STYGIAN is up for pre-order!

My upcoming novel STYGIAN is up for preorder on the Dreamspinner website! You can also add it on Goodreads.

Stygian - Ebook Small

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 Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

This book is different than anything I’ve ever written and I’m really excited about sharing it with everyone. There are mysterious strangers, paranormal elements, and sex in the drippy heat of northern Louisiana in the dead of summer, but STYGIAN is also about four young guys who have scraped through their adolescence in horrible circumstances and are trying desperately to make their band work. But it’s not that easy. They’ve found each other, but they’re still not sure how to trust and love each other, and that is the primary plot of the book besides the mystery and the paranormal.

The two main characters of STYGIAN are Jeremy and Kennedy–the drummer and the guitarist respectively. They’ve had it bad for each other for a while, but while Jeremy is too uncertain to assert himself, Kennedy is reluctant to make a move for his own reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there’s also Watts and Quince–two supporting characters who are just as important to the plot as the main dudes. They’re also involved in a relationship rife with sex and conflict and uncertain emotions, and I love them so much despite Watts not being an easy guy to like. The interpersonal problems in this band became a major subplot and one that I want to explore further some day. I hope readers are able to root for them all.

I’ll keep the paranormal element mysterious for now, but I will leave you guys with these teasers and another reminder to preorder now!:

By |September 26th, 2015|Uncategorized|427 Comments

Decompression mode — Activated!

So, I have this BAD TENDENCY to go on internal shutdown mode after a book comes out. I realize I’ve only had two books come out (besides ICoS) in my life, but it happened both times. I get exhausted from promo (and worrying about doing so much promo/promo guilt) and having to be “on” for a month or two, and then retreat into some kind of social media standby. This year I also had a bunch of personal issues assault me following the release of SUTPHIN BOULEVARD so I have more of an “excuse”. Not that I need one, but you see where I’m going with this.

SO, what have I been up to?

A lot. I’ve been in stuck in an editing cycle and writing NOTHING new. STYGIAN comes out on October 26 and I overhauled the book dramatically in the past month and a half, so that dominated a lot of my time. If you haven’t heard about STYGIAN (because I’ve been on my Five Boroughs kick), here’s some information:

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 Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

The cover reveal (it’s GORGEOUS) will be in a couple of weeks on Fiction Vixen and Sinfully…. And here are some teaser graphics to, well, tease you 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m simultaneously excited and terrified for this book to come out, but I’ll be writing about that more in the near future. I’ve done a lot of work on it recently and as soon as I finished, it was SUNSET PARK‘s turn to be edited. That one comes out in December. To put this in perspective, I’ve spent the last several months picking at my own writing, revising and rewriting major scenes, and that… does a thing or two to a writer’s creative juices. Like dries them the fuck up. My chops are in serious need of lubrication at this point.

So I’ve been trying to decompress. I won’t stress about writing the next Five Boroughs book until Nanowrimo. In the meantime, I am involved in this year’s Queer Romance Month, I’m planning to write several Mikey/Nunzio back stories leading up to SUNSET PARK‘s release (including the infamous Atlantic City incident which will be told from Raymond’s POV), and I’m trying to get back in my social media groove.

Taking a month or two off will rejuvenate me (maybe) before the roller coaster of the next couple of years. If you’re wondering about my future publishing plans, here is a rundown:

October 2015 – STYGIAN
December 2015 – SUNSET PARK
April 2016 – FIRST AND FIRST
September 2016 – FORDHAM ROAD
February 2017 – SOUTH SHORE

*This is super tentative! I’m still getting plot bunnies for different characters and may change the order in which I want to write and publish some things
**Somewhere in there I will work on the first volume of 180 PROOF VEGA
***I also plan to write a Five Boroughs spin-off series tentatively featuring New Adult characters
****I also plan to, at some point, write a sequel to AFTER MIDNIGHT

But before I get to all that, I’m going to focus on calming the hell down and relaxing. I’m desperately in need of a new show to watch. I’ve recently watched and loved Sense8 and Mr. Robot (The Knick is back soon!), and recently read and loved CHARMED AND DANGEROUS, and reviewed it over at Binge on Books. Next up on my TBR is THE MARTIAN, PLAYING FOR HER HEART, and FULL EXPOSURE, but I’ve also been desperate for a gritty M/M contemp I can sink my teeth into.

Gimme all the recs! For shows and books or just coping mechanisms that don’t involve avoidance or Grindr chats. 😉 Wish me luck!

Sex, Identity, and Skyscraper Dreams

As I’ve stated a bazillion times, I have a few books coming out in the near future (6 in the next year and a half actually), but you might not know 5 out of 6 of those planned novels are in my new Five Boroughs series. The first of which—SUTPHIN BOULEVARD—was released on Friday. Keep in mind—all books can be read as standalones. Characters will pop up all over the series but you don’t need to read them in a particular order if you don’t want to, and each couple gets a happy ending by the end of their book.

I’ve had a semi rough release weekend (broke my phone, argued with family, screamed at disappearing GR ratings before being reassured they will return, agonized over promo and wondering how to accrue Amazon reviews—hey this is Real Talk w/ Santino), but the reviews rolling in are… fucking phenomenal. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“The chemistry between these two fairly sizzles the pages. This book is sexy. The love scenes are dirty in all the best ways.” — Fiction Vixen

“This book and these characters offer a gritty and realistic view of life while offering a complex and multi-layered story of true friends that become lovers.” — Joyfully Jay Reviews

“Hassell’s storytelling is raw and gritty, but utterly perfect. It’s been a while since I had a book hangover of this magnitude, but it’s here in full force.” — JesseWave

“It’s a book that makes you want to read it over and over again, and I’ve read its final pivotal and epiphanous scene so many times I almost know it word for word now.” — The Novel Approach Reviews

“I couldn’t be happier with this book. Though it’s written in first person in Michael’s point of view, Santino Hassell writes it in a way that lets you see all that Michael is blind to.” — LoveBytes

“This book is special, in an extraordinary, I’m kind of in awe of how special it is way. I was totally captivated by Santino Hassell’s voice, and no nonsense writing style, wow, the man really is such an incredibly talented author, and I’m excited by his potential and of what’s to come in the future.” — Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews

“I love Santino’s style of writing, which is definitely not slushy, or overtly romantic, he expresses emotion in a very visceral way, which stays with you a long time.” — Prism Book Alliance

I am utterly thrilled by the response. It’s a personal book (in a purely thematic sense), and one that was difficult to write for various reasons, so reading these reviews has been amazing.

In case you missed it, I wrote a blog post on casual sex over at The Novel Approach, did a really interesting interview at JesseWave, and I also talked about inspiration and future plans over on the Dreamspinner FB page! I did a post on STYGIAN (my October release) with inspiration photos and I also talked a bit about the YA short story (and potential series) that spawned McCleary High School–the school some of the characters in SUTPHIN BOULEVARD work at. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be talking about this book and this series. I love the characters and I want you all to get to know them. I even love Michael’s students. I created an entire roster for his History class!

So, what IS the Five Boroughs series?

Well, the first book was initially inspired by elements from my own life—teacher drama, family issues, and of course a guy (that story will get told in another blog post 😉 ), but the idea grew as I wrote the draft of SUTPHIN BOULEVARD. I was infatuated with the main character’s friends and family, and I wanted to tell their stories too. From there it got bigger. I decided to make it a series that would pay homage to shows like Queer as Folk, The L Word, and Looking (in terms of the ensemble cast, interlocking storylines, and the big city setting) but with my own style.

So that’s what Five Boroughs is—adult romance novels about a diverse group of men (although I do have plans for a M/F and F/F at some point) trying to figure out life, forge relationships, and push their sexual boundaries in a city that moves fast and stops for no one. And what other city would I write about than New York?

One of my goals with Five Boroughs was to represent NYC in terms of how diverse it is. Racially, ethnically, age-wise, and all of those different subcultures that are crushed together every time a subway car opens and people come flooding in. FB will feature teachers, lawyers, hipster (or should I say… yuccie?) dancers, disgruntled hedge fund heirs, student loan-weary Millennials, and a couple of cops from Staten Island. They all have challenges to overcome and dreams they want to reach, and every one of them will find love even if they weren’t looking for it when their book started.

The characters have vastly different backgrounds but they’re all connected to each other (social media is major theme in this series). Book one is about a Puerto Rican teacher and his Italian-American best friend, and everything after that is like Six Degrees of Michael Rodriguez. David gets his book, so does Raymond, Charles, Drew, Caleb… they’ll all get their stories eventually and I hope you stick around to read about them!

Subscribe to my newsletter for updates about my future releases! I’ll be putting exclusive SYTGIAN stuff in there soon.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1JWBEuK
BN: http://bit.ly/1HcCqSs
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Sq8tKp
Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/1Sq8tKp
ARe: http://bit.ly/1I99NJM

By |August 2nd, 2015|Uncategorized|59 Comments

RELEASE DAY for Sutphin Boulevard!

This book is important to me for a number of reasons.SutphinBoulevard- FINAL SMALL

It’s my first release with a publisher, my first contemporary romance, and my first solo project in two years. The main characters, and side characters, also managed to spawn a universe called Five Boroughs which will lead to a so far unknown number of spin-off novels. No worries! SUTPHIN BOULEVARD is a standalone novel. The characters get their happy ending even if I might follow up with them again some day because I love them, but the side characters who are introduced here will also have their stories told in the future.

This isn’t a fluffy read but I don’t think it’s a dark one either. The book deals with anxiety, depression, and addiction, but it’s also very much about two men who belong together and who have really dirty sex on their journey to happily ever after.

The ARC reviews have been trickling in over the past few weeks and the response has been amazing. Here are a couple of quotes so far:

“Hassell doesn’t sugarcoat his vibrant characters, making them as gritty as the Queens neighborhood in which they grew up… There are plenty of steamy sex scenes; overall, a welcome addition to romance collections in urban libraries.” — Library Journal

“Santino’s voice stands out in a talented genre. SUTPHIN BOULEVARD is full of grit, incredibly sexy, and will leave readers smiling as Michael finds his way to love and health.” — Megan Erickson, author of TRUST THE FOCUS
“It’s a book that makes you want to read it over and over again, and I’ve read its final pivotal and epiphanous scene so many times I almost know it word for word now.” — The Novel Approach Reviews

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ORDER NOW:

Amazon | ARe | BNDSP | kobo

 

 

Sutphin Boulevard Blog Tour

Release day is just around the cawnah.

Sutphin Boulevard will drop at your friendly neighborhood retailers next Friday, and the blog tour will kick off around the same time. You can find the blog tour schedule below as well as the type of content I’ll have at each stop. There’s also a giveaway or two so, if you’re interested, don’t miss opportunities to rack up some points!

Blogtour Badge

July 30

Diverse Reader – Exclusive Excerpt

July 31

Jessewave – Interview with LenaLena (submit questions here!)

The Novel Approach – “Is it ever ‘just sex’?” (Guest Post)

August 1

Binge on Books – Deleted scene (with sexy times!)

August 2

Santino’s Blog – “Sex, Love, and Skyscraper Dreams”

August 3

Sinfully… – “Sexual Chemistry” (Excerpt + Guest Post)

August 4

Joyfully Jay – Behind the Sutphin Boulevard scenes! (Guest Post)

August 5

Purple Rose Tea House – Character Interview (hosted by Charlie Cochet)

August 6

Love Bytes – “Running From Love” (Guest Post)

August 7

Romance Novels in Color – Fun Q&A + Excerpt

Prism Book Alliance – Interview with Alexis Hall

I hope you guys follow along! Sign up to my newsletter for future updates and, for now, you can preorder at Dreamspinner’s website and All Romance ebooks, as well as read an excerpt on Heroes and Heartbreakers!

By |July 23rd, 2015|Uncategorized|84 Comments