New Release! No Good Men by Thea McAlistair

Title: No Good Men

Series: The Caro Mysteries, Book One

Author: Thea McAlistair

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 16, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 65100

Genre: Historical, LGBT, 1930s, Age gap, Historical, Gay, Dark, Mystery, Anxiety

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Synopsis

In 1934, almost everyone struggles to pay the rent, and Alex Dawson is no exception. To support his writing habit, he moonlights with his mentor Donnie as a bodyguard for the mayor. It’s dull work, until the night a handsome, golden-eyed stranger catches his eye–and both his boss and his mentor are killed when his back is turned.

Jobless and emotionally adrift, Alex vows to find the murderer before the corrupt police can pin the blame on him. But he soon discovers he’s in over his head. The golden-eyed stranger turns out to be a mob boss’s cousin, and a suspicious stack of money in Donnie’s dresser leads Alex to discover that his mentor and the mayor were involved in something more crooked than fundraising dinners and campaign speeches. As the death count rises amid corruption, mob politics, and anarchist plots, Alex realizes that the murders aren’t political or even business. This is the work of a spree killer, and Alex and his new boyfriend are the only ones who can stop them.

Excerpt

No Good Men
Thea McAlistair © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Mob money could buy a lot, but apparently it couldn’t buy taste. Every single architectural detail of the Ostia struck me as garish: from the chandeliers dripping crystals to the thick wooden accent panels to the gold-painted cherubs carved into the tops of the columns. But my opinion didn’t matter; I was just hired muscle.

The club had opened the previous December—about two seconds after booze turned legal again—and attracted all sorts of upper-class clientele, including my boss, Mayor Roy Carlisle. They called him the White Knight of Westwick, and he ran on the rather ironic platform of driving various ne’er-do-wells out of the city. But again, not my business. My job was to hover just behind him in case something terrible happened. Nothing ever happened though, no crazed attackers or falling pianos. The worst crisis I’d run into in the ten or so months I’d been working for him was a freak rainstorm at a garden party, and I had to hold my jacket over his wife Emma’s head to protect her hair.

Still, it was a dollar a night to stand around, and that was more than other people were getting. The Depression had wiped everyone out, including me. If I hadn’t taken up bodyguarding, I would’ve been thrown out of my room in the boardinghouse faster than I could say eviction. Writing pulp stories wasn’t a lucrative day job, and even less so at the beginning of a career.

Which was why, despite my thoughts on the decor, I was pleased to be at the Ostia. Everyone said they had the best acts in town, and I couldn’t disagree. That night they opened with a pretty, button-nosed redhead. She was French, or at least she had a good enough grip of the language to sing in it. I didn’t know what she was singing about, but it sounded sultry enough as she made eyes at our table.

Carlisle lapped it up, ignorant or indifferent to Emma turning bright pink beside him. She didn’t say anything though. Maybe she’d taken a lesson from other political wives and learned to swallow her pride or risk becoming divorced and destitute. Not that she didn’t deserve to be proud. She was still pretty at thirty-five—ten years Carlisle’s junior—blonde and delicate with huge blue eyes.

She must have gotten her looks from her mother, because her father had the smashed face of a bulldog and towered over even my own six feet. Seated to his daughter’s left that night, Marc Logan also stewed in silence, his hand alternately crumpling the napkins and patting Emma reassuringly on the knee. His own blue eyes, the haunting color of old ice, bored a hole into the side of Carlisle’s head.

Their dinner guest for the evening, Mrs. Green, likewise noticed his glare and apparently decided the best course of action was distraction. “Emma dear, did you see what Miss Kepler was wearing the other night at the Peterson soiree?” she tittered as she coiled the chain for her hanging glasses around a finger.

“Hmm?” Emma turned her head just enough to keep her husband in her peripheral vision. “I’m sorry; what were you saying about the Kepler girl?”

“Her dress!” exclaimed Mrs. Green. “It was scandalous! So low-cut. Anyone would have thought she was selling herself. Her father should never have let her out of the house like that. Don’t you agree, Mr. Logan?”

Logan blinked slowly, no doubt trying to come to terms with the dullness of a conversation centered on someone else’s clothing. “While I have to agree that she was… improperly dressed for the occasion, it is quite difficult for a man to say no to his daughter once she’s gotten her mind wrapped around something.” He glanced at Emma, who smiled weakly.

Mrs. Green continued along the thread of scandalous attire, but I let my attention slip back to Carlisle. Oblivious to the rest of his table, he continued to stare at the French singer. While such behavior wasn’t unusual for him, that night it was so obvious that even I was becoming uncomfortable. I glanced at my watch and suppressed a groan. It was only half-past ten. Donnie wouldn’t be around for another hour and a half.

“Are you feeling all right, Mr. Dawson?”

My attention snapped to Emma. “Yes, ma’am,” I answered, hoping she hadn’t noticed my boredom.

Her mouth quirked like she was in on some joke I didn’t know the punchline to, but she said nothing else. Instead she turned to her father, placed a hand on his shoulder, and whispered something in his ear. He grunted in response. Carlisle didn’t notice the exchange, or maybe didn’t care. Mrs. Green kept nattering away.

The song stopped, and the French girl took a bow. We all clapped, Carlisle too enthusiastically, and Emma barely at all. The girl swept off the stage to a table off the wing for a break, and she was replaced by a dark-haired woman with too much makeup. The new woman sang with a rough alto voice, occasionally throwing appraising looks at Carlisle, though he didn’t return them. Once the French girl left, his attention had returned to the food. The rest of the table did the same.

With my charges occupied, I took the chance to look over the room again. Nothing out of the ordinary. Diners, waiters, a glossy bar at the back. The maître-de waving through a man who had just entered… I realized I knew the man weaving his way between tables. Donnie was terribly noticeable with a thick, out-of-fashion beard and pocket-watch chain draped across his waistcoat. I looked at my own watch again. It was only eleven.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Thea McAlistair is the pseudonym of an otherwise terribly boring office worker from New Jersey. She studied archaeology, anthropology, history, architecture, and public policy, but none of those panned out, so she decided to go back to an early love – writing. She can often be found muttering to herself about her latest draft at completely inappropriate times.

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New Release ! Time Turns by C.B. Lewis

Title: Time Turns
Series: Out of Time, Book Four
Author: C.B. Lewis
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 16, 2019
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 123500
Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, science fiction, gay, transgender, British, anxiety attacks, time travel, super nerdy Scottish genius

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Synopsis

As a consultant analyst for the most technologically advanced firms in the country, Danny Ferguson knows he’s seen a lot of crazy stuff, but nothing comes close to his newest position at the Temporal Research Institute, the world’s foremost time travel organisation.

The corrupted piece of code Ferguson found on the TRI’s closed network is a serious concern for Lysander O’Donohue, the director of the TRI. Unable to trust his own people—any one of whom might be the source—he’s forced to put all his trust in Danny to solve the mystery of the corrupt code and find the identity of the enemy within.

But when an unexpected temporal gate opens, a straightforward code analysis becomes something a lot more complicated.

Excerpt

Time Turns
C.B. Lewis © 2019
All Rights Reserved

They said the veins of Danny Ferguson ran with coffee.

He told them to sod off as he downed his second espresso.

Cassandra snickered as she poured some milk into her own cup of tea. “Well, when you over-caffeinate and give yourself a heart attack and die, don’t come crying to me.”

“Ha!” Danny struck a dramatic pose, gazing into the distance. “I’m immortal!”

“You’re a knob,” Shiv said with a snort.

Danny ran his finger around the inside of his cup, catching the dregs, and licked them off. “Jealousy doesn’t suit you, Shiv.” He rinsed out the cup and set it down to dry. “Catch you at lunch.”

“One day,” Cassandra called after him as he headed towards the canteen door, “you’ll take your full tea break like a normal human being.”

Danny spun around. “And one day, you’ll beat my stats and get my bonus!” he called back and then widened his eyes in mock shock. “And one day, pigs’ll fly!”

“Knob!” Shiv repeated.

Danny grinned as he headed out into the hall.

The caffeine had kicked in already, giving him a nice buzz. He didn’t need it, but sometimes, a jump-start didn’t hurt when he was stuck on monitoring all day. It was the dullest part of the job, but he could hardly be on coding every day. It was only fair to give everyone else a chance to catch up.

He’d been working with IDD—International Digital Development—for nearly a decade, straight out of his PhD. They needed people with a good eye for coding and anomalies and had gotten his attention with a stupidly high salary that had exceeded all expectations.

Still, they couldn’t say he wasn’t amazing at his job.

He stopped at the door and waited for the scan to sweep his face, then held his fingertips over the sensor, tapping the pattern for the week. The door slid open, and he wandered into the sprawling office he shared with three other coders.

“What’d I miss?”

Ravi glanced up through the projection in front of him, raising his eyebrows. “In the ten minutes you were gone?”

“Rav farted,” Ekaterina said, pausing her own screen. “So much excitement.”

Ravi rolled his eyes at her. “Nothing. You missed nothing.”

Danny wasn’t surprised.

Monitoring could be bloody tedious. His quad had the week’s rotation on monitoring: a full day’s shift of sitting and auditing code for external clients, assessing for glitches and anomalies overlooked by the computers. Sometimes, there could be minor problems. Once in a while, it was a bug that could—if left alone—start a chain reaction and break everything. Mostly, it meant sitting on your arse all day, admiring the amazingly complex codes some of their clients had come up with.

He settled in his seat, reclining the chair back as far as he could.

The chair had been one of his greatest triumphs.

When he started working at IDD, he had one of the usual workstations with a standard ergonomic monstrosity of a seat—the ‘in’ thing for any office. Maybe they were scientifically good for you, but Danny hated it. He’d end up on his feet all day, pacing as he scanned the code, and, apparently, distracting people.

He had to sit, his manager had insisted because everyone else needed to concentrate too. Danny had agreed, and he’d ordered a better chair, paid for by himself. The fact that he chose the biggest, comfiest reclining armchair in the building was a minor technicality.

His boss had hit the roof about it, but Danny cheerfully argued the semantics. It ensured he worked his best; his numbers had shot up since he’d gotten it; no one was being distracted; and he’d paid for it out of his own pocket, so no harm done. He ended up winning the right to keep the chair.

Thus began a long and glorious rivalry with his line manager.

He pulled the projection of his latest project up in front of him, wrapped it around the front of the chair, and set it scrolling. This particular vast batch came from some anonymous external client. He’d worked with their stuff before. Once you were familiar with a particular style of code, you didn’t easily forget it.

Sometimes, they were told who the clients were.

Most of the time, they were left in the dark.

They could make guesses, but it was anyone’s money because unless some big news story broke as a result of something they’d uncovered, the likelihood of finding out the client’s identity fell somewhere between slim and nil.

Danny put on some Rachmaninoff in his headphones and settled back to focus on the code whirling around him. Beautiful, complex, and intricate with layer upon layer folded into it, whoever had written it had to be doing some incredibly hi-tech stuff.

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NineStar Press.
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Meet the Author

C.B. Lewis is small, Scottish and writes pretty much anywhere, any time. She loves to travel and tends to bring home at least four new plot bunnies from every trip she goes on. She’s very excited to continue the adventures of the Out of Time series.

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Rainbow Snippets

I’m running out the door to the Paw Paw festival but I thought I’d get this posted first.

Still continuing with These Haunted Hills. Brendan has agreed to go back to Josh’s place (with Cassia in tow) to examine the evidence of their night of ghost hunting.

Brendan wondered if it had been the safe thing to do, agreeing to come to Josh’s house. He knew this could be a bit awkward but why should it be? He was here to do a ghost investigation not anything else. Though Josh’s dimpled chin invited nibbling, which still had the capacity to shock him. Was he finally returning to life?

Pushing that aside, Brendan took stock of Josh’s space. The old farmhouse was nicely done, painted blue which had been a shock. Inside, however, was exactly what he expected. Books everywhere, on the couch, overflowing from book shelves, stacked on a table. Also on that coffee table were several file folders that might be things for him to grade. He knew Josh was in the last week of class which he probably shouldn’t be taking him away from that work. Josh didn’t seem to mind but given his level of fandom he’d probably be willing to pull an all-nighter to be sure he had time for Brendan.

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’m finally settling a bit into this online class I’m teaching but I swear it might be the death of me. It’s not leaving me much time to write and now I’m into full fall festival mode. Love this time of year.

I’m still continuing These Haunted Hills, Josh, Cass and Brendan are wrapping up a late night of ghost hunting and Josh doesn’t want Brendan driving through dark, rural Appalachia by himself. It’s a bit long so I can finish the thought.

“We could do this another time or if you wanted to do it tonight, there are plenty of hotels in the Athens area.” Josh made a face. “I feel guilty making you pay extra for this. We’ll be going back to my house to do the review. I have a couple spare bedrooms and if you were comfortable with that, you can stay there. Sometimes Cass does too.”

“I could stay tonight if need be,” she put in hurriedly. He and she had talked about this at the cabin while Brendan had been poking around. They thought maybe he’d feel less like Josh was trying to put the moves on him if she was there as a buffer.

Brendan shot them a look that said he might think they were high. “I’d be fine with that if it’s not an imposition. It’s already pretty dark outside, right? If you’d rather do the evidence thing another time, I’m fine with that too, but I wouldn’t mind staying the night.”

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!

Where have I been all summer?

If anyone has been paying attention, they’ll have noticed outside of a few Rainbow Snippets I’ve been silent all summer. I wish I could say it was because I was hard at work but that would be a lie.

All I’ve done writing wise was some Christmas shorts (all of which have been picked up so that’s a good thing. No, my creativity was stolen and my silence born out of a truly hellish year.

I think I blogged a bit about the fact that my university is one step from closing. We lost over a third of the faculty to firing and more have quit in disgust and/or running from a sinking ship. I’m planning to do the same but my age, and my lack of research papers hampers me (this is a teaching school that didn’t allow for much research). Needless to say that dented my psyche badly.

I went home to Pittsburgh with my family for the summer. I was hoping for some rest and recovery but Mom had injured her foot. From the moment I saw it I knew it would go badly. In my former career, before my injury, I was a podiatrist. I wasn’t wrong. On my birthday she was admitted to the hospital and a few days later had to have her big toe amputated, a surgery I’ve performed many times.

At least I was there to help with the recovery, I mean who better right than a podiatrist? But my entire summer was then spent helping Mom which wasn’t easy because no one wants to watch their parents losing body parts but better that toe than her whole leg which it would have come to had this amputation not happened.

The only bright spot was going to Ireland and Wales on the research fellowship I had been awarded. And I got to go with a very good friend which made it better (even though she didn’t get much say in what we did since while for her it was vacation for me, it was work. Okay Ireland was vacation). It was an excellent trip (traveling there and back aside as that was stressful and full of mischief). Not only do I have good ideas for my research papers, I’m bursting with settings and story ideas. I’ve been to Wales before but never Ireland. I want to go back there so badly. And our guide was a friend I made last time in Wales, she runs Archaeotours and is an archaeologist. I recommend that tour group.

I came back to a hellish semester. I’m teaching more in one semester than I would in a year normally because of all the lost faculty and the fact they had so many interested in my brand new online pathophysiology class that I now have three sections and no home internet because the landlords cut through the lines. For three weeks no internet.

My only hope for salvaging anything for writing will be nano which I’ll be struggling through. So that’s why it’s been so quiet this summer.

Rainbow Snippets

Wow it’s been nearly a month since I’ve been gone. I temporarily have internet at home (but the cable for it is lying in the grass waiting for a lawnmower to find it). Turns out my idiot landlords didn’t call before digging and placing french drains (which we needed) and severed phone, internet and tv cables to the whole complex and did nothing about it. Sigh. Hopefully I can catch up with my three online classes enough to catch up with all of you!

Still working with These Haunted HIlls picking up where we left off with Brendan and Josh ghost hunting with Cassia, Josh’s friend and it’s getting late in the evening.

How about you, Brendan? Ready to call it a night?”

“Sure, if you think we’ve done all we can here.”

“I think you’ve gotten the basic idea of what we do. Next time out, we’ll take you out with the whole team on a fresh investigation where we don’t know what to expect. That should be fun,” Josh said.

“Is this the part where you go over the evidence, like we did with the hotel?” Brendan waggled the recorder obviously eager.

“We can but here’s something I should have thought of earlier and I feel like an ass because I didn’t.” that much was true. It had slipped Josh’s mind how unfamiliar Brendan was with this piece of Appalachia. He prayed Brendan didn’t think he was scamming him. “If we try to do this tonight, it’ll be pretty damn late by the time we’re done. I’m not sure how safe it would be for you to try to get back to the cabin.”

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!

Guest Post – Grace R. Duncan – Overcoming Fear

 

Four things I learned in the re-release of Overcoming Fear

 
I hope Jana doesn’t mind that I went with four things instead of five, but hey, Overcoming Fear is a short story! We’ll go with that, right? 😉

It’s harder to edit an old story than I expected it to be. When I thought about rereleasing Overcoming Fear, it never occurred to me that it would be even remotely difficult to go back through it, tweak it and get it ready for publication. But five minutes in, I found myself second-guessing pretty much everything! It took a lot of effort to keep myself from completely rewriting the whole thing—the exact opposite of what I was trying to do—and simply focus on editing.

It’s intimidating when you’ve been out of the loop for so long. This is more about the release/publicity side of things, but I found myself super-nervous just asking people for help with promo and cover reveals. It felt a little like I had forgotten what the publication process was even like. Oops?

There is a ridiculous number of phrases particular to a US region and anyone outside of those seems to think you’re batshit when you try to explain them. Overcoming Fear uses a phrase I remember hearing for as long I’ve lived—“Hello the house (http://historicalhoney.com/hello-house/)”—though I have no idea where I learned it. It was just something I’d remembered as a way people announced their presence back before doorbells were a thing. I figured that since people didn’t get normal visitors anymore in the Pandemus world, then they weren’t likely to feel safe just knocking on a door. Thus, “Hello the house” seemed like a reasonable option. When I originally published OF, at least one of the editors had never heard of it and this time, at least two of my proofreaders hadn’t heard of it. I ended up having to link to a video (https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/cc04cb1a-39b8-4d3c-a4a6-3e6a5cec4034) for the editor to not question me.

Memory only goes so far when finding the setting. Google maps is a godsend for this. I grew up in the area that Healing and Overcoming Fear were set in. I spent my high school around the lake Mark and Duncan end up on. Yet, despite very clear pictures in my head, it took an astounding amount of time to remember where any of that stuff was. I still ended up having to take generous liberty with the area, and next time, I think I’ll just not count on my memory.

Thanks again to Jana for giving me some space today! You can find Overcoming Fear at Amazon and it is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

 

noh8About Grace:

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

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