excerpt: Albert J Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect

An excerpt from the story The Rending of Cloth (New York City, October 1952). The child Albert grieves for his murdered parents.

Microsoft Office clipartAlbert’s early childhood was mostly vague impressions. The love between his parents, and their love for Albert, was strong and constant and inviolate. But none of them were ever very demonstrative, there were never any displays of sentiment. The love was simply there as the foundation of everything they did, all the choices they made, the way they kept company only with each other, the scrupulous care taken to ensure that Albert had everything he needed to grow into everything he could be.

There were hazy moments he could remember. Albert, curled up in his father’s lap, listening to Rebecca’s calm voice tell the story of an old friend, long dead; Miles as rapt as the boy. The three of them being polite at some obscure relative’s after­noon tea, then mischievously sharing their boredom with each other through grimaces and raised eye­brows behind the woman’s back – they had gone home and read all evening, happy in their shared silence. Both of his parents a little giddy, someone having talked them into a fine restaurant on their twelfth wedding anniversary, dressing in their usual dull clothes – but Miles had bought Rebecca a silk scarf. The dark green of it picked out the reddish tint to her brown hair, which she left loose for once. Her eyes had glowed.

Late that night, she clutched the scarf in her dead hand and wouldn’t let it go.

Continue reading excerpt: Albert J Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

The Valley of the Shadow of Death ebook coverBlurb: Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common; yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against important crime figure Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.

Genre: gay fiction; contemporary; organised crime; novel

Word count: 53,000

Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.

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reviews: The Valley of the Shadow of Death

I have been lucky enough to receive four substantial reviews, and the reaction on Goodreads has been heartening!

The Romanceaholic: 3 stars from a Romance Addict

Excerpt: This book quite literally sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. … The angst and tension caused by Carmine’s double crossing his boss/best friend was wonderful, and the courtroom drama a delight. The romance that was developing between Josh and Carmine was intense and angst-ridden due not only to the stress of the undercover operation, but because Josh had previously considered himself to be heterosexual, and as such was struggling with embarrassment, confusion, shame, anger, lust, guilt, developing emotional feelings and fear for Carmine’s life.

MM Good Book Reviews: 3.5 stars from Pixie

Excerpt: This is a well written book that has a very good story-line and plot. Angelo is the guy that I fell in love with in this book. He just seems to live life to the fullest, embracing his love for Josh and just going with it without procrastinating about how soon it is or the fact that the man was straight. … This book I will recommend to those who love cop/mobster love affairs, court room drama and gentle love.

Reviews by Jessewave: 3 stars from Cryselle

Excerpt: Give it to Cryssy: she’ll read anything. … There is one very interesting take on the sex. When they do arrive at the moment of attempting anal sex, Delaney isn’t thrilled down to his socks and yearns for it to be over, but he wants Trezini to be happy. Not sexy, but unique, and one of the few moments we see the relationship growing. … The ending is as tragic as the title promises, the last line the most moving in the entire work.

Top 2 Bottom Reviews: 3 kisses from Lisa

Excerpt: I really liked the premise for The Valley of the Shadow of Death. I love a good redemption story, as well as the gay-for-you storyline; that there is someone out there in the world who can redefine and alter the labels one places upon oneself, for the sake of love.

Angelo at goodreads:

Currently 12 ratings and 4 reviews with an average of 3.67 stars.

  • Ingrid said: OMG She has done it again…. speechlesss

Angelo on Amazon UK and Amazon US:

Currently 3 reviews with 1 of them 5 stars!

  • bill m said: this is a wonderfully written story, but it’s a tough read — astonishingly realistic. There’s a lot of stuff in this genre that’s contrived and artificial; this one isn’t like that. It’s tense, uplifting, gritty and sad. But it would be hard not to recommend it, and I do.

excerpt: The Valley of the Shadow of Death

An excerpt from this novel. A cop and a mobster find themselves thrown together in a life-or-death situation.

Microsoft Office clipart - This could almost be Delaney!Angelo Trezini was slowing down, too cold and too dull to even think. Well, his only thought was a wistful wish for the energy necessary to feel sad or sorry or righteously pissed off. He was fading fast.

He was in a freezer. A large storage room of a freezer, packed high with cartons of food, and lit so brightly that Trezini was forced to squint. When his eyes were open, that is. Mostly he was just pacing in a circle, eyes shut tight against the harsh light and harsher cold, arms wrapped around his chest. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d walked this circle, but it was often enough that he didn’t have to look where he was going any more.

A muffled clang, and the door swung open. It all happened so fast, and Trezini was feeling so slow that he didn’t have a chance to take ad­vantage of the situation. As luck would have it, he was as far away as his circle took him – by the time he’d turned and drawn his gun, the door was already slamming shut again. And Trezini had company.

He was staring down his gun-barrel at a big dumb hunk of a man wearing a cop’s uniform. A man who was so ridiculously handsome that Trezini almost forgot the cold for a moment. There was a stillness about the man, a sense that he was completely self-contained.

Continue reading excerpt: The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Homosapien … a fantasy about pro wrestling

Homosapien ebook coverBlurb: Patrick and David are friends who run a gay bookstore, and life seems simple and safe enough until the day when unexpectedly he walks in – six feet tall, gorgeous and built like a dream. But Homosapien isn’t welcome in their world; he’s a professional wrestler, and everything he does is fake. So he can’t really be gay, can he, or interested in either one of them? Can they even trust a single word he says…?

Endorsement: This tag team tussle with genre and gender chokeslams and chinlocks the reader into submission.
Gideon Haigh, self-unemployed freelance journalist

Genre: male-male romance; contemporary; sports entertainment; novel

Word count: 67,000

Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.

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reviews: Homosapien

Homosapien has received four full reviews now, and some interesting attention at Goodreads.

‘Is it Real?’: 5 stars from A.B. Gayle

Excerpt: If you’re expecting a traditional m/m romance, this isn’t the book for you, but if you’re looking for an amusing, heart-warming, thought-provoking book this is. While Patrick, her narrator, is awed by the romance that blossoms between his dour, idealistic, intelligent boss and his hero, a flamboyant pro-wrestler, he also explores the true nature of pro-wrestling and discovers the potentially deal-breaking fact that the fights and characters are all scripted. Note, I didn’t say “fake” and the difference is very much at the heart of the book.

Elisa’s reviews and ramblings: by Elisa Rolle

Excerpts: … a “classy” novel, probably a step or two above the ordinary production of this time. … Adam and David’s love story starts slowly but goes deep …

Reviews by Jessewave: 4.5 stars from Aunt Lynn

Summary: Though not for everyone, I really liked this unusual tale of pro-wrestling and the unlikely romance between two opposites.

Three Dollar Bill Reviews: 4.5 stars from Book Utopia Mom

Excerpts: The entire thing is highly stylized, radically casual, and completely in character for the narrator. It won’t work for everyone. It completely worked for me. … The book is about identity – identity of self, identity of public personae, the conflict of how you recognize it for yourself and how you respect it in others – and uses the world of wrestling as a backdrop to that. … this thematic exploration is done with such a deft, comedic touch that I got utterly absorbed by the book and couldn’t put it down.

(This review is no longer online, but can be found on Goodreads.)

Homosapien at Goodreads:

Currently 18 ratings, 12 text reviews and an average of 3.61 stars.

  • Simsala gave it 4.5 stars, and said: The unusual writing style made the story come alive and real with many laugh out loud moments.

excerpt: Homosapien

An excerpt from this novel. Patrick tries to imagine what David and Adam could have found to say to each other after they got off to such a bad start.

Microsoft Office clipartSo, what happened at Apollo’s?

Consider this a dramatic reconstruction based on forensic evidence and the sworn testimony of witnesses …

Actually, writing this scene is kind of hard. David wouldn’t have had much to say under the circumstances and I later learned that Homosapien is far more articulate in his wrestling persona than when speaking for himself. This pair of characters are going to be just too difficult to work with. They are such very different people and yet somehow now they managed to connect. How to explain that?

I can imagine David standing there by the Apollo’s counter, doppio in hand (he got it to go, just in case), wondering whether to head over there and talk to the guy or not. And Homosapien looks up at just the right moment, and their eyes meet, and David is when-push-comes-to-shove a bit too polite to turn his back and walk away.

Homosapien gestures to the chair opposite him. David sits, leaning back and turned half away, one leg crossed over the other, trying to appear casual. He doesn’t bother taking off his jacket.

“Uh,” David begins, “I shouldn’t have done that. That was harsh. It’s not my habit to chase customers out of my store … ”

Continue reading excerpt: Homosapien

The Definitive Albert J. Sterne

The Definitive Albert J Sterne ebook coverBlurb: Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no-one bothers digging deeper. When he’s sent to Colorado to investigate what turns out to be the work of a serial killer he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It’s only a matter of duty, though; it can’t be more, because Albert doesn’t do friendship – and he certainly doesn’t do love!

Genre: gay fiction; contemporary; serial killer thriller; novel

Word count: 171,000

Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.

Awards and recognition:

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The paperback edition incorporates the original novel and the stories published separately in the ebook Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect.

reviews: The Definitive Albert J Sterne

Albert has received some great reviews, and attracted some interesting attention from the lovely people at Goodreads!

Rainbow Awards 2011: Runner Up in the Best LGBT Mystery / Thriller category

Judges’ comments: A very gripping thriller. At first I was a bit shocked that it has almost 700 pages but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. The part I enjoyed the most was the love story between the two main protagonists. All the characters have depth and are complex which made them very realistic. I found this book very fascinating and I will definitely read it again.

And: The book was a refreshing change from the usual “m/m-fare” and had a great mix of a real thriller and romance, although with a character like Albert I am not sure if romance is the right word… ;-) One problem I had was that I was missing some explanation for why Albert was the way he was.

My Fiction Nook: 5 stars from Rosa

Excerpts: … That’s what I love about Julie Bozza; each of her books is so different. She’s eclectic and it shows. … I think this is a love it or hate kind of book. It’s a bit dry in the beginning, but once you push though that and kind of go with the flow of the novel, it’s awesome and singularly different from other MM books. … I highly recommend it. I want to hug it. … (If you read and like this book, please read Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect, which is also fantastic.)

‘Charm: A Two-Edged Sword’: 5 stars from A.B. Gayle

A.B. Gayle says: This isn’t a romance, but it is a love story. Not romantic love but deeper, more meaningful love. And she also says a whole lot more in a fascinating analysis of what she sees as the main theme here: This book is about charm. The use of it. The abuse of it. The lack of it. The strength of it. Albert Sterne is not a charming man. He is impatient, abrupt, arrogant, irascible … Fletcher Ash, the only person who has managed to penetrate his defensive field, possesses charm in abundance. He gets on with everyone. … He likes people. On the surface, you’d assume that being charming is a good thing, yet one of the hardest hitting sections of the book involves a scene where Fletcher comes to realize that he’s been charmed by someone else.

Julie adds: You might never read the book, but I’m sure you’ll get something out of reading the review!

Reviews by Jessewave: 5 stars from LadyM

Excerpt and summary: Two complex and complicated men in search for a cunning serial killer. Excellent book for patient readers. … a terrific novel, ambitious in both its scope and complexity and it is a wonder that it wasn’t picked up by some mainstream publisher. … if you have patience and enjoy the challenge and complex characters and relationships, you will be rewarded by this gem of a novel. Highly recommended

Elisa’s reviews and ramblings: by Elisa Rolle

Excerpt and summary: … it’s not its length that will ‘disturb’ you, but the ability of the author to give deepness to every character, even the less important ones, like Ricardo, the hustler, or the more unlikely like the villain. … I’m not sure this book by Julie Bozza is good for everyone, the most squirming reader will probably want to avoid it. But if you want a very good psychological thriller, of the old fashioned type, I can fully recommend this one.

Dear Author: A- from Sirius

Conclusion: I recommend this book very highly, especially if you love snarky, complex heroes and if detailed descriptions of murder with torture do not scare you.

Saturday Recs: from Elin Gregory

Conclusion: This FBI based thriller abut the search for a vicious serial killer by an FBI agent assisted by the titular Albert, forensic genius and the most obnoxious man in the Bureau, is probably the most satisfying story I’ve read so far this year. Give it a go and I promise that the charming Fletcher Ash and the appalling Albert will stay in your mind and your heart for a long time.

Albert at goodreads:

Currently 160 ratings and 46 reviews, with an average of 4.15 stars.

  • Simsala gave it 5 stars, and said: Lightyears away from the standard m-m romance.
  • Indigo gave it 5 stars, and said: An unbelievably fascinating book. Clever, well-written, powerful characters, witty and enthralling. A must read.

Readers’ Responses

Jenre featured this as her Overall Book of the Year in her post on favourite male-male romance books read in 2013, and said: This is the second book by this author on my lists this year and well deserved it is too. It’s hard to believe that two years ago I started this book and stopped reading a third of the way through. This year I picked it up again and couldn’t put it down. I loved the characters of Albert and Fletcher and the way their relationship develops in slow increments which mirrors Fletcher’s investigation of a series of murders. The plot moves slowly but that was part of its beauty and by the end I felt like I had taken a worthwhile journey. In fact I was rather bereft when it was all over. Luckily the sequel/companion book was on hand to help with my withdrawal :). If you like mysteries/police procedurals and want to read about characters that aren’t easy to like but with whom you will fall in love, then I highly recommend this book. Don’t be put off by the length, it’s worth investing your time in every page.

excerpt: The Definitive Albert J. Sterne

An excerpt from the Prologue (New Orleans, October 1971) for this novel. Albert goes looking for sex.

Microsoft Office clipart“You looking to party?” the young man asked.

When Albert drew off his dark glasses, his com­panion politely followed suit, tucking his own into the back pocket of his jeans. Albert considered the figure before him, stepping to one side for the full effect of the late-setting sun’s illumination: male, of primarily Hispanic background; eighteen or perhaps nineteen, which was getting old to be on the game; one-seventy, an inch taller than Albert; light brown and dark brown. Further than that: undernourished, and had been for months if not years; clothes old and torn, though fairly clean and assembled with a harmony of color; eyes too bright; demeanor anxious, assessing. Some might have considered the haunted expression romantic, those who thought fey meant something more whimsical than the tragedy of ‘fated to die’. But Albert was instead drawn by the spark of intelligent curiosity.

“If party is a euphemism for having sex,” Albert said, “then, yes, I do want to. Frankly, I have no idea why else I’d be approaching you.”

Continue reading excerpt: The Definitive Albert J. Sterne

fiction by Julie Bozza