Posts in the LGBT genre

Guest Post

Victorians Like You & Me | Sandra Schwab

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London, 1845

It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.

But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.

Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?


Thank you so much for hosting me today, EverAfter Romance, as I celebrate the release of my Victorian holiday romance Yuletide Truce!
Let’s talk about the Victorians, shall we? The Victorians are often said to be straitlaced and stuffy, with no sense of humor. But were they really? If you look a bit closer, you’ll soon find that the Victorians were as fun-loving as you and me, and they struggled with similar problems as we do today. This becomes abundantly clear through the social cuts of the satirical magazine Punch.

1) Graffiti? Yep, the Victorians had them!
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Meet Mr. Briggs, who has just moved into the suburbs that were growing all around London. And he is not happy that some boys continue to scribble on his garden walls:
“The Intelligent Reader is requested to imagine that the Gates in the above Cartoon have just been thoroughly cleaned, and fresh painted. On his return from the City, Mr. Briggs finds that rude boys (totally regardless of his feelings), have been farther decorating them.”
(By the wonderful John Leech)

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Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne
Guest Post

A book for every star sign! | Horoscope Book Recommendations

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This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

 

 


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Oh Aquarius, so wonderfully weird! You are all about openness, communication, and giving to those in need. Your willingness to help others makes you compassionate, and your high intellect makes for fascinating conversation. You need a romance that satisfies your need for mental stimulation as well as being creative and a bit offbeat.

My book pick for you: Flat-Out-Love, by Jessica Park.

 

image9With your dreaminess and desire to escape reality, Pisces, you crave a strong Happily Ever After. Caring, wise, and generous, you seek passion in your books. Lovers who forge a deep connection with their partners. Lovers who are resolutely loyal and who will go to the ends of the earth for the one they love.

My book pick for you: Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

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Portland ME Freya Barker sale July
Recommendations

Book Hangover Guaranteed by JR Gray

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I take recommendations seriously. They even make me a little anxious. I’ve read books that speak to my soul, and hit me in places I never through another person would understand. I love a book hangover, and I love angst where my soul hurts for the characters. I don’t only read queer books, I would love to say I do, but because my taste varies so widely I read all over the place depending on my mood, so when I had to sit down and find five queer kinky books I love, it wasn’t an easy task.

I love m/m kink, as well as any kink I can get my hands on. Kink is a huge part of my life, and I take reading and writing about it seriously. Positive queer and kinky representation means the world to me. I’m a picky reader, which I hate to admit in public. I know what works for one person, doesn’t for another, so because I DFN a book, doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t like it or love it. Here are three of my favorites. I hope they speak to you.


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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Exclusive Excerpt, Guest Post

Five Difficulties of a Coach/Player Relationship

Coach/player relationships hit about a thousand of my buttons, which is why I was so excited to write one in Coach’s Challenge. I have a thing for any kind of forced proximity romance (snowed in a cabin! Marriage of convenience!), and the secrecy inherent in the Coach/Player dynamic makes it super hot. But, as the title of the book suggests, it’s also not the easiest – and here are some reasons why!

  1. Alone time is hard to come by. Especially in the ECHL – hey, you’re on a bus with a lot of other guys, in a locker room with a lot of other guys, staying in a hotel with a lot of other guys….you get the picture. Throw in the adrenaline rush post-game and how do you find the perfect place where you won’t be interrupted to indulge in some sexy hotness? It’s one thing in your own locker room, but if you’re away in some strange state, in a city you’re not familiar with and an arena that isn’t yours…those dark corners aren’t always easy to come by! Also, hockey players wear a lot of gear. If you’re secret boyfriend is a goalie, you’re gonna have to wait a few minutes for him to get all that gear off before anything sexy can happen.
  2. Locker Rooms aren’t made for trysts. Seriously, it’s all hard benches, cold floors, lockers and smelly equipment. Not exactly the most conducive to a sexy moment, right? Showers are all right there in the open and everything, too. You’re going to have to be pretty creative. Besides, let’s say you work something out and find a way to get it on…then you’re going to be stuck having inappropriate thoughts about the many uses of skate laces during the pre-game speech.
  3. A coach’s job is to offer both praise – and critique. While this is great for a player’s on-ice development, relationship wise? It can be a little tricky. If you’ve got a coach with some strong opinions – and who’s used to shouting them out in the moment – then that might lead to some complications in intimate situations. Hearing a critique of your passing techniques is one thing…but no one wants a diagram about their bedroom skills and how they can be improved when they’re in the middle of things.
  4. Hockey has some of the most unintentionally dirty lingo in sports, and that might lead to some embarrassing interruptions when you’re not really in the mood for an audience. Because your teammates might hear the coach telling you why he wants you to “get it in deep” and not think anything about waltzing right in and interrupting you.  
  5. If you’re a coach, you’re going to be watching your secret boyfriend playing hockey in a lot of situations…both good and bad. And if you’re a hotheaded coach, you might take exception to the guy on the other team who just tripped your boyfriend on the ice. Especially when he has the puck, and a clear lane to the goal. And if your boyfriend gets that game winner in OT that wins your team a championship? You can’t really kiss him senseless without everyone knowing what’s up.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Guest Post

Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson’s Favorite YouTubers

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My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think.

Check out a guest post from authors Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson below! 


YouTubers We Love!

When researching for Mature Content, we watched a lot of YouTubers, particularly those who are LGBTQ+. There are so many people who vlog about their lives and/or make videos about queer issues that aren’t always covered by the mainstream media, and that’s partially why we got so embroiled in the research.

For many of these YouTubers, this is their career, which has opened up other doors for them. You probably know of Tyler Oakley, and Matt Dallas, so we’re going to highlight a couple YouTubers you might not be aware of. If you’re interested in supporting some queer YouTubers, check out a list of our favorites. 

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Guest Post

5 Reasons Why the Paparazzi are Obsessed with #Vashton by Santino Hassell

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The stars of CONCOURSE, the newest standalone novel in the M/M romance Five Boroughs series, are Ashton Townsend and Valdrin Leka and the paparazzi love them. Ashton is NYC royalty—a party boy born into old money and who has a messy personal life and a big Instagram presence. His newest love is a amateur boxer from the Bronx who is rumored to be the son of Ashton’s former nanny. Intrigued yet? See how you feel after you read the top five reasons why the paps chase them around throughout the book.

#1 Ashton’s love life is the stuff of New York City socialite legend. He’s been linked to everyone from married blue bloods, real estate moguls, and airline execs. There may have even been a fling with a politician here or there throughout the years. But now? He’s been spotted several times with tall, dark, and muscular Valdrin. They’re so different it can’t be real, so of course the paps are determined to prove that it is.

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Kasia Bacon’s THE POISON WITHIN

The Poison Within Kasia Bacon

Happy Post-St. Patrick’s Day! You’ve survived the work week and (hopefully) some partying. If you’re anything like us, you might be in desperate need of a chaser. Thankfully, we’ve got another gift from the lovely Kasia Bacon. Don’t miss this exclusive excerpt of The Poison Within, out today!


I checked my reflection in passing. A typical peasant—blue-eyed, fair-haired, rugged and brawny—looked back. I never understood what Elly saw in me. I rubbed the stubble on my jaw and did my best to slick down my spiky crop.

I was fully clothed by the time he’d managed to put on his breeches and boots. Granted, his elaborate attire involved more complexity than my stark Inspector’s garb.

I came up to him as he struggled to fasten about two dozen buttons adorning the opening of his shirt. At first glance, they looked like pearls—and probably were. The damned garment must’ve cost more than my horse.

I took the front folds of his shirt out of his hands and started doing up the buttons myself. He rolled his eyes, but patiently stood there, watching me in silence with his chin raised, one side of his lip curled. However clumsy my thick fingers might’ve looked, a childhood spent in the forge repairing intricate chains and hinges had left them surprisingly nimble.

I enjoyed dressing him almost as much as I loved peeling the clothes off him. My fixation appeared to amuse and exasperate him in equal measures. But for whatever reason, he indulged me.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: The Dream Cast of HARD WIRED

Hard Wired Megan Erickson Santino Hassell

Thanks for having us here at Ever After! We hope you enjoy this dream cast from the Cyberlove series. We focused on the main characters, some supporting characters who may get their own story one day, and Kai and Garrett from Strong Signal who have several cameos!

This series has been really visual for us because so much of it takes place online with people who have to share pictures or Skype because they don’t see each other in person. Also, Strong Signal and Hard Wired are very rooted in the idea of fandom culture. To celebrate that, we created Tumblr pages for both Kai and Ian (and his alter ego Cerise), but here are inspiration pictures of the entire cast!


 

The stars of Hard Wired:

Ian played by Miles McMillan

Miles McMillan

 

Jesse played by Alex Pettyfer

Alex Pettyfer

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: THE MUTT by Kasia Bacon

The Mutt Kasia Bacon

Rough week? Probably an understatement. Thankfully, we’ve brought you an amazing little gift from the ever-wonderful Kasia Bacon! Let us take you world away with this sneak peek from The Mutt, out right now!


 

I WANTED him from the start. From the very first time I laid eyes on him. Everyone kept talking about him in the days prior to his arrival to the camp, curious about this half-breed born to an influential Elven clan, but brought up by humans. A hybrid. A mutt.

Lochan Féyes.

I was curious as well. Maternal half-breeds such as him were a rarity. They retained all physical qualities of a pureblood and enjoyed, at least in theory, equal social status. Not that discrimination didn’t occur. The real losers in the biracial game were the paternal ones. Considered downright human and non-citizen, they constituted the lowest caste in society.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he exceeded my expectations. Later I discovered he had a knack for doing just that.

If I hadn’t known human blood flowed in his veins, I wouldn’t have been able to spot it. The tips of his ears were perhaps less pointy, and his eyes—not as distinctly angular as those of an average Elf.

Even back then, at seventeen, he proved every bit a killer. He made that obvious during the first training session. He was deadly. Calm. Steady. Cold. Disinterested. So self-assured that he seemed arrogant. I wanted to bring him down a peg. Teach him a lesson. Break him. Taste him. Make him beg me to kiss him.

I wanted his attention, but he refused to give it to me.

So I had to find a way to claim it.

His eyes were blue—so intensely the colour almost appeared offensive. Fuck, it offended me. I was just an unworldly Dark Elf at the time, unaccustomed to irises that weren’t obsidian. The azure hue of his gaze reminded me of the glass crystals that grew in caves in the highlands of the Black Mountain. I used to collect them as a child.

I wanted those eyes on me.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Otome Games, Toxic Masculinity, and Non-Traditional Masculinity in M/M” by Xen Sanders

From The Ashes Xen Sanders

I have a very sheepish confession to make:

I play otome games.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, “otome” means “maiden,” and they’re called “maiden games” because they’re targeted toward throngs of eager young female players who want their own pretty bishounen (beautiful boy) paper doll to dress up, chat with, and…pretend he’s knocking boots with the other boys in the game, not the girls they’re actually supposed to be dating?

Yep. Even though it’s basically Neko Atsume with boys, while the original goal was a story-style hetero dating game, what otome games attract the most are M/M fans who love their pretty men and love it even more when they dress up in appealingly flamboyant, stylish outfits…and then kiss. (You may have heard of the term “fujoshi.” I’ve seen some Westerners wear it proudly, even though fujoshi, like otaku, is actually an embarrassing label in Japan.) I can see why; many of these games originate in Japan and Korea, and it shows. In both countries, masculinity standards are different; there’s no one uniform for it, but things like sensitivity and grace can be praised rather than derided. Men pursue hobbies and passions that Westerners consider traditionally feminine, and it’s normal; what matters is the dedication to perfecting a craft. Men know how to take care of themselves without being babied by a spouse or parent (well, for the most part, let’s not get into hikikomori or the fact that sometimes some people are just slobs regardless of gender or culture.) It’s not embarrassing for men to care about their appearance as much as women, and some (very heterosexual) men in Korea even use skin care products and makeup, while the rise of KPop has created an entirely new era of men’s fashion that flatters men’s figures in ways that, in the West, might seem effeminate. You can see the same in JPop; both are subcultures that represent less the culture of a country and more a media-sensationalized ideal, but what they do is serve to normalize and even cater to ideas of masculinity outside what we’re used to in ways that blend into everyday society over time.

You can imagine why that would be popular and make such a huge transition from East to West in the form of games, manga, anime, J-Drama, K-Drama, music. In the West, in the United States in particular, we have such a culture of toxic masculinity that men are taught to repress our feelings because anything else makes us feminine and gay, and both those things are painted as negatives instead of positives. “Metrosexual” is used as a mocking insult. We’re taught to do this constant dance of making sure our every action is manly enough. Where women can call their female friends “girlfriend” without it being a thing, if we call our male friends “boyfriend” we’ll get punched in the face. The hetero quadrant of our demo will riot over the inclusion of a gay and/or trans character in their favorite game, because how dare something have 1% of content not catered exclusively to them. We live in a constipated snit of hair-trigger male egos and desperate attempts to prove our status as a manly-man worthy of dragging someone back to our cave by the hair and mating with them. At best, it makes it entirely frustrating to deal with our bull-headed and entirely fragile male egos. At worst it leads to misogynistic behavior that can express itself in sexual harassment, violence, assault. Basically men in the West are an unstable, unpredictable powder keg, and when women come together to share stories of the things they deal with every day from men, it’s really not surprising.

So is it surprising, too, that women (and some queer guys) flock to this imported subculture that creates a safe environment for exploration of other, less rigid forms of masculinity?

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