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Harvest

The first ever book I published was a book called Dark Waters, this was a mammoth epic fantasy that eventually got split into three books. It feels like a life time has past since I published these stories and do you know what I really do miss these characters. So today I am going to introduce you to my debut novel Harvest (Book 1 of the Dark Waters Series).

“Line up the prisoners!” Hastings shouted.

Wey again gave Batty a warning look to comply. The Virgin Queen’s crew huddled together and were pushed into a line across the deck. The youngest was forced to sit by his dead mate and sobbed uncontrollably. Finn and Wey kneeled beside each other, their hands tied tightly behind their backs. Wey spotted Thorin waiting beneath the ship’s netting. Only his glowing eyes visible.

Hastings strode up the deck, his eyes were bloodshot and his nose had started to ooze red liquid again.

“We know you are harbouring criminals on this boat Captain!” He yelled. “If you tell us where they are I will let you and your crew live.” That was a lie and nobody believed it.

Batty thrust his head back and said steadily: “This is a cargo vessel, we are heading for Helena under the contract of the Westwick Brewery. Feel free to search for any stowaways but I assure you I can vouch for every one of my crew’s honesty and integrity. We are all law abiding, tax paying, sea folk Officer.”

Hastings began to laugh, “Search the ship!”

One of his officers remained, manoeuvring himself behind the captured crew. He was smiling insanely.

“I ask you again Captain.”

Wey spotted a figure on the navy ship. She was dressed in a uniform and appeared on deck for just a second, before disappearing below. Wey suppressed a smile. Finn had spotted her too and couldn’t believe the Officers seemed oblivious to her arrival.

“She’ll be safe for the minute,” Wey whispered.

“Captain!” Hastings screeched in a voice that sounded as though his vocal cords were shredding inside his throat.

“This is a cargo vessel, we are heading for Helena…”

A shot was fired. The young lad stopped sobbing as his body joined Mr James. Their blood mingled together, seeping into the deck like wood stain. Finn was sure the other men would cave now. He wanted them to speak up and save themselves. The responsibility had never been theirs and now they would die helping!

“Captain tell me where Mr Wey is!”

Wey’s ears pricked up. They were after him personally. He tried to stop his frown, tried to organise he thoughts. He stared at the navy ship, at the girl he had just handed over to them and he knew he had been betrayed.

“Balor,” he hissed through gritted teeth.

The barrel of a freshly loaded gun pressed against the back of his neck. He was about to speak, when his words were stolen from him.

“I’m Wey!” Finn shouted boldly.

They moved unnaturally fast, hauling Finn up and dragging him over to the main mast. Tying him to it, they slashed his shirt, and viciously flogged him before Wey could react. This was wrong, this was all wrong. Finn ignored the questions being yelled at him: Where are the others? Where is the girl? He ignored the pain and began his mantras.

“Batty,” Wey whispered desperately, “These are not real soldiers.”

Batty was in a catatonic state. He heard Wey’s words and he looked up at the soldiers ransacking his ship. He glanced over at his crew and knew that they were all going to be murdered. One girl had brought about their downfall. He smiled; there were no regrets.

Batty pulled himself up, eight of his crew, eight ordinary sailors, followed. They stared the armed soldiers in the face and, hands tied behind their backs, they attacked.

Wey dragged himself up and cut his hands loose from the cutlass of one of the fallen soldiers. He stabbed the officer flogging Finn, who collapsed to the floor, unable to stand. Wey unbound his hands and he fell free of the mast.

“Why did you do that you stupid bastard?” Wey yelled shaking him conscious.

“Get Adiah. Protect her, please, Wey,” Finn said pushing him away.

“Thorin!” Wey yelled, “Guard that boy with your life,” he said before leaping across to the navy ship.

The soldiers were untrained beasts descending on the sailors. They tore, bit, stabbed and ripped at the sailor’s bodies. The sailors had nothing to lose. They withstood everything and fought back with the weapons of the fallen. They could not win, but they could hold out and as the rain plummeted down on to the blood soaked ship they knew they had another fighting their cause.

The sea picked up quickly, separating the two boats. Uncoordinated soldiers charged at the gap between the ships, many being crushed under the rising waves. A wave hit the navy ship while the wind anchored its unmanned sails and it began to capsize under the storm. Wey stumbled across the deck, attacking the small force that confronted him. He cut through each of them, taking small wounds from each battle. With both ships unmanned they collided, the Virgin Queen began to take on water.

Wey hurried through the enemy ship. Soldiers tried to cling onto the boat as the waves crashed over them. Lightening struck the sky. Wey skidded below deck. He clambered through the mess below, wanting to call out and being concerned about drawing the wrong attention. There were so many places to hide. The ship struck another wave. Lightening flashed again and Wey could smell fire nearby. He hurried, being thrown into walls and barrels.

*

When the boat overturned she knew she was in trouble. Balor had told her she was to lay low on deck until the search was over. He said to watch the boats and wait until the soldiers started to return, then jump ship and wait for them to find her. It seemed impossible at the time and more so now. She hid from the soldiers, instead of blending in, unnoticed. Now she was lost. Memories swamped her, forcing her to stop and panic. She’d watched half her crew being murdered by him; the ogre, and she was powerless.

Someone was down in the brig with her!

*

Wey felt the plank of wood hit the back of his head. He stumbled but maintained his consciousness. Pulling himself up he quickly turned to catch the plank.

“If you keep hitting me I’m going to stop saving you,” he growled.

She dropped the wood, unsure of whether seeing Wey was a blessing or not.

“Where’s Finn?”

“Being a hero,” Wey answered distastefully. “You can swim right?”

She scowled.

 

This story is available to download from Amazon.

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Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a story set before The Running Game. I wrote the story after I published The Running Game as a sort of companion piece, but it is also a great introduction to the feel of the series. This story is available for free from most online retailers including Amazon so if you like what you read please give the full story a go – I promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget you can leave comments and feedback at the bottom of the page.

 

The world was white. So white the dark night couldn’t penetrate the layers of snow suffocating the surrounding forest. Each breath Isobel managed to push out crystallised in the air around her small mouth, sparkling under the moonlight. She pushed forward, the snow swallowing her legs to the knees in hungry gulps. Her hands and feet were numb but her thighs burned furiously with each agonising step.

It was late and she was so very tired. The last night was spent in the back of their Landrover, fighting for space on the backseat with her little sister while their Dad kept watch. It had been a cold, broken night, but Isobel would give anything to be back there now. Anything not to be walking through Red Forest in the middle of December.

She sniffed and looked behind her. Rachel was only six, three years younger than Isobel but at that moment it felt like there was a lifetime between them. Rachel didn’t understand why they were in the middle of the wilderness. She had no idea why they had to leave their mother. She had slept through their uncle running into the cottage, screaming that the army was coming. She had no idea of the danger they were in. Isobel stared at her sister as she struggled in the snow and envied every tiny, oblivious step she took.

Rachel fell and started to cry. She was sobbing for their mum, looking around the expanse of nothing for her. But Isobel knew they would never see their mother again. She took a strong heavy breath, close to tears herself. She wanted to move to help her sister but her legs refused to go back, not after the effort they had put into going forwards.

Instead she called out. “Dad!”

He was ahead of them, scoping out the safety of the forest. When he saw Rachel he hurried back, covering the ground in five easy strides. Despite the cold and fatigue Isobel broke a smile. Her father was the greatest man, he could still do anything in her eyes. Despite the snow sticking to his beard, the creases in his weather worn face, he was still her hero. He lifted Rachel effortlessly into his large arms, brushing the snow from her hair. And that’s when the gunfire started.

“Run! Isobel run!” He screamed.

He grabbed her coat as he ran past, but she stayed, looking through the trees at the erupting lights, as though the night sky had sunk to the earth.

“Isobel!” Her father shouted and she came to her senses.

They were coming! She started to run. Her feet leapt into her father’s footsteps, following his shadow as he weaved through the trees. The foliage became denser, the snow thinner. She found her feet striking firming soil, frozen dirt and icy puddles. She leapt over a ditch and her father caught her. His hand pulled her close and they huddled together into a dug out burrow off the path.

“We need to work together,” he whispered, so softly Isobel thought she was imagining them. “We’re not here,” he told them both. “Say it with me girls. We’re not here.”

Isobel closed her eyes, sinking into the warmth of her father’s wax coat. She reached for her sister’s hand and concentrated. “We’re not here,” she repeated. “We’re not here.” Over and over she focussed on the words, hearing the echo in the baritone voice of her father and the small squeak of her sister.

Time started to twist, the cold subsided and she felt herself floating against the body of her father. The explosions around her, the shouting, the danger, all started to melt away. But the power running over her wasn’t hers, it didn’t even belong to her father. The dominant voice inside her head became her sister’s, small and yet entirely commanding. She focused on it, echoing it as best she could and then she felt herself merge into nothing.

How long had they stayed like that? Isobel had no idea, but when her father broke free of their spell the militia had gone, leaving a stunned silence in their wake. The surrounding trees were torn apart with gunshot. Pieces of bark and bullet shells scattered the ground around them. It had been ferocious whatever had come their way.

“Daddy,” Rachel asked sleepily. “What’s going on?”

Isobel waited. She’d asked the question herself the night before, but she was sure her father wasn’t about to repeat his answer. How could he tell a six year old the truth? That they were caught in the middle of a civil war, insurgents and militia intent on claiming land that never belonged to them? How could he explain to her that these men didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire? That this wasn’t a fight for freedom, or liberty or any sense of lost righteousness? That this was about control and power? How could he tell his youngest daughter that she had never been in more danger, because if they found out what she was, what all three of them were, both sides would lock them away and do all kinds of experiments on them?

“We’re playing a game,” he said, stroking his younger daughter’s hair, while at the same time squeezing Isobel’s hand. “It’s called the Running Game. We have to run and hide, concentrate on not getting caught. Wherever we go, whatever we do we keep moving, counting the exits, planning our escape routes so nobody can ever find us.”

“It sounds like a stupid game,” Rachel said.

Their dad laughed softly. “It does, but you get a prize if you play it well.”

“What prize?”

“You get to live Rachel. You get to grow up, to keep running. You have to keep running baby. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.”

“When will they stop Dad?” Isobel asked.

Her father held Rachel close, as though he were protecting her from the next confession.

“They’ll never stop,” he said. “Right now we need to rest. The secret to winning the game is knowing when to run and when to wait. You’re tired. You’ve done so well today. Try to sleep now, we’ll try to get out of the forest in a few hours.”

Rachel was asleep in moments and Isobel had a suspicion her father had put her to sleep using his powers. She snored quietly, looking almost peaceful.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover,” he said to Isobel. “We’re going to make our way south, to S’aven. There’s a man there. A priest called Father Darcy. He’s an old friend. We can trust him. He’ll help hide us until all this is over.”

Isobel nodded, understanding these were instructions, not reassurances. She rolled the name in her head; Father Darcy. She had to remember it.

“Your sister, her powers…” he shook his head and sighed. “If they find her it will be bad for all Reachers.” He turned to her, his eyes warming. “If they find either of you, it will be bad honey. You’re so young, this isn’t the life I wanted for you. You need to be strong now sweetheart, you need to look after your sister. I wouldn’t trust her to anyone else.” He pushed the hair from her face. “My beautiful girl, look at you, you’re so grown up already. You make me and your mum so proud.”

She felt a lump swell in her throat.

“Whatever happens you look after your sister. Can you do that Isobel?”

Her father was a good man and she would have done anything to make him happy. She stared into his dark blue eyes and the look he gave her betrayed everything that was about to come – his death, their journey, her future.

“Can you do that Isobel?”

Would he have asked if he had honestly known what it would mean – what she would do to keep her sister safe?

“Isobel?”

 

This book is available to download for FREE. Get it from Amazon Smashwords or Kobo 

And you can add your book and others in the Reacher series to your Goodreads


Presence (Phillip Brunn Stories Book 1)

Let’s start the week with an interview from B D Fiala who is talking all about Presence, the first book in his Phillip Brunn series.

You write a series of short stories about Psychologist Phillip Brunn, can you tell us a bit about Phillip and the type of man he is?

Phillip is basically a lost soul. He is still trying to cope with the fact that he lost his job and his marriage, even though it happened almost two years before the story begins. He is doing what a lot of people do when they can’t deal with reality; they look for refuge in drinking and that’s what Phillip does as well.

Phillip encounters a ghost in your first story Presence, how does this affect Phillip?

It scares him, but he tries not to think about it as he keeps thinking about his past more than about his present. This ghost is not the first he encountered and it reminds him of tragic events that happened couple years before the story begins, but they are not completely revealed to us and we learn about them as the story progresses. He doesn’t seem to understand what exactly is going on and even though he is skeptical about ghosts, he feels that there is something there and that there is something strange going on.

Where is your story set, what is the feel of the location?

Story goes on mostly in England and also some other parts of Europe like Prague (some parts have not yet appeared in the published material). It goes on in everyday environment, there are no old abandoned houses or anything cliché like that. Everyday homes by everyday people who for some reason encounter the unexpected and disturbing events and Phillip ends up looking for explanations.

Are there any other characters in the story that are important to Phillip and can you tell us about them?

There is Lisa. That would be Phillip’s ex-wife and probably the only important person to him even though his agent and his assistant seem to care about him since they regularly take care of him and help him get out of trouble. Lisa is special for Phillip, she is the love of his life and she is gone, out of his life for good. Phillip has a hard time accepting that.

Presence is a short story rather than a full length novel, why did you write it this way and what do you think makes it better than reading a full length novel about Phillip Brunn?

There are two reasons. Number one is that I am an impatient person and since I decided, after a few years of preparation, to finally start writing and publishing stories online, I simply could not make myself wait until I finish a full length novel. Writing a short story each month and publishing it right away seemed like a better idea. Also, the reader gets to read a part of the story (depending which part he stumbles on over the internet) and he has a chance to decide whether to read the rest or not. I guess I’m saving money for someone who decides to give it a go but then realizes the story is not for him, so he doesn’t have to pay $5 for a novel, but instead pays $0.99 for a part of the story.

Do you ever plan to write a full length novel, featuring Phillip Brunn?

So far I have five stories planned and I intend to finish them. It’s possible that there will be additional stories in the future, so a novel is a possibility as well.

Outbreak is book 2 of your Phillip Brunn series, where he is encountering more ghosts – without giving any spoilers how has Phillip changed in this later novel?

Outbreak is setting up the rest of the story. There’s less ghost action perhaps and more meeting some new characters and starting certain subplots. Phillip realizes that being a paranormal investigator is a job that he has to do in order to make a living. He doesn’t really change his opinion, but he accepts the situation he is in.

What is your favourite part of the series so far (feel free to use a snippet)?

I like the general idea that was the basis for the series. The ideas is that I am trying to find a different answer to the most common question every man asks himself: ‘’What happens after death (if anything)?’’. Even though I’d describe myself as agnostic atheist, I am proposing an idea of an afterlife that people might find intriguing. I find it intriguing, but I don’t want to say anything more, just read it and wait for it to develop.

There are five books due in the Phillip Brunn series, when is the next book out?

The idea is to publish a book a month. ‘’Presence’’ came out in August, ‘’Outbreak’’ in September, so the new book named ‘’Voice’’ is coming out in October. ”Frequency” will follow in November and the grand finale ”Collision” is due around Christmas.

And finally, after Phillip Brunn what is next for B D Fiala?

I am writing a Sci-fi novel that goes on in the future, on a colonized Earth like planet. It’s called ‘’Brand New Earth’’ and it’s a story about a small tribe that is trying to survive deep in the woods, as far away from other people and Earth’s old technologies as possible. Of course, things are never that simple, and people are more or less always driven by the same needs, a need for love and a need for power and consequently end up fighting wars and suffering because of it.

I am also developing ideas for three different novellas, writing poems and trying to find someone who would like to draw a comic based on some of my crazy ideas, so if someone happens to be reading this and wants to collaborate, look me up as I’d be glad to hear from you. I am open to different genres, but I would like to work with someone who draws fast since ideas seem to be coming to me on a daily basis.

All in all, I’ve got a lot of creative work in front of me that I’m looking forward to.

In the end, I wish to thank you for this interview and wish you luck with your web page!

You can pick up the first and second book of the series here: http://www.amazon.com/Presence-Phillip-Brunn-Stories-Book-ebook/dp/B00MHYJHE2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1407473449&sr=8-2&keywords=b.d.fiala

Or add the books to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8440690.B_D_Fiala

 


The City of the Mirage

It’s the end of the weekend and today we’re featuring author Jerome Brooke who has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about his book The City of the Mirage.

 

 

I think with any fantasy novel setting is always important. Can you describe to us your world and the influences you have had in creating such a place?

My Dark Empire of Astarte is set in the Multiverse. We live in a Cosmos that is one among many. Over the eons our children will sail to the stars and seed them with life. Astarte is one of the last born on our world, Sol III. She is the Great Queen, and is worshiped as a goddess in her realm.
We sometimes speculate that our reality is only one plane of existence – a cosmic cluster of galaxies. We also ask – where is everyone? A civilization should expand and fill the galaxy. Are we the very first, with a cosmic destiny?

What type of character is Astarte?

I wanted someone who was unlike the usual hero armed with a sword, with our own conceptions of right and wrong. She can be cruel, a “Dark Lord.” Her story is a Dark Fantasy. She has lived for eons, and seeks mortal lovers to amuse her. That is, she seeks to find a warrior to make her life interesting for a time. She needs a hero to fight and conquer for her entertainment.

The Conqueror is an ally to Astarte what is their relationship like?

The Immortal Astarte is a really Older Woman. The Conqueror is repelled by her savagery. However, she is powerful, and passionate. She gives him fine garments to wear, and delights to see him triumph in battle.

She is proud of her lover, and delights in war as a way to excite her, and as a cure for boredom.

A lot of people are put off by huge fantasy books, but The City of the Mirage is quite short for an epic fantasy – is it still packed full of adventure (and can you tell us some of the things that happen).

The hero is one of an Archetype. His adventures are akin to those of Beowulf. He leads her army into battle, and displays the valor expected of a hero. He also is handsome, and women respond to his valor and battle scars in an atavistic fashion (an instinct?).

The novel appeared as a serial in a magazine. Each chapter can be read as a separate, like the Conan or Sherlock Holmes tales. There were at one time long and short versions, and it all depends of what publishers will like and buy.

Astarte is obviously a name taken from Greek mythology, are there other Greek influences?

In the Empire, people wear garments like those of the classical world. These are tunics and capes, and loincloths. The weapons and armor are also taken from the eras of Rome and Sparta, and the Teutonic tribes. I imagine the same for the Conan and Gor series.

Are there any films or books that you would say are similar to The City of the Mirage?

I use the Conan and Gor books as a model. The Conan stories can be read alone, but share the same age and world. They have elements of a novel or saga. The same is true for the many books and stories of the Dark Empire of Astarte series, and also my other related series.

What is your favourite part of the story?

The final battle to serve Astarte is one I like. The enemy lord is beheaded, and his head is placed on a pike. The lips of the man still move, as if animated by an otherworldly vitality.

The City of the Mirage is part of a series called The Dark Empire of Astarte Collection, how many books are in this series and how many (include titles) are available to readers.

Under various pen names I have hundreds of books, stories, poetry chaps, collections and anthologies. The F&SF is mostly under the Jerome Brooke byline. There are 15 books on Amazon in the series (search under Brooke Dark Empire). However, there are related spin offs and related books and series.

How big is this series going to be and where do you hope to go with it?

I like the universe I have created for Astarte, and I issue new editions or revised versions as time permits. However, I am working on new unrelated series – series that are much more popular. So, the adventures of Astarte may or may not continue.

What about Jerome Brooke – after The Dark Empire what’s next for you?

I am writing the newer Kitti Katzz series, a series of sexy stories that are much more popular with readers than my F&SF. For example, I have recently put out a collection of “Sister Wives” books written as Kitti Katzz. Another resent series is my “Ladyboy and Her Girlfriend” books. Other like sets are ones that focus on Boss Ladies, Fantasy Maids, Uncensored Case Sexology Studies and so forth.

Another related series are the “Sister Severa” and “Mother Superior” series written as Juliet Baranne. Still another recent series is my Voodoo books of paranormal genre written as Joan Barron.

I am able to write the Kitti Katzz books quickly, and they are usually more popular among readers than the F&SF. However, The F&SF has some appeal to some readers, so I may do more if time permits. I live in Thailand, and have a family here. These are unsettled times, in this Kingdom of Siam.

 

You can download this book here from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/City-Mirage-Empire-Astarte-Collection-ebook/dp/B00JEVEDS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411169996&sr=8-1&keywords=city+jerome+brooke

And read more from Jerome Brooke: http://runesofthebard.wordpress.com/


Tim On Broadway

Today I have a great interview with Rick Bettencourt who is talking about his latest novel Tim On Broadway.

 

So Tim on Broadway is your new novel, can you tell us a bit about it?

I’d be happy to. First off, thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here. (You are most welcome).

Tim on Broadway: Season One is a funny yet emotional journey about an overweight, twenty-something, gay virgin who his obsessed with getting tickets to see his favorite performer. When the book opens, we learn Tim has been fired from his job at a grocery store for sexually harassing an employee. As we read on, we discover it takes two to tango.

Tim on Broadway is a journey of self-discovery. It’s about believing in yourself in order to succeed in both love and life.

I had a lot of fun writing it. I hope that comes across the page.

You originally released Tim on Broadway as a series, what made you want to do it this way and what was the response you got from your readers?

The story reminded me of a TV show—like maybe Glee or The Office but made for HBO. I thought what better way to compliment that than to release it in episodes. It’s now available as one volume/novel—thus the “full season” in the title. The episodes started in June of 2014. The first being completely free, and still is. The initial episode is about one-third of the story, much more than the typical ten percent a reader would get from downloading a novel’s sample on Amazon.

Each week I released a new episode. After the sixth and final episode, the entire novel came out in one full volume.

The response I got was excellent. People felt that getting a decent chunk of the book for free allowed them to test the waters before committing. It’s done fairly well. I’m pleased.

Since then, Tim on Broadway has been picked up by Beaten Track Publishing—a boutique publisher in Lancashire, England—and on September 15, 2014 the full season was released in paperback.

Tim, from your blurb, sounds a bit of a… well dare I say it loser. Can you tell us a bit more about him and why you decided to write a character that wasn’t tall dark and handsome?

I like my stories to have an element of truth to them. None of us are perfect. I find it hard to relate to flawless characters whose only issue is finding true love or buying the right shirt to compliment his bicep cleavage. Blah! Boring! We all have problems—whether we’re a bit overweight, shy or have a crooked nose—it makes us unique. We can relate! I don’t think Tim’s a loser at all. He’s loveable, fun, quirky and a romantic at heart. He’s just like you and me.

But have no fear. While Tim may not be the conventional hero, there’s still plenty of “eye candy” for readers to ogle over.

If you were trying to describe Tim on Broadway what books, or films, or TV shows would you compare it to?

A reader recently compared Tim on Broadway to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. I love Maupin, so I took this as a huge compliment. In regard to film, I’m a Bette Midler fan. The creation of my character Carolyn Sohier was inspired by Bette and her film The Rose. There’s The 40-Year Old Virgin for obvious reasons. And, as I mentioned earlier, Glee or maybe The Office might be a good television show comparison.

The book is set in Broadway, following a theatre obsessed Tim, how much research did you have to do into the setting and into the theatre, or was this something that you have an interest in yourself.

I’m a former actor. I went to NYU for theatre and had a few bit parts here and there in the industry. Nothing huge. My biggest claim to fame was having a walk-on role in a TV show filmed in Seattle, which starred James Earl Jones. I was a thug in a police station. We used an old elementary school for the set. It was fun, but long hours.

I was also a big, purple pill in a pharmaceutical commercial. And my car got more airtime in a Massachusetts Lottery bit than I did.

I’ve always been fascinated by showbiz. But one important thing I discovered in struggling to make it as a performer was that I didn’t really like it! I know. Big lesson. But I learned that I was more comfortable behind the scenes and less in the spotlight. I would rather be at the canteen talking to the other actors and crew than to be in front of the camera. I also liked watching the actors interpret their lines. That’s how I turned to writing.

Your back catalogue mainly stays in the genre of gay romance, when you write are you intentionally targeting a gay audience or do you feel the books are accessible to a wider audience?

It’s funny you should mention that. While my books involve gay characters, most of my readers are self-described as straight. I write what I know. I am openly gay, but I like to cross genres and do so by being true to myself and realistic. I think that doing this is also being true to my readers.

One reviewer of Tim on Broadway said it best. “You don’t have to be a Broadway fan (or gay) to appreciate it.” We’re all passionate about something in our lives. And we can all relate to Tim’s plight.

As a writer of gay fiction this must be a really exciting time for you. I can’t think of a time when gay romance has been so popular, but also culturally there are some big steps being made in history for gay rights. What do you think work like yours contributes to our society and do you feel that there is a bigger, more open minded reader base ready to pick up your work?

I write because I believe stories involving gay characters need to be more in the public eye. How many bestsellers have you seen primarily involving an LGBT life? While the LGBT community has made great advances over the last few years, there are still children being disowned from their families because of who they are. That’s just wrong. I believe the more realistic our lives are portrayed, the more likely the acceptance. We’re really not all that different. It doesn’t matter who somebody can love.

I think every author has a character, or a scene, or something about their book that is there personal favourite. What is your favourite bit in Tim on Broadway?

Oh, it’s got to be the shower scene. About half way through the book, Tim finds out that other men shave their private parts and he never has. He figures that maybe doing some “manscaping” will help him get lucky. It’s a very funny scene.

So Tim on Broadway blog tour is happening now. Once it is done what is next for Rick Bettencourt?

Right now I’m writing the second season of Tim on Broadway. Plus I have a Christmas story coming out around Thanksgiving time. I also have the prequel to Tim on Broadway, which is about the diva who Tim is infatuated with in Season One. So, keep in touch. The best way to follow me is to get on my mailing list. I’m forever writing to my readers, getting their feedback and giving them little freebies here and there.

 

So you can read more about Rick Bettencourt and his work (and his dog) here: http://rickbettencourt.com/

And you can download Tim On Broadway now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L5AYW3A?tag=writincom02-20


Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories

This week I’ve been chatting with Jaysen True Blood and he has been telling me all about his book of short stories. Here’s what he has to say:

 

 

Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories is a real mix of genres, is there a running theme or style that unites each story?

Not really. I am a “stream of consciousness” writer.

This book is in two volumes, should the stories be read in order and how are the volumes different to one another?

The only stories out of order in the book are the westerns, and I didn’t realise it until after publication. Other than that, the others that are part of a series are all in order. But as a whole, the stories can be read in any order.

So let’s pick your favourite of the short stories – tell us a bit about it.

I would have to pick the title story, “Mexican Radio”. I had the silly song running through my head when I began and thought: “wouldn’t this make a great story? Then, I put the main character in the most impossible position I could-a staged prison break that he uses to his own benefit, and that of the female lead. Although there are so many excellent stories in these two books.

Who is your favourite character in all of the stories and what sets him/her above the others?

I would have to say either Fancy Marsh or Guy Marlowe. Fancy, because he carries a buffalo gun and knows how to use it, and Guy because he is fast with both guns and at cards.

What locations feature in your stories, are they based on real places?  

Most of my stories could be located anywhere, except a few sci-fi, but I do mention L.A., Baton Rouge, and a few other US cities, but there is only one-the historical fiction piece-that is based solely on fact…with conjecture mixed in.

Overall how many stories feature in each volume and how big on average is each story?

Book 2 has 23 stories and the Book 1 has 14.

Who is your target audience for Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories?

Anyone who likes a good story and loves adventure, no matter where the action takes them.

So you have your favourite but is there a particular scene you can show us from any of the stories?

As I raised up out of my hiding place in the backseat, she looked in the rear view mirror. As I scooted to a position right behind her, she thrust her can of mace in my face and commenced to sprayin’. I bellered in pain and surprise. Even though she was chokin’ on the mace herself, she didn’t let up until I knocked it loose from her grasp.

“Are ya stupid?!?” I exclaimed, eyes, nose and throat burning as if I’d swallowed a match and splashed gasoline in my eyes.

(From “Mexican Radio”)

And finally what is next for Jaysen True Blood?

I have two novellas, “Bad Company” and “The Faust Syndrome”, due out in a couple months and am working on a third. I also have another collection in the works.

 

You can download Mexican Radio and Other Short Stories now from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mexican-Radio-Other-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00FLL00GM/ref=la_B00IUNJWFI_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411485010&sr=1-4


Route Number 11: Argentina, Angels & Alcohol

On the 22 of this month we featured an exclusive from Harry Whitewolf’s Route Number 11: Argentina, Angels & Alcohol and Harry has very kindly returned to answer some questions about his book.

 

 

Route Number 11 is a true story – is this your story or someone else’s and can you tell us more about it.
 
It is indeed my own true story, although as I say at the beginning of the tale: “This story is true, but then truth is always subjective,” because any true story will always be biased from the writer’s point of view. I chose to write it in a third person narrative so that it’s somewhat detached from me; it allows me the freedom to play a character- who is frank and open, as well as being a bit of a caricature.
 
The book itself is about my backpacking trip to Argentina, and across neighbouring borders into Chile, Paraguay and Brazil. Being fresh out of a long term relationship and following spiritual signs is what led me there in the first place.
Route Number 11 is a book set in Argentina following a character as he travels around. The character is nameless, why didn’t you want to give him more of an identity and can you tell us more about him.
 
The nameless tourist is so called for several reasons. His lack of identity fits the desolation and isolation of much of his journey. Being newly single, he’s attempting to let go of the past and find a new future; coupled with being in a foreign land where he’s immersing himself in the Nowness of Being. The journey is about him trying to find a new purpose, a new future, and a new self.
 
To quote from Route Number 11: “He’s (been) trying on different faces, seeing if one will fit. He’s not who he used to be after all… That’s why tragedy exists. To break old patterns and move on. The company of others has allowed him to be the chameleon. He’s melded into each new person he’s met. Become a part of someone else’s world; tried their way of living on for size.”
 
I have wondered whether readers of Route Number 11 have picked up on the fact that ‘the tourist’ is never capitalised- for The Tourist would be as much of a name as any other.
Can you describe to us the type of things that the character sees (feel free to use snippets from the book).
 
It might thus far sound like a story of isolation, but there’s plenty of action and an array of people he meets along the way. His journey shifts from ultra hedonistic, girl chasing, beer drinking behaviour to peacefully climbing Andean mountains with incredible condors in the sky. Here’s a few snippets from the book:
“Driving down deserted early morning roads. Round and round. Round downtown. Through naked streets. Lips pursed on two litre bottles of beer, but pursuing the lips of freedom’s night. Swapping cars. Winding up at karaoke bars or Bolsi- the best place in town. For the food. For the folk. For the service. For the crema de papaya. And for that late night dawn’s whiskey coffee.”
 
“Sea wolves with salty manes and blubbering bellies that engulf their whole bodies, lie on top of each other in piles of perfect ugly beauty. He stands amongst them in the sand, as they groan and murmur in restless dry voices.”
 
“Iguazú Falls certainly is one of the greatest natural spectacles on the planet. It makes Niagara look like a dripping tap.”
 
The character is guided by signs on his journey, can you tell us a little bit more about this 11:11 Phenomenon and how it is dealt with in your book?
 
As I say in the book: “You’ll have either heard about the 11:11 Phenomenon or not and chances are you ain’t, unless you’re affected yourself or have a crazy friend affected by it.”
 
Years ago, I started ‘seeing’ 11:11 everywhere. I’d look at a clock and it’d be 11:11. Change in a shop would be £11.11. A document I’d written would be 111 words. A pay cheque I received was for £1111.11. At the time, it was just an odd quirk- and I saw it as a part of my synchronistic communion with the oneness of the Universe. But years later, I found out that thousands and thousands of people around the world have been experiencing the same thing, and all thought they were the only ones experiencing it. Some believe it’s a spiritual wake up call, some believe it’s the sign that we’re living in a computer programme and, of course, some see it as being boll**ks!
 
11:11 accompanies the tourist in Argentina as much as it does anywhere else.
This is a book for “any man that’s been lost after losing his love,” is this a personal loss you have felt or is this tackling wider issues? Can explain the foundations of this story – where did it come from?
 
Nine months after a messy break up with his soulmate, the tourist finds himself boarding a plane for Argentina. How many others try to escape from such things by moving on literally? Whether it’s a romantic relationship coming to an end, or a close friend dying, such things often seem to force us into living and behaving differently and more irrationally. To quote from Route Number 11 again:
 
“Ultimately, everything and everyone is gained and lost. The bit in between is life with its lessons, adventures and fun.”
Who are your target audience with this story?
 
The book is written in beatnik type prose, structured unconventionally, and often poetic and alliterate- a little like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg or Hunter S Thompson, but still with my own unique voice at the centre. Though at the same time as being the fast moving, hedonistic, beat driven narrative that it is, it’s also coupled with more reflective spiritual insights and motives of looking for purpose, like a Paulo Coelho or Richard Bach book. I describe it as a “Mind, Body, Spirit book with sex, drugs and reggaeton”, as hopefully it will appeal to readers of the beat generation, or William Sutcliffe’s Are You Experienced, or the Douglas Coupland layabouts, as much as to those that enjoy travel books, memoirs and spiritual ponderings. I guess it’s the Beat version of Eat, Pray, Love.
What is your favourite part of the story (again you can use a snippet if you like)?
 
It’s got to be the first chapter, where the writing of it seems to be as much of a blur as living it. “Three whole non-stop weeks of Devil City dancing and drinking,” in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. Here are some tasters:
 
“Scoring coke at the jazz club, just because he can. Snorting coke at someone’s somewhere house. Suggesting a club at two a.m and then: banging and hanging, winding and grinding and drinking. Sinking one after another. Getting down at the conversely called Glam club.”
“The humid hustle of the market, with the smell of burgers, bacon and butchered naked meat. Fruit, fresh tobacco, dirt, desperation, contentment and money.”
 
“Fishing for punters in fishnets, Paraguayan prostitutes stand bored on street corners.”
 
“Third night? Third week? The tourist doesn’t persist with his question. The city’s the best one. The tourist’s on the go. The tourist’s in the know. Knows the locals. Knows the travellers. Knows the hip bars. Knows the hip clubs, and the strip clubs.”
 
And finally what is next for Harry Whitewolf as an author?
 
My second book is nearly ready to be published: The Road To Purification: Hustlers, Hassles & Hash. It’s a sort of sister book to Route Number 11. Want an exclusive? Well, O.K! Here’s the not yet seen blurb to the book:
 
When Mad Harry spontaneously books a flight for Egypt, he doesn’t know that he’s about to embark on a fate given pilgrimage.
 
In fact, he’s not even sure why he’s going, or what he’s going to do when he gets there.
 
All he knows is he’s got to get away.
Guided by signs in numbers, names and otherworldly encounters, Mad Harry’s trip often seems to be a magical manifestation of his mind.
A crazy headed, hassle driven, sleep deprived, dope smoking journey with non-stop tests of trust and temptation.
A holiday this is not.
This good humoured true story is told in a frank, rhythmic and playful voice. Set in 2010, shortly before the revolution, it’s a backpacking odyssey through tremendous temples, towering pyramids, chaotic cities, small villages and dirty beaches, with a backdrop of ancient spiritual gnosis!
A post-modern, pot smoking Egyptian pilgrimage. 
And check out Harry Whitewolf’s Author page on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7156759.Harry_Whitewolf
Or his personal site: http://www.harrywhitewolf.com

 


The Science of Loving

Before we go any further I have to put up a warning. The following contains scenes of a sexual nature and adult language. The Science of Loving is an erotic novel from Candace Vianna so if this is your thing then read her exclusive extract.

Him:
I woke next to a sleeping angel. Her lips pursed as her eyes shuttled back and forth beneath her eyelids—that had better be me she was kissing in her dreams—her hair was a disarming mess, sticking out in some spots, dried sweat gluing it flat in others; her creamy skin was patched with beard burn. I liked her wearing my marks, but the idea of other guys seeing them didn’t sit well with me. Last thing I wanted was some tool seeing how fuckable she was, or worse, looking down on her thinking she was easy. She was mine and I wasn’t sharing.

Shit, my bladder was ready to explode, but after yesterday morning’s freak-out there was no way I was letting her wake up alone. Grinning, I tickled her nose, her lips, making them twitch. She rolled over, burying her face in her pillow, leaving me no choice, but to go looking for other things to tickle, starting with her shoulders. I began tracing little circles over her skin.

“Mmmmm…” She stretched sleepily, rolling over, sliding her leg around me making my cock jump as the duct tape bands scratched my skin. She stopped breathing, her body no longer relaxed. I guess she noticed.

“Morning, sweetness.”

“Morning,” she mumbled, shyly burrowing into me.

“Much as I would love wiling away the morning in your arms, nature’s been calling me for a while.” Flipping the sleeping bag open, I took a moment to admire my properly fucked woman. I fingered the band on her wrist. “I really hate removing these, but they might raise a few eyebrows, not to mention some really uncomfortable questions.” I crawled over her, returning with my penknife. “Wrist.” I slipped the knife under the band, sawing until the tape gave way. I briefly massaged her wrist—I need to find something that doesn’t leave marks—then went to work on the others until she was band free.

“I hear you awake in there.” The tent rattled from Danny’s abuse. Fuck, I hate early risers.

“Yeah. Yeah… Give us a minute.”

After tossing Angie her jeans and last night’s tee, I yanked my shorts on and left to thwart any further assaults on our tent.

“Morning Biggie.” Danny smirked.

“Morning,” I grumbled. “Where’s Brett.”

“He went for a walk. He’s been up for a while.”

“I take it he’s another early riser.”

“Boy howdy.” The pleased look on her face was warning enough to change the subject.

“Avery?”

“Car.”

“Shit, I’d hoped he’d crawl back under his rock during the night. I guess we’re breaking camp early.”

“Yeah, I figured as much. Before you leave, we should make sure Dad can get the RV closed, just in case, ya know?”

“Uh huh,” I said, dropping Angie’s shower shoes at her feet after she climbed out of the tent, steadying her while she squiggled her toes under the straps.

“Morning Brain, nice hair.” Danny grinned at Angie’s bedhead. This was definitely a Kodak moment. Dammit, where’s my phone?

“Same back at ya, Pinky.” Maybe I should lend her a hat. Naw… This is too funny not to share.

“Ooh, someone’s feeling feisty this morning. I knew Biggie’d be a good influence.”

Angie blushed. “I need a shower.”

“No shit, you guys reek.”

“Fuck off.” I said after faking a silent laugh. I turned, offering Angie my arm, “Come Angelina, let us ignore this philistine and attend to our morning ablutions.”

Strutting off with our noses in the air—well, my nose anyway—we ambled through the campground, enjoying its unique flavor at the start of the day. The night’s dewy softness had yet to burn off, and snores and groaning, hung-over murmurs drifted on the shifting breeze, mixing with notes of smoke, trees and mold, along with occasional dashes of vomit and latrine.

Her:
“I wandered into the showers not really thinking. Apparently Mat’d found an on/off switch that led directly from my mouth to my brain. Shit! I almost had a heart attack when I spied the dark haired disaster victim walking next to me. I spun, and stared at my reflection. Now Danny’s ‘nice hair’ remark made a lot more sense. Frizzy clumps of hair were sticking out from my head at odd angles while other spots were smashed flat, making me look something like the Elephant Man—yeah, if he stuck his finger in a light socket—this wasn’t my typical bed-head. I didn’t know what this was—Fuckhead. I had fuckhead—shit, Mat’d seen me like this—oh, my God, he let me walk around like this! That asshole.

I jumped in the shower without thinking, letting out a girly squeal when the frigid water bitch slapped me—Bitch slapped? I’ve been spending way too much time around Danny; my inner voice was beginning to sound like her. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to end up with intimate piercings and covered in tattoos—I scraped my scalp vigorously then turned to my body, noting more than a few tender spots. I wasn’t sore exactly—okay I was sore, but in a good way—and the water burned where it struck raw patches. Muscles unaccustomed to use were tight, and my groin felt deliciously bruised. All in all, I could finally say I’d been well used and thoroughly debauched.

I was just bundling my dirty clothes in my towel when the fem-bots strolled in. “Hey guys,” I said, not wanting to be rude.

“Hey.” Suzi grinned. She was by far the nicest, if not too terribly bright. The others’ just ignored me. Like I care.

Mat was waiting tensely outside. He blinded me with a broad smile when he saw me and I melted—then frowned. Wasn’t I mad about something? But it was impossible to be mad at someone who looked and smelled so yummy. “Hey baby.”

“Hey.” His eyes roam over me, his smile widening when they reached my curls. Shit, my morning fuckhead. You rat bastard.

“I should be mad at you.” His smile faltered.

“Should be? Does that mean I’m forgiven?”

“Yes, not that you deserve it. Good thing you’re so pretty.” I swiped at him lightly. I couldn’t bring myself to beat on him the way Danny did.

“Care to share what offense my manly charms have overcome?” he said as I made a half-hearted attempt to escape his ogre arms.

“I looked in the mirror.” His smile returned full force then grew so wide his eyes crinkled. “I can’t believe you let me walk around like that. It’s your fault you know. It must’ve been all that hair pulling last night.” The fem-bots walked out just as that comment left my mouth. Shit.

“But baby, you wear just fucked hair so well,” Mat drawled, tugging one of my curls, earning me another round of nasty looks from the lingering bimbos. Awkward…

“That wasn’t just fucked hair. That was rode hard and put away wet hair,” I hissed making him laugh. “Thank God, everyone was still sleeping when we walked over here—oh, shit, Danny… She’s going to tease me for months.”

“Naw.” The bald headed freak grinned. “Years.” That damn smile didn’t leave his face the entire walk back. Jerk.

There was more activity around us now. Our fellow campers were emerging from their tents and RVs, turning wisps of smoke into clouds as campfires were stirred back to life. Pots clanked and excited Spanish blared from a radio tuned to a Mexican station. Avery cut a forlorn figure as we approached, huddling dejectedly under the canopy. The men didn’t acknowledge each other. Mat just continued on to the camper’s open door, dragging me in after him, the spicy scent of chorizo immediately making my mouth water.”

 

You can buy this book from Amazon now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MXC0E2C

And find out more about Candace Vianna here: 

https://www.goodreads.com/Candace_Vianna
https://www.facebook.com/candaceviannawrites

http://candaceviannawrites.tumblr.com


Route Number 11: Argentina, Angels & Alcohol

Today it’s the turn of Harry Whitewolf, take a look at this exclusive from Route Number 11: Argentina, Angels & Alcohol.

 

 

CIUDAD DEL ESTE

or

Claustrophobic Electronics

Ciudad del Este ain’t like anywhere else in the world.

There’s one reason for visiting and one reason only: shopping.

Mostly anything can be bought in the city of the east, but its main trade is cheap electronics. iPhones, iPods, laptops, Sat Navs, Notebooks, Androids, hard drives, Hi-Fis. Wi-Fis, PCs, TVs, CDs, DVDs,

USBs, Blackberries, Apples, Oranges, Dongles, Tom

Toms, pompoms, rom-coms and bonbons… You name

it. It’ll be there.

No one visits for more than a day. In fact, a whole day is way past most people’s stamina.

Capitalist and black market bartering by street sellers, stall holders, shopping mall salesmen and overly sexily dressed señoritas.

Jack and the tourist ride the bus across the bridge from

Brazil to Paraguay, without any border checks whatsoever. Best to walk back from the bus stop to border control and ask if they need their passports stamped.

“Hoy solo?” the man asks. Si, they’re only visiting for the day. No need for stamps. It’s fine to just wander in to Paraguay.

It’s raining so hard that it feels like Iguazú Falls may have spilt over into the heavens.

Ciudad del Este is dark skied, depressing and crammed with bodies of business. The backside of Capitalism.

And the two travellers are walking through its shit, hands tightly holding on to wallets, in a Blade Runner landscape on the brink of post apocalyptic living.

“Amigo, amigo…” “Señor, señor…” Desperate Paraguayan people push into them, peddling their wares.

Opium, cocaine and marijuana are offered within the first ten minutes. They join the conveyor belt of buyers and barterers, like they’re in the mad house of a movie director’s mind.

Nothing to see except for department stores, shacks and stalls. Whore houses on the horizon. Motorcycle taxis

touting for fares. Sexy store assistants flirting for foreign currency, by bending over in red uniformed skirts, exposing long legs to tempt any prospective male shoppers.

No matter what expectations you may have of Ciudad del Este, having heard the same story from any traveller that’s braved the city, you’re bound to still be bowled over. The city most certainly lives up to the hype.

A few hours is plenty enough time. There’s nowhere to go and nothing to do other than shop. Lunch is had in a mall. Coffee is had in a market style area of shacks and stalls, covered by a loose tarpaulin; the rain hitting it hard.

Get the hard drive Jack’s come for, and get the hell back to Foz. Not that there’s anything to do there either.

It was worth coming for the sheer mad frenzied spectacle of Ciudad del Este. It was also worth coming for those oh so hot and sexy Paraguayan women who

had eyed the tourist. Maybe he should think about

visiting Paraguay proper after all. But nobody goes to

Paraguay. It’s the one place still overlooked by the tourist trail. A good reason to go then.

 

You can download this book from Amazon now: http://www.amazon.com/Route-Number-11-Argentina-Alcohol-ebook/dp/B00DSCBFFQ/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1411047810&sr=8-1&keywords=route+number+11


Clipped

Today I’ve got an exclusive from author Michelle Vongkaysone and her novel Clipped – don’t forget you can comment on this post at the bottom of the page.


 

The years have scarcely touched either of you, I see. Don’t hesitate, I’ve grown since last we all met. Don’t fear me, I need to make peace with all this now. It feels so long ago, doesn’t it?
So long ago since the ocean’s fury threatened to drown the earth. So long since the baking heat threatened to roast the earth dry. Far away it was since greater forces were summoned to quell those furies, water and land alike. Forces I captured and tamed for your benefit. For the greater good.


For a moment, you two were like gods of old, weren’t you? Masters of land or sea, modern-day Poseidon and Demeter, I suppose. You claimed your actions were for the best, and I am inclined to believe you. Your intentions were “noble”, not your methods, mind you.


Still, earth and sea are inclined to destroy as much as cultivate life on their own. So cocky were you two to urge their forces to bend to your wills. But the road to hell was lined with good intentions until it crumbled beneath our feet.


I don’t wish ill on either of you. I presume you’re doing well after all’s said and done. There’s something to be said of resilience. Of how water and earth and wind grapple among themselves, yet keep our world fit for us to live in.


What I’m trying to say is that I needed closure regarding our past. I can’t say what happened was ideal. I can’t say it hasn’t left it’s marks. But it’s made me that much stronger. That much more hardened for life, like a clay figure fired in an oven.


I wish you two the best in future doings. I hope you’ve learned and grown from the experience as I have. Thank you for offering such things to me, whether I wanted them or not.


You can download Clipped now here: http://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Vongkaysone/e/B00NEVL1RS