Release Day | Deadly Sugar

It’s release day!!! Deadly Sugar is now back on the shelves. It was actually fun to read it again. I had forgotten most of the plot, so getting back to the root cellar was great… I feel fun is the wrong word, but you know, interesting. 

This doesn’t really fit with my other stories. It’s not a romance story. Jett is reunited with his man, but it’s at the end of the story. 

It’s been called disturbing, chilling, creepypasta etc LOL. So, you know, heed the warnings going in. 

I don’t think it’s scary, but it maybe it’s because I’ve written it 😄 

Blurb:

deadlysugar

After six years of a relationship going nowhere, Jett Thompson has moved away to start over. Maybe his new neighbour David can help distract him from the ache left by his ex’s absence. To get closer to David, Jett invites himself for a cup of tea, but things don’t go as planned. David is standoffish and secretive, and when Jett asks about the strange noises coming from the back of his garden, he gets no answers. 
David’s life is good. He has a whole root cellar full of lovers, and he doesn’t need a nosy neighbour meddling in his business. He doesn’t need a friend, but maybe he can make room for another lover. Jett might make beautiful cakes, but David knows nothing tastes as good as thin feels. 

Buy links:

Gay Horror: 20,281 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/Deadly-Sugar

Excerpt:

Jett felt more alive than he had in a long time. His kitchen smelled of chocolate and vanilla, and the sticky cake looked perfect. Not even the white blob of whipped cream that fell to the floor when he lifted the whisk out of the bowl too quickly could dampen his mood.

He put on his shoes, not wanting to wait another minute before he handed over this magnificent chocolaty creation to his neighbour. It would make any man melt, and he felt giddy at the thought of trying it on the thin, brown-haired man next door.

Cake in one hand, the bowl of whipped cream in the other, he was ready to go. Slowly, he made his way around the cardboard boxes to the front door. As he tried to open it with his elbow, the tune of Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ cut through the air. Jett froze. He was dying to hear Josh’s voice, had been longing for it all day, for several days, but he needed to put some distance between them. The ache in his chest was overwhelming; he didn’t think he’d ever been this lonely in his entire life. He put the cake down on top of one of the moving boxes and took his phone from the pocket of his jeans. The butterflies in his stomach wouldn’t stop fluttering around, even though he tried to tell them it was over. Unless Josh changed his mind, they would never go back to being an item.

The display was lit, Josh’s name written in stark white over the black screen. Jett let his thumb hover over the green icon, the butterflies urging him on, but he managed to put the phone down without answering. He reached for the cake and hurried out the door. That didn’t stop him from hearing the phone start to ring again as soon as it had quieted. What’s making Josh so eager now?

The knot that had replaced the butterflies in his stomach made it hard to smile as he neared the neighbouring house. So typical of Josh. Jett had managed to forget about him for a few hours, had been excited about baking for the neighbour, and now all he wanted was to run back and fetch his phone so he could talk to his partner. His former partner, he reminded himself.

He tried to shut down his brain as he gazed up at the house. In the dark it almost looked like his, the white façade spooky in the moonlight, but still hauntingly beautiful. He shivered. He was being silly; this was the kind of house he’d always wanted. The fact that it was dark outside didn’t change that. It would’ve been better if Josh had wanted it too, but he hadn’t, and now here Jett was—in front of another man’s house.

With a deep breath, he raised his hand to knock on the door, but then he hesitated. Not a single lamp was lit. Maybe he wasn’t home. Jett listened. The wind rustled in the trees, and he thought he heard a soft clinking noise from the garden. Maybe he’s out working on something. Jett had seen some kind of garage on the side of the house, maybe it was a workshop of some kind.

He started to walk around the house. An owl hooted in the dark, making Jett flinch. He hesitated. He’d never been afraid of the dark, not really, but it was very dark. Raising his head and squaring his shoulders, he started walking, the gravel crunching beneath his feet. It’s just a few metres in the dark.

Where are you going?”

Startled by the harsh voice, Jett whirled around and almost dropped the bowl of whipped cream. “Oh, erm…I thought you were in the garage. Thought I heard a sound.”

As you can see, I’m not.” The neighbour stood inside looking at him, the door opened just a crack.

Jett tried to read his facial expression, but all he could see was the eyes glinting in the dark. “I brought cake this time.” He raised the plate and smiled.

The silence went on for a little too long before the man opened the door some more. “How lovely, why don’t you come in?”

Are you sure?” Jett suddenly didn’t feel certain about going inside, cold washed over him as he waited for the man to answer.

Of course, do come in. My name is David, by the way.”

Jett walked inside, carrying the cake as a shield. “Nice to meet you David. I hope you like chocolate.”

Fridays at Ofelia’s | Blue Jay

Guest-Post

Today, we have A. Zukowski here on a visit, talking London and their book Blue Jay. Welcome!


Writing genderqueer-ness in a journey through my city

London pride postboxBlue Jay is about two people: genderqueer AMAB Chris and bisexual Alex. Chris first emerged in book 2 of the London Stories series—Liam For Hire—as the main character’s best friend. Chris is funny and sad, aloof and caring—my favourite kind of character. They deserve a whole novel about them, to give them closure with love and sunshine! Writing the novel took a long time and a lot of soul searching. I built the story around Chris’s wry sense of humour, fierce independence, and aversion to all things romantic. Alex is a tough one to write since he tends to hide the strong emotions behind his tough façade.

I didn’t want to only make the queer character appear more ‘feminine’. Instead, I tried to challenge gender norms through language. All the pronouns they/them/he/him/she/her are used to refer to Chris throughout the book. I struggled to write them more than I could imagine, but the creative process also brought out the gender variance within me. The novel shows my struggles and my refusal to conform as much as that of the protagonists. The other character Alex is bisexual. Alas, I am more familiar with his socioeconomic background and mental health issues.

London-Street-Art

I love writing about London; pre-Covid, I was always walking the city streets, dreaming up stories that happen there. These places provide the perfect backdrops to the angsty, raw, and gritty urban scenes in this book. You won’t find the locations on a tourist map but they have their own histories and eccentrics.

When I was training as a screenwriter, my mentor (who used to produce for the BBC; she has retired now) asked me how I wanted the audience to feel after watching my plays. The readers of Blue Jay should cry and laugh (or smile) alongside the protagonists. I want them to feel uplifted, romantic and hopeful. All at the same time. I want to find all these emotions in a romance set in London that has dark stuff, too.
^_^

Blue Jay CoverThird part of the London Stories.

Boxing was all Alex had ever known, his entire being now shattered beyond repair. One night and four years in jail changed everything. These days, Alex prefers the shadows and dreams of nightmares. Will he find rainbows and glitters in the run-down flat he’s moving into?

Chris has been selling their looks and body for too long. It may be time for a life change, but one thing is clear. The fairest of them all will make a lousy lover until they stop acting the smart-mouthed and blasé cynic. Their story begins with an elegant tango up the narrow stairwell…

A match made in London.

Blue Jay is a hopeful and romantic story with genderqueer and bisexual characters. It can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Best of 2019 ~ Love Bytes Reviews, Electric Me
Delightfully dimensional main characters ~ Joyfully Jay
One of those stories that slowly grows on you and tugs at your heart ~ Divine Magazine
Profoundly emotional, eye-opening, thought-provoking story ~ Love Reading
I have absolutely loved this series…all about redemption, second chances and love. ~ Love Bytes Review

Tags: genderfluid, genderqueer, contemporary romance, LGBTQ, bisexual, prostitution, sex trade, depression

Beaten Track Publishing
93,600 words/290 pages
ISBN: 978-1-78645-368-6

Book links: Beaten Track (publisher): https://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/bluejay
Amazon: http://mybook.to/bluejay
Ebook: https://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=bluejay_format
Paperback: https://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=bluejay
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/957426?ref=b10track

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45288523-blue-jay

Extract

Chris has returned from the hotel after a quick wash. These days, they can’t get away from the appointments fast enough. Even luxurious hotel rooms hold little appeal.
Washed up. That’s what they are; they sigh silently.
For an escort who works late a lot, this lighting arrangement is highly inconvenient. Chris curses and walks up the stairs as fast as they can, almost running.
Forward step in a tango. Cruzada. An Argentine cross.
Bang! They bump into someone massive at the first turn. The impact knocks them back down several steps.
“Hey, you okay?” says a gruff voice.
“Shit.” Chris stops and feels their way around the walls to find the light switch.
It’s gone one in the fucking morning. Who is standing in the stupid stairway, blocking my way? When their hand touches the other person’s, they recoil. Long and strong fingers connect with theirs, sending a shot of electricity through them.
Chris finds the switch; they and the stranger are bathed in the bright light from the bare bulb once more. They squint, uncomfortable with the glare of the yellow hue. They really should get their eyes tested—if there was anything they could actually read.
“What the—” Chris exclaims.
The guy must be about six feet six and built like Hercules. He shoulders a large black holdall. Chris is stunned silent by the bulging biceps and arms, and exposed flesh covered by tattoos. The physique of the stranger contrasts with Chris, who’s tall and slim like a catwalk model.
Crap. The man had better not be a burglar.
Chris stops a shudder, not wanting to betray weakness. They weigh up their limited options. They highly doubt they can take on the hulk in the middle of the night. Summoning their best act of caution and confidence, their hand reaches for the pepper spray in their trouser pocket. Out of necessity, self-preservation has become part of their routine.
“Where are you going?” they ask, praying the man has a legitimate reason to be in the building.
“I’m looking for Flat Five.”
Holy shit. What does he want in my flat?

About A. Zukowski

I am a London-based British writer who grew up in the gay village and red light district of Manchester, UK.

I was trained in screenwriting at the University of the Arts, London; National Film & Television School and Script Factory, UK, followed by a series of misadventures as a film journalist, writer and producer of short films. My stories are based on personal and emotional experiences, and feature strong LGBTQ-identified characters.

Read more:

The Boy Who Fell to Earth (2017 #1 London Stories) http://amzn.to/2Ao90X4
Liam For Hire (2018 #2 London Stories) https://amzn.to/2T1Zod8
Courting Light (2018) http://mybook.to/CourtingLight
Turn Again to Life (2020) http://mybook.to/turnagaintolife

Social Media

Twitter: @saszazukowski
Blog: http://azukowskiblog.wordpress.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16509569.A_Zukowski
FB: http://www.facebook.com/a.zukowski.353
Booklikes: http://azukowski.booklikes.com/

All’s fair in love and war: The Great Village Bun Fight

pumpkin-228510_640
Giant pumpkin (CC0 Creative Commons)

I have this, most likely completely false, idea of  Brits competing in the strangest ways – giant pumpkins and crazy perfect gardens – and now I know they also do it with cupcakes. Compete, that is.

We do it here too…I think. They at least have people competing in cake-baking on TV so I’m assuming we have cupcakes too. I would say there is one big difference, though, one thing I really love about the picture I’m painting of the UK, and that’s these village traditions. We don’t really have that here, not in that way at least.

By now I bet you’re wondering what the heck it is I’m talking about. I’m talking about The Great Village Bun Fight by Debbie McGowan. This is a story about Henry, who begat Herny, who begat Henry, who begat Henry and just so you know I begat a Henry too. If he becomes a baker, we’ll see.

So Henry Jones started a bakery in 1874, and all the Henrys after him were bakers too, until Henry the 8th got into a bit of trouble and Henry the 7th refused to change Henry Jones and Son to Henry Jones and Daughter – it has to do with tradition you see. An end of an era,  which lead to THE Village Bakery opening and left the Joneses without any bakery to call their own.

But as Henry the 9th is denied a wedding cake when he’s to marry his partner because Margaret, owner of THE Village Bakery, can’t give her blessing, things escalate.

This is such a lovely story. I snuggled up with a blanket and a cup of coffee and followed the battle of the bakeries until only one remained :D. The Great Villiage Bun Fight is sweet and funny – the narrator my absolute favourite – and I had this Wallace and Gromit feeling – that’s a compliment, just to make it clear. Wallace and Gromit guard the giant vegetables in their village just as the Joneses and Sharpes guard their giant bun LOL.


40801802All’s fair in love and war. But not in baking.

Part of Seasons of Love Anthology

books2read.com/BunFight


* By clicking the Books2Read link you’ll be taken to an external page. Links to Smashwords, Kobo U.S and Amazon contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.