Looking for that Next Romance Story? Check out the New Release Blitz for Coffee (A Cup of John #2) by Matthew J. Metzger (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Coffee

Series: A Cup of John, Book Two

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 19. 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 69100

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, contemporary, British, trans, gay, queer, age gap, established couple, size difference, blue collar, disability, ableism, death and grieving, family issues, dirty talk, wedding, ownvoices

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Synopsis

When Chris’s stepfather passes away and leaves Chris a house and a wedding ring, it seems like the perfect opportunity to take the next step in his relationship with John.

So, they’re both in for a nasty shock when Chris’s mother is vehemently opposed to the idea. Despite three years of history to prove otherwise, she insists that John is only a temporary feature in Chris’s life, and a man like him can’t be expected to stay with someone like Chris in the long run.

Can Chris persuade her that she’s wrong in time for the wedding—or will there be an empty space in the photographs?

Excerpt

Coffee
Matthew J. Metzger © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Rather appropriately for the occasion, it had been raining all day.

Chris took in a deep lungful of smoke and exhaled it smoothly into the chilly afternoon. The memorial garden was blissful after the hustle and bustle of the funeral. The air was open and soothingly cool, not like the stuffy heat of the chapel. He could breathe again. He could gather the shards of grief around himself and try to put them back together, without having to think about his mother’s sobbing at his side, or the favourite song that had been played for Jack’s last journey, a song now stained with sadness.

The gentle patter of raindrops on the umbrella calmed him, and the far-off chirping of some irate bird provided a gentle counterpoint. Life slowed. From farther off, the chattering of friends and relations had finally died away, and Chris stubbed out the remains of the cigarette as he heard the crunch of gravel.

He’d never been here before, but the footsteps coming down the path were as familiar as his own. Thunderously heavy, an immense weight crushing each step into the ground even as the pace was slow and steady. That slight stress on one step, followed by lightness on the other. That dodgy knee from the rugby accident last year had left its mark in the form of a subtle limp and a tiny scar like a fish hook that made its owner go all shivery when Chris kissed it. Even the speed with which each step followed the other was familiar, like the tower of a body might collapse if the feet were spread too far apart. The hands that clasped Chris’s shoulders were as big as spades, and only one person in his life was tall enough to kiss the crown of his head without the use of a box to stand on.

Chris leaned back into the wall of a man who had arrived and lifted the umbrella to let him into the shelter.

“Your mum’s gone home with Lauren.”

The relief was bittersweet. Mum and Lauren had always gotten along, despite one being Dad’s ex-wife and one being Dad’s girlfriend. Lauren would look after her—even if it was Chris’s job. Even if he was supposed to.

“You did great.”

Chris swallowed thickly. “I think it’s just sunk in.”

It hadn’t been real. It had taken so long that it had never quite felt real until this moment.

Jack had died a long, slow, terrible death. Weeks in the hospice. Chris would never forget the gargling way his stepfather had breathed near the end, or the clammy coolness of his skin. The way Mum had cried, soft little sniffles at the corner of the bed on that final day. The gaps between the gurgles, until finally there had been nothing but the eeriest silence. The shaking in his fingertips was over.

Everything was over. The smell of cigar smoke on the tenth of March, the one day of the year Jack lit up. The shuffle of his slippers. The whirr of that deathtrap of a stairlift. The croaking way he’d chuckled, a noise that in a bigger man would have been a belly laugh. The little huff he let out when Mum was in one of her moods, followed up hastily with “Yes, dear, of course…” And Chris had never seen it, but he’d known Jack had flashed him little smirks across the table at such moments, conspiratorial understandings between the two men who were most subject to her fussing and flapping, the two men who loved her most. Gone.

“Jack’s gone.”

“I know.” The words were soft but firm. The hands on his shoulders rubbed down to his elbows and then back up in a long, smooth stroke. “But so is the pain and the suffering. He’s not hurting anymore. And if he was right, then he gets to see his daughter again now.”

Chris coughed a shaky laugh. It bubbled out of his ribs like water overflowing. “No such thing as heaven.”

“You never know.”

Chris sighed and leaned his head back. He closed his eyes and hummed as a kiss was pressed into his temple.

“I should go and see Mum,” he said.

But his chest ached. His ribs felt like they were going to cave in, and a red-hot pain followed the scar, as if he’d been wrapped in metal wire, melting against his skin. He hurt.

“I want to go home.”

The hands pulled. He was turned by the shoulders and drawn into a rain-damp embrace. The arms around his back made the pain worse, but Chris clung and burrowed into the embrace anyway. The kiss on the top of his head slotted two of the jagged edges together and sealed them shut again. The grief ebbed a fraction.

“Come on, then. Let’s go home.”

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter

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New Release Blitz for Tea (A Cup of John #1) by Matthew J. Metzger (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Tea

Series: A Cup of John, Book One

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 7, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 76800

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, British, trans, gay, age gap, blue collar, disability, ableism, body dysphoria, PTSD/mental abuse/self-image issues, family issues, #ownvoices

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Synopsis

John only went into the cafe to have a brew and wait out the storm. He didn’t expect to find love at the same time.

And it really is love at first sight. Chris is like nobody John’s ever known, and John is caught from the start. All he wants, from that very first touch, is to never let go. But John is badly burned from his last relationship and in no fit state to try again. When Chris asks him out, he ought to say no.

But what if he says yes instead?

Excerpt

Tea
Matthew J. Metzger © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“Fark this,” Rhodri said, “fer the ace o’ farking spades.”

John grunted, busy watching a Facebook slanging match unfolding on his phone. It had started to snow, which—despite Sheffield getting snow on a regular basis in the winter—ensured everyone promptly forgot how cars worked.

A fact that Rhodri backed up by leaning out of the van window and bellowing, “Who taught yer to farking drive, yer daft cunt!” at a middle-aged man in a BMW.

John snorted, grinning, and squinted out of the slush-smeared windscreen. They were nearly at the high street.

“I can walk from here,” he said. “Turn around and use the ring road, if you don’t want to be here all night.”

“Fark the ring road,” Rhodri grumbled in his thick, garbled accent. “It’ll fark the suspension.”

“You mean it’s not already?”

Rhodri snarled a defence of his beloved, twenty-year-old death trap of a van, but John firmly stuck by his assertion as the rust bucket was hauled over to the side of the road, and the handbrake screeched like a banshee in an opera house.

“Monday for the renovation?” John asked as he curled his coat collar up.

“Yeah. Gazzer’s looking fer a spring sale.”

“Have a good weekend, then.”

“Fark off.”

John grinned and slammed the passenger door on the pseudo-affectionate dismissal. The day Rhodri Campbell started talking nice to his friends was the day hell froze over.

Mind you, John thought, squinting at the black sky, that might not be too far off.

He was supposed to meet his older sister for dinner, but she’d be at least another hour. Grimacing at the weather, John decided to find a café and settle in to wait out the snowstorm. Hunching his shoulders, he broke into a jog, aiming for the first sign he saw, and soon shouldered his massive bulk through the glass door of a tiny, heavenly warm coffee shop.

It was busy inside. Everyone else had had the same idea. The floor was crowded with shopping bags, a buggy thoroughly blocking one aisle. John’s absurd size earned him some dirty looks that were hastily wiped away when he glanced back. Even the barista, when he asked for a large tea, sighed and popped her gum like it would be an enormous bother to cover her wide-eyed stare. The prickle of unease rose under his skin, and he forced it back down.

“Keep the change,” John told her as he handed over three pounds and folded his arms to wait, knowing that—even in Sheffield—a man with biceps like the steel ropes on a suspension bridge was not going to be left waiting for long. Especially if he folded his arms.

That was when he messed up.

He stepped back to glance around for a table, and in doing so, bumped the one directly behind him. A cup banged. Someone swore. And John felt the hot flush of shame flood his face, even as he spun on his heel to try to fix the damage.

“I’m so sorry. I—”

“It’s all right. I think it missed me.”

“Here, let me get you another—what was it?”

And then the man looked up from patting down his jeans and T-shirt with a napkin and smiled right into John’s face.

And John just stopped.

Staring.

The way the man smiled was…breathtaking. Literally. The air caught in John’s chest, his lungs seizing for a brief moment, when a crooked smile spread across narrow features, creasing a pale face from good-looking into gorgeous. It was like the sun bursting over a still sea, like the car dashboard when the ignition was first turned in the dark. A sudden spark lit behind an attractive face to make it utterly beautiful, and John stared.

The stranger was tall and lean, with a halo of messy black curls that surrounded his face and threw the ethereal beauty of that smile into sharp relief. The smile itself was formed out of the most ridiculously kissable mouth John had ever seen. And the face. God. It blazed with the brilliance of that beam, and above it lay the burn of eyes the colour of an endless summer sky.

Damn.

“A mocha with peppermint and a double shot of espresso.”

“A…what?” John asked, still staring stupidly.

The man chuckled, and John died. His soul ascended into heaven on the back of that sound. Jesus. Holy goddamned Jesus.

“Just ask for Chris’s regular.”

“T-that’s you, then?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Um. John. Nice to—nice to meet you.”

The touch of his hand was like a cattle prod. John felt it all the way up to his brain, and the most inappropriate parts of his brain too. He had to learn how to breathe again. His heart was pounding. He wanted—desperately, stupidly, urgently—to reel Chris in and kiss him as if they were the only two people in the room.

He didn’t.

Obviously.

He let go and ducked back into line to ask for the guy’s regular. Tipped double. And when he took it back to the table, John knew for his own sanity and safety he should apologise once more, take his tea, and go.

Instead, he said, “Mind if I join you?” and instantly hated himself for it.

And then didn’t, when Chris smiled a little wider and said, “Please.”

“I am sorry about that. I’m not usually that clumsy.”

“Just an accident. It sounds busy in here.”

“It…is,” John said slowly and frowned.

Then it clicked. That brilliant blue was as vacant as a summer sky too. And he’d never once looked John quite in the eyes. John glanced about. There was a cane leaning up against the table. A glint of a gold medical bracelet around one thin wrist. And the way Chris slid his hand across the table, heels together and fingers spread, until he found the coffee cup…

“Are you sheltering from the weather too?”

“Uh, yeah,” John said, snapping out of his reverie. “It’s snowing. I’m supposed to meet my sister for dinner later, but I’m stupidly early, so…here I am.”

“Lucky me.”

John blinked.

“What?”

“Sorry, sorry.” Chris waved a hand. “Ignore me. Big important family dinner, is it?”

“No, not really. She probably just wants to have a whine about our mum. Mum’s—well, Mum.”

“Let’s pretend for a minute I don’t know your mum…”

John chuckled, ducking his head. “Mum’s…she loves us, she wants the best for us, but her best and our best doesn’t always mesh, you know?”

“Ah, one of those. Yes, I know.” Chris raised his cup in a saluting gesture. “To parents running interference.”

“She’s very practical,” John said. “Very—you know, we ought to all marry well-off, well-educated folks with careers and good ankles. And Nora—my sister—she’s cocked that up a bit.” Then he winced at his crass phrasing and started to apologise.

Chris talked right over it. “Cocked it up how?”

“Well, she’s currently divorcing her well-off, well-educated, well-ankled husband for a bloke who makes sandwiches.”

Chris snorted and laughed. The coffee cup wobbled dangerously before he set it down to put a hand over his mouth and laugh a little harder, and John curled his toes in his boots. A warm flush spread from head to toe. God, he wanted to touch that. Wanted to reach out and curl his fist into that wild hair and kiss him like the world was ending.

John wanted him.

“Well,” Chris said when he’d recovered, “if your sister has a voice anything like yours, then that’s the luckiest sandwich man in the world.”

“Uh—”

“What about you? Ditching your missus for the maid?”

John’s stomach twinged. “There’s no missus.”

“Or mister?”

What?

“I—no.”

“Sorry,” Chris said again. “I guess I’m being a little too hopeful.”

Hopeful? What?

“I—are you…flirting with me?”

“Yes.” Chris raised both eyebrows. “Don’t tell me that doesn’t happen often.”

“Well…it’s been a while,” John admitted. “And not usually in coffee shops.” Or from men. John wasn’t exactly good-looking, and in his experience, it was mostly women who were into the huge and hulking thing rather than men.

“Where does it usually happen? I could always try doing it there, if you like.”

John barked a startled laugh. “Er—well—clubs. Here’s—here’s nice though. Here’s fine.”

“I refuse to believe it doesn’t happen often.”

“It doesn’t.”

“Really? Hm. Local clubbers need to open their ears, then.”

“I—thank you?”

“I’m making you uncomfortab—”

“No,” John interrupted quickly. “I just—I’m…not used to this.”

Chris turned the coffee cup around in his hands, biting his lip.

“You sounded…I don’t know. You sounded like you saw something you liked. And I felt something when you shook my hand.”

“You…you don’t want to be trying me out,” John said carefully.

Chris smiled.

It wasn’t the bright, beautiful smile. It was a slow smirk, devious and dirty. And John’s cock swelled fiercely in his jeans. His dick didn’t care about Daniel and his damage. His dick just wanted to have that incredible body around it, and to hell with the risks. Oh, God. That was a dirty trick, and judging by the way Chris lounged in his chair, pure sex, he knew it.

“You have a voice,” Chris said, “like the hot afterburn of whiskey.”

“I—”

“Smooth, liquid, and so easy to bask in. Like being drunk and not caring.”

John swallowed again. He was half hard. Chris spoke so slow and soft, so very deliberately, that it was turning him on even though he wasn’t saying anything filthy at all.

“I’m a dumb idea,” John croaked.

“So am I.”

John wanted to look away. But he felt incapable of not looking. He was spellbound, completely captured by this stranger’s wide smile and fluttering hands. They were large hands, but thin. John wanted to call them spidery. Long fingers, but narrow palmed. He wondered wildly what they felt like. John’s hand were rough from his trade, but Chris had a completely smooth paleness to his skin tone, and his face was impossibly young, not weather-beaten and wind burnt. His hands, John decided, would be just as smooth. They would be cool, too, like refreshing water against John’s calluses.

And then they slid over the table and hooked casually over John’s thumb.

John’s heart hiccuped and clenched again, and the flood of pure want was so powerful that his vision flexed, like a fisheye lens homing in on this stunning man. He wanted to kiss him, hold his hand, say yes, something. And yet he felt paralysed—moths to flames, deer to headlights, whatever. He was caught.

“If you’re really not interested, then that’s fine,” Chris said. “But—”

“That’s definitely not it,” John muttered.

“So—you want to get dinner sometime?”

The smile softened into something sweeter. More hopeful. More—

John’s dick softened. Because his heart tightened, his stomach clenched, and his throat opened.

He should say no.

He was still a mess from Daniel, still wounded after nine whole months, still unable to so much as flirt on Grindr without questioning himself, his motives, how he came off. There was no way this was a good idea. Not with anyone, and least of all this brilliant, beautiful, blind guy.

After all, if Daniel were right—

If Daniel were right, if there had been any truth in the things he’d said, then John was the last person who should be going out to dinner with a blind man.

John should have said no.

But he said yes instead.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter

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A Lucy Review: Bump by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

David’s pregnant.

He’s always wanted to have children, and being a stepfather for the past two years has been a great adventure. There’d even been a plan to start looking into adoption and turn their family of three into four.

But now there’s a bump, and David doesn’t know what to do. He’s spent years escaping the grip of his own body and burying the past—but there’s no way he can hide from his history if he lets the bump get any bigger. It’s not just his baby; it’s also his breakdown.

He doesn’t know if he can do this.

Books dealing with this subject matter fascinate me because I can’t begin to imagine the strength it takes to go through with what it’s going to do to your body and your mind, yet it’s something you’ve always wanted. That’s the dilemma David is in right now.  He and his partner, Ryan, were in a car accident and his HRT was reduced due to liver issues.  Reduced too much, apparently, because what happened was pregnancy.  David is a veterinarian, an educated, established man and this rocks his being to the core.

This was interesting to me because I remember reading of Thomas Beatie, a transgender man who carried three children with his now ex-wife.  The media made it seem so happy and carefree and at the time I wondered how true that could be.  Here, it is far from simple.  David first can’t even decide whether to keep the baby, knowing what it may to do his core self having to now be seen, again, as female.  I did appreciate that David didn’t just make the decision without consulting Ryan, even though Ryan himself puts David before anything.  When David makes but can’t keep an appointment for an abortion, it’s a rough time ahead.

There were times during this story things weren’t explained until later.  Such as, I didn’t realize for a while that Ryan is in a wheelchair and you don’t find out until much later why.  Not a huge deal but it did have me going back a couple times to see if I missed something.  His status as well, sort of popped out of nowhere and surprised me.

David and Ryan are a solid couple and thankfully they talk to each other.  When David needs space to deal, Ryan gives it without getting his feelings hurt.  David knows he’s being unreasonable sometimes, “I’ll make it up to you.”  I just really liked them together. Add in that Ava, at age five, actually acts like a five-year-old and this family seemed real.  Alas, Ryan’s brother, Jay, and his mother, Aggie, also seemed too real and disgusting.  All I can say is, go pregnant David!  We do get Ryan’s mom, who makes up for Ryan’s lack of family sense.  The reason for naming the baby Sam was a little heartbreaking.  “He’d died because he hurt, not because he’d hurt other people.”  David’s feelings on both Ben and Sam, also so real.

What this story focuses on is what having this baby that they so want is doing to David.  Especially since for years he’s not had to come out as trans.  He has been just a man and that will inevitably change.  “Because ultimately, David wasn’t a trans man. He was a man.  Nothing else. No qualifier.”  The dysphoria David suffers comes through loud and clear.  When he hears Sam’s heartbeat, it’s not a happy thing for him.  “He’d never known he could hear his own dysphoria.”  It’s never ending. “He’d been so horrified by his own baby moving that he’d thrown up.”   The fact that he’s also dealing with snide comments, stares and the massive waste of space that is Ryan’s brother and mother, well, I’m glad Ryan is who he is. “Knights riding in on white wheelchairs to save the day.”   Glad that David has friends such as Vicky who knew him before and support him always.  That Ava and Ryan’s ex are there for support as well. That the midwife, Nadia, is what medical professionals should be.

From his awkward boss to Ava’s ignorant teacher to sitting in a waiting room full of women, it’s just an emotional slap over and over.  We read his struggle and feel his fear that after all this, he’s going to end up with a baby he doesn’t love.  This is something I appreciated because not everyone gives birth and has that “hallelujah” moment, this child is perfection.  Sometimes those hormones have to settle before you can feel it and that’s a normal thing.

This was such an interesting read with a hopeful, happy ending.  Definitely would recommend it.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.

Sales Links:  NineStar PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: November 5th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949909104
Edition LanguageEnglish

A VVivacious Review: Life Underwater by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5 

Ashraf doesn’t realize how bad his aversion to large bodies of water actually is till the sound of the sea reminds him. As Ashraf realizes that he might never even be able to step onto a beach let alone the sea, he starts to wonder if his relationship can survive his hydrophobia when his partner Jamie, a marine biologist, might as well be a fish, considering the amount of time they spend in water. If he can’t share Jamie’s love of the sea and what they have dedicated their life to, can their relationship really survive?

I like Mathew J. Metzger books because his books are chock full of diverse characters and it’s amazing how much you learn about the world if you can just enter the mind of a character, the more different these characters are from one another the better because you get to cover that many more avenues of life.

This book is an established couple romance and introduced me to a lot of things in the life of these characters that I am new to, like I had no idea this concept even existed before I read this book. It felt like light had illuminated  a path that I hadn’t even known existed and it was great for broadening my own horizons and that’s what diverse characters bring, they bring new perspectives to life. They give you the opportunity to experience life as someone other than yourself.

Ashraf and Jamie are two such amazing characters in a relationship. I love established couple romances and that made this fantastic on a whole new level for me. The main plot point of this book which is Ashraf’s hydrophobia was something that is tackled much later in the story, so we had a nice segment of the book devoted to finding out who Ashraf and Jamie are and what life is for them. They have different ethnicities and different religious beliefs and both ascribe to different sexual orientations, it is even comically debated between the couple if they should be considered a straight or a gay couple. But, the book focuses on the fact that despite a whole gamut of differences these two work beautifully together. Together they are more than the sum of their parts. Getting to experience a couple so completely in love with each other was such a joyful experience, it was like getting to experience the feeling of falling in love. I really loved getting to know these two as a couple and as individuals.

Ashraf is the narrator of our story so we see everything from his perspective, so I definitely got to know Ashraf better than Jamie and he was an amazing character, he is a flawed character but deeply insightful. He shares the flaw that all humans do – the flaw where we don’t want anyone to judge us by our looks but judge everyone at first sight just the same. It is a weird flaw, just because you are discriminated against doesn’t mean you can’t discriminate against someone else and that is where the cycle starts and ends. It was an epiphany I had during reading this book, which was pretty jarring and seems to have straightened my view of the world.

Though this story has so much going on and it gives justice to everything it explores at heart, it remains the story of a couple falling in love and facing the challenges in their relationship. It was a story about overcoming your fears and I feel like it was beautifully done, a step at a time till you can manage to look your fear in the eye and breathe, taking strength from the ones who love you to surmount the courage to even begin facing down your fears.

I really loved this story. I really like the characters Matthew J. Metzger creates because they always end up teaching me something about the world at large. If you are looking for a sweet romance look no further than “Life Underwater”, these two are most definitely the cutest couple alive.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I am in awe of her covers. This seems like such a simple cover but every time I look at it, I am taken aback by how truly beautiful it is.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949909029
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lucy Review: Erik the Pink by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

While this is a love story, it is more the story of a first year with a new baby and how much it can take for someone to bounce back from it.  Andreas and Erik are an established couple who, as the book starts, are having their first baby.  A girl, named Beatriz.  Both of them have some trauma in their past.  Erik is very English and was abandoned by his mother at 18 months and then bounced around foster homes until he aged out; Andreas is from Spain and was verbally abused and kicked out of his home when he came out to his family as trans.  These two couldn’t be more different.  Erik is a red-headed giant of a man who has wanted nothing more in his life than a family he could call his own. “He’d waited his entire life to be here, and the enormity of it threatened to burst him right out of his own body.”  Andreas is slim, fashionable and has wanted nothing for than for his body to match who he really is and while he wanted a baby, the consequences to himself were really horrible.  “Nine months of absolute hell-unimaginable hell, from the horrifically persistent misgendering to the disgusting betrayal of his own body.”  His dysphoria was out of control, “…nine months of hating himself for hating being pregnant…” 

Beatriz is everything Erik has dreamed of, except he’s too terrified to touch her.  “She’s too small.  I’ll break her.”  Despite what he had to go through, Andreas does as well.  “He’d been so scared it wouldn’t be worth it. But here she was.  And despite all of his fears, he already know he loved her.”

There are a lot of baby details here so those who don’t like to read about children should be aware.   There is sweetness to the point of overload at times, but for me it matched the enormity of what Erik was feeling.  “Erik didn’t care it he looked a bit bonkers, having a cry while holding his baby and hugging his partner.  He’d wanted her for his entire life – he was allowed to have a bit of a meltdown now she was actually here.”

What made the book more balanced in terms of the sugar was the incredible struggle Andreas was going through to try to get back to himself.   He had already been struggling with dysphoria and now genital dysphoria has been added.  “The dysphoria had taken everything from him – the gym, his job, the spa, Saturday mornings in coffee shops while Erik was at work, even going to the pub for an evening meal to walk home with Erik after he’d closed up for the night.  Everything.  And it had been a struggle to remember it hadn’t been Beatriz taking it all away, but himself.”  I can’t even imagine the pain he had to go through to have this baby he’s always wanted so desperately that turns him into something he’s hated.  He has always called the worst days his “dizzy days” and the pregnancy and aftermath are nearly all dizzy days.  Erik knows he can’t understand but he tries so hard to make things easier for Andreas.  He doesn’t look at just Beatriz as what he spent a lifetime waiting for but Andreas as well. He knows how much Andreas has struggled since starting to show.  “And I miss you, and I know I can’t make it better because it’s all tangled up with your body and how it makes you feel, but I love you and I hate seeing you down, so I want to make you feel good for a bit, even if it’s just surface good.”

They have some great friends in Jo (a former foster sister of Erik’s), her husband, Mike, and Lauren.  The airport broke my heart for Erik, I have to admit it. I know it was always to help Andreas but once in a while Erik’s feelings should be considered too.  The dysphoria did affect him during the pregnancy as well.  “It had been nine months of juggling his excitement with his partner’s horror.  It had been nine months of trying desperately to navigate when he could be excited, when he had to pretend it wasn’t happening and when he had to consider the possibilities of termination without outright begging Andreas not to do it.”  While maybe not as painful as what Andreas is going through, still painful. 

The writing is very realistic and even without the added trauma of being trans, I appreciated the attitude toward being pregnant.  Despite what some would have us believe, not everyone enjoys being pregnant.  Some people hate it.  That doesn’t mean hating the baby, Andreas shows that very well, but hating the process, what it does to your body, the aftermath of trying to get that body back while you are exhausted and trying to adjust to having this new person in your care.  As a cisgender person I can’t speak for how much it would affect a trans man but I definitely was in the not loving pregnancy group.   There were a few baby things that made me say “huh?” but those were minor.  The major focus of this book was adjustments.  Adjusting to a new life for all of them.  Getting back to the real him for Andreas.  I loved the reason for “Erik the Pink”, probably the sweetest thing in the whole book for “An abandoned, unwanted, unloved survivor.”  The book is sweet without being overly fluffy.  It ends on a high, hopeful note and I can only wish the best things for all of them.

Cover art, showing a baby held in gentle hands, conveys the feeling of the book well.  Soft and sweet.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 212 pages
Published June 30th 2018 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB07DK7MFG1
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lucy Review: Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rated 4 stars out of 5

Max comes from a family of Naval officers and he wants nothing more than to continue that legacy and join the Navy.  In reality, he’s bullied so often and so badly at school that now all he wants is to make it out of there alive.  When his mother’s fiancé, Aunt Donna, decides enough is enough after Max is kicked so hard in the head by a bully that he ends up in the hospital she calls in a favor and gets Max set up with Muay Thai boxing classes.  Aunt Donna knows what she is talking about, being a victim of bashing herself.  While Max is against this with all the power a 15-year-old can muster, Aunt Donna has made it very clear that without the classes Max will lose out on the job in her shop and will need to continue two more years of school.  He’s stuck.  So he sucks it up and goes.  He’s mortified, because being overweight makes physical things difficult and even worse, Max is confronted with his first real crush, his sparring partner and the nephew of his boxing coach, Cian. 

Cian is fearless, fearsome, blunt and bold.  I loved him, even as I knew what it must have taken for him to get to that attitude.  He is fit and in amazing shape but he never makes Max feel like he is anything less than worthy of being there.  Lewis, the coach, is the same.  Aunt Donna had shared the reason behind Max needing the lessons but there is no pity here, just acceptance that this is who you are and Muay Thai is what you are there to do.   Beautiful sparring partner?  Bonus both in embarrassment factor and joy factor.

Where even to begin with this.   We start off right away with a serious attack on Max.  The bullying was so difficult to read, more so because you know that there are so many kids out there going through the same thing,  whether for being overweight, gay, too smart, not smart enough – just anything that makes them different.   In Matthew’s case,  the bullying has resulted in some serious self-loathing, which again, I found to be realistic.   He’s come to be ashamed of who he is because of those angry, bigoted classmates.  It was heartbreaking.  Now, since he was actually put in the hospital by the bullies, Aunt Donna has had enough.   She can come across as too blunt sometimes, but she is all about having that boy’s back and making sure he knows how to defend himself so that he won’t have to.  I also appreciated that while Mom had married and loved Max’s dad, the fact that she was now in love and marrying a woman wasn’t a huge deal – it was just mom in love. 

When he realizes Cian is who he’s working with, you can feel the conflicting emotions from him.  Here’s this amazing person, badass, fit, tough, who is about to see him be physical and sweaty.  You have to remember also – this is a YA book.  Max is fifteen.  It’s been quite a while since I was fifteen but the shadows of those years never leaves you and that clawing need to be part of something, to not stand out in case you are the focus of something negative, stays.  It was one of the reasons I was so happy to see Max progress from the thoughts of “useless lump” to a badass in his own right who knows when to elbow jab to defend himself.  He has the most negative thoughts about himself and has no confidence that he can do what he sets out to do. 

While some of his better view can be attributed to his new friend in Cian (and that takes a while) more of it is due to the martial arts and how knowing you can keep yourself safe will improve your confidence.  And Lewis.  “You could really be something, Max,” Lewis said quietly, “and the only person standing in the way is you.”  Max has spent so much time being put down and belittled that it’s hard to believe anything else.   

Cian – let’s just give him a shout out now.  He’s been through things just like Max has and has come out confident and showing exactly what he needs to.   “If you ever call me anything but a boy, or he, or him, or call those facts into question, I’ll hit you.”    His conversation with Cian about grappling really just hurt my heart.  And Cian’s response to it, “When you strip away the self-loathing….There’s somebody beautiful.  Right. Here.”   Ahh, it was a catch your breath moment.  The romance here is between teenagers and it was true to that – I didn’t feel these were older adults talking and just giving lip service to being in high school.

Things, of course, aren’t just easy after that because there are still nasty people in the world who get even nastier when they face consequences for what they have done.  The retaliation from the evil three bullies, especially Tom, was awful and I kept thinking, will it ever stop for this boy?  Max has the support of adults, including his teacher Mrs Pellow, but that isn’t enough to avoid it.  So when he finally has had enough, I wanted to stand up and cheer.   The epilogue was sweet and I enjoyed it, but the end of the chapter before was, in my head, perfection.  Way to go, Big Guy.

The cover art by Natasha Snow doesn’t give you a visual of Max or Cian and I liked that.  It is instead a beautiful view of the water with footsteps leading to the edge.  I read a lot into that cover.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published April 9th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781948608381
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Max Farrier wanted to follow in the family footsteps and join the Navy once, but he’s better off focusing on just surviving his last year of school and going to work in Aunt Donna’s shop once it’s over.

After an incident at school puts Max in the hospital, Aunt Donna’s had enough. She signs him up for private lessons at a Muay Thai gym. Boxing—she says—will change everything.

But it’s not boxing that starts to poke holes in Max’s stupor—it’s his sparring partner. Cian is fifty percent mouth, fifty percent attitude, and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a bully in the street. Cian takes what he wants, and doesn’t let anyone stand in his way—not even himself.

Big Man is my first novel by Matthew J. Metzger that I can find.  It will definitely not be my last.  Big Man is an incredibly moving, deeply impactful story.  It recounts one young man’s journey from a state of intense poor self esteem, wanting to hide within the walls of his home due to bullying and his body hatred, to one of happiness, pride, and ability to move forward in life.

It is not always an easy story, especially since the voice is Max’s and as we meet him he’s a beleaguered young man under attack at school.  The bullies there are relentless, having just put him into the hospital again.  The reader gets the raw account of this very attack right down to the moment he blacks out from Max’s perspective and it so painful.  Trust me when I say parts of this book are very difficult to read as it must be for those who are actually bullied.  You can actually feel Max’s fear when those three boys approach him.  It’s visceral in its ability to churn your stomach and his.

You see Max is a big, gentle man. Read that to be obese as well as large period.  He’s called Fatso Farrier at school by the bullies and that name has become ingrained in his mind and soul to the point he can’t move past it.  There are other major transitions as well in his life.  His beloved grandfather, who stood in for his dad who died with he was a toddler, has passed.  They recently moved into his ‘Aunt Donna’s’ house. His mother is happily remarrying… his ‘Aunt Donna’ (not that he has a problem with that, he doesn’t), and he needs to decide his future if he is going back to school for 2 more years.  So much on Max at the moment that he’s caught in stasis.

I’m debating saying more here because later in the story so much becomes clear to Max and to the reader at an important juncture.  If you are familiar with people fighting with  poor body image and/or issues with weight, some may be aware of some of the emotional factors that go along with them.  Here those factors are gently clued in, one by one until finally we get the entire package that is Max Farrier, past, present and, yes, future.

I will say that the author seems familiar with these issues and treats Max with sensitivity and compassion while sort of coming at it sideways.  By that I mean, Max (and the reader) isn’t seeing the whole picture right up until the end.  We are Max.  We don’t notice things changing until others tell us.  It’s a format that works here beautifully.

One of the ‘people’ telling Max things?  His boyfriend Cian.  I have no intention of spoiling that wonderful aspect of this story. I’ll just say that character and storyline is an absolute joy. In fact, one of the things about this story is families. What makes a family, finding and creating families.  And the love that  binds them together.  This story is full of that.  Max survives because of that, and lives to become the person he was always meant to be. Someone magnificent.  A Big Man.  Don’t miss out on this story.  It’s heartbreakingly wonderful in all the best ways.

Yes, it’s one I highly recommend.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  The  ocean is an important element for Max and the story but I wish somehow the cover was different to reflect how amazing this novel was.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published April 9th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781948608381
Edition LanguageEnglish

New Release Blitz for Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Big Man

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: April 9, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 58100

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, contemporary, YA, coming-of-age, bisexual, trans, high school, sports/martial arts, depression/grieving, #ownvoices

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Synopsis

Max Farrier wanted to follow in the family footsteps and join the Navy once, but he’s better off focusing on just surviving his last year of school and going to work in Aunt Donna’s shop once it’s over.

After an incident at school puts Max in the hospital, Aunt Donna’s had enough. She signs him up for private lessons at a Muay Thai gym. Boxing—she says—will change everything.

But it’s not boxing that starts to poke holes in Max’s stupor—it’s his sparring partner. Cian is fifty percent mouth, fifty percent attitude, and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a bully in the street. Cian takes what he wants, and doesn’t let anyone stand in his way—not even himself.

Excerpt

Big Man
Matthew J. Metzger © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
This was how everything started—on a Friday afternoon, at the very end of school, three days into the summer term and in the middle of an unreasonable, unseasonable heatwave. It had been a Friday like any other until Tom Fallowfield stuck his boot in.

Literally.

It went a bit like this, to Max’s admittedly patchy memory of the entire incident.

At three thirty-one, the bell rang, and he was dismissed out of his maths class. Friday was a notorious day for people being bored and at a loose end, so Max had (as was his habit) hurried off to his locker to try to get out of school before anyone caught up to him.

At three thirty-six, Max reached his locker. His fingers fumbled with the lock in a hurry, the metal loose in his grip because it was so ridiculously hot. Sweat was dampening the hair at his temples.

At three thirty-eight, his fingers slipped on the waxy cover of his geography textbook and sent the whole pile tumbling to the floor.

And at three thirty-eight and a half, a dirty Adidas trainer pressed down on said textbook just as Max reached for it.

That was kind of when Max knew he was a bit fucked.

“All right, Fatso?”

He didn’t have to look up. The trainer narrowed it down to one of two people who would stomp on the textbook he was trying to pick up, and the deep, drawling voice—like some villain out of a film—narrowed it down to one. Jazz Coles. And Jazz Coles was bad news.

Max swallowed convulsively and gathered the rest of his things to his chest protectively. He staggered back to his feet and turned to shove them all back in his locker. His hands were shaking. There was sweat breaking out on the backs of his thighs and under his arms, pooling in the joints and fleshy bits.

“Oi. You gone deaf, Fatso? All that grease clogged your ears?”

“M’just in a hurry, Jazz,” he mumbled.

“You what?”

“I said I’m just in a hurry,” he said a bit louder and squashed his other books into the locker haphazardly. The corridor was slowly emptying, and the emptier it got, the faster his heart was beating.

“You’re fucking rude, you are. You ought to look at someone when he’s talking to you. You want Tom to teach you some manners? Tom’s good with manners.”

“Sorry,” Max mumbled, turning hastily before the threat could be carried out. The metal of his locker bit uncomfortably into his back, pressing grooves into his skin, and he could feel his shirt beginning to stick to him. “I’m in a rush, that’s all.”

All three of them were there. Jazz Coles, Aidan Hooper, and Tom Fallowfield. Fallowfield was in Max’s year, the other two the year above. They went to some football club or something together—Max wasn’t sure. All he knew was that Jazz was the clever one, with the orders and the insults, while Aidan was the sidekick who screeched like a hyena and kept them supplied in fags and weed on a regular basis from his older brother’s grow. And Tom…

Tom was the dangerous one. When the insults stopped, Tom started. And nobody wanted Tom to start anything.

“Not got time to talk to us, then?” Jazz drawled. “Why’s that? You busy?”

“I—yes. Yes, just busy, that’s all, busy weekend…”

“Busy doing what? Got a new girlfriend?”

Tom snorted. Aidan cackled and said, “Eurgh, Jazz, man, I’ll bring up my lunch.”

“Imagine that sweaty sack of lard slithering and grunting on some poor girl. You’d crush her, wouldn’t you, Farrier?”

Max’s face heated up, and his hair stuck to his scalp. He could faintly smell his own underarms, and the metal gluing shirt to back was beginning to heat up too, at Jazz’s cool, slow delivery.

“Fatso Farrier, the flat-fucker. ’Cause that’s what she’d be once you were done. Best stick to boys, yeah? Let your boyfriend fuck you, then nobody’ll suffocate.”

“I don’t have a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend.”

“Would you like one?”

“I—no, I, uh—”

“Just as well,” Jazz continued blithely. “Nobody has a drowning-in-folds fetish. So if it’s not a girlfriend or a boyfriend with some sick kinks, why’re you too busy to talk to us?”

The corridor was empty. Max started to panic.

“Answer me, Farrier!”

“I—just—plans, you know, plans…”

“What plans? Sale on at Greggs?” Jazz asked. “New bakery opened up? Or is Mummy taking pity on her lonely little wobblebottom, and baked you a chocolate cake?”

Aidan gave a whooping cackle, and Jazz kicked the forgotten geography book towards Max. It skittered across the dusty floor, hitting Max’s shoe with a dull thump.

“Best not leave that here,” Jazz said. Hands in his pockets, pale face regarding him through narrowed blue eyes, he looked calculating—and Max couldn’t figure out what he was calculating. “Oi! Fatso! Pick it up, then.”

“Thank you,” Max mumbled, hoping it would buy him a bit of a reprieve from…whatever Jazz was planning, and stooped to pick it up. His fingers scrabbled uselessly on the plastic cover, wet with anxiety.

“Thank you?” Jazz echoed. “Very polite, Fatso. Might want to make it sound fucking sincere next time.”

“Here, Jazz, fancy a game?”

That deep rumble was the only warning Max got before Tom’s boot—because of course Tom, totally mad, sadistic Tom Fallowfield, wore boots to school on a regular basis—connected with the side of his head.

Hard.

Max would have liked to say that pain exploded in his head, that he saw visions of God or heard the heavenly choir, that it was like dropping into a Tim Burton movie.

Actually, he just heard a massive bang.

And then he woke up in the back of an ambulance and knew he was in deep shit.

That was how it started.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter

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Matthew J. Metzger on Side Characters and his latest novel Walking on Water (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Walking on Water

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 13, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88300

Genre: Fantasy, fantasy, mermaids, trans, magic, fairy tales, bisexual

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Matthew J. Metzger on Side Characters

My favourite characters are always my side characters.

I know that sounds a little crazy for an author, and I swear I love my main characters as much as anyone else, but—there’s just something special about side characters!

In my latest novel, there’s a whole cast of side characters built out of their own names. The novel is set in a fictional German kingdom. I was learning a bit of German from my helpers at the time, and loved the way a German translation changed the way a word looked and felt. So Doctor became Doktor, but would have been a different word entirely if someone said, “Call a doctor!” Therefore, our hero—who speaks no German at all—takes that to be his actual name. This also happens with a captain and a small child, whose ‘name’ actually means ‘my son.’

I love the visual look of a word, so the switch from Doctor to Doktor made the character for me. His German ‘name’ looks spikier and harsher, so the character became that way as well. By contrast, the long dip of the J in Janez (the prince) made him softer than the original draft, more refined and gentle than I’d originally pictured.

With main characters there’s only so much their name can influence them—they have to be the way they are for the plot, after all—but with side characters, I find there’s more room to mould them into exactly what I see in the name. So Doctor might have been a kindly sort of person—but Doktor is acerbic, harsh, begrudgingly caring, and uses threats and trickery to work his art. The one time he is openly warm in the entire novel is after the queen jabs her brother-in-law in his wounded thigh with a pin to stop him trying to get up before he’s ready. Doktor approves heartily of such methods, and a flash of warmth and even charm is glimpsed. (Then, obviously, it vanishes once more.)

Something similar happened with Captain Kühe. I drew the character out first—this pompous, blithering idiot of a man who’s far too self-important to fit inside his uniform properly—and went straight for an animal I don’t like to name him. Cows. I hate cows. They’re only good for beefburgers, in my opinion. So the name came so beautifully well-packaged: clumsy to pronounce in my accent, difficult to write without a German keyboard thanks to the umlaut, and too short to support its long letters. Gorgeous.

By the time I’d finished the novel, I had a cast of side characters either born from their names, or their names born from them, in a far more raw way than I can do with main characters, who I not only have to like but I have to write their name over and over and over, so it has to be a good one, and a fitting one. That’s much harder.

But my side characters? That’s where the fun really lies.

Synopsis

When a cloud falls to earth, Calla sets out to find what lies beyond the sky. Father says there’s nothing, but Calla knows better. Something killed that cloud; someone brought it down.

Raised on legends of fabled skymen, Calla never expected them to be real, much less save one from drowning—and lose her heart to him. Who are the men who walk on water? And how can such strange creatures be so beautiful?

Infatuated and intrigued, Calla rises out of her world in pursuit of a skyman who doesn’t even speak her language. Above the waves lies more than princes and politics. Above the sky awaits the discovery of who Calla was always meant to be. But what if it also means never going home again?

Excerpt

Walking on Water
Matthew J. Metzger © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

When the sand settled, only silence remained.

The explosion had gone on for what felt like forever—a great boom that shuddered through the water, a shadow that had borne down on the nest like the end of the world had come, and then nothing but panicked escape from the crushing water, the darkness, and the suffocating whirlwind of sand and stones. In the terror, it had seemed like it would never end.

But it did end, eventually. When it did, Calla lay hidden in the gardens, deafened and dazed. She was shivering, though it wasn’t cold. An attack. They had been attacked. By what? Orcas and rival clans could hardly end the world. And what would wish to attack them so?

She took a breath. And another. Her attempts to calm herself felt pathetic and weak, like the desperate attempts of a mewling child. Where was Father? Her sisters? Where even the crabs that chattered and scuttled amongst the bushes? She was alone in the silent gardens, and Calla had never been alone before.

Slowly, she reached out. Slipped through the towering trunks, to the very edge of the gardens, to where the noise had come from. Drew aside a fern and—

Ducked down, clapping a hand over her mouth to prevent the gasp.

A giant beast lay in the courtyard.

Still. Oh, great seas, be still. She held her breath and closed her eyes. It had to be an orca, a beast so huge, and it would see her if she moved.

Yet even in her fear, Calla knew that wasn’t quite right.

Orcas didn’t come this far south—did they? Father had said they would be undisturbed here. Father had said.

She peeked again. Daring. The beast didn’t move.

Nor was it an orca. It was impossible, too huge even for that. Oh, she’d not seen an orca since she’d been a merling, but they’d never been that big. It had squashed the courtyard flat under its great belly, its tail and head—though she couldn’t tell one from the other—spilling out over the rocks and nests that had been homes, once. It would have crushed their occupants, surely. What beast killed by crushing?

Hesitantly, she drifted out of the garden. Her tail brushed the ferns, and she wrapped her fins around them, childishly seeking comfort.

The beast didn’t move.

In fact, it didn’t breathe. Its enormous ribcage, dark and broken, was punctured by a great hole, a huge gaping blackness longer than Calla’s entire body, and wider by far.

It had been slain.

Bloodless. It was quite dead. How could it be dead, how could its heart have been torn out so, without spilling blood into the water? Where was the column of red that marked its descent? Where was—

Oh.

“A cloud!”

It was no beast.

Calla fled the safety of the gardens in a flurry of excitement. No, that great oval shape was familiar. How many had scudded gently across the sky in her lifetime? How many times had she watched their passage from her window? Beautiful, dark, silent wonders. Oh, a cloud!

She rushed closer to look. How could a cloud have fallen to earth? Father had said they were simply things that happened in the sky, and no concern of theirs. But this one had fallen, lay here and near and so very touchable—and now Calla wanted to touch the sky.

It was—

She held her breath—and touched it.

Oh.

Rough. Sharp. Its body was dark against her pale hand. And hard, so very hard. She had imagined clouds to be soft and fluid, to walk on water as they did, but it wasn’t. Huge and heavy, it was a miracle that it walked at all.

And a home: tiny molluscs clung to it. As she walked her webbed fingers up the roughness and came over the crest of its enormous belly, she mourned its death. This must have killed it. Such a deep, round belly—clouds were obviously like rocks and stone, but this one had been cut in half. Exposed to the sea was a sheer, flat expanse of paleness, with great cracks in the surface. A column stuck out from the middle, and two smaller ones at head and tail. It had been impaled by something, the poor thing.

“Calla!”

The hiss reached her from far away, but Calla ignored it. The poor cloud was dead. It had been slain, and whatever had dragged it from the sky must have been immense, to wield spears like those jutting from its body. And it wasn’t here.

Clouds were harmless. Dead clouds, even more so.

“Calla, what are you doing?”

“Meri, come and see!” she called back to her sister and ducked to swim along its flattened insides. Great ropes of seaweed, twisted into impossible coils, trailed from its bones. Vast stains, dark and pink, smeared its ragged edges. When Calla peered up into the sky, at the stream of bubbles still softly rising from its innards, she could see the gentle descent of debris. It had been torn apart.

Orcas? But an orca pack would have followed it down. Sharks? Calla had never seen a shark, but Father had, long ago when he was a merling, and he’d said they were great and terrible hunters. Were sharks big enough to do it?

“Calla!”

That was not Meri’s voice. Deep and commanding, it vibrated through the water like a blow. Calla found herself swimming up the side to answer automatically, and came clear of the cloud’s gut barely in time to prevent the second shout.

Father did not like to call a second time.

“Here. Now.”

She went. At once. The immense joy at her discovery was diminished in a moment by his stern face and sterner voice, and Calla loathed it. She felt like a merling under Father’s frown and struggled to keep her face blank instead of echoing his displeased expression.

“You should stay away from such things. The guards will deal with it.”

“But Father—”

He gave her a look. She ducked her chin and drifted across to join her sisters at the window. The window. Pah. What good was the window, was seeing, when she had touched it?

“What is it?” Balta whispered, twirling her hair around her fingers.

“A cloud,” Calla said in her most impressive voice and then pushed between Meri and Balta to peer out. The guard were swarming over the cloud’s belly, poking more holes in the poor thing’s body. “Something killed it.”

Meri snorted. “Talk sense, Calla.”

“Something did!”

“You sound like a seal, grunting nonsense.”

“I do not!”

“Girls!”

They subsided under Father’s booming reprimand—although Calla snuck in a quick pinch before stopping—and returned to watching.

“Clouds don’t fall out of the sky,” Meri whispered. “It must be a shark. There’s nothing so big as a shark. Father said so.”

“Father also said sharks don’t come this far north,” Balta chirped uncertainly, still twirling her hair.

“That’s a cloud,” Calla said and peered upwards to the sky, her eyes following the great trail of bubbles, “and I bet something even bigger killed it.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Tour Schedule

11/13 Love Bytes

11/13 The Blogger Girls

11/13 Erotica For All

11/13 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/14 Happily Ever Chapter

11/14 MM Good Book Reviews

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A VVivacious Review: Sex in C Major by Matthew J. Metzger

Standard
Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
 
I really can’t write an adequate blurb for this one. My fumbling attempt at writing one for this book yielded this –
“Stefan is a transgender male who has fantasies that could get him killed especially combined with his mile long issues. When a chance encounter with Daz seems to get him exactly what he wants, will he finally come to terms with what he wants or will it take something very different to force Stefan to recognise himself?”
…just read the blurb, its pretty spot on.
 
I finished reading this book on the 4th of June and as I sit down to write this review it is the 8th of June. I have taken a lot of time to assimilate my thoughts regarding this book and I still don’t think I have grasped them all. Reading this book feels like an experience. It’s the kind of book that pulls you kicking and screaming into its world and wrings you out till all you can do is absorb everything this book has to offer. This book is a sensory overload and that might be the most truthful thing I think there is to say about this book.
 
Regarding the warnings that come with this book, while this book is pretty dark and overwhelming with emotions and frankly pulls you in a million different directions it didn’t even come close to my limits so I on the whole didn’t have to deal with discomfort when I read it, but I feel that for a lot of people this is going to be a significant aspect of this book. This book is bare bones reality it doesn’t cover up anything nothing fades to back and everything is starkly defined so there is no getting away. So when you pick up this book heed the warnings.
 
When I started reading the book it was like reading the book you love to hate. I had a million problems with this book when I started it but if I have to be true to myself I realise that I loved the book then as well. But at that point, in the beginning, there was so much I had a problem with. Stefan harps on normal so much in the beginning of this book that I hated seeing the word come up in the text and it comes up a lot. Also Stefan has some extremely outdated views on woman and it felt really wrong to hear those from him. One of the biggest wins for me in this book was when Daz sets the record straight on that account. It instantaneously made me respect Daz even when I was in the love to hate phase with this book. Initially I felt like this author isn’t for me because I have read another book by this author and I didn’t like that much but this book proved me wrong in that regard.
 
The best thing this book has to offer is undoubtedly Yannis. Reading a character like him made me realise why diversity is so important because looking at the world from a different perspective can be beyond enlightening it can be transcendent. He is the kind of character that you don’t even know you want to read about till you have met him and then you realise how much you were missing when you finally do. When Yan fights it’s something so amazing.
 
Yan and Daz’s relationship has got to be the most mind boggling relationship of all times because it is missing all the tradition elements that you find in relationships. It is a sexual and romantic relationship but only from one side of the equation and the other side is completely indifferent. While indifferent is the word that comes to mind it has also made me realise that love is more than romance and sex and while those are the two things that love is most often related with and for some people romance + sex = love it is nice to meet a couple that doesn’t fit the former part of the equation at all but still manages the latter. I loved the fact that these two characters loved each other without their Love being love. It’s truly made me realise that Love is so much more than our mind can comprehend and it truly is something else, more than you know, more than you can imagine and is the most unclassifiable thing in the world.
 
Daz is a quintessential male. While writing this review the thing that comes to mind when I think of Daz is a classical romance hero who is nice but dark except Daz’s so called darkness isn’t an indefinable something but something you are made familiar with in the very beginning of the book. He is dangerous and he is sweet. I loved his sweet and cuddly moments and it’s very funny to think of the fact that he is the only romantic one in the relationship he shares with Yan because he is kind of the guy in books who is the least interested in romance but in this book if he wants romance he has to grab it with both hands. Irony thou art funny.
 
Stefan is the one character in this book who was not an instant favourite. Initially his very skewed view on cis gendered people was really getting to me and then his obsession with normal was maddening. The only thing that I could understand of Stefan’s initially was his kink. I got his need for it and I also got his hatred for it and how he would let his want for it made him go crazy but when the want was fulfilled it would leave him defiled. One of the things that Stefan learns during the course of this book was to let be, to not let his impression of normal prevent him from living his life the way he wants to live it. There is a conversation between Daz and Stefan which in a very overly simplified manner amounts to Stefan harping on the fact that he wasn’t normal and Daz telling him to get over it, to get over the fact that he enjoyed things others wouldn’t consider normal because the fact was that he enjoyed them, so he should and fuck anyone else who thinks otherwise. Surprisingly I have been on Stefan’s end of this conversation and while what Daz was saying to Stefan is exactly what I wanted to say to Stefan I also understand how hard it is to just let go of your beliefs no matter how wrong they may be, so Stefan’s struggles made a unique impact.
 
There is this scene at the end of the book which is really intense. I read two reviews that I read before reading this book both in their own way propelled me to read the book. I only read one line of the second review and that said DNF @98%. Now this was really surprising for me and insanely for who would possibly stop reading a book just before it’s about to end. So yeah there is something at the end of the book that could possibly be distressing enough to just DNF the book on the spot, but for me while the scene is intense it also fits the story and the characters, it is not jarring and it didn’t feel unreal in fact I am very surprised how naturally that scene flowed. But I guess this scene will be the source of quite a lot of debate. Personally for me Daz and Stefan’s sex life is something I completely understand. I get both the desire to submit to the extent Stefan wants to as well as the desire to call something someone yours.
 
Whenever I think of this book I think of colours so bright you feel you can touch them.
 
This book is like notes on a page when you play the notes some will hear a noise while others will hear the symphony.
 
Cover Art by Written Ink Designs. I loved the attention to detail in the cover. It is an amazing cover.
Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 426 pages
Published May 27th 2017 by JMS Books LLC
Original TitleSex in C Major
ASINB06Y1QZP55
Edition LanguageEnglish