Hi, everyone! Give us a hand in welcoming author Santino Hassell to TNA today, on the kickoff for the Stygian blog tour. Enjoy Santino’s guest post, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance at some great prizes, including:
*A queer paranormal book pack
*A “gothic” tote bag
*A Stygian t-shirt
*A signed copy of Stygian
I’m With the Band
When I was in high school, I was very briefly in a band. I wasn’t patient enough to learn how to play an instrument on my own and my parents were definitely not about to shell out the duckets to put me in lessons, so I sang. I’m not saying I sang well, but I tried my best and my bandmates only heckled me… a little.
My experience being in a band, and being around other garage bands, was that it can be extremely dysfunctional. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time together, but it was often an intense situation. Five guys with big personalities in one room trying to make a coherent piece of music sounds like a setup for shenanigans. And it was. Constant bickering, nitpicking of each other’s parts and contributions, lateness, imbibing, irresponsibility, and then the slow build of resentment.
I’m not saying ALL bands experience these things but mine certainly did, and I poured some of that into STYGIAN.
STYGIAN is a book about four disaffected queer guys in their twenties who haven’t had a lot of luck in life, and are trying hard to make their band work. The trouble is, the collective chips on their shoulders breeds discontent and most dangerous of all—distrust. However, the feelings shared by these bandmates are so intense that there’s hope for them to overcome their past trauma. They just have to deal with pissing matches, jealousy, and the often frustrating reality of unresolved sexual tension in the process. Oh, and there’s also that whole paranormal element…
Blurb: Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.
Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music, but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.
Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroways’ secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.
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Excerpt: “What the hell is wrong with you?” Kennedy exuded the type of impatience he usually saved for packed all-ages clubs that required wounding and maiming to reach an exit. “You’re cultivating your own brand of bitterness at a breakneck speed, and it’s a little fucking irritating.”
Jeremy’s face warmed but he didn’t deny it. It was why he typically sucked up insults and snide comments— his own comebacks made it clear he was more hurt than angry. Which was so much worse.
“I don’t know. I’m just… something.”
Jeremy groaned, covering his face with his hand. “I’m sorry, okay? Just tell me what you wanted to tell me, and I’ll stop being a brat.”
The mattress sank under the weight of Kennedy’s muscular frame. They were close—a little too close—and Jeremy swallowed heavily. Proximity to Kennedy was always a distraction, but with them alone in the house, with their bodies tucked close enough for Jeremy to smell the cigarette smoke and clean sweat clinging to Kennedy’s skin, it was also too intimate. Too easy to remember the night on the porch and all of the things that could have happened if Kennedy had been serious. If he’d opened his mouth a bit more. Let Jeremy taste the hot wetness inside.
Realizing he’d been staring, and imagining, Jeremy shifted his weight and tried to roll away. Kennedy held him in place.
“You’re not a brat.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m just a kid.”
“Jesus Christ.” Kennedy’s breath gusted out. “It’s not an insult. What do you want me to call you? Baby? Darling?”
Jeremy’s face went from warm to burning. “You could just call me Jeremy. Believe it or not, I’m not in fucking love with you like everyone claims,” he lied. “I don’t need terms of endearment when the three syllables in my name work just fine.” Kennedy said nothing, and Jeremy pushed on with a burst of bravado. “And the only time I let a guy call me baby is when he’s in my ass.”
Peripheral vision gave a clear view of Kennedy’s mouth falling open as he did a slow circuit of Jeremy’s sprawled body. “And when’s the last time that happened?”
“The bathroom of that club in Galveston. When we opened up for the Party Kills.”
Kennedy’s gaze sharpened. “Are you kidding me?”
“You—” Kennedy caught Jeremy’s chin between his thumb and index finger. “You let that monkey-sticking kandi kid nail you?”
“He’s hot,” Jeremy said defensively. “Tall. Hard body. Who cares if he used to cover himself in beaded bracelets in, like, the ’90s?”
Disapproval radiated from Kennedy. And something that sent his lip sloping in a mean curve. “You sure know how to pick them. What’s next? That creepy bastard who owns this hellhole?”
“Hunter isn’t creepy. He’s nice. He even showed me how to get to his house in case I need him for anything.”
“Oh, I bet he fucking did.”
“Dude, what is your problem? Why do you even care whose dick I ride? It’s not like you want me to touch yours.” Jeremy rolled onto his side. Attempts at being brash kept leading to embarrassment, and he really needed to quit while he was ahead.
Author Bio: Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is 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.
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