Book Spotlight: The HomePort Journals by A.C. Burch

The HomePort Journals
by A.C. Burch
Gay Fiction/Contemporary

The HomePort Journals is a love story on many different levels: love between men, love across the divides of age and social status, love of the family we create for ourselves, and the sometimes arduous struggle to love one’s self.

Fleeing New York City and an abusive partner, would-be writer Marc Nugent finds work at HomePort, the Provincetown mansion of Lola Staunton, a fabulously wealthy recluse. Aided by an attractive-but-unattainable artist and an all-to-available cross-dresser, Marc investigates accusations of rape and murder that have estranged Lola from a childhood friend for more than sixty years. Past and present converge when a long-lost journal reveals tales of infidelity, adultery, and passion that mirror the life Marc has recently abandoned. When his ex-lover arrives in search of revenge, Marc must confront his past, his notions of family, and his capacity for love.


Chapter 1 – Kismet

November 13th, 2008 – Provincetown

You never really know a place unless you live there. Until last night, Provincetown was a state of mind—a place that spoke to my heart. Now I’m actually here, I’m not so sure….

Setting down his pen, the young man cradles a cup of hot chocolate, then scans the near-empty café. His light blue eyes reveal exhaustion and disillusion. When the theme from Mission: Impossible shatters the midmorning stillness, he snaps shut a leather-bound journal and rejects the call.

Right on schedule. Brandon’s never up before eleven after a night of party’n play. What could he think we have to say to each other?

Offshore, a nor’easter closes in on the back beach. Ominous clouds darken the dunes of East Harbor, then the East End. Raw, heavy mist bathes trees and buildings in a prelude to the pelting rain to come. As the storm moves ashore, Long Point recedes into a murky, gray infinity.

When the phone rings a second time, the young man mutes it, eyes the screen until the name fades, then stares out at Commercial Street in search of distraction. There isn’t much to be found. Provincetown has entered its dormant phase. Worn, tawdry, and forlorn, the scene before him shows no trace of the vibrant mecca that captured his imagination just weeks before. It had been Carnival then; thousands of revelers, raucous laughter, outrageous costumes, and general goodwill had crowded Commercial Street in a euphoric celebration of summer, sun, and sex.

In the muted November light, the bleak streetscape retains few traces of those frenetic days. Cockeyed, scruffy buildings with peeling paint, faded fliers tacked to telephone poles—their events long forgotten—boarded windows with hastily scrawled thanks for “another great season,” all contribute to a petulant air, as if the town begrudged those who decamped at summer’s end.

The only person in sight, a stooped old woman with a large paper bag in each arm, shuffles along the sidewalk. She’s tiny, even elfin. Her face is furrowed; her back hunched under a thick wool coat laden with damp. When the downpour starts, she seeks refuge in the café. As she tugs the door open, a gust of wind rips it from her grasp. Before the young man can come to her aid, the bags give way. Cans, bottles, and packages roll down the steps and into the street.

“Goddamn son’s a bitches,” she mutters, hands on hips.

When he sprints past her to save a large can of beef stew from an oncoming car, she yells into the quickening gale, her shrill voice rising high above the wind.

“Thanks, dahlin’. You’re my knight in shinin’ ahmah.”

While her knight scavenges the flooding gutter, she seats herself at his table. Her dark, penetrating eyes never leave him, watching his every move with amusement and subtle assessment. By the time he’s salvaged everything in a pile by the door, she’s ensconced like royalty, greedily downing his hot chocolate.

“Hey kid, your phone’s lightin’ up. Oops, you missed the call—some Brandon fellow. ”

Incredulous, the young man stares at her, his blond hair plastered to his head, his sopping clothes glued to his pale skin. Her eyes twinkle, and the corner of her mouth starts to curl as if she’s losing the battle to suppress a smile.

“I didn’t answer, in case he was a trick. Didn’t want him thinkin’ your grandmother was nosin’ ’round your love life.”

She chuckles lasciviously, then extends a gnarled hand.

“He’ll call back, no doubt. Dorrie Machado.”

“Marcus Nugent,” he responds, dazed by a dose of frigid rainwater, the loss of his hot chocolate, and a strong sense of déjà vu.

“Well, Marcus Nugent, thank you for savin’ those goddamn groceries. Most folks wouldn’t do such a good turn for an old lady they didn’t know from Eve. Somebody brung you up right, that’s for damn sure.”

Marc studies her wrinkled face. She’s eighty if a day, with close-cropped white hair, a little flap of skin under the chin, and leathery, wind-burned skin. There’s something mischievous in this woman’s bearing—a smug sense of knowing—as if she’s watching an opening act with full awareness of the final outcome.

“You’re new here, Marcus. I ain’t seen you ’round.”

“Just got here early this morning. Please call me Marc. I’ve never liked Marcus. It sounds too much like a character from ancient Rome.”

“If that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll get. Now tell me, Marc. Are you running from somethin’, or did you come here to find love?”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. Don’t go gettin’ all bitchy-queenie with me. I’m askin’ are you runnin’ or searchin’? There’s only two things that bring you boys to town this time of year. I know that much after more than eighty years of livin’.”

“I’m not sure that’s any of your business.”

“Ha. Ha. Ha.”

Dorrie’s brittle cackle fills the room, coaxing a grin from the man behind the counter as well as two men at an adjacent table who’ve been surreptitiously studying Marc’s physique, his sodden clothing having left little to the imagination.

“If you’re gonna live in this town, dahlin’, everybody’s gonna know your business whether you want them to or not. There are busybodies at every corner, just waitin’ to get the goods on you, and not all of them are old bags like me.”

Dorrie glares at the two interlopers to drive her point home.

“Better get used to that sorta bullshit from the get-go!”

As the two men rapidly split a newspaper between them and dive for cover behind its pages, the counterman produces a large cardboard box for the groceries. A wide, self-satisfied smile softens Dorrie’s rough-hewn features, showing decades of cigarette stain. Marc smiles back despite himself.

“You got a cah?” she asks, looking up at him with a slight tilt of her head, like an inquisitive fowl.


“A place to live?”

“Not yet.”

“Tell you what. You get me anotha one of these here,” Dorrie says, holding up his empty cup, “and a ride home, and I’ll do somethin’ ’bout that.”

His phone vibrates. Dorrie nods in satisfaction.

“Ah! Brandon! Him again. I figured as much. You’re a runnah!”

Marc shrugs, orders two hot chocolates, and throws in two pieces of chocolate cake for good measure.

The rain stops as suddenly as it had begun.


About the Author:

A.C. Burch is a long-time Provincetown resident. He spent his early summers on Cape Cod and since then, the sand has never left his shoes. His first visit to Provincetown sparked a romance with the town and forged a love of the sea that continues to this day—most summer days will find him sailing on Cape Cod Bay. A.C. trained as a classical musician, but his passion for the arts extends to photography, the art scene in Provincetown and Miami, as well as the written word. His literary icons run the gamut from Jane Austin to Agatha Christie by way of Walter Mosely and Patrick Dennis.

For more information, including background information on his debut novel, The HomePort Journals, please visit his author’s website and social media profiles:

Website | Facebook Page | Facebook Profile | Twitter

Cover Reveal Trailer: Strength to Let Go by Alina Popescu

Title: Strength to Let Go
Series: Tales of the Werewolf Tribes, Book One
Author: Alina Popescu
Genre: gay romance, paranormal, werewolves, paranormal romance, supernatural
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Release Date: July 7th, 2015


After being abandoned by his mates, Shiki Kirishima, beta of the Dragons of the Fang werewolf tribe, returns to his home in Tokyo.

Crippled by grief, Shiki decides to end it all by going into the territory of the Siberian Killers tribe and challenging them to a battle to the death.

His death.

Ganzorig, beta of the Siberian Killers, however, sees the potentially disastrous consequences of having Shiki die in battle.

Instead, he saves him.

Having suffered loss himself, Ganz takes it upon himself to help Shiki deal with his pain.

Blake, Shiki’s best friend since childhood, is as determined to show him there is life after a wolf’s ultimate loss.

Could there also be something ‘more’ for them after friendship?


Book Trailer


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When I got to my apartment, I wasn’t feeling any better. I was restless and hurting and angry as fuck and their mixed scents in my place weren’t doing me any favors. I fumbled with the backpack I had dropped on the floor of my living room, trying to find my phone. I was greeted by a dozen or more messages from Vicks, one of my twin’s mates. Since she had mated my brother she had this weird connection to me too and could feel whenever I was experiencing strong emotions for an extended period. I assumed everything that had happened since yesterday would qualify for that. I sent a quick “I’ll be fine” type of reply to stop her from harassing me and went through my contacts.

Even if I hadn’t called that particular number in a couple of months, it was still at the top of my favorites list. He was my best friend since childhood, so it made sense I’d call him more than anyone else. It just hit me then that I’d been so lost in my own life, I barely had time to catch up with him or my family unless something critical was going on. I pressed the call button and plastered the phone to my ear, pacing around the room as it rang a few times.

“Come on, Blake, fucking pick up!” I hung up and tried again. I really needed to talk to my best friend right now. It rang twice and went straight to voicemail. Hearing Blake’s voice brought tears to my eyes and something snapped inside of me.

“Blake, I wish you’d have picked up the phone.” I laughed softly, shaking my head. “It’s funny, I think this is the first time I call you and you don’t pick up. Either way… thanks for being my friend, chibi. I… I don’t….” I lowered the hand that was holding my phone and let my head fall back, taking a few deep breaths. “Blakey, tell everyone I love them and… yeah, those who know me, really know me, will understand. Sayonara, chibi-tan.”

I hung up and let the rage take over. I turned around at impossible speed and threw the phone with a loud roar. It hit the wall and shattered into a million pieces. I was crying. I knew because I could feel the heaves and tears, but the crushing pain was battling with the anger taking over my mind. I had lost my soul and my reason to live when I’d lost Kieran and Kayden. What was left of me was nothing more than the warrior inside. A true samurai would not waste away, waiting for death to claim him at the end of a miserable life. He’d die in battle, an honorable death his final legacy.

My twin, Shishou, my co-beta, Ren, my sister, even Blake… they’d get it, they’d explain it properly to my children. They probably won’t understand, just like I hadn’t when my parents had left us. I prayed that unlike their father, they would never get to a point in life where they’d understand this decision of mine. It meant they’d go through a world of pain and that was the last thing I wanted for Ryuu and Kimmie.

I took off everything but my jeans. No point in having anything else on. Werewolf rules were sometimes mind-boggling. You could shift into your wolf and back, and you always kept one item of clothing. The picks were random and you might be left in nothing but your underwear. Or keep a tight top and nothing else to cover your lower body. It was wise to choose your own clothes for the occasion. I then promptly flashed to the weapons room in the Alpha mansion, right in front of the wall display of my father’s katana. I kneeled before it, my legs spread, and then bowed deeply. Getting up, I closed the small distance between me and my objective and removed the katana. I glanced at the wakizashi he always used to wear with his katana. Double sword, traditional samurai sign. I decided I’d use them both, just as he had in his final battle. I unsheathed the two blades and adjusted my grip. With a final bow, I flashed out.

When I took form at my destination, a small shiver coursed through my body. It was pretty cold out here. Well, northern mountains in Mongolia weren’t known for their excessive heat in the middle of autumn.

I had chosen Siberian Killer territory, the fastest way to pick a fight with other werewolves. The one rule they had was any shifter that stepped foot on their territory would be killed. Here I was, standing tall, all focused, muscles bulging under the strain and excitement of an impending battle, taunting whoever was nearby.


About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, ALINA POPESCU has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

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Author Interview: Joe Cosentino

About the Author:

Joe Cosentino is the author of Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

Since I was a professional actor, I have quite an imagination. So I leave a pad and pen on my night table. During the night I wake up and write down enough ideas to fill a library of books. After I select the idea to work on next, I write a character biography for each character. That leads to the outline and eventually a first and second draft. After my spouse reads the second draft, I do a third draft, which goes to the publisher.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Constantly. Once they start talking to one another, I often have to deviate from the outline. Since I have a great deal of improvisational training as an actor, this is fine with me.

What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?

There are so many untold gay stories. Just look at the endless array of movie posters in the malls with no gay characters represented. Also, like most writers, I use a great deal of content from my own life in my writing.

Do you write in other genres besides M/M?

Yes, I have a straight mystery series (with gay supporting characters), the Jana Lane mysteries, about an ex-child star solving murders. The first novel is out now, PAPER DOLL (Whiskey Creek Press). I believe the next one, PORCELAIN DOLL (where Jana solves a murder while making a comeback film), will be published soon. I couldn’t resist making Jana’s agent, best friend, and greatest fan gay.

What is your favourite food?

Oatmeal with raisins, banana, walnuts, and cinnamon.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Definitely a night owl. Since I am a college professor/department head (like Martin Anderson in DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery), I am busy during the day. My writing time is at night after my spouse goes to sleep.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I’ve already been through most of the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as to six countries in Europe. I’d like to take a river boat cruise through Austria, once they have same-sex civil marriage equality.

Do distant places feature in your books?

AN INFATUATION, my MM bittersweet dreams novella from Dreamspinner Press, takes place in New York and New Jersey, since those are my roots. DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery novel from Lethe Press, takes place in a fictitious Edwardian-style college community in New England. My fall release MM bittersweet dreams romance novella from Dreamspinner Press, A SHOOTING STAR, takes place in Colorado. My upcoming holiday romance novella from Dreamspinner Press, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, takes place in Capri, Italy, one of my favorite vacation spots.

Do you listen to music while writing?

No, I need absolute silence to be with my characters.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

My latest MM romance novella is AN INFATUATION from Dreamspinner Press. Happily married Harold attends his ten-year high reunion and finds Mario, his high school crush, may be ready to deal with his own sexuality. The flashbacks from high school are hysterically funny, and the resolution is quite dramatic yet fulfilling. It began as a one-act play, which I expanded and morphed into a novella. While the situation is fictitious, Harold is based on me. Harold’s devotion to his spouse, Stuart, is admirable, as is his honesty about his teenage infatuation with Mario. I love that the story spans twenty years so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature. Readers tell me they laugh and cry at this novella, and fall in love with Harold and Mario. Since it released in February, I am very happy with the response. Many readers have asked for a sequel. While that isn’t in the offering, my next MM bittersweet dreams romance novella from Dreamspinner Press, A SHOOTING STAR, is another remembrance novella with humor.

My latest MM release is DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery comedy from Lethe Press. It is funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center. Nicky and Noah have to uncover why college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains while Nicky directs the college play production—a murder mystery. In DRAMA MUSCLE (coming), Nicky and Noah have to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE, Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

It doesn’t end after the book is released. There is promotion to do!

Is there anything you would do differently?

I wouldn’t worry about reader response and reviews. Thankfully they have for the most part been incredibly positive.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

I’ve read many MM writers like Jeff Erno and Armistead Maupin. I like Jeff’s sincere and likeable characters, and Armistead’s zany and unexpected plot twists. I’ve read every Agatha Christie novel and play many times. She is a genius at outlining when and where to give the reader what information. I love the inversion in her books, where she uses sleight of hand to lay out all the information, but not in a straight forward manner. The reader becomes the sleuth to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Write what tickles your fancy, and don’t worry about selling it. That will come later.

What are three words that describe you?

Funny, thoughtful, and chatty.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press, released June, 2015

It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant...and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

List of previous books if any

I am the author of Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). My upcoming novels are Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery.

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web

Web site:

Thank you, Joe and good luck with your books :)

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Guitars and Cages by Layla Dorine



Asher Logan is a bartender and a pretty wicked guitar player, when he isn’t wrecking his hands fighting in a cage. With a past he keeps hoping to outrun, Asher’s been on a downward spiral for longer than he can remember. When his sister-in-law leaves Rory, his eight-year-old nephew, in his care, Asher is forced into two things he’s never been good at: sobriety and responsibility. As he struggles to care for Rory, his own life begins to unravel.

When Asher’s brother, Alex, turns up, presenting as a girl and announcing her new name is Alexia, it further complicates matters, as does the arrival of his new neighbor, Conner. Both, in their own way, compel Asher to look at his own closely-guarded views on sexuality.


When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is.

Asher must choose who to trust and who to finally walk away from.

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About the author

LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

Layla Dorine can be found at:

Book Spotlight Speedy Rewards by Jeff Erno



Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.

He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.

Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.

First step in his plan… do something about his love life.


Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil's team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.
As is Brandon, the local cop…

And Mark, the homophobic boss…

Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.


After nearly three hours’ preparation, Phil stood in front of the full-length mirror sporting the exact same set of clothes he’d first tried on. An enormous mound of shirts and slacks lay behind him in a disheveled heap atop his bed.

He straightened his posture and sucked in his tiny belly. He checked his hair and teeth; then he turned around, trying to crane his neck far enough to scope out the reflection of his ass in the jeans.

He sniffed his wrist, concerned he’d used too much cologne... or not enough. Should he wear a necklace? A single gold chain. No, silver. No, none at all. 

Sneakers, dress shoes, Dockers? 

A sweater?

Oh fuck, he would hyperventilate if he didn’t quit. He eased back onto the mattress as he glanced over to the digital clock. 7:42. Humberto would be here in less than twenty minutes.

He took a deep, cleansing breath, then stared his reflection directly in the eye. “You look okay,” he said with confidence. “Not drop-dead gorgeous, but... I don’t know, attractive in a nerdy sort of way, maybe? 

Anyway, you look fine, and you should be thankful a guy like Humberto even....

“No, wait.” He shook his head. “You look good. Damn good. Jesus Christ, how many thirty-five-year-olds can boast they still have a thirty-inch waist? And you still have a youthful face, and you have beautiful eyes. Humberto should be proud!”

In spite of himself, he giggled, then waved his hand dismissively.

“Nah. I didn’t buy it either, but it was worth a try.”

He stood back up and re-hung each of the clothing items in his closet. He then selected a pair of casual, slip-on shoes and walked down the hall to his living room. He picked up his cell phone, which he’d plugged in earlier to charge, and double-checked his messages to make sure Humberto hadn’t called and cancelled.
It was already 8:02 and he hadn’t yet arrived. Perhaps Humberto would stand him up, maybe as payback for Phil having blown him off on Tuesday. Phil could already feel the deflation, the crushing embarrassment. He’d allowed himself to get so excited, hyped up for his big date—his first time out with another man in over four years. Wouldn’t that just be the perfect ending of a perfectly miserable week?

As he slumped into a chair in his living room, feeling depressed and defeated, he heard a vehicle pull into his drive. Leaping to his feet, he rushed over to the front window in time to catch his sexy suitor climbing out of his truck. Phil’s heart stopped. Humberto wore sleek black slacks that fit him like a glove. His silky red button-up dress shirt remained partially concealed by a black leather vest. Not even a hint of construction worker/handyman strode up that sidewalk to Phil’s front door. Immediately Phil realized how absurd this whole idea really was. He wanted to dash back into his bedroom and quickly change into something dressier. 

No, he really didn’t own anything that could compete with the likes of Humberto. He stepped over to the front door and steeled himself, holding his breath, until the booming sound of Humberto’s knock restarted his heartbeat.

“Humberto,” Phil pulled the door open and gave his date an apologetic look. “I guess I should have....” As he took in the sight in front of him, he couldn’t finish his sentence.

Humberto smiled. “Mmm,” he said, nodding his head. “Muy guapo.”

He had to be joking. He’d just complimented Phil, saying he was very good-looking. Phil laughed and shook his head. “Look who’s talking.” Phil stepped back to allow Humberto entry, and he moved confidently into Phil’s personal space. He inhaled the nutty scent of Humberto’s manly cologne, and a warmth spread across Phil’s chest.

When Humberto leaned in and kissed him softly yet squarely on the lips, Phil felt as if he’d swoon. He grabbed hold of the man’s biceps, steadying himself, and Humberto responded by intensifying the kiss. He slid his arms around Phil and pulled him in as he tilted his head slightly to the side and delivered a tiny bit of tongue. Phil received him and responded in kind.

His cock shot to full mast.

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About the author

JEFF ERNO began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. So far, he's published over thirty novels. Jeff lives in Southern Michigan, where he works part time at a convenience store.

Jeff's writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.


Book Review: Baby's on Fire by AF Henley

Baby's on Fire
by AF Henley
M/M Historical & Contemporary/1990s/1970s/Glam Rock
Less Than Three Press
4 Stars
Buy Links: Amazon | LT3 Press

In 1974 Gerry Faun gets the break of his life—an opportunity to meet gorgeous, openly bisexual, glam-rock idol Mark Devon. Mark's world is new, exciting, and Gerry finally gets to explore the side of his sexuality that he's kept hidden. But the press is everywhere, and when Gerry's father gets wind of what's going on behind his back, Gerry ends up on the street. Mark offers to let Gerry come along with the tour and Gerry jumps at the chance. The tour is a never-ending party—and the start of what seems to be a perfect relationship for him and Mark. Until Mark's manager decides Gerry isn't worth the trouble he's stirring up.

In 1994 Gerry is finally coming out of some tough times—he has a job that pays the bills, a car that hasn't quite broken down, and a small rental in Jersey City. After a decade of barely getting by, if life was as good as it was going to get, Gerry figures he'll manage just fine. It would be easier if he wasn't still haunted by the man the media won't let him forget, the man who stole his heart and then broke it… the man that's shown up pleading for a second chance.



The mid-1970s. Glam rock, glitter, make-up on men, flares, platform shoes and music that takes the world by storm. Twenty year old Gerry Faun is enamoured of glam rock star, Mark Devon, aka Maxx Starlight. When offered the chance to go backstage after a concert, he jumps at the chance, feeling he is more likely to meet his idol back there, than out at the front.

Gerry does indeed get to meet his idol, and more than that. Their one night of passion leaves him hungering for more and Gerry gets careless. When the papers show a kiss between Mark and Gerry splashed across the front pages, Gerry's father throws him out and he has nowhere else to turn but to Mark. At first, Mark's manager, Phil, is keen to have Gerry around, as is a handsome young man and he can put a great spin on their relationship for the papers. But gradually as the two young men become closer, Phil wants to break them up.

Gerry soon finds himself on tour with the band, and everything that entails. Nights of partying, drugs, drinking and orgies. It's not what Gerry wanted: he only wants to be with Mark and could care less about the rest of it.

Mark has been generous to a fault, buying Gerry a whole new wardrobe of clothes and even given him a diamond earring for his twenty-first birthday. But all Gerry wanted was to have a romantic dinner with Mark, just the two of them. But Mark's manipulative manager, Phil, has other plans and keeps pulling the rug out from under them.

And one day, Gerry just has had enough and leaves. He hopes Mark will follow him, plead with him to go back. But he never does, not until twenty years later. But is he twenty years too late?

I'm a bit young to quite remember the Glam Rock scene, but I think the author has painted a fairly accurate picture, from what I can gather. My husband adores the music and yes, he had flares and platform shoes back in the day - he's a bit older than me. Gerry is a sympathetic character, which helps a lot as the book is told only from his point of view. I would have liked to have been able to see inside Mark's head as well to see what he was feeling too.

The book alternates chapters in the 1970s and Gerry's present day of the 1990s and while not a favourite tactic of mine, it works quite well here. The contrast between Gerry's two lives is stark: from the glitz and glamour of the rock world to his small house that he can't even afford to heat properly.

There are a couple of explicit scenes, but they were very tastefully done and flowed with the story, they didn't feel tacked on just for the sake of having a sex scene or two.

Some scenes I just couldn't relate to at all, because I hate parties and so they wouldn't have felt fun for me in real life either. But some people do like parties, I just didn't find reading about them that interesting.

But all in all I enjoyed the book and watching all the ups and downs of Gerry's and Mark's relationship was fascinating. They were such intriguing characters and for some people meeting their idol would be something like a dream come true.

I won't spoil the ending, you'll just have to read it to find out more.

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Retrograde by RJ Scott

Flight 1710 #1
by RJ Scott
M/M Contemporary


Co-Pilot Lachlan Donaghue wakes up in hospital, a survivor of the crash of Flight HA1710, with memory loss and the suspicion that he could be at fault for the tragic accident. When everything becomes too much he goes home to hide, back to the small Scottish town he grew up in and to his family home.

Rory Kendrick watches the news, sees every hour of the disaster unfold but never thinks that Lachlan was in the middle of it all. Or that his friend will be forced to come back home to hide and to heal. What Lachlan needs is a friend, not a lover, but sometimes the lines are just too blurred to make any sense.


About RJ

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over seventy titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.  (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos)


“Stop interrupting, let me get this out.” Rory pressed a hand to his chest, right over his heart. “I know you didn’t do anything wrong. I just know.”

Defeated by Rory’s calm, Lachlan put the water down and curled on his side, facing away from Rory. It crossed his mind that he’d ended up on what used to be his side of the bed—but that was just because the sheets weren’t damp there – or was it? “No one can know,” he said miserably.

Rory disregarded Lachlan’s deliberate ignoring move. He probably saw right through him. “The articles I read said that when the swelling in your brain subsides, then you may find some flashes of memory.”

“Doc said the same thing to me,” Lachlan muttered. Already he was feeling tired again, but was that just another way for his body to help him avoid what had happened?

“And also that exposing you to the crash site, or the plane, or the news items may lead to you being able to recall what happened.”

That made Lachlan turn to face Rory. Abruptly he was terrified. “Has something happened? Is there news you don’t want to tell me?”

Rory glanced at the TV, quiet and gray in the corner of the room on top of a pine cabinet. “No, they’re just replaying what they already know,” he said.

Lachlan could see right through Rory. They’d known each other since they were two, and Rory had this nervous way of flushing when he was lying.

For a second they stood there staring at each other, and warmth began to unfurl inside Lachlan’s heart. He’d loved Rory since before he’d even realized. They’d been inseparable, in love, but what he needed now wasn’t memories of that time, he just needed a friend. He stopped himself from leaning in and stealing a kiss from a man who had promised on that fateful New Year’s Eve that they would never kiss again. Swaying back, Rory smiled and dropped his hands. Then he walked away, and Lachlan closed the bathroom door.


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Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Rubble and the Wreckage by Rodd Clark

The Rubble and the Wreckage
by Rodd Clark
A Gabriel Church Tale
M/M Dark Romance/Suspense/Thriller


Gabriel Church knows you can’t take a life without first understanding just how feeble life is, how tentative and weak it stands alone. If you desire murder, you hold a life in your hand. Whether you release it to grant life or grip tighter to end it, it is at your command and discretion. Gabriel is a serial killer with a story he wants told.

Christian Maxwell studied abnormal psychology in college but chose instead to focus on a career in writing. His background comes in handy when he thinks of writing about a serial killer. He can’t think of anyone more qualified to write the story of Gabriel Lee Church, and do so in the murderer’s own words. It’s been done before, but never with a killer who has yet to be captured or convicted.

There was never anything more than a gentleman’s understanding between the two men that Christian would record Gabriel’s life story. The killer did not ask for his complicity in any crimes, nor did he ever ask for his silence. Christian’s interest in the man, though, is fast becoming something more than academic. When the writer and his subject become unexpected friends and then lovers, the question remains: What is Gabriel’s endgame . . . and why does he want his story told?



“Tell me your story.” Christian Maxwell began, wetting his lips and leaning in.  He stared at the killer across the table and rested his forearms on the notepad before him.  His look was imploring, he was begging for good and gory details.  Gabe stared at him, who was glassy eyed in anticipation; he squinted a bit, in excitement that was too to follow.  He had a wanting expression on his face.  Gabe had seen that look many times before.

“Better the devil you barely know” Gabe thought.  If someone else’s gonna be making money off my story it might as well be this guy.” He remembered the first time the thought of telling his story had first sprung to mind.  The memories of it much like this, detached, more after-thought than close consideration.

“Ever been out to the Florida Keys?” Gabe asked.  When he only received a nod from Maxwell to his question he continued absently, “For me it was like driving to the keys, a few miles over the speed limit on that old Highway One…you know, the one they called Highway out to Sea…under fleecy clouds with that fresh coastal winds slapping you in your face, under a vast, unending blue on blue…it is rather freeing.” His hands wrapped around the old dusty cover of the book he was holding, more as an effect than something to read.

Christian listened to him speaking with that far-away gaze in his eyes, knowing he was already back there in his mind.  He pretended to jot notes down but concentrated more on that distant expression on Church’s face.  Sitting so close to him, he could almost feel the wind slapping his hair, the sun beating down as he rode in the passenger seat of Church’s mental trip along Highway 1.  He knew it was going to be a good book when he finished it.

He didn’t want to interrupt the narrator but he couldn’t resist,

“But it didn’t begin in Florida did it?  I just presumed it happened elsewhere.”

The killer’s posture changed as he replied. He sat up straight in the chair, his eyes narrowed, “If you think you know where it started then why are we sitting around hashing old news?” The killer’s voice was cold.  Dampness built under Christian’s armpits.

“Because no one has ever asked you for your side of it, usually a serial murderer doesn’t get a chance to explain why he kills.  But I…” pointing to his own chest, “…I want to give you that opportunity.”

“Mighty big of you.” Gabe leaned back in his chair and smiled a grin that could cut through glass, his mocking words and expressive eyes said it all: this might just prove to be an interesting way to spend his free time.  He rubbed his rough forefinger across the lip of the wine glass as a carnal abstraction as he watched Maxwell jot his notes, even though they hadn’t even begun his tale.

“Shouldn’t you wait till I start to speak before you scribble down all those pretty words?”

Christian looked up and smiled sheepishly, “…just mood stuff.  You’ll have to get used to that…meaning my process, early on.”  He put his pen down and folded his hands neatly to hide his notes. “I’m a little fastidious or obsessive at times.”

“No worries…the same has been said of me.”

That bent smile of a killer reappeared and twisted Church’s face into a mocking evil caricature, sending a shiver down Christian’s spine.  He smiled back and returned a look that seemed to place them on equal understanding.  ‘This was going to be tough’, he thought, ‘but worth it.’  Christian picked up his pen and sent an imploring gaze at his subject of study.

Gabe recognized the untidy anticipation, and reluctantly continued. “Actually it began in Texas…but we need to go back to where the...umm, desires, I guess is the word…first came into clear focus don’t we?  I mean you want the full picture don’t you?”

When the man didn’t offer a conciliatory gesture, Gabe continued.

“Before Florida, before Seattle I had been somewhere else… it was a better place for me, because it still held some type of promise, nothing had been carved into stone…if you’ll pardon the pun.” Church’s head lolled back as if he was about to break into a hearty laugh.

He was a dangerous sick man Christian could see that.  His reference to the markers of his varied victims, as his nonchalant manner in describing his affinity to murder was unsettling, even for someone as akin to pathology as Christian Maxwell.

In college, his dark sense of humor and an uncomfortably quiet nature was off-putting to most. His so-called friends would jokingly offer that it was going to be Christian who would be famous, but more for the salvo of bullets which hit other students from his safe vantage in some random clock tower or rooftop.  The look on Maxwell’s face as he sat across from Gabe was pensive as if he was about to interrupt again but questioned the insolence.  The killer had nothing but time, but he didn’t like breaking his train of thought so early.



The author is giving away an electronic copy of the book. To enter, just leave a comment at the end of the post with name and email, so you can be contacted if you win. Closing date June 15th.

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Fool School by James Comins

Title: Fool School
Author:  James Comins
Genre: Young Adult, gay romance, historical
Length: novel
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing


In the year of our Lord 1040, fourteen-year-old aspiring jester Tom is en route to Bath to begin his studies in the art of being a Fool, following in the footsteps of his father, and his father before him.

Along the way he meets Malcolm, a fire-haired boy with eyes green as forest glass. A Scotsman who's escaped from the ravages of the usurper Macbeth, Malcolm elects to join Tom at school. Though the journey to Bath is hazardous, it pales in comparison to what they face at the austere and vicious Fool School, where all is not as it seems. A court jester must aim to be the lowest rung on the ladder of life, and the headmaster will not abide pride.

As they journey through life's hardships together, Tom and Malcolm find they only have each other to depend upon.



I am standing on the deck of a ship. Men move around me. Salt mist is in my mouth, and there are ropes like a nest of foreign snakes circling my ankles. But it’s the boat’s rolling, the tipping over and straightening, the mama’s-baby rocking, that splits me open. It gives me the same discomfort as incense smoke in church. Worse. It gets in the way of my experiences. I wonder if all sailors begin their careers this sick.

I kneel at the edge and throw up. Am I my father? There’s no drink in me.

I’m immediately hungry, and that makes me sick again. I hate my body. It’s a cage for the soul. I should have been the son of a heretic Gnostic, meditating on a bird-flocked hill, pretending there’s no physical world around me.

Malcolm’s hand touches mine, and I follow him through the oak door in the house-shaped thing in back of the rocking ship, into the captain’s quarters. A pillar and pulleys connecting the steering wheel to the rudder lurch and creak through the middle of the room; the gaps in the ceiling are blocked by what looks like a manticore skin, black spots on a cured yellow hide. The captain is here--it’s the navigator easing us away from Cherbourg, I figure--and I point silently up at the spotted skin.

“Ah! I’m glad you noticed, lad.”

The captain is English and speaks French very poorly. He folds his charts and rises from his chair.

“The Ethiopes call it a leopard. Bagged it swimming off the coast. Dashed brave creature. Lucky to catch it. Gave us a dashed tussle.” He’s chatty, bewildering. A Saxon. He rubs his whiskers. “Sometimes I like to think we claimed its pagan spirit and converted it before it visited the leopard afterlife. That the Holy Spirit prowls the boat in the shape of a big cat. Thought about renaming the ship after it, but it wouldn’t be right to rename the Immaculate, of course.” That must be the name of the boat. “If it’d been the Burgundian, I’d have done it!”

I decide I like the captain. He doesn’t understand the Holy Spirit, but he likes It, and that’s a good mark of a man.


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About the Author:

JAMES COMINS is incapable of writing about himself in the third person. His future autobiography will probably be titled, “The Man Who Groaned His Way Toward Death.” He writes stories for children and adults.

Born down the street from Stephen King, he now divides his time between Denver and Seattle.

JAMES COMINS can be found at:





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Book Review: Absolution by Nicole Colville and E.M. Leya

Sinful Temptations Collection #2
by Nicole Colville and E.M. Leya
M/M Contemporary
4 Stars


Although this is book two in the collection, it can be read as a standalone or the first in the series.

For most of his adult life, Jon dedicated his life to the church, finding solace in helping others, but there has always been something missing. Up until now, he's been able to push that aside and move forward, letting everyone think he's happy and doing what he loves.

Ash doesn't want to continue with life. Left behind to live a cold and empty life after his partner died in a tragic accident, he doesn't see any future for himself. He goes through the motions of living, but inside he’s ready to give up. All that's left behind is the anger and hurt he has inside him.

Finding comfort in each other's company, the two men struggle with emotions, guilt and fears about the future. Confiding only in each other, they grow closer, both denying the bond building between them, and a past that won't let them move on.


Jon is a priest who isn't have so much as a crisis of faith, as he still believes, so much as a crisis of career. Ash has lost his long-term partner a few months ago and is still grieving his loss. The wedding reception of Zach and Killian (the heroes from the first book in the series) are a catalyst for these two troubled men.

Ash is jealous that Zach and Killian have what he will never have, they are just about to start their new life together as a married couple and have a future to look forward to. Ash and Derrick never got the chance to get married and all Ash has to look forward to in the future is an empty life and an empty bed. He's been running since Derrick's death, his work as a freelance photographer enabling him to travel as much as he likes and he doesn't stay too long in one place.

Jon sees Ash and can sense straightaway that the young man is troubled and he wants to help him. Jon too is a little jealous of Zach and Killian and their life together. He's been a priest for a long time and thought that was all he wanted. But he sees friends and family getting married, having families of their own, travelling and living their lives. His own life feels very stale and lonely, with only his housekeeper to see every few days. He has his parishioners, of course and he wants to look after them, and does the best he can. But lately, he feels there is something missing and he doesn't quite know what it is.

Jon and Ash have both been running for a long time: Ash from his grief over Derrick, and Jon from his own homosexuality. He and his first boyfriend were caught kissing at school; Joe's family blamed Jon for leading their son astray and moved away, taking Joe with them. Jon ran from home and finally ended up running to the priesthood.

Ash engenders feelings in him he never thought he'd  have again. When he said his vows and committed himself to the Church, he meant it. But with Ash, he feels a strong lust that he hasn't felt for years.

I think I prefer this book over the first one. It's more of a character-driven book than plot-driven, not that that is a bad thing, it's just different. These two characters do feel lust for each other, and maybe something more, but they do not jump straight into bed with each other, which for these two characters is very believable. Jon is still struggling with his vows and Ash with his grief. There is some delicious UST throughout the book, though, so it feels sexy, even if there isn't a lot of sex.

It's well-written but does have its problems. There is a lot of introspection and navel-gazing going on, and after a while reading another passage about Jon's guilt and struggle and Ash's thoughts on whether or not he was cheating on Derrick by liking Jon got a little repetitive. The book could have done with being a wee bit shorter. We know the emotions these two characters are struggling with, we don't need to be told it again and again and again.

But all in all I enjoyed it and the characters stay with you even after the book is finished.

It can stand on its own, but I'd suggest you read the first one, Horizontal Analysis, first to get to know some of the previous characters beforehand.

Cover Reveal: Ari by Cheryl Headford

Ari by Cheryl Headford banner


After having known each other online for some time, writers, Benji and Ari meet at a convention.
Their attraction is both immediate and mutual.

But all is not straightforward—Ari is intersex and Benji transgender.
Together they embark on a journey.

A journey that unites families, and heals old wounds.

But not everyone is happy with the blossoming love between these two unique and special individuals.
Will an act of aggression crush the flower before it can bloom?

Ari Cheryl Headford

Book trailer

Pre-order Links


I was wandering aimlessly, in the vague direction of the exit, sipping a reasonably nice coffee from a cardboard cup when I heard someone yelling. It was odd. The voice was quite soft, but very clear, and it seemed to fill the air. I realized, with some shock, it was calling my name. Why the hell was someone calling my name in Bristol train station?

I turned toward the sound and barely had the chance to register a small, running figure before it was on me. The coffee flew out of my hand and hit the floor.

I froze. For a moment my brain ground to a halt in the face of such a surreal situation. I’m not the person who drops coffee on the floor, or gets hugged in stations.

The person—whoever he or she was—threw slender arms around me and held on tight. My face was full of long black hair which smelled of lemon and utterly blinded me. What the hell was going on?
I stiffened for a moment but didn’t have much choice but to return the hug. The person definitely seemed to know me, so I could only go along for the ride. I’d find out who it was soon enough.
After what seemed like an age, the person let go and pulled back a little. Bright emerald-green eyes sparkled in an almost inhumanly beautiful face.

“Benji, you’re so beautiful. I didn’t think you’d be so beautiful. I love your hair so much. Are those your real eyes?”

“Um, well… yeah, they’re my real eyes, just not the real colour.”

Ari laughed. Yeah, it was him. It was really him—maybe. I mean, I still wasn’t sure if Ari was… a him. He was slender and small, at least two inches shorter than my five-feet-seven, and his face was entirely free from hair, in a way that suggested natural absence rather than shaving. He also seemed to have kind of feminine curves, but there was something masculine in his voice and sometimes, when he turned his head—I just don’t know what. He didn’t seem to have breasts, and he’d pressed his chest pretty hard against me, yet a furtive glance didn’t show any kind of package in his jeans. The mystery continued.

I suddenly realized Ari was still talking. I don’t think he even expected me to answer as he chatted with breathless enthusiasm.

“And I nearly didn’t catch the train. You’re taller than I thought you’d be, but did I mention how beautiful you are? We have to take a new photo for your avatar. You’re going to have to be less modest. Come on, let’s go. Do you want to share a taxi? Where are you staying? I’m in the hotel. I keep forgetting what it’s called. Oh, be careful, there’s coffee all over the floor.”

When I looked down, the first thing I noticed was Ari’s boots. They were so pretty, with silver tips on the pointed purple toes. It wasn’t the shape or colour that caught my attention as much as the absolutely killer heels. He was even smaller than I’d thought. My impression as to his gender shifted again.

“It’s mine,” I managed to stammer.

“Did you drop it?”

“Kind of. When you—”

“Oh my goodness. Did I make you drop it? I’m so sorry.”

Before I could say a word, Ari had dragged me to the nearest counter, ordered more coffee, and charmed the barista into cleaning up the spill. Then he linked our arms and guided me away.

About the author

CHERYL HEADFORD was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who traveled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and her two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. The part of her that needs to earn money is a lawyer, but the deepest, and most important part of her is a storyteller and artist, and always will be.

Twitter: @SevenPointStar

Book Spotlight: Speedy Rewards by Jeff Erno

Speedy Rewards Banner


Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.

He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.

Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.

Speedy Rewards Jeff Erno
First step in his plan… do something about his love life.

Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil’s team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.
As is Brandon, the local cop…

And Mark, the homophobic boss…

Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.

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Book trailer


Phil had started out in retail back in high school, working as a bag boy at the local supermarket. He took some community college classes but did not complete his degree. It didn’t matter, though. Back then, a college degree wasn’t required, especially not for retail management. He rose quickly in the company, advancing to a management position. 
Finally, when the company he’d worked at for ten years went belly-up, he found himself in the unemployment line. At age twenty-five, his mom had just died and he found himself completely alone, unemployed. He decided to go back to school to complete his degree. He signed up for online classes and continued with them even after he landed the job managing the convenience store. He received his diploma right around the time he met Darren online. 
Looking back on his life, he realized that period, though difficult, had been perhaps the most hopeful he could remember. Though still grieving the loss of his mother, he felt like life had begun anew. He had a new career, a man he genuinely loved, and even a college degree. That was also when he began learning Spanish. 
But the honeymoon stage of his relationship with Darren didn’t last long, and when it became obvious Darren was far more interested in spending his free time with a bottle of booze than with Phil, they started to grow apart. Phil devoted most of his energy to the store, and when he wasn’t working, he spent a good deal of time online. The relationship withered on the vine, until one day, Darren was gone. 
“You work hard,” Humberto said. “You’re always working, no?” 
,” Phil said, laughing. “Yes, I’m always working.” 
“Every day I see you. You no have days off? You work too hard, man.” 
“Well, it seems to me you work pretty hard, too, Humberto. You’re in here every day, on your way to work. Come on down to this register. I’ll ring you up.” Phil stepped over to the check stand on the far end, the one Janine had just vacated. 
Gracias,” Humberto said, stepping up to the counter with an armload of junk food. He placed the bags of chips and the Hostess snack cakes on the counter. 
“What do you do?” Humberto stared at him, smiling, and Phil wondered if maybe he didn’t understand the question. “¿Cual es tu trabajo?” 
“Oh… oh. Soy un manitas.”
¿Manitas?” Phil had heard the word, but couldn’t immediately remember the meaning. “Oh, you’re a handyman. You fix things.” 
Sí, sí.” 
“Wow, like, do you do plumbing work?” 
“Oh yes, yes of course. Por supuesto." 
“Hm. Ya know, I need to find someone to come fix my sink. At home, I mean. At my house. Do you have a card?” 
Humberto cocked his head to the side, as if thinking. 
¿Una tarjeta? A business card.” 
“Oh, yes. Yes!” He reached into his shirt pocket and removed a business card, handing it to Phil. “Call me and I’ll come fix you up.” He winked, and as Phil looked into the man’s eyes, a lump formed in his throat. “I have all the right tools for the job.” 
Phil quickly looked down at the touch screen on his register, trying to focus on the task of completing the transaction. “Uh, yeah. Um, do you want a bag for this?” 
Una bolsa,” Humberto said, laughing. “.” 
Phil placed the business card next to his register and tore off a plastic bag from the dispenser. Then he began filling it with Humberto’s items. 
“I’ll let you see my big hammer,” Humberto said, lowering his voice.

About the author

JEFF ERNO began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. So far, he’s published over thirty novels. Jeff lives in Southern Michigan, where he works part time at a convenience store.
Jeff’s writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.

Book Spotlight: Finding Pluck by Peter DiFatta

Finding Pluck
by Peter DiFatta
Gay Fiction/Historical
Buy Links: Amazon US 
Amazon UK 
Amazon AU 
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It is 1995 in North Carolina and Taylor Hanes is struggling to escape his small-minded dying textile town. He finds his ticket out by being awarded a full-ride Pluck Gay and Lesbian Equality Scholarship to a state university. Problem is, he isn’t gay. He lied on the application. Suddenly, he is shocked with hometown discrimination, but worse yet, he awakens the wrath of the long dead scholarship’s benefactor.

The hauntings continue into college and Taylor along with a group of friends investigate why the benefactor, Bernard Pembroke, is an unsettled spirit. The narrative takes the reader back to 1927, the pinnacle of the Jazz age, when Pembroke was in college. He is a stammering socially inept sophomore who develops a symbiotic relationship with a freshman named Damien.

Damien is a highly optimistic, musically talented, energetic fellow who opens up the world to Pembroke and leads him to embrace his own homosexuality. But suddenly, Damien goes missing. What happened and is this why Pembroke’s spirit is still unsettled? Taylor and his friends resolve to find out.



"Just think, guys, in four or five years," Trad said while gesturing to Ben and Gordon, "you guys will be graduating from college, and me and . . ." He paused a moment, looking for a reaction from Taylor, who seemed to have a buzzed-out smile, and then continued, "and Taylor will still be here, holding this godforsaken town together."

Taylor smiled, the alcohol having totally relaxed him. He decided this moment was too good to pass up and he would tell all of them about his scholarship. He quickly glanced around the crowded, noisy bar and said, "Not so fast. I've . . . I've got an announcement to make. You all need to raise your bottle for a toast to me."

"Why, what's happened?" Gordon asked.

"Well, today, . . ." Taylor felt himself trembling, his mind spinning. I shouldn't tell them . . . It's too late . . . I can't not tell them now. So he continued, "this very day, I signed papers that gave me a . . ." He paused momentarily for dramatic effect. "Da, da, da, da . . . a full scholarship to Carolina!"

The table was quiet for a few seconds. Then Gordon said, "Yeah, right."

"No, it's true," Taylor shot back.

"Really?" Ben asked.

"Yep!" Taylor replied, nodding his head.

Suddenly, after a slight pause, there was a round of high-fives and whoops as they all congratulated him. Trad appeared happy too and participated in the jubilation, but Taylor noticed a little concern in Trad's face and tried to downplay any more excitement.

"Look, it's no big deal. It will make things so much easier for my mom and dad."

"Was this a need-based scholarship?" Gordon asked.

"No, it wasn't need-based . . . although I really needed it."

Gordon continued, "Well, I know it wasn't an athletic scholarship or based on academics."

"No, it's what they call an endowed scholarship."

"Hey, I know they don't give it for that," Ben quipped. They all laughed. "Besides, you wouldn't qualify." They laughed some more.

As the laughter died, Trad and Ben looked at him with dazed interest while Gordon stared intently, all expecting an explanation to follow.

Taylor spoke. "Apparently, this rich dude set up this trust for this full scholarship that they give every year. The money just sits there accumulating interest for these scholarships."

"Wow!" Ben and Trad exclaimed.

"Yeah! It even pays for books and housing, and I have a monthly spending allowance."

"No way," Ben replied.

"How do I apply?" Gordon asked.

"You have to be a minority," Taylor snapped.

Everyone froze.

"A minority?" Gordon questioned.

There was a small pause while Taylor gathered his thoughts. Lowering his voice, he spoke. "Look, guys. I . . . I, uh, pulled a fast one."

"What? You told them you were black and they believed you?" Ben quipped.

"No, no," Taylor replied while laughing. "I . . . I got this scholarship where I have to work toward . . . for further acceptance and rights for gays and lesbians."

"You got a gay scholarship?" Trad asked.

"Did you have to blow someone?" Ben asked.

"I didn't know you were gay," Gordon commented. "Are you?"

"Look, no, no. You got to promise to keep this quiet."

"I do remember," Gordon continued while chuckling, "that camping trip when we were in the Scouts."

Just as Ben said, "Will you be my date tonight?" a girl delivering the pizza arrived at the table. The conversation quickly turned toward splitting up the bill and tip. As soon as she left, it started back.

"Are you going to have to display a rainbow flag in your dorm room?" Gordon asked.

"Does Christine know about this?" Trad asked.

"Hold on. Hold on," Taylor responded, slightly annoyed at the jokes. "Let me out; I gotta take a leak. Then I'll answer all your questions."

As he was moving away, Ben shouted, "If you take too long and your knees are wet when you come back, we'll know what's been happening." They all howled.

Taylor rushed back to the table and leaned into them with a pointed finger. "Look, guys. I hate fags as much as the rest of you!"

They continued laughing as Taylor swung around and headed for the restroom. He turned a corner and proceeded down a long, poorly lit hallway. Just before he reached the restroom door, a man dressed in a leather coat and flat-brimmed leather hat materialized before him. The man grabbed him by the shirt and slammed him against the wall, raising him several inches off the floor with his clenched fist under Taylor's chin.

"So, you hate fags, and just t-today, you signed a d-document that you would support the furtherance of g-gay equality." There was a pause as the man stared menacingly into Taylor's face. His eyes were dark and moist with anger. Taylor stared back in shock. The man's ice-cold fist was cutting into his throat, and Taylor feared for his life. Then the man added, "You're pathetic!" He let Taylor slide down, released him, turned, and disappeared into vapor.


Book Spotlight: Claimed by the Order by J. Johanis

Title: Claimed by the Order
Author: J. Johanis
Length: 197 Pages
M/M Dark Fantasy/Erotica
Buy Link: Smashwords


Young and eager to join the social playground of the gods, Marduk enters his first day of college at the exotic mountain retreat at the Temple of Power. However, Marduk swiftly falls into the clutches of a secret order. When confronted by the powerful gods who wish to claim him, Marduk finds himself defenseless. The gods turn him into their sex toy, and his only way out is to lure another virgin god into the Order.

After enduring night after night of their torture, Marduk finds escape in the arms of the young god Anu-Akad. Although delivering Akad to the Order would buy Marduk's freedom, Marduk struggles to keep his love affair secret. Are his efforts in vain? He failed to save himself from the Order; is he strong enough to save his lover?


Sexuality Class at the Oasis Pool

For today’s exercise, we will begin with the most basic element: the kiss.” Isis smiled and turned toward Marduk.

“Come forward, Marduk.”

Marduk’s heart leapt and he moved to the middle of the pool before Isis.

“Young Marduk, your reputation for being a fascinating lover precedes you, but I intend to take you out of your comfort zone. It appears you have no fear when it comes to the ladies, but what is your experience with gods?” Marduk stared at Isis, his voice catching in his throat.

“I don’t really have experience.” Marduk wanted badly to steal a glance at Aya, but he kept his eyes on Isis, suppressing the temptation.

“Aya-Zaqar, come forward,” Isis said, still not breaking her stare with Marduk. Heat flushed into Marduk’s face, and blood rushed to his groin. Isis was going to be his undoing. Marduk sank lower in the water and turned to watch as Aya waded toward them. Seeing the pink in Aya’s cheeks made Marduk even harder. By the time Aya stopped before him, Marduk’s heart was beating out of his chest.

“Marduk, I want you to demonstrate a kiss for the class. Please give us a glimpse of the passion and intensity that you are known for.”

Ignoring the fluttering in his stomach, Marduk pressed up against Aya’s body, slid his arms around his waist, and drew him in. Aya gasped, his eyes growing wide as Marduk smiled down at him.

Never had he imagined touching Aya before an audience, but he wanted this god more than anything. He ran his hand up Aya’s slender back and slid his fingers into Aya’s long hair. Then he leaned into Aya, claiming his mouth. When Aya opened up for him, the taste of peaches invaded Marduk’s senses, and a surge of warmth pulsed through his body.


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