Dustin Reviews: Tomfoolery by Lou Harper

Ben Hammond is a nerdy computer programmer with a yen for anime, comic books, and the handsome stranger he keeps seeing at the coffee shop. As he’s working up the nerve to ask the guy out, he has no idea that getting his man is only half the story.

Ben, the lead in Lou Harper‘s Tomfoolery is a likable character, I connected with him right off the bat. Maybe I was drawn to his low level of self confidence, something all of us deal with at some point(s) in our lives. I’m not a “cat” person, but his adopted feline companion was adorable. I can’t say much else or I’ll give the story away. Let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for the story to take such a surprise turn/twist. The short story ended much too soon, I wanted more – guess that’s a mark of good story telling.

3 out of 5 stars.


Dustin Reviews: Swept Up In Blue by Pender Mackie

Swept Up In Blue by Pender Mackie is a tale about Tait and Jude, who work at the same company but had not met each other until one evening at a company gathering. Tait is a believable character as he justifies both his desire to meet the man (Jude) who sits only a short distance away, and his fear of getting involved in yet another office romance. A cute short read.

3 out of 5 stars.

Dustin Reviews: Bear, Otter & the Kid by T.J. Klune

T.J. Klune‘s Bear, Otter & the Kid was definitely one of the most engaging stories I’ve read in a while.

“Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world… something or someone.”

Once the cover was cracked open I was drawn into an emotional adventure that I didn’t want to put down. I laughed, I cried, I’d laugh again, and then encounter another bout of waterworks. Real and believable characters came to life and jumped right off the typed pages. The fast paced story unfolded with emotions that tugged on the ol’ heart strings and tickled the funny bone. It doesn’t come off “sappy” or “saccharin” sweet in any form or fashion. The read felt like a comfortable merger of “After School Special” and a “Hallmark” movie combined into a delightfully entertaining story. I was disappointed in the Epilogue, I felt the switch to Otter’s POV to close out the story was a let down. I would have preferred that Bear had wrapped up his own story. I craved one final teary moment in a touching HEA ending to have been told in Bear’s unique expressive style.

4+ out of 5 stars.

Author William Neale Passes

 On Tuesday March 13, 2012 the Gay Literature world lost one of it’s contemporary authors: William Neale (born: William Fullerton). His seven romance novels were published by MLR Press. Although I had not had the pleasure to have met William in person, I felt as if I knew him from reading several of his works. It’s surprising how we as readers connect with an author through their writing, even though we may never meet face to face. We have shared intimate thoughts and emotions through their writing and feel a personal connection with the author.

According to information gleaned from various online discussion boards, William’s partner Marty Walters, granted permission to MLR Press to edit and publish William’s recently completed (unpublished) novel.

FULLINGTON W I L L I A M FULLINGTON, 55, of Cleveland, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, March 13. Bill is survived by Marty Walters, his devoted partner of many years. He is the loving son of Nell Easley Fullington and the late William J. Fullington. He is also survived by brothers, Mark (Debbie) and Tim; many nieces and nephews; and a circle of loving friends. Bill was President of Fullington Services and former Vice President of Marketing Services at the Richard E. Jacobs Group. A memorial to celebrate Bill’s life will take place at the Ballroom at Park Lane Villa, 10510 Park Lane in University Circle on Saturday, March 24, 2012, from 3-6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Cleveland Animal Protective League or the charity of their choice

Published in The Plain Dealer from March 17 to March 24, 2012 )

Somewhere Only We Know

Grayson Wagner is a classical pianist who was unemployed, hungry, and on the brink of being homeless until he’s hired by a big-hearted former country music star as her new piano player. Gray loves his job but his new life is threatened when a near fatal accident delivers him into the brawny arms of Jacob Kent, a reclusive park ranger. Their physical attraction quickly turns into much more. But can their love survive Jacob’s secret? Or, a shocking revelation that threatens to tear down the very house that love built?

Always Faithful

When Cade and Mark said their vows it was for always and forever. But that was before Mark entered the Marine Corps and before Cade enrolled in college. Four years later, with Mark’s impending discharge and Cade’s graduation, they’re seemingly ready to finally have a long-awaited life together. Their hot and passionate attraction to each other remains as strong as ever. But their long separation has changed both men. And even the strongest of marriages can be threatened by temptation, suspicion, and broken promises. Can their love survive? Or, will they discover that “always” does not always mean faithful?

Christmasing With You

Andrew Bastion lost his partner to a violent and senseless criminal act. Devastated and all alone, he questioned how he would ever get through his first Christmas season without the husband he so loved. But when Drew’s best friend convinces him to “find people who need help and help them,” he finally begins to focus on something other than his own grief. And to his great surprise, he meets the one man with the ability to help heal his broken heart. Christmasing With You is a shamelessly heartwarming, upbeat holiday story that will require tissues, smiles, a box of good chocolates, and the willingness to believe that Christmas miracles really happen.

Son Of A Ditch

Book Two in the HOME Series.

Colby Dawson returns to his southern hometown after serving his country in the U.S. Air Force. Emotionally scarred by a broken relationship, the last thing he wants is another man in his life. But he doesn’t count on falling in love with childhood best friend, Kyle McCoy, now a local deputy sheriff. Their relationship seems almost too charmed until a corrupt governor attempts to locate a state prison next door to Colby’s family home. His prominent father and brothers organize an illegal protest effort that will force Colby to choose between loyalty to his family — or to the partner and lover who may have to arrest them. Not only is Colby and Kyle’s relationship in jeopardy, one of them will fight for his very life while the other must confront his guilt.

A New Normal

Former Marine Corps Major Jake Vincenzo had a plan. He was convinced that his son Mark and his long-time best friend Cade were in love but just didn’t know it. Forced for years to hide his own gayness because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Jake had kept a secret getaway – a remote mountain cabin where he now intended to play matchmaker for the two nineteen year-olds. What he didn’t count on was falling in love with Cade. How will the three navigate the minefields of potential hurt, jealousy and even betrayal? How will father and son maintain their close relationship without viewing each other as rivals? And how will Cade manage not only accepting being gay but also being in love with the two most important men in his life? For the three, it means redefining everything each had thought was normal. Two will live happily ever after. One will go on with a broken heart. And all must recognize that life will never be the same again – that it now means finding a new normal.


Lucas Reed is a big city advertising executive who must return to his small southern hometown after the death of his estranged father. There, he unexpectedly encounters Rogan James, the boy – now man – who had cruelly taunted him throughout high school with insults and accusations that Lucas was gay. Rogan had been the school’s star football player and the dream date of every girl. But deep inside his handsome stud jock persona, he held a closely guarded secret: his own strong attraction to Lucas. Now reacquainted 12 years later, the two finally acknowledge a powerful physical attraction that quickly evolves into an even stronger emotional connection. But their plans come crashing down when they are outed in the local newspaper by an unscrupulous reporter. And Rogan, as the town’s popular deputy chief of police, stands to lose his job, his reputation, his friends, and even his family’s acceptance. But all this becomes secondary when they discover that another man’s deranged obsession for Rogan is a serious threat. Together, they face a crisis that could mean the end of not only their newly found love, but their very lives.

Got Your Back

Dave Durand was used to meeting men at the local clubs and bars. But all he had to show in his search for love was a steady string of shallow losers and superficial players. Time for an intervention. Enter Grady, his acerbic and protective terrier whose self-appointed “job” is saving Dave from himself. This whimsical and heart-warming short story celebrates the love between a dog and his man. And, the dog’s humorous telepathic efforts to finally land Dave the one “keeper” he deserves.

Dustin Reviews: Goodmans Hotel by Alan Keslian

Mark gives up the high stake corporate life for an uncertain entrepreneurial adventure into a world that he is hesitant at first to embrace. But along the way, he learns lessons in human nature, trust and most of all family. Unknown to Mark, his life is being quietly directed by Andrew, an older gay man that Mark befriends. Andrew not only establishes the “family” he had always wanted, but also a “family” and a new life for Mark.

An interesting read into emotions and the effects of decisions we make and how each decision can effect not only our own life, but of those around us.

I give Alan Keslian‘s Goodmans Hotel a solid 4 stars, it’s a shining example of what I consider to be true Gay Lit. This story is a far cry from being just another shallow read.

4 out of 5 stars.