Excerpt from WIP

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Hi everyone, happy Friday to you all. This week, I’ve had my nose buried in my current WIP, because I have a deadline looming not far on the horizon (next week – gaaah!). This means I haven’t had time to write Alan and Jon. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I know they’re popular, but to compensate I have a really fun thing planned for them next week. So tune in next Friday when Alan will make a little cameo somewhere else…other than here. 😉

But to not deprive you of my excellent writing (heh!), I thought I’d post the beginning of my WIP. It still hasn’t got a name. I got stuck on something that doesn’t really work (it’s on the clunky side) so I have to unstick my mind and solve the name problem this weekend.

Anyway, this excerpt is told from Beckett’s POV and it’s unedited. I hope you enjoy.

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Chapter 1 – Beckett

“Hi Becks. What’s so funny?”

I looked up from my phone and was met by my best friend’s smiling face. “Matt. You’re late.” I gave him a mock frown to remind him about my opinion on people not being on time, but my smile lingered and made it difficult.

“I know. Sorry. But I had to rescue him—” Matt pointed his thumb over his shoulder, “from the Hell Sisters and it took a while.”

I peeked over his shoulder to see who he was referring to just as the ‘he’ in question lightly punched Matt’s upper arm with a scowl.

“Sorry, sorry,” Matt said and threw himself down on the chair across from me. To me he said, “I’m not allowed to call them Hell Sisters even though they’d make Lucifer seem well behaved.”

Matt’s company joined us at the table and I swallowed. Hard.

Levi Byrne. Matt’s little brother. Or one of them at least; the Byrne family consisted of eleven kids, Matt being the eldest.

And Levi…Levi was three years younger than us and the spitting image of his brother. Except that Levi was cute. Very cute. His nose was maybe a little too long for his face and his hairline showed signs of receding at the tender age of twenty-three. But none of that mattered. When I looked into his eyes, every blemish disappeared and all I could see was kindness. He had the gentlest eyes I’d ever seen, in a deep caramel brown as if the caramel was made from dark muscovado sugar. Sometimes I thought I could detect a twinkle of mischief in them, but it could be my imagination. Levi was the quiet sibling. When all the other Byrne-kids spoke louder to make their voices heard in a sea of children, Levi did the complete opposite. He grew silent.

I’d had a crush on him for years, but he was Matt’s little brother, and besides…what would he see in someone like me?

I pulled in my stomach and sat a little straighter. Not that it helped. My belly couldn’t be hidden.

“Becks! Where’d you go?”

“Huh?” I blinked and turned my attention to Matt. “Sorry.”

“Whatever. You gonna tell me what was so funny just now?”

We were interrupted by the waitress before I had time to answer. For a second, I considered ordering something healthy, like one of those fancy avocado sourdough sandwiches that were so popular. But Matt would have a million questions if I did, and I’d always been a terrible liar and would never be able to fool him. So, I ordered my usual: a stack of pancakes with half a pig’s worth of bacon on the side, and their biggest mug of hot chocolate to top it off.

After taking our orders, the waitress brought us our drinks and Matt asked again what I’d been laughing about when they arrived.

“What’s your sign?” I asked.

Matt gulped down some of his coffee, grimaced, and started fanning his mouth. Levi smiled at me and shook his head. Matt never learned.

“Your birthday is in July. So, you’re…what? Cancer?” I asked when he’d calmed down.

“Oh! Yeah, I guess.”

I woke up the screen on my phone, cleared my throat and started reading out loud. “Until the end of the year, Jupiter continues to bring fullness to your life in the areas of creativity and romance, and this influence is extra strong tonight. So maybe take what your boyfriend offers this evening and leave the extra-large dildo in the drawer for once. You’ll be stuffed enough tonight without it.”

Matt’s eyes grew wider and wider as I read, and when I finished, he was staring at me as if I had emerged from the depths of Hell. “Dude! What the eff?” he choked out.

I glanced at Levi. His face flamed bright red and he bit his lip, looking everywhere except me or Matt.

“What the heck are you reading?” Matt asked and rubbed his ears as if he was trying to erase what he just had heard.

I held up my phone so he could see.

QX – your guide to all things LGBTQ+

Matt squinted, and then turned to Levi. “You programmed that site, didn’t you?”

Levi nodded. He was a computer wizard and had started programming almost before he could read and write. He’d designed his first webpage professionally in his freshman year in high school and if his parents hadn’t been adamant he had to graduate, he would have dropped out and started his business before his junior year.

“Why are you reading…that?” Matt hissed out the last word.

The waitress took this moment to arrive with our food. As she placed pancakes and bacon in front of all of us, I stared at him. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“It’s a site for gay people.”

I crossed my arms over my chest. “It’s for everyone within the LGBTQ+ spectrum,” I said, unable to keep an annoyed edge from my voice.

“Yeah, yeah.” Matt stuffed his face full of pancakes. “But you’re not…that.”

That? I rolled my eyes. Matt could be such an idiot sometimes. “No, but I am bi.”

“But I thought…” He shoved a piece of bacon into his mouth, luckily stopping himself from saying anything even more stupid.

“You thought that because my last partner was a girl, I’m straight. Is that about it?” I was so fucking tired of this topic. If it wasn’t Matt, it was someone else. Like Mom.

“Yeah,” Matt muttered with his gaze downcast. His reply earned him a sharp elbow in the side from Levi. “Hey, don’t you start, too,” he said to his brother.

“Get off your brother’s case, Matt. Don’t be an ass.”

He looked at me as if to say ‘what’?

“We’ve had this conversation a million times. Don’t be a bigot. Your own brother is gay, for fuck’s sake. And when your mom found out, what did she do?”

“Switched churches.” Matt’s reply was barely audible.

“That’s right. Your very religious parents accepted Levi’s identity and moved heaven and earth to make him comfortable. But you…” I threw my hands up in the air. “Stop. Just stop, okay?”

Matt rubbed his ears again. “Yeah, okay. Sorry.” He nudged his shoulder against his brother’s. Levi nudged back and then gave me a wide, grateful smile, making the tip of his nose turn down slightly. Swoon.

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Beckett is my first bisexual character, but he won’t be the last. March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, and I’m sad that bi erasure is still a thing in 2018. We, the B, is right there in the acronym. Click the image to learn how to be an ally.



Release blitz and #giveaway: Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into Stories #6) by Lane Hayes

Title:  Leaning Into the Look
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #6
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: March 23
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 82000

Genre: Romance, friends to lovers, San Francisco, humor, businessmen

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Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.

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I stopped short when we reached the other side of the street and then backed him against the brick façade of a bank building and pressed my lips over his. It was a bold move and not one I’d ever tried on any man in public before. But I couldn’t help myself. It felt oddly freeing to share one of the bleaker parts of my past with him. I wanted to thank him somehow but that seemed awkward so I kissed him instead. I held his head and glided my tongue alongside his, loving the moment when he flung his arms over my shoulders and responded with fervor. When we broke for air, I rested my forehead on his and grinned.

“Your ass is pretty spectacular too, Mi.”

He chuckled good-naturedly. “Thanks.”

“No really. I think I’m love with it.” I lowered my hands down his back and squeezed his cheeks as I molded his pelvis to mine.

“That’s kind of romantic. But if you’re thinking about falling in love with me too…don’t.”

I backed up slightly to get a better look at him. “Okay. I won’t.”

“Pinky promise.” He held up his right hand and wiggled his fingers.

“What makes you think you’re so irresistible?” I asked, wrapping my pinky finger around his.

“I’m not and you’ll figure it out sooner or later. But I like you and I want you and…”

“And what you’re really saying is you don’t want to fall for me.” I kept my tone light, hoping a jocular vibe would steer us from turning this into an uncomfortable conversation.


“Look, Mi. I’m not—”

“No. Listen. Don’t make this into a big deal. It’s not. We’re going to have a grand adventure. Just me and you. We’ll do incredible things and have amazing conversations and lots of sex. And when it’s time to say good-bye, we won’t ruin it by pretending we were ever in love. What do you say?”

Nothing. I had nothing to say. All I could think was maybe he really was crazy because who said shit like that?

But when I looked past the lighthearted swagger I saw the cracks in his armor. He was scared and battered and raw on the inside. Kind of like me. And somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t an ex-lover that made him so cautious. I only knew he was right. We were a couple of oddballs who unexpectedly found ourselves inhabiting the same circle. Temporarily.

But love? I should have walked away. Or at the very least, laughed at his wild leap. Instead I cocked my head and squinted. “What kind of adventures?”

Miles grinned. A slow-moving, gorgeous upturn of the lips that morphed into something celestial. He literally took my breath away. I hoped the dizziness faded before I gave him a reason to think it was a good thing he’d issued a warning about getting too attached.

“All kinds! We’ll turn this town upside down being one hundred percent ridiculous.”

“Okay…” I gave a half laugh and pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “What do you have in mind? Dancing, parties—”

“No. More like Trivial Pursuit marathons, Netflix binge-watching fests in our Pjs, the compare and contrast game and—”

“The what?”

“Don’t worry. We’ll have fun. You’ll see,” he assured me earnestly as he laced our fingers together and pulled me away from the wall.

I glanced down at our joined hands and briefly thought about joking that he should be careful about giving me mixed signals. But I knew my limits. My comedic timing was crappy and the last thing I wanted was to push him away. I might not love Miles but I liked him. A lot. And holding his hand while we wandered through town under a sea of rainbow flags on a random Sunday felt special. The way new beginnings sometimes did.

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


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Release blitz and #giveaway: Surprise Delivery (Hearts & Health #5) by DJ Jamison

Length: 68,000 word approx
Hearts & Health Series

Dr. Casper Rollins knows how to have fun. The love of his life, Kage Myers, lived every moment to the fullest before he died. Now, Casper goes skydiving, mountain-climbing or on other adrenaline-soaked adventures when he wants to feel closer to his lost love.

Medical director Eric Holtz is married to his work — so much so his husband left him. But when his niece shows up, pregnant and in need of an ally, Eric suddenly has family again. Unfortunately, her obstetrician, Casper Rollins, is sexy enough to turn Eric into a blushing adolescent.

What begins as a game to break Eric of his workaholic tendencies escalates into scorching sex and feelings that can’t be ignored. Casper never planned to give his heart to anyone other than Kage, and Eric won’t accept anything less.

If these two want a future, they’ll have to embrace the lesson Kage taught Casper long ago: You only live once.


“This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when you asked if I wanted to have fun,” Eric said, gasping for breath.

Casper laughed, one hand clutching his stomach and his other gripping Eric’s wrist and tugging. Eric was having just a bit more difficulty than Casper in climbing from the top of a trash bin to a tree to the roof of the downtown library.

Thankfully, dusk had fallen, and they were on the backside of the library, where they were less likely to be noticed. He’d never live it down if he was arrested for loitering on the roof of a public property. It was hardly the kind of publicity a medical director needed to generate.

Eric finally heaved himself onto the mostly flat, asphalt roof with Casper’s assistance. He dropped down on his back and stared at a sky painted with the pink and orange streaks of sunset. The sun, still a molten ball in the sky, dropped slowly behind puffy clouds that were beginning to look more like cotton candy, all pink and soft around the edges.

Casper settled beside him, crossing his arms under his head. “It’s worth it now, though, right?”

Unlike Eric, Casper had jumped from trash bin to tree to roof with the agility of a teenager. Lying as he was, with his arms folded behind his head, his triceps bulged. Eric found that a prettier sight than the sunset.

“You know, the hospital’s taller. I have a key to the roof. We could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble and had a great view of the sunset.”

“You can just go up the stairwell and right onto the roof?”

“Yep,” Eric said, a bit smugly. “The helipad is up there, so there has to be access. It’s rare for us to receive a life flight, but it does happen.”

Casper made an obnoxious buzzing noise. “You’re venturing awfully close to shop talk, and besides, where’s the fun in walking up some stairs?”

Eric huffed a rueful laugh. “It’s more fun than a broken ankle.”

“No ankles were broken,” Casper chastised. “Now look at that gorgeous sky and enjoy yourself.”

Eric reached out and traced a blaze of orange inked on the pale skin of Casper’s bicep. “I’d rather look at this.”

Casper twitched, but he didn’t pull away. His head swiveled, light blue eyes fixing on Eric. “They always like the ink,” he murmured.

Eric flushed and pulled away. Turning his eyes back to the sky, which was less blinding than Casper’s beautiful body, he asked what he’d always wondered. “Do they mean something to you?”

“It’s artwork imprinted on my skin, so yeah, it means something to me.”

Eric risked a glance. “Of course.” He tried again. “But sometimes people get tattoos because they like the art. Other times, there’s a deeper symbolism in them.”

“You want to know the story behind my ink?”

Eric nodded, his eyes back on the swirls of color he could see on Casper’s bicep. As he watched, Casper grabbed the back of his T-shirt and peeled it up and over his head, dropping it into his lap.

Eric’s eyes roamed Casper’s body, taking in the paleness of his skin and the tautness of the muscle beneath it. Casper sat at an angle, turned with his shoulder toward Eric, so the vivid turquoise and orange of his tattoo captured Eric’s attention before he could get lost in a full study of the man’s body.

“It’s a lizard,” he said in surprise.

“A chameleon,” Casper said.

The chameleon clung to a branch that curved along the shape of Casper’s upper arm, blending in and out of leaves that wound around the image. The chameleon, where it was visible, was drawn in a bold style, with vivid hues setting it off from the parts of its body that vanished into the artwork. Large eyes and a wide grin imbued it with a personality, reminding Eric just a bit of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.

“It’s incredible,” Eric said, leaning closer to study it. The longer he looked, the more detail he could pick out, from subtly shaded scales to hints of the lizard behind the leaf work. “Chameleons change to match their surroundings, so what does this symbolize?”

“Mostly? Change. Both the ability to adapt to the changes in my life, but also the ability to be the change. Is that deep enough for you?”

Eric smiled. “Is your middle name Plato?”

Casper snorted as he grabbed his T-shirt and pulled it over his head. “Flattery will get you everywhere.”

As Casper lowered the shirt, a hint of ink on his back caught Eric’s eye. He put out a hand to stop the lowering of Casper’s shirt, leaning to the side for a look. Casper’s back was as gorgeous as the rest of him, broad and tapering to his waist with a muscle definition Eric could never hope to replicate in his own body. Casper was doing something right, even if was working out at the gym religiously like any self-respecting gay man. Eric, quite obviously, didn’t respect his body as a temple, unless it was as a temple that had crumbled to a pile of rubble.

“What about this one?” he asked.

He could just make out what looked like a hoop with flames around it.

To his surprise, Casper shifted away and tugged his shirt down firmly. “I didn’t bring you up here to talk about all my tattoos.”

Casper’s tone was light and teasing, but his eyes were guarded, and Eric didn’t want to ruin what had been a fun outing with an interesting guy. So, he flirted.

“I was kind of hoping you brought me up here for more than a pretty sunset.”

Casper settled back onto his elbows, looking up at Eric with a genuine grin. “Is that right?”

Eric licked his lips nervously, looking at the perfect male body stretched out before him. Casper’s shoulders stretched the fabric of his shirt, pulling it tight across his chest, and his jeans hugged his muscled thighs. Casper was without a doubt the most gorgeous man Eric had ever seen.

But it had been a long time since he’d made a move. Tentatively, he rested his hand on Casper’s stomach, feeling his ab muscles tighten at his light touch.

“Seems like a good make-out spot,” Eric said.

“Does it?” Casper asked with an impish grin. “Maybe we should test it out.”

“Definitely,” Eric said, before leaning in. “But fair warning? I’m out of practice.”

“It’s just like riding a bike,” Casper murmured before their lips met in a kiss. It was soft, sweet. Tentative, because Eric was too timid to plunge his tongue in and taste Casper, no matter how much he wanted that.

Eric lifted his head, needing a moment to get his bearings after his first kiss in far too long. “That’s not at all like riding a bike.”

Casper laughed, eyes crinkling up. “You call that a make-out? Get back here.”

He slipped his hand into Eric’s hair and pulled him into a longer, deeper, wetter kiss. Casper eased onto his back, lying flat on the roof, and pulled Eric down with him. Even though Casper was the one pinned to the rooftop, he took control of the kiss, flicking his tongue playfully and nibbling at Eric’s lips until he opened up.

Eric smoothed his left hand over Casper’s chest and stomach, reveling in the firmness of the muscled body beneath him. Casper was young, gorgeous and incredibly fit. Way out of Eric’s league. But for some crazy reason, Casper liked him.


About The Author
DJ Jamison worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which helped tremendously when she began her series centered on The Ashe Sentinel, a fictional small-town newspaper in Kansas. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish.

Facebook Author PageFB group | Mailing list!Follow me on TwitterFind me on GoodreadsCheck out my Book Bub profile!

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Release blitz and #giveaway: Tomboy by Janelle Reston

Title:  Tomboy
Author: Janelle Reston
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 17000

Genre: romance, historical, LGBT, Historical, lesbian, 1950’s, tomboy, student, blue collar, mechanic, NASA, scientist, friends to lovers

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Some kids’ heads are in the clouds. Harriet Little’s head is in outer space.

In 1950s America, everyone is expected to come out of a cookie-cutter mold. But Harriet prefers the people who don’t, like her communist-sympathizer father and her best friend Jackie, a tomboy who bucks the school dress code of skirts and blouses in favor of T-shirts and blue jeans. Harriet realizes she’s also different when she starts to swoon over Rosemary Clooney instead of Rock Hudson—and finds Sputnik and sci-fi more fascinating than sock hops.

Before long, Harriet is secretly dating the most popular girl in the school. But she soon learns that real love needs a stronger foundation than frilly dresses and feminine wiles.


Janelle Reston © 2018
All Rights Reserved

The first time I met Jackie, I thought she was a boy. Of course, she was only eight then, an age when most humans would still be fairly androgynous if our society didn’t have the habit of primping us up in clothes that point in one direction or the other.

Jackie was in straight-legged dungarees, a checkered button-down shirt, and a brown leather belt with crossed rifles embossed on the brass buckle. Her hair was short, trimmed above the ears.

“Who’s that new boy?” my friend Shelley whispered as we settled into our desks. It was the first day of fourth grade, and Mrs. Baumgartner had made folded-paper name placards for each seat so we’d know where to go. Shelley always sat right in front of me because our last names were next to each other in the alphabet. She was Kramer; I was Little.

I looked at the blond cherub in the front row. He—as I thought Jackie was at the time—had his gaze set toward the ceiling, eyes tracing the portraits of the US presidents that hung at the top of the wall. A cowlick stuck up from the back of his head. He reminded me of Dennis the Menace, the mischievous star of my new favorite cartoon strip, which had debuted in our local paper that summer. I liked the way Dennis talked back to adults but somehow never got in trouble for it. I wished I had the same courage.

Mrs. Baumgartner walked into the room. The class fell silent and we straightened in our chairs, facing her. “Good morning, class. I’m your teacher for this year, Mrs. Baumgartner.”

“Good morning, Mrs. Baumgartner,” we answered in unison. She spelled her name on the chalkboard in cursive and asked us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Back then, the Pledge didn’t have the gist of a prayer like it does today; “under God” wasn’t added to “one nation indivisible” until three years later, after Eisenhower became president. I wiggled my toes around in my hand-me-down saddle shoes as we recited the words.

The trouble began when Mrs. Baumgartner started to take attendance. “Jacqueline Auglaize?”

“Here, Mrs. Baumgartner,” Dennis the Menace answered from the front row.

Mrs. Baumgartner narrowed her eyes. “New year at a new school, and we’re starting with the practical jokes already?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Will the real Jacqueline Auglaize please speak up? This is your only warning.” Mrs. Baumgartner’s eyes scanned the room. I craned my neck around. I hadn’t noticed any new girls in the classroom before our teacher’s arrival, but maybe I’d been distracted by the Dennis the Menace boy.

“I’m Jackie Auglaize, ma’am,” Dennis the Menace piped up again.

Mrs. Baumgartner’s face screwed up as if she’d accidentally sucked on a lemon. “What you are is on the way to the principal’s office, young man.”

“I’m not—”

“And a detention for talking back.”

Mrs. Baumgartner called on one of the other boys to escort the new, nameless student to his punishment. From chin to scalp, Dennis the Menace’s face turned red as a beet. His flushed ears looked almost purple against his pale hair.

Kids playing pranks didn’t blush like that.

“I think that really is a girl,” I whispered to Shelley. But if she heard, she didn’t respond. She knew better than to turn around in her seat when a teacher was already angry.

An hour later, Mrs. Baumgartner was quizzing us on our classroom rules when the school secretary appeared at the door. In tow was a student in a frilly cap-sleeved blouse, knee-length blue corduroy jumper with a flared skirt, lace-trimmed white bobby socks, a pair of shiny black Mary Janes—and short blonde hair.

The cowlick stood like a sentinel at the back of her scalp despite the hair polish that had clearly been combed through since we’d last seen her.

An audible gasp filled the classroom. Actually, it was multiple gasps, but they happened in such synchronization that they had the effect of a single, sustained note.

“Mrs. Baumgartner,” the secretary said, “Jacqueline Auglaize is ready to return to the classroom. We’ve explained the school dress code to her mother. The behavior of this morning won’t be repeated.”

“Thank you, Miss Hamilton. Welcome back, Jacqueline.”

Titters filled the room as Jacqueline walked toward her desk. Mrs. Baumgartner slapped her ruler against her desk. “Does anyone else want a detention?”

We went quiet. Detentions are never an auspicious way to start a new school year.

We spent the rest of the morning learning how to protect ourselves from atomic explosions. Mrs. Baumgartner said this knowledge could save us now that the Soviets had the bomb. “When an air raid siren goes off or you see a bright flash of light, duck and cover underneath a table or desk, inside a corridor, or next to a strong brick wall. Then pull your sweater or coat up to cover the back of your neck and head,” she explained.

We all squatted under our desks as instructed. My father said the Russians weren’t stupid enough to bomb us, that they loved the common people and wanted to protect us. But Mrs. Baumgartner seemed to think they were. She went on in excruciating detail about the things that could happen to us if we didn’t duck and cover. Glass from broken windows could fly in our faces, we could get a terrible sunburn from the blast; pieces of ceiling might drop on our heads. I wasn’t sure whom to believe about the bomb—my dad or Mrs. Baumgartner. I didn’t want to think about it. I shut out my teacher’s voice and stared at my scuffed saddle shoes, pondering how a boy could magically turn into a girl in the wink of an eye.

“She’s not a girl,” Shelley insisted as we walked out to morning recess. “Girls can’t have hair like that.”

“They can if they cut it.”

“But no mother would let a girl wear her hair so short.”

“The school wouldn’t let a boy wear a dress to class.”

Shelley must have been won over by my logic, because the next thing that came out of her mouth was, “Maybe she has a little brother who likes to stick gum in people’s hair.” Shelley’s brother had done that to her once, but since he only got it on the tail end of her braid, she hadn’t lost much length to the scissors when her mother cut it out. “Or she got lice. Yuck.”

I didn’t like the direction of Shelley’s last comment. As it was, the new girl was guaranteed to have very few friends after the morning’s clothing incident. If the lice rumor spread, she’d have no friends at all. I’d been new once too.

“She doesn’t look dirty,” I said. “Maybe her hair got caught in an escalator and they had to cut it off.” I was terrified of escalators. My mother had warned me never to play around on one or my clothes would get snagged between the steps and I’d be pulled in, then smashed as flat as a pancake. Back when she worked in a department store, before marrying my dad, she saw a lady get caught by the scarf in an escalator’s moving handrail, and it would have been death by strangling if an alert gentleman with a penknife hadn’t been nearby to free her. I still get a little on edge every time I step onto one.

We got in line to play hopscotch on a board a couple other girls had drawn earlier that morning. I looked around. The whole school was out on the playground, and it was harder than I would have expected to find a short-haired girl in a blue jumper. There were lots of blue corduroy jumpers darting around the swings and monkey bars and jungle gym. Wanamaker’s must have featured them in its back-to-school sale that year. My dress wasn’t new. It was a hand-me-down from my older sister, with a ribbon tie and a skirt made with less fabric than the newer fashions. Shelley and I had done a test run of our first-day outfits the previous week, and no matter how fast I spun around, my skirt failed to billow as dramatically as Shelley’s.

Still, I tried to make the skirt swing gracefully as I hopped down the squares. I had no desire to be dainty, but I liked the aesthetic of fabric twirling in the air. We went through the hopscotch line four times before I finally spotted Jackie. She was over by the fence, poking at the dirt with a stick. Alone.

That last bit was no surprise.

It took three more rounds of hopscotch before I worked up the nerve to go find out what she was doing.

“Where are you going?” Shelley called as I marched off.

I didn’t answer her, afraid I’d lose my momentum. It was risky talking to an outcast. On the one hand, it was the only way to turn her into not-an-outcast. On the other hand, it might turn me into one too.

“What are you doing?”

Jackie looked up. “Thinking about digging a hole to China.”


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Meet the Author

Janelle Reston lives in a northern lake town with her partner and their black cats. She loves watching Battlestar Galactica and queering gender. You can keep up with her at http://www.janellereston.com.



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Release blitz and #giveaway: The Moth and Moon by Glenn Quigley

Title:  The Moth and Moon
Author: Glenn Quigley
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 63000

Genre: Alternate Universe, Historical, LGBT, historical, gay, friends to lovers, sailor, baker, pirates, family drama

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In the summer of 1780, on the tiny island of Merryapple, burly fisherman Robin Shipp lives a simple, quiet life in a bustling harbour town where most of the residents dislike him due to the actions of his father. With a hurricane approaching, he nonetheless convinces the villagers to take shelter in the one place big enough to hold them all—the ancient, labyrinthine tavern named the Moth & Moon.

While trapped with his neighbours during the raging storm, Robin inadvertently confronts more than the weather, and the results could change everything.


The Moth and Moon
Glenn Quigley © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Mr. Robin Shipp pulled his cap lower as he took a deep breath of salty morning air and watched the sun emerge from behind the headland. Stepping from the pier into his little boat, he ran his heavy hand across the prow, catching his coarse fingers on the loose, chipped paintwork. He picked a jagged flake off the wooden frame and held it up to the light, the vivid scarlet catching the pinks and oranges of daybreak. He let go and it drifted through the air, carried away on the gentle breeze, before settling on the soft, lapping tide. Most of the paintwork was in some state of distress. Deep cracks marbled the entire hull, belying the fisherman’s profound affection for his vessel. Bucca’s Call had seen better days.

“I’ll paint you tomorrow, Bucca, I promise,” he said.

He made this very same promise every morning, but every day, he found some reason to put it off. Before too long, he was humming to himself and hauling his well-worn oyster dredge over the stern of Bucca’s Call.

“Beautiful!” he said as he emptied the net into a nearby tub. The shells clattered against one another as they fell. The boat bobbed about gently on the waves while gulls screeched and circled overhead. Her nameplate was missing a couple of letters and her white sails were truthfully more of a grimy beige these days, but she was as reliable as ever.

He was close to the shore and could see the whole bay—from the headland to the east, down to the harbour, past the pale blue-and-white-striped lighthouse that sat out at sea on its desolate little clump of rocks and scrub, and over to the beautiful sandy beach curving around and out of sight to the west.

The little fishing village of Blashy Cove sloped up the hills beyond the harbour, and with his gaze, he traced the low, stone walls lining each cobbled road. It was the only significant settlement on the tiny island of Merryapple, the southernmost point of a little cluster of islands nestled off the Cornish coast. The village had everything one would expect to find, except a place of worship. No lofty cathedral had ever been built there, no church of granite and glass, not even the smallest wooden chapel. When the empire of the Romans had fallen a thousand years earlier, its church had fallen alongside it. The invaders hadn’t lingered long on the mainland, and had never set foot on these islands. Once they were gone, the people picked through the remains, seeing the value in certain aspects and thoroughly disregarding the rest, scouring the regime clean from the face the world and consigning it meekly to the tomes of scholars and students. In its absence, the old gods returned to their forests and deserts, their mountains and streams, their homes and hearths. Spirits of air and land and sea. Woden and Frig, The Wild Hunt and the Bucca, piskies and mermaids, the Green Man and the wights, all were changed, made kinder and gentler by their brief exile. On these islands, the old ways had been the only ways, but even these had mostly died out, sloping into traditions, superstitions, and habits. It was now August in the year 1780, and people believed in themselves.

At this time of morning, sunlight hit the brightly painted houses and sparkled on the gentle, rolling waves. The village’s livelihood mainly revolved around the sea, but there was more to life than just luggers and lines and lobster pots. The Cove had long been a haven to those of a more creative bent. Painters and sculptors, engineers and inventors, they all found their home there. Some of them had come from the nearby Blackrabbit Island, which wasn’t known for its love of the finer arts. This abundance of skill, and the nurturing of it, meant Blashy Cove had adopted some innovations not yet common in the rest of the world.

Robin had been out for some time by now and, as usual, had already eaten his packed lunch. Soon, his substantial belly rumbled and he decided it was time to head back to port. Packing away his nets, he heaved in his empty lobster pots, secured the tub filled with this morning’s catch, and sailed the small craft homeward. As he did, he noticed a thin, grey line on the horizon.

“Looks like some bad weather on the way, Bucca,” he muttered to the little boat.

The stern of the curious little craft sat low in the water, due equally to the weight of the morning’s catch and the significant heft of Robin himself. While at first it appeared to be a traditional lugger, the kind of boat used by most fishermen in this part of the world, Bucca’s Call was actually much smaller and faster, a one-of-a-kind built many years previously.

Huge ships from the mainland drifted past, their enormous sails billowing in the breeze. Merryapple was part of a small group of southerly islands, and the last sight of land some of the mighty vessels would see for weeks, or even months.

Merryapple Pier was the oldest one anybody knew of. The brainstorm of a local fisherman many years earlier and copied by many other villages since, it might well have been the first of its kind. This clever fisherman realised if there was a way for larger boats to offload their cargo directly, rather than having to put it onto smaller vessels to ferry back and forth between harbour and ship, it would increase the traffic through the little port. The pier stretched out past the shallower waters near the coastline. Little sailboats like Bucca’s Call could dock right up close to the beach or even on the sand, if need be, while bigger fishing vessels could use the far end, in deeper waters. The pier was constructed from huge boulders hewn from the island’s cliff face and supported by a framework of long wooden poles from the woodlands. In the evening, bigger boats from the village fleet usually dropped anchor in the bay, while smaller vessels stayed moored to the pier.

At the shore, some children were chasing each other around a pile of crab pots, hooting and hollering while May Bell finished her deliveries for the bakery. May was around the same age as the other children, but she was of a more industrious bent. She saw Bucca’s Call approaching and ran to help Robin secure his mooring line as he lugged the tub of oysters onto the pier. When he clambered up the weathered stone steps, he steadied himself with a hand against the wall. The steps were wet and slippery, with dark green mould threatening to envelope his heavy boots should he linger too long.

“Morning, Mr. Shipp,” the girl called as she finished tying the worn rope around an old, pitted stone bitt.

“Mornin’, May! Thanks for your ’elp,” he called back, waving to the girl as he lumbered past. Taller than any man on the island, he dwarfed the little girl, drowning her in his shadow.

“Time for food already?” she asked.

“Oh yes,” replied Robin, “an’ I know just the place to get some!”

His legs were stiff from sitting in the boat all morning. He knew he was supposed to get up and move around a bit every once in a while, but when he was out on the water, the chatter of the gulls, the lap of the waves, the smell of the sea air, it was all so relaxing he just didn’t notice the time going by. Only his stomach growls marked the hours.

Mrs. Greenaway, wife of the village doctor and a friend of May’s parents, happened to be passing by on her way home from the market. Seeing their exchange, she scrunched up her face, adjusted the bow on her bonnet, and seized the little girl by the arm, leading her away from the pier and avoiding Robin’s disappointed gaze. He knew May from the bakery, as the master baker was one of his very few friends, but it wasn’t uncommon for people to avoid him.

Robin heaved the awkward tub full of oysters up and marched towards the bustling market, which was a collection of simple wooden stalls selling everything from food to clothes to ornaments. He edged his way through the crowd, past various stallholders and shoppers as he struggled with the heavy container. Finally, he reached the largest stall, which sold all manner of fresh seafood, all caught in that very cove. Robin specialised in inshore fishing, whereas the other boats concentrated their efforts farther out to sea. He was one of only two oyster fishermen in the village. The other, Mr. Hirst, was ill and hadn’t been out in his craft for almost two weeks. He was married, with a young family to feed, and the village had rallied around to help and make sure they didn’t go hungry. The lack of competition, however, meant Robin was securing a bumper crop.

A tall, thin man in a white coat was scribbling notes onto a wad of yellow paper. In front of him lay a collection of various local fish, in everything from buckets to barrels to battered old copper pots.

“Got a nice batch for you this mornin’, Mr. Blackwall.” Robin beamed, holding up the tub so the fishmonger could get a good look.

“Yes, these will do fine, I suppose, Mr. Shipp. Put them down at the front.” Mr. Blackwall was notorious for not getting too hands-on with the product or with much of anything, really. He kept his distance from the beach and fairly resented having to be even this close. Wet sand upset him greatly, as it had a tendency to cling to his shiny boots and sometimes it even marked his pristine coat. He didn’t do any of the actual work with the fish, instead leaving it to his assistants. He’d often said he didn’t see the point of having a stall at all when he had a perfectly good shop on Hill Road. But the market was a tradition in Blashy Cove, and so he had no choice but to participate or lose out. He jotted some numbers down on his paper and then chewed the end of his pencil as he tried to add them up. He always did this, and he never did it quickly. Robin stooped and laid the tub on the ground as instructed, grunting as he straightened.

“Joints sore again?” the fishmonger asked out of sheer politeness, not looking up from his calculations.

“No more’n usual,” Robin replied, rubbing the small of his back and rotating his shoulder. Working the sea wasn’t easy, and it had taken its toll over the years.

Ben Blackwall reached into his inside pocket and produced a fistful of polished coins, which he delivered into Robin’s large, callused hands. Robin nodded appreciatively and stuffed them into the pockets of his calf-length, navy-coloured overcoat. Tipping his floppy, well-worn cap to his long-time buyer, he turned and headed away from the dock.

He passed by other villagers going about their morning routine and jumped out of the way of a horse and cart loaded with apples from the orchard over the hills as he headed straight for the immense building dead ahead. It was a massive, ungainly lump, set in the centre of a spacious courtyard, all crooked wooden beams and slanting lead-paned windows. Every now and then, a shabby bay window or wonky dormer jutted out at funny angles. It was hard to tell exactly how many floors it had. Five, at least, the topmost of which sat like a box that had been dropped from a great height onto the rest of the structure. Rumpled, uneven, and crooked, this odd addition had one large, circular window on each of its four walls. On the ground outside, wooden tables and chairs were arranged, and heavy planters overflowed with hardy, perennial shrubbery. A couple of fat seagulls noisily argued over a few crumbs dropped near the windbreakers. This pair were here so often, they seemed to be part of the building itself. The locals named them Captain Tom and the Admiral. Captain Tom was the leader of a particularly noisy and troublesome band of gulls, and the Admiral was his main rival. They would often fight over even the tiniest scraps left on the ground, and both were marked with more than one battle scar.

As he pulled on the heavy oak door, the sign hanging overhead creaked and groaned in the wind. Painted on chestnut from the nearby wood, the bulk of the sign was older than the village itself, but it had been modified many times. Formed of several expertly carved layers, it now looked more like a child’s pop-up book rather than the simple plank of wood it had once been. The overall effect was of peering through a forest, out over the cove at night. The outermost tier resembled a ring of tree branches, gently moving up and down. Behind that layer were the turbulent waves, which clicked from side to side. Finally, there was the static crescent moon with a single cerulean moth flying slowly around, completing one revolution every hour. The whole sign ticked and whirred endlessly as its springs and cogs went about their work, and had to be wound up twice a day using a long, metal key kept tucked behind the tavern’s main door. The name of the establishment was weaved around and through the artwork in gold.

This wasn’t simply a place to drink or gather with friends; it was a place to conduct business, a place where people married, and a place where people mourned. It was a refuge from bad weather and jilted lovers. This was the heart and soul of the little village.

This was the Moth & Moon.


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Meet the Author

Glenn Quigley is a graphic designer originally from Dublin and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He creates bear designs for http://www.themoodybear.com. He has been interested in writing since he was a child, as essay writing was the one and only thing he was ever any good at in school. When not writing or designing, he enjoys photography and has recently taken up watercolour painting.

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Sunday Review

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Happy Sunday, everyone. To celebrate T.A. Creech‘s new release yesterday (Happy belated release day!) I thought I’d review one of her other books that I’ve read and enjoyed. And if you think it sounds interesting, today’s the day to buy it. All T.A. Creech’s ebooks are 40% off over at JMS Books today, Sunday, only. This link will take you to her author page, get ready to do some shopping. 😁

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sentinelSentinel by T.A. Creech

A fireball burning up the sky leads farmer Jason Thomas to the strangest thing he’s ever found in his pumpkin patch. A man with wings. And no, he doesn’t think it’s an angel, no matter what his brothers say.

Taking the stranger into his home is hard. Keeping his heart from the stranger’s hands? Harder. But everything in him calls to this being and Jason is so damned tired of only having his brothers at his back.

Castiel has no idea what this angel thing is, but the evil that knocked him out of the sky did him a favor. He’d heard the tales of his kin and their missions on Earth with envy and now he has the chance to experience it himself. Better yet, his mate takes him home. One small problem. Castiel has a duty and needs to find a way back. Of course it isn’t going to be that easy.

A lovely and well-written story. I really love how the relationship between Jason and the angel Castiel develops organically and I love how Castiel have absolutely no idea about how life on earth works, for example: the Halloween scene. It was truly hilarious and made me laugh out loud.

Castiel is fabulously written. The descriptions of him makes it easy for me to imagine him, and in my mind he’s the most beautiful creature ever written. I’m totally in love with his wings and how he looses control over them when he gets excited 🙂

I wouldn’t say that the story is a stand-alone, because at the end of the book I have even more questions than I did at the beginning, so be aware that you’ll need to read the sequels for closure. Except for the relationship part, that part I’m satisfied with 🙂

Warmly recommended.

Release blitz and #giveaway: Dusk (Expedition 63 #1) by T.A. Creech


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Length: 42,700 words approx.
Publisher: JMS Books


When contact is lost with Mission Control, Commander John Dennington isn’t overly concerned. Such hiccups in communication are common. The first inkling of the larger problem occurs when he sees the very shape of the world change before his eyes.

John must ease his crew into a new mission and keep the Station together by any means necessary. The crew jeopardizes their chances by fighting his orders, but Jason Weiss, his mission specialist and the light of his life, makes John’s situation more bearable.

The smallest malfunction to Station or crew would spell the end for six astronauts trapped high above a ruined Earth. It’s their mission to carry on. Random chance of the universe hasn’t operated in their favor so far, but John is determined to see them all safely home.


“Nobody’s going to be angry if you literally can’t get a hold of them,” John tried to placate him. The wrinkled nose on his cool bronze face didn’t reassure him that Yakecen would let it go, but he had to try. His prickly friend was going to blow a gasket one day and John hated the thought.

Yakecen confirmed his fear with a shake of his head, simple crow black braid swishing against the interior panels like an agitated cat’s tail. “I don’t want to get dressed down again. The last time, the asshole on the other end of the line said she’d put a reprimand in my file if I couldn’t stay on schedule.”

That was news to him. “Who told you this?”

“Some drone in Control. I don’t remember,” he told John, the discomfort in his whole body clear as day. Yakecen wasn’t a people person on his good days and when someone had a problem with his work, it just made him dig his heels in.

John sighed and ran his index finger down the bridge of his nose. It didn’t help the headache that brewed right behind his eyes. “I’ll get it straightened out. People can’t expect everything to go perfectly all the time and they shouldn’t take it out on you.”

“Thanks, John.” Yakecen meant it, John saw it in the earnest way he thanked him. John was happy to be the buffer for his crew, especially for Yakecen, but fuck, he hoped someone would take up the duty once they back on the ground. John had plans and he couldn’t do that job full time.

John nodded and started to back out of the capsule. “So, yeah, comms are down. Just sit tight, okay?”

“Sure thing.” Yakecen ducked out of sight between the seats. “And tell whoever has the camera to knock off with the flash. It’s so bright, going off in here, that it almost gave me a headache.”

John paused. A camera flash wasn’t anywhere near that strong and the interior wasn’t that dark. And someone would’ve made a lot of racket getting past the garbage container over his head. “You see who it was?”

“No,” was the muffled answer, but his crewmember popped up again and gave John a strange look. “I didn’t see anyone when I checked. Although, how any of our guys avoided me seeing them, I’ll never know. Saito even has a problem getting in here.”

Saito was the smallest of them all, barely five feet in his socks.

“Huh.” That was peculiar. “You know, Turlach was saying the same thing. Maybe Saito knows something about it. He’s been in Destiny for a few hours now.”

“It was annoying as fuck.” Yakecen popped back out of his spot and pointed a finger at John. He hated that finger, because Yakecen always managed to have a disapproving look that matched John’s mother’s so perfectly, he thought they were clones for a second. “I don’t have a problem with the candid shots, but not while I’m working in here. It’s too dark for it.”

“Understood,” John promised.


About the Author

I am a house-parent to a rambunctious small child and happily mated to an equally rambunctious military spouse. My adventures in writing began with fanfiction, and once I was hooked I never looked back.

While I’ve always tried to make my fanfiction unique, what I enjoy most about creating original work is the ability to delve into my stranger ideas without worrying about how I might apply them to someone else’s world and characters. With my own creations, I take pride in twisting familiar tropes into something new and unexpected.

When I write, it is with the intention that my stories will leave a lasting impression. I hope you enjoy the characters and the worlds I create, and that they help you to find a place to exist, for a while, outside of your own.

–T.A. Creech


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