9/03/2011

New Cover Art: Loving Jacob


Loving Jacob

Release date: November 4, 2011

Loving Jacob
By
Lee Brazil

Do you believe in second chances? When Malcolm Jenner’s sex on the side turns into more, he isn’t above begging for a second chance.

9/02/2011

The Old Soda Shop, excerpt


The Story Orgy Presents
And the Prompt Is
Available from 


The Old Soda Shop
Excerpt

Sam Balantyne trudged down the slushy sidewalk of the historic district of Greely, Colorado, gazing unseeing into the falling slush.  The gray sky suited his mood.  Very few people were foolish enough to be out walking in this mess.  Most people had the sense to be at home or somewhere warm.  Not Sam.  No, thanks to his flaky, thoughtless sexy roommate, he walked down an icy street in a part of town where even bikes were frowned upon just off campus. It was safe enough not to look. No random cars would splash murky water on unwary pedestrians. No cars were permitted on the brick work streets of Old Town.
Sam knew where he was going and exactly how many steps in the icy slush it would take to get there.  An hour ago he’d been contentedly curled up on his bed studying for midterms next week, when his flighty room mate called.  He curled his hands into fists inside the deep pockets of his navy wool pea coat.  Fucking Matt.  Such a God damn pie in the sky dreamer. How did I end up with an art student for a room mate in the first place?  Every month turned into a damn race against the clock to see if Matt would be able to pull together his share of the rent, or the cable, or whatever.  Bad enough that Sam perpetually fed the man, now this.Apparently Matt had gotten the rent money but couldn’t be bothered to come home and give it to Sam.  No. Sam had to meet him at the soda shop off Fifth Street because Matt had other things to do.  Ordinarily, Sam loved the soda shop.  He and Matt had spent many great sunny afternoons there, sitting on the patio, guy watching and laughing, even occasionally sharing a lemon Italian Cream Soda.
The bitter cold wind cut through the thick wool of his coat, and Sam caught himself wondering if Matt had had the sense to wear a jacket himself when he left the apartment that morning.  Probably not.  The sun had been shining then, and Matt never could see beyond the moment.
Someone, possibly even Matt himself, had put a colorful knitted ski cap on the head of the old stone lion that guarded the occult book shop next door to the soda shop. The lilting notes of a sexy little jazz number drifted from the tiny bar on the other side of the soda shop.  The music, the glow of the light from the window, it created a perfect backdrop for the vision that met Sam’s eyes when he looked up. In the golden glow of light from the soda shop window, he saw Matt, sitting at a tiny table for two on the front patio of the shop.  He wore a thin leather jacket, and Sam’s navy blue wool beanie tugged down low over his ears as he sat on the tiny black iron chair.  His booted feet rested on the other seat.  Matt puffed on one of the little clove cigarettes he favored and cupped his hands covered in fingerless gloves around the tiny source of heat.  The little table in front of him held an ashtray and two steaming mugs of hot chocolate into which the slushy snow fell.  Sam shook his head.  Smoking cloves was bad enough, better than tobacco scent-wise by a small margin, but who the hell sat on the patio in this freaking weather?  Air headed art majors, that’s who.  The words spilled from his mouth before he could stop them, a ludicrous tirade that his own mother would have cringed to hear. “God damn it Matt!  How many times have I told you to dress warmly when you leave the house?  You’re going to get sick!  And...” He snatched the cigarette out of his roommate’s hand.  “Smoking this shit will kill you!” Matt turned to look at him, and Sam nearly groaned.  The heavy feeling in his heart, the anger at Matt’s foolishness, seemed to melt away as he caught the expression in those bright blue eyes.  He wasn’t surprised to find his own heart beating faster, stirring with desire despite the cold.  He was surprised by the lilt of happiness that brightened the grey of the late winter day.  Fuck.  He didn’t want to feel this way, to let anyone have the ability to create sunshine in his day with a crooked little smile.  Especially not Matt.  Matt drifted along perfectly content, dreaming and painting and starving for his art.  Sam dreamed of bigger things. He wanted success, the bright lights of a big city, and by big he didn’t mean Denver!  He wanted all the luxuries life could afford. And that look in Matt’s eyes… had he always looked at him that way?  Shaking his head, Sam declined the seat Matt removed his boots from with a grimace.
“No, thanks.  I’ll pass.  Look.  I’m going home this weekend.” He hadn’t planned to, but a weekend in Denver with his mom and dad, siblings running all over, would screw his head back on straight.  “You keep the rent money.  Use it to find another place to stay, okay? I can’t keep doing this every month.”
Matt protested instantly, the shock on his face heart wrenching.  “Sam, I promise.  It won’t happen again.  I got a job. That’s why I couldn’t come to the apartment.”
Sam shook his head, schooling his features to hide his feelings. “No.  It’s just not working out for us.”  But it could, his heart argued.  He shut it down instantly.  Not taking that chance.  Better to end things now, before either of them got any more involved and while they both still had the chance to make their dreams come true.
“Sam, I love you.  I don’t want to move out. Just, please, give me one more month to prove I can do this?”  Matt’s voice cracked on the words he forced out.  Sam couldn’t tell if tears or melting snowflakes caused the dampness on his pale cheeks.
Hardening his heart, Sam continued. “That’s just it, Matt.  I don’t want to be loved.  I don’t want to love anyone.  I just wanted to get laid a little.  I need freedom to pursue my dreams, and taking care of you, it’s a burden I don’t want. I thought it was all just fun.  You’re taking things way too seriously.  So, please, do us both a favor and leave before I get back Monday afternoon?”  His dad would lend him the money for the rent this month.
Unable to meet those blue eyes without throwing his arms around Matt’s slim shoulders and hugging him tight, without promising that they could try again, without swearing he would never be such an ass again, Sam turned back and stumbled against the stone lion, knocking the knit cap into the slush, where eddies of muddy liquid blurred its bright colors.  He whirled and tromped back up the street he’d just come down, ignoring Matt calling his name behind him as he went.

Story Orgy Presents: Interviews With Xavier Axelson


Story Orgy Presents: Interviews




What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I’m a resourceful guy.  I have inner resources.  J

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“To be a star unto yourself you must follow your own path, shine your own light, and ignore the darkness.  For that is when stars shine brightest.”  Anonymous

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Getting Published.

What inspires you to write and why?
I don’t know who said, “I don’t write because I want to, I write because I have to.”  But I believe that to be true.  I feel compelled to write.  I told a High School English teacher of mine “I only write when I’m inspired.”  He replied, “Good luck with that.”  He was right of course.  I have to write everyday.  My muse is a fickle bitch.  If I fuck with her, she fucks me right back.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
Stephen King, Anne Rice, Peter Beagle, Richard Adams, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, Sidney Sheldon, Tennessee Williams, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Miss Read, Beatrix Potter, Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander and on and on.  Nature inspires me; creation, destruction, animals, plants, magic.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Writing is a singular pursuit.  It’s a lonely job.  I can’t write unless I’m alone and when you are writing thousands of words a day you are alone a lot of the time.  I have come to understand why people think writers are crazy…it’s because we are.



Tell us your latest news?
Let’s see.  Well my latest novella “The Incident” was released last month with Seventh Window Publications and will be followed by “The Birches” sometime in November and then a print collection of my three novellas “Dutch’s Boy,” The Incident” and “The Birches” all with Seventh Window in time for this holiday season.  I will then have “Lily” released with Silver Publishing this January.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Excerpt:

the incident

Michael leaned towards Angel, the cold pie plate the only thing between them. Michael's heart was pounding and he could feel Angel’s breath soft on his face.
“No, it’s like right by your mouth, on the right,” Michael said.
Somewhere a night bird called out and the only reply was the incessant symphony coming from the bugs in the trees, but Michael didn’t hear anything except his own tormented thoughts clashing against his physical desires. Sweat had begun to run down his back and he shivered as he felt his spine twitch with excitement.
“Did I get it?” Angel asked, making another swipe at his face.
Michael leaned in, his hands shaking, the pie plate feeling slippery in his other hand. “Here,” he said as he pressed a shaking finger against Angel’s cheek. “Right here,” the last word was more a pant as he wiped the offending chocolate from Angel’s face. 
Michael thought he saw something in Angel’s eyes when he touched him but he wasn’t sure. Although he wanted Angel more than words, he was terrified that what he thought he saw wasn’t real.
“Mikey,” Angel breathed, coming closer.  He put a hand on Michael’s arm and pulled him close. “Do it, whatever you’re thinking, do it.”
“I can’t,” Michael whispered.
Angel leaned so close that their lips were just about touching. “I’ll make it easy on you.” Angel ran his tongue over Michael’s lips. “Just do it.”
Michael felt the world beginning to slide sideways, and somewhere he heard the sound of something breaking.
Was this real? 
His mind screamed for him to stop, to pull away, but Angel’s smell, his breath so close was making it hard to move, to breathe, to think. Before he could answer his raging thoughts, he found himself kissing Angel.
Can you tell us about your main character?
The main character of “The Incident”  is Michael Carmac a flawed and guilt ridden small town cop.  He is the agony while his love interest, Angel is the ecstasy.  Michael is complex and broken.  I am protective of his spirit.  I hope he fares well out in the review world.  I hope people identify with his need to find forgiveness.
?
Where can we purchase the book?


           
            Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
 I hope people walk away from “The Incident” with an appreciation for what cops endure in their personal lives.  My brother is a cop and I relied heavily on his experiences while writing this.
           
            How important do you think villains are in a story? 
            Villains are like garlic, life is nothing without it/them.



            What are your current writing projects now?
I just finished my 7th novella “Earthly Concerns” and am thinking it’s about time I handle these two massive horror novels I have completed.  I gotta get those two in ship shape and send them on their way. 
            Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
I just finished reading Jenna Jameson’s autobiography and have to tell you, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was.  I also didn’t expect to take as much from it as I did. She tells a brave story and it is a quick, fun read. 

      How do you deal with rejection letters?
When I first started submitting my work my sister (who has no imagination at all) said, “so this is all about rejection?”  Luckily I have thick skin and believe in my writing.  I always say that one day those who didn’t will wish they had.
         
            Do you have any advice for writers?
Write everyday.  Read Carolyn Sees “Making a Literary Life” and sit your ass down and write.  That’s what it’s all about.  Write through the writers block.  It’s the only way out.


What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love a spa.  I can spend an entire day in a spa.  There’s a day spa in Santa Fe called Ten Thousand Waves and it may just be the most perfect place on Earth.  When I went, my family sent a search party I was there so long.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Having my writing on Amazon was really exciting for some bizarre reason.  I’ve also gotten to interview some amazing, albeit off-beat celebrities because of my column over at the examiner.  It’s been one hell of a first year in the publishing world.  I am here to write so everyday I get to do it, is exciting.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
Pressure makes diamonds.



 You can find Xavier out and about at:



Truth or Dare book 3, Giving Up ~ Reader's Responses*

Giving Up
Truth or Dare #3
Available from


Can Dr. Arden Grey teach Brandon Blake that giving up control is worth while, with the right woman?


 Readers from Goodreads, Amazon, and elsewhere had this to say:

"Loved this book! Loved the connection between Arden and Brandon - they complimented each other nicely and straightened each other out wonderfully"  Read More at Good Reads

"This is a lovely addition to the Truth or Dare series (even if it does have girly parts)" Read More at Good Reads

and

"I Love The Blake Brothers! This was a great addition to the series!" Read more at Amazon


Blurb:

Brandon Blake has a problem.  His family is fed up with his controlling ways. They don’t need him managing their affairs any more.  Brandon doesn’t want to lose his connection with his brothers, but he doesn’t know any other way to live.   He’s been in charge for a long time. Now his brothers are leaving home and making families of their own, and Brandon’s interference has caused some serious rifts. Brandon’s’ stressful job as CEO of the family production studio and his concerns for his brothers have contributed to the ulcer his doctor recently diagnosed. Therapy is supposed to help Brandon learn how to let go and give up the need to control every thing.  Brandon finds the counselor he’s been sent to intriguing, if a bit intimidating, though she has absolutely nothing in common with the women he’s dated in the past.

Dr. Arden Gray knows about control.  A survivor of marriage to a dominant, abusive partner, she’s spent the last twenty years turning her life around.  She’s learned to take control and has made a career of teaching others to do the same.  Brandon Blake is a surprise.  When his doctor sends Brandon to her, Arden isn’t sure how she can help the man.  But after a few sessions, she sees something intriguing hidden inside Brandon Blake, something that tells her he just might be the man she’s been looking for.  If only she can convince him that giving up control to the right woman will solve all his problems!




8/31/2011

Loving Jacob: Coming from Breathless Press, Nov. 4, 2011


Coming Soon




Loving Jacob
Status: In edits
Release date: November 4, 2011

Loving Jacob
By
Lee Brazil

Do you believe in second chances? When Malcolm Jenner’s sex on the side turns into more, he isn’t above begging for a second chance.


Loving Jacob is the story of an older man, conditioned by the times he was raised in and by the parents who raised him, to hide his inclinations and fulfill his duties to the family name. He took a chance on disappointing his family once, and doesn’t intend to do so again. A marriage of convenience with a woman he considers a friend, a child to carry on the family name, and a job with a prestigious law firm made up for his refusal to follow in his surgeon father’s footsteps. Discretion is the name of Malcolm Jenner’s game. He can play with the men of his choice as long as he is discreet and word of his affairs stays out of the public eye.

Malcolm’s workplace encounter with a much younger Jacob Renault turns his world on its axis. Jacob was raised in a middle class environment in an era when being gay was not so much a shameful secret. He has higher expectations in life than being some man’s secret lover. Jacob wants a family as close to the one he grew up in as possible, a house in the suburbs, kids, cats, dogs, the whole works.

At first neither is willing to compromise their stance, but an agreement is reached, with each man planning to do his best to subvert the other to his viewpoint. Lust turns to love, and what’s impossible becomes merely improbable, but is it going to be enough?

Meet Malcolm and Jacob in these 2 free reads!  

Jacob's Valentine                           Malcolm's Easter

In the Kitchen: casseroles Are Fun!

So we're taking a tour of some of my favorite casseroles this month in the kitchen, and this one has to be one of my all time favorites.  Again, it's not something from Mom's kitchen, but it is awesome, especially for lovers of Mexican food.

This one is one I actually discovered at Allrecipes.  I wanted something Mexican, easy, and not enchiladas.  This fit the bill. 


Taco Casserole
           
"For a fun and flavorful baked fiesta, cook ground beef and chopped onions with tomato soup, diced tomatoes and taco seasoning mix. Add cooked macaroni and bake with a scrumptious topping of corn chips, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese!"
INGREDIENTS:
1 pound lean ground beef
8 ounces macaroni
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato
soup
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
mix
2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack
cheese
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
DIRECTIONS:
1.         Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.         Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain.
3.         In a large skillet, cook and stir ground beef and chopped onion over medium heat until brown. Mix in tomato soup, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning mix. Stir in pasta.
4.         Spoon beef mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle crumbled taco chips and grated cheese on top.
5.         Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve with chopped green onions and sour cream, if desired.




           
."

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955