Friday, February 27, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: Palace Dog

Book Name: Palace Dog
Goodreads Link: February 27, 2015
Author Name: R. E. Nelson
Author Bio:
R.E. Nelson was born in Texas and raised in Southern California. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. One of his earliest recollections related to writing is winning an essay contest in sixth grade--something patriotic about the American flag. When he travels, his preference is staying in select areas for an extended period of time and learning about that place. He has lived in both Vietnam (twice, actually) and Saudi Arabia, and also spent time in Egypt, South Korea, Shanghai (his only China visit thus far), and Dubai. Now he is happy to call San Francisco home.
Where to find the author:
Twitter: @RENelson13
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

In April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave.

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog.

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country.

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.
Categories: Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance

The cyclo had bumped across the bridge, following the curve in the road, then moved quickly down the final straight stretch, past houses and shops, past rows of trees and walls and occasional open spaces, past vendors who lined the street’s edge selling gasoline in glass bottles. Motorcycles, Lambretta mini-buses packed with people, cream-and-blue Renault taxis, pedestrians with baskets and boxes—all crowded the street. Noises, smells, and smoke came from everywhere, and as the driver increased his speed, I smiled, gripping the metal frame tighter and pushing slightly with my feet as the moist wind rushed around me.
Speeding through the streets of Saigon, wearing the green Air Force-issued jungle fatigues, my life of a year ago seemed unreal.

Pages or Words: 206 pages

Tour Dates: February 27, 2015

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Book Blast/Cover Reveal Questions

59 – Best gift you ever gave?  Computer

60 – What’s your favorite cookie?  Chocolate chip or oatmeal (without raisins)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Don't Look Back #35 (7.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, it must be time for flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers. Every week, we offer an assortment of flash fiction, between 500 and 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

This week, on Don't Look Back, the confusion continues as Marshall and Lee discover they're on You Tube! Wonder what that means? Don't miss this week's chapter! And don't forget to see what the other Briefers have to offer. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Don't Look Back #35 (7.2)

“You Tube? What the hell are you talking about?” Marshall asked.

“Boy, what have you been smoking?” Slim demanded to know, and everyone laughed. Everyone except Denver, who pulled out his phone, indignation shining in his eyes.

“I’ll show you what I’m talking about. Hold your horses for just a minute, willya?”

Marshall leaned in to Lee, lowering his voice for his ears alone. “I bet he’s going to pop up with some kind of birthday video or something, and then yell surprise.”

“You never know, that might just be it,” Lee agreed. Marshall caught a hint of something in Lee’s voice, though, something that wasn’t entirely amusement. Before he could ask what was wrong, he heard Denver’s cry of triumph.

“Found it!” He pushed his phone at Marshall. “There it is. Just press play. I turned up the sound already.”

Marshall took the phone, holding it between him and Lee, so they could both watch. He heard the scrape of chairs as the others rose and grouped behind them, everyone’s attention on the phone.
Marshall pressed play, prepared for anything. What he saw was the familiar crowded dance floor of Partners. People were moving back, out of the line of sight of the camera, to a respectful distance from a couple. The camera shifted, focusing on that couple.

Marshall realized with a start that it was indeed him and Lee. They were dancing together, and the crowd was watching appreciatively, shouting encouragements, along with whistles and catcalls. 

Marshall remembered the dance, of course, and the way Lee had bent him over and kissed him long and hard. He even remembered people taking pictures of them. What he hadn’t expected was to end up in a video on You Tube.

“Well, I’ll be damned.” Only after the clip ended did he notice the title given it by whoever had uploaded it: Two hot men and a great kiss at Partners. He felt his cheeks go warm, but he wasn’t exactly displeased about the video. Not like he was embarrassed about his love for Lee, or of having people see them together. Then he looked at the view count. Holy shit. “There’s almost a million views on this thing.” He looked up to find Denver grinning widely at him.

“Oh yeah, you’re quite the sensation. I think they call that going viral. You two are gonna be famous.”

Marshall snorted with laughter, until he caught a glimpse of Lee’s face. Lee wasn’t smiling, and he didn’t look very happy. Come to think of it, neither did Roy.

Marshall pushed the phone into Denver’s hand. “The answer is still no,” he responded to the unspoken question he could read in Denver’s eyes. “Still got plans. It’s our anniversary, you know.”

“I know,” Denver grumbled, pocketing the phone. “Can’t blame a guy for trying.”

Everyone laughed, as they resumed their seats.  Marshall took advantage of the momentary confusion to whisper in Lee’s ear. “Is something wrong?”

Lee didn’t answer immediately, heightening Marshall’s unease. He pulled back enough to look at Lee’s face. “What is it?” he asked.

Lee’s brows drew together before he relaxed his expression and forced a smile. “Probably nothing,” he admitted.

“Afraid I’ll get famous on You Tube and take off for Hollywood?” Marshall joked.

Lee leaned forward and kissed him. “I think I know better than that.”

“I should hope so. You know I was just kidding, right?”

“I know that. Look, we can talk about it later, okay?”

“Okay. Good.” Marshall felt somewhat relieved. They’d talk about it, whatever it was, and Lee would make everything all right, like he always did.

“Hey you two, break it up!” Slim’s voice broke into their moment. Lee slid an arm about Marshall’s shoulders and grinned at their friend.

“What’s the matter, Slim? Tell us how you really feel!”

More laughter. Slim raised a glass of beer. “Kinda hard to make a toast if you’re not paying attention. To Lee and Marshall! Happy anniversary, and happy birthday to Marshall. May you always be happy and together.”

Glasses were lifted around the table, and everyone echoed the sentiment. A short time later, Lee rose, reaching for Marshall’s hand. “Time for us to go,” he said in his no-nonsense way, “but we’ll get together again soon. Agreed?”

They made their good-nights and said their thank yous for a fine evening. Roy left with them, citing the need to work the next day. He accompanied them to their car, leaning against it as Lee unlocked it. A look passed between the two men that Marshall didn’t understand. His unease, which had subsided, began to return.

“Doesn’t have to mean anything,” Roy said.

“Yeah, I know that. But then again, it might.”

“I know.” Roy removed his hat and scratched the side of his head before replacing it. “I’ll get on it soon as I get home, Lee, ‘kay?”

“I appreciate that, Roy.” The two men shook hands before Lee opened the door and motioned Marshall inside. Marshall started to ask a question, but decided against it, and let Lee close the door without comment. Roy headed to his car and Lee slid behind the wheel.

They drove in silence for a few minutes, Lee staring out at the highway, once they left Tucker Falls. Marshall gazed out his side window, but there wasn’t a whole lot to see at this time of night. Finally, he couldn’t wait any longer.

“Want to tell me what’s going on? Something about that video’s got you spooked. What is it?”

Lee took a deep breath, then let it out. “Just don’t like having us out there on the Internet like that.”

Marshall was sure there was more to the story than that. “We advertise on the Internet, that’s how we get a lot of our business. What else is there?”

Lee hesitated. “I just don’t want our past catching up with us, that’s all.”

Suddenly Marshall understood, his stomach knotting. “Oh hell no,” he whispered.

to be continued

Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: Inclination

The Questions for Inclination Blog Tour with Mia Kerick. Full Moon Dreaming
Hi, and thanks so much for welcoming me on your blog!! I have answered a few interview questions, some in a bit too much detail, but I often get carried away.

1) You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?
I’m going to have to go with my husband, Mr. Mia, as my person of choice. I secretly always thought he would be the guy to win Survivor, if he went on that TV show. Mr. Mia is skillful and industrious, and very outdoorsy. He is often quite clever with people. I think he’d keep me safe and he’d keep me comfortable, and for my one “luxury item” it would have to be a huge bar of chocolate, which would keep me sane.

2) Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?
I don’t really think that Grease exemplifies my life very well, but I’ve always felt a certain affinity to Sandra Dee. A little bit too sweet, not particularly cool, wears her heart on her sleeve—yeah, that’s me. I guess that would make Mr. Mia John Travolta, huh?

3)            What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?
Mr. Mia and I don’t have a lot of time to spend on romance. So, if we were able to do whatever we wanted, romantically speaking, it would start with my older kids coming home from college to watch my younger kids so I didn’t have to worry about them. (Excessive worry over children’s safety and happiness is not conducive to romance.) Once that was taken care of I would pack a bag for Mr. Mia and me, and we’d head to the nearby resort town of Meredith, NH. There, we would check into Church Landing for a long and relaxing weekend stay.

We would first share some wine and cheese in our cozy lakefront room.

We would head for the indoor pool and sauna and splash around together without looking at a clock once.

This would be followed by a leisurely dinner at the hotel restaurant, The Lakehouse Grille… with more wine.

And then back to the cozy hotel room for time spent together with no CELL PHONES or COMPUTERS. Maybe a movie…or maybe not.

4)    When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?
I always start with a plot. I usually get an idea for a story from a song, or a current event that is on my mind. So I start with the idea, and then I create the characters I want to live out my story.
5)    If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
I think I would like Angelina Jolie to play me. I think she would do a very good job. (Well, you asked, and I figured, why not reach very high?)
6)    Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?
Jack Torrance of The Shining. It is all in the eyebrows. They are sooo… creepy.

7)    Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?
I am a huge Mahatma Gandhi fan. I can’t get enough of his philosophical statements. Read The Red Sheet and you can see some of my favorites in action.

8)            Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
I truly think I have already told some of these cutting edge stories—for example Us Three, with a YA threesome, and A Package Deal, with an unconventional “family”, of sorts, and now Inclination, a YA gay Christian work of fiction. Maybe some people are ready for them, but there are definitely many readers who are skeptical. My job is to help them to see love—romantic, religious, and friendship—from my perspective. And if an idea strikes me in the future that is possibly a bit ahead of its time, I will not hesitate to write it.

Book Name: Inclination
Release Date: February 25, 2015
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Author Bio:

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, Cool Dudes, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Where to find the author:
Twitter: @MiaKerick

Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris
Sixteen-year-old Anthony Duck-Young Del Vecchio is a nice Catholic boy with a very big problem. It’s not the challenge of fitting in as the lone adopted South Korean in a close-knit family of Italian-Americans.  Nor is it being the one introverted son in a family jam-packed with gregarious daughters. Anthony’s problem is far more serious—he is the only gay kid in Our Way, his church’s youth group. As a high school junior, Anthony has finally come to accept his sexual orientation, but he struggles to determine if a gay man can live as a faithful Christian. And as he faces his dilemma, there are complications. After confiding his gayness to his intolerant adult youth group leader, he’s asked to find a new organization with which to worship. He’s beaten up in the church parking lot by a fanatical teen. His former best pal bullies him in the locker room. His Catholic friends even stage an intervention to lead him back to the “right path.” Meanwhile, Anthony develops romantic feelings for David Gandy, an emo, out and proud junior at his high school, who seems to have all the answers about how someone can be gay and Christian, too.
Will Anthony be able to balance his family, friends and new feelings for David with his changing beliefs about his faith so he can live a satisfying life and not risk his soul in the process?

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Christian, Spiritual

I’ll pass on the Kool-Aid, thank you

It sounds like a joke, but it’s all true. Every student who volunteers his or her time on a weekly basis at an animal shelter, a hospital, or a home for the elderly receives a free lunch on the last Monday of the month, putting to rest the veracity (got that word on the last SAT practice test I took at my desk in my bedroom the other day) of the old idiom, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  And as I spend every Sunday afternoon patting and playing with cats at the Centerton Humane Society, I qualify. If nothing else, it gives Mom a day off from making me lunch.
“It was so disgusting.”
I drop down into my usual seat in the cafeteria beside Laz, my tray with the bowl of free macaroni and cheese, a slice of bread, and milk, sliding onto the lunch table in front of me. “The mac and cheese?” I ask. “Last time I had it the stuff wasn’t too bad.” It’s not one of Mom’s gourmet lunches, but it gets the job done.
“No, Anthony.” Emma Gillis rolls her eyes and swallows her bite of free mac and cheese she earned by reading classics to the elderly on Saturday mornings at the New Horizons Elderly Center. She gulps in a breath and informs me with her usual haughtiness, “I was telling everybody about these two old men I read to last Saturday who think they are some kind of couple. They actually kissed each other.” She fake-gags.
“I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw that!”
For my own personal reasons, I gasp, while everybody else snickers.
“Those old dudes must be losing it, as in, they could have Alzheimer’s or something, and they forgot that dudes belong with ladies, not other dudes.” I glance over at Lazarus, who abruptly stops babbling to suck down the first of three cartons of chocolate milk. “But seriously, that’s messed up.” Laz wrinkles his nose in distaste and runs his hands through his shaggy dark hair, before moving on to carton number two.
I’m basically frozen, my hand still hovering over the slice of wheat bread on the corner of my tray, my mouth hanging open. I might even be drooling.
“It’s not their fault, Emma.” Elizabeth-the-devout always takes the case of the underdog. It’s how she’s wired. “They’re just sick in their minds.” She sends Emma a you-ought-to-be-ashamed-of yourself sort of frown. “We, as Catholics, are called to compassion.”
Everyday single day at lunch since freshman year, I’ve sat with the kids from the Our Way youth group. In fact, the other kids in my grade have long referred to our lunch table as “Our Way to Survive Cafeteria Food”, which somewhere along the line got shortened to the “OWSCF Table”, which eventually morphed into “awe-scoff”. I have always felt safe and secure sitting at the awe-scoff table. These are the kids I’ve prayed with three times a week at Our Way, and the ones who I was confirmed with in ninth grade. I’ve collected toys for the poor with these kids—in fact, for three years running we’ve made sure that no child in Wedgewood missed out on having a small stack of Christmas gifts, and that brings about some major bonding. We’ve shared weekends camping in the Maine woods, singing and holding hands and sometimes crying when the Spirit moved us.
This is my safe spot at school, like my tiny room is my alone spot at home.
“If you ask me, all fags deserve to die for going against Christ and everything that’s natural. They should be forced to drink poison Kool-Aid, like those cultists had to do down in Jonestown…’member that?” Is that Rinaldo Vera who just suggested mass murder as the “final solution” to the gay problem?
Sweet, passive Rinaldo—the gentle giant. Um, not so much.
“I saw a TV movie called the Jonestown Massacre.”
“I caught that too…those people were warped.”
The conversation drifts away from the vileness of homosexuality, toward the disturbing personal stories of the few survivors of the Jim Jones Cult Kool-Aid Massacre. But I’ve heard more than enough, in terms of stuff that pertains to me.
Feeling as if I’m going to lose what little lunch I ate, I jump up off my chair and race toward the boys’ room in the hall near the cafeteria.
Maybe there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

Pages or Words: 70,000 words

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Don't Look Back #34 (7.1)

Happy Hump Day everyone! A bit snowy here. We got several inches on Sunday, but it could have been worse, and it's smooth driving again! So sit back and relax and get ready to read some flash fiction by the Wednesday Briefers! Every week we post flash fiction between 500 and 1000 words, inspired by one or more of our prompts, for your pleasure!

This week begins a new chapter of Don't Look Back. It's Marshall's twenty-first birthday, as well as his and Lee's third anniversary. Time to celebrate! Don't forget to visit the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Don't Look Back #34 (7.1)

November 4th was not only Marshall’s birthday, but it was also the day he and Lee celebrated what they considered to be their anniversary. The date on which they became a couple in every sense of the word. Normally, they stayed at home and enjoyed their privacy. But this year also marked another occasion, one which could not be ignored.

This was the year Marshall turned twenty-one.

“Couldn’t we just stay home and continue what we’re doing?”

Marshall lay stretched out on their bed, on his stomach and naked. Lee, also naked, straddled him, gently but firmly relaxing the muscles along Marshall’s back and shoulders. Lee was certainly no slouch when it came to the art of massage, and Marshall appreciated all his ministrations. The trouble was he wanted more, not to go out. Usually, that wasn’t a problem, but tonight, it seemed to be.

“You know we can’t, and you know why.”

Marshall groaned and pouted. Not that it did him a lot of good, since he was face down, and only the mattress was privy to his scowl. He would have rolled over and shown his displeasure more clearly but that wouldn’t do him any good, and he knew it, and besides, he was too damn comfortable to roll over this moment. Lee had relaxed every damn muscle Marshall possessed. Well, all except one. And right this minute he wanted nothing more than to lie here in sublime bliss, with Lee’s hands on him, as well as the heat of his body where they made contact.

Just not quite enough contact to suit Marshall.

“How about we go tomorrow night? Stay here tonight?”

“It’s all set for tonight, and tomorrow doesn’t count.” Lee slid off Marshall and slapped his ass for good measure. “Besides, it’s just for a little while. Have some dinner, a few drinks…”

“And then?”

“And then… providing you behave yourself… we come home and I’ll fuck your brains out.”

Now that sounded more like it.

Marshall rolled over and regarded Lee, who was rubbing his hands on a towel, removing the massage oil. Lee arched an eyebrow.

“You can quit being a brat now,” he commented, “and appreciate that our friends want you to have a great twenty-first birthday.”

“I know, it’s just that—”

And be grateful I talked them out of kidnapping you and taking you on a road trip to Eagle Pass, over to the Kickapoo casino. Or even Vegas.”

Lee was right. That would have been a much longer journey. This way, they were only an hour away from home. And it was flattering to be the guest of honor at a birthday party. That had never happened before. When he was little, it was just Marshall and his dad. His mother never remembered or seemed to care.

“Yeah, that’s true,” Marshall relented, his voice softening. At the same time, he scooted across the bed, his eyes fastened on Lee and his hot body. “And I do appreciate it, trust me. But couldn’t we… you know…”

“Couldn’t we what? Take a shower and get dressed?”

“After, sure. Sounds like a great plan.”

“After what?” Lee slung the towel over one shoulder. Marshall swore he spotted a smirk, but it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. “You telling me you can’t exercise a little bit of self-control until we get home? Do I need to get the cock ring out, just to remind you what restraint is?”
No, not that. Marshall suppressed a moan. The idea of sitting through dinner with that thing caging his cock was not an inviting one. The last time they’d done that had been pure torture.

“No, that won’t be necessary,” he hastily replied. This time Lee flat out grinned.

“All right then.” He approached the bed, leaned down and kissed Marshall, sliding his hand into his long locks and gripping them firmly. “Don’t worry, once we get home, you’re all mine, and I intend to show you just what that means.”

Lee’s words went straight to Marshall’s cock, eliciting another moan. That idea appealed to him more than he could say. Three years, and he was as much in love with Lee as he was at the beginning. Even more so. Their love only grew stronger every day.

“I’ll behave,” he promised, and was rewarded with another long kiss. Lee pressed closer against Marshall’s slick flesh.

“Let’s take that shower now.” He tenderly nipped at Marshall’s earlobe, then straightened up and offered him a hand. Marshall pretended to groan as he gained his feet, and they headed toward the bathroom.
* * *
The birthday celebration began at Partners, where they met up with Slim and Rye and Denver and a few of their other friends. Of course, Roy was with them. He wouldn’t miss Marshall’s birthday for the world. They shoved a few tables together in a corner, and bought Marshall his first legal drink. Of course, they didn’t tell anyone else that Marshall had been drinking there as a minor. He probably wasn’t the only one, though.

Afterwards, they all met at a nearby roadhouse that advertised the best Texas barbecue for miles around. They got a room to themselves, placed their orders, and kicked back with a couple pitchers of draft beer.

“We didn’t get any dancing in,” Denver complained. He sat on one side of Marshall, who had the place of honor at the head of the table, with Lee on the other side. Roy sat on the other side of Lee, next to Slim. “I wanted to dance with the birthday boy. How about we go back after we eat?”

“Not tonight.” Marshall laughed, shooting a quick wink at Lee. “Some other time, son, tonight’s spoken for.”

“Well hell’s bells.” Denver rolled his eyes. “I wanna do what you two did on the Internet!”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know, when you was in that video that got posted on You Tube.”

Marshall and Lee exchanged puzzled glances.

 to be continued

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