Published April 15th 2017 by Stone Publishing
Original TitleHijacked Love
Edition Language English
In Chechnya, part of the Russian Federation, police are kidnapping gay men (and those they perceive to be gay) and taking them to camps for torture. Several state-sanctioned murders have also been reported.
Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens is a group of people raising money for organizations working directly with gay men and other persecuted LGBT people in Chechnya and the northern Caucasus. We do this through direct donations, donating royalties to these charitable organizations, and an online auction being held May 5–12.
Why We Need to Help Gay and Bi Men in Chechnya
by Kate Pavelle, aka Olivette Devaux
I was born in the communist Czechoslovakia, where homosexuality was against the law. I wanted to be a writer, but was told, “No, you can’t be a writer. You’d either be a tool of the State, or you’d end up in jail as a dissident.” Once our family defected from behind the Iron Curtain, bummed around Europe as homeless refugees, and landed here in America, I knew I could never be a writer. I’d never speak English well enough – and everybody knows that you can write only in your mother tongue.
There are many things which “everybody knows.” Many turned out to be false.
People ask why I write gay romance. Partly, I love romance, because it’s a feel-good literature of hope, and it speaks to the commonalities that make us human, that bring us together. Likewise, I can’t stand the “woman gets rescued by a man” tropes present in M/F romance. They aren’t my life. I have worked so hard on not needing a rescue by anyone, the attitude is ingrained in my stubborn bones. Being a refugee in my early teens had shown me that, ultimately, we are on our own. People may help us along the way, but in the end, we are responsible for our own destiny. Some have it easier than others, true, but the attitude of self-reliance that I have been trying to foster in myself all these years – decades – is incompatible with “rescue and love” tropes of straight genre romance.
A same-sex relationship offers a theoretically level playing field. Two guys (or gals,) similar societal expectations, no worries about getting pregnant. This oversimplified model is where I’d started few years ago, and it has evolved into a better understanding of how people work. The itch was scratched, and just when we got the landmark SCOTUS decision, marriage equality, and I’d thought I could move on to writing crime suspense, the Pulse shooting happened.
Ducking out of a genre that had given me a good start, and a ton of support, would’ve been ungrateful. People were suffering, so I stayed.
One year and few books later, we have Chechnya, and Putin, and Trump, and… and I just can’t leave. As long as writing same-sex romance is a political statement against a hateful, bigoted, religiously motivated governmental policy, I’ll keep writing it. I’ll keep making by boys happy in fiction in order to inspire those who are still closeted, or lonely, or scared that they, too, can have their happy ending. They, too, will have to work hard for it, (because my characters seldom have it easy), but there is that special someone for them at the end of the rainbow.
Now that real-life men in Chechnya are being rounded up in concentration camps on mere suspicion of being gay, now that they are being beaten and tortured and killed, now that their families are being summoned to kill them to “cleanse their family’s honor by blood,” I feel duty-bound to try and help. These are not fictional characters. They are real, they bleed red, they run scared. For those lucky ones who were able to escape, we can help finance rescue operations so that they can find a home somewhere else.
They are refugees, just like I had once been.
I’m just paying it forward.
Please join me.
Kate Pavelle‘s novel Swordfall made the USA TODAY’s “must-read romance of 2015” list. She writes suspense, romance, and fantasy. She started publishing LGBT titles under her Olivette Devaux pen name.
If you’re an author who would like to get involved, please sign up at Authors & Publishers for LGBT Chechens. There, you can also find answers to frequently asked questions about donating a percentage of royalties, educating readers, the charitable organizations that are helping out LGBT Chechens, and more.
If you are a reader who would like to learn more about the situation in Chechnya and how to help — including how to make a direct donation to a designated charity, buy a book from a participating author, or support the auction — please visit Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens. You’ll find more information, as well as links and graphics you can add to your own blog, social media, or your website.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
When you live beside a cat café, it’s inevitable the fur will start flying eventually. Derek “Dez” Walker, a police officer wounded in a shooting, feels adrift and isolated as he makes a slow recovery. Others call him a hero, but it’s a title he doesn’t think he deserves.
When Dez intervenes in a burglary at the cat café near his apartment, he meets the owner, Francis “Fran” Green. Though he’s a hero to Fran for his intervention in the burglary, it’s Fran who becomes a strong source of support for Dez. Fran offers friendship to his vulnerable neighbour and, as they spend more time together, Dez comes to rely on Fran … and his cats.
He begins to find the way out of his isolation, but does he deserve everything Fran offers?
I thought this was such a cute story. Dez has pretty much been living his life on pause since he was wounded, avoiding others and moving on. Being awoken by the sound of a burglary and the new friendship he develops with Fran is just the wake-up call he needs to get his life back on track.
Fran wants to show Dez that he is worthy of affection let alone the friendship he is offering, having helped a brother with PTSD he knows he has to be patient but also push at the same time. Dez knows he needs to try to get better to be the man he thinks Fran deserves and gains a new cat, Riley, in the process. We see this story from through Dez’s eyes but Fran is so open and loving that you can easily how he is feeling too. These two complement each other wonderfully and I loved seeing them together.
The cover art by Written Ink Designs is adorable and gives a great visual of Dez and his new cat, Riley.
ebook, 56 pages
Published: April 8, 2017 by JMS Books
Edition Language: English
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Adam is a workaholic lawyer firmly entrenched in the closet. The only time he gets to “be gay” is when his friend throws parties that allow other men like himself to be free. He meets Sky during one of those weekends, but quite by accident. Even though on the surface neither is the other’s type- they have crazy chemistry. Until uber environmentalist Sky finds out that Adam is a lawyer working for a developer and they are fighting over the same parcel of land.
Book three was a bit of a departure from the other two in the series. Not that that is a bad thing, but is just didn’t flow with the vibe of the others. The character connection between this one and previous seemed as an afterthought.
While this was a decent story, it really needed to be fleshed out a bit more. I have nothing against short novels (this one clocks in at just over 100 pages) but it all plays out over a short time frame. Too short for ideologies to change as they did. And they were together so few times, it just didn’t make sense to change so much.
There were parts I really enjoyed, parts that made me roll my eyes a bit and parts that were smoking hot. Ultimately, I needed more. Their connection just wasn’t there for me.
Cover Artist: Reese Dante. Eye catching cover and font definitely draws you to the book.
ebook, 2nd Edition, 115 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 4th 2012)
ISBN 1634773659 (ISBN13: 9781634773652)
SeriesBalls to the Wall #3 settingCalifornia (United States)
Newport Beach, California (United States)
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Christine d’Abo here today taking about her latest novel, Faking It (Ringside Romance #2). Welcome, Christine!
Hello, my name is Christine d’Abo and I’m so happy to be here today.
I’m a firm believer that the good friends are the family members that we get to choose. The get us on a level that sometimes our biological family doesn’t. When I came up with the idea of Ringside Gym and the men who were involved with it, I wanted to make sure that their relationships reflected that feeling.
Max would be the “middle” child of the trio of heroes. He’s my peacemaker, the one who wants to make sure everyone and everything is okay. But Max has a problem – he doesn’t know what to do when he’s not needed. Zack no longer needs him now that he has Noland in his life, and their other friend Eli has been MIA due to his MMA career. Max’s life begins to drift and he questions not only what he wants, but also who he wants in it.
When Grady Barnes shows up on the scene, Max is equal parts intrigued and annoyed. Here is a man who seems to have it all, but is seemingly at the whim of his father. When Grady asks Max for help, he takes a leap of faith and agrees. What Max doesn’t anticipate is how quickly Grady will work his way into his heart.
All Max needs to do is find a way to prevent Grady from being forced into a marriage he doesn’t want, while not giving in to his impulse to sweep Grady into his arm.
You can visit Christine at her website www.christinedabo.com, and chat with her on Facebook and Twitter. Want to keep up with Christine’s new releases? Sign up for her newsletter and receive a free book!
Max Tremblay should be happy. His nightclub, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.
Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.
When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/faking-it
Deep in the heart of Toronto lies Ringside Gym. Once a safe haven for troubled teens, Ringside has gone derelict, a forgotten memory of past days. Until a group of friends set out to do what they can to bring life back to the ring and create a new home for LGBT youths.
But when their lives threaten to pull down their dreams, each man must turn to others to help make it a reality. Winners take all—but there are no losers in love.
Check out Ringside Romance. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/ringside-romance
A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.
Connect with Christine:
To celebrate the release of Faking It, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 13, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Series: The Cassie Tam Files, book 1
Author: Matt Doyle
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: May 8, 2017
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Genre: science fiction, Sci-fi, futuristic, addiction, friends to lovers, private detective, lesbian
So, when I wrote Addict, I had a lot of different songs playing in the background, and each one played for different reasons. In fact, there were times that I was playing one or two songs on loop while writing certain scenes because they just felt ‘right’ for that moment. I’ll put a link to the list at the bottom of the post, but in the meantime, these are the songs that I was using:
New Hopeland City Themes
These are the songs that resonated with me in terms of reminding me of the book’s setting. New Hopeland was built to be a sign of hope for the future, but it fell into corruption quite quickly. That being the case, two songs by Canada’s The Tea Party spring to mind. Both Babylon and Temptation offer a good representation of how the city is for those that live there. Musically, they have a tech infused industrial feel to them, and they lyrically deal with the things that New Hopeland’s darker underbelly thrives on: tempting and seducing others, and the idea of falling low. If I was writing a scene that specifically dealt with glimpses into this side of the city, then these were my go to tracks. At the same time though, the city was always intended to be a positive, and many still try to make it as good as it can be. There hits a point for all of them where they need to decide whether to give in to the corruption or say, “Hey, I’m doing things my way.” In terms of that lingering feeling of hope and trying to be what they want to be rather than what the city wants them to be, I always hear Round Here by Counting Crows, in particular the extended live versions. There’s just something about Adam Duritz’s voice when he performs this live that really takes you on a journey and sucks you into it all.
Cassie Tam Themes
Cassie is such a joy to write because there are a lot of layers to her. Depending on who she’s speaking to or what she’s set out to achieve at any given time, there’s just so much to her, and I love that. Part of her character has been shaped by various tragic events, both in her distant and recent past. Being a Chinese-Canadian, I found that I stuck with The Tea Party for representation of that, in particular the track Walking Wounded, as I felt that Cassie really was walking wounded at times, especially in terms of letting people get close to her. Next is Second Chance by Shinedown. This one really plays into Cassie’s distant past and in particular her relationship with her mother and how that was affected by the way that she lives her life, at least in terms of her approach to her job. Shinedown are actually a band that gets mentioned directly by Cassie as one of her favourites too, and that is because she remains hopeful that she can be a good person. Shinedown’s lyrics here really encompass that. The other band that she mentions is The Wildhearts and I often turned to Geordie in Wonderland by them as a Cassie Song. Again, the song deals with taking the good and the bad, and there’s something wonderfully endearing about this live version with the crowd taking the lead.
Lori Redwood Themes
At the start of the book, Lori is confused by her brother’s death. She’s hurting, but she’s reaching out and trying to uncover the truth and to understand what happened. Alone You Breathe by Savatage always put me in this frame of mind when I needed to deal with Lori’s views in that regard. In sticking with the same band, Back To A Reason actually felt very representative of Cassie’s journey with Lori for me, from the giving what she could with the case, to the questioning of herself that Lori caused, and in the end the resolution of the heavier themes into admitting what you feel. By the end of the book, I see Lori as a character in Heal My Wounds by Poets of the Fall. She’s in a delicate state, and everything is teetering on the edge, but she can heal her wounds if she wants to try.
Finally, there were a couple of tracks that I listened to a lot while writing the book, each far different reasons. Last Ride Of The Day by Nightwish was a constant favourite because it summed up part of the story for me. The idea of life being a bit of Carnival with so many acts going on, but trying to find ways to enjoy it and embracing what you can in it. Also by the Finnish rockers, was Storytime, a song about discovering yourself and what is important to you through the stories that you read. In the same way, Cassie has to discover what matter to her through the story that she’s living by investigating Lori’s case.
So, there you have it: The music that helped shape Cassie Tam and her world. If you want to check the songs out, then you can find the playlist here:
New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options …
For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems.
When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case.
Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.
Matt Doyle © 2017
All Rights Reserved
I always did like Venetian blinds. There’s something quaint about them in a retro-tacky kinda way. Plus, they’re pretty useful for sneaking a peek out the front of the building if I feel the need. That’s something that you just can’t do with the solid, immovable metal slats that come as a standard in buildings these days. That said, a thick sheet of steel is gonna offer you a damn sight more security than thin, bendable vinyl, so I keep mine installed. Just in case.
Another round of knocking rattles the front door, louder this time than the one that woke me.
The clock says 23:47, and the unfamiliar low-end car out front screams “Don’t notice me, I’m not worth your time,” which makes for the perfect combo to stir up the paranoia that the evening’s beer and horror-film session left behind. This is my own fault. My adverts are pretty descriptive in terms of telling what I do: lost pets, cheating partners, theft, protection, retrieval of people and items, other odds and sods that the city’s finest won’t touch…I’ve got ways to deal with it all. That’s right, I’m a real odd-job gal. The one thing that I don’t put in there are business hours. The way I see it, even the missing pet cases usually leave me wandering the streets at half-past reasonable, so what’s the point in asking people to call between certain hours?
More knocking, followed this time by the squeak of my letter box and a voice. “Hello? Cassandra Tam?”
It’s funny, really. For all the tech advances that the world has made, no one has been able to improve upon the simple open-and-shut letter box. I stumble my way through the dark and wave dismissively at the frosted glass. The light switch and the keypad for the door lock are conveniently placed right next to each other on the wall to the right of the door, so welcoming my apparent guest is a nice, easy affair. The lock clicks a moment after the lights flood the room, and I pull the door open.
“Cassie,” I say, turning and skulking my way back into the room. “Or Caz. Drop the Tam.”
I hear a sniff behind me, and the lady from the letter box asks, “Are you drunk?”
“If I pass out in the next five minutes, then yes,” I reply, turning the kettle on. I’d left it full, ready for the morning, but I guess this is close enough. “Take a seat at the table. Would you prefer tea or coffee? I’d offer beer, but since I reek of it, I guess I must’ve finished it.”
Footsteps creep unapologetically across the room, and a chair squeaks on the floor. Good. If you can’t deal with a snarky response to something, don’t say it all, and if you can deal with it, then as far as I’m concerned you don’t need to apologise.
“Coffee,” the lady says. “So, do you always see potential clients in your underwear, or is it just my lucky day?” Her voice has a slightly playful edge to it, but with a sarcastic kick to round it off.
The business portion of my apartment comprises entirely of a small open-plan room separating my kitchen from my living room. And by open plan, I mean an allotted space that encroaches on both territories but is conveniently large enough to house what I need. Or, in other words, a table, four chairs, and nothing else. Since filing went near entirely digital, filing cabinets have pretty much become obsolete, so the two that I found dumped outside the building when I bought the place currently live in my bedroom, and contain a mix of quick access work stuff and personal files I’d rather not have floating on the net. Most things, though, I store electronically, the same as everything else.
I rarely use the business table to eat, read, or any of that junk, so until this evening it’s been entirely empty for a good few weeks. The lady sitting there now is studying me, I can see, and probably wondering if this was a mistake. Whatever she may have expected, a Chinese-Canadian gal of average height in a cami top and a loose pair of sleep shorts most likely wasn’t it. For what it’s worth, though, I’m studying her just the same. She’s a lithe-looking thing, dressed in a casual pair of jeans and a plain black fitted top under a leather jacket. If the metal plugs running down her shaven head like a shiny, rubber-tipped Mohawk weren’t a giveaway for what she is, the light scarring punctuating the outer edges of her pale blue eyes certainly would be. She’s a Tech Shifter, and like most of her ilk, she looks like a punk rocker gone cyborg.
Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England and shares his home with a wide variety of people and animals, as well as a fine selection of teas. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.
These days, Matt can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics, and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.
5/8 – Queer Sci Fi
5/9 – Oh My Shelves
5/10 – Booklover Sue
5/11 – The Novel Approach
5/12 – love bytes reviews