Rainbow Snippets

Writing this up on the fly as I fail miserably at keeping on point with my lectures.

Still in These Haunted Hills They’re out of the attic and Brendan has been left with Hoshi and her twin Kasumi (who is talking first)

“I don’t mean to be strange but has anyone told you have a very odd aura. I wasn’t going to say anything but it’s hard for me to take my eyes off it.”

Brendan stared for a moment, trying to figure out what to say to that.

“I agree,” Hoshi said.

“I can honestly say no one has ever mentioned the word aura to me.” Brendan knew what they were of course even before he had started researching this for the novel. It was one thing more he wasn’t sure he believed in but he was willing to entertain the notion for the sisters. He didn’t want to insult them. “What’s wrong with it?”

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

Rainbow Snippets

I survived the first week of classes. Judging by my interactions this week, this is going to be a good semester with good students so huzzah. As for me I’m far more banged up than I first thought so I’m one big bruise. HOW I hurt myself this bad just falling over my own two feet, I have no idea.

Continuing with These Haunted Hills, the team is in the attic where the ghost has manipulated their flashlights.

Brendan heard nothing but hoped there would be something on the digital recording. Nothing else happened for several minutes as they prowled the large attic. A sudden loud knock made Brendan jump so hard, he nearly fell over a box.

Josh, far more calmly than Brendan could have managed, called down to Hunter. “Did you guys knock on something?”

“No,” came Hunter’s response.

“Do that again if you can,” Cassia said and another two knocks sounded.

Brendan had to restrain himself from showing them what the fight or flight response was all about. It couldn’t be more than twenty steps to the staircase. He didn’t run for it. That would be too embarrassing but self-preservation thoughts did echo in his brain.

Finally Hoshi let out a soft sigh. “He’s really tapping my energy.”

“Okay we better go down then. Brendan want to take point?” Josh asked.

“Gladly.”

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

New Release – Unraveling by Rick R. Reed

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 13, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68300

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, deep closet, coming out, men with children, virgin, #ownvoices, humorous, EMT

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Synopsis

Randy Kay has the perfect life with his beautiful wife and adorable son. But Randy’s living a lie, untrue to himself and everyone who knows him. He’s gay.

Marriage and fatherhood, which he thought could change him, have failed. He doubts if anyone can love him for who he really is—especially himself.

With his wife’s blessing, he sets out to explore the gay world he’s hidden from all his life.

John Walsh, a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department, is comfortable in his own skin as a gay man, yet he can never find someone who shares his desire to create a real relationship, a true family.

When Randy and John first spy each other in Chicago’s Boystown, all kinds of alarms go off—some of joy, others of deep-seated fear.

Randy and John must surmount multiple hurdles on the journey to a lasting, meaningful love. Will they succeed or will their chance at love go up in flames, destroyed by missed connections and a lack of self-acceptance?

Excerpt

Unraveling
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
RANDY

I have my death all planned out.

Unlike the thirty-two years that have gone before, I want my passing to be peaceful and free of the discord and pain I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. I want it to be easy. Effortless. Guilt-free.

Whether it’s any of those things remains to be seen.

I’ve rented this hotel room at a small boutique hotel off Michigan Avenue. The Crewe House has been standing on this same ground on Oak Street for at least a hundred years. The rooms are small, fussy, and charming, with flocked wallpaper, four-poster beds, and claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks in their black-and-white bathrooms. It’s charming, and I deserve something nice to gaze at before I close my eyes for good.

I have some sandalwood-scented candles lit, and the fragrance is warm, enveloping. Their soft flicker is the only illumination. Outside, the winter sky darkens early. Dusk’s cobalt blue makes silhouettes of the water towers, train tracks, and buildings to the west of the hotel. Near the horizon the sky is a shade of lavender that mesmerizes me, makes me think of changing my mind. If a sky like this can exist, with its electric bands of color, maybe the world isn’t such a horrible place.

Maybe I can go on.

No.

What else have I done to ease my passage into whatever comes next? I have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, my favorite champagne, uncorked and resting in a silver ice bucket, filled with melting ice. A flute stands next to it, waiting.

I’ll wash the sleeping pills down with the bubbly.

Before getting into bed, I’ll turn on the cassette I have in my boombox, Abbey Road. I have it queued up to “Golden Slumbers.”

I’ve been carrying this weight for such a long time.

I long for smiles.

At last, I’ll undress and stretch out on the four-poster. I’ll pull the eiderdown duvet loosely over me and close my eyes.

The plan is I will slowly slip under, my brain becoming a soft velvety fog, and I’ll simply fall into the arms of a comforting—and obliterating—slumber.

I will not dream.

It won’t take long.

And I’ll leave a beautiful corpse.

That’s the plan, anyway. Some of my research into this method of offing myself runs counter to this gentle fantasy, but I don’t want to consider the downside of overdosing on strong barbiturates.

I want to go to sleep.

I want to forget the impossibility of being able to become the man I know I should be.

Husband.

Father.

I blink back tears as I sit on the bed, staring out at the deepening twilight. They don’t deserve this: what you’re going to leave them with. I know the voice inside, the one that’s always made me do the right thing, at the expense of my very being, is right. And even though they don’t deserve it, you know they will hurt, of course they will, but in the end, they’ll be better off.

Who wants a husband and father who can’t seem to make himself straight, despite trying therapy, the Catholic Church, the Buddhist faith, self-help groups, and self-help books. A group of pathetic married men meeting once a month and thinking they can change. Nothing works. If I could change, I would.

And since I can’t change, I’m left with three options:

Accept myself as I am. How can I do that? I’d be a failure as a husband, a father, a son, a brother. I’d go on wearing this suffocating mask. I’d continue to live a life that’s essentially a lie.

Everyone who loves me doesn’t even know me.

They love a façade, a projection, a mirage made of wishes, impossible hopes, and self-hatred.

No, acceptance is not an option. It never was.

Second, I could resist. I could knuckle down and brace myself against the attractions I feel, the dreams that pop up in my sleep despite my desperately not wanting them there. I could hold myself back from falling prey to the temptations I feel on the streets, the subway, the locker rooms—everywhere I encounter a beautiful man.

The reason I find myself here is because I can’t resist. Not anymore.

And the third option is simply the one I have to choose—remove myself from the pain. Remove myself from existing as this broken thing that God nor man can fix.

Yes, Violet and Henry both will find a way to move on, and they’ll be happier, more anchored in life without me.

Who needs a gay dad? Or a husband who, deep down, doesn’t want what his wife has to offer? Or worse, a dad who contracts the death sentence of AIDS?

Enough of the grim thoughts. They were not part of my plan. Tonight, I go out peacefully. I’ll shut my eyes and remember things like my joy six years ago when Henry was born and seeing him take his first breath. I shouted, “We got a boy!” and fell into the deepest, most effortless love I’ve ever felt. I’ll remember proposing to Violet when we were both college sophomores and the thrill when she accepted the cheap diamond-chips ring I gave her. Things will be okay now, I remember thinking. I can change.

I really believed that. And I know I love Violet as best I can.

It’s sad when your best simply isn’t good enough.

I reach over for the bottle of sleeping pills on the nightstand. There are thirty of them, and I intend to take them all, two or three at a time. If it takes the whole bottle of champagne to get them down, well, things could be worse. No?

I tip the bottle and look at the tablets against the dark wood, so innocent, yet so lethal.

I’m just reaching for one when there’s a sudden knock on the door. Loud. Forceful. Urgent.

“Randy? Randy? Open up, please.”

The door knob turns as Violet’s voice penetrates the heavy wood of the door, making her sound muffled.

I close my eyes. I could ignore her, hope she goes away.

How did she find out where I was anyway?

She wasn’t supposed to know until she got the letter, the one neatly folded and an arm’s length away on the nightstand.

Pounding. “Please!” Violet calls.

I gather the pills, shoving them back in the bottle, then hide the container in a nightstand drawer.

How will I explain?

I get up, cross the room, and open the door.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.

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Rainbow Snippets

I made it home to begin the new semester. The day I arrive my less than 5 year old TV gave up the ghost and then yesterday I took a terrible fall and banged up just about everything. Whee.

I’m continuing with These Haunted Hills (which I’d be out hiking in right now because it’s somehow 73 degrees in Ohio in Jan. except i tore up my knee). We left Brendan, Josh, Cass and Hoshi in an attic where a ghost has turned out the lights the last we saw them.

“His name was Kent,” Josh offered. “Kent, we’re here to talk. You can turn my flashlight off to show us you’re here.”

Brendan stared at the thin line of light, waiting to see what would happen. The light went off. Josh and Cassia whooped. Brendan edged toward the staircase out of the attic. The light came back on. He’d been watching Josh’s hands and knew Josh wasn’t putting him on.

“That is amazing,” Brendan said.

“I know. Can you do it again, Kent?” Josh asked and the light went back off and on.

“Is there anything we can do? Anything you’d like us to know?” Hoshi asked.

If he answered, she gave no signs.

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

New Release: Lord of Thundertown by O.F. Cieri

Title: Lord of Thundertown

Author: O.F. Cieri

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 64800

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBT, fantasy, monsters, magic, New York, contemporary, urban fantasy

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Synopsis

In the movies, Thundertown was depicted like a real town, with boundaries, Folk-run businesses, and a government. In real life, Thundertown was a block here or there, three businesses on the same side of the street, an unconnected sewer main, or a single abandoned building.

When an epidemic of missing person cases is on the rise, the police refuse to act. Instead, Alex Delatorre goes to Thundertown for answers and finds clues leading to a new Lord trying to unite the population.

No one has seen the Lord, and the closer Alex gets to him, the farther Alex gets from his path home.

Excerpt

Lord of Thundertown
O.F. Cieri © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
Sam was tired. All day long, she moved furniture in a small, dirty room in a warehouse in Brooklyn. She got on the train to go home. The conductor announced service delays, and Sam got as comfortable as she could in the glossy plastic seat.

There was no flash of lightning to signal a change. The insidious thing about the Aether was that humans were ill-equipped at handling it. Children had a better chance of being aware of it during a power surge, although they usually experienced it in migraines and blurred visions. The Folk handled the Aether best, and usually very judiciously, because the Aether was a force of nature that couldn’t be reasoned with to respect private property or the sanctity of life. It activated when called and filled the parameters set out for it, and any gap in logic released a flood of unintended consequences. The only sign of something going wrong came from the lights in the subway shutting off abruptly.

Even then, Sam didn’t panic. There were electrical surges all the time, and the lights usually came on in seconds. Instead, she remembered taking the subway with her elementary school class and shrieking with the other girls whenever the lights flickered, thrilled by the shock.

The train hit a hard bump, but rather than rocking back onto the track, the train lurched and tipped erratically. She couldn’t see the other passengers, but she could hear the impact as they thudded against the far wall. Sam managed to hold her grip as a long-empty soda can flew past her head and empty sunflower seed shells rained past. Her heart gripped in her chest as she came face to face with the fact that she’d cast her shot and landed the one-in-a-billion chance to climb aboard a train as it tipped into the river. She was only surprised by how dark the sky was.

The Aether, according to scientific inquiry, does not exist. It can not be touched, seen, smelled, tasted or heard, nor can it be weighed or measured in any other way with tools. The Aether is completely undetectable by any means except the brain; and not clearly.

The train twisted, and so did Sam’s grip. Her wrist popped as gravity wrenched it in an unnatural direction, and she fell, landing feet first on the seat she’d flown out of. Pain shot up her ankles, but the sharp jolt barely distracted her from the rattling of the carriage shaking across a hard surface. The high-pitched scream of sharp edges scraping across metal echoed throughout the train, and then suddenly ceased.

Humans have always shared the earth with Folk. There are records as early as the Kingdom of Ur, which mentions Other Lands that exist parallel to the common one. There are records as early as the written word of Great Beasts and supernaturally gifted nobility.

Sam turned on the flashlight of her phone. The windows were broken, and the foot of the train punctured through the floor near the door to the back. Someone was on the floor, trying to pull themselves up by climbing the train seat but not finding the friction, somehow. Another body sat upright, one shoe off. Slowly it raised its head and looked down at a hand that dangled lifelessly off their wrist. There was a guttural sob of pain.

When ancient kingdoms annexed new territory, they would often discover hostile members of the Folk. The ruler of the invading army would have to choose whether to destroy them, or bribe them. Soldiers throughout history have been immortalized for slaying Great Beasts in the service of their King, and similarly, simple farmers and fishermen were elevated to nobility by accepting the ruler’s authority, and recognized as the Lord of the Forest, or Lady of the Lake.

“Are you ok?” Sam asked. The words slurred in her mouth. She couldn’t be sure she was understood. She tried to stand, but her weight pitched in a direction she didn’t expect and she stumbled. She pocketed her phone and dug out a small keychain light instead. More durable, she thought. Better use of battery power. “Are you ok?”

The Lords were meant to be the arm of the state regarding the Folk, any Aetheric or ‘magical’ phenomenon. However, reports of erratic or unpredictable behavior lead Government officials to tap more amiable outsiders for traditional Lordship roles.

It still sounded like she was drunk. There was a click behind her, and the rattle of the door between the train cars sliding open. The carriage was bathed in a dim orange glow. When Sam looked behind her, she saw the train conductor holding a construction lantern. She was an older black woman, gold braids disheveled.

“Is anybody hurt?”

None of this affects the quality of life for everyday Folk. Many preferred to live in the country where private property and building laws allowed them to maintain their own standards. While cities serve as hubs of commerce, the practical effect leaves many at the mercy of a standard of living, including enforced daytime activity, above-ground dwellings, little access to fresh or saltwater, and little tolerance for symbiotic parasite bonding. As a result, many of the Folk engage in creative means to maintain their health and well-being.

“Yeah–” Sam began.

A voice cut her off, shrill and panicked. “What’s going on? What’s happening? Why aren’t we moving?”

The conductor raised her hand and tried to quiet the shouting passenger. “Calm down, please. I don’t know, but before we find out, I want to get everybody off the train. Is anybody hurt too bad to walk?”

“No,” said the person with the broken wrist. They sounded like they were in tears, muttering through chattering teeth; “No, no, no, no, no–”

“Good,” the conductor spoke slowly and calmly. “Everyone, please follow behind me in an orderly line.”

Thundertown is a well-known example, arising from an illegal settlement dug into an outcropping of Manhattan Gneiss in New York City. According to records, the Thundertown population was predominantly immigrant, with few English speakers in its first few decades.

The conductor walked down the aisle of the train, balancing against the wall for support. She led a trail of dirty and terrified people behind her, inching along as if huddling for warmth from the glow of the lantern. As she passed, Sam saw her holding a twelve-year-old girl to her waist, clutching her hand tightly. The small girl looked calm and supported the older woman’s elbow as if carrying her gently above the crowd.

The City of New York has repeatedly dissolved the Thundertown settlement.

A pair of doors hung open a few carriages in. The conductor dipped her light outside and pressed her toe down, testing to see if it was safe to leave. She clutched the side of the train door as she lowered down, her foot swinging out blindly for something to anchor itself to. Slowly, she touched down on something, and slowly she shifted her weight off the train and onto the ground beneath. The ground was flat, uniform, and unremarkable.

Unfortunately, the area is too well-known to remain closed for long.

There were no train tracks.

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NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

O F Cieri lives in New York, where she spends most of her time thinking about anything but what she’s doing at the moment. Her favorite parts of history are the fight scenes. Lord of Thundertown is her first published work.

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New Release: All the Way to Shore by C. Jane Elliot

Title: All the Way to Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Narrated by: Tim McKiernan

Publisher: Self-Published

Original Release Date: 11/23/16

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

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Synopsis

What happens when a cruise ship romance crashes on the rocky shores of reality?

Poor-little-rich-boy Jonathan Vallen is the heir to Vallen Industries, but is more interested in music and gardens. He clashes with new CEO Marco Pellegrini, a self-made man and rising star in business, who is brought in to salvage the company. Jonathan gladly leaves Vallen and moves to Cape Cod. When they meet again on an LGBTQ Caribbean cruise, Marco doesn’t recognize Jonathan, who has spent a year transforming from an ugly duckling into a very sexy swan. After Marco shows interest and sparks fly, Jonathan reluctantly assumes a false identity, egged on by his cousin Anthony. None of them expect a shipboard fling to deepen into true love.

Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s challenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.

Excerpt

The strains of a steel band mingled in the air with the tantalizing aroma of meat on the grill. Jonathan was thinking about getting something to eat when Anthony suddenly clutched his arm.

“Jonny! Over there!” Anthony practically hissed the words as he jerked his head to the right.

“What?” Jonathan took another sip of his sangria, not too concerned. Anthony got worked up about everything.

“I think that’s Marco Pellegrini!”

He lifted his head and stared in the direction Anthony indicated. A tall, dark-haired man in glasses stood surveying the crowd next to a younger woman bearing a strong resemblance to him. Both were stunningly good-looking. The man’s tousled curls were longer than Jonathan remembered Marco’s being. But when the breeze lifted them from his face, his Roman nose and defined cheekbones were unmistakable. So was the amazing body clad in a tank top and shorts ensemble that managed to combine elegance with sexiness. Damn. It was Marco. “On this cruise? I thought he was engaged or something. And straight.”

“Guess not. I knew that guy was gay!”

“I think you mean bi.” Jonathan’s mouth grew dry as Marco squinted in their direction, and the humiliation of their past encounters rose in his mind. “Oh, damn, damn it, Tony. What’s he doing here?”

He was about to turn and flee to their stateroom when Anthony said, “He’s staring at you, Jonny. I think he likes what he sees. Stop fidgeting! Let’s go over and say hi.”

“Are you kidding?” Jonathan whispered. “I never want to see that guy again. And he for sure doesn’t want to see me!”

“No? Then why’s he walking over here? My God, the man is gorgeous! If you don’t want him, I get him.”

“You—” Jonathan cut himself off because Marco was indeed strolling in their direction, the woman at his side.

Anthony grabbed Jonathan by the arm and all but dragged him closer, then beamed at Marco. “Hello, there!”

While Jonathan tried not to die a thousand deaths, Marco smiled and said, “Hello.” He showed no recognition that he’d ever met Jonathan before. What he did show, shockingly, was a rather blatant interest in him, running his eyes up and down Jonathan’s body before saying, “I’m Marco.” Jonathan had never seen Marco in shorts or a close-fitting tank before and was having a hard time breathing at the sight of his tanned shapely legs and muscled shoulders.

The woman, who had to be his sister or cousin, nodded at them and smiled warmly. “And I’m Sophia. We’re also known as the Pellegrini twins, only we’re not really twins. Just sister and brother.”

Before Jonathan could respond, Anthony jumped in. “Nice to meet you! I’m Andrew Arrington, and this is my cousin, Jonah Rutledge.”

Jonathan felt his mouth drop open. Then he gave a weak smile, still poised to flee, sure that Marco was going to recognize him any moment. “Um, hello. Where are you from?” After they got through this fiasco, he planned to kill his cousin

Purchase at Audible

NOW AVAILABLE on Kindle Unlimited HERE

PURCHASE an Ebook at the preorder price of $1.99 HERE

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.

In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop. Be sure to check out CJane’s new Facebook Group!

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Cover Reveal – The Empires of Luxor City by Sasha Hope

The Empires of Luxor City by Sasha Hope

Cover created by Natasha Snow

RELEASE DATE: February 3rd

Available to Pre-Order at NineStar Press

In the aftermath of his father’s funeral, Dom Wesa, the new Alpha of Luxor City’s Central Empire, stumbles upon an Omega in desperate need of help. The Omega, Lin Vasiliev, wakes to find he’s been taken into Dom’s home to be rehabilitated. Dom thinks the young addict may have information about the illicit drug trade going on in his Empire. He gets Lin sober to question him only to discover that Lin is new in town and ignorant of Luxor’s laws.

Dom and Lin are both suspicious of each other at first for their own reasons, but as that wariness wears away a deep attraction develops between them. Dom dotes on Lin, leaving the once stone-broke Omega bathed in finery he never could have imagined. They start planning for Lin’s upcoming heat, when they will be driven together by their kindling bond and strong compatibility as an Alpha and Omega pair. However, in the midst of their swelling romance, Luxor’s most notorious Alpha reappears sparking a gang war that threatens to turn the entire city into a battleground.

Sasha Hope

Email (public address): sasha.hope.writes@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sashahopewrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SashaHopeWrites

Blog: https://the-empires-of-luxor-city.tumblr.com/

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