Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: A More Perfect Union by B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden, & Michael Murphy


A More Perfect Union
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: 6/26/16
Pairing: MM

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love. But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?” Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix. To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.



Someday, by B.G. Thomas

Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day.  “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton's very conservative family can't accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won't marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.

Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.

What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.

Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio's side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and  realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.

It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.

From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.

When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi's family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.

When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.



Review by: multitaskingmomma
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

A More Perfect Union is an anthology of four stories written by men who married the men they fell in love with and now celebrates the one thing others enjoyed or took for granted: to be recognized as husbands and husbands in matrimony.

These four stories are written from their differing perspectives. Each one showing their readers the different takes on how they felt when they were still considered second or even, third class citizens in a country that claimed to be blind to race, gender of sexual orientation. Here we see familiar themes and some not very familiar. From the hardships the LGBTQI community faced to be recognized, the fight to make sure the ruling stays and finally their fight within communities where others felt the rule of law should be confused with religion. This is an anthology that celebrates the first anniversary of Marriage Equality in the United States.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth tells of how Alex manages to get around immediate family wishes and sits beside his partner who lies in a coma. Armed with the hope that a beloved's voice can be heard through the chaos of a coma, Geo 'listens' to the stories Alex weaves. 

Someday, by B.G. Thomas is the one I had a bit of thinking through before I realized that yes, I did love this story. Here we have two familiar men, Lucas and Dalton, who love each other like none other and yet, one is not the commitment type and the other just wants the ring on his fingers. These men are more familiar to me. I know many who've been together for so long and yet, no matter the hurt it gives their partners, the word marriage is anathema to their very being. True, many people will not understand this but they are out there. Lucas does get his HEA when marriage equality became very real and legal. My only problem is, Dalton who didn't seem to care, or refused to see, that Lucas persevered even to the point of his heart breaking.

Jeordi and Tom by Michael Murphy is a more familiar tale where a marriage licence clerk decides they are not legible for marriage in her eyes. Think: From God, to me, to you. Facepalm all the way through this read, frustrating as it reminds me of the scandalous Kim da Davis drama. As with the real life, both men find saviors in the form of an older couple who helps them get the rings on their fingers.


Now, Destined by Jamie Fessenden, this one made me smile. This story gives us a timeline of how Jay and Wallace lived their lives from the time they met when no fireworks announced the possibility of a happy future together until the time they finally get a good look at each other and realize, they'd been missing on a whole lot of years. 

Overall, if the authors wished for an inspiration anthology, giving hope to those who think they don't deserve it, then yes, they have succeeded. There is a whole lot of reality going on here and some may like it but there are some who may crave the fair tale romance that is not so real. HEA all the way, despite the trials and pitfalls met in life. 



B.G. Thomas

B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous little dog. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.

B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.

In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all—since he grew out of being a “practicing” homosexual long ago. He submitted a story and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the stories have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of stories!”

“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”

J. Scott Coatsworth:

Scott has been writing since elementary school. After leaving writing for twenty years, Mark, his husband, told him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
Mark and Scott have been together for twenty four years. They met at the Pacific Center, an LGBT center in Berkeley, California, in 1992. They dated for two weeks, and then Scott moved in with Mark, and the rest is history. They run their own business together, study Italian, and are almost never found apart.

Jamie Fessenden
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple of short pieces in his high school's literary magazine, but it wasn't until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie published his first novella in 2010, and has since published over twenty other novels and novellas.

After legally marrying in 2010, buying a house together, and getting a dog, Jamie and Erich have settled down to life in the country, surrounded by wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional coyote. A few years ago, Jamie was able to quit the tech support job that gave him insanely high blood pressure. He now writes full-time... and feels much better.

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy met his husband Dan thirty-four years ago during a Sunday service at MCC in Washington, DC when a hot, smart man sat down beside him. Due to a shortage of hymnals they had to share.  The touch of one hand on the other in that moment was electric. Sparks flew that day. Though neither had planned it, they spent the day together followed by the night.  From that day, for more than three decades they’ve rarely been separated, each finding in the other their soul mate.

In the District of Columbia, where they lived, marriage became possible in early March 2010.  The minute it happened they were in line to get a marriage license, only to be stumped because the license required the name of the person who was going to marry them. There was such a sudden rush of same sex couples wanting to get married that the office already had a two-month backlog before an appointment could be secured.  Since they weren’t at all convinced that the Congress wasn’t going to step in and do something stupid to take away this right, they started calling everywhere to find someone who would marry them. It might be legal, but finding someone to marry them was proving to be a challenge.

When an article appeared in the newspaper telling of a small, local United Methodist Church that had decided to go against general church policy because marriage equality mattered deeply to them, a conversation started.  After a series of emails and phone calls, suddenly they were seated with two retired UMC ministers who were willing to risk it all to do the right thing.  A few days later, license in hand, surrounded by a handful of friends and their best dog, Shadow, they were finally legally married.

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