Tag Archives: Magic Realism

Release Blitz: The Midnight Man by Kevin Klehr

The Midnight Man | Kevin Klehr

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Release Date: August 30th, 2021

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Word Count: 52,200

Publisher Buy Link: https://ninestarpress.com/product/the-midnight-man/

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58791013-the-midnight-man

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Blurb

Stanley is almost fifty. He hates his job, has an overbearing mother, and is in a failed relationship.
Then he meets Asher, the man of his dreams, literally in his dreams.

Asher is young, captivating, and confident about his future – everything Stanley is not. So, Asher gives Stan a gift. The chance to be an extra five years younger each time they meet.

Some of their adventures are whimsical. A few are challenging. Others are totally surreal. All are designed to bring Stan closer to the moment his joyful childhood turned to tears.

But when they fall in love, Stan knows he can’t live in Asher’s dreamworld. Yet Stan is haunted by Asher’s invitation to “Slip into eternal sleep.”

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Excerpt

The alarm clock ticked loudly at the side of their bed, and while Francesco snored like a buzz saw clearing a rain forest, Stanley lay awake. It wasn’t his partner who was the cause of his insomnia for Stanley could doze through the wildest storm. In fact, Stanley was sound asleep only ten minutes prior until he thought he heard someone whisper in his ear.

The arms of his alarm clock inched their way toward the number twelve. He sat up and, shortly after, stood and took his dressing gown from the bed post. He remembered hearing the word “eternal” in the sentence that was murmured to him, but the rest of the phrase was hazy.

Numerous cats meowed in unison. Stanley was unnerved. He strode to the living room and casually opened the curtain. Several feline gangs gathered on the front lawn. An eerie wind shook the trees as the cats strolled to the centre of the garden.

Stanley studied the sky. Not a star in sight. Nor was there a cloud above, so the lack of any sign of the universe made no sense. He pondered the end of humanity before concerning himself with his morbid train of thought. The voice whispered again, and Stanley instantly felt drowsy. He sauntered back to the bedroom and fell on top of the sheets.

In his slumber, his dreams began, and in this personal movie he sat at a small round table in a circular room. A crimson curtain wrapped itself around the space.

A crisp white tablecloth fell just above his knees and embossed on a shiny gold card in the middle of his table were the words RESERVED. THE MIDNIGHT MAN.

There were other tables too. All with the same small card and all with either a mature-aged man or woman sitting at them. The only difference was, each of these people were dining and chatting with a younger male companion.

He noted the dress code. Every man, young or old, sported a dinner suit. Stanley also wore one. Each lady was adorned in a stylish black dress.

“Excuse me, sir.” Stanley looked up. A tall waiter with a quaint moustache addressed him. “I’m sorry to say your Midnight Man is running late.”

“Okay,” he replied, mumbling.

With time to spare, Stanley picked up the card. He gazed at it, giving the appearance it aroused his curiosity, but he was actually eavesdropping. He eased back in his chair to listen to the woman who was sitting behind him.

“Interesting conversation?” This questioning voice startled Stanley, but boy, was it sexy. Its honey-rich timbre could invite you to a murder and you’d stay under its spell until the moment the knife was placed in your hand. Stanley looked up to see whose voice it was.

A young man stood with hands in his trouser pockets. His smile sent Stan’s thoughts spinning. Stan knew a genuine grin and this lad had no hidden agendas lurking behind his cordial manner. Stanley was convinced of it.

He measured up to all the best-looking groomsmen Stanley had admired at the various weddings he’d attended. Most of the time it was the best man Stan fancied, especially if they were still playing the field. He’d stare at them wishing to be swept off his feet and carried down the aisle.

This Midnight Man had a crew cut. It’s a cliché to say it was the preferred style of boy next door types, but for Stan, it sealed the deal. Something classic. Something captivating. Something familiar enough to help him not feel old.

“I’m Asher.” He held out his hand. Stanley took it, holding onto it until Asher seated himself at the table.

“You’re beautiful,” Stanley heard himself saying. “Sorry, I don’t mean to be forward. It’s just that…” He covered his mouth momentarily. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-one.”

“You’re the perfect age.”

“What for? For you?” Asher smirked with bedroom confidence.

“No. No. I didn’t mean it like that. You’re my perfect age. No. I’m not making myself clear, am I?”

Asher reached across the table and tenderly stroked Stanley’s wrists.

“Are you hungry?” Asher asked. “Should I ask the waiter for the menu? I’m looking forward to sitting here and listening to your tales.”

“Strangely, I don’t have an appetite.”

“Me neither.” They were the only people in the room now. “Maybe your dream needs a change of pace.” Asher stood. “Follow me to enchantment, or something close to it.”

Stanley did as he was told. Through the crimson curtain was an opening. As they ventured through the darkness on the other side, music broke through the silence. The floor shook with each beat. The murmur of a crowd brought back many memories for Stanley, and as the laser lights flashed random colour into the void, the crowd became visible. Everyone was Asher’s age. Everyone was male. Stanley reached for Asher’s hand to lead him through this curious scene. They were both dressed differently.

Stanley wore a waistcoat adorned with tiny roses, buttoned tight to expose his chest. Asher wore a blue T-shirt as he strode toward the DJ. Stan looked down at a smiling quarter moon, the oversized design on his belt buckle. He stomped his foot. His shoes were sturdy, leather and unmistakably British.

It’s perfect in every way, he thought. So perfect in fact, he was waiting for the ecstasy to kick in. He worked his way back to Asher.

“Why are you called the Midnight Man?” he yelled over the house tune.

“We’re all Midnight Men,” Asher called back. “Everyone dining with your generation in that restaurant was a Midnight Man.”

“But what does it mean?”

“It’s the time I entered your life—midnight.” His playful grin returned.

Then Stanley felt a change.

First, the music. It sounded hollow, as if someone had played around with an equaliser and got it all wrong. Then, like a jet engine, it soared.

Next, awareness of his own lanky shape was replaced by a oneness with everyone in that huge hall. There were no creaky joints or sagging skin. Decades disappeared. A sense of love so overwhelming consumed him. And in this micro moment, Asher was arguably the most bewitching guy Stanley had ever met in the decades he walked the earth.

Then it hit full charge. The need to dance! The want to take off his waistcoat and sense the sweat, the pleasure, and the energy that took control. He was lost in sensation. He was lost in thoughts that highlighted every positive thing about himself. He hadn’t felt this for a very long time.

And Asher was part of this charge, the best part. A boy at the start of the finest years of his life. Young enough to be sought after and brave enough to seek love from those who’ll fall under his spell.

The guys nearby were eyeing Stanley. A lover Stanley recalled for his kindness at a time when he was finding himself. This guy waved at Stanley. The gesture was returned with an air kiss.

Coming toward them was a guy who sported small mirror tiles on his shoulders, as if he was a walking disco ball. He had similarly mirrored shorts. And he also held a mirror.

To Stanley, this guy wore the face of a human hiding his hurt. Someone wishing others would understand his sadness, yet too polite to talk about his feelings, or cry until there were no more tears. A feeling too familiar.

Stanley raised his arms and shook his butt, encouraging Mirror Man to find his bliss. For a moment, the guy laughed. A door was open, ready for pain to be released. He swung his hips, making his way toward Stanley, so Stanley raised his arms higher to transmit love in all directions. Then the guy held his mirror to Stanley’s face.

There it was. There was no denying it. Stanley was not twenty-one again. He was nearly fifty. A man in need of maturity.

“What is it?” Asher asked.

Mirror Man was nowhere to be seen.

“I’m not meant to be here.”

Stanley sat startled as he found himself opposite Asher back at the restaurant. Both were wearing suits again.

“So, tell me, Stan, where are you meant to be?”

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About The Author

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Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.

His first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, spawned a secondary character named Guy. Many readers argue that Guy, the insecure gay angel, is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. His popularity surprised the author. The third in this series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.

So, with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

Social Media

Reading Trailer: https://youtu.be/boBrYRHJLhk

Website: https://kevinklehr.com

Twitter: @kevinklehr

Instagram: @klehrkevin

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DramaQueensWithLoveScenes

YouTube: https://buff.ly/36GJZpJ

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Blog Tour: Striking Balance by Jeanne G’Fellers

Striking Balance | Jeanne G’Fellers

Appalachian Elementals #3

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Publisher: Mountain Gap Books

Release Date: July 21st, 2020

Buy Links:

Mountain Gap Books | Amazon US Kindle | Amazon US Paperback

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

COVER - Striking Balance

Blurb

Benjamin Schnell is the possessor of secrets he wishes he could bury beneath the rich Nolichucky river flat dirt he farms alongside his dear friend, Conall. But secrets lead to lies, lead to more secrets, and all eventually come home to roost in a bed of distrust, even on the 1779 Appalachian frontier.

After Ben is injured, he realizes there are odd things happening around him that others cannot see. Corner shadows take human shapes, lightning bugs dance in broad daylight, and the farm’s strange owner, Master Gow, returns with an offer Conall cannot refuse if Ben is to live. But making a deal with Master Gow will take them deep into the mountains to where a haunted king reigns and Fire balances Water in a delicate natural friendship.

Ben must learn self-acceptance and trust if he and Conall are going to survive because there can be no secrets in the mountains, only truth.

Another rich tale from the Appalachian Elementals world focusing on complex families containing rich LGBTQIA+ characters.

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Excerpt

I open my eyes to whitewashed walls and sunlight streaming through large open windows covered by gauzy curtains. This is a quiet space reminiscent of my youth. The window is wide to the afternoon air, my pillow is soft, my bed comfortable with sweetgrass, and I rest beneath the lightest of patchworks. And my shirt ‘tis cotton. Heaven. Yes, I am certain I have reached the hereafter. Perhaps I can see Mutti again and—

“Get back here ye’ fool!” I turn my head in time to see Alexandria pause before a window. Her face is flushed, and her hands are in fists at her sides. “Get back here wit’ mah pie!”

“Come get it, you flightless baggage!”

My thoughts of Heaven erode when Alexandria launches into a long line of Scots-Gaelic curses of the likes I have not heard since I left the mine. This is not the Alexandria I know and respect, not the voice of a proper lady at all. She hisses as she threatens to cut off his twiddle-diddles with her kitchen knife, cook them in the pottage, and feed them back to him.

“Return Lexy’s hard work, boy.” This is Master Gow’s voice, but ‘tis also not, higher in tone but equally powerful, and I wonder if he has a sister. “And the crust best not be broke!”

“But… ow!” I am unable to see what occurs next, but a man crosses in front of the window with a pie in his hands and something or someone I cannot see is dragging him. “Ow! King Dane, please! I am sorry, Lexy, real sorry!”

King? This woman who I suspect is related to Master Gow is named King Dane? Whatever… My cough returns, deep and fluidic, but ‘tis clearly not to be my death so I look for something to spit into.

“There’s a bucket of sawdust at your bedside, Benjamin.” Master Gow’s sister speaks from just outside the window. “I’ll be there shortly to talk with you.” Her voice turns away. “Go cut two days of wood for the main kitchen,” she tells the man who is still apologizing to Alexandria.

“But I got hides to scrape and…”

“Do it! Then scrape them hides.”

“Ow! Yes, King Dane.”

I crawl deep beneath my quilt when their voices fade. Where am I? At this point, I have no clue, but I believe I am alive. The table beside my bed is laden with bottles, jars, a fleam and cup, but there is also a mug so I sit up, examining the contents, water, before I drink.

I startle when the door to the apartment swings open. “Ah brought ye soup an’ tea.” Ceardach deposits a tray onto my lap. There’s also buttered bread on the tray, along with bacon, eggs, and a bowl of beans.

“Thank ye, but I need to…”

“Of course.” Ceardach pulls the tray away. “Th’ pot’s under th’ bed.”

I hesitate, but my need is too great so I swallow my pride, thankful when he moves to stand in the doorway with his back to me.

“Ye need tae drink more.” Ceardach returns to my side when I am abed and pushes the pot under the bed after he examines the contents. “An’ ye best get over bein’ bashful right quick. Someone will use it against ye.” He drops the tray onto my lap, “Eat.” pulls his pipe and pouch and begins filling the bowl, watching as I take up my spoon. The food has most certainly been made under Alexandria’s watch. I can tell by the seasonings, and… I am nearing famished.

“Slow an’ steady. Let one bite settle afore th’ next.” Ceardach lights his pipe so quickly I see nothing but a flash. The outside din continually grows while I eat, but Ceardach pays it no heed. I hear hammers striking anvils, a proliferation of swearing, wood being split and stacked, the sounds of a wider community. The smells coming through the door would be enough to turn my stomach if I was not so hungry. Baking bread, multiple privies, wood, ash, dirt, burning wood, herbs, and… I smell iron and sulfur, but none of it quells my appetite to the point I cease eating.

“Am I in a town?” I shovel more into my mouth.

“Of sorts. Ye will grow accustomed tae it all.” Ceardach blows out a billow of white smoke that rings his head then drifts away. “Yer cough an’ congestion will fade in time.”

I nod and bite into my bread. My appetite must be part of my recovery, a drive for nourishment so I might heal quickly. There is another bed I have ignored until now, unmade, with blankets folded neatly at the foot. “Where am I?”

“In the kingdom.” He points to my water. “Drink.”

“But…”

“Drink first.”

I am obedient, but he tells me to empty the mug before he will speak further. “Good, now—” Ceardach raises his head. “Ah, here’s yer answer.”

I attempt to sort through all I see, but ‘tis difficult. Is this Master Gow or—

“Stop gawkin’. ‘Twill get you slapped ‘round here.”

“If not hit or cut,” adds Ceardach. “Sit, Dane. Ah will step out but stay close.”

“Aye, Ceardach, thank you.”

I see a woman’s face, a man’s work cap atop her head. “You’re still under my protection. That hasn’t changed, but the rest…” She wears trousers and a calf-length smith’s apron over a man’s red check work shirt with rolled sleeves. “You’re starin’ even longer than Conall did.” She pulls a tobacco twist from her apron pocket and bites off a piece. “Are you as tongue-tied too?”

“I…” This woman bears the same tattows as Master Gow. “No, sir, I mean, miss, I mean…”

“You’ll address me as King Dane ‘til I tell you elsewise.” My spit bucket slides across the floor to her feet. “How will you address me?”

“I…”

“Say it, Benjamin.” She spits into the bucket. “‘Tis important you know my station ‘round here.”

“Yes, King Dane.” But this is a woman. How does she warrant the title of king?

“And you never disobey your king, right, Benjamin?”

“Yes… King Dane?”

“Smart man. ‘Tis why I chose you, but I made Conall in the process, an excellent deal I am pleased we could accommodate.” King Dane seems amused by my gaping mouth. “Calm yourself. I hear your heart poundin’ from here.”

About The Author

AUTHOR PIC - Striking Balance - Jeanne GFellers

Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers’ early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with their father and reading the books their librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s writing influences include Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.

Jeanne lives in Northeast Tennessee with their spouse and five crazy felines. Their home is tucked against a small woodland where they regularly see deer, turkeys, raccoons, and experience the magic of the natural world.

Author Website: https://jeannegfellersauthor.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Jeannegfellersauthor

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jlgfellers

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjeannegfellers/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01N0YWCT7?

Giveaway

Jeanne is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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