The Steamy Stories of JC Calciano – BGFP episode 308

Jeff and I discuss the televised return to the ballrooms of Pose on FX and Legendary on HBO Max. They also look at the Pride issue of The Knot magazine featuring Jonathan Bennett and Jaymes Vaughn.

Author / Screenwriter / Director JC Calciano talks about Revenge of the Brobot, his latest book which continues his Steam Room Stories universe. In our fun and enlightening interview, we learn how Steam Room Stories got started a dozen years ago, the new Steamy Stories Podcast, and what got him started telling stories across multiple mediums.

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The Spring New Release and Review Episode – BGFP episode 307

Jeff and I talk about how happy we are to find m/m romance and LGBTQ+ YA books at their local Barnes & Noble and Target stores. They also discuss some comfort television, including HGTV’s feel-good renovation show, Bargain Block and Nick’s hilarious family puppet fantasy adventure, The Barbarian and the Troll.

We highlight some of the books we are looking forward to in May: A Husband for Hartwell by J.A. Rock and Lisa Henry, May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor, The Guncle by Steven RowleyPlaying the Palace by Paul Rudnick, Hard Sell by Hudson Lin, and Just A Little Mischief by Merry Farmer.

Reviews wrap up the show as Jeff talks about Silent Knight  by Layla Reyne and Cinnamon Roll by Anna Zabo. I take a look at Temple by Avril Ashton.

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Authors Gregory Ashe and C.S. Poe on Their Unique Collaboration Style – BGFP episode 306

Jeff and I are pleased to announce that the May Big Gay Fiction Book Club Selection is Breaking Bonds by Ari McKay.

Authors Gregory Ashe and C.S. Poe join us to talk about their Auden & O’Callaghan Mystery series, including the latest in the series A Friend in the Fire. Greg and Carroll talk about how their collaboration began, the inspirations for Sam and Rufus, and what their writing process looks like. We also find out about the romance convention crossover between the Snow & Winterand Borealis booksas well as what’s coming next for both of them. Of course, we also get book recs, and Carroll recommends a very unexpected title.

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Big Gay Fiction book Club: Striking Sparks by Ari McKay – BGFP episode 305

This month, Jeff and I give you all the details about the charming, food-filled, small town romance Striking Sparks by Ari McKay. Our two heroes are competing against one another on a reality cooking show. Who will win best BBQ and will they fall in love in the process? As always, in our book club discussions there are spoilers ahead so keep that in mind if you haven’t read the book yet.

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Behind the Scenes With Author Spencer Spears – BGFP episode 304

Before diving into this week’s author interview, Jeff and I talk about two streaming musicals we’ve recently enjoyed: The Last Five Years and [title of show]. 

Spencer Spears joins us to discuss his brand new series, Rebel Hearts, which is a spin off of the Murphy Brothers series. Spencer shares why he decided to continue writing about characters living on Summersea Island, and why he loves to write and read series. He also talks about writing three holiday stories in 2020, how he got started writing romance, and that a camboy romance is something he really wants to write.

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Quick Review: Temple (Freelancers Book 1) by Avril Ashton

Temple (Freelancers Book 1) by Avril Ashton

Temple still feels the pain and guilt of the night his best friend was killed on a job that went sideways. Henry was the closest thing to a brother Temple ever had. They grew up in a group home together and later worked with a group of mercenaries, taking jobs that no one else would. It was Temple who convinced Henry to take that one last job and it was Temple who had to tell Henry’s inconsolable fiancée Vik, that Henry was never coming back.

Two years later, Temple finds himself back in town during the holidays, and it’s by chance that he gets coffee at the shop that Vik owns. They finally have a chance to clear the air and Vik apologizes for the accusations he made that night. He doesn’t hold Temple responsible for Henry’s death.

After a few days, they both reach a comfortable place together – a new normal. But now Temple has something else to feel guilty about, his desire for Vik.

One night he invites Vik over for pizza and a few beers. They settle in on the couch and watch a Christmas movie and they explore their feelings with a scorchingly sexy kiss. It’s late, and it’s snowing out, so Vik decides to spend the night, but ends up sleeping in Temple’s bed alone. Their attraction is undeniable, but are their feelings a betrayal of the man who meant so much to them?

To answer that question, Temple goes to see Vik and hash out just what exactly it is that each of them want. What they each need is each other. Temple temporarily sets aside his guilt and unleashes his intense primal need for Vik, taking him on the kitchen counter, and later on the couch.

After their remarkable night, Vik knows he wants more, but is concerned with the radio silence from Temple. Does he not feel the same way?

Yes, he most definitely feels the same way, but is still grappling with what he and Vik being together would mean. It’s then that a former collogue offers him a job opportunity. Walking away from Vik would mean he wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of his past.

When Temple tells Vik about the job, Vik begs him not to leave, something he wishes he’d done with Henry in a nearly identical situation two years earlier. Vik doesn’t need to worry though, Temple said no. Henry wouldn’t want them to remain unhappy and staying miserable is no way to honor his memory.

They visit Henry’s gravesite on Christmas eve, secure in the knowledge that their future is with each other. For the first time, in a long time, Temple and Vik have something to look forward to.

Now, normally I would say that ending a romance with a visit to a cemetery doesn’t exactly scream happily ever after. But for these two characters, it makes perfect sense. Vik and Temple share the traumatic loss of someone who was an important part of their lives, and ending the story in this way shows that, while there is still grief (it’s not something they can just ‘get over’), they are moving forward and starting to live life fully once again.

Kudos to Avril Ashton for writing such a deeply emotional romance that explores the themes of grief and guilt without veering into dark melodrama. I’m not a huge fan of angsty romances. What I thought was so great about this story is that it honestly deals with the pain these characters feel, but doesn’t dwell on it. Temple and Vik aren’t the ‘woe is me’ type. They work hard to figure out the emotionally complicated situation they find themselves in. Their HEA is hard fought and well deserved. Also, their sexual chemistry happens to be off the charts. Seriously, the loves scenes are scorching. So, if you’re looking for a story with lots of heat, that doesn’t scrimp on emotion, then this is definitely the romance for you.

Temple is the novella-length start to the Freelancers series.