Tag Archives: release day!

New Release – New Boy at the Academy by Sam Hawk!

Title: New Boy at the Academy
Series: Tales from the Academy, Book One
Author: Sam Hawk
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 25, 2019
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 79800
Genre: Contemporary YA, LGBT, YA, /1980s, Southern US, high school/academy, bullying, coming-of-age, coming out, homophobia, family drama

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Timmy had no clue that the first day of 10th grade at the Academy would rock his world. He thought it would be just like last year, with its endless bullying and recesses spent reshelving books in the library with his best and only friend Carleen. The sissy boy and the fat girl had bonded over their shared outcast status. But Carleen shows up filled with sassy confidence and declares they’re going to rule the school. By Christmas, the freaks and nerds would be the cool kids, and the mean girls and jocks would be the outcasts. Something had happened to her over the summer, but what?

And then, the two of them lay eyes on the new boy at the Academy. Doug has auburn feathered hair, veiny biceps, and green eyes the color of Sprite bottles. Plus, he’s come all the way from exotic Los Angeles, California. He rocks out to Patti Smith while Timmy loves ABBA. How does someone so cool end up in tiny, conservative Edgewood, South Carolina?

When Carleen immediately declares Doug a fox and her new prospective boyfriend, Timmy is shocked at his jealous reaction. He’s not supposed to like boys in that way, is he? Doug stirs up weird new emotions deep inside him as Timmy embarks on the adventure of his life. He and his hometown will never be the same.


New Boy at the Academy
Sam Hawk © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Edgewood, South Carolina


God didn’t answer my prayers and bring the Rapture on Labor Day, so I had to start tenth grade after all. I stepped in front of the mirror to assess my new back-to-school outfit. I hated it. I’d begged Momma to buy me the alligator shirt from Belk’s, which really cost her a lot, but did it have to hug my body so much? I tried stretching it out, but it would only stretch so far. I thought I’d look like Tom Selleck with his big veiny arms. Instead, I looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I was trying to flex my chest when Momma walked in.

“Honey, get a move on. We have to be out the door in fifteen minutes, and you haven’t even touched your Pop-Tarts.”

“Momma, I think I need to change clothes.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked as she pulled and tugged on my shirt. “This is what you wanted. You look very handsome.”

“But it fits so close.”

“Timmy, I have told you time and again you’re not fat. It’s all in your head. You are absolutely average on the height and weight scale and exactly where you need to be at fifteen.” She patted my tummy, causing me to suck in. “You’ll lose that little bit of pudge in no time in gym class.”

My heart sank at the thought of gym class, and I almost lost my appetite for Pop-Tarts. Almost. Momma smoothed down my cowlick at the kitchen table as I bit into the brown sugar cinnamon pastry.

“Thank goodness you inherited the Ashburn hair,” she said. “Such a beautiful chestnut brown and such a noble hairline. It’s a sign of your aristocratic heritage, you know, on my side of the family. All the Ashburn men had beautiful hairlines. Thank goodness you take after me and don’t have your daddy’s stringy mess.”

I guessed my hairline was okay, but my new haircut was way too short. Daddy had taken me to get it cut only after Momma called him ten times to remind him. He and Momma got divorced when I was two, and it was always weird when he came by, which wasn’t often. Naturally, he took me to the awful old barbershop next to the pool hall instead of the new unisex salon in the Augusta Mall I was secretly hoping for. He told the barber to “buzz it” and then went next door for a beer. I managed to talk the barber into keeping a little length, but not much.

“Now go brush your teeth quick as a bunny rabbit,” said Momma. “Carleen’s mother called this morning and said her car’s not running and could I run by and pick her up for school. So, we have no time.”

Carleen’s house was across the tracks, and I knew Momma didn’t like going over there, but Carleen had been my best friend since kindergarten. Actually, you could say she was my only friend. She was the only one I talked to for hours on the phone at night; the only one I hung out with after school; the only one to ever invite me to a sleepover, which Momma had never allowed me to do since boy-girl sleepovers just weren’t done. I hadn’t seen her all summer because she’d been working at her grandparents’ peach farm. I was glad we’d be going to school together on the first day. I needed my friend with me.

We pulled in front of the house, and Carleen came right out.

“Good Lord, Carleen’s put on even more weight this summer,” said Momma.

Momma was right. Carleen had always been the biggest girl in class, and she wasn’t getting any smaller. I recognized her smock top from last year. A smock top was supposed to fit loose, but hers pulled in all the wrong places.

“Hey, Carleen,” said Momma as Carleen got in the car. “You sure do look pretty for your first day of school.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Thompson,” said Carleen. I waited for an eye roll, but she just smiled at Momma like she really believed it. I looked at her more closely, and there was something different about her. Was it confidence? If so, it was new. Was that lip gloss she was wearing?

“Hey, Timmy, did you hear we’re getting a new boy in our class this year?”

“No,” I said, dreading the addition of another redneck bubba to the roster.

“They say he’s from California and he’s real cute.”

“Really? California?” said Momma. “What’s he doing here?”

“I think his momma’s people are here. He’s related to all those Herlongs.”

“Does that explain the lip gloss?”

“Timmy, don’t be rude,” said Momma.

“I just wanted to look pretty for the first day of school,” replied Carleen.

“And you do,” said Momma.

When Momma pulled
up in front of Patriot Christian, Carleen looked me square in the eye and gave
me a big smile and a thumbs-up.
“Come on, Timmy.
We’re gonna rule the school in tenth grade. Let’s do it.”


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

Meet the Author

Sam Hawk’s fiction is inspired by his experiences at a private Christian Academy in rural South Carolina in the ’70s. He survived his Southern adolescence with his sanity relatively intact and went on to earn degrees from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Law School. He also served in the U.S. Army as a JAG officer for twelve years. He resigned his commission when it became clear he was expected to persecute homosexuals as part of his job.

Sam then moved to Dallas, Texas where he met the man of his dreams and found his LGBT family. Sam and his husband have been married for over ten years and live with their Corgi and Chartreux cat in the requisite charming old house in a historic district where gay couples are legally compelled to live.

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New Release- Conviction by M.D. Neu!

Title: Conviction

Series: A New World, Book Two

Author: M.D. Neu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 25, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 103900

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, Space travel, aliens, politics, grief, interspecies romance

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A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends and a husband.

After the attack on San Jose, Todd is appointed to Special Envoy for Terran Affairs by the nentraee, a position many world leaders question. Undeterred Todd wants to build bridges between both people. However, this new position brings with it a new set of problems that not only he, but his new allies Mi’ko and Mirtoff must overcome. Will the humans and nentraee learn to work together despite mistrust and threats of more attacks by a new global terrorist group, or will the terrorists win? Will this bring an end to an already shaky alliance between nentraee and humans?


M.D. Neu © 2019
All Rights Reserved

“I believe this should be adequate.” Mi’ko checked his datapad to ensure all the proper requisitions had been finalized. He glanced around the room again with a pleased smile.

“Do you think he’ll enjoy living here?” Mi’cin asked.

They were here to inspect the quarters he had selected for Todd in the secured area of the speaker’s ship. He could have left it up to Vi-Narm or one of his other aides, but this was important and he needed to handle these details personally. Todd was important, and he wanted to make sure everything was perfect. Plus, it was an opportunity to spend more time with Mi’cin.

“Mister Todd Landon was adamant about staying in his own home and commuting, but it’s not practical.” Mi’ko ran a hand over the desk, then checked his fingers for dust. “And with the rise in protest against us across the planet, it’s not safe. Even though his government insists it is.”

“If you say so,” Mi’cin said. “He didn’t strike me as very logical after our brief meeting.” He went to one of the windows and opened it. “It would be nice to have quarters like this for myself. Does he need all this space? He’s one male.” He inhaled deeply and viewed the park below. “It smells like home. But it’s a replica, not the real place.” His nose crinkled.

“Mi’cin, don’t sulk. Our living situation isn’t that bad, and you are not a child.” Mi’ko put a hand on his son’s arm and squeezed. “I know you hurt. We all ache for our home, but these ships are our home, for now. It’s a pain we all share. By working with the humans, especially Todd, that pain and the loss of our home will lessen.”

Mi’cin’s expression fell. “Assuming the humans will work with us.”

“Please be supportive.” Mi’ko frowned. “I understand you have your misgivings, but please.” He inhaled, smelling the damp trees. “And since when have you not enjoyed the ship’s gardens?” He looked out to the woodland where several tall trees, paths, and waterways ran in countless directions.

The grounds were replicas of some of the famous parks on Benzee and her satellites. The ship’s builders gave as much space as feasible to allow people the chance to enjoy the open space. The artificial light that mimicked the day-night cycle of Benzee had gradually been adjusted to the length of Earth’s day.

“He does, indeed, have a better view than us, but that’s all right.” Mi’ko grinned and thought.

This new position for Mi’cin will help focus him. Give him a chance to interact with the humans and learn about them.

“A view of space would have been equally nice,” Mi’cin said, “but I doubt he’d be used to such a thing.” He turned back to the window. “Such a waste.”

“I assure you it’s not a waste.” Mi’ko ran a hand over the soft fabric of the chair. “Considering the nature of this position. Plus, I thought a view of nature and all the fresh scents would make him feel more at home. It will give him a sense of what Mentra Park was like.”

Mi’cin clucked his tongue.

“What?” Mi’ko questioned. “That was one of your favorite parks on Mentra. You made me take you there whenever we went to visit my parents. You loved the views of Benzee.”

Mi’cin said nothing.

“Mi’cin, please.”

“As you wish, Father.”

“I’d like to ask you to assist Mister Todd Landon to help him acclimate,” Mi’ko said. “It’s going to be hard for him at first. Even though he’s been studying our language and culture—”

Mi’cin’s sigh muted his father. “Of course. I’ll do my best. You have my word. Besides, isn’t that what your aide is supposed to do?”

“True, but this is the first time I’ve had an aide who’s my son.”

“Well, Vi-Narm can’t do it all, and your other aides are busy,” Mi’cin said. “I can use the experience, as you and Mother both keep telling me.”

“I can think of no one better to support me.” Mi’ko focused on his son. “You know, you’re both very quizzical, so you will be good for each other. I hope you can become friends.” He reached out and gently touched Mi’cin on the cheek.

A soft chirp came from the door. It opened to reveal Vi-Narm. Her tightly braided hair had a few wisps out of place; her breathing was heavy.

“Vice speaker, there is a problem with the Envoy position. General Gahumed, with the support of General Fanion, is calling for a special session in the council chamber.”

“What now?” The muscles around Mi’ko’s eyes twitched and the tips of his ears started to warm. It had been like this for several weeks. These continued issues with his own people were taking far too much of his time.


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

Meet the Author

M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric, his husband of eighteen plus years.

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Sunday Small Talk

It’s been a long time. Nano will do that to you. I did ‘win.’ It’s nowhere near done but hey at least I have that much. It was a novel that fought me every inch of the way.

December is usually an off writing month for me. Oh I’m still writing but it’s the one time of year I really do a lot of fan fiction. I don’t visit my roots often any more. Who has the time? But SO many of my friends came to me via fan fic so I spend this month writing little gifts for them. It makes me happy.

I’m prepping for January. I have printed out the last 50 odd pages of These Haunted Hills so I can get back into writing that and ditto an old shifter novella I have sitting here that I think I can do stuff with if I just sit down and get to it. That’s where I’m at.

Also I DO have a new short story out for the holidays. If you’d like to check it out, here it is. I’ve been posting snippets of it and I think that I DO need to do a proper post for it since there is some things about Purrfect Holiday I want to say because it’s special in several ways to me.

But as a taste here: purrfect-holiday
Blurb – Tony Gatti had his life planned: get his veterinarian license and go to work with his dad and uncle. Soon after achieving his goals, he learned the shadows and blurriness in his vision went beyond needing glasses. Retinitis Pigmentosa is a genetic mutation with no cure. With his sight almost gone, he moves into his grandmother’s St. Augustine, Florida home with his guide dog, Raven, to start life over. Nonna Concetta thinks she knows the perfect job for him. Her vet is looking for someone to destress the cats at a local rescue.

Javier didn’t plan to hire a cute former veterinarian to fill the role of cat cuddler, but Tony couldn’t be more perfect. Worried his attraction is inappropriate and knowing the holiday season always depresses him, Javier wonders if he should ask Tony out, or if he’d just be spreading the gloom to someone who already has enough of his own. But if he takes the plunge, could it turn out to be the best holiday ever?

You can order it here at DSP

And it’s been almost a month since Blood Red came out.

Blurb Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

You can find it on Amazon here or at my publisher here

And now the links, oh the links

Taking Character Relationships to the Next Level

Lyrics In Books: Your Questions Answered

10 Biggest Book Marketing Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

Organizing Your Writing Life With Trello

Joy Is Important To Success As An Author

Sarra Cannon of Heart Breathings ~ Tips For Success In 2019 As An Indie Author

Three Ways to Add Tension to a Scene During Revisions

Take Charge of Your Creative Life: The SWOT Analysis

The Writer’s Vision for 2019

Why the Story of the Starving Artist Needs to Die

Grand Finale: Two Strategies for Writing Great Story Endings

3 Good Reasons to Write a Sequel

How To Consistently Write 3500-4000 Words Per Hour

Getting Started With Worldbuilding I need to really sit down with this one.

How Do You Bring an Inexperienced Hero to a Fight?

What’s Your Writerly Unique Selling Point?

Authors Interviewing Their Characters: Patricia Harman I’ve done this one. It’s fun

How To Sell Books: My Marketing Journey

Angie Thomas on Code-Switching, Hip Hop & Her Book’s Namesake Tattoo

Why Is Writing So Difficult? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

How Mindfulness Can Help You Enjoy Your Book Release Day

Stagecraft and the Novel: Writing Advice From Leanna Renee Hieber I could use some of this (also I need to contact her about the upcoming steampunk thing

Form A Daily Writing Habit—It Will Improve Your Life I’ve been trying to do this with the write every day thing

Why I Write, Katie Kennedy

Chaos to Order When Writing A Novel

3 Common Plotting Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Novel

The Fear and Joy of Writing on Proposal

Vision Boards for Authors

New Release! The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth

Doesn’t this look great? I love Scott’s SF novels. Check it out.

The Rising Tide

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.”

Earth is dead.

Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Control the AI, control the people.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.

Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Series Blurb: Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

DSP Publications | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Scott is giving away two prizes with this tour – a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of “The Stark Divide,” book one in the series (US winner only for the paperback). For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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The Rising Tide Meme

Eddy Tremayne rode his horse, Cassiopeia, along the edge of the pastures that were the last official human habitations before the Anatov Mountains. Several ranchers along the Verge—the zone between the ranches and the foothills—had reported losses of sheep and cattle in the last few weeks.

As the elected sheriff of First District, which ran from Micavery and the South Pole to the mountains, it was Eddy’s responsibility to find out what was going on.

He had his crossbow strapped to his back and his long knife in a leather sheath at his waist. He’d been carrying them for long enough now—three years?—that they had started to feel natural, but the first time he’d worn the crossbow, he’d felt like a poor man’s Robin Hood.

He doubted he’d need them out here, but sheriffs were supposed to be armed.

He’d checked with Lex in the world mind via the South Pole terminal, but she’d reported nothing amiss. In the last few years, she had begun to deploy biodrones to keep an eye on the far-flung parts of the world, but they provided less than optimal coverage. One flyover of this part of the Verge had shown a peaceful flock of thirty sheep. The next showed eight.

The rancher, a former neurosurgeon from New Zealand named Gia Rand, waited for him on the top of a grassy hill. The grass and trees shone with bioluminescent light, and the afternoon sky lit the surrounding countryside with a golden glow. The spindle—the aggregation of energy and glowing pollen that stretched from pole to pole—sparkled in the middle of the sky.

The rancher pulled on her gray braid, staring angrily at something in the valley below. “Took you long enough to get here.”

“Sorry. The train was out of service again.” Technology was slowly failing them, and they had yet to come up with good replacements.

She snorted. “One helluva spaceship we have here.”

He grinned. “Preaching to the choir.” Forever didn’t have the manufacturing base yet to support anything close to the technology its inhabitants had grown used to on Earth. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you asked him. With technology came new and better ways to kill. He’d seen it often enough in the NAU Marines. “What did you find?”

“Look.” Her voice was almost a growl.

Eddy looked down where she was pointing. “Oh shit.” Her missing sheep were no longer missing. They had been slaughtered.

He urged Cassiopeia down the hillside to the rocky clearing. A small stream trickled down out of the mountains there. He counted ten carcasses, as near as he could tell from the skulls left behind. Someone had sheared a couple of them and given up. It looked like they had skinned and cut the rest up for meat, the skin and bones and extra bits discarded.

Gia rode down the hillside behind him.

“Didn’t you report twelve sheep missing?”

She nodded. “Bastards took the two lambs. Probably for breeding.”

“That actually might help us.”

“How’s that?”

He dismounted to take a closer look at the crime scene. “They’ll have to pasture them somewhere. May make it easier to track them down.”

“Maybe so.” She dismounted and joined him. “This was brutal work. Look here.” She picked up a bone. “Whatever cut this was sharp but uneven. It left scratch marks across the bone.”

“So not a metal knife.”

“I don’t think so. Maybe a stone knife?”

He laughed harshly. “Are we back to caveman days, then?” It wasn’t an unreasonable question.

She was silent for a moment, staring at the mountains. “Do you think they live up there?”

“Who?” He followed her gaze. Their highest peaks were wreathed in wisps of cloud.

“The Ghosts.”

The Ghosts had been a persistent myth on Forever since their abrupt departure from Earth. Some of the refugees had vanished right after the Collapse, and every now and then something would end up missing. Clothes off a line, food stocks, and the like.

People talked. The rumors had taken on a life of their own, and now whenever something went missing, people whispered, “It’s the Ghosts.”

Eddy didn’t believe in ghosts. He personally knew at least one refugee who had disappeared, his shipmate Davian. He guessed there must be others, though the record keeping from that time had been slipshod at best. He shrugged and looked at the sky. “Who knows?” It was likely to rain in the next day or so. Whoever had done this had left a trail, trampled into the grass. If he didn’t follow it now, it might be gone by the time he got back here with more resources.

Gia knelt by one of the ewes, staring at the remnants of the slaughter. “Could you get me some more breeding stock? This… incident put a big dent in my herd.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” He took one last look around the site. It had to have taken an hour or two to commit this crime, and yet the thieves had apparently done it in broad daylight. Why weren’t they afraid of being caught? “I’m going to follow the trail, see where it leads.”

Gia nodded. “Thanks. We’re taking the rest of the herd back to the barn until you get this all figured out.”

“Sounds prudent. I’ll let you know.”

Slipping on his hat, he climbed back up on Cassie and followed the trail across the stream toward the Anatov Mountains.

Author Bio

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

New Release: The Boys of Summer: Dust & Ash Saga by Tucker McCallahan


Lead singer Ash Redvers needs a drummer. When Dustin Davis shows up, ready, willing, and able to play – not to mention gorgeous – Ash thinks it’s going to be the best season yet. But Ash has never had a boyfriend, and Dust isn’t willing to be a quick hook-up. As the summer heats up, they’ll have to decide whether all they can make together is music, or if there’s something more for them after the Boys of Summer are gone.

Hi! I’m Tucker McCallahan, the author of The Boys of Summer. Thanks so much to Jana for hosting me today! The novel released on August 31 and is the first in a saga of six books.

One of the big motivating factors for me to write the Dust & Ash Saga was my love of music. I come from a pretty musical family. My grandmother was an opera singer. All three of her children (my mother included) played instruments: guitar, percussion, and piano. My aunt and uncle ran a piano studio for years, and I started piano lessons at six years old. I eventually took up trombone, percussion, and voice, and I studied both classical and jazz forms. I was a member of every choir and band at my school, which led to me playing a (short-lived) stint with a garage band.

Even my very first job centered on music. At sixteen I went to work for National Record Mart. (See that? I just dated myself horribly!) I loved that job. I got paid to hang out at a record shop and listen to music, and that was wonderful. Through the store, I got to attend music conventions and meet up-and-coming bands. I have a treasure trove of fond memories from that time that all focus on music, and I built on that experience and those memories to create the world of Dust & Ash.

From The Boys of Summer:

Dustin didn’t understand what was going on, but he didn’t like the vibe of the whole situation. He turned to Matt, who he’d started to consider his closest friend among the Boys. “Sorry, Matt. He’s new at this whole relationship thing, and he’s, uh, not very good at it yet.”

“Relationship, huh?” Matt looked at Dustin with a raised eyebrow. “Interesting word choice. Lemme explain what this is and what it isn’t so you don’t think we’re a bunch of assholes up in your business.”

“That’s kind of the definition of ‘band.’ At least any of them that I’ve been in, anyway.”

Matt barked his laugh and led Dustin through the house. “You know Ash’s family has run the band for over twenty years, right? Well, obviously in that time, the guys in it had girlfriends and, uh, relationships, and some of them turned out to be… less than healthy for the band.”

“I get it, Matt.” Dustin nodded, making a go-ahead motion with his hands. “I even get the reference to Yoko Ono, who most hardcore Beatles fans believe pulled the band apart through her relationship with John Lennon.”

“Right. Well, in the Boys, if two or more members start to worry that there’s a problem with another band member over a chick—or, you know, a… person—then we call a Yoko meeting and we talk it out. Uh, before things get crazy. Or at least we try to. A few times in the past, guys missed the signs or ignored them until shit got critical.”

As Matt and Dustin emerged into the basement, Dustin saw their equipment had been moved back and the couches pushed forward to form an L-shape. Jason and Jared already sat waiting. Jared looked perfectly at home, smoking a cigarette. Jason looked tense.

“When was the last Yoko meeting?” Dustin asked, curious.

“Five years ago.” Matt pointed to the empty couch. He and Dustin sat down.

“So none of you were in the band?”

“I was,” Jared said.

“So was I,” Ash said as he came down the stairs. He carried a twelve-pack of Rolling Rock longneck bottles and a Tupperware container. His eyes met Dustin’s and immediately softened. He held up the container. “This okay, babe? I mean, you weren’t saving them for anything, were you?”

“It’s fine.” Dustin smiled and shook his head. “Although I don’t know how you can be hungry. We just ate.”

“Dessert.” As Ash looked around the room at his bandmates, his grin turned dark and brooding. “Since my other dessert plans were so rudely canceled.”

“Yeah, uh—” Dustin cleared his throat. “So, who was the last meeting held for?”

Ash flopped down beside Jared. He popped the lid on the container and pulled out Dustin’s version of Rice Krispies treats, which he made with marshmallows and whatever cereal was leftover at the end of the week, then drizzled with chocolate and caramel. This week’s happened to have raisins and nut clusters in them, and Ash had been hoarding the container since Sunday.

“My older brother, Rhett,” Ash said, his mouth full.

Dustin stared at him for a full minute before saying slowly, “You have a brother named… Rhett?”

The guys all started snickering, and didn’t stop even when Ash threw them all dirty looks.

“Yeah. He and I are both named after the heroes of great literature.”

Matt snorted. “You’re named after characters from Gone with the Wind, dude.”

At that Jason and Jared busted out laughing, and Dustin couldn’t help it; he joined in. Ash scowled, then popped another chocolate-covered treat into his mouth and chewed ferociously.

“So what did, uh, Rhett do to deserve a Yoko meeting?” Dustin asked, trying to get his laughter under control.

His question brought an abrupt end to the revelry. Solemnly, Matt met Dustin’s eyes. “He used the Boys’ bank account to buy his girl an engagement ring.”

“Well, that’s not so terrible,” Dustin said, feeling the innate romance of it sweep through him. “I mean, we make good money. Did he intend to—”

“He spent ten thousand dollars from the operating account on Tricia’s ring.” Ash’s eyes were darkly ferocious as he stared at Dustin. “It doesn’t matter that she’s my fucking sister-in-law now. There was nothing okay about it. It was wrong, end of story.”

Dustin’s jaw hit the floor. Ten thousand dollars? For a ring?

Ash looked away, then quickly back, the fire in his eyes quenched. “The situation was rectified.”

“So… yeah.” Matt jumped into the ensuing silence. “Yoko meetings. They don’t happen very often, and, uh, this one is, unusual, given that you’re both, uh, in the band. But some stuff has kinda caught our attention and… well, we’re concerned.”

Ash folded his arms across his chest, and Dustin imagined that his Native American ancestors probably looked very similar as they faced down the White Man invading their lands.

“So how’s this work?” Dustin asked. “Is it like an intervention? You each say what you’re concerned about, we deny that there’s any problem, and then you convince us that there is and send us to some center for wayward gay musicians in lust?”

Matt barked again. Even Jared snickered at that, but Jason didn’t so much as crack a smile.

Damn, Dustin thought, tough audience.

“Not exactly,” Matt said.

“Well, before you guys get started with whatever it is you’re going to say, I want to say something,” Ash said.

Jared sighed and Jason looked away, but Matt just nodded. “Go ahead, Ash.”

“It really bothers me that you guys would do this so soon. Me and Dust are still so new that we haven’t even gotten around to telling our families about each other, much less make some kind of formal announcement to the band. Seems to me this is more about my sexual orientation than any kind of band business, and that really pisses me off, because who I fuck is nobody’s business.”

Matt smiled and scratched his forehead before folding his hands in his lap. He gave Ash kind eyes. “I hate to break it to you, dude, but who you fuck is no secret to us. We all knew long before Dustin came along that you, uh, weren’t exactly a girls-only kind of guy.”

That obviously shocked Ash. “Really?”

“Man, I live with you. I knew the score four years ago,” Jared said.

“Well, yeah, but….” Ash eyed Matt and Jason.

“I caught some of the action at Karen Spicer’s New Year’s party two years back,” Matt said, his cheeks coloring.

Ash raised an eyebrow. “Do I want to know what exactly you saw?”

“You were getting pretty friendly with Trang and Mai Pham in one of the walk-in closets. I just needed a dry place to put my coat.” Matt closed his eyes and shook his head. “Needless to say, it wasn’t going to be there. Not after what I saw the three of you doing.”

Ash smiled and cut his gaze to Dustin, who was looking at him with his eyebrows up in a share-with-the-class-please sort of expression. “Uh, Trang and Mai were these Vietnamese exchange students,” Ash explained. “Cousins, I think.”

“Yeah, they were cousins.” Jared nodded as he stubbed out his cigarette. “Mai was a sweet girl. I remember your mom going on and on about what pretty babies the two of you would make if you’d just settle down and marry her.”

“Yeah, that would’ve worked out real well.” Ash made a rude noise. “Not.” He looked at Jason. “So did you know too?”

“I knew you’d fuck anything with a pulse.” Jason gave Ash an angry glare. “You made it real clear to me last summer that you don’t do relationships.” He looked away as the guys opened fresh beers, and mumbled, “If I’d known this might happen, I wouldn’t have asked Dustin to join the band.”

Ash didn’t know what to say to that. He scanned the faces of his bandmates. “So what’s the big stink, guys? Because I’m not pulling a Rhett here. What’s the problem?”

Matt looked at Jared, who shrugged.

“Go ahead,” Jared said.

Matt tried to meet Jason’s eyes, but the bassist sulked, ignoring them all.

“Fine.” Matt blew out a breath. He was really uncomfortable now, and he could feel Dustin’s eyes on him. It made what he was going to say worse somehow, but it couldn’t be helped. “Ash… we know you, man. We’ve grown up with you. We’re like brothers. We’ve all seen how you operate. And while none of us begrudge you whoever you want to get it on with… Dustin is the best drummer we’ve ever had. We need him.” Matt met Ash’s gaze and held it. “We can’t afford to let your dick fuck up the best thing that’s happened to the Boys in the last five years.”

Ash stared at his bandmates, stunned. The sugary taste of the dessert turned wrong on his tongue, and he swallowed convulsively, trying to clear his mouth. He didn’t dare look at Dustin. He was petrified of what he’d see on his boyfriend’s face after that little revelation from Matt. He looked at Jason instead, and immediately wished he hadn’t.

“It’s Dustin’s turn now,” Jason said. “What’s gonna happen when his turn’s over, Ash? You gonna dump him the way you do all the others? Not call him, not talk to him, ignore his text messages, tell us how he’s driving you nuts, how he got too attached? ’Cause that won’t work when you’re seeing him at practice every fucking day.” Jason abruptly sat forward, his hands clasped in his lap. “And what about when you move on to the next person in line? Is Dustin supposed to watch? Is he supposed to live with you, practice with you, play gigs with you, and watch while you do the same thing, pull the same moves, run the same game on whoever comes after him?” Jason shook his head. “That would be really shitty to do to a band member, man.”

Ash was speechless. This was utterly not what he expected, what he came prepared to argue about. The guys weren’t worried about the gay thing, and they didn’t care that he was bisexual. They were worried that he was going to hurt Dustin or drive him away. Given Ash’s track record and everything that had already happened…

They were probably right.

Ash’s throat constricted and tears burned the corners of his eyes. He looked up at the ceiling, hoping it would be enough to wish them away, because he didn’t think he could bear crying in front of the guys. Not over this.

What truly sucked was that he remembered, vividly, laughing and joking at band practice last summer, his phone going off over and over during rehearsals as different hookups called and texted him, trying to set shit up. And Jason was right. Ash let the calls go to voicemail, blocked the texts, and bitched to the band about how trick after trick (though he never called them that—not in front of anybody, anyway) got too damn attached and wanted a “relationship.”

Ash closed his eyes, trying to take slow, regular breaths, as he remembered getting into that argument with Jason about the merits of the one-night stand. He finally thought he understood why Jason was so upset about this thing with Dustin, why he was being such a dick about it. After all, Jason and Dust were friends, and last summer Ash very loudly proclaimed that one-night stands were all he wanted, that they were the ideal relationship. He and Jason argued about it, for fuck’s sake.

Maybe they were right. If Ash loved Dustin—and he was pretty sure that the ache in his chest over this whole mess and the hollow feeling that seized him every time he thought about Dustin not being in the farmhouse was what love felt like—then maybe… maybe Ash needed to let Dustin go.

The whole meeting might have ended right there, with Ash agreeing to end things and not see Dustin anymore, if Ash hadn’t seen two things. The first was Jason’s eyes. They were fever-bright and filled with an odd anticipatory glee. The second was Dustin’s face, which was as miserable as Ash had ever seen it. And what capped it all was that Jason’s satisfaction came as he glanced from Ash’s anguished expression to Dustin’s unhappy face.

Oh. Hell. No. Fury roared up in Ash, drowning out the sorrow. He didn’t understand why he and Dustin separating made Jason so happy, but Ash wasn’t going to give up the first person to make him feel safe, whole, and like he was home without a fight.

* * * *

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. The Boys of Summer is the first book in the Dust & Ash Saga and is available now on Amazon and Smashwords. The second book is scheduled to come out in the spring; there are six books in all.

To celebrate the first release in the saga, I’m sponsoring a giveaway! There are three ways to enter: like my author page on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or – if you’re already following me on FB and Twitter – leave me a comment about your favorite music to listen to at a wedding reception. I’ll be giving away three gift cards, and the winners will get to choose what they’d like to receive! Winners will be announced on my blog on September 30th.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Once again, I’d like to thank Jana for hosting me and the Boys today. Turn on some music and enjoy the end of your summer!


About Tucker McCallahan:

Tucker McCallahan has been lots of places, seen lots of things, and is still learning new stuff on the regular. Multi-published, bisexual, polyamorous, and slave to a big black cat named Emperor Inka, Tucker is also married, a parent, a long-time member of the LGBT community and a proud educator/activist.

Sunday Small Talk

Very small talk since I’ve been spending my time finishing a 15 year old fanfic novel. Not the best use of my time but right now at the chaotic start of a new semester that was much easier than using my brain power to think up my own stuff…

But I AM back to my solarpunk story but time is quickly running out for me to finish. I had best hurry. (and by that I mean be gone every weekend and accomplish nothing because next weekend is the Mothman Festival and the weekend after the Steampunk Spectacle and in between all that me grading exams).

But let me bring you two wonderful things. First, my beautiful cover for Blood Red Roulette. I linked to the reveal last week but here it is on my own space. The colors work so well in this and it does capture Arrigo’s essence. Huge thanks to Tiferet Design on this one!


Blurb Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

You can pre-order the paperback here (currently on sale)

the ebook here

It releases November 13th!

And check out my good friend Leigh Dillon’s debut novella Raising the Bar


Blurb : Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.

Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation. The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.

Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?

You can buy it here

And have a big mess of writing links while you’re at it

From my friend How Do I Portray a Smart Character?

Five Common Harmful Representations of Disability

5 Reasons This Is The Best Time To Be A Creator

How Frequently Should I Publish on Social Media? A HubSpot Experiment

Accounting for Character Identification

Five Ways Gods and the Afterlife Change a Fantasy Setting

On Wildness, Cracked Worlds, Monsters, and the Odd Nature of the Short Story

Bullet Journaling as a Fantasy Writer

Why Writing A Series (Especially As A New Author) Is Really Goddamn Hard The usual Chuck Wendig language warnings apply

Sometimes It’s Okay To Quit Writing The Thing You’re Writing ditto

Your ISBN: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

The Three-act Structure: Formulaic or Foundational?

Writing For A Cause People who know me know I’m BIG on this one. Yes, this is also one place I’m also willing to give away stories

Evil in a Teacup: Fighting the Institutional Authority of Dolores Umbridge This one is actually subtle in just how good it is. Villainy doesn’t have to be cartoonish and over the top.

Writing Process, Routine, and Craft

New Release – Super for You, Bad for Me


Super for You, Bad for Me
Asta Idonea
Dreamspinner Press
14 August 2018
60k/200 pages

* And my apologies for not cleaning up the links from the raw URls but I haven’t had internet access in 2 weeks and I have to use my limited time online as best I can. Ran out of time for making it pretty * – Jana

Struggling actor Oswell Outterridge thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he’s chosen to play a scene opposite his idol, Kane Teague, in a superhero movie. However, things take an unexpected turn when the slime he accidentally ingests gives him telekinetic powers. Then Kane asks him out, against all expectation, and it seems that life couldn’t get any better—aside from the little matter of keeping his identity secret from his celebrity boyfriend. Oswell goes from a nobody with little social life and few prospects for the future to dating the man of his dreams and using his superhuman abilities to defend innocents. Everything is perfect, and it seems he’s finally achieved a happily ever after worthy of the silver screen. But when a supervillain arrives, determined to defeat Oswell and win Kane’s affections, everything falls apart. In the ensuing conflict, Kane gets caught in the crossfire, and Oswell faces his toughest fight yet. Can he remain the hero he’s always imagined himself, or will a dark desire for vengeance change him forever?


SoundCloud Excerpt: https://soundcloud.com/nickijmarkus/super-for-you-bad-for-me-by-asta-idonea-excerpt
YouTube Excerpt: https://youtu.be/RmbDY_g0kNc

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/super-for-you-bad-for-me-by-asta-idonea-9809-b
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G53GVFY
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/super-for-you-bad-for-me-asta-idonea/1127915418?ean=2940161934173
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/super-for-you-bad-for-me

Author Bio & Links
Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J. Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/aleera21
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO