Saturday, March 28, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Gay-Themed Books

When I move, the worst part of it is packing up and moving all the books. I am buried under books. I have read more books than I can count. I am a true book slut, moving restlessly from one to the other, finding satisfaction here, disappointment there…and sometimes magic. I wanted to just give you the very first books that came to mind when I thought of my very favorite “gay” books. I’m a great believer in going with one’s gut. So here they are (in no particular order):

1. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. Highsmith has long been one of my literary icons. When it comes to probing the darkest sides of human nature, no one does it better than she. Strangers on a Train is a much better novel than the Hitchcock movie of the same name (although that was not without its charm, among them the very lovely Farley Granger) and has a much darker resolution. Its homoeroticism, too, is much more explicit than in the sanitized Hollywood film that bears the same name.
2. The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren. How many other gay men have had the same experience as I did? I discovered this book on a trip to the mall when I was in high school, surreptitiously bought it when my friend wasn’t looking, and took it to home, hid it between my mattress, and box springs…and absolutely treasured it. It opened my eyes to so much (yes, two men can really love each other—it’s not a sickness or an abnormality) and made me realize I was not alone.
3. No Night is Too Long by Ruth Rendell (writing as Barbara Vine). No contemporary mystery/psychological thriller writer does it better than Ruth Rendell. She plays with gay themes in several of her novels, but in this tale of psychological suspense, she most successfully blends homosexual themes and characters with heart-pounding suspense and shines a light into our darkest fears and compulsions.
4. Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim. This was Heim’s debut novel and it’s weird, wonderful, and disturbing, combining alien abduction, memory loss, and child sexual abuse in a compelling, lyrical, and thought-provoking narrative. I’m sad to say that none of his subsequent work had the sheer power of this one.
5. In a Shallow Grave by James Purdy. Purdy is one of the most underrated American writers. I believe he is one of the masters of 20th century literature and this gem, about a disaffected and disfigured war veteran and his love for a hired male caretaker and the fugitive who comes into both their lives is spiritual, carnal, and profound. And Purdy’s command of the language and his use of American colloquial speech is nothing short of poetry.
6. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. A perfectly rendered portrait of England in the 1980s and the rise of the new right, this story about young gay Nick Guest and his social and sexual awakening is harrowing stuff, since we know that tragedy lurks just around the corner for not only our na├»ve young—and often selfish—protagonist, but for a whole segment of society.
7. Was by Geoff Ryman. This revisionist take on my favorite movie of all time, The Wizard of Oz, is simply brilliant literature. In its parallel stories of a “real” Dorothy Gale, a “scarecrow” dying of AIDS, and the plight of a child star named Frances Gumm combine to form a narrative that is nothing short of literary brilliance.
8. Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin. The Tales of the City books, like The Front Runner, were eye-openers and touchstones for me as a young gay man coming to grips with his own identity. Reading this last entry in the series really resonated with me and touched me, since I am not far behind Michael himself and have experienced many, if not most, of his same joys and sorrows.
9. The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt. This was Leavitt’s first novel and, while I wouldn’t say it’s his best, I would say it’s his sweetest and most satisfying. So much of the story resonates with me personally (the closeted father with a gay son) that it simply touches my heart more than his other work.
10. IM by Rick R. Reed. You didn’t think I’d compile this list without putting myself on it? But people always ask which of my books is my favorite and this one is clamoring for a mention. I love it because it combines a little romance, with a lot of suspense, some horror, and commentary on gay life and culture.
BUY
Amazon
Dreamspinner Press Publications



Bookmark and Share

Friday, March 27, 2015

Welcoming Guest Blogger A.E. Via


DEFINED BY DECEIT
~ A.E. Via ~
M/M GAY ROMANCE CONTEMPORARY
Edited by: Tina Adamski
Cover Art by: Jay Aheer
300 pages
Release Date: March 27, 2015

ABOUT THE BOOK

Life isn't always fair, and that’s something that Llewellyn Gardner knows about first hand. His life was on the fast track until one night of extreme passion changed everything.

Now eight years later, he’s still living with the aftershocks of that night. Everywhere he turns or runs, there’s another reminder. What the hell do you do when you try to drown your demons only to find out Shane Smith, Jr. owner of Smith Construction, could see the emotional turmoil within his new employee — it’s why he hired him. There was something about the gorgeous, misunderstood man with the overly expressive eyes that came to their small town with a past no one was willing to overlook. Shane could see the good in Llewellyn, and those eyes of his were a clear window to his soul. Shane wasn't going to let the man live a future of solitude because his past had been plagued with deceit.

Llewellyn wasn’t sure what to think about Shane. After years of protecting himself from being tricked twice, he was now faced with worry again. What would happen to him if Shane didn’t believe his truth, and walked away? Llewellyn wasn’t sure he’d be able to survive being left alone. Again.

EXCERPT

“Thinking of going in? Or are you just gonna block the entrance?”

Llew turned at the sound of the sure voice behind him. Since he seemed to tower over everyone he looked down at the pretty brunette with dark brown eyes to match. “Um. Sorry.” Llew mumbled quickly, “Well don’t be sorry shuga’, just escort a lady inside.” Llew didn’t blink as he watched the lady stalk towards him. Her full chest sat above an extremely narrow waist. It almost looked unnatural. She dressed and wore the amount of makeup that a grown woman would, but her smooth face and approach screamed her real age. She was jailbait if he’d ever seen one. Llew gave her a slight head nod and turned to leave when his elbow was hooked.

“I saw you in the general store applying for a job. You musta’ jus’ got into town, because if not I’d have known, honey. So you got kin here?”

The laugh was an all-out immature giggle and it graded on his nerves. “Cat got your tongue,
darlin’”. She moved in even closer and dragged a long red nail down Llew’s arm, tilting her head back to look up at him. “You want me to beg, huh? Come on now, handsome. Escort a lady to a movie… then, “Maybe when he sees’ a lady… he’ll escort one.”

Llew diverted his attention away from the overzealous minx that was practically humping his leg
and focused on the beautiful man approaching with another guy in tow. His voice wasn’t overly deep like his own, it was a smooth and melodic southern drawl. Like he could be a singer or a poet. He walked with an unhurried gait that was a mixture of ‘I’m in charge’ and ‘you’re on my time, not the other way around’, and Llew found it sexy as fuck. His tall friend chuckled behind him, moving away to purchase their tickets.

Is he on a date? No, their demeanor definitely said ‘friends.’

“Mind ya’ own business Smith, Jr. I saw him first.”

The man hooked one thumb in his pocket not the slightest bit fazed at the remark. But Llew was
thrown. Was this guy actually gay or was she being a smart aleck? The man gave him nothing to go on. He moved closer towards them and Llew got a nice whiff of his spicy, bold cologne when a cool breeze blew his way. It was an interesting contradiction, because the man’s entire persona said ‘cool and “Mosey along, Sallie Ann. Don’t make me ring ya’ daddy. He told me keep an eye on you while
he’s gone and I agreed. He’d be rather put out if I didn’t follow through on my promise.”

She reluctantly let go of his arm, letting loose a long drawn out huff of annoyance. Llew didn’t bother watching her walk away. She was irrelevant. With his hands tucked deep in his pockets he eyed the man in front of him with a mixture of curiosity and wistfulness.

“Sometimes a person has gotta’ run interference with that girl. She’s usually not that bad but her
daddy’s outta’ town, so ya’ know how young girls can be.”

“Hi. I’m Shane Smith, Jr.” he stuck out a large, calloused hand and it took Llew a couple seconds to process that he was going to touch him. Llew shook his hand, his mouth still closed tight as he watched the man’s eyes. They were light brown and full of humor and amusement. He immediately thought that this was obviously a guy who had little worries if any in life. Wait a minute…Smith….Jr. Is he the owner of? He let go of the strong grip on his hand and wished he’d been able to hold it a little longer.

Llew swallowed before answering. “Llew.”

Those eyes twinkled again and dark brown brows rose up in question. “Llew…just Llew.”

It was a humiliation when a man hated to tell someone his name. But by doing so it meant that they would soon know who he really was. Know who he was classified as. He didn’t want this man to know that, god help him he didn’t. But lying wasn’t an option.  Fuck it. “Llewellyn Gardner.”

So many broke eye contact with him and Llew was more than intrigued that Mr. Shane Smith, Jr. was staring at him just as hard as he was staring back. He didn’t know why he was looking at him that
“Now that’s a name.” Smith smiled beautifully.

Llew wasn’t sure if this guy was flirting with him or not, he’d been in a place where flirting didn’t exist for so long, he’d forgotten what it looked like…what it sounded like. The way Shane Smith, Jr. was smiling at him it sure seemed like it. Llew could imagine himself with a strong man like this. A man who was gorgeous but didn’t know it. Not overly done up in fancy digs, he was dressed like a working man but he wore that look well. He appeared simple but confident, like a man that followed his own counsel and was not easily persuaded. But Llew wouldn’t dare get his hopes up. As soon as word got out that there was a newly registered sex offender in their quaint little town, Smith, Jr. might be leading the lynch mob to run him out of there.

BUY LINK
Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A.E. Via is still a fairly new author in the beautiful gay erotic genre. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to spicy to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four

While this is only her seventh novel, she has plenty more to come. So stalk her – she loves that - because the male on male action is just heating up!

Go to A.E. Via’s official website for more detailed information on how to contact
her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, and where she’ll appear next.

Author Official Website
Goodreads
Facebook Author Page
Facebook (Friend me)
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Code

Thursday, March 26, 2015

THIRD EYE: Beyond the Thriller

Third Eye means a lot to me not only because it's the kind of book that's scary, suspenseful, and hard-to-put-down (I don't write otherwise...boring is one of the worst sins a book can commit), but also because at its heart, it's a book about the unique bond parents have with their children. It's dedicated to the memory of my own mom and I like to think my main, character, Cayce, has the same parental qualities and capacity for love that my mother did.  

BLURB
Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn't sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.

When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls' parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the "third eye."

Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.

"A riveting, nail-biting, thought-provoking, frightening thriller, this story is much more than an M/M romance--it's a brilliant tale worthy of recognition on the New York Times Bestsellers List...Don't miss the chance to read this book."
--Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews, December 2014 

BUY
Amazon
DSP Publications



Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hooking Up Online. Who's On the Other End?


Why I Wrote IM


If you get an instant message from me, would you wonder why? Probably not, unless you knew that my latest thriller was called IM, and that IM in the title stands for instant message, but that it could also stand for instant murder. And maybe you’d pause if you knew that IM is a book about a serial killer who uses the Internet to lure his victims.

But then again, maybe you wouldn’t. After all, what are the odds that someone who writes a book about a murderer who uses instant messages to charm his way into the homes of his victims, where he will ruthlessly stab them and perpetrate all sorts of horrors on their bodies would actually do something so heinous?

IM comes from that comfort zone we probably all have: that place that tells us, “It couldn’t happen to me.” People, in general, don’t expect to be murdered. That’s why scores of young men on gay internet hook up sites often brazenly invite strangers into their homes. They believe it “couldn’t happen to them.”

This belief is the impetus for IM. The internet has made it so easy for us to meet other people, especially for sex. Who needs a bar, a social club, or even a bathhouse to meet a sex partner? Today, we can order up a roll in the hay almost as easily as we can order a pizza. And have it delivered fast, hot, and fresh… The temptation is so great that many of us cast caution to the wind and never do the things common sense might tell us when contemplating an online hook-up, things like meeting in public first, getting the details on your potential suitor like name, address, phone number and conveying those details to a good friend, just in case.

Instead, many men, every day, open their homes up to complete strangers. Strangers who have no connection to them. Who, if they’re careful, would leave no pesky traces like motivation or other associations investigators might look for. The internet has made it easy to perpetrate the perfect crime.

Enter my killer, Timothy Bright, who looks mild mannered but who’s twisted and broken on the inside. He knows how easy it is to chat someone up online and gain admittance to their homes. It almost never fails.

And that’s just how it works in real life. I thought that was scary…and so I began writing.

BLURB

The Internet is the new meat market for gay men. Now a killer is turning the meat market into a meat wagon. 

One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of Men4HookUpNow.com, he lures, seduces, and charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. When the first body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. At the scene, the young man who discovered the body tells him the story of how he found his friend. But did this witness play a bigger role in the murder than he’s letting on?

For Comparetto, this encounter is the beginning of a nightmare—because this witness did more than just show up at the scene of the crime; he set the scene. Comparetto is on a journey to discover the truth—before he loses his career, his boyfriend, his sanity… his life. Because in this killer's world, IM doesn't stand for instant message… it stands for instant murder.

BUY
Amazon
Dreamspinner Press Publications

  Bookmark and Share

Friday, March 6, 2015

A very favorable review for my psychic thriller THIRD EYE

Prism Book Alliance honored my book, Third Eye, with 4.5 stars and a very positive review from reviewer, Christine. In part, Christine had this to say about Third Eye:

"With a chilling prologue that grips the reader by throat and doesn’t let go until the very last pages of the story, Third Eye is a terrifying roller-coaster ride of a thriller that kept me riveted and on the edge of my seat until the end."

Read the whole review here.

BLURB
Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. 

When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn’t sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl. When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls’ parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the “third eye.” 

Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.

Buy Third Eye
From the Publisher (ebook)
From the Publisher (paperback)
From Amazon (Kindle)
From Amazon (Paperback)
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Guest Post & New Release from Sue Brown!


From Sue:

They say write what you know and the one thing I can remember is suffering through the work team building exercises of the eighties and nineties. That was the last time I worked in a big office. Do they still have them now?

These wretched events were the bane of my working life. It was like being forced to do PE at school. How could I get out of them? I spent all week at work. The last thing I wanted was to spend the weekend with my work colleagues, as much as I liked them, throwing eggs out of windows and building constructions with plastic cups and straws. The worst for me was the Winning Ways (yes, I did it) programme. Weeks of meetings where everyone mixed from the top director to the newest junior – and wasn’t that comfortable – not! If you turned the logo upside down it looked like the logo for a popular brand of condoms at the time (no longer in production). It caused much amusement among the younger members of the work-force.

If someone had offered to send me on an all-expenses paid weekend in the sunshine with cabana boys serving cocktails I’d have been first in the queue. Sadly that was never on the agenda. I imagine Frankie would have loved a weekend with hot cabana boys. Instead he got Womb Weekend. He also got Al. Lucky, lucky boy.

Frankie & Al Excerpt


ONE OF the joys of working in a large insurance company was that Frankie had a Monday-to-
Friday job processing new insurance policies. He waved good-bye at five o’clock Friday evening
and didn’t have to think about work or his colleagues until eight thirty Monday morning.

Until the day Frankie opened the e-mail from Human Resources. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding
me.”

Charlotte looked over from her desk. “What?”

“They’re sending me on a team-building exercise.” He didn’t appreciate Charlotte’s chuckle.

“Winning Ways? What the fuck is that?”

“You’ve been caught. They get us all in the end. You get to spend the weekend in a swanky hotel,
building egg wombs and sucking up to managers. Don’t sweat it. You’ll enjoy it.”

“Don’t bank on it,” he muttered. “Wait, egg what?”

“Egg wombs. You know.” At Frankie’s frown, she said, “You have to drop the egg out of a window
without it cracking, using only a plastic bag and a cup.”

“Is that what they really call it?”

She shrugged. “Who knows? That’s what you’ve got to do. And the sucking up to the managers.

They give you the ‘We’re all equal here. Call me Jeff’ speech but you know they’re just spying on
everything you do.”

It was Frankie’s recurring nightmare—to be stuck in a small room with his colleagues and not be
able to get away. He got that five days a week but at the weekend as well? “Karma’s a bitch.”

“What have you done?”

“Do you want the list?”

“You’ve been that bad?”

“Probably worse,” he admitted.

She smirked at him. “Frankie’s been a bad, bad boy, and now he is going to get his bottom
spanked?”

“I wouldn’t mind if it was that sort of weekend.” Frankie grinned as Charlotte’s cheeks crimsoned.

“Gotcha!”

“You’re wicked,” she said. “My mother warned me about boys like you.”

“My mother warned me about boys like me too. They sounded much more fun than the good,
church-going boys she wanted me to meet.”

She gave him an odd look. “She knew you were gay back then?”

He rolled his eyes. “Girl, look at me. Could anyone not realize I’m gay?”

“You have a point.”

Frankie’s mum said it was obvious he was gay from the moment he came out of the womb. According to her description, Frankie flounced out to the song on the radio. Frankie thought that
being born to Kylie must have been prophetic. It could have been worse—he might have been
born to Meat Loaf.

Sue’s bio:
Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn't following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot and has got expert at ignoring the orders. Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favourite television series. The kissing was hot and tender and Sue wanted to write about this men. She may be late to the party, but she's made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Sue’s internet links
https://www.facebook.com/suebrownstories?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/suebrownstories
mailto: suebrown.stories@gmail.com
http://suebrownsstories.blogspot.co.uk/?zx=711a0a0202d37ef6
http://www.pinterest.com/suebrownstories/
https://www.goodreads.com/sue_brown


Also coming from Sue Brown:
TITLE: Anthony & Leo
SERIES: Frankie’s – Book Three
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
RELEASE DATE: March 25, 2015

BLURB: Watching Marchant train his new sub leaves Tony unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. Running Marchant’s BDSM club, Tony sees who the Doms prefer and it isn’t him—too big, too old, and too hairy. When his friend Jordan suggests he look outside the club, Tony’s mind turns to Leo, a man he met in a traffic jam. Tony manages to arrange a date and happily learns Leo is funny, very toppy, and not averse to Tony's lifestyle. As a bonus, Leo sells sex toys.

When tragedy strikes the club, Tony fears he can’t help the mourning club members, but Leo offers his unwavering support. After such a tough start, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for... until he catches him kissing another man.


Tour Schedule
March 2nd
Charlie Cochet

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

March 3rd 
My Fiction Nook

Anne Barwell

March 4th 
The Kimi Chan Experience 

Prism Book Alliance 

March 5th 
Elin Gregory 

Rick R. Reed 

Literary Nymphs Hotlist 

March 6th 
Hearts on Fire Reviews 

March 9th 
L.M. Brown 

Elisa: My Reviews and Ramblings 

March 10th 
Nephy’s World 

MM Good Book Reviews