A Bold Strokes Books Catch-up Paperback Sale

Hey folks! I try not to spam too much in the way of deals, but Bold Strokes Books has one heck of a paperback sale going on right now (like, $3.99 US a paperback kind of deal), and many, many of the anthologies in which I have a story are a part of this deal.

You can see the entire list on sale here. You’ll notice many titles I’ve mentioned in the past as loving.

But! In case you’re wondering, here are the short stories included in books on sale for the weekend:

General Short Fiction


Erotica ExoticaAlso, if you’re interested in the Triad guys, the original four stories are included in the anthology deal (in order of timeline).

  1. “Three,” in the anthology Blood Sacraments.
  2. “Intercession,” in the anthology Wings: Subversive Gay Angel Erotica.
  3. “Possession,” in the anthology Erotica Exotica: Tales of Tales of Sex, Magic.
  4. “Necessary Evils,” in the anthology Raising Hell: Demonic Gay Erotica.

Erotica

cover


Young Adult

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Sunday Shorts – “The Loft,” by Elizabeth Lister

coverSunday Shorts has kind of fallen by the wayside a bit this year—mea culpa—but I’m going to play some catch-up. I’ve been reading short fiction and novellas with a full on clip this year, but the reviewing part?

Well, as I said: mea culpa.

I try to be the guy who owns up when I fall behind (and having a public blog to hold myself accountable to said goals is one of the ways I do manage to say on track). Between the horrendously endless grey-white of winter and my own mood, I went south, dove into reading, and haven’t been writing much at all, let alone reviews.

So, to be clear: I fell behind, this has nothing to do with the quality of the books I’ve been reading, and I totally need to own my mistake in falling behind.

And speaking of having the guts to take ownership of a mistake, let’s revisit the guys from Elizabeth Lister’s James Lucas trilogy


Revisiting the trio from the James Lucas Trilogy was like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes (okay, maybe more like a comfortable leather harness), I slipped right into this novella.

When a former acquaintance of James’ becomes involved with a shady character and James’ efforts to help him backfire, Tate decides it is up to him to save the day even if it means putting himself in danger.

So Tate makes a couple of mistakes in this short novella, and from there the whole narrative spins forward. One: he allows himself a moment of jealousy when he sees a former client of James’ Loft days speaking with James with an obviously close confidence. That threatens Tate in a way his already polyamorous relationship doesn’t, and it’s from there the stage is set for his ever-increasing well-meaning but bad choices.

When Tate learns James’ old friend is in a troubling and potentially dangerous relationship, he dives into the situation without a lot of forethought, and of course ends up in danger himself.

What Lister does with these three characters is magic on a couple of levels. On the one hand, Lister does her research. Be it consent, contracts, kink of any kind (and there are some rarely seen kinks in this piece—sounding, anyone?), I have never found even a shred of fault in the depiction, which always walks the perfect example of “safe and sane.”

Two, the intersection of these three characters with very different points of view balances the queer mentality really, really well. These men live and breathe and exist in very different circles (I love that Lister writes a character who is involved in the church as well as a character who wants nothing to do with religion), have different ages and life experiences, and have formed a unit that’s strong without making the parts feel weaker alone.


 

In between making school lunches, driving her children to activities and snuggling in front of the TV with her handsome husband, Elizabeth writes very graphic erotica about gay men in love.

Her three full-length novels comprising The James Lucas Trilogy – Beyond the Edge, The Cross and the Trinity, and A Numinous Light – are available to purchase in print and ebook. This series follows the lives of three men drawn together by a mutual enjoyment of BDSM play and an undeniable attraction to each other. Beyond the Edge received an Honorable Mention in the Pauline Réage Novel Award category of the NLA-International Awards, which recognize excellence in writing and publishing about Leather, SM, bondage and fetishes.

Elizabeth is currently working on a series of erotic short stories called The Loft Series featuring the characters from The James Lucas Trilogy. These stories will fill in some details about the year following the events in The Cross and the Trinity, when Tate, Sebastian and James figure out how to live successfully as a cohabiting and committed poly-amorous unit, and let the reader be a fly-on-the-wall for more of their sexual journey together in James’ infamous loft playroom.

Elizabeth has also published two novellas, Exposure and The Crush, available in ebook format only.  She has also written two very sexy short stories, Apartment 1209 and The Beach House, available to read for FREE.

Sunday Shorts – “Teddy Bears,” by Brandon Witt

I’ve been a fan of holiday novellas since I first stumbled onto them. For queer folk, the holidays can really, really suck, and anything that manages to put a bit of cheer back into a time of year I find difficult is fine by me.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time, I have to really screen which holiday stories I’m reading. I seem to be mentioning this every five minutes lately, but if the main focus of a queer holiday tale is the reunion and reconciliation with an estranged family, it gets a pass from me. I want my queer stories to have chosen families, and to show queer folk finding their own way back to happy times.

Something a bit more, well, queer.

I’d never partaken in an Advent Calendar series before, and when I saw the theme of one was ‘Bah Humbug”?

I jumped on board.


Cover.jpgOther than working the front desk of a gay bathhouse in Denver, Brian McKay is a bit of a recluse. At the best of times, his social life consists of work, role-playing games at a local toyshop, and making YouTube videos with his Teddy Bear hamsters. The arrival of the holidays—with the annoying music, Christmas shopping, and all the reminders of how he disappointed his father—just reinforces his reclusive nature.

When James Olsen, a gorgeous daddy bear who frequents the bathhouse, notices him, Brian is at a loss. He’s not proud of his own bear status or his struggle with weight. The idea that James has interest in him beyond an easy hookup is more than Brian can fathom. But with a little bit of holiday magic, James might help Brian learn to accept Christmas again—and himself.


So Teddy Bears was a great little novella that explored a queer holiday from a bunch of fresh angles that I can’t recall seeing before:

One: both of the guys involved aren’t in their twenties/early thirties. (I love reading about guys my age or guys older than I am, frankly.)

Two: bears who aren’t just muscle bears! (And one who’s struggling to be cool with his body, which—hey—we’ve all been there, no?)

Three: nerd/geek who isn’t “secretly gorgeous super-lean model type once he gets new clothes and reveals his abs.” (Because no.)

Four: Buffy/Spike/Angel dwarf hamster YouTube stars. (No, like, really.)

Five: a bathhouse setting for a romance? (Yep.)

So, with that in mind, if you’re in the mood for a holiday story that lives up to its description, you’re well advised to nab this one for the next time you want something jolly, sweet, a little bit smexy, and funny to boot. This was a wonderful bit of warmth for a frigid winter day.

So, thanks, Brandon Witt.

Sunday Shorts – Great Jones Street

I’m late with Sunday Shorts today (I have a good reason, I promise: I got the edits back on Triad Soul and I’ve been reading through them most of the day). Between that, taking the dog to the pit for his Sunday walk, and going for groceries, I sort of fell behind.

That said, I do want to talk about short fiction today, but instead of a particular tale, I’m going to point you to an app.

Yep, you heard me.

There’s this nifty app, Great Jones Street, that I’ve been exploring on my phone when I’m in line ups or on the bus or anywhere else when I’ve got a few minutes and want to read. It’s a short fiction app, and the curation is pretty darn solid. I’ve read a half dozen or so tales thus far, and can heartily suggest The Knight of Chains, the Deuce of Stars by Yoon Ha Lee, and Ice by Rich Larson. Oh, and also Mono no Aware, by Ken Liu.

Anyway, if you’re looking for quick and easy, pocket-sized access to short fiction, definitely check out the app.

Sunday Shorts – “Girls on Campus” Q&A with Stevie Mikayne

girls-on-campusRecently, my awesome little LGBTQ-bookstore-that-could, Stonewall Wilde’s, had a reading with four Canuckleheads, and I had the pleasure of reading alongside today’s author. Stevie has a wide range of author voices (as you’ll see) and it was a great night, with great wine and a lot of laughter.

Also, Bold Strokes Books is having a deal right now and if you pick up any e-book this month at all, you can nab MJ Williamz’s Summer ’69 e-short for free (the deal runs until the end of October, so this’ll be my last warning to y’all). So if you still haven’t picked up a copy of Girls on Campus, don’t forget to take advantage of the deal.

College: four years when anything goes and rules are made to be broken. A time for freedom, experimentation, and guiltless pleasures. Come join the co-eds for a homecoming bash, crash a girls-only party, and enjoy study hall where the topic is Eros. From roommates with benefits to sexy sorority initiations, hot professors demanding extra credit after class and summer vacation threesomes, this collection is required reading for anyone looking to earn an A in sex-ed.


NB: “Whirlpool” tackles, right from the start, an issue I think almost every queer person has faced: being naked in the change rooms. What made you think of starting in a head-space filled with so much anxiety for so many of us?

SM: I think good writing needs to start in a universal place, and in a short story, you have a lot less room to establish a rapport with the reader, so tapping into a common anxiety is a great jumping-off point. In my youth I was a competitive swimmer, and my school had compulsory swimming as part of the gym curriculum, so I spent a LOT of time in change rooms. I don’t know if it’s because I’m gay or because I’m actually pretty conservative (despite the issues I write about) but I never got comfortable stripping off and showering in a communal setting. So I thought about subverting the typical uncomfortable situation with a rebellious act—and found that there was something really liberating about reclaiming that physical space. In my novel Illicit Artifacts, I built on this idea using a gym shower room and two women who weren’t really supposed to be together after hours…

NB: Your story has an almost dream-like quality to it, and I caught myself wondering if things were happening in reality or if we were slipping into a dream Zandra was having while she soaked. Beyond names, there’s almost no dialog—how conscious was the choice to make this story entirely told through touch and impression and emotion?

SM: I always think it’s interesting to layer a story or a novel so that the reader discovers different elements with each reading. In this case, the story line is refracted a little, which brings a fantasy element to it. By limiting the anchor points—dialog, setting—to a very tight lens, the reader has access to the more intimate head space of the character and that opens the door to the sensual aspects of storytelling that would otherwise be lost in the distraction of high action.

NB: It certainly worked. I loved the tone of “Whirlpool.” Now, I happen to know you write YA as well as adult novels, and you’ve crossed a few genres. Do you have a favourite genre or a favourite format (novel, novella, short fiction)? And do any of your characters cross over from one format to another?

SM: My one true love is full-length literary fiction. I’m currently working on my PhD and exploring how to illicit a strong connection to the reader using a starker, illusive style. I’ve ended up with a more evocative, sensual, draft than I expected—which is really pleasing to me as a writer. To balance this out, I have been playing around with shorter and interwoven fiction (novellas) which are great in a different way because they require completeness in a lot less time and fewer words. And yes, I do like to put in special details for my really loyal readers who read everything I write—so don’t be surprised to see characters sometimes crop up in each other’s worlds.

NB: Yay! I love hunting for those moments. Thank you!

SM: Thanks for having me, ‘Nathan. Great questions!!

If you’d like to catch a copy of Girls on Campus for your very own, you should head on over to the publisher page at Bold Strokes Books here (and remember, there’s a free e-short until the end of October). Or, check out your local brick-and-mortar store—it’s always a good move to check Indiebound.org here. And, of course, the book is available anywhere quality LGBT books are sold.


stevie

Stevie Mikayne is the author of four novels for adults and five books for children (writing as Steff F. Kneff). She also runs the Mikayne Editing Agency, with a focus on LGBT literature. When she’s not writing and editing books, she’s pursuing her PhD in creative writing from Lancaster University in the UK—exploring institutions for people with developmental disabilities during the Victorian era.

Her hobbies include taking her toddler to wacky travel destinations, and gleefully cataloguing the strange and wonderful differences between American and British English. Visit her at www.StevieMikayne.com.

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Sunday Shorts – “Girls on Campus” Q&A with MJ Williamz

girls-on-campusVacation over!

For those who wondered, husband, husky and I had a great time on our vacation, and if you’re ever wondering if it’s worth finding a way to take your dog on vacation with you, the short answer is yes.

Speaking of short…

 

I had the pleasure of meeting today’s author at the recent Bold Strokes Books retreat in New York state, and among other things, it turned out we had the same tattoo, which was sort of awesome. MJ Williamz and I managed a quick drive-by Q&A before I left on vacation, and I’m bringing it to you today.

Also, Bold Strokes Books is having a deal right now and if you pick up any e-book this month at all, you can nab MJ’s Summer ’69 e-short for free (the deal runs until the end of October). So if you still haven’t picked up a copy of Girls on Campus; or if you have your appetite whetted for any of MJ’s titles (or any title at all from the Bold Strokes Books e-store), don’t forget to take advantage of the deal.

College: four years when anything goes and rules are made to be broken. A time for freedom, experimentation, and guiltless pleasures. Come join the co-eds for a homecoming bash, crash a girls-only party, and enjoy study hall where the topic is Eros. From roommates with benefits to sexy sorority initiations, hot professors demanding extra credit after class and summer vacation threesomes, this collection is required reading for anyone looking to earn an A in sex-ed.


NB: “Hell Week” takes sorority pledging to a hot place (via a clever ‘cold place’ as it were). I have to admit my own experiences with Frats were anything but sexy (unless you count fellas who were only queer when tequila was involved). You put Dawn and Sharon in a non-queer (and likely non-queer-friendly) sorority—how purposeful was that?

MJW: It was very purposeful. I wanted the reader to understand just how chancey it was for the girls to get together in that environment. It was more than just keeping quiet not to disturb anyone. It was a matter of keeping quiet not to get kicked out.

NB: As well as being hidden from their fellow pledges from not being out, you also tucked them in sleeping bags in a group setting. Was it difficult to write that teasing ‘keep it down or we might get caught’ tone?

MJW: Actually, it was a lot of fun writing that tone. I really enjoyed the whole secrecy involved in the scene.

NB: I’m always curious to know if short fiction characters have appeared elsewhere, or are going to come by for another visit. Can readers see Dawn and Sharon somewhere else? Or do you have other characters from novels you’ve included in short fiction?

MJW: Dawn and Sharon belong only to “Hell Week.” But, my first Goldie award winner, Initiation by Desire, is about a baby butch who comes out while living in a sorority house. So, that’s essentially where I got the idea for Dawn and Sharon.

NB: Aha! Well, for all of the readers loving “Hell Week” who didn’t already know, now they have a map to their next read. Thank you!

If you’d like to catch a copy of Girls on Campus of your very own, you should head on over to the publisher page at Bold Strokes Books here. Or, check out your local brick-and-mortar store—it’s always a good move to check Indiebound.org here. And, of course, the book is available anywhere quality LGBT books are sold.


mj-williamz-80MJ Williamz is the author of eight books, including Goldie award winning Initiation by Desire, Escapades, and Summer Passion. She has also had over thirty short stories published, most of them erotica with a few romances and a couple of horrors thrown in for good measure. Her newest book, Love on Liberty is now available in eBook and paperback.