Friday, June 22, 2018

📘🎥Friday's Film Adaptation🎥📘: Third Man Out by Richard Stevenson

Which powerful mystery man killed the gay activist for outing him? In Third Man Out, tough-as-nails gay private investigator Don Strachey investigates the murder of a self-righteous Queer Nation activist who may have been killed for outing prominent closeted gay homophobes.

Chapter One
I almost asked John Rutka if somebody had shot him in the foot. I knew plenty of people who'd have loved to, but before I could, he gave me a look of astonishment and said, "I've been shot. One of them actually shot me."

"Somebody shot you in the foot?"

"One of them tried to kill him," Eddie Sandifer said, "but they only got him in the foot."

Sandifer looked stunned too, and uncharacteristically shaky; ordinarily it was these two who inspired anger and fright, and Sandifer seemed unsure of what to make of this turn of events.

"It must have been somebody I outed," Rutka said, and looked down, appalled, at the bandaged foot. "God, they're even sicker than I thought. I knew some of them were pathetic, but this is something only a psychopath would do."

We all peered down at the foot as if it might add something on its own behalf. I'd walked over to Albany Med from Crow Street to visit yet another dying friend when I ran into Rutka and Sandifer, and we were in the parking lot outside the ER, standing in vapors rising from the tarmac after an early evening thunderstorm. Everybody looked purple under the arc lamps, spooky in the urban miasma. Ambulances coasted in and out through the mist, the Tuesday night torn and traumatized delivered as swiftly and silently as FedExed envelopes. Somebody was probably working on a way to fax them in.

Rutka's wound was to his right foot, which he lifted from the pavement a few inches, his right arm over Sandifer's shoulder for support, while he described the incident. As I listened, I tried to concentrate on the narrative and not become distracted by Rutka's wandering left eye, which, in his excitement, was now all over the place.

The loose eye was Rutka's one physical imperfection, the flaw that confirmed the beauty of his sturdy frame and curly-headed Byronic good looks. Watching Rutka was sometimes like looking at a Romantic poet as rendered by a Cubist, and you had to be careful not to let the visual spectacle get in the way of Rutka's spiel, which was forceful in its single-minded way but lacked the quirky surprises of his appearance.

Eddie Sandifer listened with eyes half closed to Rutka's recitation, nodding occasionally as Rutka backed up to clarify a point or add a detail; this was probably the third or fourth time in the past three hours that Rutka had told the story of the shooting, and aesthetic considerations were already starting to color the reportage.

From time to time, Sandifer reached up to wipe the purple sweat from his face and head; though in his early thirties, like Rutka, Sandifer was nearly bald, his dome glistening. Bathed in the weird light, the stocky, fair-skinned Sandifer looked like a big, masculine, radioactive baby. Both were wearing jeans and yellow-and-black Queer Nation T-shirts, the two of them composing a walking and talking embodiment of postmodern gay liberation ideology: We're queer and we're here to stay and you'd damn well better get used to it.

At about four thirty that afternoon, Rutka said, he had walked out of his house on Elmwood Place, a few miles up the Hudson from Albany in the town of Handbag. He crossed the front porch, started down the front steps, heard a loud crack, and suddenly found himself sprawled on the walkway leading down to the street. His breath was gone, and his foot was screaming with pain.

Rutka said he hadn't noticed anyone - Elmwood Place was a dead-end street with just nine houses along it - but he thought he heard a car driving away fast. The car sounded as if it had a defective muffler. When he caught his breath, Rutka shouted Eddie's name several times. No one else responded to Rutka's cries; apparently everyone along the street was sealed off behind closed doors and windows with air conditioners battling the Hudson Valley August heat.

A minute later Sandifer, who'd arrived home from work just moments before, came outside and found Rutka. They had planned on walking down to the Konven-You-Rama store four blocks away to pick up some ice cream sandwiches. Rutka's addiction to sweets was notorious; his dishier gay enemies predicted it was only a matter of years, or months, before Rutka began to exhibit physical defects numbers two and three - bad skin and obesity - and those enemies who were under the impression that Rutka would care one way or another welcomed the prospect. I'd once seen Rutka shrug and say he had more important things to think about than the way he looked.

"Shouldn't you be in a wheelchair or something?" I asked Rutka, who probably wasn't much of a chore for the beefier Sandifer to hold up, but it didn't seem smart to risk stepping on a gunshot wound.

"John is leaving the hospital against medical advice," Sandifer said, with a look of uncertainty. "That's how the resident phrased it. Those guys have to protect themselves, they're so afraid of lawsuits."

"It's not that I don't trust the doctors here to treat a gunshot wound," Rutka said, and hobbled several steps with Sandifer's help to lean heavily against the side of a car, an astonished-looking little Ford. "If American medicine hasn't figured out yet how to treat a gunshot wound, it hasn't learned anything. But I know there are plenty of people at Albany Med who hate my guts, and I'll feel more secure if I can recover at home. It's no big thing anyway - a superficial wound and the anklebone is chipped."

"John outed one of their board members here a couple of months ago," Sandifer said. "You probably read about it in Queerscreed. Certain people were pretty pissed."

As a deeply skeptical - and always faithful - reader of Rutka's tabloid, Queerscreed, I remembered. "Merle Glick. What'd he do, vote against extra funding for the aids unit or something?"

"He's an absolute sleazoid," Rutka said, nauseated by the man all over again. "Glick is the most famous rest-stop queen from Kingston to Glens Falls, and my source on the Albany Med board says he's the most homophobic scumbag in the hospital."

"Can you believe the flaming hypocrisy?" Sandifer asked. "That man is evil."

"The ER staff threw this up to you?" I asked. "They knew who you were?"

"They knew," Rutka said. "When the resident recognized my name, he gave me a look I can only call total revulsion."

This seemed a little off. It was unlikely that the emergency room nurses and medical residents, whose concerns tended to be narrow and immediate, would feel, much less exhibit, indignation over the fate of Merle Glick, a hospital director best known around Albany for enriching his insurance agency with city contracts procured through his connections with the Democratic machine. Though if Rutka said he saw a look of revulsion in his doctor's eyes, maybe he did. It was an effect Rutka often had on people.

"What did you say to the doctor?" I said. "Maybe it wasn't just your name that got a reaction."

Sandifer glanced at Rutka apprehensively, as if my remark might trigger a speech, but it got only a little half smile. "No, he knew me, that's all," Rutka said. "I suppose the Queer Nation shirt might have set something off, too. I know you've got a skeptical mind, Strachey. It's one of the things I've always liked about you, despite your refusal to always back up your words with actions."

This last referred, I guessed, to my failure the previous spring to join act up in an occupation of the state legislature. An arrest and conviction would likely have resulted in my losing my private investigator's license, my sole means of livelihood - Timothy Callahan having made it plain that if he had wanted to share a mortgage with a man with a criminal record, he'd have picked a crook with a numbered account in Zurich and not a man with a lien on his eight-year-old Mitsubishi.

Nettled by Rutka's ever superior tone - I was as uncomfortable with his personality as I was doubtful about his tactics - I said, "How do you know you were shot? Was a slug recovered? The actual bullet?" Rutka gave me his gimlet look. "Who's investigating this?" I said. "The Handbag cops? Who did you report it to?"

"What are you trying to insinuate?" Sandifer said, looking as if he might be about to put me in a category.

Rutka just stared at me, and before I could "insinuate" that the two might have staged the shooting for their own strategic purposes - Rutka had stated publicly that in the cause of "gay survival" the end always justified the means - he said calmly, "Yes, a shell was found. The cop didn't find a weapon, and they're still looking for the bullet, I think, but a slug was found by the Handbag cop who answered Eddie's call. The shell was in the gutter about fifty feet from the house, where the car was probably parked with the pig in it who shot me. The cop showed us the slug while I was being put into the ambulance. God, it was hard to believe such a tiny piece of metal was part of what hit me. It felt like getting slammed in the foot with a sledgehammer."

"There was just one shot? That's all you heard?"

"I think so," he said. "It happened so fast, I'm not sure. I guess they'll talk to other people in the neighborhood, won't they? Somebody must have seen something."

"They'll ask around. That's what they do. Even though their opinion of a man in a Queer Nation shirt is probably lower than their opinion of a nun at a school crossing who gets shot, they'll be obliged to make some inquiries."

Sandifer said, "I don't suppose there's any point in expecting the Handbag police to bust their butts going after this guy unless they're pressured into it. We'll probably have to organize something."

"Maybe," I said. "Although small-city police departments can usually be counted on to perk up when they run into an attempted murder. It's a little unusual, and it's a challenge. And your chief out there, Bub Bailey, is supposed to be a competent and decent enough guy. That's his reputation."

"My dad knew him," Rutka said gloomily. "They were in the K of C together and bowled when they were younger."

"That should help keep Bub's interest up too. The chief probably regards you as a Martian, but if you're one of the parish Martians he'll feel obliged to nudge the case along."

Rutka looked at me with one eye, and with his other at an ambulance arriving off to the left. He gave a little mirthless laugh and said, "This is queer. One of Dad's bowling buddies lending a hand to Queer Nation. It doesn't surprise me, though. Those guys stuck together even if they had a fag son. Dad would have done the same - for somebody else's son."

"He's not living?"

"No, he's dead," Rutka said. "My father died last summer and my mom a month later. They were both fifty-five. They had short lives and unhappy deaths from lung cancer. We all smoked at our house. My sister and I started when we were twelve, and I quit when Dad was diagnosed. Mom didn't give it up until they brought in the oxygen and somebody told her if she lit up she might blow up the neighborhood. It was the only time during the whole ordeal when I ever saw her cry. She wept for her lost Chesterfields."

I hadn't had a cigarette in ten years, but every time I heard one of these horror stories, I ached for one. I said, "That's when you came back to Handbag from New York? When your parents were dying?"

"Eddie and I moved into my old room. They had to have known we were boyfriends. We'd been active in act up in the city and talked about it. But they always treated Eddie as if he was a school friend I was having sleep over. This is when Eddie was thirty-one and I was thirty."

I said, "What if somebody had written a column in the Times-Union, or whatever paper your family read, about John Rutka, the homosexual? How would they have reacted? How would you have liked it?"

Without hesitation, Rutka said, "The question is academic. The T-U won't out anybody - unless, of course, they're busted by the Albany cops for sex in the park or some asinine thing like that. Now that I'm a notorious public fag, though, they'll probably write up the shooting as an attack on an ‘admitted homosexual.' Since I'm not a convenience store, they won't be able to bury it as just another robbery attempt by a deranged member of Albany's poorly disciplined underclass."

This didn't answer my question or address at all Rutka's apparent double standard on the question of involuntarily dragging gay people out of the closet into a homophobic glare. But with him leaning awkwardly against a car, supported by one foot and a sweating man with a glistening lavender dome, it didn't seem like the time or place to pursue it.

I asked Sandifer to give me his version of the shooting incident, and he gave me a look of frustrated befuddlement. "I'm just not sure what happened," he said. "The thing is, I was in taking a whiz and I must have flushed just when it happened. I knew I heard something - or thought I did. And then I went out and found John on the front walk. At first I thought he fell down the porch steps - they're getting kind of rickety. And then I saw the blood and John's sneaker torn up. But I don't really know what I heard. I wasn't listening for anything."

Sandifer glanced at Rutka, as if looking for a cue to add more or open up another area of discussion, but Rutka was busy watching me watching Sandifer. I asked Rutka if he had received any physical threats from people he'd outed in his controversial journalistic career during the past year, or from anyone else.

"Too many for me to count," he said with a snort, "and almost all of them anonymous. Nine were from people I could identify. I keep a file."

"You're quite an accountant."

"Not an accountant, a nurse. Nurses spend half their lives doing reports and not leaving anything out and not making mistakes. Keeping records is as natural to me as breathing."

"Were these threats written, or oral, or what?"

"They were all verbal. Who's going to be stupid enough to put a death threat in writing? Two were face to face, in the presence of other people. Seven were on the phone, people calling me, usually late at night, and of those seven, four identified themselves and three didn't, but I recognized their voices. I've got notes on all the threats in my files."

Rutka's files. These alone seemed enough to get a person shot in the foot. I had never seen them - no one had, that I knew of - and that only made them all the more tantalizing, and for a lot of people inflammatory.

Since Rutka and Sandifer had moved back to the Albany area a year earlier, Rutka - who'd been active with assorted radical gay groups in New York and had been arrested and fined twice for demonstrations inside St. Patrick's Cathedral - had become Albany's own "morally correct J. Edgar Hoover," as he'd once phrased it to a local TV newswoman.

Rutka had compiled files on hundreds of Hudson Valley "known homosexuals," as he called them. He seemed to love taking this menacing term from the 1950s and by throwing it around airily, ironically, defusing it.

Except, for a lot of closeted and semicloseted gays, Rutka might as well have been Hoover or McCarthy. He began by using his column in the alternative weekly Cityscape to out some of the city's most notoriously, and dangerously, homophobic gay men and lesbians: an eager aide to a state senator who led the fight to kill an anti-gay-bashing bill; an editorial writer at the sneeringly reactionary Albany Times-Union; and an antigay Albany city councilman. These revelations, which caused countless dinner party shouting matches over the ethics of uncloseting any gay person against his or her will, were minor compared to what came next.

Rutka began outing gay men and women who were not necessarily wicked and dangerous, but merely prominent: several business owners; a local TV weatherman; pols of all stations and creeds; the inevitable slew of Episcopalian clergy; a miscellany of others.

Since there is nothing wrong with being gay, and since heterosexuals' dating and mating habits were described all the time, well known people had to expect this, Rutka said. His column, called "The Society Pages," was Rutka's way of helping "normalize" being gay and removing its stigma for future generations.

When, on right-to-privacy grounds, Cityscape finally rejected Rutka's arguments and dropped his column, he began putting out his own tabloid, Queerscreed, which was printed at the Kopy King franchise where Sandifer was assistant manager and then passed out on the streets by Albany's tiny Queer Nation membership. Rutka's column became even nastier in tone and closer to out-and-out hysteria in Queerscreed - "You are worse than aids, worse than gay bashing, you kill us with your hypocrisy!" he often screamed in print at his subjects. This disturbed Albany's more sedate gay pols and organizers who'd made gains in recent years using more conventional means, and who feared a backlash.

But Rutka was undeterred. He continued to build his files and to make enemies. One of whom apparently had now tried to rid closeted gay Albany forever of what a middle-aged, previously closeted gay mortuary owner had recently called "this McCarthy in sheep's clothing."

When I asked Rutka if he planned on turning over his files to the Handbag police for use in their investigation, he said gravely, "You can't be serious," and looked at me in amazement, as if I were the one going around opening up gay people's lives to the scrutiny of the public and the state.

"John, if there's been an attempt on your life," I said mildly, "it's only logical that an important part of any intelligent police investigation will be the questioning of people who felt threatened by your campaign. You said yourself that that's who you thought took a shot at you, somebody you'd outed. Or were planning to out, you might have added."

"No," Rutka said, with a little shake of his head, "I really think I have to be the judge of what use my files are put to. If the cops ever got hold of my unpublished material, who knows what they might do to people."

This was said with not the least trace of irony. And although I could see that Rutka had a point, if somebody had insisted to me that within twenty-four hours it was going to become my point too - obsession even - I'd have said I didn't think so.

A gay detective is hired to find who has been been threatening a notorious member of the gay community noted for outing people.

Release Date: 2005(on Here TV)
Release Time: 98 minutes

Chad Allen as Donald Strachey
Sebastian Spence as Timmy Callahan
Jack Wetherall as John Rutka
Woody Jeffreys as Eddie Santin
Sean Young as Ann Rutka
April Telek as Alice Savage
John Moore as Bishop McFee
Alf Humphries as Father Morgan
P. Lynn Johnson as Senator Dianne Glassman
Guy Fauchon as Newspaper Photographer
Moneca Delain as Nurse
Kirsten Williamson as Meredith
David Palffy as Bruno Slinger
Colin Lawrence as Cole
Mary Belle McDonald as Eleanor
Anthony O'Clery as Redd Koontz
Daryl Shuttleworth as Detective Sean "Bub" Bailey
Andrew Moxham as Dark Figure #1
Warren Takeuchi as Dark Figure #2
Sean Carey as Ronnie Linklater
Claudine Grant as Newscaster
Matthew Rush as Dik Steele
Mark Acheson as Fake Dik Steele Male
Lisa Dahling as Fake Dik Steele Female
Nelson Wong as Kenny Kwon
Kevin Blatch as Nathan Zenck
Richard Cox as Howie Glade
Scott Swanson as Art Murphy
Sonja Bakker as Joan
Kwesi Ameyaw as Reporter #1
Nicola Crosbie as Reporter #2
Rob deLeeuw as Puppeteer
Sibel Thrasher as Diva Singer
Carl McDonald as Drag Queen

Author Bio:
Richard Stevenson is the pseudonym of Richard Lipez, the author of nine books, including the Don Strachey private eye series. The Strachey books are being filmed by here!, the first gay television network. Lipez also co-wrote Grand Scam with Peter Stein, and contributed to Crimes of the Scene: A Mystery Novel Guide for the International Traveler. He is a mystery columnist for The Washington Post and a former editorial writer at The Berkshire Eagle. His reporting, reviews and fiction have appeared in The Boston Globe, Newsday, The Progressive, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's and many other publications. He grew up and went to college in Pennsylvania and served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1962-64. Lipez lives in Becket, Massachusetts and is married to sculptor Joe Wheaton.




Blog Tour: The Necromancer's Reckoning by SJ Himes

Title: The Necromancer's Reckoning
Author: SJ Himes
Series: Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3
Genre: M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: May 27, 2018
Every action has consequences.

For a decade, Angel Salvatore has been the most powerful sorcerer and only necromancer in all the Northeast. Never one to ask permission nor apologies, he has acted with near impunity for years.

Until now.

The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and Angel is their target. Charged with numerous violations of practitioner laws, his freedom and family are placed in jeopardy.

If found guilty, Angel's apprentice Daniel will be imprisoned to serve out the remaining years of his apprenticeship. Isaac, his brother, is too vulnerable to be left unguarded, and Angel fears for his sanity and health. And Simeon, Elder vampire and Angel's mate refuses to see Angel convicted under the laws of the Council and his actions to keep Angel free threaten to start a war that could destroy their world. And Angel faces the severest of punishments—the castration of his gifts.

The Council has never cared for the people of Boston, and Angel doubts their motives. They have come for some insidious reason, and it has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with Angel.

Dealing with an impending trial, a wayward ghost, and a grave robbing ring of thieves leaves Angel on the edge. He thinks he may have a handle on things until violence erupts across the city, and a stranger comes to town...a stranger with his own dark powers of necromancy.

This is book 3 of a series, and the previous books should be read first for full enjoyment. Trigger Warnings are on the Copyright Page and can be seen using the Look Inside feature or by downloading a sample of this book.

“What do you mean, I got a letter?” Angel held his smartphone between his ear and shoulder, fumbling with the keys to his office. It was still dark, and he huffed with impatience, blinking a small orb of hellfire into existence over his hands so he could find the right key. Inserting it into the lock, he opened the door and dismissed the orb, flicking the light switch by the door.

“It was delivered by courier about ten minutes ago,” Daniel replied, his apprentice talking past food. “I had to sign for it. The courier almost didn’t leave it with me until I told him I was your apprentice.”

Angel grumbled to himself, tossing his keys on his desk and grabbing his phone, rubbing the back of his neck. He left his apartment not even ten minutes before, which was only a couple blocks away, so the courier must have shown up right as he was leaving. He frowned, thinking back to the pre-dawn street, and he didn’t recall seeing anyone—not even a car or taxi.

“Well, go ahead and open it,” Angel said, tapping his phone to put it on speaker. Daniel made a happy sound past whatever he was chewing, and Angel snorted out a laugh. He booted up his laptop, looking for the appointment he had that morning at the ass-crack of dawn. Why in the world he thought it would be a good idea to have a private consultation so damn early on a Monday was beyond him. Which was why he decided on waking up everyone he lived with so he could share the misery. Though it was only Daniel since Isaac was at Nevermore and Simeon was at the Tower.

A sharp yelp and swearing came out from the speakers, and Angel laughed. “Papercut?”

“No! It shocked me!” Daniel gasped out, cussing under his breath. “I can’t open it!”

“What do you mean you can’t open it? Just rip it open.”

“I’m trying! Ouch!” Daniel yelped again, and the sounds coming from over the phone were parts hilarious and alarming. “I’m not risking my fingers. You can open it.”

“Who is it from? It might be warded if a courier brought it.”

“Now you tell me,” Daniel muttered, and Angel grinned as he found the appointment time. Daniel was finding his courage and picking up sass lessons from Isaac. His shy apprentice was learning all about sarcasm in the Salvatore household. His appointment was in about five minutes. No time to run back home and get the letter that was singeing his apprentice’s fingers. Daniel recited the address on the letter, “It says, ‘To Angelus Raine Salvatore, Necromancer of Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts. From’…Oh, wow.”

“Who’s it from?”

“The High Council of Sorcery, Bucharest, Romania.”

Angel stood up straight, hands falling away from his laptop. He stared at the phone, the quiet in his office somehow loud, heart pounding in his ears. He looked up at the door as if any second one of the Council enforcers would blast through the doorway, ready to take him into custody for crimes sundry against international sorcery laws. He breathed in, breath shaky, and flexed his fingers. He reached out with his mind, cautiously testing the wards around his office, and there was nothing.

“Angel? Angel!” Daniel squawked over the phone, and Angel snapped free of the tension that held him frozen and snatched up the phone.
“Daniel, my appointment is any minute. Can you bring the letter here? Just hang out in the main room until I’m done if we’ve started when you get here. Wake up Eroch and have him come with you.”

“Um, okay…wake up the fire-breathing lizard, he says.”

“Just pick him up and carry him with you if he doesn’t wake up. He was sleeping on my pillow when I left. Don’t walk over here alone. I’d say hold on to it until I get home, but I have a feeling I need to read that letter as soon as possible.”

“Okay. Can I take a shower first?”

“You better,” Angel chuckled and hung up. Twenty-year-old men needed showers for the sake of everyone.

A knock sounded from the front of the office, and Angel took a deep breath, calming his off-center nerves before heading to answer the door. He was still cautious, sending out his awareness, his wards humming in the recesses of his mind, unmolested. There were two people on the small landing outside his door, their auras muffled by the panel, but they were both practitioners.

Angel opened the door, a polite smile on his face.

“Angelus Salvatore?” asked a tall, bulky man in a dark coat, his face set to glower. Angel lifted a brow, unable to see the person behind the big man. He could see a flash of red hair and a small bit of alabaster skin before the big guy shifted.

“I am,” Angel replied, opening the door wider, stepping back and gesturing them inside. His wards were set to allow strangers inside, but they would dampen any magic cast in this space by strangers or those he blocked. Came in handy when dealing with young sorcerers and unexpected guests. They could still cast, but his magic permeated the space, claiming even the ambient magical energies and stifling spells cast by interlopers. Not much use against a practitioner who used their own reserves, but the more dangerous, higher-ranked practitioners tended to reach outside themselves first before casting.

A tall woman was behind the big guy, slim and covered head to toe in black, from her leather high-heeled boots and ankle-length black pea coat to her black silk scarf and a jaunty, tiny pillbox hat atop titian curls. She was familiar, but the shadows were still dark enough Angel was having difficulty determining her identity. He led them back to his office, gesturing at the chairs in front of his desk. The woman sat, unwinding her scarf, her escort taking a stance beside the office door. Angel turned on the lamps as dawn was taking its time arriving and the room had shadows in inconvenient places.

The woman removed her scarf, putting it on her lap before shrugging from her coat. Her escort stepped forward, taking it from her before returning to his spot by the door. The woman, dressed in a thin black wraparound dress that hugged every slim curve and long line of her body, smiled at Angel. She was pretty, in a very human way, nothing of the fae about her in face or form. Dark green eyes, nothing at all like the brilliant emerald of Simeon’s eyes but arresting enough in their own merits, gazed back at him, glistening with wry humor.

“Lady Kensington,” Angel acknowledged after a moment’s pause, surprised. The recent widow was a wizard and a skilled apothecary who owned and ran Nightshade Apothecary not far from where they sat in Beacon Hill. Angel would see her occasionally in the neighborhood or when he needed supplies between scheduled deliveries. Her husband, Lord Greyson Kensington, died of a heart attack three months ago while shoveling snow off the front stoop of their shop one chilly winter morning.

“Call me Heather, please,” she said, voice melodic and rich, smooth as hot chocolate with a shot of whiskey. Her chin rose as if she was expecting argument. What Angel could remember of her husband, the man was a stickler for propriety and demanded to be addressed by his title, even to friends.

Angel never liked the man.

“Heather,” Angel agreed with a grin, surprising her into smiling back at him. “What can I do for you? And why so early? I would’ve come to the shop.”

“I’m afraid this matter requires a measure of discretion,” Lady Heather replied, twisting her scarf in her fingers. “It’s regarding my late husband.”

Angel paused, thinking. Usually when the recently bereaved came to his door, they wanted either the impossible, like a resurrection, or more commonly, a summoning of the departed spirit. He rarely acquiesced as nothing good could come from repeatedly dialing in to the Other Side. It kept the living from moving on and tormented the souls he would be recalling to this plane.

She must have seen some of these thoughts on his face, as she held up a dainty hand, forestalling his coming denial. “I don’t want you to summon him from the Other Side,” she said, tears gathering on her lashes. Angel waited, curious despite himself. “I want you to find him for me.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not following,” Angel said warily, hoping she didn’t cry. Isaac or Daniel breaking down he hated but knew what to do, a near stranger crying left him awkward.

“The shop was broken into three nights ago,” Lady Heather said quickly, words tumbling over themselves as she hurried to explain. “I heard the commotion from my apartment upstairs, but by the time the police arrived, it was too late.”

“What did they steal?” Angel was trying to follow along, he really was, but he had no idea what a burglary would have to do with her deceased husband.

“They stole him,” Lady Heather said, digging out a handkerchief from her tiny black purse. She dabbed at her eyes, miraculously not smearing her mascara.

Angel frowned. “I’m going to need you to spell this out for me.”

“The thieves stole Greyson’s ghost. I need you to find him.”

What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
I can’t really pinpoint the biggest reason, aside from the need to read something I wasn’t finding. I write what I want to read, and I grew up reading big name fantasy and sci-fi authors, particularly McCaffrey and Lackey. Their books got the closest to stories I wanted to read but didn’t quite leave me fulfilled. I started writing at a young age to fill those needs, to see something MORE.

With urban fantasy, I love the blend of magic and modern times. Supernatural creatures living out in the open, no hiding, alongside humanity, and how their lives unfold is one of my favorite things to read. I found my niche in writing urban fantasy. It comes the easiest out of all the genres I’ve tried.

When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
The top three things I love the most about writing the book itself are character development, world building, and plot, all tied. Those are the most important in my books.

In the process, I have to say the first act of any book is the most enjoyable, followed afterwards by editing. I love edits. There’s nothing that will make me happier about the process of writing a book than getting back edits on a manuscript. The whole purpose of editing is to take what I’ve created and make it better. What’s not to love?

When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I enjoy reading urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and scifi the most. This is likely since I mainly read to escape reality, and there’s nothing remotely equivalent in our reality to epic space battles with aliens, falling in love with an elf, or engaging in a sorcerer’s duel. Those genres hold a strong appeal for me.

If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
This is a terribly intimidating question. If I could, I would want to write with Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. She was an amazing human and author. A living author, that would be Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles and Circe. Stunning historical author with the ability to destroy anyone’s equilibrium with heartache. Brilliant novelist.

Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
I started young, writing, but I took long breaks between writing stages in my life. The longest was ten years, and I accredit writing with saving my sanity. I’ve been writing steadily since 2014 and have no plans to stop anytime soon. I always had a secret desire to become a writer, but for some silly reason I thought it would be too hard, and beyond my abilities, and that I wouldn’t be accepted by the gatekeepers (trad pub houses.) Upon discovering the concept of self-publishing, I decided to try it myself, bypassing the gatekeepers entirely, and I haven’t looked back.

Author Bio:
I'm a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I'm at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that's perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), The Wolfkin Saga, and the epic fantasy romance series Realms of Love. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on.... I'm a nomad, and I've yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.


Necromancer's Reckoning #3


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Promo Tour: Celebrity Status by Angela Scavone

Title: Celebrity Status
Author: Angela Scavone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 9, 2018
Publisher: Pearman Literary Publishing
Famous Hollywood actress, Elizabeth Stanfield, has a glamorous lifestyle with a lavish house, glittery parties, a people magazine's fifty most beautiful people fiance and best friend Billy Stone - Famous actor, producer and secret organized crime enforcer.

Everything is not as it seems...Elizabeth's fiance cheats on her, a studio head and director are hell bent on making her life miserable and it gets harder to keep her secrets protected.

The only good thing in her life is Billy, their budding romance, and connections that give them freedom to do whatever they want in Hollywood.

Will their connections be enough to keep their secrets hidden and Celebrity Status safe or are they doomed to be torn down?

“So, Mr. Stone.” I seductively moved towards him. “When do you have to be back on set?” I stood in front of him.

“Well, Miss. Stanfield.” Taking a cue from me, he put his hands on my hips and began to pull me towards him. “I don’t have to be back there for another hour.”

“Really?” I allowed myself to be pulled forward. Putting a knee on the couch on either side of his hips, I straddled him and sat on his lap. “Neither do I.”

With my hands on either side of his face, I bent down and kissed him. He pulled me closer and began undoing my blouse, slowly, one agonizing button at a time.

As I kissed him, I started to work on the button of his pants. Once I got that opened, I pulled my shirt off to speed up the process.

“A little impatient?” He laughed as I pulled his shirt over his head.

“Uh, yeah, we only have an hour.”

“Elizabeth, trust me, that’s plenty of time.”

I began kissing his neck. I could feel his arm muscles tighten as he began work the back clasp of my bra.

I moved from his neck, to his shoulder, to his collarbone, and then down to his chest. I was continuing my descent when there was a knock on the trailer door.

“Go away,” Billy commanded to the intruder.

“Billy, we need to talk.” Sonny’s voice came from the other side.

Without hesitation, I continued my journey down to his stomach as I slid off him and knelt on the floor between his knees.

“Not now, Sonny.” Billy took in a sharp breath as I circled his belly button.

“I’m not asking again.” Sonny sounded angry. “I need to speak with you and Elizabeth now. I do not like to be kept waiting.”

“Oh, for God’s sake,” I said, extremely irritated, and stood up. I quickly threw on my blouse and began buttoning it up as I opened the door.

“What do you want?” I asked angrily.

Behind me Billy was buttoning up his pants and trying to find his shirt.

“Oh God,” Sonny exclaimed as he walked in. “Is this what I have to watch out for every time I come to see you guys?”

“Well, if you had listened to Billy and left us alone, you wouldn’t be witnessing this, would you?”

“What are you doing?” Sonny ignored my snarky comment and asked Billy.

“I can’t find my shirt.”

I looked around and it was on the opposite side of the trailer on the floor. I must have really flung it when I took it off him.

“It’s over there.” Sonny pointed it out.

Billy looked to where it was but didn’t move from the couch. “It’s okay, I don’t really need it right now,” he said as he crossed his legs.

“Oh God,” Sonny repeated. “I don’t know if I can handle this.”

I laughed at Sonny’s discomfort and threw Billy his shirt.

“So?” I said to Sonny. “What was so urgent that you had to bust in here?”

“We have a problem.”

“Yes, I know,” I sarcastically answered. “We now only have forty-five minutes until we are due back on set and I should be underneath Billy by now.”

Sonny made a face.

Author Bio:
Angela lives in Ontario, Canada sharing her home with her father and her two much-loved pups. She currently works for the Board of Education behind the scenes supporting and analyzing student data, however, in her spare time, apart from her avid love of storytelling, she likes to read, spend time with family and friends and concoct dairy free recipes from scratch. Sometimes she wins some, and sometimes she loses some – tofu, banana and peanut butter pudding we are looking at you.


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