Guest Posts

Running Blind by Kim Fielding and Venona Keyes

Thank you to Anders and Divine Magazine for hosting us, Kim Fielding and Venona Keyes, on our release day for our novel, Running Blind.  In honor of the release, here is an exclusive excerpt from the book. Kyle is just about to be released from the hospital after having a stroke that left him blind.  Enjoy!

Kyle nodded but couldn’t help another noisy sigh. They sat next to each other for several minutes, the muffled sounds of voices and footsteps coming and going in the hallway. Even in the wee hours, the rehab hospital was a hopping place. Kyle knew that Fernando had a busy workload, so he was grateful for the time lavished on him.

“Your sister going to pick you up?” Fernando finally asked.

“Yeah.”

“What time?”

“Nine, she said. But she’s always late.”

“Ah. One of those.” Fernando shifted a little on the bed. “You need help packing?’

“No, thanks. I think I got most of it.” He gestured to his duffel bag, which sat out of the way and tight against the wall. Not that he had many personal effects to deal with. He’d asked Lily to bring him only the basics—toiletries, a phone charger, and a couple changes of clothing, which he learned to tag for color in one of the rehab classes.

More silence between them. Then Kyle realized he was jiggling his leg and made an effort to still it. His entire body felt wound tight, a spring ready to release at any moment. “God, I miss running,” he mumbled. “And before you say anything, running on a treadmill is not running.”

But that led to another thought, one he’d been worrying about almost since he regained full consciousness. “It’s not fair. Christ, I know I’m whining, but it’s not. I’m only forty. And I take good care of myself! I eat right—even pay extra for the organic stuff. I run—ran—four days a week and lifted on my off days. I took vitamins. I always used a condom!”

Fernando was a good man. He didn’t tell Kyle to lower his voice or stop bitching, and he didn’t point out that practicing safe sex had little to do with avoiding a stroke. All he did was pat Kyle’s arm. “You’re right, man. It’s not fair. I have a relative—let’s see… second cousin twice removed? Anyway, he’s a mean old bastard who has beer for breakfast and booze for dinner. Never met a deep-fried anything he didn’t like. About the only exercise he gets is clicking the remote and yelling at his wife. And the son of a bitch is in his eighties and healthy as a horse. And here you are, a real nice guy who takes care of himself, and you get zapped by a time bomb in your brain.”

It was hard to stay worked up with Fernando’s calm sympathy. “I bet a lot of your patients have it worse than me, huh?” At least the doctors claimed this stroke had been a fluke, a byproduct of a hidden defect in his brain. He was unlikely to have another, and although he was supposed to get regular checkups just in case, he wouldn’t need to be on meds.

“They sure do,” Fernando said. “Even the ones who walk out of here on their own steam like you’re gonna do. A lot of them— You know, a real common effect of stroke is loss of speech. Imagine how it feels to have all those words bottled up inside you and not be able to get them out.”

Kyle shuddered. “My voice is my livelihood.”

“I know. Anyway, my point is that sure, you could have had it a lot worse. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to grieve what you’ve lost. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about being pissed off over it.”

“Thanks.” Kyle managed a shaky laugh, then scrubbed his face with his palms. “I’d hate to mix guilt with my fury.”

“Can I give you some advice? We won’t even add the charge to your bill.”

“Hit me.”

“This is something I’ve said to a lot of folks over the years, okay? It’s tried-and-true wisdom. I should probably patent it.”

Kyle smiled and motioned him to continue.

“Okay,” said Fernando. “Here’s the thing. Your life is never gonna be the same as it was before the stroke. There’s just no getting around that. And some stuff is gonna be hard.”

“If this is supposed to be a pep talk, it’s a lousy one.”

“Not a pep talk. I charge extra for those, plus the whole effect with my pom-poms would be lost on you.”

Kyle’s first real laugh in days surprised him. He knew from the way Fernando moved that he was a pretty big guy, although Kyle couldn’t tell whether he was muscular or just heavy. Either way, Kyle could almost picture him in hospital scrubs, standing in the middle of the little room and prancing like a cheerleader. “Okay, sorry. It’s advice you’re giving me, not a pep talk.”

“Damn right. And it’s easy advice too. But let me tell you a little story first. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a nurse. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I could be. I mean, all the nurses I saw on TV were women. Besides, nobody in my family went to college. We were lucky if we made it through high school. When I was little, I wanted to be a race car driver, except those were all white dudes. I guess I figured I’d end up like my dad and my uncles—in construction. I didn’t mind that.”

Fernando was silent then, perhaps thinking about his family. Kyle thought about his family, his childhood dreams. He’d wanted to be an actor. Well, no. He’d wanted to be a movie star. Maybe voice work wasn’t as glamorous, but it wasn’t so far off the mark.

“Anyway,” Fernando continued, “I worked with my dad for a little while after I graduated. But then he messed up his back really bad and had to retire young. He was in a lot of pain, and man, that was hard to watch. He was a strong man, you know? Proud. Anyway, I watched him with all his doctors and nurses and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could help him feel better too? So I joined the Army. Ended up serving in the Gulf War. And when I got out, Uncle Sam paid for me to go to school. Papa died a few years ago, but he got a chance to see me get that degree.”

“I bet he was proud,” Kyle said.

“Are you kidding? He’d stop complete strangers in the grocery store to tell them about me. But do you see the moral of my story?”

“Um, not exactly.”

“It’s not complicated. I figured I was gonna spend my life building houses, but Papa got hurt and here I am. Our lives take sideways turns sometimes. But just because things are different from what you expected, different from what you’re used to, that doesn’t mean they’re worse. I love my job.”

Kyle grinned at him. “You’re good at it.”

“Yep. Your life has changed, tiger. Doesn’t mean you won’t be happy. Just means it might be a different kind of happy than you planned on.”

Fernando stood and patted Kyle’s shoulder. “I have work to do. See if you can get some rest.”

Suddenly exhausted, Kyle yawned, which made Fernando chuckle. “All right,” Kyle said. “And thanks.”

With another pat, Fernando left. Kyle lay down on the bed, but he didn’t fall asleep. Instead he thought about happiness, and change, and never seeing what was around the next corner.


runningblindfs_v1

Blurb

Kyle Green is on top of the world. He and Matt have been together for ten years, and—as the voice of Ecos, the wildly popular anime character—Kyle is treated like a rock star in anime circles. But in an instant, a stroke leaves him blind. When photographer Matt gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Kyle reexamines their relationship, discovers it has been a safety net rather than a true romance, and sets Matt free to pursue his dream. Kyle’s life and career as he knew them are gone, and he must now find the courage and creativity to draft a new plan.

After being away for fifteen years, Seth Caplan comes home to Chicago to care for his mother and to partner with a small start-up tech company. He and Kyle meet after Kyle’s collision with a child’s sidewalk toy, and they hit it off. Kyle wants to get back into running, and Seth becomes his guide. As they get to know each other, they start seeing each other beyond their three-times-a-week runs. But Seth’s revelation of the dark reason why he left his career in California sends the relationship into a tailspin and leaves both men running blind.

★ Dreamspinner Press  ★ Amazon US  ★ Amazon UK  ★ Amazon CA  ★ Amazon AU

Add to Goodreads


Review by Claire Potterton

Wonderfully uplifting tale.

I started this book not really sure what to expect, the subject matter being such that it could have headed down the path of heavy angst and doom and gloom, but I was really pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t. It was in fact, a very uplifting, hopeful story of overcoming the challenges of a sudden disability, and doing it with dignity and grace…..and a little help from loved ones. It was a welcome change to have a disabled MC who didn’t rail at the world, shun friends and family, and who didn’t believe that his life was over. There were moments of sadness and doubt in the story, but they were never allowed to overpower, which as a reader and a parent of disabled teens I really appreciated.

The romance between Kyle and Seth was beautifully slow-burn, building from a close friendship….the best kind in my opinion! They have a relationship filled with intimacy, humor, caring, acceptance…..the key ingredients for longevity.

This was a lovely story, such appealing main characters, a likable secondary cast, sweet romance, a touch of angst and a beautiful happy ending.

A highly recommended read!

Star Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


Giveaways!

Make a comment and be entered into win a giveaway!

Giveaway #1 – All (US & International)

Audio Books, E-Book, and DSP Gift Certificate

3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)

E-book Coming of Age

$20 DSP Gift Certificate

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b93383a12


Giveaway #2 – US Only

Manga (Graphic Novels), Audio, and E-Books

Manga:

Traditional Japanese Manga (translated into English): Borders Manga Volumes 1-5 by Kazuma Kodaka

American Manga: Longitudes and Latitudes, Volumes 1 – 3 by True Teargem & Tprinces

American Doshinji:  Kindly Assistance (A Sherlock Holmes & John Watson Romance) by Halloween Panda

Audio Books & E-books

3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)

E-book Coming of Age

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b93383a13


Giveaway #3 – US Only

Bento Ensemble, Audio, and E-Books

Bento Ensemble

Bento Box

Lacquered wooden chopsticks

Handmade drawstring cloth bag with decorative stitching

Audio Books & E-books

3 Audio Books (Treasure, The Downs, and Guarded)

E-book Coming of Age

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b93383a14


 

Meet the Authors

Kim Fielding is very pleased every “me someone calls her eclectic. Her books have won Rainbow Awards and span a variety of genres. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full “me. She also dreams of having two perfectly behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others

You can reach Kim at:

Facebook—http://facebook.com/kfieldingwrites

Twitter—@kfieldingwrites

Website—http://kfieldingwrites.com/


Venona Keyes is a modern woman who believes in doing it all; if doing it all is only in her head. She amazes people that she can be wholly unorganized yet pack a perfect carry on suitcase for a ten day trip to Paris. Ms. Keyes is a believer in the just in time theory, and can be seen sprinting in airports to the gate before the plane door closes.

Venona has experienced love and loss at the deepest level, and is thankful for writing and daydreaming, for it kept, and still keeps her sane. Writing also introduced her to some of the most supportive and wonderful people, to which she will always be grateful.

Venona is a voracious reader, loves her feline boys, volunteers at an animal shelter, attempts to cook everything in her CSA boxes, is an accomplished speaker, is a seasoned triathlete, and enjoys swimming, biking, hiking, skipping, dancing, and her beloved overgrown garden.

You can reach Venona at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/venona.keyes

Website: http://www.venonakeyes.com/


Tour Stops!

Oct 31 – MM Good Book Reviews – I Fought the Law

Nov 1 –  The Novel Approach – Kyle at Yaoi Con Short

Nov 2 – Rhys Ford – VOA Interview with Greg Tremblay and Joel Leslie

Nov 3 – Mary Calmes – Exclusive Excerpt from Running Blind

Nov 4 – DSP Blog – Siblings

Nov 7 – Divine Magazine – Release Day Exclusive Excerpt

Nov 8 – Gay Book Reviews – The Lord and the Amnesiac Rogue

Nov 9 – Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter – Kyle and Ecos Short

Nov 10 – Love Bytes – Losing Sense

Nov 10 – Tammy’s Two Cents – Universities

Nov 11 – Sinfully Gay – Running

 

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