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Trans Deus by Paul Van der Spiegel #giveaway

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Trans Deus

Author: Paul Van der Spiegel

Publisher: Perceptions Press

Cover Artist: Paul Van der Spiegel

Release Date: August 11, 2020

Genre: LGBTQ – Christian

Tropes: Trans Christ in modern day England 

Themes: Trans Christ persecuted by the religious, the transphobes, the haters; closeted Peter, terrorist Judas, addict Andrew, humanist Thomas.

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 75 000 words/ 249 pages

It is part 1 of 4 Queer Gospels – each one is a different take.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Trans Christ born in a modern-day, transphobic England

 

Blurb 

The Word was with God. The Word was God. Nothing was created apart from the Word. The Logos became a trans woman and she dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth.

Four men have their lives changed forever: Jude, the terrorist sent to kill the transgender Christ; Peter, the repressed gay man grasping after a religion of certainty; Andrew, the slave to his sexual appetites; and Tom, the ardent atheist with crippling financial problems.

From the towns and moors of northern England to the shadow of the cross in the City of London… the light shone in our darkness and the consumer, military technocracy comprehended it not.

 

Excerpt

Tom Bauer scanned the myriad titles in the Selfish Help, Mind n’ Body, Religion, and Pop Psychology subcategories, publications propped and penny-stacked on white MDF shelves.

Pop Psychology? What’s the world coming to? Tom thought. What he wanted was Death Metal Psychology, Hip Hop Head-Help, Roland TB 303 Counselling: anything but fluff and bluff. He started to laugh, at book shops, at life, at himself for being such a useless sack of shit. How have I ended up here? he demanded of existence, desperate for a fix of some arsehole’s fake positivity? 

The woman stood next to him reading the inside cover of The Secret slid it back onto the shelf, then hurried away.

The man who didn’t believe in belief pulled a volume from the packed display and examined the recommended retail selling price printed beneath the barcode—the book was the same price as a leg of lamb, as three large chickens. How the fuck can I justify spending that? he thought.

There was enough money to last another couple of months. His personal account was overdrawn, as was the joint account. There was always the credit card and the emergency second credit card, the one that Kristin didn’t know about. The feeling of being overwhelmed, of drowning, washed over him. Tom was scared: scared that they could lose their house, scared that what had been certain, mundane, predictable was now fuzzy and nebulous.

He picked out a copy of the Selfish Help bestseller I can make you Bulletproof and tried to read the introduction, but the words expanded and went blurry against the paper. Kristin stepping up her working hours to full-time helped, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough to cover the shortfall in his wages: the choice was now which bills had to be paid. 

Tom knew that he was not on his own: across the Public Sector thousands of people were being let go, especially, it seemed, in the north of England. Every suitable vacancy had hundreds, thousands, of applicants. His mind flicked to the visit he had made to the Didsbury Job Centre that morning: there was nothing, not unless he wanted to be an amusement park squirrel on minimum wage. He had asked the stony-faced Employment Agency manager whether a drug habit was a mandatory requirement for the role. 

Some people have no sense of humour, he reminded himself.

Once he had been on an upward trajectory within society. Now, Tom visualised his family falling into the abyss of poverty.

Tom pushed I can make you Bulletproof with its free hypnosis CD back into the shelf. He stared at the rows of crack-lit books, at the dope publications, at the trash written by authors selling glass pipes and rocks to the vulnerable, pushers who peddled badly cut gear to existential junkies. Bluffers and bullshitters, he thought, the lot of you. And yet, I want to buy your product, get high, face the inevitable come down, buy the sequel. The thought compounded his sense of despair. 

That was when Dave Lucas and Bob Nielson from the Salford Health Trust Planning Department strode past the end of the aisle and took their seats in the coffee bar. Tom had forgotten the two spreadsheet goons read manga and graphic novels for free during their lunchbreak. The last thing he needed was Dave—the Lurch lookalike in his X Files T-shirt—and Bob—his skinny anaemic monosyllabic sidekick—asking him how he was. And he certainly didn’t want to hear how things were going back at the office, didn’t want to see that “you-poor-bastard” smile, or, even worse, the sparkle of glee in the eyes of those spared the executioner’s axe. In Tom’s considered viewpoint, anyone who still believed in “love for your neighbour” need only set up a corporate redundancy programme to see the reality of the human: fuck thy neighbour lest thou too get fucked.

Bob Nielson—a sadistic un-helpful prick in Tom’s opinion—was the man widely suspected of being the elusive Phantom Logger, that desperado of the digestive system who delighted in cooking up foot-long turds and depositing them in the men’s third-floor toilets and leaving without flushing. A closed toilet bowl lid was a sure sign that Nessie was back in town. Neilson had been spotted giggling outside Trap One just before one particularly unpleasant discovery. Maybe Bob n’ Dave took it in turns, Tom considered, competing in their own ghastly gastrointestinal game.

How had those two morons survived whilst he’d been cast aside? 

He needed to escape the book shop ASA-fucking-P. Tom knew that if he had to engage in any form of communication with Beavis and Butthead, he was liable to murder one, or both, of them; bash their heads in with a British Bake Off cookery brick. 

Option One was to hide in the stinking toilets for an hour like a junkie. Screw that, Tom decided, which left him with Option Two. 

Option Two was printed on the flyer that he had been given by a smartly-dressed woman outside Boots the Chemist on Market Street, a piece of paper that announced Manchester Cathedral were running a lunchtime programme of speakers with that day’s febrile attempt entitled, “The Myth of Eden—a new approach to Genesis.” Having someone attempt to defend the Great Book of Fairy Tales enraged and fascinated Tom at the same time. 

He decided that facing down a representative of a misogynistic, homophobic, corrupt organisation staffed by paedophile pensioners would take his mind off his financial woes, even if only for a short time. Tom wondered if he could get thrown out of church for heckling. Watch out all you bishops and kings, he thought, the Pale Rider is at your gate

He paid for a copy of The Times at the self-scanning machine, extended it to its full height, hid his head behind the newspaper, and strode through the main door. Once he was on Deansgate, he stuck his tongue out at Dave and Bob through the window. The two men didn’t notice, but an old man drinking a latte from a tall glass stared at him in surprise. 

It took two minutes for Tom to walk to his favourite place in the whole world, the John Rylands library. Tom loved everything about the building—the décor, the stillness and, most of all, the collection of ancient writings, works that covered every aspect of the human experience across three millennia: legal, medical, science, and the history of tribes and lost nations. He could spend his entire life in this one library and still only scratch the surface of the knowledge within. 

Plus, it was free admission.

Through the glass entrance, through the gift shop and café, up the modern staircase, past the Italian tourists, then into the red-stone vaulted cloisters, and up the stone staircase to the third floor where Thomas reverently entered the Reading Room. There, he was greeted by old friends: Luther, Milton, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Calvin, evidently no girls were allowed in Enriqueta Ryland’s library, apart from the lady herself. Tom sat at the mahogany table beneath the statue of Gibbon. Trusting in the presence of this enemy of Faith he read the newspaper, searching all the while for the one-liner that would transform his life.

Tom finished the easy, then started the medium difficulty, Sudoku puzzle. Thirty minutes later, he had ground to a frustrating halt. Checking his watch, he noticed he was late for the Genesis gig at God’s gaff. He had a choice to make—sack off scripture or go and put the righteous in their rightful place. Still holding the newspaper, Tom legged it from the library, dove down Deansgate, veered along Victoria, and arrived, gasping for breath, at the Cathedral doors. 

The presentation in the Saviour Chapel had already begun and all the black metal chairs had been taken. Tom edged right and stood, leaning against the cold stone wall. 

A blonde woman in jeans and a blue t-shirt prowled the front of the chapel. “Clothes are made from the cotton plant,” she said to her audience, “from animal hide, from nylon that is made from oil found under the seabed. Clothes are human constructs of naturally occurring materials. Gravity is a physical law, but our certainty that the universe is a matter machine is a human construct, a metaphor. Even when we are given fact, we fashion it into meaning to wear about our person.” 

“Amen,” a man in front of Tom said.

“For fuck’s sake,” Tom muttered, shaking his head, realisation dawning on him that he had made a dreadful mistake. 

“Our certainties adjust during our lifetime,” the woman said, “new knowledge and different learning become more important, people we love die, friends change, our pets grow old and die, the world around us changes, new roads are built, and our favourite breakfast cereal has a packaging redesign.”

To his left was a disabled man in a wheelchair—twisted limbs, twisted face, thick oversized ears, and jam-jar spectacles. Tom averted his gaze. Poor sod, he thought. It would have been better for him, for his family, for society, if he’d never been born.

“That which is our reality, our certainty, is but a metaphor. It is unreal in the sense that it is a construct of a construct. All our certainties are torn down at our death. We arrive at check-in stark naked and shivering, belonging to no culture and belonging to all. Stripped of all that we have ever wrapped around ourselves, what is left?”

You’re shit-boring, love, Tom thought. Wish I hadn’t come now. Behind the altar, a huge red curtain hung from the roof. Tom was struck by how much the church resembled the 2-3-74 temple in Ultimate Negation 2—the first-person shooter game that had used a digitised version of the building as the backdrop for all-out war between the remnants of humanity and hordes of gun-toting alien invaders. The Church authorities had claimed on the TV news that their Cathedral was a “space for grace,” and the Japanese corporation who had produced the game had violated this sacred principle. Tom had never heard anything so stupid in all his life: most city-centre tourist attractions would give their right arm for that kind of publicity.

 

About the Author 

I am the author of Trans Deus, 7 Minutes, Parably Not, and A Particular Friendship. My stories are about the intersection of faith and sexuality. I am a William Blake obsessive, and I’m working on new books with Blake’s themes – sex and gender, revelation and rebellion – at the heart of the narrative.

Author Links

Blog   |   Twitter

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of two paperback copies of Trans Deus

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions




New Release – In Vineyard Veritas by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: In Vineyard Veritas

Author: Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid

Publisher: Eine Kleine Press

Cover Artist: Clancy Nacht

Release Date: January 21, 2022

Genres: LGBTQ Cozy mystery, trans man

Tropes: Amateur sleuth, favorite aunt dies, going back home again, mystery

Themes: Coming back home, finding where you belong

Heat Rating:  0 flames

Length:  206 pages

It is a standalone story. 

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

 

In wine, truth. In vineyard… mystery.

 

Blurb

Local police summon retired CTO Geraldine Thorn from her Austin lake house to Kitsch, Texas, the small town where she grew up, when her beloved Aunt Tilda is found dead at her vineyard home, presumably from a slip in the bath. Upon arrival, Gerry discovers Tilda’s eclectic group of friends—including a much, much younger lover—and rivals. When they realize Tilda’s slip wasn’t an accident, Gerry enlists the help of a handsome Texas Ranger with secrets of his own.

 

Excerpt 

“Howdy. Ms. Geraldine Thorn? This is Sgt. Hale Alexander with the Texas Ranger Division Company F.” Hale’s voice was a pleasantly raspy tenor with a thick East Texas drawl. “The Arguello County PD requested my assistance with a mysterious death. A Lt. Klaus gave me this number. He said, and I quote, ‘May you have the joy of her,’ and washed his hands of this affair. Don’t think you’ve got a fan, ma’am.”

“I’m friendlier when I’m not upset about my aunt dying.” Gerry felt a pang of frustration, but she appreciated that this guy sounded like he’d be reasonable. “I appreciate you looking into this. Things aren’t adding up.”

“Well, ma’am, this is highly irregular, involving the Rangers in this kind of thing, but I’m on my way to Kitsch now from Waco, and we’ll see what there is to see. The autopsy report had some discrepancies, so your gut may hold true. Don’t go quotin’ me on that, all right?” Hale cussed under his breath, and the sound of a car horn interrupted their conversation.

Sounding calmer, he resumed, “Anyhow, I’m gonna have to view the body before she’s laid to rest, if that’s all right with you, ma’am. I understand you’re gonna wanna get closure, put her in the ground soon’s you can, but this is important.”

“Of course. I just came from the funeral home, I can let them know to hold off picking her up.” She paused and looked up and down the street. “Is there any way I could join you? I just want to… I think if I saw her with my own eyes it would help me wrap my head around what happened.”

Discrepancies. That sounded… positive? Not exactly that, but it was nice to hear that she wasn’t totally losing it. “If she’d had too much wine and slipped in the tub— that would make sense, but opioids? I just… and there’s a young man, and… there are things that don’t add up. I want to do right by my aunt.”

“That’s admirable, ma’am. But are you sure you wanna see your aunt in that state? She’s been autopsied, and she’ll be nekkid as a jaybird on that slab. It’s gonna stay with you.” Hale didn’t shoot her down, which was something. If anything, he sounded supportive. There was a steadying warmth in his tone even over the phone.

“She wouldn’t like my delicate sensibilities getting in the way of finding out what happened if someone did this to her.” Seeing Tilda’s body wasn’t something she was looking forward to, but she needed to know. “I’ll be all right.”

“All right then, ma’am. Text me your address to this number, and I’ll swing ’round and nab you. You’re not gonna wanna drive after. I’m an hour out.” Hale’s drawl was comforting. While Gerry wasn’t really a small-town girl, she had a feeling Hale’s good ole boy persona would play well in Kitsch, and no one was going to turn away a Ranger’s inquiries.

“I’m already downtown. I can…” She looked around and then shrugged to head to her car. “I’ll just go home, and text you the address. It’s on a vineyard, so it’s a little out of town, but I imagine an investigator shouldn’t have too hard a time finding it. Thanks.”

 

 

About the Authors 

Together, Texans and platonic life partners Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht write queer novels that span genres, with intense romances and a seamless shared narrative voice.

They published their first co-written novel, the m/m rock star romance Black Gold, in 2010, and now have over a decade of award-winning collaborations under their exquisite belts. Recent titles include the twisted romance His Fake Prison Daddy and the Phisher King series, in which an uptight federal agent and a bratty hacker go from enemies to lovers while solving a hate crime.

Though Elder Millennial trans man Thursday and Gen X gender outlaw Clancy live three hours apart, they are inseparable. Their friendship is a perfect example of the Grumpy/Sunshine trope, which makes Thursday very happy. Clancy thinks it’s all right.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Twitter  |   Twitter  |   Instagram  

 

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New Release – Crystal’s House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Crystal’s House of Queers

Author:  Brooke Skipstone

Publisher:  Skipstone Publishing

Cover Artist: Cherie Chapman @ccbookdesign

Release Date: May 24, 2021

Genres: LGBTQ Fiction, Lesbian Fiction/Suspense, Lesbian Romance, Lesbian Coming of age

Tropes:  Friends to lovers, found family, coming of age, power femme

Themes: Coming out, forgiveness, no secrets, overcoming past abuse, fight because we love

Heat Rating: 3 or 3.5 flames

Length: 93 000 words/ 330 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  

 

Three senior girls in rural Alaska escape their abusive pasts by raising their dyke flag for themselves and their community.

 

Blurb

Crystal Rose woke up at three in the morning today, drenched in sweat and breathless after another sex dream with Haley Carson. Later at school in the tiny town of Clear, Alaska, Crystal saves Haley from an assault by her abusive boyfriend.

The two girls renew a love started years ago that had to stay hidden until now. But with Crystal’s grandparents in the hospital with Covid and the possibility of her drug addict parents returning from a 14-year absence, Crystal needs Haley as much as she needs Crystal.

They connect with Payton Reed, a gun-toting artist who helps them feel proud to be gay and willing to stand up to anyone. Together they struggle to make Crystal’s house safe for those who are hated for their love.

 

Excerpt

Crystal and JD are very happy to be back in school. They’d been online from mid-March through May and then from late August until Monday, two days ago. During that time, Crystal had seen virtually none of her classmates. She’d never been very social, but she had missed seeing her art teacher and especially Haley. They’d been close friends in the elementary grades but had drifted apart in high school. 

Crystal unties her hair and shakes her head. “One reason we went back this week is that special needs students don’t learn as much in remote learning.”

“Who said that?” asks Summer.

“SPED teacher.” Crystal bends over the table to grab her computer and feels her grandmother’s eyes searching her, just like she felt the moose eyes earlier. 

“Crystal, why aren’t you wearing a bra?”

She lifts her eyes to Summer, who signals to hold her shirt against her chest. “Why are you looking?” She stays bent as she shoves books and her computer into her bag. “No one cared about me wearing a bra before. What difference does it make now?”

“Crystal, we’ve talked about this. You developed over the summer. You can’t be flashing everyone.”

“Am I flashing, or are you making a special effort to look down my shirt?” She feels blood rushing to her face. Her eyes throb.

“Please stand up straight.”

Crystal finishes stuffing her pack without hurrying, drags the zipper closed then swings her pack onto her shoulder as she stands. “Better?”

“Please put on your bra.”

Mac coughs. “Just don’t bend over in front of the boys, Crystal, and keep your jacket zipped.”

Crystal cocks a brow. “Because it’d be my fault if they stared at my boobs?”

JD laughs. “Gena calls them boobs too. A lot of my friends call them tits.”

“JD!” Everyone flinches when Summer slaps the table. Crystal can remember only one or two other times when she screamed at JD. He now stands with his mouth open, breathing noisily. His eyes bulge. “There’s no need to be crude. Why are you and Gena talking about her . . . breasts?”

Because they’ve been having sex for the past six months, thinks Crystal so loud she wonders whether anyone hears her. “C’mon, JD. We need to go.” Crystal pushes a chair farther under the table and heads for the door.

Summer grabs her arm. “Why are you being so defiant about this?”

“I’ve gone my whole life without my chest being strangled and bound. No one cared. Now if I don’t crush my boobs all day and much of the night, there’s something wrong with me. Guys go shirtless at PE all the time. Why can’t the girls?”

“That’d be embarrassing,” laughs JD as he moves through the door. “Hope you feel better, Mac.”

Summer releases Crystal’s arm and wrings her hands. “Now you want to go topless? Where are you getting these ideas?”

“Why do I have to get them from somewhere besides my own head? Cause I’m too dumb?” Her heart pounds in her chest and lips tighten against her teeth. She wants to say much more but is afraid to start another argument. She tries to slow her breathing. “Hope you feel better, Mac.” She exits the house and heads toward her Honda 4-wheeler where JD sits sideways behind the seat.

“I think it’s my turn to drive,” he says, just like every morning.

Crystal straddles the seat and starts the motor. “It’s not your turn until you’re older than me.”

“And what day will that happen?”

“Exactly.” She zips up her jacket, shifts gears, and races away from the house down her long driveway, bordered by spruce and aspen. 

Last weekend, Kato told her she needed to wear a bra when she returned to school. He said he didn’t want guys staring at her all day. They’d been best friends their whole lives and had never even kissed. Then her boobs grew over the summer, and he couldn’t keep his hands off her. He complained she was teasing him, being coy, making him think dirty thoughts. All during July and August, she’d felt excited and confused, sometimes angry. Before this past weekend, they’d only kissed, and honestly, she’d never wanted to do anything more.

But she finally relented. The experience wasn’t very exciting, certainly nothing like her dreams of girls. Or kissing Haley in fifth grade.

At first, the dreams bothered her. Could something more be wrong with her brain beyond what school told her? She’s never fantasized about a boy. After Saturday’s session with Kato, she believes she understands why, but doesn’t know what to do or who to tell. 

Maybe Haley? 

What’s the worst that could happen?

She could laugh. Walk away. Tell others.

What’s the best she could say?

Me too.

How amazing would that be?

When the best option offers so great a reward, Crystal always ignores the danger. Witness—her encounter with the moose this morning.

Maybe she’ll talk to Haley today.

 

About the Author 

Brooke Skipstone is a multi-award winning author who lives in Alaska where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony. Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again. Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn. Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.

Crystal’s House of Queers is her third novel. 

Visit her website for information about her first two novels, Some Laneys Died and Someone To Kiss My Scars.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Instagram  

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

a $20 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

Series Tour – Demon’s Blood by Shari Sakurai #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

SERIES TOUR

Demon’s Blood Series by Shari Sakurai

The stories are best read in the following order:

Demon’s Blood (Demon’s Blood #1)

Never Change (Demon’s Blood short story)

Demon’s Life (Demon’s Blood #2)

Genres: Paranormal/vampires, LGBTQ, gay fiction

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 1 flame

Publisher: Farnhurst Publishing

Cover Artist: Farnhurst Publishing

      

BOOK 1

Book Title: Demon’s Blood (Demon’s Blood universe #1)

Author: Shari Sakurai

Length:  302 pages

Release Date: January 23, 2014

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  

 

 

Blurb

Immortal blood is precious and Kokawa Taku’s makes him especially unique.

After vampire hunters force them to flee Tokyo, Taku and his lover, Thane, try to make a new life for themselves in England. But three months later Thane is still tormented by nightmares of the fire that almost cost them their lives. This leads to carelessness and the discovery of one of his victims.

When faced with threats from all sides Taku tries his best to protect them although his actions are met with disapproval and anger from Thane. Unknown to his lover, Taku is also struggling to keep hidden the truth of what really happened three months ago.

However, it is only a matter of time before Taku’s past and bloodline catches up with him.

 

BOOK 2

Book Title: Never Change (Demon’s Blood universe short story)

Author: Shari Sakurai

Length: 47 pages

Release Date: December 1, 2018

It is part of the Demon’s Blood universe, but can be read as a standalone.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

 

 

Blurb

Thane’s arms curved around his back and he felt the younger vampire trembling as he rested his head on Taku’s shoulder. So easily broken, Taku often forgot what it had been like in the beginning. For him things had been different, he reminded himself. He had already known what it felt like to take a life.

With Nagasaki in the grip of a bitter winter, two vampires struggle to hunt in the challenging conditions. When an opportunity to feed from a dying man presents itself, Taku insists that they take advantage of it. Yet his newly turned lover is left feeling devastated by their actions. Seeing Thane so distraught is more than Taku can bear and so he makes a decision to shield Thane as much as he can from the darker side to their existence. However his desire to protect Thane might one day cost him everything.

Never Change is a short story set in the Demon’s Blood universe.

 

BOOK 3

Book Title: Demon’s Life (Demon’s Blood universe #2)

Author: Shari Sakurai

Publisher: Farnhurst Publishing

Length:  322 pages

Release Date:  November 4, 2019

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  

 

Blurb

Out of respect for the relationship we once had I will spare your life. However, if you try to obstruct me again then I will kill you

Vampires are now an endangered species. Possessed by the demon Kurai, Kokawa Taku has sworn to eradicate all those whom he deems inferior.

Determined to free Taku from the demon’s corruption, Thane seeks help from Taku’s sire, Takata Koji. Thane’s search for answers takes him to Hong Kong where he learns the devastating truth. That in order to save Taku, Thane may have to kill him.

Refusing to accept this, Thane makes a decision that places the fate of all vampires in the balance. However Thane is unaware of the betrayal around him and that his actions will either save Taku or destroy him.

 

Excerpt from Demon’s Blood (Demon’s Blood universe #1)

Ōtsuki, Kai Province, Honshū, JAPAN, 29 January 1714

Takata Koji knew he was dying. The sickness that had swept through his village had been relentless and had claimed the lives of scores already. He had fallen ill five days ago, two days after his younger sister, Kaede, died. The physician had just been to see him. The grim expression on the man’s face and the distraught weeping of his mother only confirmed what, deep down, Koji already knew. He did not want to die. He was only twenty-five. He wanted to cling onto life with every fibre of his being. But simply the will to live was not enough. Koji’s body ached and he could not get warm, no matter how many blankets his mother brought him. His voice had failed him two nights ago and was yet to return.

It was a cruel hand of fate that the direct descendants of the Takata clan had managed to survive elimination at the hands of their enemy only to perish now. The Okada clan had defeated his relatives almost a hundred and fifty years ago in battle. Of their branch of the family Koji was the only male born; the last heir. His mother could bear no more children.

Hearing the voices of his parents Koji glanced towards the shoji. He had only seen his father once since he became ill. His mother said the man was consumed by grief. Koji knew better than this. Takata Kazuhiro had talked of nothing other than reclaiming his clan’s status and land since Koji was a boy. Yet his own frailties had prevented him from achieving this himself. Some of the Takata clan’s descendants had managed to secure positions within the Tokugawa Shogunate. However, a poor background and ill health had prevented Kazuhiro from doing the same. Koji had been his last hope. It was more than his son dying; it was Kazuhiro’s dreams too. 

Koji inhaled deeply, finding even this intake of air difficult as he shifted his position on the futon. The movement caused one of the woven blankets to slip off him and onto the tatami floor. There it remained. Koji lacked the strength to reach over for it. A hacking cough shook his fragile form. He had lost so much weight that his clothes hung off of him. The last time he had gazed at his reflection he had seen a corpse rather than a man staring back. 

Koji gasped, fighting to catch his breath as the painful tickling sensation in the back of this throat relentlessly forced the violent coughing fit. A metallic taste welled up in his mouth and the frightened young man gagged over the side of the futon. The hand automatically flying to his mouth came back slicked with crimson. 

“Nishimura-san!” his mother raced into his bedroom screaming for the physician at the sight of her son’s blood. Koji felt hands on his shoulders. He was roughly shaken when he failed to respond. Panicked golden eyes raised to meet his mother’s terrified ones even as his vision began to fail him. 

“Koji! Koji!” 

Her cries were becoming fainter now and the darkness that he was falling into was more inviting. As much as he feared death, Koji now felt some relief at its embrace. He was so tired. As much as he wished to hold onto life he realised that, deep down, all he really wanted was to be free of the pain.

***

Candles flickered in the dark, the heat from their burning light touching his sensitive skin as he was drawn from unconsciousness once more. Hot, red wax dripped onto the stone altar from the ceiling above. One spot landed on his palm, causing a hiss of pain to escape him. The clan’s Mon – coat of arms – was etched crudely into the low ceiling. The large circle and rhombi making up the outline of the symbol seemed to swell in size the longer that he stared at them. The two smaller diamonds in the centre were coloured completely in red. 

Koji could hear the hum of lowered voices around him yet they remained in shadow. He tugged weakly on the rope that bound his arms above his head and back against the stone surface. An unnecessary precaution, for the fever had robbed him of most of his strength. He could barely curl a palm into a fist.

A weakened cough alerted them to his wakefulness and one man stepped forward. Koji tried to make a sound but a gentle gasp was all that was permitted from dry lips as his father approached. Takata Kazuhiro’s stern expression did not falter although there was some regret lingering in his reddened eyes. 

Kazuhiro sustained a leg injury in a fight before Koji was born and had walked with a stick ever since. He leaned heavily on this now, as though it would somehow give him strength. A candle lit lamp was held in his free hand. Koji shifted slightly under his father’s gaze not understanding the situation or the reason for the man’s silence. He had slowly begun to recognise the room that he was in and confusion filled him. It was the village shrine. 

“Kazuhiro!” Another voice broke through the quiet murmurs. Koji’s gaze turned to the newcomer. Tears stained his mother’s cheeks. Her hair had fallen free from her usual ponytail to tangle around her face in wild waves. The streaks of silver were clearly visible now. Since he had fallen sick she seemed to have aged twenty years.

“Do not do this,” she pleaded softly of her husband. “Nishimura-san—”

“Cannot help him,” Kazuhiro finished for her. His words were as hard as stone. “This is the only way.”

“He is our son! And you would condemn him to this!”

“It will save his life,” Kazuhiro gestured to the two men – whom were neighbours of the Takata’s – standing behind him. “It is a great gift, Natsumi.”

“How can you call it a gift? It is a curse!”

Koji watched helplessly as the two younger men seized his mother and dragged her from his line of sight and back into shadow. He could make out her further protests and sobs for a few moments. A cry pierced the calm of the room. Then silence followed. 

 

About the Author

Shari Sakurai is a British author of paranormal, horror, science fiction and fantasy novels that almost always feature a LGBTQ protagonist and/or antagonist. She has always loved to write and it is her escape from the sometimes stressful modern life!

Aside from writing, Shari enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to (loud!) music, going to rock concerts and learning more about other societies and cultures. Japanese culture is of particular interest to her and she often incorporates Japanese themes and influences into her work.

Shari loves a challenge and has taken part and won the National Novel Writing Month challenge eleven times!

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook

Twitter  |   Instagram

 

 

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New Release – Taking A Chance: Charity Anthology #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Taking A Chance: Charity Anthology

Authors: D.G. Carothers, Toshi Drake, C.W. Gray, K.L. Hiers, Gianni Holmes, G.R. Lyons, KC Luck, Claire Marta & Abrianna Denae, Amanda Meuwissen, Shane K. Morton, Faith Ryan, Bretton Sans, JP Sayle, Lynn Van Dorn, Shannon West, Toby Wise

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Samantha Santana, Amai Designs

Release Date: April 23, 2021 (limited run – comes off sale July 22, 2021

Genre/s: Contemporary, Sci-Fi, MPreg, Action Adventure, Paranormal

Trope/s: Enemies to lovers, star-crossed lovers, friends to lovers, Second Chances, 

Themes: BDSM, Hurt/Comfort, Work Place, College, Age Gap, Size Difference, Rom Com

Heat Rating:  Varied from 0 to 5 flames     

Length: about 800 pages 

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Come take a chance with us and help support the AIDs Healthcare Foundation in the process.

 

Blurb

Seventeen authors were challenged to take a chance to write something new and outside their normal box to help celebrate International Take A Chance Day. These authors went above and beyond by writing sixteen stories that span the gender and sexuality spectrum. They’ll make you laugh, cry, shout with joy as they take you on a journey through their contemporary, paranormal, science fiction, and adventurous stories.

 Desert Knight by D.G. Carothers

Taking A Leap by Toshi Drake

When Clyde Met Hay by C.W.Gray

Playing for Keeps by K.L. Hiers

Alien Attraction by Gianni Holmes

In the Twilight Hours by KC Luck

Evan’s Awakening by G.R. Lyons

Always and Only You by Claire Marta and Abrianna Denae

Silhouette by Amanda Meuwissen

A Dark Half by Shane K. Morton

Fated by Faith Ryan

The Sweetest Ache by Bretton Sans

Love’s Heart Print by JP Sayle

Catch Me If You Can by Lynn Van Dorn

Take a Chance on Me by Shannon West

Taking The Leap by Toby Wise

 

All proceeds will be donated to the AIDs Healthcare Foundation. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global non-profit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1,000,000 people in 43 countries. They are currently the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the U.S.

This anthology will only be available for a limited time.

 

Giveaway 

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Amazon Fire HD 8″ Tablet + $50 Amazon Gift Card

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4c3bdc7f8/

 

 

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Book Blast – Love Him/Hate Him by Chris Bedell @ChrisBedell #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Love Him/Hate Him

Author: Chris Bedell

Publisher: Between the Lines Publishing 

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Genre: YA LGBTQ Thriller

Heat Rating:  3 flames      

Length: 185 print pages

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited and Paperback

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK 

 

Connor is out. Liam is the secretly gay football player. Together they must navigate a hush-hush relationship while working together to solve the murder of Liam’s sister.

 

Blurb

17-year-old Connor doesn’t believe his best friend’s death was an accident. Falling down the stairs was random, and Connor can’t help but wonder if someone might’ve pushed her… 

Determined to find out the truth, Connor starts his own investigation. Along the way, he discovers Evelyn’s affair with a married man and thought she was pregnant before she died. Connor thinks he’s found her killer, but an airtight alibi forces him to look in a new direction. Perhaps closer to home. 

Complicating the situation more is Connor’s own secret – an unexpected hook up with Evelyn’s twin brother, Liam, at a party the previous spring. Afterward, Liam goes on a homophobic rant and punches Connor, leaving him confused. His confusion deepens when, after Evelyn’s death, Liam apologizes and they start to hook up secretly. 

Liam is trapped between his attraction to Connor and his abusive father. Connor struggles with his growing attraction for Liam. Their secret rendezvous are fun, but if Connor is going to have more with Liam, he’ll have to be honest about his feelings and his suspicions on who killed Evelyn. Will either survive the truth coming out? 

 

Excerpt 

I left the hair salon the following evening. 

A faint chill permeated the air, and the waxiness of the full moon glinted against the ground, providing extra lighting while I walked to my Mercedes.

Normally, I wouldn’t have picked a 7:00 P.M. appointment, but it was all the hair salon had had on such short notice.

“The fuck you doing at a hair salon?” someone called.

I whipped my body around. Liam stood about ten feet from me. 

“I’ve gotta go.” I pulled out my car keys, then grabbed the car door handle. 

“Please don’t leave,” he pleaded.

I looked over my shoulder, meeting his eyes. “Why would I do you any favors?”

“Because I wanted to apologize.” 

Wow. Lucky me, getting two surprises in less than a week. First Evelyn’s death, now this. The only difference was that there was a chance this surprise would be wanted.

 

About the Author 

Chris Bedell’s previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. His debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018. His 2019 books include his NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES (BLKDOG Publishing) and his YA Paranormal Romance novel DEATHLY DESIRES (Deep Hearts YA). In addition to his YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER, Chris had several other books released in 2020, including his YA Contemporary I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA). Furthermore, Chris graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter  |   Instagram  |   Amazon

 

Giveaway 

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$25 Amazon gift card or a $10 Between the Lines Publishing Gift Code

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New Release – Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes by Evan J. Corbin #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes

Author: Evan J. Corbin

Publisher: Atonement Book, LLC

Cover Artist: The Book Cover Whisperer

Release Date: September 3, 2020 for the print book and September 17, 2020 for the eBook.

Genre/s: Contemporary LGBTQ Fiction; Speculative Fiction; Humour

Trope/s: Fish-out of water comedy

Themes: Coming out, cultural assimilation

Heat Rating:  2 flames     

Length:  70 600 words/ 283 pages

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited and Paperback

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Atonement Camp.

Pastor Harris is only going to save his career.

But while he doesn’t want to be there, a change of heart may be just what he needs…

 

Blurb

The oldest translation of a Gospel is returned to the world by a secret society long dedicated to its preservation.  In it, Jesus explicitly condemns bigotry and homophobia. In a new world in which LGBTQ passengers receive preferential boarding for flights and the United States has elected its first lesbian President, Pastor Rick Harris is stalwart, closeted preacher who doggedly holds onto his increasingly unpopular convictions.

When an incendiary sermon goes too far and offends an influential family, Rick makes a painful choice to keep his job:  He attends an atonement camp run by drag queens for society’s most unrepentant and terminally incurable homophobes.

Atonement Camp is immersion therapy for Pastor Harris, and it might be working. An open bar with pedicures, a devastatingly attractive roommate and an endless supply of glitter help him manage to make new friends. Soon, Rick and his cohorts learn the camp may hold its own secrets.  Amid the smiling faces and scantily clad pool boys who staff the camp, a clandestine group plots to discredit the New Revelation and everything it stands for.

If Rick has the conviction to confront his own hypocrisy, he might be able to uncover the conspirators with help from his adopted flock—and find new truths within himself.

 

Excerpt 

Chapter 1

Northern Syria

It was just after sunrise. The call to prayer from the nearby city’s rooftop loudspeakers receded as Dr. Michael Donahue’s driver left a familiar road for the makeshift trails that led deep into the desert. One faith bridged to the next, he thought. Before long, he wouldn’t need the light jacket, but he wore it anyway. It was a mysterious quest, and he tugged the jacket tight around his chest.

The jeep bounced over the rough terrain as Dr. Donahue carefully poured hot water from his thermos over his yerba mate leaves. His second mate would be less bitter than the first. Each time he made a fresh tea, the leaves lost more of their bitterness to the boiling water. The same leaves could be used again and again any given morning. It reminded him of his profession. Archeology was the sober study of the forgotten—people who lived, laughed, suffered, and died, their history diluted by each passing year. Dr. Donahue was determined to learn as much as he needed to reanimate their past with subtle detail, adding context to what would otherwise be merely more than a list of dates and details for his undergraduates to memorize before a test.

As promised, a man stood by the still-empty dig site. He was dressed in a Western style—no keffiyeh or other head dressing. With short sleeves and rugged boots, his attire was more practical than fashionable. Dr. Donahue always appreciated utility and function above much else. He acknowledged that his estimation of the man’s credibility was thus-far unearned, but he nonetheless felt more comfortable in the company of the familiar. 

The site had been Dr. Donahue’s home for most of the past year. His team would return after Ramadan. Dr. Donahue’s research specialization centered almost primarily around the early Christian era. He took a certain guilty pleasure in casually admitting his atheism each semester to the newest crop of freshman at his university in Washington, D.C. Like all things, he saw it as a learning opportunity. One is not excused from understanding something just because they don’t agree with it, he’d remind them. The site itself was an early Christian refuge under the Roman Empire. Forgotten by time, but now rediscovered. Painstakingly, he and his team would uncover artifacts and consider what stories they told about the people who made them. Dust from the jeep’s tires made a gritty fog that enveloped the air. Dr. Donahue squinted, his eyes already dry. He coughed and plodded through the sand to the man silently awaiting his arrival.

“Dr. Donahue.” The professor extended his hand to the stranger.

The man took his hand and smiled. “Thank you for coming. Your research associate mentioned your name last year when he worked with us, and we immediately knew we needed to meet with you.”

Dr. Donahue fanned the remaining traces of the sand from his face. “We?”

The man flashed a half smile. “Consider us like yourself, Professor. Archeologists.”

“I would assume, but that doesn’t answer my question.”

The man chuckled. “By the end of the day, I expect that to change. Come. Follow me,” he beckoned.

Still confused, the professor followed the man down the makeshift stairs to the dig site.

“We’re not certain where it was found,” the man said, waving his arm over the site, “but this is likely close and as good a spot as any.”

“What, exactly, was found?”

The man frowned. “Technically, it was never lost. Let me be more precise. This is where it will be rediscovered.”

The professor felt his frustration growing. “What, and by whom?”

The man turned to face the professor, still smiling. “The oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark ever discovered. I’m what we refer to as a Custodiana group of people committed to protecting this draft as we have done for more generations than our history may account for.”

The professor’s jaw dropped. He looked for answers in the man’s eyes to questions he could not manage to formulate.

“Every truth has its season, professor,” the man said, lowering himself to sit next on an empty crate near an assortment of digging tools. “This region has been plagued with war. We fear that if the artifact is not returned to the world now, it may never be.”

If his research associate hadn’t already vouched so strongly for the meeting, the professor was certain he would have already left the madman in another cloud of obscuring sand. Instead he asked: “Why have you kept it in the first place?”

“It contains a passage not found in any modern text. What’s the American expression? ‘One man’s waste is another man’s treasure’? That’s how our forefathers saw it. They saw something worthy of protection until the world was ready for the message. That time is now.”

Dr. Donahue smiled. His birthday was the following week, and the realization that his research associate might have set this up as an elaborate practical joke began to seem like the most likely explanation. It wouldn’t be out of character for him, he thought.

“So, where is it?” he asked, playing along.

The man pointed to a black chest. Taking the bait, Dr. Donahue carefully lifted the lid, expecting some puppet to pop out and exclaim “Happy Birthday!” Instead, the heavy lid creaked open to reveal a scroll bound in plastic and wound over on itself. His smile faded. Even without the aid of his radiocarbon dating equipment, he could tell the document was old. Very, very old.

 

About the Author 

Evan is a member of the LGBTQ community who fancies himself as a playboy socialite, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Between work and lucid moments of sobriety, he writes a little.  His debut novel is a light-hearted work that still manages to confront religious hypocrisy and contemporary LGBTQ struggles to balance their loss of culture with new-found civil rights.  His friends say the book is great!  Hopefully, you will as well.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Instagram: @atonementbook  | Newsletter Sign-up

 

 

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