Tuesday, February 20, 2024

#NewBlogPost #ReleaseBlitz...Be Not Afraid...#LGBTQ #Literary #BookLove @GayBookPromotions @SexyNerdRevue


Book Title: Be Not Afraid

Author and Publisher: AJ Saxsma

Cover Artist: Andrew Howard

Release Date: January 23, 2024

Genre: LGBTQ Literary

Themes: Coming out, accepting what we cannot change

Length: 120 000 words/431 pages

Heat Rating: 2 flames

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.


Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 


Toby, Lloyd's son, seeks conformity compulsively. Each day, he audits and buries his true self deeper, yearning to fade into obscurity, anonymity. His desperation leads him to a program that vows to obliterate his authentic self, setting Toby on an unintended and riveting path of self-discovery.

Meanwhile, Dawn, Lloyd's wife, finds solace in a new church where love is not just a sentiment but a commodity. Lost in her family's shadow, she embraces a new identity amidst her new church family whose intentions seem questionable at best.

As the Wood family strives to escape their own truths, the chasms they create around themselves deepen and, one by one, threaten to swallow the people they care about most.

'Be Not Afraid' explores identity, family dynamics, the destructive paradox of denial & with a distinct strength in voice questions our capacity to accept what we cannot change...or can we?


The sign above the reception window read Dr. E.M. Gille, MD.

‘How you feeling, hon?’ Dawn said. She had a magazine in her lap, and she was rubbing Toby’s back. ‘How’s your stomach? Want to describe it to me?’


‘If you describe it to me, it’ll be easier to tell the doctor.’

‘It’s fine right now,’ Toby said. He was watching the TV on a stand tucked in the corner. The news was on. Another eyewitness had seen an angel outside town.”

“A nurse came into the waiting room. She was in pink smocks and stood on thick soles. She said, ‘Toby Wood.’

Both Toby and Dawn followed the nurse to an exam room, which she knocked on before allowing entry.

She examined Toby and made him describe the pain.

‘It just hurts sometimes.’

She stunk like cigarettes.

The nurse said the doctor will be right in.

Toby sat on the examination table. The sanitary paper crinkled no matter how he moved or how he settled.

He and Dawn waited for the doctor.

‘Does it hurt now?’ Dawn said.

‘No, Mom.’

They waited, and sometime later, a knock announced the doctor. He was clean shaven with close-cropped hair white as bedsheets. His brows were thick and bushy. His skin was cream and pink and aged. He wore a button-up and tie under his white coat. His teeth and eyes were bright.

‘Heya, Toby,’ he said. He didn’t look at Toby when he said it; he was reading Toby’s chart. He sat and scooted his stool close. ‘You’re having stomach pain.’

It wasn’t a question; it was a statement the doctor read aloud.

Toby quietly confirmed.

The doctor pressed with his fingers into Toby’s stomach and tested areas and asked if that hurt.

Toby said it did not.

‘Pain comes and goes. It’s not that bad.’

‘Out of ten, what would you say?’

‘A two, one and a half. It’s really not that bad.’

‘A two? One and a half?’

‘Tell the doctor when it hurts, hon.’

‘It comes and goes, Mom.’

‘Do you take any pain relievers?’

‘No,’ Toby said.

‘No, he doesn’t,’ Dawn said too.

‘Okay,’ the doctor said. He made notes.

‘He doesn’t always come to me when it hurts. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what it is.’

The doctor’s tone was soft. ‘Well. Sometimes our bodies respond physically to factors within our environment, anxiety, stress, all these can stew in the body and hollow us out,’ the doctor said to Dawn.

She nodded intently.

‘Are you studying too hard? Maybe big tests coming up? Staying up too late with the video games?’

‘I study too hard,’ Toby said. He said it very quickly, almost before the doctor had finished speaking. ‘That must be it, the stress of studying,’ Toby said.

‘Still.’ The doctor rolled the stool close to Dawn. He continued, ‘A boy his age should not have recurring stomach pain. I’d like to send him for testing.’

‘That’s what I said, I didn’t like the frequency of it. Didn’t I say, Toby?’ Dawn said.

‘Testing?’ Toby said.

‘I’d like to rule some things out.’

‘It’s not that bad, really. It’s only sometimes,’ Toby said.

Dawn said whatever test was fine and she agreed, and she asked if it could, maybe, be this or could be that, or, she said, she didn’t really know, Doctor.

‘Could I have you step out for a minute, Mrs. Wood?’

Dawn stepped out, and the doctor shut the door. The doctor had Toby come off the exam table and sit in a chair, and the doctor rolled over on the rolly stool.

He did not speak right away. He was deep in thought, and then he said, ‘Is there anything you have not told your mom, anything you’re worried about that, maybe, you can’t tell mom or dad? Stress is not good for the body. If you’ve kept something to yourself, I won’t say a word to your mom or your dad if you’d like to share it with me. Do you have something you’d like to tell me that you can’t tell them?’

Toby was quiet a very long time. ‘I’m just studying too hard.’

The doctor nodded and waited for more from Toby.

There was no more.

‘Well. Then. Take study breaks, okay? Allow yourself time to relax. Time to be. But I do want to run some tests. Whatever is triggering the pain, we’ll find it out. Okay? I promise, son, we will unearth with absolute certainty what is causing this physical reaction. Even if it takes a while, we’ll uncover the root of it. I can promise that. Okay?’

The doctor went from the room and scheduled Toby’s lab tests with his mother and the receptionist.

Toby sat in the room.


He was listening to the doctor’s words over and again.

We’ll find it out. Okay?

I can promise that.

His stomach hurt.

About the Author. . .

AJ Saxsma, born in Illinois in 1987, is a queer writer. He lives in Los Angeles with his husky. His literary work has earned awards from Almond Press UK and has been published in several genre magazines. As a screenwriter, his work has been an official selection for the Independent Horror Film Awards, Hollywood Screen Film Festival, Los Angeles Cinefest, and Los Angeles Horror Competition. He's also written the narrative scripts for four video game projects produced by Oculus for the Oculus VR system.

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