Category Archive: gay romance

Jun 10 2014

Wounded Beacon by Leslie Lee Sanders Out Now (free)

WoundedBeacon_ebook_Final

Not every day the world collapses.

Not many people can say they helped rebuild.

Not many survived, but for those who did, we need something or someone to help us stand strong and tall. Sometimes even wounds can serve that purpose by healing much more than injuries.

Available at : All Romance eBooks | Nook | Kindle | Kobo | Smashwords

During the annual Don’t Read in the Closet (DRitC) event hosted by the M/M Romance group on Goodreads, readers choose a picture and write a prompt for an author to write a complete story from. We authors select a prompt, and out of more than 200 I found the perfect one, resulting in my dystopian short, Wounded Beacon.

“I can’t wait to get into the [main character’s] head and feel his cares and worries and fears.” ~ Cari

The quote above are words from the prompter of this story, the sentence that set the goal for protagonist Luke before I began plotting his tale. I knew upon reading that sentence, that the story I write needed to delve deep into the psyche of the characters, and take center stage to the end of the world events, action, the sexuality of the main characters, or their intimacy itself. Although those elements are there—especially the romance, minus the sex—Wounded Beacon is a look at how traumatic events shape people.

Available today as a free read on Goodreads M/M Romance group thread (you must sign up for free to become a member of the M/M Romance group to read) and available as a FREE download to the general public as PDF, EPUB, and Mobi files at the M/M Romance Group website on or around June 15th 2014.

Read the first chapter below. Enjoy!

 

Photo Description:

Two silhouetted men embrace in a passionate kiss laced with a bit of sweetness and sadness, inside a dimly-lit room near a closed window where the branches of a tree are visible. One man seems to be determined, near desperate, and the other seems to be coming to terms with or accepting a situation.

 

WoundedBeacon_ebook_FinalWounded Beacon (excerpt)

Copyright ©2014 by Leslie Lee Sanders

Genre: science fiction

Tags: dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sweet/no sex, dark, prison/captivity, debilitating injury, hurt/comfort, fighting

Content Warnings:  None

Word Count: 16,117

 

CHAPTER 1

Instinct warned me not to open my eyes. Musk entered my nostrils, and a low hum of static electricity made the hairs on my arms react. He was there, just on the other side of my opened door. Watching me, sizing me up, debating if and when to strike. I suppressed a shudder and lay motionless on the corn husk cot, reminding myself to breathe normally. Still, adrenaline surged through my veins, preparing my mind and body to fight.

 

A chill crept down my spine and goose pimples pricked the exposed flesh on my arms as the dampness on my forehead evaporated. My eyes moved rapidly behind the lids and my fingers twitched. Would I be forced to use my blade? A vivid image of my hand swiping underneath my side and gripping the handle of the sharpened steel entered my mind. I could have my weapon in hand before he’d step foot past the threshold and entered my room.

 

A small scoff emanated from the doorway and my ears perked, attention averted back to him.

 

A low and husky voice called from the courtyard a short distance away. It was my onlooker’s buddy, calling his name. “Santos?” Seconds later, footsteps on gravel faded as Santos retreated.

 

My eyes snapped open.

 

In my periphery, I managed to make out no immediate threat. Even though my eyes had been closed, there was no mistaking Santos had been there just seconds ago. Instinct assured me, as well as the evidence he left behind.

 

Just outside my doorway, in the loose gravel, my dull, steel blade glinted in the moonlight.

 

My hand snaked under me to be sure it was mine and not a similar knife, and nothing but dried husks were beneath me.

 

Groans and whimpers came from the center grounds where the prisoners were housed. Their only crime was speaking out or attempting to prevent Santos and his friend from terrorizing the community. Now their nights were spent sleeping on rugged gravel without the warmth of shelter, blankets, or a respectable meal. And for a couple of them, they’d been there for over a week.

 

The thought of their cruel suffering caused fire to rumble in the pit of my gut. I got up and swiped the blade from the ground, aware of the threat it signified.

 

Do I wait for his return or screw it all and leave now?

 

Minutes passed and I had two choices. I could sleep with one eye open, night after night, or leave the camp now, alive. Pain shot through my jaw, and I realized I was grinding my teeth.

 

Anger decided for me.

 

Stepping foot over the threshold, blade at my side, I crept by each darkened room. I inhaled rank air that smelled of body odor and held it in. Snores echoed throughout some of the cramped open chambers, silence throughout the others. My lungs ached, reminding me to exhale. I did so consciously and as quietly as possible. Moonlight hit the structure in a way that cast shadows which concealed me from view. I slipped behind a wooden column, one that supported the complex I had helped build with my bare hands, and I waited in the shadows to listen.

 

The whimpering and chattering teeth of men came from the courtyard prison. These tough men had lived through hell, but exposure to freezing temperatures in the camp had them believing they would die, and eventually, when the torment had taken its toll, they wished for death’s peace. The prison was in the center of camp mere yards away from the column where I stood. The prison housed three men who were huddled together, arms tucked inside their soiled shirts. Wasn’t it enough that they were caged and kept away from their families and their freedom? Leaving them to starve and freeze was beyond cruel.

 

And yet, their poor handling was partially my fault.

 

Santos was nowhere in sight, but his burly buddy paced near the bolted lock of the prison gate. The metal blade of his makeshift knife was as long as a thighbone and could intimidate any brave warrior.

 

Quickly and carefully, I moved to the side of the rounded prison, and rested against the thick eight-foot tall wooden stakes that served as a barricade, keeping the prisoners inside and keeping me out. One of the men inside shifted and our gazes met. A loud gasp fell from his parted lips. Under the moonlit sky, it was hard to make out any detailed features, but a sense of familiarity hit me. I remembered his face, but there was something else about him I couldn’t recall. His body language triggered faint memories that ran a bit deeper than the brief acquaintances I had with the other villagers. My forefinger went up to my lips and the man nodded. His sign was slight but clear.

 

The countdown in my mind started at five, and when zero hit, I swooped behind the large man guarding the lock and covered his mouth with my hand. I brought my blade up and pressed the sharpened tip to his throat.

 

“Drop it,” I said through clenched teeth, and his weapon fell to the floor. He mumbled beneath my hand, but I squeezed tighter and pressed the blade firmer against his bearded flesh. “Shut up and open the cage.” With my lips near his earlobe, I kept my voice low. I managed to twist around, turning him to the lock.

 

He dug in his pants pocket. The jingle of keys caught the prisoners’ attention, and the familiar one stood. Not sure of his intention, I shook my head as a warning. He ignored me and moved forward, glancing over his shoulder a few times as he came.

 

“Let me help,” he whispered and reached through the thick wooden bars. It took a second for me to comprehend what he was trying to do until he grabbed the keys.

 

I glanced around the darkened lot as my mind tried to throw a quick plan together. What would I do with this guy once the door was open and I no longer needed him? Let him go? Knock him out? Killing was not on my list, never had been, and, hopefully, never would be.

 

I looked to the abundant trees that lined the camp. The growth surrounded our home and, at times, acted as an obstacle from whatever lay far beyond, like a prison wall.

 

The jingling of the keys would arouse the suspicion of Santos and anyone else wanting to stop me.

 

“You gotta move,” I urged, making eye contact with the prisoner. He nodded, but continued to fumble with the keys.

 

“Fucking Luke.” The calm voice came from my left, near the room where I had been. My sights set on the silhouette of the man, but there was no mistaking the rasp. “What’d you think you’re doing, man?” Santos’s hands were casually tucked inside his pants pockets and he nudged a pile of loose gravel with his foot. The silvery, jagged scar on his cheek reflected the light of the full moon.

 

“Don’t,” I warned. “Don’t move, Santos, or I’ll cut him.” Why couldn’t I have been this gritty at the first sign that he and his friend were taking over? If I had, maybe things wouldn’t have resorted to this.

 

He took a couple of steps, narrowing the space between us.

 

“You’re not gonna kill nobody, Luke,” Santos mocked. “You don’t got it in you. If you did, you would’ve killed those fuckers that killed that little lassie.” His sneer sent heated rage rising from my chest and into my throat. I imagined the stocky, wild-haired man in my arms and my blade slicing into his leathery neck.

 

“I’m leaving, and they’re getting the hell out of this goddamned cage before I go.” I glanced to my helper and his busy hands. The threat to my life and the struggling man in my arms upped my impatience. “Open the goddamned lock.”

 

He paused and the jingling stopped. He cocked his head as a pained look flashed across his face. Did my irritated tone surprise him? He continued to twist the key in the lock until it popped. As soon as the door swung open, the other two prisoners rushed out. Santos leapt toward me, but my helper stopped him in his tracks by lifting the large blade from the ground and pointing the corroded tip toward Santos.

 

“We’re leaving.” My helper’s voice was confident and nonthreatening, but the way he handled the hefty blade got the message across.

 

“Adios,” Santos said, the thick vein in his neck pulsed. “Just don’t let me find you. I’ll chop your feet off the next time I see you.”

 

My helper looked back and forth as if debating, then took the blade and ran toward the dense forest, following the others. I pushed the man in my arms toward Santos, hard enough that he tumbled at Santos’ feet.

 

Slowly, I backed away, surprised that they didn’t move. Santos calmly scratched his thick beard while his friend sat near his feet, their eyes on me as I disappeared into the shadows of the forest.

 

****

Read the rest: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1858566-wounded-beacon-by-leslie-lee-sanders-6-10

Download your free copy: http://www.mmromancegroup.com/wounded-beacon-by-leslie-lee-sanders/

 

Also available at : All Romance eBooks | Nook | Kindle | Kobo | Smashwords

 

May 16 2013

Homophobia in Fiction & Giveaway: Hop Against Homophobia & Transphobia 2013

Welcome to my home on the web!

In honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17th) and Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia (#HAHAT), which is a day to bring awareness to homophobia and transgender-phobia, I want to discuss homophobia in fiction.

HAHAT

 

 

 

Homophobia in Fiction

One of the frequent themes we see tackled in GBLT fiction is homophobia. It exists in stories because it exists in real life. Every day another person is discriminated against because of their sexual orientation which means nothing other than … they’re hated because of who they’re attracted to.

Pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?

Now I might be preaching to the choir, but homophobia usually exists in fiction for a couple of reasons.

1. To bring awareness. And actions to stop it

2. To allow characters and/or readers a way to deal and cope

3. To create believable and relatable characters

4. For entertainment value. To create internal and external conflict

No doubt all of those reasons impact us when we’re immersed in a book with a homophobia theme. Those tales can haunt us the way the horrific details of Matthew Shepard or Brandon Teena’s stories haunts us to this day. Yet, as horrific as those events were (and still are to some degree) those stories, too, have a purpose for retelling them: to bring awareness and proactive action, a way to deal and cope, to prove that we’re all human and can relate to each other’s internal and external conflicts. And to hopefully create better futures.

Maybe one day homophobia in fiction wouldn’t be as popular, maybe one day we won’t need to tell the tales of homosexual suffering. But then again, when that time comes, maybe we shouldn’t forget those who’ve suffered and slowly helped us progress through the hate.

Maybe homophobia in fiction would always have a place in popular reads, especially if the gold is blatant at the end of the rainbow.

 

Important!

Give-Away Info Below!

Before the DarknessIn honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I am also giving away the first two books of my gay, post-apocalyptic, dystopian trilogy (Before the Darkness and Amid the Darkness) to one commenter who also subscribes to my newsletter/mailing list!

 

How to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. Enter your name and email in the correct fields
  3. Check the appropriate box (below the comment area) to subscribe
  4. Check your email to confirm your subscription

 

 

  • Amid the DarknessWinner will be announced May 28th in a separate post. (Subscribing will automatically send the winner announcement post to your email via RSS feed)

 

  • Winner will be randomly selected
  • Winner will be notified by email
  • Winner chooses e-book format (PDF, HTML, LIT, EPUB, MOBI)

 

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Visit the other #HAHAT participants at the link directly below.

Jun 20 2012

Pre-Order Before the Darkness (Refuge Inc., Book One)

It’s available! For Pre-order that is. Pre-order your copy at All Romance eBooks and save 20% off the cover price!

Available in Print July 1st! Available to download July 8th!

Before the Darkness (Refuge Inc., Book One)
by Leslie Lee Sanders

PRE-ORDER NOW!

Tags: Post-apocalyptic, erotic romance, erotic, gay, romantic elements, explicit, MM, GBLT, dark fiction, suspense, mystery.

Blurb:

After an asteroid strikes Earth, a series of violent earthquakes destroy secluded Phoenix and leave survivor Elliot struggling to stay focused in the bleak aftermath. And then he meets fellow survivor Adam. Together, the two search for reliable shelter and other survivors while distant murky clouds fast approach. Their hunt for shelter leads them down an alternate path when they find spray painted symbols directing them to a mysterious place: Refuge Inc.

As ominous clouds slowly shut off all light to their devastated world, they are forced to come to terms with their pasts and their growing attraction for each other.

Neither thought their pasts and personal crises would affect their ability to endure the horrors they’re forced to live through. Neither thought they would be drawn so close to one another in the aftermath of an unimaginable catastrophe. By working together, can they continue to survive? Or will the mystery of Refuge Inc. cause diverse expectations and lead them to decisions that further threaten their lives?

Excerpt:

Print version available July 1st!

“See that dark color on the horizon?” Adam pointed to the east, suddenly looking somber. “That’s a wall of smoke, ash, dust and who knows what else, and it’s coming our way.”

“What? What do you mean?” A bit of panic began to stir in Elliot’s stomach like a bowl of his mother’s spicy and overly greasy chili. He’d thought the worst was over.

“Ever heard of impact winter?” Adam’s green eyes pierced his and neither moved. “What’s headed for us isn’t good. We’re gonna have to take shelter somewhere and fast before it blocks out all light and it gets so dark we won’t be able to tell which way is up. Can’t run from it either,” he added, as if predicting Elliot’s next question. “Been watching it for a couple hours now and it’s moving pretty fast.”

“What do you mean it’s going to get dark?” He knew he looked like a wide-eyed idiot, but he didn’t care much about his appearance at the moment.

“Let me put it this way. Once the sun sets we’re not gonna see it rise for quite some time. That wall of soot headed our way is so thick it will block out the sun. It will take months, maybe years, for all the crap to fall down.”

“Are you sure?” He dipped his eyebrows suspiciously. “How do you know all this?”

“When those assholes finally told us that an asteroid might hit, I went looking for info about anything to do with asteroids hitting Earth and that’s what I found out. We need to find some shelter.”

Elliot looked at the dark grey horizon. Indeed, the cloud of unnerving darkness grew bigger, wider, closer. His heart dropped, it sank in the pit of his stomach like a ton of concrete rubble. “We’re not going to make it, huh?” He gulped, suddenly feeling defeated. Panic. “What’s the point in finding shelter when we’re not gonna live to see the sun again?”

Adam grabbed his hand, gave it a gentle squeeze and let it loose before Elliot realized it had happened. The friendly squeeze hadn’t been part of his imagination. A look of sincerity and concern painted Adam’s handsome face. “I was beginning to think the same thing and then I saw you. Like I said, two heads are better than one.”

Apr 10 2012

Do Male GLBT Romance Authors Have it Easier?

So what do I mean by easier? Do male authors who write in the GBLT romance category have a bigger, loyal fanbase, make more sales, and have an advantage over the female authors of the same category?

Me thinks YES!

Here’s why

  1. In many of cases, male authors of gay fiction are gay themselves. Therefore, when reading male-written gay romance the reader believes (even if they don’t admit it or even know it) that they’re getting an inside look into real M/M relationships, getting a truer male point of view.

  2. Also, knowing that most readers of gay romance and romance in general are women (according to RWA’s statistics, women make up 91 percent of the romance book buyers), I think some women tend to associate the male authors with their male protagonists.     

  3. Some women love a romantic man. And if you happened to be a male writer of romance, how more romantic could you be? You’re writing about love and emotions between men, (and in erotic romance) sex, good sex. We love that, right?

For those reasons, I also think those authors with ambiguous names like; Kaje or True, or initials instead of names like; G.A or J.S, or unisex names like; Chris, Terry or Jamie, can sell more books in the gay category as well.

I’m not saying these authors don’t have to write a good book, promote that book and social network to gather sales, readers and make a name for themselves like we all do. I’m suggesting that, due to the reasons above, some male authors of gay romance might have it a tad bit easier and get success (whatever that means. I know it’s subjective) faster than the rest of us.

How about you? What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinion.