Blog Archives

Sparks in the Dark

Sparks in the Dark paints a fascinating futuristic world where space travel and alien interactions are the reality. It’s a story inspired by classic science fiction series such as Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Doctor Who. You’ll find many twists in the plot development, including the unlikely pairing of two characters, their respective challenges, and a relationship that is rife with sexual tension and dual points of view, shifting back and forth with a seamless transition and excellent narration. The author handles the complex nature of these characters expertly, engaging the reader from the start.

Cutter and Buzz are complex main characters with strong personalities and intense chemistry. Their on-and-off intensity between intimate and not-so-intimate moments will reel you into some intriguing and captivating dialogue. While the description paints vivid visuals, it is never overdone, and you feel as though you are a voyeur, watching each scene as it unfolds. The reader is guided through the story, learning more exciting developments and diving further with anticipation without feeling overwhelmed with too much information or confusion.

The build-up towards the story’s ending does not disappoint, and readers will find the crescendo of excitement build as they progress through each chapter with bated breath. It’s a cleverly written book with a few sharp twists, including how the plot shifts suddenly, moving in a very different direction. Siewert’s incredible world continues to hold up throughout the story, filling the reader with amazement from beginning to end.

Sparks in the Dark by James Siewert is a creative, science-fiction tale. It is an excellent addition to the genre with an LGBTQ twist. The characters were not only complex and personable, but I found them entertaining throughout the book. I highly recommend giving this excellent story a try, as it is an exciting read that brings new enjoyment to the world of science fiction.

Pages: 251 | ASIN: B0B8DWC41S

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Grayality

The LGBTQ+ community has become more mainstream and visible than ever, but for those who live in small or rural towns, they may still struggle. Pate Boone, a young transman in his 20s, knows this all too well. When he moves to the tiny rural town of Cloverleaf with his best friend Oakley Ogden, he does not expect much. Neither does Oakley to be honest, but to their surprise, both end up finding love with mixed results.

Grayality by Carey PW is a raw look at what not only transgender people and those questioning their sexuality/identity go through on their road to acceptance. At times, Pate and Oakley’s story can get downright uncomfortable. Homophobic slurs and behaviors are thrown about in a way you would expect from a conservative and judgemental community. However, it does the job of painting the environment these friends are trying to navigate and survive in. Despite this, they still put their heart out there, trying to look for love. For queer kids, more is at stake than just their hearts.

No character is a hundred percent perfect. Pate and Oakley, themselves have their own flaws. The author creates these three-dimensional characters that you can’t help but root for. Some villains or bullies might appear two-dimensional, but any queer kid living in a small town will tell you how persuasive homophobia can be. This is yet another thing Carey PW gets perfectly in this book. He truly holds nothing back in his depiction of these homophobic townies (such as Bullet) who are fueled by their hatred.

I am giving Grayality written by Carey PW 5 out of 5 stars for its authentic portrayal of what it is like to be on the LGBT spectrum and the harassment that can be directed towards them. This might be a difficult read. Yet, this makes it such a memorable one! It holds no punches and has readers on edge till the end.

Pages: 297 | ASIN : B0B1F4TJJX

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Acceptance of Differences In All People

Jeffrey Sotto Author Interview

The Moonballers follows a gay tennis star that feels threatened by a straight player that joins their organization. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve been part of a queer tennis league in Toronto, Ontario, Canada since 2003. Back then, we only had queer members, and I always thought it would be funny to see how the league would react when straight people started to join. I then put the idea aside as I worked on my first book. Then in 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president, I thought about this premise again, and started to imagine what my main character would be like – a president who wanted to keep certain types of people out; in this case, keep straight people out of a queer sports league.

Stefan wants to be the best, and when someone tries to take that spot from him, his worst side comes out. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Stefan is toxic masculinity personified; he’s the ugliness of the ego that comes out in all of us when we feel inferior to others, and must compensate by bullying. As I mentioned, I looked at Donald Trump as for inspiration for Stefan; I feel his actions are a response to a threat of being replaced as the “queen bee”; he is driven by his ego and need to feel worshipped as president of the league and the best player. In all his villanry, I tried to make his antics as ridiculously absurd and funny as possible.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to highlight the consequences of the ego’s response to feeling inferior. But I “flipped the script” by having Stefan, and the league, queer. I wanted to challenge the idea that toxic masculinity is only associated with heterosexual men. There’s sometimes a stereotype that gay men are supposed to be softer, effeminate, and ultimately weaker than straight ones. But as I’ve witnessed in my almost 20 years as part of a queer tennis league, when the competitive juices for superiority — the “need to win” — rears its ugly head, the toxicity that manifests can come from anyone despite their gender, sexual orientation, and all other parts of their identities. In other words, we are ALL toxic as*holes. Lol. Further, there is a message about the need for the acceptance of differences in all people, and the pervasive bias and intolerance in everyone, including those who insist they are “woke.”

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Similar to the tone of my first novel, Cloud Cover, which was a lot more serious and dramatic than The Moonballers, I want to do a modern retelling of the story of Adam and Eve. In this version, the Adam character will be a middle-aged, gay, HIV-positive asexual, and the Eve character will be a young, bisexual and polyamourous woman. Being inspired by Eve’s liberated way of living, Adam will re-enter the dating world in hopes of finding love and connection. Considering the political events unfolding in the United States right now, I want to show their journey together in coming to terms with the outcomes of pursuing their own empowerment and personal freedom, despite what institutional or ideological constraints are placed upon them. This book is still in very early stages, but I’m hoping to publish it by 2026.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

“MAKE TENNIS GAY AGAIN!”

Winter 2016. The Toronto Torches—aka the Toronto Gay and Lesbian Tennis League—had come to a crash under mysterious circumstances.

Spring 2020. A new queer tennis organization has been created in the nearby wanna-be-downtown suburb of Torpedo Valley. Proud and out Stefan “Steffi” Porsche relishes in his dominance as both the President of the league, and—coincidentally—the league’s best player. That is, until strapping and super talented Khalid Adam arrives. But differences threaten to disrupt the order of the gay institution: Khalid is … STRAIGHT, sending Stefan into a neurotic tizzy.

Will the hyper-competitive and heterophobic Stefan maintain his invincibility, or will Khalid dethrone him? Can Khalid—and all those outside the queer majority—be kept from invading the sacredness of the gay tennis league? Or will President Stefan succeed in his quest to “MAKE TENNIS GAY AGAIN!”?

With a colourful cast of characters, campy humour, and dramatic twists à la Pedro Almodóvar, The Moonballers: A Novel about The Invasion of a LGBTQ2+ Tennis League … by Straight People (Gay Gasp!) is an action packed and wacky sports parody about intolerance, love, and the absurdity of socio-political extremes that will hit you like a hard shot straight to the face!

The Moonballers

We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it and stay out of our space! This is the unofficial slogan of the Torpedo Valley tennis organization created by queer people for queer people. The league president is Stefan Porsche, an ace tennis player who is out and proud of his sexuality and superior tennis ability. When Khalid Adam joins the league, Stefan is immediately threatened. Not only because he is a great player but also because Khalid is straight as a board.

The Moonballers: A Novel about The Invasion of a LGBTQ2+ Tennis League … by Straight People (GAY GASP!) written by Jeffrey Sotto is a unique take on how ridiculous it is to harass someone because of who they are. Turning it upside down and showing Stefan Porsche actively trying to push Khalid out of the tennis organization simply because he is straight forces the reader to think. They must grapple with how unfair such behavior is.

Sotto has delivered this message in such a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek way. He does a great job of balancing every person’s negative and positive traits. Sometimes you will despise some characters, but that’s what makes them so believable. Stefan’s behavior is beyond aggravating and downright criminal. He does have some redeeming qualities that readers will discover as they read through the entire novel.

Sometimes, you need to parody the issue to make people see their hypocrisy. People respond to humor more than anything, and Sotto tapped into this factor to deliver this humorous and charming novel. The Moonballers is a delightful, witty, no-nonsense book that is excellently written and is one read you will not want to put down.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B09VTFQ42P

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Camp Afterlife

Camp Afterlife by [Zachary Ryan]

Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan offers a new twist on an age-old question! Gus’s teenage years haven’t been easy; the loss of his brother and the demise of his relationship leaves him in a downward spiral. The spiral comes to a sudden halt when Gus wakes up near a summer camp, where he learns he has passed away from a drug overdose. Camp Afterlife is where troubled souls like his go-to reconcile and come to terms with their life and passing. Will Gus be able to let go and have peace?

If I could use one word to describe Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan, it would be innovative. Let me delve deeper into why that is. For starters, I appreciated the stylistic touch of using song titles as chapter titles. It helps immerse the reader between the author’s fictional world and our own. If you have the time, I highly recommend listening to the songs as you read along. It adds Ryan’s personal touch to your overall reading experience. Bonus, the songs are actually good. The author has incredible taste in music. Secondly, I enjoy the beautiful but simplistic writing style. I feel that Ryan truly captured the essence of his teenage characters and had a firm understanding of how they talk and interact. It was refreshing. Oftentimes, when adult authors write younger characters, it is evident that they are far removed from the generation. But Ryan was flawless in his approach. The story was also super easy to follow. Despite the beautiful writing style, Ryan did not fill up sentences with fluffy poetical adjectives. It made the story easy to follow without skipping over any crucial details. I never had to reread a sentence to grasp what it was saying. And last but not least, the story was fast-paced and never dull. I read the book in a little less than three days. Although the subject matter could be heavy at times, I still had a relaxing reading experience. It was a much-needed break from this very busy season.

If you are looking for a relaxing but thought-provoking read all-in-one, you need to check out Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan. I do not have a single complaint about this book and give it a glowing five out of five stars. Now go and add Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan to your bookish wish list!

Pages: 235 | ASIN: B09JGVQDQ3

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Tygers

Tygers by [J. Warren]

J. Warren’s Tygers is a book set in a alternate universe where America is led by a super-conservative government that treats homosexuality as an abomination. As such, young gay men are taken to facilities and camps that promise to “cure” them of their condition. In this world, it is easy for young gay men to be radicalized and used by terrorist cells. Through the eyes of Aaron Miller, a gay teenager, we get a first-hand account of how difficult it is to navigate this new world. We also get up close and personal with two members of a terrorist cell, Marcus and Victor, as the author helps us see what could push a person down such a dark path. As expected, this book is full of love and violence, laughter and tears. Aaron’s coming of age seems to be happening at the same time that his country seems to be devolving into ancient ways. He falls in love, loses his love, and goes down a dark path of destruction. On the other hand, Marcus and Victor encounter some unexpected challenges of their own.

If there is one thing to be appreciated about Tygers, it is the superb character development. Throughout the story we get an understanding of who Aaron is, his relationship with his family, and the mental space he is in. This makes him more relatable and likable and a character with great depth. It is difficult not to root for him, especially since he is so young and confused. And even though Marcus is quite mysterious, we get an understanding of him and what he is passionate about. While he is quite villainous, the author tries to humanize him as well, something that emulates the nuances of real life.

Ultimately, it is the fact that this story is believable that makes it scary. Clearly, the author took his time to ensure the plot is solid. What’s more? His writing style is light, refreshing, and easy to read. There are no long-winded paragraphs and every page is both informative and entertaining. While I enjoyed the story, I thought some of the scenes were graphic and can be off-putting to some, but otherwise it is enthralling literature told with a unique writing flair.

Tygers is a riveting dystopian novel with poignant commentary on society and chilling parallels to contemporary issues, all told through a compelling character that will affect readers long after they close the book.

Pages: 282 | ASIN: B0994MKWWL

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American Fries: A Queer Farce

American Fries: A Queer Farce by [Tom Beattie]

American Fries: A Queer Farce is Tom Beattie’s fun play where he explores how Molière’s playwright style could have been if it had included some queerness in it. Marriage equality and same-sex love are the main aspects dealt with in his play, all done in a fun and hilarious way that will leave its readers constantly smiling and giggling at every turn of the page.

The book includes two different plays. The first one, American Fries, based in seventeenth-century Paris, follows the friends Bayonet and Heavyset as they conspire to find a way to pair and marry each other’s kids. However, the girls Crepsuzette and Anisette, and the boys Pirouette and Leatherette, may have some different plans of their own. Although it is a period play, it is told in a modern way with modern humor, making it very enjoyable to read. The second play included in the book, Once Married, goes back to modern day to follow the lives of Tom and David, a gay couple from the United States in their early sixties, with the deep wish of having the freedom to marry each other without fear.

The plays included in the book were fun and easy to read. Even though the book deals with serious themes such as same-sex marriage, the author expresses his story and his feelings in an entertaining and natural way. I was constantly smiling throughout the different plays, highly appreciating Tom Beattie’s humor. Even the names of the characters made me laugh every time that they appeared on the page, they had such an unique and creative touch to them. The stories told were not only funny but also endearing, being able to portray by the end the significance of companionship and love regardless of gender, a very powerful message in this day and age.

I found the first play, American Fries, to be unique and would love to see a longer one in the future with the same style of writing and humoristic attitude. The deep feelings of love are portrayed in a simple, yet powerful manner, allowing the reader to feel connected to the characters and understanding the depth of their emotions. I only wish that the plays had been longer, there is still some potential that can be explored further with the characters that were introduced throughout the story.

American Fries: A Queer Farce is a fast paced and easy read with entertaining humor and an overall imaginative and creative style. Author Tom Beattie gives readers such an endearing and enjoyable reading experience.

Pages: 143 | ASIN:

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Everyone Had Tragedy

Zachary Ryan Author Interview
Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Cutthroat Cheerleader follows a bully who dies and is given the chance to look back at how her life affected the people around her. How long did you have the idea for this novel and what made you decide to start writing?

I had the idea kind of come forward while I was writing High School Queens. I have really loved this campy caddy novels, but I really wanted to add murder to it. With covid happening, I’ve had a bunch of time to write. I just really didn’t want to write a depressing novel while our world is a huge dumpster fire right now.

What were some ideas that informed Madison’s revelations throughout the story?

I think her seeing everyone’s life behind closed doors. What I always add to my novels is the theme, don’t judge a book by its cover. I feel like we all have our own struggles, and we don’t really know what someone’s going through unless we look behind all the closed doors. She realized everyone had tragedy, and I hurt a lot of people along the way. She made Mark be two different guys, and she made Chad be the stereotypical jock. These two were unhappy because they were playing the same game book as Madison to survive high school.

What scene from the book was the most challenging for you to write?

I think for me it was the plot twist when you realized one of the characters wasn’t crazy, and it had to be when the murderer was revealed. I think both I wanted to live up to the hype that I created in the novel.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a book called Playlist. I have wanted to write this novel for honestly over ten years. It’s a love story between two characters and my love for my music. It should be out in the summer. I’m just having too much fun with Cutthroat that I’m not ready to publish just yet another novel.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

In the sleepy town of Townsend, Washington, there was an act so gruesome that no one would ever be the same. What heinous crime do I speak of? Skylar Torres thinking she could pull off a crop top with that pudgy body of hers. Oh, did you think I was going to say my murder. Well, I thought it was more sensational than anything else, but the real scandal was who killed me and why.

You should already know my name since it was on everyone’s lips once they found me with my throat ripped out. People thought they should have only feared me, but the Liberty Lion’s cheer squad knew one thing, hunt or be hunted.

No one’s hands were truly clean from all the dirt and blood on them. Be safe, watch your back and always remember, Happy Hunting.

Love
Madison Taylor
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