Thursday, July 7, 2016

Exclusive Excerpts from the popular A More Perfect Union Anthology!

Today I've featuring Exclusive Excerpts from A More Perfect Union, a four-author featured anthology focused on the joy that is marriage equality in the US!

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

B.G. Thomas
J. Scott Coatsworth
Jamie Fessenden
Michael Murphy
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Length: 104K / 350 Pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 6/26/16
Pairing: MM
Price: 6.99, 17.99


On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.

But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say “I do”?

Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was aright they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.

To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself—and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day.  “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton's very conservative family can't accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won't marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.

     My thoughts: I loved how focused Lucas was in the story, and with friends-to-lovers being a favorite trope of mine, B.G.'s story really hit the mark for me. I will say I wanted to smack Dalton a few times but you'll have to read the story to find out why. I will admit I giggled through the whole scene in the except because it is just so classic!

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Samantha drank and twirled the bottle.

It landed on Julie.

The two of them looked at each other in surprise. Samantha looked at Diego, her face a question.

“Go on!” growled Diego. “No exceptions. None.”

Samantha looked at Julie, who shrugged, and then they did it. They kissed.

Wow. Girls kissing. Who’d have thought such a thing?

He bit his lips—thought about it.

Well, why not?”

“And then Julie was kissing Diego again. And then Diego and Samantha. And then Samantha and Dalton. (Aaaarrrghhhh!) And then….

Dalton sent the bottle spinning—

(woop woop woop)

—and it landed on Lucas.

Lucas’s eyes flew wide. His mouth fell open. He looked up into Dalton’s equally surprised face. Lucas closed his mouth with an audible click.

Dalton sat back on his heels. “I’m not kissing my best friend!” he objected.

“Oh yes you are!” shouted Samantha. “Julie and I kissed, and I am not missing two boys kissing!”

Lucas’s heart was trip-hammering.

He locked eyes with Dalton.

Dalton locked eyes with him.

“God damn do it, Dalton,” snapped Diego.

“Fuck,” muttered Dalton. Lucas had never heard him say “fuck.”

“Do it!” said Julie.

Fucking do it!” said Samantha.

Would he?

And then Dalton’s eyes closed and he leaned toward him and—

This is it.

—they kissed.

It lasted only a second. A brief moment. Dalton’s lips against his.

Lucas thought his heart would explode.

And he quite suddenly understood why people kissed.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.

Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.

What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.

Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio's side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.

My thoughts: I felt so, so bad for Alex and Gio when reading this story. I was married to my husband just 3 weeks before we had a major accident, and I was so thankful he was in charge versus my parents when it came to my care when I wasn't able to make my own decisions. That just reinforced the theme of marriage in this anthology, and gave me a whole new appreciation for it.

Exclusive Excerpt:

Gio sat on the floor. At least he assumed it was the floor. It was white. Everything was white. The ceiling, the walls, the floor. His breath.


The atmosphere muffled the word like a thick mist, although it wasn’t cold or damp. He stood, putting his hand out in front of him. It disappeared about a foot away, enveloped by the strange thick air.

He was naked.

His right hand was warm, as if someone was holding it, but when he brought it up to eye level, there was nothing else there.

“Is anyone out there?” he called again. As before, his words were muffled.

The room seemed to press down on him like layers of soft cloth, pushing in on all sides. His heart beat faster, and he struggled to breathe. He started to panic. He was trapped, boxed in on all sides. He could die here.

And then he realized he couldn’t even remem“ber his own name.

He jumped up and pushed forward into the white murk, trying to run. But the bonds of the white air seemed to tighten around his arms and legs. It was like running underwater.

He was going to drown here.

He redoubled his efforts, but the air pushed back harder.

Then he felt something else. Warmth suffused his forehead, and a disembodied voice spoke clearly to him.

Oscar’s gonna take care of you now for a couple minutes. I love you, Gio.

Of course! He remembered. He did have a name.

It was Gio.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and  realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.

It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.

From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.

My thoughts: Geekdom reigns!! These guys kept coming together based on their shared interests, and that is what I liked most about the story. Sure, they both wanted each other, but things were never right until suddenly they were. This was a feel good story that pulled me in from beginning to end, not the least because they were such huge geeks like me. LOL

Exclusive Excerpt
At the end of the summer, he ran into Steve again at Café on the Corner. He’d been wanting to find him, but they hadn’t exchanged contact info the last time they’d met, so it was just chance that Steve walked in one Thursday evening as Jay was relaxing after work.

“Jay!” Steve sat down without an invite. “How you been?”

“Okay, I guess.” Jay gave him the Reader’s Digest version of his breakup with Doug and the past few months of dating.

“That sucks. I broke up with Caroline a while ago, but it was kind of a mutual thing. I’m happy being single for a while.”

Jay sighed and took a sip of his café latte. “I wish I could say the same. But I really hate being alone. Does that sound pathetic?”

“Just a little,” Steve said with a laugh. Then, perhaps seeing the look of dismay on Jay’s face, he added more soberly, “I think some people are just cut out to be alone and others aren’t.”

“I’m not saying I’m going to shack up with anybody who will take me,” Jay said defensively.

“No, of course not.”

Still, Jay felt a bit pathetic. He just hated coming home to an empty house.

“There was one guy I felt a connection with,” he said. “More than I ever did with Doug. Though we only hung out for an afternoon.”

Steve emptied the packets of sugar he’d picked up at the counter into his coffee. “He didn’t want to stick around?”

“I think he kind of did.” At least he wanted to believe that. “But this was back when I was still with Doug, so we kind of went our separate ways.”

Steve stirred the sugar in. “So call him up now.”

“We didn’t exchange numbers. I can’t even “remember what his name was—it was a couple years ago.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah.” Jay hesitated before blurting out, “Do you happen to know where Julie and her husband moved to?”

Steve paused in the act of taking a sip of coffee, then set the cup down. He looked thoughtful. “Not really. Somewhere way up north, I think. Mark got a job offer in the Berlin area he couldn’t pass up.”

“Oh.” Jay tried to hide his disappointment.

“But I have their number, if you’d like it.”

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.

When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi's family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.

When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.

My thoughts: Even people without a lot of money have dreams of being just like everyone else! The gritty nature of this story featuring the common man... er, men, who struggle to be together against overwhelming odds was so touching. Not everyone can afford to have the perfect ceremony, but when you say, "I do" that's makes it magical no matter who or where or how it all came about. I also loved the pay it forward theme. By far, this was my favorite story of the four (sorry guys, I can't lie!)

Exclusive Excerpt:

Before they could continue their conversation, though, there was a sharp knock at the door.

“What fresh hell awaits us now?” Jeordi muttered. Opening the door, he found another one of his brothers, one who had not been present earlier at the afternoon inquisition—the joys of coming from a very large family.

“What the hell are you doing this for?” the man asked as he pushed his way into the living room.

“Do come in, Jessie,” Jeordi said.

“Answer the question,” Jessie ordered.

“Excuse me?” Jeordi said.

“Cut the crap and answer the goddamned question, Jeordi. Why are you so determined to embarrass Mom and Dad in front of the whole community?”

Jeordi glanced to Tom, who shrugged, not understanding the question any more than Jeordi.

“Didn’t know that I was, so I’m afraid you’ve got to be more specific than that,” Jeordi said.

“Why is everything a fight with you?” Jessie demanded.

“It isn’t, as far as I know,” Jeordi said. “Now what the hell are you talking about?”

“This whole gay business,” he said, clearly unhappy at even having to say the G word aloud.
Jeordi stood as tall as he could. “I don’t see where you’re going with any of this, Jessie, so I’m afraid you’ve got to explain yourself a bit better.”

“Cut the crap. You know how embarrassing it is for Mom and Dad for you to be prancing around like some girl with another guy for the entire world to see. So just what is it that they did to piss you off so much? Huh?”

Jeordi shook his head. “Do you really not get it? Do you really think me being gay is some way to get back at them for something?”

“Well, of course it is. You’re not gay. I’ve known you your whole life, and you never gave any hints of being… one of those people.”

“I was just really good at keeping who I actually was hidden from all of you because I knew how poorly you’d all deal with the truth.”

“Bull. You couldn’t hide something like that. You don’t prance around like some ballerina.”

“Excuse me?” Jeordi said, his voice rising a little in strength.

“You look and act like a guy.”

“Thank you,” Jeordi said. “I think.”

“So what’s really going on?” he pushed.

“What’s really going on is I love Tom and he loves me. We are happy. He’s the first person I’ve ever been able to be myself with. He’s the first person who has ever loved me for me, not for some superficial cardboard representation of the person everyone wants me to be.”

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B.G. Thomas
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous little dog. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.
In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all—since he grew out of being a “practicing” homosexual long ago. He submitted a story and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the stories have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of stories!”
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
Scott has been writing since elementary school. After leaving writing for twenty years, Mark, his husband, told him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
Mark and Scott have been together for twenty four years. They met at the Pacific Center, an LGBT center in Berkeley, California, in 1992. They dated for two weeks, and then Scott moved in with Mark, and the rest is history. They run their own business together, study Italian, and are almost never found apart.
Jamie Fessenden
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple of short pieces in his high school's literary magazine, but it wasn't until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie published his first novella in 2010, and has since published over twenty other novels and novellas.
After legally marrying in 2010, buying a house together, and getting a dog, Jamie and Erich have settled down to life in the country, surrounded by wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional coyote. A few years ago, Jamie was able to quit the tech support job that gave him insanely high blood pressure. He now writes full-time... and feels much better.
Michael Murphy
Michael Murphy met his husband Dan thirty-four years ago during a Sunday service at MCC in Washington, DC when a hot, smart man sat down beside him. Due to a shortage of hymnals they had to share.  The touch of one hand on the other in that moment was electric. Sparks flew that day. Though neither had planned it, they spent the day together followed by the night.  From that day, for more than three decades they’ve rarely been separated, each finding in the other their soul mate.
In the District of Columbia, where they lived, marriage became possible in early March 2010.  The minute it happened they were in line to get a marriage license, only to be stumped because the license required the name of the person who was going to marry them. There was such a sudden rush of same sex couples wanting to get married that the office already had a two-month backlog before an appointment could be secured.  Since they weren’t at all convinced that the Congress wasn’t going to step in and do something stupid to take away this right, they started calling everywhere to find someone who would marry them. It might be legal, but finding someone to marry them was proving to be a challenge.
When an article appeared in the newspaper telling of a small, local United Methodist Church that had decided to go against general church policy because marriage equality mattered deeply to them, a conversation started.  After a series of emails and phone calls, suddenly they were seated with two retired UMC ministers who were willing to risk it all to do the right thing.  A few days later, license in hand, surrounded by a handful of friends and their best dog, Shadow, they were finally legally married.

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