Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

"Can’t Buy Me Love" by Martin Humphries

FREE
Can’t Buy Me Love
by Martin Humphries

Can’t Buy Me Love by Martin Humphries

Can’t Buy Me Love is the first book in The Cost of Loving series by Martin Humphries. Read an excerpt below and download your FREE copy today. Also available: Love For Sale, Free Love, Love Don't Cost A Thing, The Price of Love, and Love Hurts.


Description
It’s the sixties, and London might be swinging, but not for our girl Edith. Raised in a miserable home full of anger and hate, life for poor Edith seems to hold little hope. But she finds plenty when she teams up with her older gay cousin, Ronnie, who makes her his mission with a plan to re-shape her into the fabulous young woman he knows she deserves to be.
Once free of her father and her weak, defenseless mother, her transformation is swift and dramatic. Suddenly, life is an exciting adventure, full of twists and turns, as Edith’s coming of age becomes a roller-coaster ride of glorious highs and frightening lows, including a father who comes back to haunt her. But where will it take her, and how will it end? Who will win, and who will lose?
This Can’t Buy Me Love Bonus Edition offers the first two of six volumes in The Cost of Loving series. If you like stories of success over adversity, family dramas and sexual diversity, then you will love Martin Humphries’ bitter-sweet voyage of discovery through some of the most exciting years in living memory. Years chock full of changes of every kind, when being gay usually spelt trouble with a capital T.
Start traveling this fascinating journey through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s today by buying Can’t Buy Me Love, and follow Edith through London, Europe and Hollywood, over two decades, as she matures from troubled teenager to famous beauty.

Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE
TO THE RESCUE
Ronnie’s Story …
“Do you think he’s diddling her?” Mum asked one Sunday as we all sat quietly eating our roast dinner.
I liked to come home for those as often as I could because - well, let’s face it - I was a young man living on my own and, of course, I couldn’t cook for toffee and certainly not like my mother could. Normally, the conversation was idle at best, but not today.
Something was niggling at her.
“Well, that makes a change from ‘pass the gravy’, I suppose. You’ve got my attention.” That was my father. He, normally, just liked to eat and not get involved in issues that might divert him from concentrating on his food, especially Sunday lunch.
We both stared at her.
“Well, it’s just that I was talking to Evey yesterday and she was quite angry about Billy. She never gets angry about Billy. She’s a total softy where that husband of hers is concerned, but she’s worried about Edith, I can tell. For somebody who keeps her blinkers firmly in place that only means more trouble as far as I’m concerned.”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean that he’s being a naughty boy with his own daughter. Honestly, I don’t know where you get these ideas from sometimes, Stella, I really don’t.” Dad was rolling his eyes.
“From my brain, Freddie. From my brain. Where I do my thinking, which is what you should be doing sometimes. This is family we’re talking about. My family. My sister.” Mum wagged her fork at dad’s face and poked her tongue out at him. “You should show more concern. Anyway, I’d bet you the crown jewels that that’s behind all this.”
“What?”
“That he’s diddling his own daughter! You know as well as I do that he’s made his mind up she’s not his. Are you going to change that for him? Good luck!”
“You don’t believe that, do you?” I chimed in.
“It doesn’t matter two figs what I believe, Ronnie. It’s all about what your uncle Billy thinks and if that’s what he thinks then nobody’s going to change his mind for him. Only he can do that. But, knowing him, I bet he’s taking it out on Evey - and Edith, poor thing - just to get his own back.”
“I hate to say this but she’s no catch, Mum. Why would anybody have a go at her?”
She rolled her eyes. “It’s got nothing to do with her looks. It’s all about vengeance. He’s getting his own back the only way that bastard knows how to.”
“Stella, language at the dinner table.”
That was my dad again.
Silly arse.
“Dad, we’re all grown up here, don’t forget. I think we can have the odd bastard over the dinner table and an occasional bugger and shit.”
“Ronnie that’s enough.”
My mother this time.
Silly cow.
“I swore because I’m upset. You know how I am when we talk about that pig and my sister and the miserable life he’s created for her. For them. And besides, Edith wasn’t always like that and that’s what makes me wonder.”
“Wonder what?”
“What he’s done to her, silly! To turn her from a kid who was full of life to that drab and lifeless rag of a girl she is today.”
And that, I had to admit, was true.
Being a decade older than Edith, I had seen her grow from a baby to a child to a girl and now to a wretch. It was sad to see the light in her eyes go out and to watch as she became a moody, sulky, miserable girl with a temper that sometimes she could barely control. Mum was probably right. Edith’s anger and aggression were, no doubt, a defense against her vulnerability and feelings of helplessness.
And it was sad to see.
She had been a fun-loving, lively kid and her world was all about the three W’s – where, when, why? Question after question after question until you thought she couldn’t know more if she’d swallowed every volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. She wanted to know the reason for everything.
And then she didn’t.
That had all been well and truly kicked out of her now. She had become an empty vessel which we all wanted to fill up again. As a child she had shone and sometimes dazzled, but that light had flickered and died - that glow of a child revelling in the exploration of life.
I, for one, wanted to re-ignite it.
Why me?
Because I had been there myself.
Being queer in the fifties and sixties, you don’t survive without having the shit kicked out of you.
Sometimes for real.
I was one of the lucky ones.
I almost drowned, surfaced, found something to hold on to and survived, but you always stay water-logged no matter how hard you try to dry out. My light had extinguished and been reignited, but only a flicker remained.
The intensity was gone.
Just like Edith’s.
Maybe it will come back.
Maybe, in time, I’ll forget the mornings when I would wake up disappointed that I hadn’t drowned. Forget the helplessness, the hopelessness and the days when life didn’t seem the favoured option.
All that fear and confusion.
It all seems like self-pity, I know, but I only have one thing to say about that – what the fuck do you know? Just you try it.
And so I knew that, whatever Edith was struggling with, it was ugly and wretched and, quite possibly, life-threatening. That bright, lively, bubbly, inquisitive child who used to bob and sway like a balloon searching for more height with which to explore all of the world, stretching out far, far ahead.
What’s this?
What’s that?
Where’s the other?
Question after question after question, only to burst and sink, deflated, to a weedy, miserable corner of the earth where she could hide, abandoned, in a dreary place with no way that she knew of to free herself.
I saw myself reflected in those sad, deep pools whenever I looked into her eyes, and I wanted her to know that there was a way out and I would help her limp through it and get strong again. All she needed was someone standing in her corner. Someone strong enough to fight for her in the same way that I had longed, when I was her age, to have someone there to fight for me, as I struggled with my own demons.
 “So what are we going to do about it?” I said.
“What can we do? I’m her auntie but that doesn’t give me any rights.”
“Can’t we report him to the police?”
“For what? Beating his wife? They don’t care about stuff like that.”
“You don’t want to go dragging the police into it. It’s just family stuff.”
Dad again.
Daft sod.
“So, it’s alright to go bashing your missus about, is it? ‘Cos you only have to try that once with me, matey, and I’ll have your bollocks off and in the bird feeder.”
“Calm down, will you? All I meant was that if you call in the police for your sister then you’d have to call them in to half the families on that estate. It’s just normal family stuff. Wives get a bashing. It happens. It’s no big deal.”
“No big deal? I’ll take a swing for you one day and see how you like it.” Mum was almost shouting now. “And I know it happens alright. But kids don’t get messed about with where they shouldn’t ought. Then it’s time for the police.”
“Oh, yeah? And where’s the proof? Your sister wouldn’t say a word against that teddy-boy husband of hers; he can do no wrong in her eyes.”
“I bet she would, you know. If push came to shove. She won’t hear a word said against him but it’s not love that does that. It’s fear. She’s afraid of him. She’s afraid of him leaving her. She’s bloody afraid of everything is that one.”
Mum stabbed another roast potato, dripping with gravy, and raised it to her lips. She looked at both of us in turn with a fierce look that had a decision emblazoned across it.
“Mum, that was delicious. Now what’s for ‘dee-ssert’?” I said, stretching the word with my best American drawl.
Mum smiled the smile of a happy cook before her contented and admiring audience. “Glad you liked it. And you’ve been picking up too many words from that sister of yours. It’s still pudding in this house, mate, and don’t you forget it. Soon you’ll be asking for cookies and toemaytoes.”
“So? What’s for pudding?”
“Your favourite. Trifle.”
I swooned.
Mums.
Sometimes it was worth coming home.
“Mum! I love you.”
“Don’t be so soft,” she said and smiled. “It’s only a bleedin’ trifle.” Then, just as she was about to start clearing up the dishes, she paused. “I think I’ll pay her another visit next weekend.”
“Who?”
“You know. My stupid sister - Evey.”
Ah. So that was the decision behind that fierce look.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I found the book intriguing, depicting the life of a young woman coming of age in the 1960's, along with her gay cousin.” ~ Vern A’Dare Shoaf
“Interesting story. I grew up during this time period, too, so that made it doubly interesting.” ~ Renee Q Yancy
“Just a wonderful coming of age story set in the crazy 60s. The cast of characters would certainly make it on your guest list for the ‘It’ party, provided you are not a prude! Live this series and highly recommend!” ~ Ms. Maggie
“Being a baby-boomer I loved reminiscing through the music, fashions and lifestyle references. It was a very interesting story with several surprises. I enjoyed reading it.” ~ Kindle Customer
“A wonderful read. Much more than a take on homosexual relations. This is about growing up in the sixties and how it changed America.” ~ Joseph Skinkis
“I liked the book and enjoyed learning what it's like to grow up in the sixties. The main characters are well-developed and entertaining. I love how Ronnie takes Edith on as a pet project to turn her into wife material. It's all very interesting. I couldn't put the book down.” ~ Darcy Ya

About the Author
Martin Humphries
Martin Humphries is a first-time author who, once he started writing, couldn't stop. Now, after five industrious years, Martin has completed The Cost of Loving series of which Can’t Buy Me Love is the first volume.
Five more volumes, Love For Sale, Free Love, Love Don't Cost A Thing, The Price of Love, and Love Hurts, complete this dramatic coming of age story that spreads over two decades and two continents. It is a bittersweet, rollercoaster ride of a life lived in the spotlight and with the dark side well hidden from view.
After so many decades of life, Martin is full of stories that need to be told and is busy working on several of them right now. These include a sequel series to The Cost of Loving that follows our cast of characters through The Plague Years of the 1980s and beyond, when AIDS changed everything.
Martin lives quietly on Gabriola Island, one of the Gulf Islands off Vancouver, on Canada's wild and rugged west coast, but enjoys some excitement vicariously through his lively cast of imaginary characters.
It's a wonderful place to write, surrounded by so many other creative people, his partner of twenty-three years, Paul, and the best dog in the world, Alfie.

Freebie
Sign up for the author’s newsletter and receive a FREE copy of Fun is on its Way, a prequel novella to The Cost of Loving series.

Fun is on its Way by Martin Humphries

Links

Friday, August 10, 2018

"Infamous" by Allison Stowe

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Infamous
by Allison Stowe

Infamous by Allison Stowe

Infamous by Allison Stowe is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Enter the world of this YA thriller, where nothing is ever quite as it seems…
It’s been five years since the high profile kidnapping case which turned Cassie Waterson’s life upside down. The aftermath led her to become a household name – for months, she was splashed across TV screens, appeared in newspaper headlines, and featured in the furtive whispers of the residents of her hometown. But why? She hadn’t done anything significant. In fact, she’d done nothing at all; merely watched, motionless, as a shadowy figure lifted her baby sister off her feet, and bundled her into the back of a station wagon.
That single moment soon became Cassie Waterson’s life. Agonised by guilt, confused by the lack of punishment, scrutinized by the media circus… everyone claims to know Cassie now, but nobody does at all. The face she puts on for cameras, the voice she fakes for the talk shows… none of that is the reality behind the mask. Cassie is not the strong, confident girl who glares with certainty from the screen. Cassie doesn’t have her assuredness or her optimism about her sister coming home. Cassie is someone else entirely, and the only person who knows is the one person she must avoid… at all costs.
Every story has two sides, and the flipside of Cassie Waterson is Alexis Aldridge. Unknown, anonymous, kept hidden from the world by her fearful parents … Alexis is a conundrum, wrapped in darkness. While she and Cassie lead opposite lives, they both long for the one thing they miss: a sense of normalcy, and the freedom to be themselves.
Infamous is an unmissable YA mystery novel which will take you on twist after turn, and which provides suspense and surprises on every page.

Excerpt
Her father wasn’t facing her anymore. He was searching the lawn. Something clicked. Through Cassie’s blurred vision, she saw his eyes transform as the knowledge sunk in.
“Where’s your sister?” he asked.
That was it. She felt the truth finally make its way from her heart to her head. Her face contorted as she exploded into a crying fit. She couldn’t answer.
“Cassie!” he barked. “Where is she?”
By now he had stomped over and placed a firm hand on her shoulder. He shook her, but Cassie was trembling anyway, rendering his efforts to make eye contact useless.
She tried to speak but couldn’t; her sobs were blocking the airway to her lungs. She inhaled sharply.
“A lady came,” she started, sobbing again. “She took her. She had Sophie and I tried to stop her but she was too fast and then she was gone.” She got the words out in one breath, allowing her to give in to the tears once more.
After a moment of silence, her father sprinted in the direction of that corner, where Cassie had been hallucinating her sister’s return. He paused at the side entry gate, still braced to run. His head darted in all directions, looking for the car or a clue or his little girl, safely abandoned on the side of the road. Meanwhile, Cassie’s mother froze. Hours of sun bed-induced tanning seemed to reverse in seconds. Cassie had never seen her so lifeless. Her mouth hung open, jaw slightly shuddering as though grasping for words.
“Elizabeth! The police station!”
The words drew Cassie’s gaze back to her father. From the corner of her eye, she saw him dart off again, this time disappearing, just like that station wagon before him.
Cassie knew right then that her life before that moment would be irrelevant. She had been strolling down a path of life that ended with a “Do Not Enter” sign. She had no choice but to change direction, and it would lead her somewhere far away from that golden destination that she’d originally been headed.
Without washing her mascara-stained cheeks, her mother marched into the family SUV and set off for the police station. The next morning, the journalists arrived asking for pictures of Sophie. Cassie’s father greeted them. She remembered watching from behind the staircase railing as he slouched through the archway, from the foyer to the living room. He didn’t turn on the lights. He just stared at the photographs on the hand-carved mantle while Cassie wondered why he preferred the dark. After six full minutes, he chose one. Then he replanted it facedown on the surface and walked away.
So Cassie hunted through scores of albums, while her father lay paralysed in bed and her mother sat at the dining room table, with that same lifeless expression and a never-empty glass of wine. By afternoon, the local news had called for an interview. It took place on the porch, and Elizabeth was otherwise engaged. Ray, on the other hand, made it to the front door, but one glance of the yard sent him straight back into his ‘living dead’ state. He looked to Cassie, his body awkward and eyes uncertain. She told him she could talk to the camera people, and a moment later he offered a slow nod. He’d be just inside, he said. By evening, the story had caught the attention of national news carriers, and Cassie’s picture was being shown alongside her lost sister’s on television screens across North America.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Amazing book. Very suspenseful. Leaves you on cliffhangers a ton, which makes the book more exciting. Really good read. Recommended.” ~ jak3m3ns
“I really enjoyed Infamous. It is well written and shows the horrors that a family can face when something happens to their child. Overall, Infamous is a solid mystery that will keep you guessing up until the very end. Which the ending also has an additional twist I was really surprised about and in a way was very satisfying.” ~ R.R.
“I enjoyed this book tremendously. I couldn't put it down except for the part where I had to take a break because I couldn't see the page for my tears. I look forward to reading more by this author!” ~ Brittany Strickland Dunn
“I thought that this book was a very interesting read! I actually really enjoyed that it was set up as a dual-perspective YA because it gave you more information on both sides plus we were able to explore two countries - Canada and England!” ~ Jackie
“I really loved Infamous. The story is different; it's not recycled material we've seen over and over again. It goes with our society's obsession with crimes, media and (mis)information. And, most of all, it digs deep into characters that are wonderful to read. Sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, the writing is solid from beginning to end.” ~ E

About the Author
Allison Stowe
Allison Stowe is the author of the YA novel, Infamous. Raised in a generic Toronto suburb, Allison spent her childhood posting fan fiction online in hopes of influencing The WB’s writing rooms. She wrote her first novel at age 13. It was based on her favorite TV show, and upon submission, she learned of copyright law.
In 2010, she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Journalism from Ryerson University, where she was the Managing Editor of the online newspaper. During her brief journalistic career, Allison wrote for Chatelaine magazine and TV Guide Canada (essentially achieving a life dream). Shortly after graduation, she relocated to Brighton, UK, and refocused her attention on her second passion – helping young people.
While studying for her MSc in Educational Psychology at UCL, Allison wrote Infamous as a way to fulfill her instinct to keep writing. When she isn’t writing about the lives of young adults, or watching prime-time teen dramas, Allison mentors university students who’ve been diagnosed with mental health issues. She lives in London, UK, with her fluffy ginger cat, Sawyer. Infamous is her debut novel.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five signed copies of Infamous by Allison Stowe (open internationally).

Links

Monday, December 18, 2017

"Riding with James Dean" by David-Matthew Barnes

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Riding with James Dean
by David-Matthew Barnes

Riding with James Dean by David-Matthew Barnes

Riding with James Dean by David-Matthew Barnes is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please make sure you visit the other tour stops as well.


For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Stronger Than This.

Description
When seventeen-year-old Johnny moves to a sleepy new town and meets the enigmatic Marco, the glamorous Mary, and the punk princess Jemma, his summer nights are soon filled with friendship and love.

Excerpt
From a distance, I could’ve sworn I saw the ghost of Marilyn Monroe.
There was a beautiful woman standing next to Marco in the parking lot of the 50’s hamburger palace. They were leaning up against the side of his vintage car, waiting and doused in the shadows of slow pulsing neon lights. His arm was draped around her shoulders. It appeared she was propping him up. She laughed when she steadied him and the sound was sweet and melodic. She was a platinum blonde, dressed in a black pencil skirt and a low-cut white angora sweater. There was a red chiffon scarf tied around her neck. She exuded power in her black stiletto heels. She was a movie star in the making, a glamorous goddess just waiting for someone to discover her and catapult her to fame. If anyone had been born for a life on the silver screen, it was her.
She pried herself away from Marco and stepped in my direction. “You must be Johnny,” she said. I nodded in reply, mesmerized by the seductive green color of her eyes and the tenderness of her voice. She leaned in, kissed my cheek, and then spent the next few seconds trying to wipe her lipstick off my skin. Her touch was soft and comforting. 
“Are you Marilyn Monroe?” I asked. My words fell into her cleavage.
“You’re close,” she said. “I’m Mary.”
“Yes,” I said. “Marco mentioned you.”
“He’s like a brother to me,” she whispered. “Be gentle with his heart.”
Marco moved to us, wrapping an arm around us, connecting and cementing us as a trio. “I’m a lucky guy,” he said. “I get to spend the night with my two favorite people.”
“Marco doesn’t have many favorites,” Mary explained. She was clearly his interpreter. “So, I guess that makes us the lucky ones.”
Marco gently guided us in the direction of his parked car. “I wish we could go to Vegas,” he announced.
“Why don’t we?” I challenged.
He shook his head. “We wouldn’t make it there until dawn.”
“Dawn’s a lovely time to arrive in Vegas,” Mary said. “You can sleep all day and then be ready for the night.”
“Are we vampires?” I asked, with a small laugh.
“In another life, yes,” explained Mary. “In this one…”
Marco glanced up to the dark, starlit sky and said, “We’re the ones everybody else wants to be.”
Mary shook a finger at him, reprimanding. “Careful, Marco,” she said. “You almost sound smug.”
“Do you think they know?” he asked. “About how much we’ve been through?”
They looked into each other’s eyes when Mary spoke. “If they did,” she said, “they wouldn’t care. But our sorrow would ruin the façade.”
“Façade,” he repeated. “I like that word.”
Mary insisted on sitting in the backseat, but not before pulling me aside. “You belong up front now,” she explained, in a hushed tone. “Next to Marco. He needs you by his side.”
“But you were here first,” I reminded her.
“I appreciate your chivalry,” she said. “But you’re new.”
I slid across the bucket seat and into the shelter of Marco’s arms. He pulled me closer to him.  “There,” he said. “That’s better.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I felt like I was reading this coming-of-age romance while looking through the lens of a motion picture camera. Everything was so visual, the colors, and descriptions all pulled me in.” ~ Todd Wylie
“Painted like an Edward Hopper night scene, with backdrops reminiscent of Giant, Riding with James Dean is a chrome-plated, nostalgic look at adolescent infatuation populated with a backseat full of colorfully-drawn, bigger-than-life characters.” ~ Wayne Goodman
Riding with James Dean is a beautiful coming-of-age story riddled with the excitement, romance, and fear that accompanies first love. Written in beautiful prose that cloaks the story in dreamlike veil, the reader is transported into Johnny's new world, filled with unique characters who embark upon a journey of self-discovery that will leave you wanting more.” ~ RJ Harris

About the Author
David-Matthew Barnes
David-Matthew Barnes is the award-winning author of several novels and collections of stage plays and poetry. His acclaimed screenplays have earned many accolades including a 2017 Los Angeles Film Award. David-Matthew has written over fifty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in ten countries. His literary work has appeared in over one hundred publications. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He has been an educator for more than a decade.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of twelve ebook copies of Riding with James Dean by David-Matthew Barnes.

Links