Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing
In today's post, we'll look at The Rules, and By That Sin Fell The Angels. We also have our author interview and one more chance to win one of Jamie's books.
First up, The Rules
|Cover by Reese Dante|
When Hans Bauer, a college student in New Hampshire, accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, he soon learns the reason they've hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won't work there. Thomas is a successful businessman whose biggest goal in life appears to be giving his husband anything he wants. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of the things he endured in his native country.
He also refuses to wear clothes—ever.
While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. Boris gets flirtatious and Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.
At that moment, The Rules are born—rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship....
WARNING: This story deals with themes of sexual assault and past abuse.
Hans was curious about Boris’s tumultuous relationship with his family, particularly why he allowed them to stay for long visits every two or three years when he acted as if he couldn’t stand them. But it wasn’t a subject Boris enjoyed talking about, and it wasn’t any of his business. However, he needed to know if there was anything he should or should not do, while they were here.
“Well….” Thomas looked uneasy when Hans voiced his concerns and glanced at Boris for help.
Boris examined his pizza crust before putting it back in the box. “We need a dog.” There were always leftover crusts when they had pizza, because he hated them. “As far as how you should act around my family, that depends.”
“On whether you want this visit to blow up like a bomb or go like it usually does—tense, with everybody tiptoeing around, afraid to say what they really think.”
“We don’t want it to blow up like a bomb,” Thomas said sternly.
Boris shrugged. “Too bad.”
“Boris, we go through this every time. If you want to cut ties with your family, I’ll support you, but—”
“No. Papa has a stick up his butt, and Ilya is an asshole, but I would be sad if I never saw Mama again.”
Thomas stood and looked at his boyfriends with his hands on his hips. “Hans, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to do something—just for when the parents are here. I don’t want you to feel hurt.”
Hans had been expecting this, and he was emotionally prepared for it. “I know. We can’t fuck around while the family is visiting, and I won’t be able to sleep in your room. We’ll have to act like I’m just the cleaning person.”
“No,” Boris said sympathetically. “Not the ‘cleaning person.’ We have told them you are a friend who does some work around the house in exchange for a room. I do not want them treating you like a servant.”
“Thanks.” It would still be hard. Never mind having to forego sex, Hans would have to be careful about touching them or sneaking a quick peck on the cheek. It was going to suck.
Thomas waved them into the living room. “That isn’t what I meant. I was talking about this.” He nodded at the oil painting above the mantel.
“Oh,” Hans said.
“I’m sorry, Hans. You know how much I love this painting, but I can’t have Boris’s mom confronted by my life-sized dick when she walks into this room.”
“It is smaller than life-size,” Boris insisted, “or the painting would not fit above the fireplace.”
“Besides, your face is hidden.”
“It’s still a naked man, and did I mention the part about your mother seeing it?”
Hans understood where Thomas was coming from. He’d been embarrassed enough the one time his mother and her boyfriend had come to the college gallery and seen his nudes hanging there. And those hadn’t been him. “I’m not bothered,” he said. “I’ll store it in my studio while they’re here.”
“Thank you,” Thomas said.
Hans looked at Boris’s naked body critically. “What about this nude? Should I stash Boris in the studio too?”
“I will have to wear sweatpants while they are here,” Boris said miserably. “The visit cannot be short enough.”
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Secondly today, By That Sin Fell The Angels
|Cover by Paul Richmond|
It begins with a 3:00 a.m. telephone call. On one end is Terry Bachelder, a closeted teacher. On the other, the suicidal teenage son of the local preacher. When Terry fails to prevent disaster, grief rips the small town of Crystal Falls apart.
At the epicenter of the tragedy, seventeen-year-old Jonah Riverside tries to make sense of it all. Finding Daniel’s body leaves him struggling to balance his sexual identity with his faith, while his church, led by the Reverend Isaac Thompson, mounts a crusade to destroy Terry, whom Isaac believes corrupted his son and caused the boy to take his own life.
Having quietly crushed on his teacher for years, Jonah is determined to clear Terry’s name. That quest leads him to Eric Jacobs, Daniel’s true secret lover, and to get involved in Eric’s plan to shake up their small-minded town. Meanwhile, Rev. Thompson struggles to make peace between his religious convictions and the revelation of his son's homosexuality. If he can’t, he leaves the door open to eternal damnation—and for a second tragedy to follow.
1st Edition published by Itineris Press, August 2012.
“I had something else I wanted to talk about.” Jonah’s stomach was knotting up. This was probably a very bad idea.
“I couldn’t care less.”
Jonah decided to ignore that. Eric was never going to invite him to have a conversation, but as long as he didn’t run away, Jonah figured he’d just keep talking, regardless. “You’re gay, right?”
That elicited a look of utter contempt.
“I mean, it’s not just that you’re different and everybody says you’re gay to torture you. You really are gay?” It was becoming hard to breathe, like there was something pressing down on his chest.
“So that makes it okay that everyone tortures me?”
“No,” Jonah said quickly. “It’s not. Not at all. I just—”
Eric sighed dramatically. “Yes, I’m gay. Yes, I suck dick. No, I’m not going to suck your dick.”
What’s wrong with my dick? Jonah was feeling a little dizzy.
Suddenly, he knew the moment had arrived. He was going to come out to someone. In fact, he was about to come out to someone who hated him. Probably not the wisest move. But it was going to happen, anyway. It was as if he were watching a movie about the Titanic, knowing perfectly well the ship was about to hit an iceberg. But there wasn’t a damned thing he could do to stop it.
He took a deep breath and said, “I’m gay too.”
The knots in his stomach unraveled. He no longer felt nauseous or lightheaded. He’d done it. He’d told someone. And it felt surprisingly good.
If he’d hoped Eric would be supportive about it, though, he’d been mistaken. The boy stopped in his tracks for a second and looked at Jonah with annoyance rather than anything resembling sympathy. “Great! Another one. So you’re a fag. Why should I care?”
“Look, I know you don’t have any reason to like me—”
“That’s an understatement.”
“—but there was no one else I could tell. I thought you’d understand.”
“Understand what? That you’ve been secretly jerking off to fantasies about Rush Limbaugh and feeling a little guilty, while you hang out with the jocks and spit on the school faggot every time he passes by? You think that’s even remotely like what I go through every fucking day at that homophobic Good Ol’ Boys Club? So you’re gay. Whoopee! I don’t care.”
“I never spit on you.”
“Just fuck off and leave me alone.”
At that, Eric turned and walked away again. He was going pretty fast, and this time Jonah let him go. So much for finding someone who might be sympathetic. The nausea returned full force. He’d just come out to someone who hated him. What the fuck was he thinking? What if Eric spread it around the school?
Jonah turned toward home. Something was puzzling him. What had Eric meant by “another one”? Had someone else in school come out to him? Who?
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More books by Jamie Fessenden can be found here.
- What inspires you? What gets you writing?
- Anything. I tend to watch a movie and think, “What if they’d done that this way?” Or I’ll look at a story from mythology and think about adapting it. Or I’ll be in the mood to read something very particular, and I get frustrated that I can’t find exactly what I want. So I decide to write it.
- What's your writing process? Seat of your pants, lots of sticky notes, complex spreadsheets?
- I like to plot things out a bit, create character outlines, find images online that inspire me. But when I’m writing, I don’t worry about adhering to those. They often change drastically as the book progresses.
- Which character from your books is your favorite, and why?
- I still love Kevin Derocher from “Billy’s Bones.” He’s so playful and vulnerable, and he has so much to give, despite his low opinion of himself. Plus the way he interacts with their dog, Shadow, melts my heart.
- Which character is your least favorite, and why?
- Even though I consider “By That Sin Fell the Angels” to be one of my best novels, I don’t think Terry ever evolved into a very interesting character. He does his part, but he’s surrounded by characters with a lot more personality, including Isaac, who is ostensibly the villain.
- If you could go back into one of your books and change one thing, what would that be? And why?
- I’ve actually done this on some occasions. I fixed a number of cultural and historical errors in “The Christmas Wager” and I polished up a couple of others. But probably the one I’d like to correct most is a scene in “The Healing Power of Eggnog” in which Will and Ryan have sex and Will thinks, “I love you.” I had no idea how appalled readers would be at the idea that he could have fallen in love after just one night together. So slowing that relationship down would be a good idea, if I ever re-release it.
- What's next for you? What amazing book are you working on?
- I’m currently finishing up a novel for DSP’s Dreamspun Desires line (assuming they like it) about a pianist injuring his hands and returning to his small hometown, where he runs into the man he had a crush on when he was a teenager.
- Anything else you'd like to share with your readers?
- Just… thank you! Your support has made the past seven years a dream-come-true for me.
More about Jamie:
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school's literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, 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 wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010.
After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis. Jamie recently left his "day job" as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer.
Thank you for celebrating this fantastic author with us. We hope you learned some cool things about Jamie and found a few new books to add to your TBR.
Until next time, happy reading!