, but it also contains tenderness and very primal, deep-seated passion. It is both complicated and simple. The multiple storylines of the many characters twist around each other but hopefully in the end all becomes clear. And yes, it has some too-good-to-be-true happy endings, for the most part. But if you know anything about me, you realize I can’t write a story of any kind without an HEA.

I’d like to thank Michele and Gabbi for hosting me and participating in my blog tour. It’s awesome to be back here on the website where it all began for me. I’d like to offer a giveaway prize for those willing to comment. I’m going to give away a gift at each blog stop and conduct a final drawing at the end of the tour for a complete set of the Life Without Parole series. It’s six books total. Please leave a comment or question to enter.

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Blurb:

Trey Palmer killed his stepfather three years ago, stabbed him repeatedly with a butcher knife, and now he’s facing life behind bars. He doesn’t deny what he did, nor does he regret it. But he’s plagued with flashbacks of a torturous childhood in which he was abused by this man he finally extinguished. In prison, Trey employs a strategy of avoidance. He becomes a loner and a workaholic, steering clear of the gangs and their drama. His life changes one day, however, when a new cellmate arrives. Jeremy Banks, also in for murder, decries his innocence. With his long hair and angelic face, he’s too pretty for a men’s prison. Though at first annoying and mouthy, Jeremy begins to wiggle his way into Trey’s heart, and Trey starts to wonder if maybe the kid really is innocent. He really does seem like an angel. Their feelings for each other evolve, blossoming into something forbidden yet beautiful. But how can a love like theirs last in a place like this?

Roxy reviews” Uniform Fantasies,” by Mark C Wade

Mark C Wade
MLR Press
Genre: fetish(Uniform) MM contemporary
Buy here: MLR

Blurb:

A state trooper breaks the law when he indulges people’s uniform fantasies for pay.

Mike hires state trooper Tom to fulfill his uniform fantasy. By chance, they meet each other in a diner and begin a relationship. Mike struggles with Tom having sex with other people for money, and they learn to understand the difference between lust and love as their relationship matures.

Roxy’s thoughts

This is the first time I’ve heard of this author, so I offered to read his story to help get his name out in the big reading world. I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review so here it is.

As the blurb states, Mike hired Tom- who is like an escort- to fulfill his dream of having a man in a uniform- in this case a state trooper-to bust him. As in arresting him. But not. Throw the cuffs on then head to a private area and have his dirty way with him and then let him go. Seeing as how we rarely act on our sexual fantasies due to whatever reason, I thought that the writer had a wonderful idea for a story so perhaps more of us will come out of our sexual hiding places and share what we think would turn us on. Mike did it and guess what? He not only got lucky in the sex department, but he met the real life officer- yes, he’s the REAL deal here, as in he is a deputy sheriff! And on the side he plays an escort to bring men’s fantasies to life for extra money…how do you like that?! A person of the law…doing that? LOL! Epic move on part of the writer! WTG! Mark!! Never mind the legalities here, nope. We’re not concerned at all because this is a FICTIONAL story boys and girls and real life doesn’t matter when we’re lost in a story! Dammit! Well, they meet up one day while they’re out having lunch and bam! They find that they are attracted to one another but it’s the handsome deputy who is the brave one and kisses sweet nerdy Mike, but runs off before getting that accountants number…The meeting between them is just cute, and hot…the sex in this is HOT…Mixed in here is how a man in uniform deals with having a lover who is stuck on the uniform and in turn how that man deals with the why’s behind his man being an escort…yes, they get together! It’s as it should be and it’s not an easy meet, fall in love and move in, marry and live happy ever after here…it’s more than that and that’s what I like about the story. There’s a plot happening. The issues I had were more to do with word building than anything. It’s an easy fast read for that hour lunch you have and need something to read that takes you to the edge of your seat in yummy ways. One other thing I had a problem with was how choppy some of the sentence were. Way too short and not complete. Sorta like that last sentence and now this. But the guy’s story was terrific!!

Roxy Reviews Alicia Cameron Inherent Gifts & Inherent Risk


Alicia Cameron
Published by Forbidden Fiction
Buy Link: HERE

Life was never the same again after The Fall, especially for those born with certain gifts that set them apart from others. Gifts that doomed those like Wren to a life of slavery with no hope of escape or turned a man like Jere into an unwilling master. When a fiery tragedy brings Jere into Wren’s life it becomes clear that this new master is like nobody else Wren has ever known. How does a slave protect himself from someone unpredictable? Can love really exist between master and slave, or will it destroy them both?

Roxy’s Thoughts…..

Ya know, I have to say that this writer/author is not afraid to take that plunge and write what most of us think about writing, or wishing we could write. She has no problem at all putting down the dark angst and working it and kneading it and rolling it until it’s paper thin, then picks it up and cuts people with it…I’m not even kidding here. Her words do cut like a knife, or a thin paper, paper cuts…And she makes no apologies either. I am impressed by her to be honest. These two stories are long, very long, and so much happened in them that I’m afraid to start writing about it because I’ll never shut up. To say that they are good, fantastic, amazing, none of those words can touch what they truly are. Most people are afraid of their reading audience, about what they’ll say when they read a story that lingers on non-con everything. We’re talking slaves here though, and in the world that the author created, which is many years in the future, and since they are slaves all is a go. No matter what it is. Nothing is against the rules and we do see instances of that by other characters in this two part series.

In the first story a man inherits a home, a medical office, and a slave. A freeman who lives in a state where slaves weren’t kept, who moved to a place where slaves were kept…a man who knew nothing about owning a slave now has to learn how to do that without looking like the towns fool…thankfully the slave is smarter than his ex cruel master gave him credit for…I mean when I met the young slave he was damn near dead from a house fire…burnt up, dying young man…then Jere saves him and brings him back to life and gives him purpose…reading the stories and watching them unfold, going through the hard times, sad times, happy times and glorious ones, it made this read so worth it to me.

Wren is not just a slave though..he has a couple of interesting gifts, a speed gift is one…that comes in handy for Jere when they are working in the clinic or when the house needs cleaning…or even when they need something from the store…and one time Wren rushed off to the store without a permission slip and ended up in the police station being whipped for Jere’s mistake! I mean there’s a lot that happens in these stories that I could go on and on about but I won’t…I will say, I give them both five kisses. Go get your copy and support this author. She’s fantastic and needs to be praised for her gift.

Sequel to Inherent Gifts:
Jere never wanted to be a slave owner, but despite that, he and his slave Wren are buidling a life together. Yet, a new addition to their household challenges their relationship. Jealousy, anger, and broken slaves dominate Jere’s world as he continues to navigate a slave state that seems intent on forcing Jere to be a master in more than just name. With all of Hojer watching, Jere fights to save a young life and his fragile relationship. If he fails at either, he could lose everything.

In this second story Wren and Jere open their home to another slave that will most likely be the very death of them..or something like that! Though I liked the first book better than this one, it’s pretty good too…I dunno why the writer added the girl but it did show many sides of both Jere and Wren, as far as how thin their patience could be pulled. Talk about an understanding and very patient man, Jere is it..he’s amazing and I adore him. Wren has had a lot to deal with by his former cruel master so I understand his reluctance with the way Jere does most things. But when we are dealing with a free man now in a slave city and being forced to put on airs that he’s not comfy putting on, there’s bound to be issues…and there is…four kisses from me!

Michele reviews: Orion’s Way by D.C. Juris

Author: DC Juris
Publisher: Torquere Press
Buy Link: HERE

Five bloody kisses!

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Orion is a vampire with a tragic past. After running away from abusive parents at the tender age of sixteen, he was turned by a ruthless elder vampire and forced to torture and sexually abuse human feeders and submissive vampires. Though that’s all behind him now, he still lives in the shadow of what he was, and it’s cost him the loyalty of Xavier, the human feeder he loves. Malagan is Orion’s closest friend–the vampire who saved him from brutality all those years ago. Malagan knows the dominant side of Orion–the side Xavier needs–is still there, lurking below the surface. But if Orion’s going to find his way back to who he ought to be, he’ll need help. And Malagan is just the man for the job.

Michele’s thoughts
Ah, short stories….so very hard to score. It’s sorta like being dumped into the middle of a conversation between friends, and you’re the new one…lost. Well, I agreed to do some reviews to help the site out a bit so it’ll be what it’ll be from me.

Not my favorite to do. Short stories. With an already established cast of people who know one another quite well…course I don’t know a single one of them so to me, they are all strangers and I always feel as if I jumped in, got lost, stayed that way and just when I thought I got what may have been going on, the damn thing ends. UGH! I don’t like shorts.

However, in saying that, DC Juris did it again to me~ I got dumped into the middle of a story with my favorites..VAMPS! Haven’t gotten a great vampire read in a while and I miss them. DOM Vamps! OH YES! GIMMIE! DC did gimmie! I was very happy that I went against my no short story rule, especially to review, and reviewed it! I started reading, twenty minutes later I was done and here I am. Happy! Because I want to share with you how well DC did with this cast of characters I’m very unfamiliar with. By the end of this, I loved what I knew of them..the patient Master of the entire clan Malagan, his crew Orion, Marcos, then his ex friend Clay. Oh a lot happens on these pages and I was instantly hooked and yelled at DC for not giving me more! Can you hear me DC?! I love to see these Vamp Masters do their thing..and boy oh boy do they do their thing…but now I need to know how Xavier and Orion are going to get along…I need to know if Orion can be the Master he was born to be? OH! The suspense…

So, yes, I loved the short…I have lots of questions but I hope there’s more about these characters to read coming soon…if not, DC, I’m going to send you lots of pesky emails.

Five kisses for Orion’s Way!

A word if you will? A More Perfect Union and a little something by Scott!

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A More Perfect Union

 

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Blurbs

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.

But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?”

Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.

To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.

 

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day.  “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.

 

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.

Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.

What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.

Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.

 

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and  realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.

It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.

From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.

 

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.

When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi’s family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.

When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.

 

Excerpts

 

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

“The first time Lucas Arrowood saw Dalton was on his way to his first day of kindergarten. His mother was walking him to school, he was very excited, and his right shoelace was flopping, untied.

“Baby,” said his mom. “Let’s sit down and try to tie your shoe.”

He looked up at her, excitement temporarily quashed. He couldn’t do it. Couldn’t tie his shoe. And he was supposed to be able to. His mother had tried to show him how—over and over again—but he couldn’t get the laces to go where they were supposed to go, and it just fell apart. He couldn’t do it. If his teacher found out, would they make him go home? Would he have to wait until next year? That would be horrible!

“Hey, you can do it. It’s easy!”

Lucas gave a little jump, turned around, and sighed as he looked into the narrow dark eyes of the most beautiful human being he had ever seen.

“Want me to help?” the boy asked, flipping his mop of dark brown hair out of his eyes with a toss of his head. “I taught a bunch of kids last year when I was in kindergarten.”

A bunch of kids hadn’t known how to tie their shoes? That perked up his ears. Lucas looked up at his mother.

She smiled. “Do you want him to help?”

Then he realized something. He did want the boy to help him. He thought he would do anything the boy wanted him to do, even ask his mom to take the training wheels off his bike (which was a big scary because he was afraid of falling and getting hurt!).

“Sit down,” said the boy, pointing to the landscaping wall along the sidewalk.”

Lucas sat.

“What’s your name?” asked Lucas’s mother.

“Dalton Churchill. Like Winston Churchill. Only it’s Dalton.”

He smiled, and Lucas knew Dalton was the most beautiful boy on the planet.

“Who’s Winston Churchill?” Lucas asked.

Dalton shrugged and got down on one knee before Lucas. “I don’t know. I think he’s a minister. Okay, now, first you pull your laces up and then cross them over, like this.” Dalton demonstrated.

“I can tie a knot,” Lucas said, wanting very much not to look like a complete dope in front of Dalton. Then he frowned. “It’s the other part I get mixed up on.”

“That’s cool,” Dalton said, tying the knot. “Okay…. So here’s the tricky part. First you make a loop and stick it up so it looks like a tree—see?”

Lucas nodded. He wasn’t sure the upward turned loop looked much like a tree, but he wasn’t going to tell Dalton that.

“Then you take the other lace and wrap it around the bottom like this—like a dog running around the tree.”

Lucas smiled. “My neighbor has a dog. His name is Super Mario.”

“That’s a great name,” Dalton said, laughing.

Then he finished showing Lucas how to tie his shoe.

“Wow,” Lucas said.

But then Dalton untied the shoe.

“Hey!” cried Lucas.

“Now you do it,” Dalton said. He nodded. “You can. I know you can. Easy.”

Lucas wanted to yell, “No, I can’t!” but he quite suddenly knew he could not disappoint the pretty boy with the beautiful eyes. He sighed. What had Dalton said about a tree? He made a loop with one of the laces.

“Just like that, but the other one. Unless you’re a southpaw.”

Lucas looked up through his own dark bangs. “Huh?”

“Southpaw means left-handed.”

“Oh!” Lucas giggled. “I’m not.”

“Tree!” Dalton ordered, brows knitted together.

So Lucas made a loop with his shoelace.

“Yes!” Dalton said with such enthusiasm Lucas would have thought he’d ridden down to the corner and back on his bike without training wheels. He laughed and then thought about dogs running around the base of trees. A moment later, Lucas had tied his shoe. His mother clapped.

“Yes,” shouted Dalton. “I knew you could do it, Lucas.”

Dalton walked the rest of the way to school with them. But even better, he also promised to walk Lucas to school the next day.

 

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Monday, September 27

There was only this moment. This place. Alex holding Gio’s hand, gently because of the burns on the back of Gio’s arm and hand. The sounds of the breathing machine came in regular soft sighs.

The little green box held in Alex’s other hand–and all it symbolized between them.

All their life together had shrunk down to this moment, this place, this plea. “Please wake up, Gio. Amore mio, svegliati.”

Sunday, September 12. Two weeks earlier

Alex was late getting home, and he was in a foul mood from the long, difficult day at work. One of the properties he’d made a bid on had fallen through, and another client had all but called him a bald-faced liar.

He was looking forward to getting home, taking a long hot shower, then crawling into bed.

Alex was startled to find a whole meal, complete with wine and candles, laid out on their dining room table. Gio must have spent the whole day cooking.

Alex was late. He’d been delayed with his angry client, and to make matters worse, his phone had up and died halfway through the afternoon and he’d been without his car charger.”

“He was already annoyed when he walked in the door.

“Welcome home, amore,” Gio called from the kitchen.

“I had a hell of a day….” He caught a whiff of whatever Gio was cooking.

“Come sit down. I’ve got everything ready.”

The dining room looked like a Martha Stewart production of a telenovella Thanksgiving. “I’m sorry. I’m not really hungry. Things were the shits at work today.”

“Sorry to hear that. Have a seat.” Gio grabbed his elbow and urged him toward his chair. “Food makes everything better.”

Alex was starting to get annoyed. “Look, I’m sorry, but I’m not hungry. I just want to wash up–”

“That’s just the job talking.” Gio took his arm again.

“Knock it off! I’m not in the mood tonight.”

Gio looked hurt, but Alex plowed on, too incensed to stop.

“This isn’t some kind of June and Ward Cleaver relationship.”

“I just–”

“You have to let go of your stupid, unrealistic expectations of me and this relationship.”

Gio frowned. “That’s bullshit, and you know it. Just because you had a bad day at work, there’s no reason to take it out on me.”

He was right. But Alex couldn’t admit it. “Just leave me the fuck alone,” he said, grabbing his phone charger and storming out. He’d find somewhere else to sleep tonight.”

 

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

1999

Doug had seemed terrific when Jay first met him. He was funny, attentive, good in bed, and Jay’s family thought he was great. At family gatherings, that is—not in bed. They were living together in short order.

But after two years, things weren’t going so well. They’d moved to Dover, which allowed Jay to get back in touch with some of his college friends, but their relationship seemed to grow rockier by the day. They fought constantly, though Jay was never really sure what they were fighting about. They just didn’t… fit anymore.

But still he tried. Jay was nothing if not stubborn.

His ties to the pagan/Wiccan world had long ago faded away, since Doug thought that stuff was weird and creepy. In fact, his ties to anything outside the tech industry had pretty much withered to nothing. He worked long hours, during which he thought about nothing but computers and switches and routers. It paid well, and raises were frequent, so he was caught up in the game his coworkers played—pushing for promotions or transfers every six months to a year in order to get salary increases. Like his coworkers, he had an E*TRADE account and spent time between support calls attempting to build a stock portfolio. He had the sense not to gamble the small amount of savings he had, but it was a fun game to play.

But he was unsatisfied. He couldn’t quite put a finger on why until one Saturday, when he was sitting at Café on the Corner and his friend, Steve, happened by. Steve had been part of the medieval reenactment group Jay hung out with in college, and apparently he was still involved with them.

“Michaelmas is coming up,” Steve pointed out, referring to one of the large feasts the group “put on every year. “It’s going to be at the Unitarian Church. You should come.”

Jay couldn’t see that happening. He no longer had any of his medieval “garb,” and Doug was likely to turn his nose up at the idea of hanging out with a bunch of reenactors all day.

Jay said diplomatically, “I’ll think about it.”

“Well, at least stop by the monthly Wiccan group. Julie’s usually there, and Mark. A whole bunch of the old crowd. That’s tomorrow. Same place.”

It would be nice to see some of them. And Doug was working on Sunday. “That might be fun.”

“Are you still writing?”

He wasn’t. Jay had written a lot of science fiction stories in college, and he’d talked about getting published one day. But that, like everything else he’d enjoyed in those days, seemed like nothing more than a dream he’d once had, barely remembered.

This conversation was getting depressing.

“So,” he asked, trying to change the subject, “do you still sing?”

Steve grinned with excitement. “Yeah, man! My band is putting together our second CD. It’s gonna be awesome!”

The more he talked about his life, the more it became clear Steve was barely scraping by financially. But he was doing what he loved, and he seemed just as happy with his life as he’d been in college. Jay, on the other hand, had plenty of money. He had a career now, a boyfriend, a new car, and a nice apartment. He’d thought he was doing okay, but now he realized exactly why he’d been feeling so uneasy. His life had veered off course. In just five years, he’d lost touch with everything that had been fun and creative in himself. He was no longer Jay.

And he missed himself.

 

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

“When the front door of the trailer slammed shut with a loud bang, followed immediately by an animalistic howl of rage and frustration, Tom knew Jeordi was home. He snickered and shook his head.

“Hey, babe,” Tom called out. “I forgot this was the day you were going to visit your parents. It went that well, huh?”

One glance at his boyfriend told Tom all he needed to know. Despite the scowl and look of anger and frustration on Jeordi’s face, it only took one glance at the man to ignite the most sensitive parts of his nervous system (and everything connected to it).

He couldn’t help but smile at the sight of Jeordi. He wasn’t handsome in the New York runway model sense, but was handsome in the real man sense. Jeordi turned heads every time he walked down the street, although he consistently missed the many glances people cast his way.

All Jeordi saw when he looked at himself was that he wasn’t tall, and he felt his ears were too big. Tom daily told Jeordi that he was the most studly man he’d ever known—and he quietly gave thanks that the man was all his.

Tom felt two strong hands wrap around his waist as he stood at the sink in their kitchen. Carefully setting down the dish he’d been washing, he leaned his head back against his boyfriend’s solid shoulder, brushing his smooth cheek against Jeordi’s fuzzy cheek—fuzzy not from a beard but from a strong five o’clock shadow the man dependably had every day by late afternoon. Jeordi hated it, but Tom loved it and loved rubbing one part or another of his body over the stubble.

“Love you, babe,” Tom whispered. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Why?” Jeordi whispered into Tom’s ear.”

“Why? Why? Why do I keep subjecting myself to the same crap?”

“So, they didn’t throw their arms open and tell you they’ve joined PFLAG and ask for your advice on what to wear in the next Pride Day parade?”

Jeordi snorted. “Um, that would be a great big no.”

“What did they do this time?” Tom asked.

“Prayed—and then some. They tried to have some kind of healing service to rid me of the evil that had ‘grabbed hold’ of me, to quote my mother. They said they needed to cast the devil out of my body.”

“Oh, isn’t that special,” Tom joked.

“Not so much,” Jeordi disagreed.

“Was it just your parents?”

“Oh, no. That’s what made this one more frustrating. They had their minister there. He brought a backup minister—poor kid looked freaked out just being in the same room with a known homosexual. Don’t know what he thought was going to happen.”

“They upped the ante, I see,” Tom said.

“Oh, there’s more,” Jeordi said.

“More?”

“Hell, yes. They had some of my more uptight brothers there with them this time.”

“They succeeded in getting any of your brothers to be in the same room at the same time? How the hell did they swing that one?”

“Don’t know. Must have been one hell of a bribe. They, of course, brought their wives, I guess to show me how a good strong Christian heterosexual marriage works. They pissed me off so much I slipped and asked Beau how he could take part in something like that when he’d been off screwing half the women in the county. He didn’t appreciate it. I guess his wife didn’t know he was a hound dog she needed to keep on a tighter leash.”

Tom stopped what he was doing and dropped his head back, deep in thought. “Hmm, your brother Beau would look damned good in a collar—and naked,” he said. “Now, if you maybe added a blindfold, put him on his knees with his hands cuffed behind his back—now that’s just freaking hot. Maybe I should call his wife and give her a few suggestions. How do you think she’d take that? I’d be doing it strictly to help her out since I doubt she’d ever come up with an idea like that on her own. And of course I’d need to be there to help her, you know, to consult.”

“Don’t go there,” Jeordi warned with a chuckle. Beau was beautiful, but unfortunately he knew it and wasn’t at all opposed to spreading his beauty around to any and all women who’d have him. “At least that got the two of them out of the whole ritualistic crap my mother had planned for the weekly visit.”

“Two down, ten to go,” Tom said.

Tom turned around and wrapped his arms around Jeordi, kissing his neck. “I love you, babe,” he whispered into Jeordi’s ear as he held tightly to his man.

“I’m so glad you do. My family certainly doesn’t.”

“Oh, they love you. They just don’t understand it because the playing field has changed since you came out,” Tom said.

 

Buy Links, Etc

Dreamspinner eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7854

Dreamspinner paperback:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7855

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30304246-a-more-perfect-union

 

Author Bios

 

B.G. Thomas

B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous little dog. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.

B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.

In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all—since he grew out of being a “practicing” homosexual long ago. He submitted a story and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the stories have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of stories!”

“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”

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

Website: https://bthomaswriter.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4053647.B_G_Thomas

 

Scott Coatsworth:

Scott has been writing since elementary school. After leaving writing for twenty years, Mark, his husband, told him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

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

Mark and Scott have been together for twenty four years. They met at the Pacific Center, an LGBT center in Berkeley, California, in 1992. They dated for two weeks, and then Scott moved in with Mark, and the rest is history. They run their own business together, study Italian, and are almost never found apart.

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

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

 

Jamie Fessenden

Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple of short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie published his first novella in 2010, and has since published over twenty other novels and novellas.

After legally marrying in 2010, buying a house together, and getting a dog, Jamie and Erich have settled down to life in the country, surrounded by wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional coyote. A few years ago, Jamie was able to quit the tech support job that gave him insanely high blood pressure. He now writes full-time… and feels much better.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jamie.fessenden.7

Website: https://jamiefessenden.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4476044.Jamie_Fessenden

 

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy met his husband Dan thirty-four years ago during a Sunday service at MCC in Washington, DC when a hot, smart man sat down beside him. Due to a shortage of hymnals they had to share.  The touch of one hand on the other in that moment was electric. Sparks flew that day. Though neither had planned it, they spent the day together followed by the night.  From that day, for more than three decades they’ve rarely been separated, each finding in the other their soul mate.

In the District of Columbia, where they lived, marriage became possible in early March 2010.  The minute it happened they were in line to get a marriage license, only to be stumped because the license required the name of the person who was going to marry them. There was such a sudden rush of same sex couples wanting to get married that the office already had a two-month backlog before an appointment could be secured.  Since they weren’t at all convinced that the Congress wasn’t going to step in and do something stupid to take away this right, they started calling everywhere to find someone who would marry them. It might be legal, but finding someone to marry them was proving to be a challenge.

When an article appeared in the newspaper telling of a small, local United Methodist Church that had decided to go against general church policy because marriage equality mattered deeply to them, a conversation started.  After a series of emails and phone calls, suddenly they were seated with two retired UMC ministers who were willing to risk it all to do the right thing.  A few days later, license in hand, surrounded by a handful of friends and their best dog, Shadow, they were finally legally married.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.murphy.9250

Website: http://gayromancewriter.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450548.Michael_Murphy

 

A word from Scott….author-coatsworth-j-scott

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

I also wanted to be (in this order) an astronaut, an astronomer, and a rock star.
I didn’t have the discipline to go through all the physical training it takes to become an astronaut.
I found out how much math was required to be an astronomer, and that was out too. I just wanted to look at the stars.
And my voice changed when I turned 14, and I didn’t have the vocal range to pull off the whole rock star thing. Or the guitar.
So I became a writer.
I wrote a whole novel, reworking it three times over a few years in my early twenties. Then I sent it off to ten major publishers, ready to be given the acclaim I felt I was due for my amazing writing skills.
Then the first rejection came back. And the second. And the third. And finally, almost a full year later, the tenth.
I quit.
But as anyone who is a writer can tell you, it gets in your blood. You’re a writer because you have stories to tell, not because you  want to make a quick buck. Because, let me tell you, if that’s your motivation, you’re in the wrong field.
I came back to it a couple times over the next twenty years, but never managed to make it stick.
Funny thing, though. I had this idea that I wouldn’t really become successful at my writing until I reached my forties, when I had a little more life experience to work with.
Two and a half years ago, I was just about to give up again. I was moaning to my husband about once again being me derailed, when he set me straight. He said “the only one who can keep you from writing is you.”
Damn.
But he was right. So I rededicated myself to my craft. I wrote and submitted a story to every open Dreamspinner anthology in 2014. And eventually someone bit.
BG Thomas picked up one of my stories, “The Bear at the Bar”, for the “A Taste of Honey” anthology, and he kicked off a string of publishing successes that continues to this day.
So when he asked me to write a story for the forthcoming “A More Perfect Union anthology – stories about the road to marriage by married gay men, I leapt at the chance.
The resulting story, “Flames”, is one of my favorites, but the other three authors, BG Thomas, Jamie Fessenden, and Michael Murphy, all turned in stellar entries too.
I hope you enjoy them all. And if you want to be a writer, don’t give up.  You never know when your time will come.

Michele reviews: A More Perfect Union

squarePublisher: Dreamspinner Press
Authors:
B.G. Thomas
J. Scott Coatsworth
Jamie Fessenden
Michael Murphy
Length: 104K / 350 Pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 6/26/16

 

Blurbs

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.

But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?”

Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.

To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day.  “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.

Michele’s thoughts:

I have to say that I fell in love with these two characters from the moment they appeared on the page together. Little Lucas is such a doll! He is straight out inquisitive and innocent. What does a six – seven-year old know about being in love, or loving another person? He swears his love for his new-found friend, Dalton and he doesn’t care what the world thinks of boys loving boys or that society won’t accept them as a couple, a married couple. All he knows is that he wants to marry Dalton. One day. The writer leads us on a life long journey with these two characters, we see them grow up and become men, we’re privy to their very private moments, like what teenage boys do when they gather together for a sleepover…We see these boys take their first drinks, kiss girls during a game of spin the bottle and how Lucas feels about it. All of his young life he loved Dalton, period. However, we also see how he sees Dalton, as this is told in the third limited POV, and what Dalton does or acts in Lucas’ mind. We see the struggle Dalton goes through into his adult life once he admitted that he too loved Lucas. He’s disowned by his parents over his love for the other boy. We see the strength of Lucas through a family scare with his mother, who is his closest ally. Then they go to college, they move in together and we’re taken on a journey throughout all of this. Love at its purest moment. I loved this story. The flaws to make these characters are there. The plot is so very believable and the writer did a splendid job with his deliverance of this story. The love we feel from Lucas to Dalton, then from Dalton to Lucas. In the end Lucas gets what he’s wanted for most of his life, and so does Dalton. They are an adorable couple and I love the story.  Five kisses!

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.

Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.

What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.

Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.

Michele’s thoughts:

Just wow…this story here grabbed me by my wrist and took me on a hell of a journey that made me laugh, cry, and cheer. J. Scott did a marvelous job with the plot, characterization, settings, all of it. This writer nailed it to a T! This story took place in Tucson, AZ., and that’s where I live! In reading this, I felt as if I was with these guys every step of the way and that’s one thing I love about reading stories that are based on where I have been or where I’m at. I could see the desert sky, feel the monsoons, the hospital, all of it. Even the streets! So, beyond that, we meet Alex, and Gio two characters who are as real to me as you are. They have faults, though Alex more than Gio. Alex has a bit of a temper issue going on when the story started. He had a bad day or week at work and he did what all spouses and other halves do..take it out on the one’s we love…and wow, does Alex do a bang-up job of that. He even pissed me off. I was reading and saying, “Oh, poor Gio! He went through all that trouble of making a wonderful home cooked Italian dinner for his man and he gets yelled at over it?!” Yet, while I say this, you must remember that we all have done this very thing. We are all guilty of this action. I don’t care what anyone says. Alex stormed out and stays gone all night, gets drunk, wakes up in a hotel room..ALONE and he’s met by the worst day of his life. His lover, his boyfriend was in a fire and ended up in a coma. OH my HELL! The heartbreak as Alex fell apart. It was horrible. In a good way! I mean the writer did such a fantastic job with getting in Alex’s head and explaining how he was feeling to me. The heaviness in his heart, the guilt, all of it, I felt for him. And Gio, bless his sweet innocent adorable heart, he was stuck in a coma and the writer took a step out of any writer’s comfy zone and wrote this in the 3rd POV. We got both of the characters, not just one! So, when it was Gio’s turn we saw him alone in a void it seemed, and each time Alex was with him in the hospital and spoke to Gio, reminding him of all the things they did together, a piece of that ended up with Gio in the void…like for instance, they went to Mexico one year and ended up buying a huge bed that they fell in love with. Alex had it shipped to their place in Tucson and in Gio’s void that bed ended up with him, so he had something to sleep on. Then there was a stuff U of A wild cat named Devin that Gio also had with him. Wait till you read that part! This whole story is so meaningful and it teaches us not to take our loved ones for granted. Never leave in anger, never go to sleep without saying I love you..and most importantly, this story shares with us the pains that unaccepting family members can inflict upon others if they can. And wow, Gio’s mom does a hell of a bang up job there…poor Alex. I mean sure I was upset with him for doing what he did but I couldn’t hate him or even stay mad because he did what we all have done after all. Every single night Alex sneaks in the hotel because Gio’s mom forbid him from seeing her baby son, and he sneaks out before she turns up to sit with her baby. No one should have that power over people in love. I really didn’t like her but I got why she did it but still I didn’t like her. It’s our job as parents to accept our children period. Love is love but she is very religious and didn’t accept that part of her son, and well you can imagine. It’s heartbreaking! Marriage is so very important for different reasons, so are wills. Give this one a read! I promise your eyes and heart will weep.  Five plus kisses!

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and  realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.

It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.

From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.

Michele’s thoughts

This story here is probably the only one where I wanted to strangle the author. These characters are so well done, so well written, their story line so true to life, that each time they met up they lost touch and since I knew they were supposed to be a couple, the writer kept dropping bombs between them, keeping them apart!  It’s really a good story that focus’ a lot of the truth of things when it concerns how families disown their gay sons, how those men keep moving forward in spite of it. These men take part in the rights of LGBT people. The right to marry, the right to have a say so over each other, the right to even buy a home together. They take us on that long journey they experienced and dare us to not feel. If you don’t feel for them when you read this story, perhaps you don’t have a heart? I mean, the pains, the hopes, the dreams, even things most straight people take for granted, are fought for by this couple. They are incredibly patient, I’ll give them that, but thinking of the past, back before laws were set in place, they didn’t have a choice but to be patient. We are on this rollercoaster of their lives and though it takes years for them to finally live together it’s worth the wait because the writer keeps you very entertained with the characters real life issues that are faced or were faced prior to the President giving EVERYONE the right to marry…This story here is the one that takes you through the pains of love and the joys. I hope you enjoy it! Five kisses!  characters.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.

When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi’s family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.

When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in motion so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.

Michele’s thoughts

This story here is the shortest one I believe and it’s just too sweet. I mean, look at the blurb. We step into the relationship on page one and we’re kept there until the last word, the last moment and I enjoyed every moment of it. We can feel their love for one another and feel the hate from Jeordi’s mother! Oh that woman! I wanted to just slap her and tell her to mind her marriage as well as she minds her son’s business. I mean, these two men are living in a trailer, they don’t have oodles of money, but they have what matters the most. Love. And one day on his way to work, Jeordi is hit by a car while on his bike in the rain. He’s taken to the hospital and his family is called, but not his lover. Jeordi asks his mother and nurses, even the doctors over and over where Tom was and no one would pay him any attention. Now, he’s very hurt, he needed something along the lines of a hundred stitches, talk about bad road rash. Here I was thinking here we go, he’ll fall terribly ill, it’ll require a hospital stay and Tom will have no damn clue because Jeordi’s family doesn’t approve of him being gay. Well, Jeordi surprised me and he surprised Tom too, as well as his nosy mother. He stood up to her telling her no one was going to keep his lover away from him ever again. They go on a lovely journey together and end up in Washington DC where the meet a few amazing people who help them in so many ways. Even Jeordi’s brother who was shocked about his brother’s sexuality stepped up to the plate and did something that Tom and Jeordi will never forget. I think he’s my favorite character! It’s a wonderful cute story and I give it five kisses!

Okay, so overall I loved these stories because they all dealt with true life events and what could happen, what has happened, and will not happen any longer thanks to every one being given the rights to do what they should have been given a long time ago..the right to marry regardless of the sex of the person they love. The battles these couples face are true to life, in each case. Usually when one takes ill a family member will step in and decide to kick what they don’t approve of out. They don’t stop to think about the person lying in those beds or how they feel about their other halves, the families don’t care. It’s actually so sad to know that people are being kept apart over hate. That bothers me the most. I hope these stories give other men and women the strength to overcome their fears of marriage and take that step if just to protect their other halves from the hate that can be tossed at them by ugly family members who will never get it. I love the plots, the messages, the steps taken to get these guys where they wanted to be. Married to the men they love more than life itself. Sure, each of these stories has an issue or two but those are nothing when we’re looking at the big picture. That’s love.

A note from Michele about A More Perfect Union’s authors.

Dear, J. Scott Coatsworth,

I’m writing this letter to you to thank you for being persistent. If you hadn’t of taken the time out to find me, I would have missed out on the stories within that anthology. In that, I would have missed out on some amazing characters and I wouldn’t have  read your story, or felt the hurts and the joys, or seen the happenings, none of it. I would have missed talent and true love all rolled up in one book.

Remember when you first contacted me about reading the anthology? I think I said that I didn’t review any more and that Gabbi would find a reviewer and let it go…then you found me again…(Let me say that I’m shocked you know who I am to start with. LOL!) And you asked if anyone had reviewed the anthology yet. I honestly didn’t know because Gabbi takes care of that stuff but I contacted her anyway to see if anyone had selected this book. I had a feeling no one had, we’re very thin right now with reviewers, and when she told me that we are swamped (not shocked.) with a bunch of books and very few reviewers I felt bad. I could feel that excitement by you via FB messenger…So, I took a step I stopped taking some time ago.

See, I stopped reviewing sometime ago. It’s not to say I quit reading because I haven’t, but I don’t read anything sent to us at T2B anymore. I retired to be honest. However, I didn’t think you knew that. And guess what? I’m glad you didn’t. I’m thrilled you stayed on top of it and basically pinned me in the corner over a review….Truly I am.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into here…I didn’t pay attention at the beginning…Remember when I said, “Okay, I’ll see if I can get Roxy to do it?” Well, she’s swamped and couldn’t do it…I sorta put a “time” limit on this one  because I didn’t want to let you down.  I hate to let anyone down actually and that’s part of the reason why I decided to stop reviewing.  So, moving on…Yes, I had Gabbi send me the file and read all of the stories.

Boy oh boy. Here’s what I didn’t know. I had NO idea this was an anthology! I’m serious I didn’t. I didn’t because I didn’t read the blurb or the email. I just downloaded the file and opened it and HELLO…

I don’t want to say I came out of “retirement,” to start reviewing again but I did for you and I’m glad I did. These stories are so much more than stories. They are true words written by each of you and those words came from your hearts, from your very lives. While they are fiction, there is truth behind them, all of ’em. All of you-the authors-are so very talented, incredibly gifted, right out  amazing guys. Humble, each of you. It’s hard to find guys like that in this day and age. I see so many people stuck on themselves they can’t see beyond the tips of their noses, that includes women too. But you all, you all have it going on and I’m thrilled to have gotten the chance to help you all out, even if it’s just by a review.

So, without further blabbering on my part, here you go, Mr. J. Scott Coatsworth, because you asked me for it. I don’t do this type of thing for just anyone anymore….And B.G. Thomas, Jamie Fessenden, and Michael Murphy, this includes you all too…Stand tall, be proud, smile, and remember, we may not know one another, we may never meet in person either(I have met you, Jamie) but you have my respect. I love you without knowing you, the real you’s because you’re truly super sweet men. You are all truly wonderful people and I’m thankful to J. Scott for standing up and bugging me to read this. If he hadn’t, I would have missed out and who knows…maybe we wouldn’t have had a moment to do this review up.

OH! And I want to say: CONGRATS! on your marriages! All is as it should be….I hope that one day I can find the true love each of you have found.

 

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