February 27, 2015

Pride Promotions presents: Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson




Book Name: Palace Dog
Goodreads Link: 
Author Name: R. E. Nelson
Author Bio:
R.E. Nelson was born in Texas and raised in Southern California. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. One of his earliest recollections related to writing is winning an essay contest in sixth grade--something patriotic about the American flag. When he travels, his preference is staying in select areas for an extended period of time and learning about that place. He has lived in both Vietnam (twice, actually) and Saudi Arabia, and also spent time in Egypt, South Korea, Shanghai (his only China visit thus far), and Dubai. Now he is happy to call San Francisco home.
Where to find the author:
Twitter: @RENelson13
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond



Blurb:

In April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave.

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog.

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country.

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.


Categories: Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance


Excerpt:
The cyclo had bumped across the bridge, following the curve in the road, then moved quickly down the final straight stretch, past houses and shops, past rows of trees and walls and occasional open spaces, past vendors who lined the street’s edge selling gasoline in glass bottles. Motorcycles, Lambretta mini-buses packed with people, cream-and-blue Renault taxis, pedestrians with baskets and boxes—all crowded the street. Noises, smells, and smoke came from everywhere, and as the driver increased his speed, I smiled, gripping the metal frame tighter and pushing slightly with my feet as the moist wind rushed around me.
Speeding through the streets of Saigon, wearing the green Air Force-issued jungle fatigues, my life of a year ago seemed unreal.

Pages or Words: 206 pages


Facts:

21 – What do you wear when you’re writing?  T-shirt and shorts

22 – Do you have any particular music you listen to while you write?  Music related to the topic/year of the book.


Tour Dates: February 27, 2015


Tour Stops:

Sales Links:

Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Palace Dog’

February 25, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: At Full Speed #6



Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: “I was thinking about…”

At Full Speed, #6

“I don’t want anyone. I want you.”
“But why?” Jake barely prevented himself from crying out in frustration. What would someone like Bruce want from him? What would anyone want from him? Given that Bruce didn’t know all that much about Jake, maybe he was hanging onto a bizarre image of how Jake was. But—
“Jake, stop it. I don’t need to justify myself for falling in love with you. However, I really want to have a chat with whoever made you believe you’re not worth loving.” Bruce’s comment sounded so calm, so reasonable, and Jake couldn’t help but gape at him. “Come on, sunshine, let’s move to your sofa, okay?”
Jake shook his head. Not to deny Bruce’s request, but to clear his mind from all the assaulting information. Bruce was falling in love with him? How the hell did he know that there had been someone—oh, yeah, right. Jake pursed his lips. He’d given that away when he’d flipped and didn’t correct Bruce’s assumption that someone must’ve hurt him in the past.
“No?” Bruce asked. “You want to stay here in the kitchen?”
“What? No, I…” Jake expelled a breath. “Let’s move to the sofa.”
Bruce stooped to press a quick kiss on Jake’s left cheek before he led the way to the sofa, never losing contact with Jake. Bruce let go when he slipped off his jacket and Jake bit his lower lip to stop himself from demanding Bruce’s hand back. He wasn’t that pathetic.
Or maybe he was. At least he seemed to be that transparent because as soon as Bruce had draped his jacket over the back of the sofa, he sat and pulled Jake into a comfortable embrace. For a while, neither of them said anything. Jake relaxed more and more, only then realizing his shoulder muscles ached from tension. He rolled his neck a couple of times and Bruce shifted slightly, making more room under his arm.
Bruce pointed at the muted TV. “What are you watching?”
“Uh, I have no idea.”
Bruce’s chuckle reverberated through Jake’s body and a reluctant smile tugged on his lips. He snatched the remote from the coffee table, put the volume back on, and leaned heavily against Bruce’s chest. “I remember now. I was watching a documentary about Egypt. It was very interesting, but I have no idea if it’s still on.”
Right on cue, the ads made room for the TV program. The documentary was still going, and Bruce asked, “Would you like to keep watching it?”
Jake nodded. “If that’s okay with you?”
“Of course that’s okay with me.”
Indeed, Bruce watched the whole feature and even discussed some of the findings with him. When Jake caught a glance at the clock, he flinched. “Oh, wow, I didn’t realize it was so late. When do you go in for work tomorrow?”
“I’m off tomorrow.”
“Oh.” Just like that, all relaxation fled. Acid burned in Jake’s throat, and his pulse rate spiked. He extricated himself from Bruce’s embrace, which now felt confining instead of comfortable. How was this even possible? It wasn’t as if he hadn’t spent time in Bruce’s arms before. Never had he panicked. What had changed?
“Jake, I’m guessing we won’t be talking about what set off your panic attack earlier since you’re starting to tense up again. I want to assure you I’d never do anything to you that you wouldn’t agree to.” Bruce cupped Jake’s face in his hands and tenderly stroked his thumbs along Jake’s cheekbones. “I was thinking about taking you out for breakfast tomorrow morning. How does that sound to you? Nine o’clock okay?”
Jake blinked at him. “No sex tonight?”
Bruce’s eyes crinkled at the corners. “Do you honestly want to tell me you’re up for sex tonight?”
“Does that matter? I thought that’s why you came.”
The crinkles around Bruce’s eyes vanished. Instead, he frowned at Jake. “Does it matter? Yes, it does. I’m your boyfriend, not a fuck-buddy. Well, I hope that’s how it is, or did I get this wrong?”
Jake opened his mouth, then clicked it shut. Was Bruce serious?
“You don’t think I’m serious, do you?” Bruce asked.
Heat crawled from Jake’s neck to his face. He opted for silence and a shrug.
“It’s okay, because I am serious about you. I know we don’t know each other well, or for long, but I want to be together with you. What do you say to breakfast tomorrow, hmm?”
“Okay. Are you going to pick me up?”
Bruce nodded before he rose from the sofa. He donned his jacket and held out his hands for Jake, who took them. Bruce pulled him to his feet, gave him a hug and another kiss on the cheek, then walked toward the door. “Lock up after me. Call me if you want me to come earlier, okay?”
Jake followed Bruce to the door like a puppy. Would he really leave? Why didn’t he like the prospect of Bruce leaving? After all, that’s what he’d wanted earlier.
“You’re really going?” Jake asked when they reached the door.
“Not if you don’t want me to.”
Jake slid his hands through his hair, tearing at some strands in confusion. “I don’t know what I want right now.”
“I believe you wouldn’t feel secure if I stayed here, no matter how much I’d like to. But if you need me during the night, I’ll come back. How does that sound?”
“Good,” Jake replied.
“Sleep well, sunshine.”
“You too.” Jake rose on tiptoe, pressed a kiss on Bruce’s lips, and locked the door after he departed. Maybe Bruce was the real thing after all.


February 24, 2015

Anna Butler: The Gilded Scarab & Gyrfalcon



Gloves Off


Every now and again we get another round of “Waaah! Women authors hijacked gay literature! They dumbed it down to m/m romance! Waaah! It’s all rainbows and kissing and happy ever after! Get off my lawn, you people with uterii!”

Gay literature vs m/m romance. Is it really a thing, do you think?

Gay literature seems to claim some sort of ground that is more highbrow than romance. It claims a cultural significance. And here I’m looking at you, Alan Hollinghurst, because you were the first gay writer whose work I found and you’re literary enough to win Booker prizes. That sort of writing would scorn to be characterised as romance. It’s intellectual, innit? Educated and all that. I bet it went to Oxford. (And having said that, The Line of Beauty is still one of my favourite books. Not in the top ten, maybe, but certainly up there in the top twenty.)

The m/m romance genre doesn’t have pretensions of grandeur. It doesn’t claim intellectual and cultural superiority. It claims ‘good storytelling’ and ‘strong characters’ and ‘lose yourself for an hour here’. And it is *burgeoning*. It covers every sub-genre you can think of: scifi, westerns, mystery, paranormal, detective fiction, crime procedurals... the lot. Every single genre is written, rewritten and reclaimed through the lens of two male protagonists and the relationship between them. Maybe not with the philosophical significance that the literary people claim, but with all the trappings of a romance story—heartfelt emotion and drama, eroticism, sex scenes in which the feelings and the relationship matter as much (more?) than the physical gymnastics, a happy ending but with him and him holding hands, not him and her. Stories about love. Sometimes about loss. But ultimately uplifting stories that leave you feeling good.

There has to be room for both. There has to be room for *more*. Such as stories that are about love and drama and conflict and yet don’t meet the expectations of the romance readers in terms of that happy ever after, but which are still gay fiction and about gay characters. They’re in there too, and the flourishing of m/m romance has opened up the door for them.

A good story is a good story. That’s the lesson of m/m romance. So yes. Maybe all the women reading and writing m/m romance have cranked open the doors of gay literature and allowed in a whole host of new ideas, new challenges, new approaches and brought with them a whole new audience and a new experience. Maybe they did come and trample over gay literature’s lawns.

But you know, I can’t think that’s a bad thing. What do you think?



BLURB: The Gilded Scarab



When Captain Rafe Lancaster is invalided out of the Britannic Imperium’s Aero Corps after crashing his aerofighter during the Second Boer War, his eyesight is damaged permanently, and his career as a fighter pilot is over. Returning to Londinium in late November 1899, he’s lost the skies he loved, has no place in a society ruled by an elite oligarchy of powerful Houses, and is hard up, homeless, and in desperate need of a new direction in life.

Everything changes when he buys a coffeehouse near the Britannic Imperium Museum in Bloomsbury, the haunt of Aegyptologists. For the first time in years, Rafe is free to be himself. In a city powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston, and where powerful men use House assassins to target their rivals, Rafe must navigate dangerous politics, deal with a jealous and possessive ex-lover, learn to make the best coffee in Londinium, and fend off murder and kidnap attempts before he can find happiness with the man he loves.

(Cover by Reese Dante)



EXCERPT

The lounge was crowded that evening. The pre-Christmas rush, I assumed, when gentlemen made merry before being clasped to the bosom of their families, when they would infinitely prefer the bosom of the handsome waiter at their club. I didn’t begrudge the festive cheer, but had to push my way through to the bar. Really. In any well-ordered universe, the crowd would have noticed me and my fine clothes at the door and parted to make way for me, like the Red Sea.

A scotch and soda did a great deal to restore my equanimity. Indeed, I grew a trifle beatific, since all I’d had to eat since breakfast had been some of Will Somers’s pastries, and the scotch didn’t have a lot of insulation to work on. I wasn’t festive, you realize, merely a little mellow. So when the tall man in natty evening dress bumped shoulders with me, I merely moved to get out of range rather than apostrophize him as the clumsiest oaf in Christendom.

“I beg your pardon!” He glanced at me and then again, more slowly the second time. He looked me up and down and smiled. “It’s an unholy crush in here tonight.”

He was older than me. A good ten years at least, but his brown hair, brushed back from his brow in true aesthete style, was untouched by gray. His eyes were the bright mauvish-blue of flax flowers, framed by eyelashes of extraordinary length and thickness. I suspected him of some sort of artifice there. Those eyelashes didn’t strike me as quite natural. But everything else appeared to be the genuine article, and if he were indeed in his early forties, as he appeared, he had worn well. He wore his daisy on the left of his lapel and perhaps his acquaintanceship would be worth cultivating.

I smiled. “I should have remembered everyone comes here at Christmas. I think it’s to immunize themselves against the shock of festive family life.”

He threw back his head and laughed. Mmmn. It hadn’t been that amusing, but perhaps it passed for wit where this man normally existed.

“I could wish there were a vaccine for it,” he said, sounding heartfelt. “In lieu of it, I shall try to sate myself in a more satisfactory sort of life to build up my immunity.” He gestured to my glass. “May I refresh that?”

Did he think he might have the opportunity to sate himself in me, then? We’d see. “Scotch and soda, thank you…?” I allowed my voice to lift and trail away on an interrogative note.

“Daniel Meredith,” he supplied, half turning away to try and catch a waiter’s eye.

“Rafe Lancaster.” I held out my hand for him to shake. “I’m pleased to meet you, Meredith.”

He turned back to me and smiled, and suddenly it wasn’t merely a polite platitude to ease along society’s wheels. I was rather pleased to meet him. I could have done a lot worse.



WHERE TO BUY THE GILDED SCARAB

Dreamspinner as an ebook and in paperback.

From an Amazon near you (Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk links for starters)

All Romance as an ebook





BLURB: Gyrfalcon



Earth’s last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesn’t need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father—or with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesn’t expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.

(Cover by Adrian Nicholas)


EXCERPT

As advertised, the Shield officer was proving to be the enigma that everyone had expected.

Flynn had worked it that first briefing so he got a good look before anyone else. He liked what he saw. In his black uniform, the Shield captain stood out in the crowd of Fleet pale grey. Everything about the Shield rig was plain. The rank pips in the stand-up collar of the tunic under his flight jacket were a dull silver, and only about half the size of the ones Simonitz wore. There wasn't a medal ribbon in sight. Only the tiny, ornate Shield badge at his throat was a bright silver.

The monochromatic look suited the Shield captain, matching his black hair and the pale grey eyes. The captain's hair had more cowlicks than a field full of heifers, spiking up despite it being worn longer than was strictly regulation. Flynn took note, too, of cheekbones so sharply defined that they looked like they'd been machine cut, and a strong mouth. The face was youthful, except for the eyes. They'd seen a lot. Altogether, the Shield captain was definitely one of the pretty people in life. Almost as pretty as Flynn himself.

Cruz, to whom he imparted this insight in the OC after Bennet's first visit, rolled her eyes so hard it was a wonder the girl didn't have to grope about on the deck for them. She had never appreciated his true worth. He had to guilt her into buying him a beer in reparation.

He sipped his beer appreciatively. It always tasted better when someone else was paying. “What d'you think of him?”

“Seems pleasant enough.” Cruz shrugged. “He didn't tell us much, though. I didn't think he would.”

“No. And that first briefing was a bit basic. Wonder what he was fishing for there.”

“We'll likely find out in time,” said Cruz.

“I'd rather know now.” Flynn took a pull on his beer. “Simonitz doesn't like him.”

“Did Sim ever apply for Shield?”

“You picked up on that too, did you? I don't know, but there were a few hints there. I thought the Shield was pretty gracious about it, with Sim sitting there glowering all night.”

Cruz nodded. After a minute, she said, “He was good with Nairn, taking him seriously. Some people might have laughed or slapped the kid down.”

“Nairn's a question mark on legs, some days.”

“He's young for his age.”

“And getting a severe case of hero worship,” Flynn said, laughing.

Cruz looked at Flynn, brown eyes warm with affection and amusement. “He's not the only one, I'd say.” She smiled. “Would you?”




WHERE TO BUY

Gyrfalcon is available as an ebook at Wilde City Press




GIVEAWAY
Comment here and get an entry in a rafflecopter to win an Amazon gift card (drawn when the blog tour is over at the end of March).


In addition, one commentator chosen at complete close-eyes-stick-a-pin-in-it random will their choice of a little pack of Gilded Scarab or Gyrfalcon loot and a free copy of FlashWired (a gay mainstream sci-fi novella).



ABOUT ANNA
Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to running an internal TV service. She now spends her time indulging her love of old-school science fiction. She lives in the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo.

Find Anna: