Book Blitz & Excerpt: Do You Know Dorothy?

do you know dorothy

 

Do You Know Dorothy?
The Juliana Series, Book 5

by Vanda

LGBT Historical Fiction

Published: May 2021

Publisher: Sans Merci Press

Can a group of elderly drag queens save a 1950s nightclub from being taken over by the mob?

It’s 1956 and television is stealing Alice’s nightclub audience. Known as Al to everyone in the club scene, she has to try to prevent the mob from taking over her crippled club and turning it into a strip joint.

Her one solace: Juliana, the woman who haunts her memories and fuels her dreams of a brighter future. But the last time Al saw her was the day Juliana’s husband caught them in bed together.

On the brink of losing her love and her livelihood, Al makes a bold decision. She arranges an extravagant production starring aging female impersonators, even though funding the show means going into debt.

Will the show succeed in saving her club and helping her find her way back to Juliana? Or will Al’s big risk result in losing everything? Although the book is the fifth in the series it can read as a standalone.

DO YOU KNOW DOROTHY? is the fifth book in the Juliana series of historical LGBT fiction, but you can also enjoy it as a standalone novel.

Purchase Link

Amazon


Other Books in the The Juliana Series:

 

Juliana

The Juliana Series, Book One

She went looking for fame, and found her true self, instead.

Olympus Nights on the Square

The Juliana Series, Book Two

What if your love was illegal? What would you do?

Paris, Adrift

The Juliana Series, Book Three

She wanted a safe harbor for their love. But rough waters could destroy any hope of starting over…

Heaven is to Your Left

The Juliana Series, Book Four

How far would you go to save the person you loved?

Amazon


Excerpt

Max sat up straight on the couch as I entered the living room. “My god, what happened to you?”

“Don’t you like it?” I adjusted my blue and white striped skinny tie, shook my shoulders so my blue suit jacket and held out one foot to show off the black cowboy boots. I pulled the jacket open and grabbed the belt on my black jeans. “And look!” I stuck my hips out. “A fly!”

“Cover yourself!” He shielded his eyes with his hand. “You didn’t wear that in public!”

“Yeah! Well, I took a cab home.”

“You could’ve been killed walking around with that on your head. What is it? Halloween?”

“I’m a butch!” I turned my back to him. “See? This is a DA. That means duck’s ass for you old fogies.”

“Does it come off? We can’t have you at the club looking like that.”

“I can set it with those darn curlers and get it back to my boring page boy.”

“I better not see you at the club wearing anything remotely similar.”

“Of course not, but on my off hours…”

“You can’t take chances like you did tonight.”

“I know.”

“Getting arrested is the best that could happen to you.”

“I know.”

“Where’d you get them?”

I went shopping.”

“What store would sell you clothes like that? They’re for men.”

“I went as a man.”

“What?”

I was so scared they’d figure it out and show me the door.” I sat on the coffee table.

“Sit on the couch like a lady.”

I plopped onto the couch without worrying about which way my legs went. “I walked right into Macy’s and…’

“Macy’s! Oh, my god.”

My friends, Freddie-Faye and Lady Day taught me.

Who’s Lady Day?”

A female impersonator I know.”

You should not be with someone like that. Someone who doesn’t even know what their sex is. She’s, he’s mentally disturbed.”

She is not. She’s real nice. She has a nephew who sometimes stays over. She leant me his dungarees. Then she gave me this hair style. I went to the men’s department with my friend. I bought my own Men’s clothes. I was scared the salesman would figure it out, but he just called me ‘sir’ and showed me things and let me go into the fitting room.

“Watch me comb it.” I jumped up. “Butches have to comb their hair different from everybody else.” I reached into my back pocket and slid out my new comb. I jutted my chin out and slapped the comb against the palm of my hand. “You’re sposed to do that first.”

Why?” Max asked.

“Pay attention.”

He wrapped his hands around his knees. “Listening.”

Watch. You hafta hold your comb between your first two fingers like this. Then you flick your first three fingers through the front of your hair and, uh…” I stared at my two fingers holding the comb and the one extra finger sticking out by itself.

What’s the matter?”

I’m sposed to make a curl come over my forehead. It seems it’d be easier to do with just my fingers, but then what do I do with the comb? Oh, well, there’s a whole ritual to combing your hair when you’re a butch. Like there’s the show combing. Stop grinning like you’re not taking me serious. Butch’s comb their hair in public to defy the rules that get thrown at women. Butches are independent. When they look in a mirror…” I stepped over Max’s white rug and saw myself in the mirror. “They tilt their heads like this and then to the other side like this. That’s to show they know they look good, and everybody wants them. I swear I’m gonna be one, Max!” I grandly threw my comb on the rug.

Get that comb off my clean white rug!

I picked it up.


About the Author

Vanda wrote her first novel in eighth grade, with encouragement from her teacher, Mr. James Evers, who said, “My children will read your words.” She went on to win an Edward Albee Fellowship among other awards for playwriting. One of her plays, VILE AFFECTIONS, was a finalist for the National Lambda Literary Award. She is now writing a series about LGBT history. The characters are fictional, but the history is fact. The books have all received awards in some form. The third in the series, Paris, Adrift was a Category First Place winner in Chanticlear’s Goethe Award for Late Historical Fiction. This same book was also a finalist in the Lesfic Bard Awards.

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Book Blitz: Poisoned Jungle, by James Ballard

poisoned jungle

 

Poisoned Jungle
by James Ballard
Historical Fiction, Vietnam War

Publisher: Koehler Books

In a powerful human saga, Andy teeters on the chasm of survivor’s guilt, desperate to find equilibrium in his life. Deep down, he wants to live but doesn’t know how. Poisoned Jungle is an intimate glimpse into one veteran’s struggle for meaning after experiencing the despair of war.

Poisoned Jungle speaks to the long psychological tentacles war has on the lives it touches, and the difficulty of breaking free of them. Realizing changes have occurred deep within, Vietnam War medic Andy Parks must reconcile his new reality to establish a life worth living-not an easy task. How will Andy Parks ever dispel the images he brought home with him? He can’t live with them-or outrun them. Even in sleep he finds no rest.

“The napalmed children peered at him, uncomprehending, not understanding what happened, and asked him to fix their burns, alleviate their pain. He tried to explain- such a terrible mistake. No words came out of his mouth.”

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About the Author


Author, beekeeper, entrepreneur, and Vietnam combat medic.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Mary, Everything + Giveaway

mary everything
Mary, Everything
The Flapper Covenant Series, #1
by Cassandra Yorke
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, LGBTQ+
Time Travel, Time Travel Romance
Date of Publication: March 30, 2020
ISBN: 9780578680361
ASIN: B086HYTB3Q
Number of pages: 414
Word Count: 108,498
Cover Artist: Cass


A gripping tale of best friends and romance, sorcery and survival, at the dawn of the Roaring 20s.

A young woman born in the wrong reality.

A destiny that will lead her into the past.

And a love so enduring it reaches across time – and existence itself – to bring her home.

Courtney is a lonely undergrad at secluded Braddock College in 2004, working a drowsy summer job in the Archives. Assigned to a new project, she becomes haunted by a college yearbook from the 1920s – filled with familiar faces and memories of times she never experienced. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl named Sadie – dressed in long-outdated clothes – alters her reality. But if you were never meant to be born, that reality can expel you like an infection – or kill you outright. While Courtney struggles against forces she cannot comprehend, a psychopathic stalker smells blood and closes in for the kill.

Sadie, now in 1921, races against the clock to save her friend, joined by some remarkable allies – an American combat sorceress and veteran of World War I, an enigmatic professor who specializes in piercing the veil between realities, and two young women who insist they’re Courtney’s oldest friends – one of them even claiming to be her truest love.

Time is running out for Courtney, and a terrifying wilderness – haunted by the dead from centuries past – may hold the key to her salvation. But none who enter have ever returned…

Cassandra Yorke’s groundbreaking debut brings Magical Realism home to the Midwest in an explosive new style, blending midwestern gothic and historical fiction with a warm lesbian love story to create a riveting, deeply immersive epic you won’t be able to put down. It’s the world of Boardwalk Empire and Gatsby, with an urgent, immersive narrative about what it means to belong, what it means to be hated, what it means to be loved, and ultimately what it means to come home.

Author Commentary: This novel is a memoir wrapped in fiction. While it’s a tale of time travel and sorcery, at its core are real events and real themes – haunted yearbooks in college archives, yearning for times long gone, battery and abuse, exile and homecoming. 

While I hope you enjoy it, I promise you will never read another story like it. It’s from the heart, it’s gritty and lurid – and below the action, it’s real.


Excerpt

The crosswalk is the busiest place in town any time of the year, and even if Braddock has a fraction of the people in the summer, it’s still bustling. As I’m coming up, I spot a girl approaching from my left. She’s ghostly pale like me, with auburn hair cut in a short bob around her soft jawline. The most striking thing about her is her narrow, almond-shaped eyes. I’ve always thought chicks with eyes like that are really cute. They catch mine as I approach, and there’s a kind of click; two people in a crowd with matching energy. She greets me with a narrow, witty smile. I return hers in my usual unintentional way, soft and genuine and a little bit sad-looking without ever meaning to seem that way. And we stand there for a minute, waiting for the traffic to clear.

 “Say, is it gonna be dry like this all week?” she asks.

 “Um…” I wish I had a better answer ready. “I think so? I haven’t really checked the weather.”

“Why, I sure hope it is.” She stares back across the street at the shade of College Green. “Anything I hate is rain in the summer.”

 Roll my eyes in agreement. “Ugh, totally.”

I sneak a look at her. She’s wearing a brown bell-shaped hat, the kind that were popular in the 1920s. She’s wearing a 20s style dress, too: green, knee-length, with a round-cut neckline and loose cap sleeves. She’s even wearing old-fashioned brown stockings and brown heels. It catches my eye and I stare for a second or two; it’s a hot day for stockings, especially the old-fashioned silk kind like that. And her shoes are really retro, like old church grandma shoes. She must shop at that vintage thrift store all the way up at the far end of Court Street; it’s the only place around here where you could get clothes like that, unless she goes thrifting in Columbus.

She’s standing here next to me, watching the street, not self-conscious at all. Like she wears stuff like that every day without even thinking about it.

Then she looks at me, glances away, looks at me again a little longer. Her eyes linger on my top and on my legs, and she looks away again, blushing. I’ve always been a little bit empathic and I can feel curiosity in her glance. And…attraction?

Nah, that can’t be right – girls are never into me. Maybe I look too preppy, I don’t know. I’m a D&D nerd, raised on video games from the age of five, but because I wear an Abercrombie hoodie or Hollister shorts or flat iron my hair, people assign me a whole package of expectations – Courtney is a bitch, Courtney’s stuck-up, Courtney’s a backstabbing gossip, Courtney’s rich. Courtney is heterosexual…? Look, I’ll be honest with you, I’m gonna have a hard time living up to all of that. Maybe not the bitch thing – because yeah, I’m probably a bitch – but the rest of it?

Sorry, no can do.

The traffic finally stops from the other direction. I give her one last smile – which she returns warmly – and step onto the street. A few quick steps take me to the other sidewalk. I stop and look at my slender Fossil watch, making a pretense to turn in her direction again for one last look. She’s awfully cute, and I love her chic vintage style. I wonder if she’d think I was creepy if-

There’s nobody there. I glance around to see if she took off in another direction. Nothing. There are plenty of people around, walking dogs, wearing flip-flops, riding bikes. But no girls with vintage clothes.

She’s gone. It’s like she was never there.

But she totally was there! I talked to her!

Unless I’m finally losing it?

I rub an eye with the heel of my hand, not really caring that I just stamped dry mascara on my skin. Maybe I need to get out more. Maybe I need friends. I stand on the busy sidewalk for a moment, completely disoriented, before remembering that I was looking for a place to sit down and eat my salad. But even as I make my way onto College Green and up toward the Civil War statue, looking for a place to sit, I can’t get that girl out of my head. Not just because she was cute. Something about her, that weird click when we saw each other.

Eh, maybe I’ll see her again. I shove a straw through the lid of my drink. Nobody just vanishes.

I wish you could just disappear.

Though I guess if you wanted to disappear, this would be the place to do it. Outside the city limits, the nights are dark and old, and people who vanish are never seen again.


About the Author:
Cassandra’s life was changed forever when she was taken captive by a haunted college yearbook as an Ohio University senior in the summer of 2004. Ten years later, she started work on Mary, Everything to make sense of the experience. Bathed in summer sunlight and crafted from early 2000s punk rock, Cassandra’s goal is more than just telling a story – she wants to take you captive, too.
She lives in central Ohio with her wife, house rabbits, and video games.
And of course, her own ghostly memories.
 

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