Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two Terrific Release Day Reviews for Mute Witness!


Release day for MUTE WITNESS started off with a bang with two rave reviews from Love Bytes and The Novel Approach. I could not be more grateful!

LOVE BYTES said:
"This is the second gay fiction book that I’ve read this month that really blew me away...I love a book that can make me feel, and this book brought me to tears several times. Overall this was a fantastic read..."
Read the rest of the review here.

THE NOVEL APPROACH said:

"It will definitely keep you caught up in a web of emotions..."

Read the rest of the review here.

BLURB
The abuse of a little boy turns a community against a loving gay couple, and nobody comes out of it unscathed.

Sean and Austin have the perfect life: new love, a riverfront home, security. Their love for one another is only multiplied when Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason, visits on the weekends.

And then their perfect world shatters. Jason goes missing.

When the boy turns up days later, he’s been so horribly abused he’s lost the power to speak. Immediately small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. What was a warm, welcoming community becomes a lynching party out for blood. As Sean and Austin struggle to stay together amidst innuendo, the very real threat of Sean losing the son he loves emerges. Yet the true villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.

BUY
From DSP Publications (ebook)
From DSP Publications (paperback)
Amazon Kindle

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Good Karma, Good Books: Behr Facts by Pat Henshaw



Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (zoot suits, feathered hats, platform shoes, and the like) and introduce you to something new and wonderful in the literary world. This week, I’m excited to shine a spotlight on Behr Facts by Pat Henshaw

AUTHOR COMMENT
"My dad was a big man, not quite as tall as Abe Behr, the viewpoint character in this book, but probably as burly as Abe. Also like Abe, my father as the oldest on his side of the family was dedicated to taking care of his two sisters and one brother. Dad was the go-to guy if anyone in the family had problems or needed help. Unlike my aunts and uncle, my dad was the silent one in social situations. He was a shrewd businessman, but not a glad-hander. He was the stand-up guy who kept the family with its myriad ups and downs on as even a keel as he could. 
"When I was writing Behr Facts, I often joked with my husband that I was channeling my dad in Abe Behr. More accurately, in the book I am paying homage to my dad and all the other men, no matter what their sexual orientation, who have a strong family ethic and sense of connection to their relatives. 
"My main message in Behr Facts is to the family and friends of these men, who sometimes bury themselves in their efforts to help others. Maybe it’s time for us to let go of our dependence on them and let them have the freedom to find out who they really are and what they want out of life. Maybe it’s time to let them breathe.
I wish my dad had had a chance to do that in his lifetime.t."
GIVEAWAY
A random commenter (below) can win a $10 Starbucks gift card! Winner will be selected by Tuesday, February 16.

BLURB
Big, burly CEO Abe Behr is dismayed to discover someone—possibly a family member—is stealing from Behr Construction, which primarily employs Behr relatives. Abe takes the unprecedented step of hiring an outsider, likeable CPA Jeff Mason, to go over the books and help find the culprit. They are drawn to each other as they talk to workers, including Abe’s two younger brothers and their shifty cousin.
Since he has sacrificed romance all his life to build the business, Abe’s surprised by his feelings for the handsome Jeff. He’s even more shocked when they are confronted by bigotry in the Sierra Nevada foothills community, which is being inundated by gays moving from the San Francisco area. As he and Jeff get closer, Abe must come to grips with coming out to a family and community that aren’t very tolerant. Fortunately, being the head Behr helps him find his footing and grab onto love when it bites him.
BUY


AUTHOR BIO
Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, was born and raised in Nebraska where she  promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube. 

Now retired, Pat has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Find Pat at any of the following places:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MUTE WITNESS Releases Today!


I'm excited to announce the re-release of my rather frightening, but very redemptive thriller/love story, MUTE WITNESS.

"The abuse of a little boy turns a community against a loving gay couple, and nobody comes out of it unscathed."

It's a hard book to classify. The publisher files it under mystery/thriller, but there’s also some romance and a more than generous dash of horror—of both the real life variety and, in one instance, the supernatural. If I could make up a genre for Mute Witness, it would be redemption. The book’s all about finding redemption and how love can lead us there.

BLURB
Sean and Austin have the perfect life: new love, a riverfront home, security. Their love for one another is only multiplied when Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason, visits on the weekends.

And then their perfect world shatters. Jason goes missing.

When the boy turns up days later, he’s been so horribly abused he’s lost the power to speak. Immediately small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. What was a warm, welcoming community becomes a lynching party out for blood. As Sean and Austin struggle to stay together amidst innuendo, the very real threat of Sean losing the son he loves emerges. Yet the true villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.

BUY
From DSP Publications (ebook)
From DSP Publications (paperback)
Amazon Kindle

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Good Karma, Good Books: The Boys of Summer by Sarah Madison



Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (zoot suits, feathered hats, platform shoes, and the like) and introduce you to something new and wonderful in the literary world. This week, I’m excited to shine a spotlight on The Boys of Summer by Sarah Madison

AUTHOR COMMENT
"The Boys of Summer is a unique blend of contemporary and historical romance, as the main characters find themselves crashed on a deserted island in the South Pacific and events there trigger an inexplicable connection to the past."
GIVEAWAY
A random commenter (below) can win an e-copy of The Boys of Summer (or reader's choice of a single story from Sarah's backlist). Winner will be selected by Tuesday, February 9.

BLURB
David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film-company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches… and Rick Sutton, the hot, ex-Air Force pilot who is flying him around.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries and a lack of food and water mean David has to step up to the plate and play hero. While his days are spent fighting for survival, and his nights are filled with worrying about Rick, the two men grow closer. David’s research for his next movie becomes intertwined with his worst fears, and events on the island result in a vivid dream about the Battle of Britain. On waking, David realizes Rick is more than just a pilot to him. The obstacles that prevented a happy ending in 1940 aren’t present today, and David vows that if they survive this stranding, he will tell Rick how he feels.
BOOK TRAILER

Book trailer link: https://youtu.be/2zGjODd-PhU

EXCERPT
“I don’t think we’ve got much choice.” Sutton’s voice was grim. “We’re lucky to have that much. Hold on, these trees are coming up faster than I’d like.”

Still fighting to keep the nose of the plane up, Sutton guided the recalcitrant aircraft toward the so-called clearing, the ground rising up to meet them far faster than was comfortable. David found himself leaning back in his seat, bracing his hands on the console as the tops of trees scraped the underside of the plane. Branches swiped at the windshield, and David had the sudden impression of being in a car wash scene as written by Stephen King.

“Duck your head!” Sutton barked. “Wrap your arms around your legs!”

“And kiss my ass goodbye?” David shouted, raising his voice over the increasing noise as he obeyed Sutton’s orders.

Incredibly, Sutton laughed. It was an oddly comforting sound. Like everything was somehow going to be all right because Sutton was at the controls.

The moment of humor was gone in a flash. The plane screamed with the sound of tearing metal and the sharp, explosive crack of tree limbs and breaking glass. David kept his head down and his eyes closed, praying to a God he was pretty sure had more important things to do than to keep up with the well-being of one David McIntyre. Despite being strapped in his seat, his head and shoulder thumped painfully against the passenger side door as the plane thrashed wildly. There was a moment of eerie, blessed silence, and for an instant, the assault on the plane seemed as though it had lifted. Eye of the storm, David thought, just before the plane hit the ground.

Someone had left the window open and it was raining on him. How incredibly annoying. He shifted, intent on reaching for the offending window, when a jolt of pain ran through his shoulder and he gasped. When he opened his eyes, nothing made any sense at first. Then he remembered the crash, and realized that his side of the plane was pointing up at the sky. The rain was coming down in a steady stream through the broken windshield. The sound of the rain on the metal hull of the plane was nearly deafening.

He winced at the pain in his neck when he turned to look over at the pilot’s seat. Sutton was slumped to one side in his chair, unmoving. His sunglasses were hanging off one ear.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” David murmured, hastily undoing his seatbelt so he could reach across to Sutton. His skin was cold and damp where David touched it, and adrenaline pounded through David’s veins as though he could jumpstart Sutton’s heart by sending his own pulse beating through his fingertips. “Sutton! Rick!”

David fought to free himself of his seat, twisting for greater access to the other side of the cockpit. When the seatbelt came open, he fell half across Sutton. Sprawled practically in his lap, David could now see the nasty cut on the left side of Sutton’s temple. The pilot’s side of the plane had taken a lot of damage, and David yelped as he encountered a sliver of glass. Bits of the windshield and console were scattered like confetti over Sutton’s jacket. “Sutton!” The lack of response was unnerving. He tossed aside the sunglasses and worked a hand down into Sutton’s collar, feeling frantically for a pulse.

He could have kissed the man when Sutton suddenly groaned.

“Rick, are you all right? Can you understand me?” David began feeling around for additional injuries.

“I could never understand you, McIntyre,” Sutton said in a fair approximation of his slow drawl. Even the half-smile was a good imitation of his usual expression. “Who tours the toughest jungles in the South Pacific dressed to play golf?”

“Hah-hah, very funny, keep your day job. Oh, no, wait. Forget that. You’re not so good at the day job either.” Relief made him almost giddy. They were going to be okay. Everything was going to be okay.

Until Sutton tried to move and caught his breath painfully.

“What, what is it?” David tried to reach down around the other side of him, to see what the problem was. He felt something wet, warmer than the rain coming in the windshield, and he pulled back his hand to stare at it in shock.

His hand was covered in blood. The metallic odor of it caught him unaware and almost made him gag.

“Shit,” Sutton said mildly. “I seem to be stuck on something.”

Stuck?” David knew he was practically shrieking, but what the fuck was he supposed to do, miles from nowhere, with an injured man impaled on God knows what, who might die and leave him here all alone.

BUY
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

AUTHOR BIO
Sarah Madison is a writer with a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She is a terrible cook, and concedes that her life would be easier if Purina made People Chow. She writes because it is cheaper than therapy.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and is the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for The Boys of Summer. The Sixth Sense series was awarded 2nd place for Best M/M Mystery Series in the 2014 PRG’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Walk a Mile (Sixth Sense series Book 2) was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards.


Find Sarah at any of the following places:

Monday, February 1, 2016

My Perfect Date

This is one of my favorite pieces of my own writing. It originally appeared in the collection, Tales from the Sexual Underground, published by MLR Press. I think I like it so much because it demonstrates in a playful and—I hope—poetic way that, when it comes to sexual gratification, there’s often no place like home. Sorry for paraphrasing you, Miss Dorothy Gale!

My Perfect Dateby Rick R. Reed

He knows me, so he knows the best time is a quiet one. We stay in. Dinner, drinks, and of course, the last part, the best part.

He starts off casually, wearing a pair of faded Levis, a white T-shirt worn soft, bare feet, hair still damp from the shower. There’s a CD playing, soft, maybe Oscar Peterson conjuring up Gershwin from his piano. He’s got a few candles lit, but nothing scented. The air in his apartment is clean, with a trace of the soap from his shower lingering.
We sit on the couch and he makes me a drink. He already knows what I like, a dirty martini made with vodka, heavy on the dirt. We laugh about how I like things dirty, but not too much. We keep our minds out of the gutter, at least for now.

After the drinks, the music, the light fading to purple outside, we move to the dining room. Old oak pedestal table, mismatched chairs and cream pillar candles…used before. He makes a light meal, because he knows that later, we won’t want anything too heavy weighing on us. A simple salad, arugula, red onion, plum tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There’s a chicken breast, poached in broth, lemon juice and walnuts, some rice. Strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar for dessert. A glass or two of white wine, an Alsatian Riesling.

We linger over the dinner, slow; the candles burn down. The sky outside fades from purple to navy blue, a glow to the south…city lights. We move to the bedroom, undress slowly.

He knows how to touch me. Knows where to make the pressure slippery and where to make it rough. Knows when to move slowly and when to increase the tempo and when to slow it down again…he doesn’t want things to end too quickly. He knows that my nipples are sensitive and toys with them just hard enough, so I will feel the ghost of his caress in the morning. And all the while: music, orchestrated to ebb and flow, a soundtrack to our passion. We start off with Bach, Mendelssohn, end up with Crystal Method and Prodigy. Romance to filth. And he tells me, the whole time, about past lovers, knowing it excites me as much as his touch. Like the music, he starts off slow and romantic, telling me about his first love, Ron, how they were playful, in love, existing only for each other…so young. He tells me about a particular New Year’s Eve, in a darkened bedroom in Florida, high on pot and champagne and bringing each other the most incredible gifts. But as our passion rises, so does the depravity. He moves on to orgies, nights with strangers fueled by Ecstasy, a frantic, furtive coupling with a Northwestern student in an alley by the el tracks one night in August, fucking each other sweatily while the train crackled and roared above, its human cargo oblivious. He tells me about backroom sex, the smell of poppers, leather, cum and spit in the air, groping, being groped, connecting with shadows. He tells me everything, moving faster and faster, until even his tales and touch blur and I offer up my seed; it covers my belly in viscous arcs.

And I roll over and look at him…in the mirror. He is me.

He is me.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Why Do We Love Whom or What We Love?

Romantic hero number one, with stars in his eyes, asks romantic hero number two the age-old question, “Why do you love me?”

And romantic hero number two, who is a wise man indeed, gives a response that at first blush may seem glib, “Why not?”

This morning I am thinking about why we love what or who we love. That question, I would think, would have great resonance among readers of romance, because it’s core to most of our stories—and often a writer feels he or she needs to give credible motivation for a couple falling in love. And in fiction, I kind of agree, but is it true for real life?

At the very first Gay Rom Lit retreat in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of having lunch with reviewer and author Elisa Rolle and my dear departed friend, William Neale. At that lunch, I asked Elisa, with her reading far and wide in the genre of m/m romance, what interested her, a straight woman, about two men falling in love. She had an answer, which was, basically, that she loved romance and she found the power dynamic in hetero romance to be, finally, unsatisfying. Those books often had a lot to do with a woman being somehow rescued by the love of a big strong man. But, she said that in a romance between two men, the power dynamic between the love interests was often more equitable.

I thought that was a brilliant answer and one I have oft-repeated when people ask me why a large part of my own readership is straight women.

But then I began to wonder—why does it matter? Why does it matter why you like gay romance over straight? We like what we like. I have finally come to the conclusion that asking the question of why straight women prefer gay romance over straight is a futile exercise. For one, the answers, if they even exist, could be as varied as the respondents. But number two, and more importantly, is the fact that it doesn’t matter. Questioning why you like something can be an exercise that sets itself up for failure.

Who knows why we like gay romance? We just do. Do we need to understand the motivation to enjoy the end result? I don’t think so.

We don’t need to understand why we love chocolate ice cream over vanilla.

We don’t need to understand why we prefer T-shirts and jeans over more formal dress.

We don’t need to understand what psychological machinations cause us to choose vodka over scotch.

We just like this over that.

We simply know what we like. And I think that holds true with reading. If we think about it, we may say we like romance because we love reading about that moment when two characters find one another and fall in love. But why ‘gay romance’ someone might ask. And I grant you the freedom to say, simply and truthfully, “I just do.”

Which brings me around to the real question on my mind this up-before-it’s light Seattle morning, why do we love who we love? From my own personal experience, I can tell you that, for me, finding the person who might seem like the perfect mate on paper can often be the worst choice. My most disastrous relationship was with a man with whom I had the world in common. If we hadn’t headed down the romance road so quickly, we may have been great lifelong friends. But instead, we chased after a romance we both thought would be right, because we had so, so much in common.

But here’s the thing: we had no spark. There was no magic. And, ultimately, the romance we tried to forge withered on the vine.

Conversely, I have had relationships that have been totally wrong in almost every way for me (and that also ultimately didn’t work out), but some indefinable reason, they were a lot of fun and there was a spark. Who knows why?

Now, I am fortunate enough to have found someone with whom we had a spark and with whom I’ve found harmony and that is one life’s most cherished blessings. But I have also grown old enough and wise enough not to look this gift horse of true love in the mouth and ask, “Why?”

The only answer, really, is “why not?” Because, whether it’s books or life partners, the answer to that question isn’t really what matters. What matters is, “I just do.”


What do you think?