Friday, August 9, 2019

Flashback Friday: The Cover Model I Fell in Love With


Someone asked me recently not what my favorite cover out of all my books was, but who was my favorite cover model. She said, “You know, which one would you want to be with, if you could?” Of course, this friend knew my happily-married state and hastened to add, “If you weren’t already taken, of course.”

And I didn’t have to think long. The guy on the cover of Raining Men is, of course, super hot, but the first one I thought of us was Ollie on the cover of Dinner at Home. He’s the smiling guy in the forefront and there’s something about him, to me, that just seems so genuine and warm that I think, if he were real and I were in the market, he’d be someone I’d really go for. Cover artist Reese Dante and I went through looking at lots of male model images when we were trying to decide who would best represent my star-crossed foodie lovers, Ollie and Hank (tough work but someone’s got to do it), but when I saw Ollie, I immediately knew, that’s him. I also knew, in my heart, he was someone who could float my boat. See, the fact that he could cook, was kind, and had a little extra meat on his bones were all qualities I would ascribe to my perfect man.

Don’t you think he’s gorgeous?

And who are your favorite cover models? I’d love to know, so leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.

BLURB
It only takes a few days for Ollie D'Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off.

Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of.

Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook... and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

New and Notable: Thomas Kearnes' TEXAS CRUDE


Thomas Kearnes' debut collection, Texas Crude, chronicles the erotic, heartbreaking and sometimes outlandish lives of queer men in the Lone Star State. These sixteen stories tackle subjects most queer authors consider taboo: sex work, AIDS, the PNP scene, addiction, religion, violence. But Kearnes isn't here to pass judgement or offer easy answers. His balanced, dispassionate portraits of male/male intimacy in the reddest of red states has won him consistent acclaim since his career began in 2004. His publishing history includes appearances in queer venues as old-school as Blithe House Quarterly and Gertrude to rookie outlets like Screen Door Review and MoonPark Review. He's also placed queer fiction in respected "mainstream" venues like Gulf Coast, Berkeley Fiction Review, BULL: Men's Fiction, PANK and dozens more. With 125 published stories to his credit, Kearnes has slowly, steadily transformed into a veteran voice of queer short fiction.

REVIEWS
Amanda Krupman's review for Gertrude Press

"Jacket copy phrases like 'sordid passions,' 'alcohol and drugs,' and 'harsh landscape of scrub brush' accurately highlight some of the main themes running through Kearnes’s stories. But there’s more here—much more. Texas Crude fronts like its most valuable assets are smut and camp but, much like its characters, will reveal its full, complex humanity to you in good time."

Derek Berry's review in Free State Review
Texas Crude is a solid debut that displays not only Kearnes’ nimble prose and capable storytelling, but also a deep-felt humanity. This author eschews common gay fiction clich├ęs for an exploration of the real.

EXCERPT

I WILL FORGET THE SOUND OF HIS VOICE

Tweak makes you ambitious. You fire off paragraph-length texts to friends you haven’t seen in months. You have marathon chats online with guys you’d love to fuck but know will flake. You disclose your extensive sexual history to men whose first names elude you. Our host Adam is higher than all the saints, has been for three days. This explains why some skinny dude stands before us, slipping off his Peanuts T-shirt with an enthusiasm that saddens me like last call on a Saturday night.

My boyfriend Curtis lies at the bottom of the mattress. He lifts his gaze, coolly appraising our unexpected guest’s likely skill on all fours. Curtis wears only a sheer pair of briefs. Its gray hue flatters his toned, tan thighs and taut abdomen. I know it’s crass, but it turns me on when Curtis flaunts his physique. It proves I’m clever. It proves I’ve earned the envy of other men. Now shirtless, the guest frankly surveys my boyfriend. He lightly rubs the bridge of his foot along Curtis’s calf. You have a great body, he says. Curtis chuckles but doesn’t thank him.

I ask the stranger his name. Thomas, he says. Like the tank engine. He laughs at his joke, my first clue he made one. He must be a smart guy or some shit. Curtis asks what’s so funny. Thomas’s smile falters. He stammers about the children’s character he had in mind. I’ve never heard of the fucker. Children disturb me. Curtis laughs, but I don’t hear joy. He asks if anyone ever laughs at that joke. Thomas mumbles and absently rubs his petite, hairy chest. I can’t make out what he says and don’t know if Curtis did. We don’t speak again until Adam returns.

Our host carries a loaded pipe. He never shows anyone where he hides his tweak. House rule. I’ve partied with him two or three times, but never questioned this. His paranoia doesn’t curb his generosity. As long as the dope keeps coming, I don’t give a fuck about its source. On the way home from our first encounter with Adam, Curtis spent the whole ride speculating where he hid his goods. He vowed to suck Adam’s dick so hard and long, the bastard would spill. I watched Curtis do just that at our next gathering, but Adam opened his mouth only to moan, nothing more. Adam asks Thomas if he’s high and learns he gorged on Adderall last night. I’m surprised this fucker could be high on a drug I’ve never tried. It’s a stimulant medication for ADHD, Thomas explains. Way more powerful than meth. I want to ask if he has any left, but that might lead to more talk. I might have to suck him to keep the peace, but I won’t start before I must.

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