The Photographer's Truth

By Ralph Josiah Bardsley

Friends to Lovers Romance

Ian Baines seems to have it all—a career as a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley, a beautiful wife and family, a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. Life takes an unexpected turn for Ian when he finds himself in Paris for a three-month work project where he meets former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. The unlikely friendship grows and Ian sees a new side to life as Luca takes him on a journey through the glamorous and lustrous Paris nightlife. But something strange starts to happen during their adventures in Paris—the two start to fall in love. Both battle their own demons on the road to self-discovery, ultimately learning how to come to peace with their feelings and their pasts.

 

Lambda Literary says... 

Outwardly, Ian Baines’ life has all the clichéd trappings of success:  a rising career as a software programmer at a Silicon Valley start-up; a beautiful, accomplished wife; two above-average sons; a fabulous house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood. The long hours at his job, however, begin to strain his marriage and threaten to unravel his perfect family life. Against his better judgement, then, he accepts a three-month work project based in Paris, creating a database of the fashion house Môti’s collection. While in Paris, alone, he meets the former fashion photographer Luca Sparks who introduces him to the Paris that is hidden from tourists, and together they enjoy the glamorous Parisian nightlife. Their unlikely friendship soon develops into something deeper, until finally Ian is forced to make a choice.

Such is the basic story behind The Photographer’s Truth by Ralph Josiah Bardsley. The two protagonists appear to share little in common: Ian, the unkempt and logical American contrasts with the impeccable, artistic, and cosmopolitan Frenchman Luca. But neither man is entirely what he seems on the surface: for example, buried in their pasts are Ian’s single sexual experience with another man, and Luca’s marriage to a female photojournalist. Ian, in typical American fashion, is rather out of touch with his feelings, so it takes a while for what is obvious to the reader to dawn on him, namely that Luca is attracted to him and is courting him. Perhaps it is Ian’s liberal Californian upbringing, or being thrust into a milieu so different from his normal world, but Ian is not consumed with feelings of “I can’t be gay or Bi”; instead he is consumed by guilt over cheating on his wife.

Bardsley allows the relationship between the two men to develop at a believable pace; as the narrative unfolds, we gradually learn more about the two men at the center of the story, and how they evolve over the course of the romance. Ian narrates the story, so it is clear to the reader how drastically his attitudes and life change; but when Ian meets Luca’s friends, and through them learns Luca’s backstory, it becomes apparent to him (and the reader) that their relationship has also changed Luca. A notorious recluse, once he meets Ian he begins ignoring even his close circle of friends; he also quits smoking.

It used to be said that “the camera doesn’t lie”—at least without irony before the advent of Photoshop and Instagram filters—but the truth is that the photographer carefully constructs the photograph (using light, shadow, color, setting, etc.) in much the same way that the fiction writer constructs a scene in a chapter. Both use their respective media to tell a story, and both use lies to tell a deeper truth. Luca acknowledges how much artifice goes into making art when he explains to Ian that the “photographer must make a decision. He must decide what his subject looks like before he takes the picture. We have to decide what we want to see….What do you want to see?  What do you want your world to be?” Of course, Luca’s explanation of how to be a good photographer could just as easily be applied to the question of how to live one’s life in an authentic manner.

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In Shining Armor

By E. L. Phillips

Krish Nayar is damp. He’s cold. He’s an American lost in the foggy woods of Wales and sporting a sprained ankle. When a handsome renaissance faire player in shining armor, Bleddyn ap Rhys, rescues Krish from stumbling around and getting even more lost, Krish thinks his prayers are answered. At least until Bleddyn brings him to Castle Gwydir, where everyone lives like it really is Medieval Wales, no one knows what an iPhone or indoor plumbing is, and where, by all accounts, the year is 1626.

Traveling four hundred years into the past is improbable, but apparently not impossible. Learning to fit in with medieval Welshmen is difficult, but not impossible. What’s impossible is Krish not losing his heart to gallant Bleddyn in a time when, if acted on, their love means a death sentence.

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The Long Season

By Michael Vance Gurley

Big City
Sports
Coming Out
Friends to Lovers Romance

In Roaring Twenties Chicago, eighteen-year-old farm boy and hockey hopeful Brett Bennet is drafted to the big leagues of the city's first ever team. His deepest secret catches fire when he meets the dashing but reclusive goalie, Jean-Paul Moreau. As they circle one another finding out who they truly are, their lives are changed in ways neither can control.

Brett will need the help of freewheeling flapper Margret to find a way to break through Jean-Paul's ice, and to navigate the high stakes world of professional sports from the opening game through to the championship. Only together do they have a hope of facing the deadly threat of a man who can bring it all down with one word.

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Paladins of the Storm Lord

By Barbara Ann Wright

A Godfall Novel | Book 1
People of Color
Other Worlds
Space Opera

Surrounded by dead crewmates, marooned above an unknown planet, the bridge crew of the Atlas awakens from a crash with extraordinary mental abilities. When their most powerful member jettisons their passengers to the planet below, they have an unprecedented opportunity: they can become gods.

Two hundred years later, Lieutenant Cordelia Ross is a paladin serving the Storm Lord, her city’s patron deity. Her faith is absolute until her people are attacked by a native species, harmless creatures turned devious by an unknown hand. Cordelia tries to solve the mystery of their development before they kill anyone else, but the secrets surrounding them are too deep. As orders from the Storm Lord begin to value obedience over integrity, Cordelia wonders whose side her god is really on.

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Three

By 'Nathan Burgoine

During the full moon, the vampires gather to renew their bonds. It takes three, and those in groups have total power over those who aren’t. For Luc, alone since he was created, the full moon is his only opportunity. 

 

Seeking blood to satiate him for the month ahead, Luc finds a rival instead: Anders, a demon just as alone, who’s also on the hunt. 

 

They choose the same prey: Curtis, a handsome young man resistant to their supernatural charms. When neither a vampire’s glamour nor demon’s passion work on him, it becomes clear their only chance of success lies in the unthinkable: working together. 

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Triad Blood

By 'Nathan Burgoine

International Setting
Magic
Vampires
Big City

The law of three is unbroken: three vampires form a coterie, three demons make a pack, and three wizards are a coven. That is how it has always been, and how it was always to be.

But Luc, Anders, and Curtis—vampire, demon, and wizard—have cheated tradition. Their bond is not coterie, pack, or coven, but something else. Thrust into the supernatural politics ruling Ottawa from behind the shadows, they face Renard, a powerful vampire who harbors deadly secrets of his own and wishes to end their threat. The enemy they know conjures fire and death at every turn. The enemies they don’t know are worse.

Blood, soul, and magic gave them freedom. Now they need to survive it.

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Death Comes Darkly

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 1
Police / Cops
Police Procedural 

Can a detective and a policeman find love amidst murder? Heath Barrington is an attractive, clever, big city detective, confident, strong, and crazy about police officer Alan Keyes. Down-to-earth, noble, and naïve, Alan struggles with his desires for Heath versus 1940s America and his guilty conscience. 

Heath’s skills of deduction and reasoning are put to the test as he and Alan work together to solve the murder of an eccentric millionaire in his mysterious, isolated estate. They search for clues and uncover long buried secrets of the weekend guests while keeping secrets of their own. 

It’s up to Heath to solve the mystery and convince Alan that some secrets aren’t worth keeping, and lust can lead to love.

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Men in Love: M/M Romance

By Jerry L. Wheeler

Spring approaches with the promise of new beginnings, fresh adventures, and the thrill of romance rekindled or discovered. Hot, sexy guys abound—meeting on the ball fields or the boardroom, at the theater or the classroom—falling in love and lust for the first time or celebrating a lifetime. Come join the rites of spring and indulge yourself in the passion and pleasures of our luscious men in love. Stories from some of today’s popular m/m romance authors explore the many faces of men in love: gay for you, seductions, weddings and more.

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Saints+Sinners 2016

By Paul Willis and Others

Saints+Sinners

An anthology of short fiction featuring the finalist selections from the 2016 Saints+Sinners Literary Festival.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Loo Rolls by Aaron Hamburger
  • Emma’s by Vince Sgambati
  • Greedy Prayer by R. Dale Smith
  • Mr. Sissy in Sin City by Thomas Westerfield
  • The Weirding Path by Bryan Collins
  • Last Dance by Darrow Farr
  • The Most Unusual Sweet Potato Competition by Rich Barnett
  • Discretion, 1957 by Sally Bellerose
  • Trumpet in D by Jerry Rabushka
  • Do Unto Others by N. S. Beranek
  • Frenchy Retires by Lee Lynch
  • The History Professor by Andrew Willett
  • Sweet William by ’Nathan Burgoine
  • Fallen Angel by Carol Rosenfeld
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Final Departure

By Steve Pickens

A Jake Finnigan Mystery | Book 1
Amateur Sleuths
Friends & Community
Small Town Romances

Jake Finnigan is already having the worst day of his life when the corpse of notorious tabloid reporter Susan Crane is found locked in the trunk of her car on the ferry where he works. Worse still, though Crane is bound, gagged, and shot in the forehead, her death is ruled a suicide. Convinced of a cover-up, Jake finds himself entangled in the investigation, much to the annoyance of his partner of nearly a decade, Sam O’Conner. As Jake and Sam uncover more about the woman’s blackmailing schemes, the list of suspects grows, and the couple find themselves skidding unavoidably into the killer’s crosshairs. 

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Night Sweats

By Tom Cardamone

Other Worlds
New York City

Set in Japan, small town America, midnight Manhattan, ancient Greece and Rome, and beyond, these stories run the gamut of urban nightmare, gay love lost and found, dragons, super villains, a fairy addicted to meth, and Satan on the subway. Readers of Night Sweats will find tales that push boundaries while supplying ample scares, erotic thrills, much wonderment, and some woe.

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Soul's Blood

By Stephen Graham King

The Maverick Heart Cycle | Book 1
Space Opera
Other Worlds
Reunion Romance

Equal parts troubleshooters and troublemakers, Keene and Lexa-Blue, along with the sentient ship, Maverick Heart, have been known to solve a problem or two. For the right price, that is. Even so, they aren't prepared for a summons from a love Keene thought long past. Daevin Adisi is now the Technarch of Brighter Light, one of the greatest corporate colony states in the Galactum, which is on the brink of war with Sotari, descendants of a people changed by nanogenetic experimentation. Seeking only to live a quiet, simple life free of the technology they blame for the worst part of their history, Sotari has struggled to co-exist with Brighter Light, which to them represents the worst of their own history. And now, the uneasy truce has finally crumbled. In his last-ditch attempt to save their world, Daevin has called upon Keene to help him finally bring peace.

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Brothers

By Ralph Josiah Bardsley

At twenty-three, Jamus Cork's plans are simplegraduate college, stay in New York City, and write. But those plans change when his parents are suddenly killed and he finds himself the guardian of his little brother, Nick. Jamus ends up back in the Boston neighborhood where he grew up, with a crying toddler on his knee and the challenge of building a new life for himself and the boy. Jamus somehow finds a way to navigate the ups and downs of single parenting, but over a decade of raising Nick, Jamus never truly overcomes his struggles with loneliness and the guilt he feels as the sole survivor of the crash that killed his parents. That changes when he meets bookishly handsome Sean Malloy. There's a spark between the two men, but both must face down their own private demons to find love in the Irish enclave of South Boston.
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Midnight at the Orpheus

By Alyssa Linn Palmer

Good girls/Bad girls
Gangsters
Police / Cops
Financial gap/Class disparity
Holidays |
Big City

Chicago, the Roaring Twenties. Cecilia Mills is new to town and struggling to survive. Her world is turned upside down when she falls for gangster Franky Greco's moll Nell Prescott. Working at The Orpheus dance hall thanks to Nell, Cecilia becomes known as CeeCee and rubs elbows with gangsters and the city's elite, and she and Nell hide their affair from Greco.

Patrick Sheridan is fresh out of prison and bent on revenge, with Greco in the crosshairs. He gets a job as CeeCee's bodyguard, and despite her infatuation with Nell, love blossoms between CeeCee and Sheridan. When Sheridan sees his chance, thanks to a disillusioned cop seeking his own revenge, he must choose where his loyalties lie as CeeCee and Nell are caught in the middle.

Menage m/f/f.

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Puppet Boy

By Christian Baines

Psychological Thriller
Actors/Artists
International Setting
Rivals
Big City

A school in turmoil over its senior play, a sly career as a teenage gigolo, an unpredictable girlfriend with damage of her own, and a dangerous housebreaker tied up downstairs. Any of these would make a great plot for budding filmmaker Eric's first movie.

Unfortunately, they're his real life.

When Julien, a handsome wannabe actor, transfers to Eric's class, he's a distraction, a rival, and one complication too many. Yet Eric can't stop thinking about him. Helped by Eric's girlfriend, Mary, they embark on a project that dangerously crosses the line between filmmaking and reality. As the boys become close, Eric soon wants to cross other lines entirely. Does Julien feel the same way, or is Eric being used on the gleefully twisted path to fame?

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Breaking Up Point

By Brian McNamara

Young Adult

Brendan Madden is starting his freshman year of college and, although excited, he is sad to say good-bye to his high school boyfriend, Mark. After a rough transition, Brendan carves out a place for himself at school, where he has new friends and newfound independence. With the added strain of distance, however, he now finds it hard to maintain his relationship with Mark, especially due to the fact that Mark still must hide the relationship from most of his friends. Brendan's college life allows him to be open and honest about who he is. He debates whether he is willing to compromise this for Mark, especially since staying in the relationship means forgoing the possibility of finding new romance at college.

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Don't Kiss the Vicar

By Charlie Cochrane

Small Town Romances

Vicar Dan Miller is firmly in the closet in his new parish. Could the inhabitants of a sedate Hampshire village ever accept a gay priest? Trickier than that, how can he hide his attraction for one of his flock, Steve Dexter?

Encouraged by his ex-partner to seize the day, Dan determines to tell Steve how he feels, only to discover that Steve's been getting poison pen letters and suspicion falls on his fellow parishioners. When compassion leads to passion, they have to conceal their budding relationship, but the arrival of more letters sends Dan scuttling back into the closet.

Can they run the letter writer to ground? More importantly, can they patch up their romance and will Steve ever get to kiss the vicar again?

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The Orion Mask

By Greg Herren

Psychological Thriller
New Orleans 
Amateur Sleuths
Virgins/First Love
Homecoming

Heath Brandon's mother died when he was barely three years old. His father never spoke about her, or her family. So when her family reaches out to him after his father's death, Heath decides to make the trip to Louisiana to get to know the only family he has left.But he soon learns that there was a lot more to his mother's death than he ever knew"...and the beautiful old mansion on the Mississippi River has many secrets, secrets someone would kill to protect.And the key to everything that happened when he was a child just might be hidden in his own memory"...

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