Release Blitz for Bernard’s Diary by S. L. Danielson (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Bernard’s Diary

Author: S. L. Danielson

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Diana TC (triumphcovers.com)

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Themes: Coming out, suicide attempt, forgiveness

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 44 000 words/142 pages

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Can a suicidal bellhop find true love?

Blurb

Bernard Covington, suicidal and not the most-handsome man in the world would be happy to leave the world behind altogether. That is until he meets Dr. Jack Larson. The physician takes his wounded heart and soul and patches them back together, but is he Mr.Perfect?

Bernard and Jack develop a romance, but soon the tide begins to shift as Jack’s past is revealed and it becomes a game-changer for the couple to deal with.

Will Bernard and Jack have a happy ending or will he succumb to his desire to end it all or will dealing with Jack’s phantoms keep him going? Only Bernard’s diary knows what secrets lurk in his soul…

Excerpt

Prologue

Bernard sat on his bed after another long day at the hotel just a few miles away. He was a bellhop.

Not the most glamorous profession, but the only one he could get years ago when his life plans changed drastically. He raked his fingers through his thick salt-n-pepper hair and yawned wide. He reached down and opened up his nightstand drawer and pulled out his journal. He flipped to an open page and plucked off the pen that was attached to the outside and clicked the point down.

I can’t hold this in much longer. Jeremy makes me want to explode every time I get near that incredible body of his! He’s such a good customer, tips well, and never has much luggage. I love bringing up room service to him…I wish it were me that was staying behind in the room with him. I have to tell him how I feel; he must suspect something by now. I’d give anything to have a real man in my life for once, just once! Something’s gotta change in a big way or…shit. I’ve just, I’ve got to do this before I fall apart and die a 46-yr-old virgin. Wishing myself luck!

Chapter 1: Fateful Night

August 8th. 10 p.m. The blinding red and blue strobing from the ambulance lights lit up the dark street. It’d been a silent evening until its arrival. Two paramedics rushed up the concrete steps to the midnight blue steel entry door on the far side of the long, rectangular apartment building. The lights from the ambulance painted a brilliant hue onto the otherwise dull, gray brick building. Even the trim was gray and all of it was rusted and falling apart.

Another medic followed after, steering a gurney down the steps. Their patient was out cold and

stripped from the waist up. He had all kinds of medical apparatus on him; IVs, a breathing mask,

and a defibrillator on standby. Finally, the two medics maneuvered their patient down and into the waiting ambulance.

“Ok, what’ve we got?” barked the voice over the radio.

“Heart attack and attempted suicide,” the medic replied in a professional, matter-of-fact tone.

“Any defib?”

“Shocked him twice. 46-year-old male, obese, two bad wrist lacerations, and ingestion of pills.”

“10-4, we’ll be ready.”

The ambulance pulled into the emergency department at Adams County hospital. It wasn’t a fully-equipped center, but it would have to do. The patient was near death. The doors on the ambulance flew open and the stat team ran out to greet them. In charge was a tall, handsome young doctor named Jack Larson. They ran with the gurney inside and to a treatment room. There were four people working on him at once, but Jack kept order to the chaos.

“Nurse, type and cross-match his blood and start him on Narcan.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

“What’re his vitals?” he demanded.

“BP is 90 over 50, pulse 135,” the lead nurse replied.“Damn, too high. What’s our patient’s name?”

“Bernard Covington.” The other nurse read it from the report.

He touched the patient’s shoulder and leaned over him. “Mr. Covington? Can you hear me?” He pulled out his exam flashlight and pulled up the man’s eyelids one at a time to check the dilation.

“He’s out cold, doc. Cops said they found him like this, pills were right next to him.” One of the medics chimed in.

“How many and what kind?” Dr. Larson asked.

“Effexor, 50 mg. Had 30 pills filled, only 20 were found, and it was just filled.” The nurse drew the necessary blood and labeled it for the lab.

The doctor groaned. He hated seeing suicide cases. “All right, let’s pump his stomach, suture these wrists too. They’re pretty deep.”

“Yes, sir.” The nurse prepared the needle, cleansed the wounds, and very skillfully sewed up the wounds. He wrapped them in a thick, cushy layer of gauze and laid them at the patient’s side.

“Good job, Higgins.” Dr. Larson nodded at him.

“Damn, Dr. Jack; that’s the worst I’ve seen. Cops found a butcher knife with blood on it.”

Jack looked at the nurse in surprise. “A butcher knife? Damn, Bernard, you’d cut your hand off.”

He pursed his lips and shook his head.

“He’s stabilizing, Dr. Larson,” the nurse reported.

“Alright, go prep him and pump his stomach. Keep him on constant watch.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

About the Author

S. L. (Stephanie) Danielson began writing at the tender age of five. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She created ever more elaborate tales and finally in her early 20’s years began to create works with her new love; male/male romance. She has since written more than 30 works both solo and collaborations).

Stephanie is classically trained in business, accounting, and HR/training, possessing both an undergrad and graduate degree. She also owned and operated Romance First Publishing where the ultimate goal was to help other unknown, as well as known authors get their start in the publishing world.

Beyond writing, her other hobbies include: painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Her blog is www.sldanielsoncom.wordpress.com and email is ladyauthorsld@gmail.com

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A Lucy Review: Face the Music (Replay #1) by K.M. Neuhold

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Rating: 4  stars out of 5

Trigger warnings:  Suicide attempt, self-harm.

I have to start out by saying I’m probably in the minority about my rating on this one but I will explain why.  Lincoln and Jace have been friends since they were kids, spending summers together at their family’s cabins by the lake.  They were best friends who, at age 15, realized they could be something more.  And so they were best friends and boyfriends, eagerly awaiting the time they could be together all the time and not just in the summer.  As they approached time to go to college, they made promises to each other and planned their future.  The problem is, Lincoln didn’t keep those promises,  instead ghosting Jace after a night spent together and never contacting him again.  No note, no communication until Lincoln’s band makes it big with a song, Cherry Hill, written by Lincoln about his love affair with Jace, putting it out for the world.  Brutal.

Ten years have passed and Lincoln and his band, Downward Spiral, are immensely successful and popular.  They are also falling apart, at each other’s throats and Lincoln especially is doing just that – downward spiraling.  Lincoln doesn’t care about anything, struggling to get through the day.  He’s had a suicide attempt fairly recently and when the band manager finds him passed out on the balcony in freezing weather, it’s time to do something.  The band takes a hiatus and Lincoln goes to the only place he’s felt really happy, that cabin by the lake.  “What was I thinking, coming here to torture myself with memories of the love I threw away?”

Providentially, Jace, an epidemiologist, has also decided to spend some vacation time at his parents’ cabin by the lake.  The two run into each other at the grocery story for the first time in ten painful years and it made sense to me that Jace was angry.  Ten years you’ve suffered because the love of your life just disappeared, never to contact you again, making money off the song of your pain, until an accidental meeting.  The blurb talks about Jace hating him but I just felt like Jace gave into Linc a little too easily.  He had the advice from his awesome brother, Joel, and his best friend, Wyatt, to use this time to get closure on Linc but he almost immediately starts hanging out with Linc and then sleeping with him.  He doesn’t give his trust easily but them even hanging out and sleeping together just seemed too quick for someone who’s life was nearly destroyed by the pain of his love leaving.

The story is told in alternating first person point of view, so we get the insights of both Lincoln and Jace.  This was so helpful in really connecting with the characters and as a reader I appreciated getting the thought processes they had going on.  This is an emotional story with some heavy baggage on Lincoln’s side particularly and some incredibly difficult feelings for them to work through. When they play video games, loser has to tell a truth, it was the start, really. 

“I wrote more songs about you, but I never showed them to a label because I didn’t want to share them with the world.”

“You didn’t have a problem with that first one.  I mean, Jesus, Linc, you talk about the first time we…” Jace shakes his head and clenches his jaw.

“I know, and I wished I hadn’t as soon as we started recording. But they wouldn’t let me back out. I felt like I gave away a piece of us when I let the world have that song, and that’s one of my biggest regrets.” 

Definitely, since not only did Linc ghost Jace but had to hear one of the most popular songs of the time (and one that is still played). Linc is very apologetic throughout, waiting for Jace to be ready to listen to him explain and mean the apology.  To show that a second chance will bring a much different result.  I did hate that through it Jace kept feeling bad.  As he said, “I didn’t break this, you don’t.  You don’t get to make me feel bad about not wanting to pick up where we left off.”  But still, he kept feeling bad.

They do fall into bed together, “…a little fun… for old time’s sake”and Linc has such happy memories of their times at the cabin.  Jace, however, “Funny, I can only remember the morning I woke up all alone in that bed, all of your things packed and gone.  You didn’t even have the courtesy to leave me a note.” Linc acts surprised, or maybe hurt that’s what Jace remembers.  I wanted to shake him and say, what did you think!  “The sad thing is those are all my happy memories, too.  But you ruined it, Linc.  You took every good thing inside me, and you stomped all over it, then tossed it away like it never meant anything to you.”  I can’t even imagine the depth of pain he has been feeling for ten years.  Linc has felt it as well, but at least he knows the reason.

The thing that was done extraordinarily well here was Linc’s depression.  The darkness that encompasses him was real and his reactions were also real.  His way of coping with the pain of his life and the darkness is to self harm, a mechanism he’s been using since his teen years.  His father was a verbally abusive nightmare and cutting was a way for Linc to control that pain.  “Do you have any idea how happy I was to have a son when you were born?  And then you turned out to be the world’s biggest disappointment.  You’re weak.  Boys don’t cry, you f**king queer” is just the tip of the iceberg.   The cutting scenes are realistic and we get Lincoln’s feelings, or maybe lack of feeling is the better way to put it, during those times.  I especially appreciated that there was no magic cure here.  Having Jace by him made Linc happy and hopeful but when the depression set in, it still set in.  Because serious depression isn’t that simple and this was so realistic.  I couldn’t help worry for Jace as Lincoln deals with what he thinks is rejection by cutting more.  That’s a lot to put on someone. I was glad when Jace declared his deal-breaker.

The whole thing is a second chance work in progress and it is not an easy one.  There are Side B chapters (flashbacks to when they were teenagers) to give some background of the intensity of their relationship and while I am not usually a fan of flashbacks, they definitely worked here.  They were so cute and so sweet as teens, it just made the whole separation more painful. When Linc remembers things he planned and promised at that time, as the perfect Christmas that never happened, I kept thinking, please let the reason for leaving be a good one, something we can forgive him for.  For me, the reason didn’t work and that kept this from being five stars. I dislike that kind of thing and Jace deserved at least a conversation.  But it wasn’t annoying enough to take away from the powerful aspect of this book.

The author has set up the next books in the series with the other band members, Benji, Lando and Jude, in a way that wasn’t clunky or obvious, just a really nice teaser as to things coming next.  Even Linc doesn’t know what has happened yet!  This vacation was good for everyone, it seems.  This is a great start to a new series.  Not light and fluffy (although I am hoping at least one of their stories will be) but definitely worth the read.

Cover art by Inked Design fit the feel of the book.  The cover boy is a decent representation of Lincoln, tattooed and a little brooding, with the city and the lake as a backdrop. 

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published May 20th 2018
ASINB07D1QLJWR
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesReplay #1

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

theres-this-guy-by-rhys-fordHow do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

What can you say about a book that opens up on the darkest moment of a man’s life, that point where he see’s no hope, no light and then carries you and him on a journey that see’s him safe, in love and with a future that burns as bright as the sun?  You say that you love it and cherish the man and couple you have been reading about.  That’s what you say.

Jake Moore is that man.  His life is one long night of pain, bloody beatings and unmeasurable sorrow.  And it hasn’t ended by any means.  The person most responsible is still barely alive, punishing Jake even from his dying bed.  The hell that this vicious man has made Jake’s life is brought vividly alive through Jake’s confused thoughts and memories of his past, his mother, conversations…his anguish bleeds off the page and into your heart.  He’s a welder by trade, also an artist which is where he pounds out his anger and confusion that he feels over his life and sexuality, welding pieces from the bits left over in the shop and things that he finds to bring home.

Then Dallas Yates and his best friend (and all around wonder) Celeste come into Jake’s life via the renovation of a Art Deco building across the street.  Between the two of them, Dallas who makes Jake yearn for everything he’s been told was evil and Celeste, flamboyant, feminine and proud of who she is (and how far she’s come), makes Jake think  past other boundaries he’s always been provided with.  It’s never downplayed how broken Jake is or that he needs professional help to recover, an important element I really loved here.  The relationship build is slow as Celeste questions Dallas on his ability to and his reasons for being attracted to Jake (there is a past element here for Dallas).  Layers upon layers here, like the detritus that has to be removed from the Art Deco building before she can shine, have to be peeled back before Dallas and Jake  can be a couple and have a future.

I almost gave this 4.75 stars over things as small as not seeing the opening of Bombshell, and other such things that really are extraneous.  Would I have loved them here?  Absolutely.  But were they necessary to the plot?  I don’t think so (although I do think they are in some cut pages somewhere on Rhys Ford’s computer).  I got the men, I got their love and their journey and that was deeply moving and so memorable.  I loved them so, and all..well, most of the secondary characters too.  From Celeste to the Yates family.

Want a story full of hope?  Want a story full of recovery, love and a journey towards a brighter future for a man who thought a future was something he didn’t deserve?  There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford is the story for you.  But let Rhys Ford put it better.  From Rhys Ford’s Foreword on There’s This Guy:

This book is for anyone who has stared into the abyss and wondered if they can or should go on.

You should.

Take that next step forward and go on.

And should you need help finding the strength for that step, reach out. There are people and places who will help you.

Keep walking until you find the sun on your face and until you can see the stars again.

You are worth that step. Worth that journey.

The world is a better place with you in it.

OK, I’m about to start crying all over again.  Probably will pick up the story and start reading it again as well.  Get the idea? Yes, I highly recommend it.  You’ll have to wait until March but trust me, the wait will be worth it.  How I love this author!

Cover art is ok, but honestly I don’t know what I wanted for such a complex story and character.  Color me confused.

Sales Links to be provided

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: March 17th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish