Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Two Natures by Jendi Reiter with Exclusive Excerpt

Title: Two Natures
Author: Jendi Reiter
Release Date: September 15th 2016
Genre: LGBT fiction, MM Romance
Two Natures is the coming-of-age story of Julian Selkirk, a fashion photographer in New York City in the early 1990s. His faith in Jesus helped him survive his childhood in the Atlanta suburbs with an abusive alcoholic father, but the church's condemnation of his sexual orientation has left him alienated and ashamed.
Yearning for new ideals to anchor him after his loss of faith, Julian seeks his identity through love affairs with three very different men: tough but childish Phil Shanahan, a personal trainer who takes a dangerous shortcut to success; enigmatic, cosmopolitan Richard Molineux, the fashion magazine editor who gives him his first big break; and Peter Edelman, an earnest left-wing activist with a secret life.
Amid the devastation of the AIDS epidemic and the racial tensions of New York politics, Julian learns to see beyond surface attractions and short-term desires, and to use his art to serve his community.
**Kindle Price $0.99 from February 20th - March 17th ** (normally $9.99)
2016 Rainbow Awards: First Prize, Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction; First Runner-Up, Debut Gay Book
Named one of QSPirit's Top LGBTQ Christian Books of 2016
Christmas passed in a blur, aided by the straight man's drugs of choice, alcohol and football. My brother Carter brought home a leggy California blonde whom he introduced as his fiancĂ©e, Stefanie. She laughed heartily and often, showing big teeth, and sassed him right back when he made fun of her maniacal driving. No one mentioned the little bump in her stomach, which might have been my imagination. I'd intended to be more attentive to every moment, now that the well-worn patterns of our lives might be changing, but instead found myself drifting through these scenes like a ghost who'd run out of gas on the road to heaven.

Back in my cold apartment, a letter was waiting, stuffed in among the bills and holiday catalogs in my overflowing mailbox. It was New Year's Eve, the early hours of a dark rainy evening. Phil hadn't sent me a card, and I didn't know where he was living. The holidays are bad that way, stirring up ersatz memories of love with every long-distance phone-service commercial. I held the letter from the clinic in shaking hands. They weren't supposed to do this; the nurse had said they'd call me to come in and get my results from a counselor. Like that would help. I already knew the five stages of grief: denial, cruising, repentance, bed-wetting, and death.

I tried Peter's phone but got voicemail. With the unopened letter in my coat pocket, I went out for an aimless walk through the slushy streets of Chelsea. Many stores were shut, their gated windows interspersed with bright and noisy restaurants. Richard's party wouldn't start until ten, but I had no appetite. I found myself climbing the footworn stone steps of St. Vincent de Paul's. The massive wooden doors remained unlocked for late-night confessors to deduct their fiscal year's worth of sins. Inside I was enveloped in that smell of incense, mildew and candle wax that I used to believe was what adults meant by "the odor of sanctity". A bank of votive candles flickered in red glass jars. I lit one for myself, but that felt stupid, narrow-minded somehow, because what could I do for myself? I prayed for my sister, and Phil, and Peter, and the rest of my family, dropping coins for each candle into the tin box like an old lady feeding a slot machine.

When I exited the church, a light drizzle had begun, and I had no umbrella, so I turned back. As soon as I stepped into my apartment, the phone rang. Peter, calling me back.

"I got my test results. I think."

He breathed in sharply. "Are you…okay?"

"I don't know. I couldn't open the letter."

"You want to come over? I'm at my dad's party but we could go downstairs to my place."

"Your place?"

"Don't laugh, all right? Yes, I live in my parents' basement."

"Part of your charm, darling."

Peter gave me directions to his father's brownstone on Bedford Street, a quaint side street in the West Village. Lucky bastard, growing up in gay Ground Zero while our PTA nearly got my ninth-grade English teacher fired for assigning poems by W.H. Auden. Lay your sleeping head, my love,/Human on my faithless arm.

Peter's father opened the door, greeting me with a handshake that was almost a hug. Nathan was a short, boisterous man with a fringe of reddish hair and a dreadful necktie silk-screened with hourglasses and champagne bottles, but his quick brown eyes betrayed the legal mind that had bested so many sputtering talk-show guests. Behind him, Peter towered awkwardly, waiting to rescue me. Jazz music competed with a jumble of opinionated voices holding forth on topics
from Hillary Clinton to gallstones.

Nathan offered us caviar but I didn't trust my nervous stomach. He steered us over to the non-working fireplace, where a petite black-haired woman in a red dress (a Diane von Furstenberg, if I wasn't mistaken) was quoting a poem from memory to a young man who was attempting a goatee. She punctuated her recital with fierce drags on her cigarette. I overheard the words "ruby placenta". Well, I supposed Baby New Year had to come from somewhere, but personally I was
happier believing in the stork. The woman's striking emerald eyes were her only point in common with the sullen teenage girl who slouched against the mantel, brown hair masking one side of her face, wrinkled plaid shirt and ripped cargo pants contrasting with the others' holiday

"Come meet my wife and daughter," Nathan urged me. Peter put his arm around my shoulders, drawing me away. The girl looked even more depressed, if this was possible, when she saw that her brother wasn't coming over.

"Maybe later, Dad."

Nathan looked frustrated, as if this conflict was routine between them. Then, recovering his sprightly attitude, he winked at us. "All right, play safely, and don't forget to come up before midnight for Dick Clark."

The dim light of the basement stairs was enough to show me Peter blushing furiously. Because the grass is always greener on the other side of the gene pool, I didn't make things worse by saying that I'd liked Nathan. "Your mom's got great fashion sense."

"Ada's not my mom."

"Oh. I see. I'm sorry."

He shrugged it off. The offbeat domesticity, the sweet smallness of his problems, made me momentarily forget why we were here. We were two high school kids in a TV-movie; he would teach me to study and I would teach him to French-kiss.

I put my hand over his as he fumbled for the light switch. "I'd like to dress you up and take you on a cruise," I murmured, "like Bette Davis in 'Now, Voyager'."

"'Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon, we have the stars,'" he quoted back to me. "Actually, uh, we do."

I couldn't suppress a laugh when I saw the glow-in-the-dark decals on the ceiling. "What, have you lived down here since you were twelve? She really is a wicked stepmother."

"Shut up — I was a total stoner in high school, and then I, uh, couldn't peel them off." But his voice trembled as we stood close together in the dark, our fingers entwined. My other hand encircled the back of his neck. Our lips were so close that I could feel his breath. 

"Julian…" I knew that tone. That was Spartacus, the voice of reason, the great gay censor. Or was it the angel in the thicket: Abraham, Abraham! Don't sacrifice that boy. I took my hands off him.

"I get it…you need to know first…whether I'm poz."

"You think that would change how I — care about you?" His voice was low and rough.

"Peter, please, don't turn on the light," I gasped. He held me tight. "I don't have to know, do I? What if I didn't know?" His silence answered me beyond all doubt.

We sat down on his futon bed. He switched on the gooseneck reading lamp, which threw a small spotlight across our bodies. "Can I see the letter?" he asked. I drew it out of my pocket. "Do you want me to read it first?" Unable to speak, I nodded.

For what felt like the longest few seconds of my life, he scanned the paper.

About the Author

Jendi Reiter's books are guided by her belief that people take precedence over ideologies. In exploring themes of queer family life, spiritual integration, and healing from adverse childhood experiences, her goal is to create understanding that leads to social change. Two Natures is her first novel; a sequel is in the works. Her four published poetry books include Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree, 2015) and the award-winning chapbook Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). She is the co-founder and editor of, an online resource site for creative writers.

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