Tag Archives: coming out

Cover Reveal: Unscripted by J.R. Gray

Unscripted | J.R. Gray

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Publisher: Graybooks

Release Date (Print & Ebook): November 6th, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): 83,000 words

Buy Links:

https://jrgraybooks.com/unscripted/

Blurb

Movie star 101: A smile hides all pain.

Quellcrist King has been playing a part his entire life. The more famous he becomes, the more he hides. The only person he ever let see the real him rose with him from nothing to the very top.

They were the king and queen of Hollywood— and then she wanted a divorce. The only way to survive his depression is to bury himself in work. If he can be a character, maybe he won’t have to remember himself. A gay role can’t be any different than playing a straight one, can it?

But instead of finding solace in the character, he finds it in his costar. Hale becomes his best friend, his lifeline, the light in his darkness. Quell is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about himself while filming intimate scenes with Hale that feel more real than anything ever has before.

He’s lived his entire life following the script. What would life be like unscripted?

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Excerpt

Quell

“You’re serious about this?” Mel sat with the television script in front of him at my rented Malibu house. He’d flown in from a project he’d been working on in Vancouver because I’d begged him to.
I knew he’d read it. He’d probably read the first draft the minute it landed in his in box. He was one of those people who couldn’t leave any alerts on his phone.
“I’m serious. I paid cash for the rights,” I said.
Mel slowly blinked. “You actors have too much cash and not enough sense. Who are you going to sell this to?”
“You don’t think with both our names attached I’ll be able to sell it?” I knew if I got him on board, I’d be able to make the project happen.
“It’s gay. And not ‘dip your toe in the gay waters and queer bait the fans’, this is like ‘in your face with a big gay dick’ gay. I should know.” Mel was perfect for this. A queer director for a queer project was something I wholly believed in. I had to sell him on it.
“So are you, which is why I want you to be the other show runner with me.” I grinned. “I know you’ll do it right. The queer people will know you won’t bait them.”
He rolled his eyes. “Honey, you want me to make space in my schedule to do something you’re not even sure if you can sell?”
“With both our names attached, it will sell,” I said, sure he was going to do it already.
Mel scowled but he had to know I was right. “You remember you’re straight, right? Who are you going to play? There is no fucking way you’re going to be a bisexual pirate.”
“No, I’m going to be the gay prince.” I grinned because I knew he wasn’t expecting it.
“Flint.” Mel threw his head back and shook it as he spun in a slow circle in his office chair. “I googled the book on the way here after I read the script.”
“And?” I asked.
“There is explicit gay sex in it.” Mel pointed out like I hadn’t read the books.
“And?” What he didn’t know is I’d been reading the books for three years and I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t get them out of my mind. They were top of the New York Times Bestseller List and the latest had debuted at number one. That’s when I knew I had to buy the project and now.
“You’re straight,” Mel said.
“So?” I stared into his eyes.
“Who the fuck are you going to sell it to? We can’t do this shit on a network.” Mel was pointing out all the things I’d already gone over in my head.
“Good thing streaming services are all the rage. We’ll have our pick.” I was way ahead of him. He just didn’t know it yet.
He righted himself planting both feet on the ground. “Can you afford to fund a pilot? There’s a reason people like us don’t produce this stuff. Because it’s a massive investment without a promise of return. Think about it, Quell. You’re comfortable. You have a nice house. How many millions are you going to sink into this with the risk of it not selling?”
“I’m not selling a pilot. I already have meetings lined up with all the big streamers. I’m selling the season outright. The book has a track record. And with our names I’m going to sell the whole first season, maybe two.”
“The balls on you. Are they golden, Q? Are they like the size of grapefruits?” He held up his hands like he was holding a small melon.
“Tell me I can’t do it.”
“Fuck no because then you’ll do it and rub it in my face for the next fifty years.” He scrubbed a hand over his face. “Who are you going to get as writers?”
“I have a list of names. You can give me a list of names and we’ll get it together after I sell it.”
“I’ll take that drink now.”
I stood to get us both drinks, setting the aged whiskey on the table in front of him. I held up my glass and he picked his up. “To making magic and gay ass pirates.”
He clinked his glass with mine. “I didn’t say I was in yet.”
“You didn’t have to.” I sipped the whiskey, welcoming the burn in my throat.
I needed the distraction, a project to pour all my time into. My life was in shambles, but I wasn’t about to tell him that. If he thought I was doing this for anything other than love for the project, he wouldn’t do it. And I did love it. I’d been obsessed with the books from the first pages. I wanted to lose myself in this world to forget my reality and I had the ability to make it a reality for a little while.
“Are you really going to be able to shoot the sex? You’re straight.”
“You’ve said that. How many times have you seen me film straight sex scenes with someone I wasn’t attracted to?”
“Onion breath was bad. She used to come stand behind me.”
I shuddered. “Michael Bay always picks the weirdest people to be obsessed with.”
“No shit.” He set his glass in front of himself and spun it in place. “Is Rachael okay with you doing this?”
It didn’t matter what Rachael was okay with anymore, but I wasn’t allowed to tell him that. We were going to pretend to be happy until her next movie was out. Because happy Hollywood couples sold movies.
“She told me to do what makes me happy.” Which was more like a fuck off when she’d said it, but it still amounted to the same thing.
“You giving her a part on it?”
“No, she’s booked solid.” Or so I was going to tell people.
“What? She always comes with you to shoots.” He tilted his head and stared at me.
“I know.” I faked a smile. Sometimes being an actor saved my life. “But we can’t work it out. It will be fine. I’ll have way more to do with this project being the show runner.”
“No shit. I don’t think you know what you’re getting yourself into.”
I did know and I needed it. I needed to not be in my head for a little while because I couldn’t sit home another day watching my life falling apart around me and not lose it.
“Do you realize I’m going to enjoy every minute of you awkwardly having to make gay sex convincing?”
“You’re going to have to give me all the pointers then.”
“I could show you.” He wagged his brows at me.
And we both cringed then laughed.
“Can you imagine?” I asked.
“It would be like fucking my brother. No thanks. But that won’t stop me from staring at your ass.”
“Like you haven’t seen it.” I scoffed. “And my balls when we were filming in New Zealand and we had that wardrobe thing.”
He slapped his thigh and whiskey came out of his nose. “Fuck me. I’d forgotten about that. Who the fuck is going to let the two of us loose in charge?”
“They will.”
“I know. It’s the scary part, yeah?”
I slid papers over the table.
He picked them up. “I’ll have my lawyer go over them and send them back.”
“Better do it quick. I have meetings Monday to sell it.”
Mel’s mouth dropped open. Exactly what I’d been hoping he’d do. “You dog.”
“And when I say you’ve joined on, it will make the deal what much sweeter.”
“How far is this along?”
“I’ve been busy, and I wanted you to join on because you thought it was a good idea not because you thought it was already sold,” I admitted.
“You know I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t think was a good idea.” He crossed his arms over his chest and I was worried I’d offended him.
“I know but still. I wanted to sell you on it.”
He nodded. “I guess I’m extending through Monday.”
A grin spread across my face. “Can you afford to?”
“My assistant director can do what needs to be done for the weekend. Most everyone is off anyway.”
“Good. It will be better to have you there.” It was all coming together.
“Where’s Rachael?” Mel glanced around my office like he hadn’t noticed she wasn’t in the house before.
“Filming. They needed to fix a scene they found an issue with in post-production.”
“You didn’t go with her?” I felt like my excuses were Swiss cheese and if Mel saw through me already, maybe everyone else would too.
“No, I was taking care of this. It’s just for a few days.”
“Do you really have the time in your schedule to go right into this?”
“Yeah, Rachael and I talked about it. She starts her new movie and I didn’t want to let this go. It’s all about timing. She’ll be finishing up by the time we go to film and she can come up to Vancouver when she’s done.”
He nodded, satisfied. Maybe I could do this. Maybe I could carry the secret that was slowly killing me. If I didn’t say it out loud, it wasn’t real.

About The Author

Gray is a cynical Chicago native, who drinks coffee all day, barely sleeps, and is a little too fashion obsessed. He writes realistic and damaged characters because everyone deserves a happily ever after.

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Blog Tour: Just Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford

Just Like Heaven | T.L. Bradford

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Cover Artist: Photo by Neospot, design by T.L. Bradford

Release Date: September 4, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 181,000 words/ 479 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

What do you covet?

Noah Sinclair
Noah Sinclair is best described as an egotistical, pompous, anal-retentive, asshat. And those are his better qualities. Lately, Noah has lost touch with his playboy character “Jace” on the show Americana and can’t quite put his finger on why. The studio decides it is time to shake up his character by making him an offer he can’t refuse, literally. They will introduce a new love interest for his character “Jace.” Only this time, there’s a twist.

Josh Hill
Josh Hill is up a creek and sinking fast. He’s got no job, no money, no credit and is about to be kicked out of his apartment. Opportunity comes in the form of a job offer from the show Americana. Everything should be perfect; only there is one hitch. He will be the new love interest for Noah Sinclair’s character on the beloved show.

So, opposites are supposed to attract, right? Not so fast. No one said life was that easy. Both actors find themselves in untested waters. Will they be able to play a same-sex couple with no prior experience authentically? Well, they say practice makes perfect.

Carefree, fun-loving Josh and uptight, overbearing Noah, realize they need to make the best of their bad situation and are forced to find common ground. Over time, their roles in each other’s lives become blurred. Is their attraction fake, or is it real? To top it off, Noah has a dark skeleton in his closet that can prevent them from ever moving forward.

Can they get on the same page and save both of their careers and their relationship?

Or will they end up yesterday’s tabloid fodder?

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

It’s been almost 10 minutes. Five to go. Fuck.

I have no clue what this meeting is about, and I am not in the mood to be dealing with Steph and Genie’s crap today. Some random stagehand just came back here to let me know my attendance was required. I try to think back and wonder if I personally offended anybody yet today. Hmm… Nope. Not today, anyway.

Four minutes.

Steph and Genie are the producers for the show I star on called Americana. It’s a newer concept in programming. The show streams daily on Netflix as an evening drama. Small town life under a microscope is the idea. It’s a modern-day spin on a soap opera really, but there is no way on earth I am admitting to working on a soap opera. The show itself is heavily ingrained in social media where the characters have taken on a life all their own. It’s been almost two years now since they cast me, and the show has been live.

Three minutes.

I graduated from college several years ago. After that, I spent a couple of years bartending and serving. With good parts so scarce, I was lucky to get this opportunity. The show has been a ratings winner, and the entire cast is becoming well known.

What drew me to the part was its unique take on the dissection of America and how different communities have changed over time. Our show takes place in America’s heartland. It focuses on the lives and loves of the residents of Greenfield, Indiana.

My character, Jace, is the town barkeeper. He was a great role to play early on because he had a lot of interaction with the main cast. Lately, though, something has changed, and I’m not feeling in touch with the character as much as I once did. It’s showing in my performance, so I’m sure that’s what this meeting is about.

Two minutes.

I’ll bet it has to do with me flubbing lines lately. I haven’t been able to focus, and it looks like they have noticed. My part is getting reduced to nothing. Maybe this is the kick in the pants I need to move on. Ash, one of my castmates on the show, mentioned that they are having open auditions for a new show on FOX. Who knows, it may work out for a season or two. The only thing is that FOX has a bad reputation for short-term junky shows.

One minute.

Maybe they aren’t going to renew my contract. Oh god. I’m being sacked. I can see it now. Gah, I’m already planning my pity party table for one.

I reluctantly get up from my chair, padding out of the room, trying hard not to make eye contact with anyone. I arrive at the end of the hall and hold my hand on the doorknob. “Okay here it goes,” I say to no one in particular.

I enter the room and see Genie and Steph seated across from each other around a large square glass table. Steph is probably in his early 40s, (never can tell for sure in Hollywood), smallish frame with short sandy brown hair, mischievous eyes and a car salesman smile. He is kicking back with his half-eaten Subway sandwich hanging out of his mouth.

Genie looks up to see me. She has her requisite Starbucks Spiced Vanilla Chai Latte and is eating some salad that looks unhealthier than Steph’s meatball sub. “Noah, right on time, per usual.”

“Hey, guys.” I’m hoping to keep good vibes flowing.

Steph says, “Come on in and take a seat. Shut the door behind you.”

Oh boy, that doesn’t sound good. I move toward the desk, taking a chair next to the window, moving it in close next to Genie. The smell of the eggs on her salad is strong. Steph takes a napkin to his lips to wipe the marinara sauce off and starts talking.

“Noah, you’ve been here for over a year, right?”

“Uh, yeah, almost two years next month.”

“So, you’re up for contract negotiations then, right?”

“Yeah, I haven’t talked with my agent about it yet.”

“Well, that is what Genie and I would like to discuss.”

I swear the smell of the eggs is getting stronger. It is permeating the entire atmosphere.

“You know we get the daily stats on the show’s overall performance and having talked; we decided we are going to have to make some changes.”

It’s coming. I feel it. With the show being purely streaming, it is easy for the showrunners to pull up all types of analytics on the show, like what age group is watching, and income bracket. Annoyingly, they can also track what parts of the show are being watched and skipped over. A favorite character will have higher click averages than a third-tier one. With my part being scaled back so much, I’m fairly sure my numbers are in the gutter. For sure I’m getting the boot. I start sweating.

Genie jumps in and says, “Your numbers have been pretty consistent, but not growing at the pace we would like to see.” All I can smell now is the nauseating stench of eggs. I am going to puke. Right here. Right now. Right on their fancy $3000 glass table.

Genie looks at me with concern in her eyes. “Are you okay? You don’t look so hot. Would you like a glass of water?” She jumps up from the table to grab me a glass. Her dark hair is nearly falling out of the messy bun at the back of her head.

“Yeah, that would be great.” She comes back and sets the glass down in front of me. I pick it up and drink slowly. My throat is constricted, and I nearly choke. She is still concerned and looks over to Steph. She pushes her black-framed glasses up on her nose and turns back to me.

Sensing my stress, she quickly says, “We are thinking of taking your character into a new direction.”

“A new direction? Okay, what were you guys thinking about?”

Steph says, “We’ve done some marketing research and have found some niches that we think will work well for our show.” He crams in another mouthful of sub.

Ever the tag team, Genie says, “It’s a direction that may be more challenging, but we think given your range that you would best be able to play the role.”

“What’s the direction you were thinking?”

She looks over to Steph, then back at me. “Your character, Jace Alexander will enter into a relationship with a new character, named Max.”

“Max? Well, what is Maxine’s backstory?” I let out a huge breath. They had me there for a minute.

“It’s just Max, not Maxine. Specifically, Max Shephard,” Steph says.

Slowly my head starts to wrap around what they are saying. “So, wait, Max is a guy?”

“Yep,” they say in unison.

“You made him gay?”

“Look, Noah, I know this is a real shock, but think of it this way. You will have a unique storyline, and it will get people back into your character again,” says Steph. “It’s been what, a year now since Jace broke up with Gracie? The character has just been drifting, and we need to get that viewership back.”

“Are you kidding me? How the hell am I supposed to play gay? This is so far out of my league. I—”

“I’m going to be honest with you,” Steph says, finally having put this sub down. “Genie and I had to go to bat for you to keep you on the show. They were ready to cut you. We pulled this idea out that we had a little while ago and they went for it. So basically, you stay on the show on the condition that you accept this storyline. Otherwise, they are releasing you at the end of your contract.”

I sit back in my chair, dumbstruck. I look between the two of them and see there is no way out. I have no words.

Genie says, “I know you feel blindsided and I don’t blame you for being upset but think about this rationally. This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. A chance to stretch your acting skills.”

“Yeah, but…”

Then she pulls forward in her chair, she grabs my hand and looks me in the eye. “You don’t have to answer right now. Think about it over the weekend, and we can all talk about it again on Monday.”

I don’t say a word, still unmoving and dazed.

“We have an audition video for the actor we have in mind. Why don’t you take this copy and see if you think you can make this work?”

Wordlessly, I take the flash drive and get up to leave. I go back to my dressing room and finally lose the contents of my stomach.

About the Author

T.L. always hated math, so it was a good thing she had a way with words. Since she was a shy and quirky kid; words were her best friends. She would imagine entire worlds in her head and talk to herself endlessly. Her mother wondered if she was speaking with ghosts for a while.

Her older sister was a voracious reader of trashy romance novels and would pass them down to her after she had finished them. T.L. was the only 10-year-old kid sitting in class reading “The Stud” by Jackie Collins during reading time. Oddly enough, she never got called out on it.

As she grew older, her tastes evolved, but one thing held fast; her undying attachment to love stories. One day out of the blue, she decided to write the love stories she always wanted to read instead of searching for her story. Since then, writing has been a dream fulfilled for her and she could not be happier.

She enjoys writing about love, regardless of gender and is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community.

T.L. calls the Pacific Northwest her home and enjoys the quiet rural life of her little oceanside home with her playful/crazy husband and their giant dog Noah.

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Audio Release Blitz: Out In The Field by Lane Hayes & Narrated by Michael Pauley

Out In The Field | Lane Hayes & Narrated by Michael Pauley

Out in College #4

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Release Date: July 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins

Listen to a sample

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Blurb

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates.

If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California.

And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men.

Lane discovered the MM genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were First Place winners in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon

Meet the Narrator

Michael has well over 50 audiobook titles currently available for purchase on Audible.com. He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children’s book.

Fans of Michael’s narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at voice@michaelpauley.info

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Release Blitz: Bernard’s Diary by S. L. Danielson

Bernard’s Diary | S. L. Danielson

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Cover Artist: Diana TC (triumphcovers.com)

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 44,000 words/142 pages

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Blurb

Can a suicidal bellhop find true love?

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…

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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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Doctor Dickward gets a great redemption arc

I've Got YouI’ve Got You by Becca Seymour

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love me a good redemption arc and that’s just what I got here as Becca Seymour completely turns around Doctor Dickwad and had me falling for him big time.

Davis was just the right man for Scott to lean on, first in friendship and then more, as he came to terms with acknowledging his sexuality out loud and all the levels of anxiety and doubt that came with it.

The narrative does a great job of slowly peeling back all the layers, never excusing Scott for his poor behaviour towards Carter in the first book, but giving explanations for why.

I loved pretty much everything in this story, including Scott’s sister and her two kids, and it never felt like the plot was ticking off boxes.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: Under The Jasmine Flowers by W.S. Long

Under The Jasmine Flowers | W.S. Long

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Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Design

Release Date: May 18, 2019

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 73,321 words/154 pages

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Blurb

Jojo Arias, a Spanish-Filipino mestizo, didn’t expect to meet a US Marine in a swank bar in the Philippines. But Jojo can’t deny the electricity they have once he meets Adam.

Although they come from different worlds, they struggle to keep their relationship private to protect Jojo’s status, and position as part of one of the wealthiest and powerful in Filipino society.

Billions of dollars could be easily lost if his family business was jeopardized by Jojo’s secret. Jojo is pressured to abandon Adam and live a life in the closet.

When the struggle to maintain their secret romance unravels, Jojo is left with a life-changing decision to leave his family or to pursue his love.

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Excerpt

James Joseph Garcia Arias savored the last few drops, then set the now empty pilsner down, right next to two other empty bottles of San Miguel beer. Despite the thick glass windows in the swank Makati bar that should have offered some soundproofing, Saturday Manila traffic passed noisily one floor below. The rumble of buses, cars honking, and steady stream of headlights never bored him. He preferred the noise of the city to the quiet stillness that his parents called home.

He glanced at his Patek Phillipe Nautilus watch his grandmother had given him. He texted Erwin. Ready. Barely a second or two passed, when his phone received the reply text. Be right there, boss. He sighed. He’d asked Erwin not to call him that for the longest time, but Erwin insisted.

Jojo stood, fished out the right amount of pesos, plus a slightly larger gratuity than what was expected, then headed for the men’s room. A large group of Americans sat around the glass-tiled bar, laughing loudly. He guessed they were military, based on their crew cuts, hanging out to blow off steam. When he returned a few minutes later, after peeing an hour’s worth of beer, one of the military guys glanced up, and smiled at him. The man’s eyes followed Jojo.

Walk on by. Don’t stop.

He wanted to listen to the voice inside his head but he couldn’t. Maybe the alcohol made him less inhibited, maybe he was still reeling from the breakup with his fiancee and maybe he wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t an employee or a family member, or maybe because no one left in the bar knew him because the next thing he did was he stopped, inches away from the blond.

“Is this seat taken?” Jojo asked.

The stranger smiled more broadly and shook his head. “No.”

Jojo waited a second to see if the handsome man would say something else, but all the blond man did was smile even more. “American right?” Jojo asked.

“Yes.”

“I’m guessing you guys are U.S. military?”

“Marines, yeah. We’re sending one of our guys off, rotating from the Embassy here. My name’s Adam, by the way.” Adam offered his hand, which Jojo shook.

“James Arias, but my friends call me ‘Jojo’.”

Adam opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by his friends who came over to meet Jojo. It didn’t take Jojo long to figure that Adam was probably the only sober one in the group, as the four other guys slurred their words, and often laughed uncontrollably at each other’s jokes. When Adam’s friends returned to their seats at the bar, Adam leaned in. “Your English is perfect, no trace of an accent, so I’m guessing you’re American too?”

“You’re partly right. I was born in America. My mother was a medical student in the U.S., and we lived in San Francisco but we moved back here after she got her degree.”

“So your mom’s a doctor?”

Jojo smiled. He wanted to tell Adam the whole long story of why his mother had never practiced medicine after she completed medical school because the family had seen no need of her working at a hospital or a clinic, and that these days her mother was busy hosting, or attending social and charitable events, but he thought the better of it and just answered simply. “Yeah, she is.”

“So you live here. . . I mean the Philippines?” Adam asked.

“Yes, I do.”

“I’m sorry I’m asking stupid questions because you don’t look Filipino. I hope I’m not offending you by saying that. Most Filipinos are short and very Asian looking. You look more like my Latino friends from Southern California and in a good way.”

Jojo laughed. “It’s probably the lighting, but my father and mother are both parts Spanish and Filipino so maybe that’s why my features are different than most.” Jojo’s cell phone vibrated. I’m downstairs, boss. Jojo palmed the phone for a second, aware that Adam was studying him. Erwin, something’s come up. Head back to the garage until I text you again.

“Girlfriend?”

Jojo shook his head without looking up from his phone.

“Boyfriend then?”

Jojo raised his head and laughed at the handsome man’s brazenness. He liked how Adam’s strong jawline, full lips and dark eyebrows peered at him, waiting on every word. Maybe it was the alcohol. He moved within earshot so that only the Marine could hear. “No, I haven’t had a boyfriend in a long time. But, I did just break up with my fiancée.”

“Is that why you were nursing several beers over in that corner after your friends left you?”

Jojo narrowed his eyes. “You’re very perceptive, Adam. Except they weren’t my friends, they were . . . co-workers.” Jojo almost said employees, but stopped himself. Maybe it was the Arias family tendency to be secretive, and not give out too much information, but here he was on a Saturday night in a bar, drinking, when he was usually still in the office poring over engineering details, building plans, and contract proposals.

“I’m sorry about the break-up. You look torn up about it. I couldn’t help but notice earlier when we first arrived. Can I buy you a beer?”

Jojo smiled, then laughed without meaning to. The last time a guy had bought him a beer was in a dive bar right outside CalPoly, after an engineering final.

“What’s so funny?” Adam asked, as he chuckled along.

“It’s been a while since another guy offered to buy me a beer.”

“No worries. It looked like earlier you needed it. Did she break your heart?” Jojo faced toward the bar, away from Adam. Jojo didn’t say anything, but he wanted to respond.

Adam spoke again. “You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.”

Jojo pondered Adam’s question as Adam’s friends got louder and louder on their end of the bar.

“Don’t worry about them,” Adam said as he pointed to his friends. “I’m the designated driver, and in about an hour they’ll all be sound asleep snoring in the government issued van I’m driving.”

So he’s brazen without alcohol.

Jojo faced Adam and breathed deeply. He couldn’t tell the color of Adam’s piercing eyes but Jojo couldn’t deny his own intense interest in the serviceman. Adam leaned in and prolonged his gaze. Jojo was mesmerized. Adam seemed genuinely concerned. And maybe he was wrong, but Adam appeared compassionate. “She asked me if I was ever going to marry her. If I loved her, and if we were only together because both our families wanted it. I had to tell her the truth, and that as much as I had feelings for her, I didn’t love her.”

“Ouch!” Then Adam smiled, his voice took on a tone of playfulness. “And you’re here, living and breathing with no scratch on you.”

“She is a very logical, rational person. That’s why I liked her when we first met. She was so completely different from the other girls my parents tried to set me up with.”

“You have a picture of her? I’m curious.”

Jojo nodded, fished out his phone, and scrolled through some pictures before showing a good one of his ex, Lani.

“Wow. She’s hot. Your parents had good taste if they thought she would be a good wife.”

One of Adam’s friends sauntered over and peered at Lani’s photo. “Dude, your girlfriend?”

“Ex,” Adam said. “That’s his ex.”

“How about giving me her number? She’s pretty.”

Jojo shook his head. If Lani, a black belt in tae kwon do, found out he’d ever given her number to someone, she’d probably roundhouse kick him in the head before he knew anything about it. “Sorry, I can’t do that.”

“Well, at least I tried,” the Marine said. “Hey, Adam, we’re thinking we should head on over to the bars downtown.”

“Downtown?” Adam asked.

“Ermita,” the man said.

Adam turned away so that only Jojo could see his face as he rolled his eyes.

“What do you say? For old time’s sake?” his friend asked. “You’re welcome to come along––’’

“––Jojo, my name’s, Jojo,” as they both shook hands.

“Mine’s Nate. Yeah, come along with us, I’m sure Adam won’t mind,” the Marine continued. “It’ll keep him company, and his mind off his ex-boyfriend he’s probably still pining after.”

Adam slouched. Adam’s reaction to his Marine buddy’s comment must have hit a chord and Jojo was compelled to find out more about Adam. Jojo hesitated for a moment. He wasn’t used to spontaneously accepting strangers offers to hang out, but Adam’s eyes beckoned him to say yes. Besides, maybe a few more hours out on the town would make him feel better for breaking up with Lani.

“If you’re sure I won’t be a fifth wheel, yeah, I’ll join you.”

Adam smiled. “Nate’s a little bit of a douche bag. So sorry about that.”

“Well, your friend’s had a little too much to drink.” Jojo leaned closer, sticking a hand in his pants pocket, his lips almost touching Adam’s ear, and whispered. “But to be honest, that scene is a little too, I’m trying to find the right words to say it––”

“––Red light? Yeah, I hate going down there.” Adam put his hand on top of Jojo’s wrist, squeezed it, and then removed it. The quick touch happened in a blink of an eye. “Do you have any other suggestions?”

Jojo didn’t say anything. He was shocked that Adam had just placed his hand on him, so casually, so friendly like. He couldn’t deny the electricity he felt when Adam touched him either. “If they’re looking for dancing women, there’s a club two blocks from here, more upscale but not so red light, as you say.”

“Well, lead the way, Jojo.” Adam smiled. “I’ll rustle them from the bar and we’ll follow you.” Adam stood and moved to where Nate and the other guys were huddled.

Jojo motioned to the bartender. “I’ll pay their tab.”

“Thanks, Mr. Arias. Shall I add it to your monthly bill?”

Jojo nodded. Before he could say anything else, Adam appeared at his elbow. Standing, he towered over Jojo by a few inches.

“The boys are cool checking out a new place. Thanks for the offer.”

“So who’s leaving that you’re having this party for?” Jojo asked.

“His name’s John.” Adam pointed him out. “He’s been stationed at the Embassy for more than three years now. Overdue for his new assignment back to San Diego.”

Jojo signed the chit the bartender handed him without even looking at the total bill.

“Hey, is that our bill? You shouldn’t have done that. What do we owe you?”

Jojo shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. I come here often enough that they actually give me a discount, and I’m glad to pay. Thanks for your service. All of you.”

Adam walked to where Nate stood, clapped him on the shoulder, and shouted something in his ear. All the guys around Nate, including John, turned to Jojo and raised their glasses and beer bottles, some empty and others not so empty. “Thanks!” they shouted in unison.

Adam took two steps back to Jojo. “Now, they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. Buying their drinks bought you some loyalty. Lead the way, fine sir!” Adam gestured with a bow, holding an invisible cap in his hands as his head followed the gesture.

Jojo laughed at the dramatic flourish and walked out of the bar, Adam right next to him as the other Marines followed them. As they took the steps down one level to the street, Jojo recognized the SUV parked on the side. “Hold on,” he said to Adam.

Jojo approached the Lexus with dark tinted windows. The whir of the window revealed Erwin’s face. “I didn’t go back to the garage, boss. They said I could just wait here until you were done, however long it lasted.”

“Well, we’re headed to my cousin’s VIP club down the block. You know the one. If you want to meet me there, that’s fine.” Jojo ignored his driver’s raised eyebrow. Jojo’s cousin, Tiny, owned a lounge with a rooftop bar.

Jojo hadn’t talked to Tiny in a week or so, since Tiny asked for a loan from Arias Holdings to help his deep in the red bar.

Tiny’s club had boxing on one floor, Ukrainian and Russian models on the second floor, and Filipino women, working as cocktail waitresses, dressed in Vietnamese ao dais whose skirts were mini-skirts rather than full-length dresses. The male bartenders were all selectively picked for the discreet crowd. Cousin Tiny interviewed the entire bar and wait staff himself, making sure that they were attractive. The truth was, if they could flirt with Tiny and the head waitress, they were hired if they had a pretty face. Jojo didn’t care for the little people fighting in a small area that took up most of the dance floor, but his cousin assured him that he never exploited them, and that they were being paid handsomely to pretend to hit each other very hard.

The walk to the building where the lounge was didn’t take long. Security at the front recognized Jojo immediately. “They’re with me,” Jojo pointed to Adam and the Marines. The large security guard at the front, who Jojo guessed was probably part Samoan and part Filipino, was dressed in a heavy wool jacket and pants, nodded and then radioed the two equally large security guards by the door. They were shown to the marbled main floor of the building. As soon as they took the elevators, again escorted by another security guard, Adam and the Marines were quiet and didn’t say much. When they arrived at the final floor, loud music greeted them before the elevator doors opened.

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About the Author

A military brat, who joined the military himself, W.S. Long now practices law during the day, but at night reads and writes male-male romance.

When he’s not writing, W.S. Long travels and dreams of traveling far off distant lands with his mild-mannered college professor husband.

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Release Blitz: Saint Unashamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life by Kerry Ashton

Saint Unashamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life | Kerry Ashton

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Publisher: Lynn Wolf Enterprises

Cover Artist: Kerry Ashton

Release Date: April 17, 2019

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 120 000 words /348 pages incl. 14 pages of B&W photos from the author’s private collection.

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Blurb

The first paragraph of Kerry Ashton’s new memoir explains a lot: “I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat—a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years.

“The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing but also how I eventually unshamed myself.

“It is about the journey of a lifetime, finding spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing along the way while encountering many miraculous events that pushed me forward through darkness toward the light.”

Telling about his experiences during his four years at BYU—the rape, falling in love for the first time, police surveillance, harassment and arrest, while enduring three years of conversion therapy and electric shock treatments—provide the structure of Kerry’s memoir.

But intermittently, the author shares memories from his childhood, growing up Mormon in Pocatello, Idaho, and later from his adulthood, as well as from his professional career as an actor and writer, both in L.A. and NYC, describing encounters with Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis and Julie Harris, while detailing his experiences with Tennessee Williams and his brief affair with Stephen Sondheim.

Lastly, he talks about the 12 years he spent in therapy, about his 16-year battle with cancer, how he eventually rid himself of the shame internalized from his Mormon youth, sharing glimpses into his sexual journey from his innocent youth through S&M and the gay leather scene in mid-life to the loving monogamous relationship he now enjoys.

NOTE: There are many erotic passages—most are hardcore, erotic and explicit passages, all MM. Many deal with scenes of sexual humiliation, degradation, group scenes, S&M and/or the gay male leather scene.

Excerpt

PART ONE

I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat—a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years.

The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing, but also how I eventually unshamed myself. It is about a lifetime journey of spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing, including many miraculous events along the way that pushed me forward through the darkness toward the light.

Growing up in Pocatello, Idaho in the 50s, in the heart of Mormon Zion, was like growing up in Oz, where Mormons kept me on a religious path the way the Munchkins told Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road. Most American families felt pressure in those years to appear like the perfect U.S. family seen in TV shows likeFather Knows Best and Ozzie and Harriet.

But in our insulated Mormon community in southeastern Idaho, the expectations of appearing like a perfect family increased dramatically.

With a population of 35,000, Pocatello was Idaho’s second largest city in the 1950s. It is now twice that size if you count the suburbs. Home to Idaho State University, Pocatello was and still is very LDS—as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints call themselves.

In Pocatello, like all LDS communities, church membership divided into wards. My family and I were members of the Pocatello 15th Ward, one of several wards within Alameda Stake, and among the more than 40 LDS wards in Pocatello. As LDS Brothers and Sisters, we proselytized Gentiles—as we preferred to call non- Mormons—but we never socialized with them, since the Prophet had warned us “to avoid the mere appearance of evil.”

To survive in my LDS family and Mormon community, I had to pretend to be a perfect Saint the way my parents did.

Both of my parents were raised dirt poor during the Great Depression. Mom was barely 17 and Dad only 20 when they married during his military furlough, prior to Dad shipping out with the Navy to serve in the South Pacific during World War II. After Dad returned from the war, my parents had four babies in six years.

The firstborn, my oldest brother Dennis, was expected to be the responsible one. When he couldn’t live up to all that was expected of him, he became the family scapegoat. My sister Denise was assigned the role of Daddy’s little girl, his perfect Mormon princess, and the sweetest of all of us. Craig would later make Dad proud as a popular athlete in school and in his later and highly successful career in public education.

Without knowing it, Dad had claimed the first of his three children as his own. So when I came along, being the youngest and Mother’s last chance, she claimed me entirely for herself. As my New York therapist noted decades later, “Whether you were a boy or a girl, she knew she would name you Kerry, since she expected you to carry and meet her emotional needs from then on.”

Both of my parents had dormant and repressed shame boiling within each of them. Sometimes, as my siblings and I made our way down the LDS yellow brick road, my parents’ shame came sailing at us like the fireballs thrown by the Wicked Witch.
I don’t know how old I was when Mom lay me out naked on a changing mat, as I waited for a new diaper. I only remember that when she wiped down my genitals, my “little pee-pee,” as Mom called it, sprang to attention.

“Oh, dear!” Mother exclaimed, removing her hand from my penis as though she had just touched a hot poker. What Mommy had been doing to my pee-pee had felt pleasurable. I wanted the feeling to continue, but when I reached down with my right hand, to rub the spot that had felt so good, Mom smacked my hand away. “No, Kerry Lynn!” she said. “You mustn’t do that. That’s naughty!”

My little hand stung and I cried, but the real pain was in the shame I had just internalized. It was sinful to give myself pleasure! The next time I remember being shamed happened when I was five. My father Allan Ashton, an insurance salesman, was 35 at the time. My mother Millie Jane Ashton was a 32-year-old homemaker. At 11, my oldest brother Dennis was already a bully. At ten, my sister Denise was the saintliest among us. At seven, my brother Craig already fit in the way he was expected to. And I was Mom’s “baby.”

Getting in our car after spending hours in church, I announced my true feelings from the backseat: “I hate church. It’s so boring!”

Enraged, Dad turned to face me in the backseat. Looking directly into my eyes, he gave me a dire warning: “Kerry, I don’t ever want to hear you speak that way again about our Church!”

“I’m sorry, Daddy,” I whimpered, already repentant for my outspoken honesty, behaving like the best little Mormon boy in the entire world. Yet, it was not my father’s rage but the look of disapproval on my mother’s face that had me cowering.
My mother was the only source of love I knew or had ever known. I could no more live without her approval than the earth can live without the sun.

Clearly, I was trained from an early age not merely to be her baby boy, but to behave like her exclusive property. Not that Mom or anyone in my family would have seen it that way; her complete  commandeering of my psyche and all that I was, of my very soul, was not something that she was aware of consciously, any more than any member of my family was consciously aware of their assigned roles in our dysfunctional family system. But the fact that I was my mother’s personal slave is true nonetheless.

Mom had trained me well: A lifted eyebrow meant she was displeased with me, that my only source of love and companionship might abandon me. At five, I had already learned the truth: To survive, I had to lie; I had to become inauthentic and false.
When I was six, I performed in a church play with my family on the stage of our LDS ward’s reception hall. It was my first appearance on stage and I was nervous. Some little girls giggled backstage as Mom stripped me out of my clothes for a quick costume change.

Naked and mortified, I was Mother’s property to do with as she pleased. Once dressed, I stifled my tears and made my entrance holding my owner’s hand.

That same year, our family visited my Aunt Ruth and her family at their home in Ogden, Utah. Aunt Ruth had a little girl named Carrie who was just my age and, like me, loved to sing and dance. After Carrie got up on the kitchen table and sang, “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” we all applauded.

Wanting me to have my turn in the spotlight, Mom encouraged me to sing “If I Were King of the Forest” from The Wizard of Oz, since I did a good impression of Bert Lahr’s performance, complete with dialogue and dance steps, and I always got rousing applause. “Go on, Kerry Lynn!” she said, nudging me onto the kitchen table. “Sing the Cowardly Lion’s song!”

I got up on the table, but when I sang, “It’s hard believe me Missy, when you’re born to be a sissy,” Dad yelled, “Stop singing that song!”

“What?” I asked, surprised as everyone else.

“Get off that table, young man!” he hollered. “No son of mine is going to perform on a table like a … like a …”

“Like a what?” Mom interjected, getting up in Dad’s face.

Dad shouted back at her, “Millie Jane, pack up! We’re leaving!”

Before I knew it, we were in the car driving home. Sitting in the backseat, I knew Dad was ashamed of me, but I didn’t understand why. “Why didn’t you let me finish my song, Daddy?” I asked.

As I began to cry, Dad warned, “That’ll be enough, Kerry Lynn! I don’t want to hear any more about it!” Dad gave my mother a warning glance. “This is your fault, Millie Jane!”
“My fault?” Mom retorted. “Why? Because I stand up for him against you and all your bullying?” Clearly, I was the reason for their fight, but I still didn’t understand why.
As my parents fought over me, I cried even more.

“Stop crying, young man,” Dad shouted, “or I’ll give you something to really cry about!” But the more I tried to repress my tears, the more I sobbed.

“That’s it!” Dad shouted, pulling the car to the side of the road. “You’re getting a beating, Kerry Lynn!”

Wild with shame, Dad jumped out of the car. Deciding that his belt was not harsh enough, he went along the road and tore a two-by-four from a nearby fence. Bringing the board back with him, he dragged me out of the car.

“Allan Ashton!” Mom exclaimed. “You are not going to beat our child with that two-by-four! I will not allow it!” But Dad already had my pants down and was paddling me when Mom got between us. “Allan, that’s enough! What is wrong with you?”

Undeterred, Dad continued my beating as the drivers passing by looked on in horror.
That incident was so emotionally painful for me that I blocked out any memory of it. It was only after years spent in therapy decades later, and only after my sister Denise shared with me her memory of the entire event, that I finally faced the truth.

Regardless of what had made my father so angry that day, he made it clear to me then that I was a source of shame for him, one he either had to ignore or obliterate.

******

The Holy War, as I have come to think of it, began on a hot day in early September 1971, the day I left Pocatello to drive four hours south to Provo, Utah, to attend Brigham Young University. As in all wars, whether holy or unholy, it would not be without its casualties.

I spent the morning packing things in my ‘56 Chevrolet, parked in the spot on the lawn where our driveway would have been had my parents ever had the money to pave it. A yellow-and-bronze, two-door coupe with cream interior, a huge cream steering wheel, and black dashboard, the car had class, which is why I named it Oscar— after the Academy Awards I hoped to win one day.

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About the Author

Raised in Pocatello, Idaho as a Mormon in the heart of Mormon Zion, Kerry attended BYU in the early 70s, where some of the most dramatic events recounted in his memoir took place.

Always interested in pursuing a career as both an actor and writer, Kerry wrote his first play, BUFFALO HEAD NICKELS at the age of 17, and published it at 18. Since then, he has published several works, among them most prominently THE WILDE SPIRIT, a one-man play with music, in which Ashton starred as Oscar Wilde, and also wrote the play’s book, music and lyrics.

The play won Kerry critical acclaim for both his writing and performance, and three 1977 L.A. Civic Star Awards for Best Actor, Play and Direction. The play ran for three consecutive seasons in Provincetown, MA from 1990-1992, and was produced Off-Broadway in 1996, winning Kerry a National Award of Merit from ASCAP.

The author now makes his home with his partner Victor Ramirez in South Florida. For more info, visit www.KerryAshton.com.

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