STYGIAN in 5 mini excerpts by Santino Hassell – plus a giveaway!

STYGIAN is the title of my newest release but it’s also the name of a band made up of moody tattooed rockers. They drive from Houston, TX to Logansport, LA for a summer music retreat and have big plans to write their sophomore album—the album that will finally get them signed. Except it doesn’t turn out that way.

They’re too busy bickering:

Sometimes Jeremy couldn’t decide if Kennedy was part of his problem with the band. Watts was a douche, but Kennedy was a complete enigma. He was an untouchable brooding mass of simmering discontent, but strangely accessible when he was trying to be helpful. Unfortunately, it wasn’t pity or guidance that Jeremy wanted. The very notion ratcheted his frustration up to unmanageable levels.


Jeremy switched to pressing the bottle against his neck and quit staring at the hard lines of Kennedy’s torso. “Where the hell is Watts, anyway? I thought the people who own this place were supposed to live nearby.” 

“It doesn’t look like anyone lives nearby. He’s probably fucking Quince in the woods so he can feel like he’s roughing it.”

Or stewing in sexual tension because they haven’t banged yet:

“Don’t start this,” Kennedy whispered. 

Jeremy spread his thighs wide enough for his hamstrings to burn, but it was nothing compared to the pressure of Kennedy’s erection pushing against his own. 

“You want me to start it.”

But the guys DO manage to play some music between the interpersonal issues and the looming mystery of the Caroway mansion:

Music flooded his ears— odes to punk rock and Fuck Authority, melodic ballads about loneliness and numbing pain, and, of course, Caroline. By the time they reached their peak, the kids from Shreveport were on fire with enthusiasm. They pogoed like it was a real show, sneakered feet crashing into ancient wood, and went nuts when Watts’s spine curled toward their tiny audience, voice gone low with agony. 

By the time they finished, Jeremy had stripped off his shirt and was buzzed on the excitement from playing a solid set just as much as from the liver-punishing mix of alcohol. He staggered from behind his kit to the feel of hands slapping him on the back and several voices blending together in a cloud of admiration. Amy rushed over to him with a wide smile, crying out with excitement, but he reared away. He was too drunk to come up with an excuse and instead sought out the sweat-slick shine of Kennedy’s tattoos.

Unfortunately, that mystery leads to the unlocking of darker secrets than they imagined:

Hunter smiled, and Jeremy’s stomach flipped. He was often surrounded by gorgeous men in the music scene, but his body responded differently to Hunter. Jeremy found himself taking a step closer, then another, until he was crossing the boundaries of personal space. 

“You just have to keep an eye out.” 

“Anything else I need to look out for?”

 “No. Not in the woods.” 

“So I do in the house? I heard it was haunted.” 

The smile froze on Hunter’s face. “Who did you hear that from?” 

“Some kids in town.” Jeremy wrestled with the desire to say more and eventually added, “And a feeling I get.” 

“A feeling?” 

“Yeah.” Jeremy gestured in a vague direction since he’d already forgotten the route he’d taken to the river. “I get weird vibes from the sealed-off wing.” 

He expected Hunter to refute the story, to cocoon him in reassurance the way any other landlord would, but Hunter just looked at him quietly as they stood in the silent golden-green haze of the woods.


2015NewAbout the Book

Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.

Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music, but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.

Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroways’ secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

Find Stygian on: 

Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads | Dreamspinner Press

2015NewAbout the author

SH headshot-circle
Santino Hassell says that while New York City is his heart, writing is his soul. He writes LGBTQ romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of NYC, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Find Santino:

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Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Aspect of Winter by Tom Early


22930117Title: Aspect of Winter

Author: Tom Early

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Cover Artist: Sadie Thompson

Length: 260 pages

Release Date: October 15, 2015

Blurb: It’s hard enough being gay in high school, but Fay must also deal with hiding his magical ability—powers he barely understands and cannot possibly reveal. His best friend Sam is his only confidante, and even with her help, Fay’s life is barely tolerable.

Everything changes when Janus University, a college for individuals with magical capabilities, discovers the pair. When the university sends a student to test them, Fay and Sam, along with their classmate Tyler, are catapulted headfirst into a world of unimaginable danger and magic. Fay and Tyler begin to see each other as more than friends while they prepare for the Trials, the university’s deadly acceptance process. For the first time, the three friends experience firsthand how wonderful and terrible a world with magic can be, especially when the source of Fay’s power turns out to be far deadlier than anyone imagined.


The fire suddenly roared back up again, the flames tinged an eerie purple. A keening noise filled the air, coming from the portal. The air became charged with energy as something began to force the portal to open wider. With a final sigh it complied, the jagged crack of light spreading to around twenty feet wide and opening up even farther.

It happened all at once. Screams of rage and fury filled the air as thousands, and I do mean thousands, of vaguely human-shaped clouds with glimmering yellow lights for eyes flew out of the portal, forming a hurricane of spirits around us. The air was filled with them, and their hatred was so intense that we all cowered slightly. They kept flying counter-clockwise around us at dizzying speeds, until it seemed like we were surrounded on all sides by a swirling gray wall, interspersed with pinpoints of yellow light. Then they separated, rocketing off in every direction, leaving smoke and ash to fill the air.

Pulses of white light began to flare up as the Sluagh Sidhé, the dark spirits of Irish lore, slammed themselves into the candlelight protecting the graves. Some of them vanished as they were pulled into the mirrors, but most of them flew through the few trees dotting the graveyard, flying too high to be caught. We breathed a collective sigh of relief as no corpses rose. We hadn’t missed anything, thankfully. The spirits weren’t relenting, however, and the air was already beginning to thicken.

“Sam!” I shouted. “I don’t think the mirror trick is going to work for these guys! They aren’t taking the bait! What was the other weakness that the Baí Zé said they had?”

“It was light, Fay! Really powerful light, enough to affect the souls of the dead!”

Sam muttered a few words, and a Light orb began to circle around her, keeping the Sluagh Sidhé at bay, and I did the same. Tyler stuck close to my side, protected by the pale light surrounding us.

Then the redcaps arrived en masse. Dozens of diminutive creatures, similar in appearance to the clurichaun save for their bloodred hats, ran through the portal, each clutching a wickedly sharp bone sickle. They were grinning wildly, and their serrated teeth gleamed.

“Sam!” I shouted. “We need to act, now!”

I gritted my teeth and pulled out a few of the ice diamonds that I hadn’t laid out in front of the bonfire, and dropped them on the ground as the redcaps approached. I focused hard and the ice began to run like water, gathering around our feet and rising. Soon we were all wearing small boots of ice, except for the soles. Hopefully it would provide some small protection against getting our tendons sliced open by those sickles.

A second later they were on us. Tyler had backed away rapidly and was leading a few of the bloodthirsty creatures to the side.

Sam had… whoa. Her own shield was up and ready. Sam had modified the Minor Orb spell again. She had conjured her five orbs and sent them rotating helically around her body, almost too fast for me to see them. In the second before the redcaps forced me to pay attention to my own fight, I watched as the first one to get too close to her was just blasted to one side with incredible force. A few of the Sluagh Sidhé flying through the air were pushed aside from the wind her orbs were generating as well.

“Inertia, bitches!” Sam screamed victoriously. Sweat was pouring down her brow from the effort, though. She wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long.


Harmony Ink Press

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Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day.

When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now.


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Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Coming Back Home by April Kelley



ComingBackHomeFSTitle: Coming Back Home

Series: Pickelville

Author: April Kelley

Publisher: Extasy Books

Cover Artist: Carmen Waters

Length: 31,435 words

Release Date: October 15, 2015

Blurb: One huge fight changed Seth’s life forever.

Seth Murray just might be the most stubborn man on the face of this plant. He refused to move back to Pickleville because of one fight with his father. That is until he gets a call saying that his dad has passed away suddenly. The first person Seth thinks about is the one man he gave up because of his stubborn pride. Five years ago, all Seth wanted was to be with Carter. Now he doesn’t know what he wants. And Carter has his own life. One that Seth certainly didn’t see coming when he finally reconnects with the man again. One that revolves around a certain blonde haired, blue-eyed little girl that completely melts Seth’s heart the minute he meets her.


Seth knew Carter saw him. How could he not. Carter walked right passed him into the horse barn like Seth had been invisible. Seth followed him in and stood there for a second watching Carter go into the tack room. Seth followed him in and then closed the door after him, plunging them both into darkness.

“Open the door, Seth.”


“Then at least turn on the light.”

“No, I like it this way.” It made the conversation they needed to have that much easier. Still scared the crap out of him though, not that he would be admitting that anytime soon to anyone.


“I’ll turn on the light when you tell me what your problem is.”

“I don’t have a problem. Now, turn on the light before you trip over something.”

“Right, like you’re really worried about my wellbeing at the moment.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Well, it’s a little too late for that, now isn’t it?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the way you’ve been treating me. Like I have the damn plague or something.”

He heard Carter sigh. “Seth, please. Just open the door so I can do my job.”

“The sooner you tell me what your problem is, the sooner I let you out.”

“I can physically remove you from in front of that door.”

Seth narrowed his eyes. Logically, he knew Carter couldn’t see him, but he didn’t care at the moment. Seth didn’t say anything. The more he talked the more Carter wanted to argue about everything, but the real problem. Instead, he decided to wait Carter out.

Carter growled in frustration. “Fine. You want to know why I’m so fucking pissed off then I’ll tell you. You come back here and invade my life as if you never fucking left me in the first place. I needed you and you weren’t here. I couldn’t even call you, Seth. You changed your number and never told me what it was. And now you’re making my daughter need you too. You’ll just leave now, right, because I just made things harder for you. Put some emotion to it. Isn’t that what you do, leave when things get too emotional?”

Seth could feel some of that anger leave him, then. “That’s not fair, Carter. You knew where I lived. You never called me or came to visit. The road goes both ways, you know. Plus, which one of us left when things got to emotional? For years you’ve pushed me away whenever you started feeling something bigger than just like and now you’re putting that shit on me. I don’t think so.”


eXtasy Books


Living in Southwest Michigan, April resides with her husband and two kids. She has been an avid reader for several years. Writing her first story at the age of ten, the characters in her head still won’t stop telling their stories. If April isn’t reading or writing she can be found outside playing with the animals or taking a long walk in the woods.

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