Tag Archives: Growing up

Release Blitz: That Time I…Survived My Teens by Craig Barker

That Time I…Survived My Teens | Craig Barker

 

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LGBTQ Non-fiction/Memoir

Release Blitz: 13.10.19

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z2J1L7L

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Blurb

The Saturday prior to starting this memoir, my ex-fiancé and I had two of his work friends over for an old-fashioned games night. And when I say “old-fashioned,” I’m talking about dice, cards, racking up your points on an abacus, etc. You know, the things people entertained themselves with before politicians blamed every violent fart that wafted their way on video games.

Stop doing that.

Anyway, seeing as I didn’t know who these people were and would’ve much rather spent the evening on the sofa with our dog, I was less than optimistic. If anything, the whole ordeal was going to be like sitting through a Christopher Nolan movie. Sure, I’d say I was having a great time to fit in, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t have a clue what was happening and I’d probably need to take a nap midway through.

Hours before they arrived, just as I’d started to have those “what if I accidentally say something so obscenely offensive or mind-numbingly stupid, I’ll be haunted by the memory of it for years to come” thoughts, my ex ran down into the basement in which I dwell, his eyes frantic, and begged—

“Please don’t talk about choking on dicks when they get here.”

Come again?

“Please, Craig. That kind of talk makes them uncomfortable. Don’t do it.”

I felt a flurry of emotions in the picosecond it took for his words to register: amused, bemused, offended. It sounded like a joke, but his face was full of fear—a fear that I would be unequivocally crude to these complete strangers, and that my behavior would burn bridges he obviously wanted to keep erect (more on erections later).

That was when it hit me like a pair of loose-hanging nuts to the taint; a realization that I, Craig Thomas Barker, had a pattern of behavior that stretched across my life since adolescence—

I’m the person you get warned about before meeting. I’m the person that gets warned before going anywhere.

Like Carrie Bradshaw, “I couldn’t help but wonder” why that was. So, in order to understand who I am today, I decided to take a look at the years that shaped me. I spread my life out on the table, lubed it with the flare of artistic exaggeration, and went at it until I found my answer.

This isn’t so much a memoir as it is a gay’s journey to discover himself; don’t expect structure, coherency, or a thoroughly thought out narrative with a climactic closing paragraph that gives any of this dribble closure.

I’m no one special, I’m not famous, and I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said before, but I have lived a life, and all twenty-six years of that life has culminated in a single sentence—

“Please don’t talk about choking on dicks when they get here.”

This memoir explains why…

And it was cheaper than therapy.

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Excerpt

“Go on,” he insisted. “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me.”

I took another deep breath, gulped down my fears, and looked my headmaster straight in his eyes. “Because I’m gay, sir.”

More silence, followed by a loud slurp of the headmaster’s tea.

“And what would you like me to do about that?”

“What would I…?” I repeated, perplexed. There was no reaction from him, no change in tone, no urgency. I could feel myself getting angry again because I knew in the pit of my gut what this meant, but I couldn’t accept it. “I’d like you to put a stop to it! I want you to tell the other teachers to do something. I want you to tell everyone to leave me alone!”

The headmaster shook his head. “This isn’t my problem,” he declared. “You’re the one that chose to disclose this with the entire school. You brought this on yourself, Craig.”

I shot up from my seat, throwing my arms around. “But I—”

“No,” he interrupted, also standing. “You’re responsible for this, and I don’t want you bothering myself, or any of the other teachers, with these issues anymore. Am I making myself clear?”

Anymore? I couldn’t help but focus on that word. In fact, everything that’d happened from the moment I’d stepped into his office felt preplanned. He must’ve known that it was coming—which meant he knew about the bullying and hadn’t done anything about it. Was he the one that was telling the teachers to ignore me? Was he the reason that Miss Omission’s promise of handling things went unfulfilled?

Needless to say, I was livid. Beyond livid. A fire of pure, unadulterated fury was ignited in my soul that day, one that still burns bright as I sit here typing this. Make no mistake—I am not someone who is bigger than this. I am not someone who will ever get over this. I am not someone who will ever move on. From the moment that bastard led me out of his office, a smile still on his face, I was tainted. A permanent scar of absolute hatred forever etched unto me.

I hate him to this day.

“Off to registration with you,” he said, pushing me out of his office. “And let’s hear no more of this, understand?”

The second his door clicked shut, I knew I was on my own.

About The Author

Writing a biography has always baffled me. I mean, I’m writing my own but I’m supposed to do it in third person, right?

I’m supposed to tell you I attended some top-notch school, help people cross the street, have a “relatable” passion for something and spend my weekends frolicking in a field of flowers…

I can’t do that.

My name is Craig. I like fried food. I write because I enjoy it. Please don’t make me do this anymore.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/craigbarkerbooks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcraigbarker

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Release Blitz: Open Water by Sophia Soames

Open Water | Sophia Soames

Scandinavian Comfort #2

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Cover Artist: Miriam Latu

Release Date: July 20, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 99,031 words

Buy Links

Available on KindleUnlimited

Universal Link

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

Meet Lukas Myrtengren, Mentor Teacher in Biology and Maths at Östra Real Senior School in Stockholm. He makes sure his students pass his classes. He is hopeless when it comes to men, but is trying to sort his life out. Honestly. He can’t keep living like this.

Meet Tom Andersson. Emergency room doctor and single dad. He has no idea how he has managed to mess up parenthood this bad. He hasn’t meant to, he just hasn’t got a clue how to deal with the son he loves to the point of insanity. He knows that he is drifting out to sea without a paddle, he just doesn’t know how to stop it.

Meet me, Max Andersson. Seventeen. Gay AF. An emotional wreck with no future, no skills and no clue. All I know is that I am in love. Helplessly. Desperately. And unrequited, of course. What else can I expect? It’s not like my life is going to get any better.

Welcome to Open Water.

Author’s Note: 

This is a standalone story and the second book in the Scandinavian Comfort series. These books celebrate love, family and realistic messy lives, threaded with the Scandinavian concept of “Hygge”.

This Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.

Reader Beware

This story is set in Sweden, where the age of consent is 16. The laws are there to protect children from abuse or exploitation, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity.

There are a multitude of cultural differences described in this story that readers from other parts of the world might find strange or downright amusing, also family practices that not every Scandinavian family would necessarily agree with.

Trigger Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks and brief non-graphic flashbacks to traumatic events and bullying.

Excerpt

I actually manage to read two of the links before the sound of Dad’s homecoming echoes through the house. Big loud footfalls in the hallway. The swish of his coat being thrown over the banister. Huffing and puffing when he realises that we have no food in the fridge. Zero. We did have a banana, but I ate it. Serves him right for not coming home first.

He comes around the corner with a glass of water in his hand, still weirded out, like he doesn’t know where to look. What to say. Whether he should even step over the threshold.

“Did you eat?” he asks. Taking a gulp of water.

“Banana. We have no food,” I huff back, pretending to tap on the keyboard.

“I can go down to ICA. Get some supplies. What do you want?” He looks really confused. Fiddling with some chipped paint on the doorframe to my room.

“Dad, why did you do whatever you did to Lukas? What did he do?” I slam my laptop shut. I’m curious. Also, whatever he did will give me lots of ammo to use if I need it. Put some pressure on Lukas. Get back at my Dad when I need it. Secrets are good. I’m good at keeping them. I’m also good at using them.

“You will just hate me if I tell you. Some secrets are better kept inside,” he says, looking so fucking sad it almost breaks my heart.

“You never told me much about when you went to Östra Real. Did you do the whole graduation thing?”

“Yeah. I did everything. Student Committee, Student Council. Parties. Hazing. Rode all around town on a tractor trailer whilst drunk and disorderly. All that shit.”

“Cool.”

It is actually. Like my Dad was on the Student Council. And was in the Hazing group. I kind of nod appreciatively. Not that I approve of it, but the kids who run in those groups are like the cool kids. The A-team. People who matter.

“I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.” He is still looking sad.

“Are there photos? Did you keep any footage? I mean it must have been twenty years ago, but surely you had cameras?”

“I got rid of them all. I wanted to just kill off who I was. I wasn’t a nice person, Max. I hurt people and I was a fucking idiot.”

“Is that the reason you got rid of the Björklund name, Dad? Because that was what they called you? I heard Simon call you that. Weird.”

“Yeah, partly. I was so scared your Mum would change her mind about giving you up, so I got it removed when you were born, thinking that it would be harder to find us with a more common name. I used to have nightmares of her turning up and snatching you away from me.”

“She gave up her parental rights. Why would she come for me?” I don’t get it. Well, I do. I am the master of overthinking shit and making up drama in my head. Then panicking and freaking out over it.

“She could have changed her mind. Regretted giving you up. I don’t know.” Dad is messing around with his hair again, picking at that chipped paint. Tapping his toes against the carpet.

“So why Lukas?” I need to know why. I mean. It’s intriguing. It’s the kind of story that would make a good script for Drama. I could probably score extra points with Simon just writing all this shit down on paper.

“He was this really cool guy. I mean, he came out during our second year. Just like that, everyone knew and he fucking owned it. This handsome cool dude, who was just who he was. No drama about it. He was a cocky little shit and the girls adored him. There was always this cluster of girls hanging around him and he had these really solid mates who defended him and loved him to bits. I mean, it was almost sickening. He had it all. People thought he was the fucking business. And hell, Max, he was so fucking cute.

Dad stops himself and looks almost panic-stricken. Like he has said something totally wrong. Which it takes me a minute or two to compute.

“Cute?” I say. Fucking hell, Dad.

“Forget it. I am going to ICA. I’ll get meatballs. Or pizza. Or whatever.”

Yeah and a shit-ton of alcohol. Because Dad is freaking out and I almost crash my laptop onto the floor getting my feet tangled in the charging lead, following him out into the hallway.

“Dad. You were in love with him, weren’t you? That’s why you did it. You loved him. Fucking hell, Dad. After all this and you freaking loved him.”

 Little Harbour

Scandinavian Comfort #1

Available on Amazon, in KU and in paperback

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About the Author

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.

Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.

Miriam Latu is a Norway based artist, specializing in hand-drawn pencil portraits. She works with old-school pen and paper, and more of her work can be found on Instagram @om_hundre_ar_er_allting.

Social Media

Facebook | Twitter: @sophiasoames | Instagram: @sophiasoames

Giveaway

The previous book, 717 miles, a NA story set in London, will be FREE for 5 days from July 24.

No entry requirements, just log into Amazon (Mybook.to/717miles) and download your own free copy!

Happy reading!

Check out the other blog posts and reviews here

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