Welcome to our first week of celebrating the wonderful and talented
Today, we're showcasing three of B.G.'s books, The Boy Who Came In From The Cold, Anything Could Happen, and Bianca's Plan, plus his favorite things, and of course a chance to win a book from his backlist.
And now we're going to let B.G. do all the talking...
I am so happy to be featured as Author of the Month here at My Fiction Nook. I really love this site and was truly honored to meet Sandra at GayRomLit in Chicago-Land this past year. We had a wonderful lunch, and do you know she actually helped me set up at my table for the big huge autographing event? I smile every time I think of her.
And now to be Author of the Month? Well, it’s an honor, believe me.
So I’ve been asked to provide excerpts from three of my books and then give a list of some of my favorite things. Would I be copying what everyone else has said if I say, “whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens?” But then sorry to say those aren’t two of my favorite things. First I’m a Dog Man and…no, wait! Favorite things must wait.
First, something from The Boy Who Came In From the Cold.
The Boy is a novel that was in the back of my head for many, many years. I owed a book to my publisher and it was getting seriously close to the deadline and it just wasn’t coming. So I looked over a list of my story ideas and WHAM! The story was flowing…! I quickly brought up a fresh document and started typing. I was amazed how it came and just wouldn’t stop. The story means a lot to me.
Todd Burton has had enough of small-town Buckman. His abusive stepfather calls him a fag; his friend Austin makes him realize he may be gay, but Todd doesn’t want to admit his stepfather is right; and he dreams of being a chef. Three good reasons to flee his hometown and pursue greener pastures. But when Todd reaches the big city, his luck runs dry. Soon he can’t pay his rent and gets evicted. In the middle of a snowstorm.
Gabe Richards is a wealthy businessman with enough wounds of his own to make him afraid of ever being intimate again. But when he sees Todd outside his building, freezing to death, he takes pity on him and takes him in from the cold.
To their mutual surprise, Todd and Gabe find themselves drawn to each other. “One night” turns into a week. Maybe letting a man in from the cold can melt the ice around Gabe’s heart—and maybe getting evicted will turn Todd’s luck around.
So the set up is that Todd has been kicked out of his apartment into, well—more or less a blizzard. Then this total stranger gives him a place to stay for the night. And while talking about how rough the last few months has been, he finds himself crying in front of this man. And now an excerpt….
TO HIS horror, Todd found himself sobbing like a baby. All the pain and suffering and heartache. It just started to pour out of him. His frustrations, the lost hopes….
He cried for parents—a hard mother and a cruel stepfather—people who might as well have been as dead as the father he couldn’t remember. He cried for Joan, and all that she wasn’t, and for her betrayal and the final shock of realizing he really didn’t care what she’d been with other man. Or with whom she’d done it. His best friend. Did it really matter in the end? He cried for the pain of taking chances, believing in his dreams—looking for the best only to find the worst. For a fantasy that wasn’t coming true. For having never fit in a world where he wanted nothing more than to find a place that was his. He cried until he could cry no more.
Through it all, Gabe was there. A man that he’d called “queer.” The kind of man he’d been warned about—the worst kind of man—was the only person who was there for him, not even flesh and blood.
What’s more, he couldn’t believe how it felt in Gabe’s arms. He felt so safe. Gabe’s embrace was strangely soothing, peaceful even. The huge pecs were a wonderfully strong pillow for his head, and the big, muscular body made him feel so protected.
Was this how it felt when a father held you? He had no idea. No frame of reference. He couldn’t even remember being held by his dad. There was a picture of it—him still in diapers, sitting in his father’s lap in a porch swing—but that was it. That man had been smiling. But he was dead and the man Todd’s mother married six months later had never smiled at him. Not that Todd could remember anyway. Unless it was when Todd was in pain.
Yet here was a total stranger, one who’d smiled at him, and more.
Todd knew his mother held him once. There were pictures of that too. And he thought he remembered one time when he was very little—he’d been crying then also; he’d scraped a knee or maybe an elbow—and she’d even kissed him. But that was it. All Todd could remember.
Sometimes Todd wondered what his life would be like now if his real father had lived. What if that smiling man on the porch swing had raised him? How might life be different? Would the man be willing, or even have the desire, to just give him a hug every now and then? Wouldn’t that be amazing?
When Joan wanted to be held, he thought he might like it. He’d been looking forward to getting intimate with a girl for forever. All his friends said it would be great, and that he would love it. But he never had. Not really. Being so physical with her felt alien and somehow wrong, although that didn’t make a lick of sense.
And now? This man holding him? It felt good.
It was the first time Todd had felt good in as long he could remember, and he didn’t even know the guy’s last name. Did he? He couldn’t remember. All he knew was that it was a wonderful feeling, lying in Gabe’s big arms, resting his head on a hard yet pliant chest. The tears began to abate, slow down. It was like some heavy blanket had been lifted off of his body. Not even knowing he was doing it, Todd snuggled in even closer, melted against the man, was amazed at how their bodies fit together, like two puzzle pieces, even though he was so much smaller than Gabe.
That was when Todd realized his body was responding. He was getting hard—No!—and he didn’t know what to do. No, no. Why am I…? Why was this happening to him?
No. No. No!
He couldn’t be getting this aroused while in the arms of a man.
Todd pulled back and as he did his arm brushed a hard knot in Gabe’s lap. The guy had a hard-on.
“No,” he cried and pulled away as if he’d been burned.
Gabe was turned on too!
“Todd, I’m sorry.”
Not a fag! I’m not!
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Obviously Todd has some things to work through. And work through it he does. In the most wonderful romantic ways. This was a pretty personal story in some ways, pulling up feeling that I had to deal with when I was realizing I was gay….
Okay, next is Anything Could Happen.
Anything is a spin-off of sorts from The Boy Who Came In From the Cold. It is the whole story of Todd’s best friend betraying him. The story from the friend’s point of view. It puts a whole different perspective on things and if there is anything I’ve learned, that’s what life is all about.
Moving to Kansas City could be the best thing Austin Shelbourne has ever done. For a start, he can stop living a lie and finally come out of the closet. And there's a chance, though slim, that he might be able to locate the love of his life, Todd Burton. It had seemed like a good idea when he seduced his friend, but Todd freaked out and vanished. Austin hopes to find Todd, make things right between them, and win his love. But when he meets actor Guy Campbell, things get even more confusing.
The moment Guy sets eyes on Austin, he knows Austin is The One. But Austin makes it clear he feels a responsibility to Todd, and Guy has some dark secrets of his own. He’s found redemption in acting and directing, but worries that if Austin learns the truth of his past, he might not be able bear it. And what if Todd accepts Austin's apology and the love Austin offers? Guy wants Austin desperately, but he also wants him to be happy. In the play of life, with the happiness of good men in the balance, anything could happen.
Okay…. So Austin has moved to Kansas City he’s moved in with his Uncle Boden, a delightful old man who turns out to be gay. Austin can hardly believe it. His uncle tells his story while his dog Lucile steals that show. And then….
THEY had finished their second glass of sherry, were debating a third, when Uncle Boden said, “You know, we’d better unload your vehicle. I only hope no one has snitched anything already. Let me just quick call Guy.”
“Guy?” asked Austin.
“A young man who lives on the third floor. He was gracious enough to move most of the stuff I had in the spare room down to the basement so you would have a place to sleep. Of course, we had to use Miss Hallie’s storage space, but she didn’t mind. She really wasn’t using it. She’s a thousand years old and has almost nothing. Imagine. My locker is filled to the ceiling with memories and kitsch.”
Uncle Boden left the room and was back in less than a minute. “He’s outside already. Can you believe it? Such a nice young man. I hope you two hit it off. He’s gay, you know. Peter’s aiming to get as many gay tenants as he can without seeming prejudiced.”
Guy? Hallie? Peter? Who were all these people? But Austin was sure he’d figure it all out eventually. As in any good play, it would all fall into place.
“Peter is my… boss,” Uncle Boden said. “My savior, really. He owns the building. Made me building manager—rent free—even though I can’t do much more than collect rent checks and call various handymen when a sink clogs up or a toilet stops working.”
“It’ll be wonderful to have your help.”
“It’s the least I can do,” Austin said. Before Austin moved to Kansas City, his uncle had insisted he not pay rent, and he agreed only on the condition he help with the building’s maintenance whenever he could.
“Anyway, I’m sure you’ll meet Peter soon enough.”
By this time, they were leaving the building, and sure enough, there was someone pulling the tarp off the back of Austin’s S-10 pickup. Tall, dark-haired, and…
“Guy, I want you to meet my great-nephew Austin. Austin, this is Guy.”
The young man approached them, smiling, hand rising from his side—and then he froze. His eyes widened slightly, then narrowed; his full lips parted as if he were about to say something and then forgot what it was. After a beat, he visibly shook himself and held out his hand once more. “Nice to meet you,” he replied.
“Likewise,” Austin said and took it. The hand was nice, warm, and accompanied by what felt like a tiny shock. Guy was an inch or two taller than Austin, rugged, with close-cropped dark hair and a beard that was little more than a five o’clock shadow. He looked down with milk-chocolate-colored eyes, and damn, thought Austin, distracted by flecks of even darker brown. Guy was very good-looking indeed. They were still holding hands, and Austin quickly pulled his away with a twinge of guilt. I’m here an hour and I’m staring into some guy’s eyes. Todd. Todd is who I’m here for.
“Let’s get this done with,” Guy said, nodding toward Austin’s old red truck. “It’s getting chilly.”
At least the prediction of snow hadn’t come to pass, thought Austin—the reason he’d put the tarp over everything. It might have discouraged people from trying to snitch any of his things as well.
With Guy’s capable help, it was surprising how quickly they got Austin’s entire world out of the back of the truck and into his new room. It was a tight fit. He had moved into the basement when he started high school. His great-aunt Corvella had needed his boyhood bedroom when she got “the cancer,” as his Gram called it. When she died a few months later, he’d never moved back upstairs. If he helped with the laundry, his Gram didn’t come downstairs very often. All the tools were down there, but his grandfather hardly ever used them anymore, and so it was a rare day for him to come down either. The basement had become more than a bedroom; it had turned into a clubhouse of sorts for him and his lifelong friend Todd. He’d even given Todd a key to the cellar door.
Which, of course, had led to a complete and utter disaster in the end. One that wound up motivating Austin to leave his home. Correction. His home in Buckman. This little room in Uncle Bodie’s apartment was to be his home now. At least until he could afford his own place.
They brought in and set up the bed first, and then while Uncle Boden made it, they carried in the drawers of Austin’s desk and dresser. They were full due to the fact that Austin had opted to move them as is, instead of packing the contents into boxes and then having to refill the drawers again. The boxes he had packed went up after the furniture—once they had the lay of the land and knew where they could be stacked for the time being. Last of all was Austin’s weight set.
“Nice,” said Guy, shrugging off his coat. He wore a big baggy Royals jersey underneath. “This isn’t cheap shit.”
“My grandparents got them for me for Christmas a couple of years ago. I wanted a good set ’cuz I’ve always hated my body. I’m so crapping skinny.”
Guy shrugged. “It looks pretty nice to me,” he said with a lopsided grin and the arch of an eyebrow.
Austin felt his cheeks heat up. Guy was flirting. Guy. A real-life gay man.
Todd. Think of Todd. “Th-thanks,” he muttered. You’re not so bad yourself, he almost replied and bit his tongue.
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And so the tension begins! Austin has a lot of decisions to make. Plus, and I am sure this is not a spoiler, Todd has found love in his book, The Boy. It wouldn’t be a romance any other way, right?
All right! And now the last book for this week. This one is called Bianca’s Plan. This story is a Christmas story and I guess I’ve become pretty well known for my holiday tales. That’s what my publisher tells me.
See, I love holiday stories. From when I was a kid with such specials as It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas to It Happened One Christmas with Marlo Thomas to A Christmas Carol and so many more. But then something happened that surprised me.
One of my favorite authors of all time is the science fiction writer Connie Willis. She is a powerful story-teller and one of the most award decorated authors out there. I was surprised to find that she wrote Christmas stories. A lot of them in fact. She even collected them in an anthology and each was different and more wonderful than the last. Magical, powerful, and even humorous tales. These stories were my inspiration!
I don’t write holiday stories just to get something out there each year. I write them because I love them and I want to be able to make people smile and feel good and get those holiday feelings I got from my favorite childhood stories. Of course those stories weren’t gay and didn’t have any gay lovin’ (if you catch my old drifterino).
This Christmas story has to do with a very smart little girl who has always known her father is gay (like my daughter)….
Bianca worries that her daddy, Gavin, is lonely and decides he needs a boyfriend for Christmas. So she enlists her father's best friend, the straight and unattached Curtis. Gavin has a Christmas wish, too, and Curtis setting him up on disastrous dates isn't part of it! Meanwhile, Curtis finds life becoming complicated as he tries to please Bianca, make Gavin happy, and fend off his own unexpected mixed feelings. Will anyone's wish come true?
And now the excerpt….
“Curtis? Do you think Daddy’s happy?”
Curtis Harrell turned from the turkey he was stuffing to look at the ten-year-old peering at him across the table. Her dark-brown hair was pulled back tight and her big brown eyes were filled with deep concern. “What makes you ask that, Bee?”
Bianca shrugged and looked away for a moment. “I don’t know.”
Curtis raised an eyebrow. There was never a time that Bianca didn’t know why she was asking anything. “Come on, Bee. Out with it.”
She made a face and blew out a puff of air. “He should have a boyfriend, don’t you think?”
Curtis stopped stuffing and flexed his sticky hand. This he had not been expecting. Bianca, interested in her father’s love life? He supposed he should be grateful she was so casual about the gay thing and that she had no fantasies about her father finding her a new mom.
Truth to tell, Curtis did worry about Gavin. It made him sad there was no one special in his best friend’s life. “Maybe he’s not ready.”
“What’s he not ready for?” She bit her lower lip. “It’s been a long time since Voldemort ran off.”
Curtis tried not to laugh at Bianca’s nickname for Gav’s ex. Voldemort—Steve—had vanished one day while Gav was at work. Gavin had been frantic with worry, only to discover the creep had run off with the owner of The Watering Hole, a semi-popular Kansas City hangout. Neither Curtis nor Gav had gone to the bar since. That had been almost two years ago.
“I never liked that freak, anyway,” Bianca added.
Curtis hadn’t liked the guy much either. Steve had been gorgeous, there was no doubt about that. But the man had always felt fake to Curtis. He certainly hadn’t been very… intellectual. Curtis suspected it was Steve’s Olympic accomplishments in the bedroom that had kept Gavin interested more than any other reason. And hell, why not? But it was just that Curtis felt his friend deserved more.
“Your dad’s busy, honey. He works hard for his money.” Gavin did too. He worked a full-time shitty job (plus as many overtime hours as they’d allow) to support himself and his daughter. “Why else do you think he’s not here helping us get dinner ready?” Curtis asked.
Bianca sighed and rolled her eyes. “You think that damned job is going to let him go home early? Who has to work on Thanksgiving anyway?”
“Don’t swear, Bee,” Curtis said.
She rolled her eyes again. “All I said was ‘damned’.”
“Nevertheless,” was his only answer.
Bianca pouted. It only made Curtis grin. She was too old to pout and he told her so.
She humphed in reply and, humming “Jingle Bells” under her breath, began to open cans to make the green bean casserole.
God, Curtis loved that little girl, in many ways wished she were his own. But she wasn’t. All he could do was hope he found the right woman so that one day he could have a child. One day! It had better happen soon. He was already thirty.
“I wish you weren’t straight,” Bianca said suddenly.
Curtis let out a bark of surprised laughter. “Why is that?” he asked.
“Because I love you. And you and Dad would be a great couple. You’re already best friends. I think it would be cool having you as my other dad.”
Nope. Bianca harbored no wishes that her dad would meet “the right woman.” Curtis shook his head. “You come up with the craziest stuff, Bee.”
Bianca turned back, scrutinized him. “You are straight, right…?”
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Yup! That’s where I’m leaving it! I can’t reveal anymore or there’s little reason to read the book now, is there?
B.G. Thomas’ Favorite Things
1) Movies! Oh, I love movies! From the scary to the thought-provoking. From Jaws to The Exorcist to Little Buddha to Dances With Wolves to The Wizard of Oz to Titanic. Let me watch a movie and I am happy. And two of my favorite movies ever? Shelter and Getting Go. Check them out. I just love them both!
2) My little dog Sarah Jane. She’s a dachshund Yorkie mix, and she is the light of my life. No matter how bad my day is, and it can be bad working where I work, I walk in that front door to her enthusiastic greeting and every trouble melts away. She’s on the cover of my book Hound Dog & Bean, and I even wrote her into a story. She’s curled up to me right now, sighing away and softly snoring in her sleep. It also goes back to what I said earlier. I am a Dog Man. I love dogs!
3) Animals. Really, all of them, including cats of course. I just love animals. I always have. But Sarah did something special. It’s kind of like she plays the part of the parrot from Dr. Doolittle in my life. The parrot helped the good doctor learn to talk to animals. A look from Sarah Jane’s deep brown eyes taught me the sacredness of all life. There was a bat loose inside the warehouse at work, and this guy was going to club it out of the air with a broom, and I screamed, “Don’t you dare!”
He couldn’t understand. "It’s only a f*cking bat,” he said. A bat that is no less deserving of life than you or anyone, I told him and opened all the dock doors, and a half hour later he was gone, and we never saw him again. I am happy thinking of how happy that bat must have felt when it was flying the night skies again, the wind beneath his wings….
4) Music. I am crazy about music. I listen to it all the time. And most of the music I listen to is happy and upbeat or very meaningful. I’m not too Bohemian there. So of my friends and acquaintances scoff at my tastes. Who do I like? I love all kinds of groups and artists. I love Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. I love Queen and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Cheap Trick and Blondie. And I also love (and hold my head up high saying this) Taylor Swift and P!nk and of course Lady Gaga. A lot of those “silly” songs have some powerful messages too. Taylor has reminded me time and time again to “shake it off” when I am surrounded by the haters at work. Give me a happy song anytime!
5) Books. Surprise, surprise! I have read all my life, thanks to my mom, starting off with such classics as Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Then I discovered science fiction and mythology and fantasy and a lot of my youth was filled with The Time Machine and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Jason and the Argonauts and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And of course all the Wizard of Oz books!
I became a huge Star Trek fan in high school and discovered that many of the writers were important and significant authors. So I found David Gerrold and Theodore Sturgeon and Isaac Asimov and Richard Matheson and Robert Block. They just led to more and more and more authors. I am happiest when I am reading. And writing of course! I am not even going to attempt to mention my favorite MM writers. There are too many, and I don’t want to slight anyone if I forget to mention them.
6) My garden. It’s a big inspiration for my novel Spring Affair. I have tons and tons of all kinds of flowers from iris to forsythia to hyacinth to Michael Mass daisies to butterfly bushes to roses. Oh, I love roses! And the whole garden is set up so that as one phase of flowers stops blooming another phase picks up. From early Spring to late Summer, I have flowers, flowers, flowers!
7) I love to travel. The only part I don’t like is getting to the airport and all that stuff. But once I’m at the gate I am fine and excited. The years have taken me to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago (where I used to live), New York City, Sacramento, Atlanta, Orlando, Albuquerque, and even out of the country to Israel and Egypt and Canada. I love to travel! Love it!
8) And of course I love my man! Ah…. “R” is the most heterosexual gay man on the planet. He wears plaids with stripes, won’t cut his nails, and has a man cave that he disappears into a great amount of time. He thinks it’s silly to give flowers because then they are just going to die. I point out that they’re going to die on the plant too, and when they’re in the house we get to appreciate them. So now at least once a year I get roses. I love roses! (I mentioned that, didn’t I?) He’s not the most romantic guy. But when he decides to do it? Look out! He makes up for lost time.
I was in Portland for a workshop with my publisher when he called and asked if I wanted to go to Baltimore.
Baltimore? I thought. What’s in Baltimore? But R actually wanted to leave his basement and travel (!!) so who was I to argue? I love to travel (I mentioned that too).
So when I got back home, and we were sitting in the break room at work with a crowded table, he leans over and says to me (while I am reading a book!), “So you know why gay men go to Baltimore, right?”
I shrugged and kept reading. It was a good book.
“To get married,” he said.
I nodded and kept reading. It really was a good book.
Then it hit me! I looked up. “Are you asking me?” He nodded. There were cheers.
When he wants to, he can be very romantic.
9) My family. R of course, but my lovely daughter, Mom (the most generous woman who gave me my moral foundation and a love for books and learning), my brother (we do get along better because he lives half a country away, but I still love him), my nephew and niece…. I am lucky. A lot of people don’t have good blood-families. I do.
10) My friends. My family of choice. And I’m not going to mention one name. There are too many. I love them all.
I’m going to leave it there. That’s only ten things. But I expanded and explained, and really it’s a whole lot more.
But there is one more thing. Life. I love life! It’s brought me pain, and it’s brought me joy. But most of all it’s brought me experience. It’s been a rich life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!
Okay! Signing off until next week! Remember to keep leaping! The net will appear.
More about B.G. Thomas:
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of over nine years and their fabulous little dog, Sarah Jane. He sees his wonderful daughter just often enough to miss her when she isn't there! He has a romantic soul and is extraordinarily lucky to have many friends.
He loves science fiction & fantasy, horror, romance and more, has gone to SF&F conventions his entire adult life, and been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He is a “Star Trek” and Joss Whedon fan from way back!
He has written all his life, it is where he finds his joy. In the 90’s, he wrote for gay magazines, but stopped because they wanted him to cut out story and romance, and write only sex.
Then through a few friends, he discovered the growing market of M/M Romance and was thrilled beyond words. FINALLY, a way to write the stories he always wanted to write. Adventure, romantic comedy, science fiction, and more, but with gay characters. And he wouldn't have to fade to black! People wanted to read the erotic as well. Plot and sex! HURRAY!
B.G. Thomas very much believes in The Law of Attraction and that "thoughts become things." A lot of things all started happening at once. He heard the words, "Leap, and the net will appear," and something re-kindled inside. He sent out a story and was thrilled when it was almost immediately accepted.
He believes that we are divine expressions of the Universe, each and everyone. "It is never too late!,” he states. “Pursue your dreams! They will come true!"
And now for the giveaway, for an e-copy of a book from B.G.'s backlist.
Thanks to B.G. for visiting, and thanks to our readers for joining us in our celebrations. Until next week, happy reading!