Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Santino Hassell, Karen Stivali, and Damon Suede for stopping by today. Title: NYCDreamer Tour
Author: Santino Hassell, Karen Stivali, and Damon Suede
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction
MOMENT OF SILENCE (Moments In Time, #4)
(A standalone novel from the Moments In Time series)
Blurb: Growing up, Jason Stern led a charmed life complete with devoted sisters, a father who was one of Brooklyn’s most respected rabbis, and a mother who made the world’s best babka. He headed to NYU ready for anything—except falling for the wrong guy, coming out, and getting disowned by his once-loving family. In spite of that, Jason managed to graduate with honors. He’s got friends who treat him like family, and he’s proudly running the largest LGBTQ teen shelter in Manhattan. Life is good, but he’s still falling for the wrong men.
When charming, sexy Quinn Fitzpatrick begins work at the shelter, Jason falls hard and fast. Quinn is tall, blond, funny—damn near perfect. Only if Quinn’s gay, even he doesn’t seem to know it. If he does, he’s not telling anyone. And he’s about one ceremony away from becoming a Catholic priest.
Long hours of work turn to long nights of talking and laughter, and Jason dares to hope this time he’s falling for the right guy. But Quinn’s got a past to deal with and major decisions to make about his future. When Quinn leaves for a silent retreat, Jason knows the silence may change everything.
Dreamspinner Press: December 18, 2015
Cover Artist Anna Sikorska
A Five Boroughs Story Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend, so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.
David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation, since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.
Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7159
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1LyvRfi
Cover Artist Paul Richmond
Cover Model Juan Forgia
Cover Photo Credit Mel Seser Photography
Pent Up: mix business with pleasure and take cover.
Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns personal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.
Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?
What’s a bulletcatcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart. Dreamspinner Press, 20 November 2015
When you live in NYC the city becomes a part of you that you never really lose. Once a New Yorker. Always a New Yorker.
1. How long have you/did you live in NYC?
Karen: I lived in Manhattan a total of roughly seven years (born there then returned for college and the years immediately thereafter). But if you count the New York/Tri-state area (Long Island and various parts of New Jersey)…around eighteen years. Even in the time I lived in Ohio (third through eighth grade) we returned to New York often to visit relatives. Until I moved to New Hampshire a decade ago, NYC was a very regular part of my life even when I wasn’t living directly in the city.
Santino: I grew up in NYC and lived there until this past year. Growing up in the city is a really different experience. I’ve always known New Yorkers have a strong culture, but it didn’t hit me how different it is until I moved. That’s partially what inspired me to write the Five Boroughs series. I didn’t just want to write a series of books set in New York. I wanted to write about New Yorkers.
Damon: I’ve lived here for twenty-eight years, with a brief sojourn in London in my early twenties. My senior year I did an internship here for a couple months on Broadway and then I moved to New York directly after graduation to come to Columbia. I’d grown up coming here with my family on buying trips, seeing shows, shopping schlock, and gorging at tourist haunts…but I’ve always known I was a New Yorker.
2. Where in NY have you lived?
Karen: I was born in midtown Manhattan and lived there until I was two, then lived on Long Island until I was seven, then spent six years exiled to Ohio then New Jersey (with frequent trips back to Long Island and Brooklyn to visit grandparents), then I went to college at NYU and lived in both the East Village and West Village during those four years and a few years after. The Village and the SoHo area is the part of the city that feels like home to me. That’s why when I write books based in New York they usually take place in downtown Manhattan. MOMENT OF SILENCE takes place in the exact area of the East Village where I used to live and one of the characters even went to NYU.
Santino: I’ve lived in Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, the Upper East Side, Hell’s Kitchen, the East Village, South Jamaica, Woodside, Staten Island… I was sort of transient in my early twenties. It’s part of the reason why I’ve been targeting different neighborhoods in the Five Boroughs series.
A lot of people see NYC on TV and just think it’s all Manhattan, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There’s SO many neighborhoods in the city, and they all have their unique characteristics. Shit, they even have their own accents. An Italian guy from Staten Island sounds way different than an Irish guy from Rockaway, and neither of them are going to sound like a guy who grew up on the Upper East Side.
Damon: Easier to say where I haven’t lived! I lived up in Morningside Heights and Harlem when I was in college, with brief sojourns around the Upper West Side in the summers subletting so I could stay here even when school was done. I graduated in three years and moved down to Greenwich Village. I ended up going to London to do a play, and then that turned into other jobs, but when I moved back I took an apartment in Alphabet City in the East Village. And then to Soho. And then a crazy loft on the Bowery. Then I fell in love and moved to the Upper East Side to a swanky high-rise apartment; from there my boyfriend and I took a beautiful Stanford White townhouse which was gorgeous and also taught me all the reasons I never want to live in a landmarked building again. I dumped him for many critical reasons and moved to Brooklyn to get my head back together with my Girl Friday; we were in Cobble Hill, then Red Hook, then Brooklyn Heights. Finally I bought my loft dead center in the heart of lower midtown, at the crease between the fashion district and Gramercy… And please understand, In all those locations, I’m not even counting exes’ personal apartments which I didn’t find and move into completely.
3. What is your best memory of the city?
Santino: This may be the most boring response ever, but my favorite memory of the city is New York in the fall. A few years ago when I was in undergrad, I’d been really stressed out so I blew off all my responsibilities for the day and decided to go for a walk. If you live in New York, walking is one of your primary modes of getting around besides the subway, so my version of a walk was pretty far. I walked all through Central Park, then down fifth avenue and into Greenwich Village to Washington Square Park. When I got there, I just hung out and people watched. And if you’ve ever been to Washington Square Park, especially a decade or more ago, you know it’s a pretty interesting place to watch people.
There are a lot of other responses I could have had to this question but honestly those simple, quiet moments are what I miss the most. And part of it is because I took them for granted at the time. When writing about New York, I try to capture those moments.
Karen: I don’t think Santino’s answer was boring at all. I completely agree. I have a hard time answering “best” questions. I’m sure that says something about me, but I’m not sure what it is. One of my favorite New York memories is something that happened more than once when I lived there. I’m a night owl so I love the whole city-never-sleeps aspect of New York because I rarely sleep, and when I do it’s more likely during the day. (Yes, I’m cold all the time and super pale and yes, I’ve heard all the vampire jokes, but feel free to make more, they amuse me.) Of all my late night walks, my favorites were on the nights it snowed.
There are few things that will empty a city street faster than a few flakes falling from the sky, so on snowy nights I’d bundle up (which back then meant two pairs of leggings, or tights without holes in them, and maybe an extra sweater over my other sweater, under my leather biker jacket—all black, of course) and I’d head out into the night. Often times I was the only person wandering around and I loved everything about it. The crunch of the fresh snow under my boots. The single set of footprints left behind. The way the dusting of snow made everything sparkle as if it was raining diamonds instead of ice. The gusty white swirls around the street lights whenever the wind blew. The way everything looked clean and white and glittery, no matter how dark and dingy it was underneath. My boyfriend at the time thought I was nuts so he never came with me on these walks and my roommates never had any interest either. I didn’t mind. It was like having a different version of the city all to myself for a little while.
I’ve given NYC nights like this to characters in several of my books, but two of my favorites are in MOMENT OF CLARITY and MOMENT OF SILENCE from the Moments in Time series—quiet moments that out-of-towners probably wouldn’t associate with the city, but that New Yorkers know are the best moments to be there.
Damon: I don’t know about best, but I can think of one stunner. The first time I saw Columbia University was a Sunday morning after a blizzard and I learned all of Manhattan on that one day. I’d arrived on Saturday night from Texas (at a time when snow was almost mythical and cold weather nonexistent). I’d gotten accepted early to Columbia and wanted to look around the campus because I was so excited. I was 16 and on a mission, so at six a.m. while it was still dark, I pulled on cowboy boots and took the subway up to 116th street and the campus was SILENT and perfectly, seamlessly white like a giant Enlightenment wedding cake under two feet of perfect snow. For three hours I explored every inch, leaving these cowboy bootprints behind me like an illustration in a children’s book. I was so excited and triumphant at having made my way to NYC finally that I decided to walk from Columbia down to the southern Tip of the island…and I did. One long saunter down Broadway when the streets were almost empty and freshly plowed. That morning I learned how all the neighborhoods fit together, chatted with locals, and saw Manhattan at its most gorgeous.
4. Least favorite memory?
Karen: I thought about this question a really long time because it’s not like there aren’t other memories to choose from that were painful or awful, but when it comes to worst/least favorite the answer was, is and always will be 9/11, even though I wasn’t living in NYC when it happened. I lived in New Jersey at the time and I was a new mom attempting to adjust to suburbia. But I lived close enough that I smelled the smoke for a solid week. I had friends and relatives who lived and worked in the neighborhood who I couldn’t get a hold of for long enough to thoroughly scare the hell out of me. I knew people whose spouses died in the towers. I knew people who watched from close enough they returned home covered in soot and ash.
When I lived in NYC I lived downtown and the World Trade Towers were like a compass. I’d look to see where they were to navigate my way home when I’d lost track of what street I was on or got myself turned around in an unfamiliar neighborhood or after one too many drinks. So many people lost so much more than me that day that it feels wrong to even talk about my own sense of loss, because it simply doesn’t compare. But I do know that day, that moment, the aftermath all had a slightly different meaning to people who identified as New Yorkers, past or present. It will always be my least favorite NYC memory.
Santino: Like Karen, it would definitely be 9/11. The city had been through many bad times, but that day left a scar on NYC that still isn’t fully healed today. So much tragedy and hatred has stemmed from the attacks that certain things will never be the same. Sometimes I want to write about it, or characters who were affected by it, but it still feels “too soon” for me.
Damon: Yeah, I’m gonna point to 9/11 as well. That was such a horrific time and even now people flinch at the mention. Not for nothing. My first book was about that for a reason; I knew so many people in the FDNY and felt so compelled to find some kind of hope in all that wreckage. At the same time, the tragedy at the World Trade Center also brought New Yorkers (and the world) together was magnificent…a nasty bitch slap that reminded us how fragile and precious hope is. Like flowers pushing out of the floor of a burned forest.
5. What drives you crazy about it?
Santino: Gentrification. I could just leave it there because that word says it all, but I’ll go on.
I don’t think… out-of-towners and new transplants to the city fully understand how different it is today compared to a decade or two decades or three decades ago. Everyone talks about how diverse New York City is, and that’s true, but it’s also very divided. And as rent prices go up, people get pushed out of neighborhoods they’d called home for years, and they’re replaced by people who can afford to pay almost 2k for a two bedroom apartment (in Manhattan, you’re looking at over 3k). Everyone talks about how great change is and how New York City is always evolving, but sometimes that’s not for the better.
There’s an element of this in SUNSET PARK because Raymond and David are apartment hunting, and they start talking prices and the dynamic of the neighborhood. The landlord is arguing that the neighborhood hasn’t changed that much in recent years but Nunzio, who’s with them, argues that turning a former warehouse into a vegan haven is one of the biggest symbols of change. Once you start having restaurants that are too expensive for the people who have lived there for generations to eat in, you know the big G is coming for you.
Karen: What Santino said is completely true. Neighborhoods can change dramatically and if you lived there of hung out there and it becomes something completely different, it’s…jarring.
As for personal things that drive me crazy about the city? If I’m driving, the traffic. Even in my daredevil youth when I used to fearlessly zip in and out of a sea of crazy cabbies and city busses, driving in the city made me tense. Now that I’m used to driving in New Hampshire? Forget about it. I spend the drive like this O.O clutching the steering wheel and making sounds that should be reserved for frightened cartoon squirrels. If I’m walking, the cars and traffic don’t bother me at all.
My New Yorker past comes back in a flash and I jaywalk without a second thought. What bothers me when I’m walking are the smells. While there are some things in New York City that smell fantastic (pizza, bakeries, street vendors selling all sorts of wonderfully aromatic treats) there are also far less pleasant scents and they can change every few steps even on a single block. I’m a very odor-sensitive person and there are times when that sort of sensory overload can leave me feeling overwhelmed.
Damon: The theme parking of New York™ makes me want to commit felonies. Probably because I live in the heart of midtown and I see the damage up close. I understand why it helps tourism. I grok the benefits to companies’ bottom line. I can see why it’s better in most ways than the days when Times Square meant porn theatres and petty crime. And yet… the rude American tourist isn’t a myth. The slick prettification of Manhattan has attracted a very specific species of visitor who wants to eat at Applebee’s for every meal in any city, who demands that businesses run by a midwestern clock, that loathes people who look/sound/eat/dress differently. That kind of bland myopia drives me up a wall. At this point NYC has effectively turned Midtown into a big rumpus room with bright colors and padded corners. When I travel I want adventures off-piste, I want to eat local. I don’t treat a location like a giant, anodyne theme park. For anyone who hasn’t visited or who might want to, I’ll urge them to step outside the pleasure dome, because that slicko, tack-o Big Apple™ theme park has none of the bite and flavor of the real city.
8. What does NYC mean to you?
Karen: NYC is like a relative to me. It’s been a part of my life literally from the day I was born (since I was born there) and it’s a part of my life now even though I haven’t lived there for many, many years. Just like a relative, I love the city even when I hate it or it’s making me crazy. I can bitch about it, but I’ll defend it to anyone else who does. I have awesome memories of New York—falling in love, getting hired for a great job, seeing amazing bands before they hit it big—and awful memories of New York—screaming breakups on the street at 2am, getting sexually harassed out of a not-so-great job, getting lost in a really bad neighborhood alone at night with no money for a taxi or even a subway. All of those memories combine to make me who I am and the city feels like a living, breathing part of those memories in a way that’s unlike anywhere else I’ve ever lived.
Jason, the point of view character in MOMENT OF SILENCE, definitely understands this concept. He grew up in Brooklyn as the son of a prominent rabbi, in a very close-knit family. His idea of moving away from home was heading off to NYU which, if you’re not familiar with your NYC geography, is only a subway ride away. When he comes out, his father cuts him off and all family contact ceases. To cope, Jason takes control of his future, works his way through school, graduates with honors and devotes all his time to an LGBT teen shelter in the East Village—the area he’s considered home since his family turned him away. He’s also avoided everything—from foods that remind him of his childhood to holiday celebrations—for three years. And he hasn’t set foot in Brooklyn either. Brooklyn is like the ghost of his past and when circumstances bring Jason’s family back into his life, he has to deal with the memories and locations just as much as he has to come to terms with the people involved.
Santino: New York City is part of me. I don’t think I’d be the same person had I grown up elsewhere. I know I wouldn’t be the same person. I wouldn’t have met or loved or fucked the way I have in the past. All of those colorful amazing and strange experiences would be gone. I don’t know who I would be. Not the guy who once slept in Tompkins Square Park for weeks at a time. Not the guy who used to frequent The Elk on 42nd Street and stay in a 6×6 room with four friends because we had nowhere else to go to get high. Not the guy who went from being aimless and transient to an educated professional after being inspired by Teaching Fellows signs in the subway. And I’m not even sure that I’d be the same writer.
Damon: She’s one of my most powerful muses. New York has been seducing me since I was a very young man. The first time I visited, I knew I belonged here and I spent my entire childhood plotting and working to make my escape from Texas so I could let NYC work its wiles on me. And even now after living here for nearly thirty years, I feel like the layers keep peeling back, like it keeps shifting and evolving under my clumsy hands. I started trying to get my ass to Manhattan from the age of seven.
I remember when I finally arrived here for good, when I had my first apartment in the city and I was about to start college, I flew into LaGuardia (ick! don’t ever!). I came over the bridge and the whole city was laid out like a beautiful woman in a spangled dress smiling gently, just as raunchy and radiant as I could have hoped . Every time I come home that’s the way I see the city, she’s my anima mundi–the soul of my world calling me home so she can kick my ass and punch holes in the roof of my skull to let the starlight in.
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About the Authors
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter. Karen’s lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life. When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so don’t hesitate to contact/follow/like her at:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenstivali/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenStivaliAuthor/ Website: http://karenstivali.com/ Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/karenstivali/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/KarenStivali/ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org/
Santino is a writer of queer romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
Find Santino: Website (www.santinohassell.com) Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/santinohassellbooks) Newsletter (http://santinohassell.com/newsletter/) Twitter (https://twitter.com/SantinoHassell) Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/santino_hassell) Amazon (amazon.com/author/santinohassell)
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Having lived all over, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter.
Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been a full-time writer for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He has won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.
30 November: Prism Book Alliance
30 November: The Novel Approach
1 December: FB Party (with 8 authors)
3 December: Guilty Pleasures?
4 December: Love Bytes Reviews
9 December: Joyfully Jay
11 December: Ever After
14 December: Heroes & Heartbreakers
17 December: FB NYC party
21 December: Scandalicious Book Blog
28 December: Sinfully Sexy…
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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