Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Blog Tour: Fault Lines by Shane K. Morton (Guest Post+Excerpt+Giveaway)

Hello book readers,

I would like to thank Bayou Book Junkie for having me here today so I can promote my new release- Fault Lines. It is not your typical LGBT romance book. It is a story about community and people coming together to overcome whatever obstacle they are facing. Romance- yes. Drama- yes! Comedy- oh yes.

The story takes place in sunny Los Angeles, at the edge of the Hollywood Hills. The multiple plot lines all focus on a group of people who live together in a small townhome complex on Descante Drive. It is a close community and newcomer Ursula Moolay is the newest denizen to their small family. We have gay couple Harrison and Cole, boyfriends who are both involved in the entertainment industry; Amber and Tommy, a young married couple hiding secrets from each other that could ruin their lives; Margaret and Bea, a lesbian couple trying to find their way through life; Isabelle and Richard, a senior couple dealing with illness; and finally Ursula, a drag performer dealing with her identity.

There is murder, drug dealers, prostitution and kidnapping that they must somehow get through to ever have the happy ending they yearn for. Red carpet meltdowns, celebrity sex tapes, Feminist fight clubs, and morning sickness keeps the story rolling towards its explosive finale. When you live in California, earthquakes are a way of life, but sometimes the fault lines open and threaten to swallow you within.

Ursula is one of my favorite characters that I have ever written. She is a strong, educated, and powerful woman of color coming to terms with her identity. I first introduced her as a supporting character in The Trouble with Off-Campus Housing and have wanted to explore her in her own series for a while.

I am a HUGE fan of The Tales of the City book series and this is my homage to the Armistaud Maupin classics. A series of interweaving stories that connect and interweave, telling the tale of a group of fabulous and honest characters doing their best to survive and be happy in the real world. I know these people and so do you. I have been each of these characters at different points in my life and I am excited to finally release them into the world.

Welcome to LA. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride!


Mortgages and Murder

Ursula Moolay was one pissed off drag queen. She was mad as hell and driving to open a can of whoop ass on her one-time boss, complete douchebag and now former friend, Eric Thompson. When she found him, he would be a dead man.

After much hand-wringing, she decided to get out of the rent trap she had been living in for the last eight years and purchase a small condo in Van Nuys, California. It was farther away from West Hollywood than she would have liked, but as close to WEHO as she could afford.

Yesterday she applied for a home loan in this tacky fluorescent-lit shack next to her very hot realtor’s office. She was a nervous wreck.

The little old man behind the computer looked at her over the spectacles that kept sliding down his nose. “Mr. Rinn?” he asked, confused. This voluptuous woman sitting across from him could not be a Mister. “Uh, I seem to have the wrong paperwork? I’m sorry about that,” he started to rise from his seat to correct his mistake. “Glenda,” he called to his secretary. “Can I get this young lady’s papers please?”

“No sir,” Ursula said, staring directly into his eyes. “That is my given name, but you can call me Ursula,” she batted her overlong eyelashes at him and smiled broadly, trying to put him at ease. It had the opposite effect.

“Oh! I didn’t know, Mr… er Miss, I am sorry, I haven’t had a lot of your kind in here,” he stammered.

“It’s Ok,” she said folding her hands in her lap the way her grandmother had taught her. “I promise ‘my kind,’ is just another person and you can call me Ursula, and we will get along just fine,” she was used to this. At this point in her life, she knew the name she was born with, Morris, was in her past and the diva she created was her present and future. She just hated paperwork, and the thought of genital reassignment was a deal breaker for her. She liked her body as it was, but not the person who was attached to it. Ursula was all woman, but a man in that one particular way. She was a work in progress, scared and unsure of what her final choice might be.

“Oh, OK, Ursula is it? That’s an interesting name,” he stammered.

“I loved the Little Mermaid,” she said flatly. It was a lie. The truth was that Ursula sounded dramatic and to 17-year-old Morris, it felt powerful. A one of a kind name. She had always been a little hefty as a child, and some of her classmates used to moo at her, something that little Morris never understood. So he took that feeling and owned it, Ursula Moolay rose from the ashes of Morris’ sad life. He lived a double life throughout college, until the day he graduated. Ursula Moolay walked on stage and received the college degree that Morris had worked so hard for, now the only pantsuit she wore was one reminiscent of her hero, Alexis Carrington from Dynasty.

“Well, Ursula… it seems we have hit a small problem with your loan,” he began, pushing his glasses up with his index finger back into position on his round and now red face. “It seems you already own a home in Studio City.”

“I… What? That is impossible!” her voice rose, shocked at what she had heard. “When did I buy this supposed house?” she said with attitude, starting to freak the fuck out.

“Two years ago, it seems. You put a large three hundred and fifty thousand dollar down payment on the property, and it looks like you only financed two-hundred thousand on a five-hundred and fifty thousand dollar townhome at a 20 year fixed rate. You have excellent credit, so you have a very low interest rate. Good for you.”

“I DO NOT OWN A HOME!” she shouted, becoming completely so unglued that her eyelashes threatened to fall off. She had seen segments on 20/20 about this. Some bitch had stolen her old identity. “This has to be a mistake. I promise you; I do not own anything besides a beat up Honda. What am I supposed to do?”

“Well, we can research it, of course, and then report it to the credit bureau if you look like a fraudulent case,” he caught himself. “I mean if it looks like a fraudulent case.”

“Oh, let me tell you, honey, it’s a big shit storm of fraud,” Ursula said hotly, jumping to her feet quickly and waving her finger wildly enough to startle the little round man. She took a breath and sat back down slowly. She knew it was better not to alarm the older generation of white men; they were always a little scared of powerful black women like her and Oprah.

“I mean, I didn’t do this. Fuck,” Ursula shook her head and felt her curls bounce around her face. She seriously needed to get a new weave; it was on its last legs. “Can you tell me where this home I own is?”

“Certainly, I can. That’s a matter of public record. But, I must insist Mr… errrr, Ursula that you do a full credit check for any other instances on your credit history that may be fraudulent. You may need to hire a lawyer to unwind the mess that someone created for you,” he said sincerely. Ursula knew that she was coming undone and did not want to do that in front of this stranger.

“The house is on Descante Drive, I believe. Yes. 1007 Descante Drive #B,” he said looking at his computer. If he had been watching Ursula, he would have seen her face go ashen. She knew that address, and she knew who lived there.

Fast forward to today.

She was on her way to kick Eric Thompson’s stupid little drugged up ass. She was wearing the correct outfit for accomplishing this reasonably easy task. Eric was a scrawny little rat of a man, and Ursula was a whole lot of woman, who could easily break the little butt wipe in half with her bare hands while baking a pie. She had on leather pants and knee-high boots with an 8-inch heel that she was planning to shove where the sun couldn’t shine. Ursula had taken out her weave yesterday so she could wear her foxy brown afro. She needed this asshole to know she meant business. She had toyed with calling her ex-boyfriend Kris, who was a cop to come with her, but this issue was her concern alone. She didn’t need some he-man to help her accomplish what she could do herself.

Ursula always took care of her interests. And right now her interest was taking back her credit and by extension her life. Eric was one of the first people she met in LA after she moved here. She auditioned at one of the most popular West Hollywood clubs and found herself hired on the spot; she was that good. Eric had been one of the promoters for their drag nights, and she could tell he was oily right away. His hands lingered on the dancer's butts far too long; she had seen this in almost every club in which she ever worked. It was normal yet still distasteful. But he adored her, and soon she was a headliner in the club. She owed her LA career to him, so she had always tried to be nice, even when he didn’t deserve it.

A few years after she started, the owner discovered Eric was embezzling and fired him on the spot. She and Eric somehow managed to stay friends. She went to the wild parties he threw on occasion or every so often they might catch dinner and movie together. She saw him for who he was and never truly trusted him, but she didn’t want to turn her back on him either. She owed him. Well, that was now over. Now she wanted to see him in prison.

How dare this mother fucker violate me like this! Use me? Son of a bitch! She throttled the steering wheel and felt her stomach lurch thinking about what he had done to her.

He would probably be high on something. His new ‘thing’ was dealing drugs. She heard the rumors about him in WEHO but ignored them, apparently to her detriment.

As she pulled around the steep curve that led to his house in the Hollywood Hills section of Studio City, she slowed down and pulled off to the side of the road. She unfurled herself from her legally parked car, and in LA that was always a minor miracle. She stopped for a moment to notice the view that she had always admired. I guess this view now belongs to me.

Shit! I should have called Kris. She stopped this thought quickly as it was a slippery slope. Calling Kris would open a massive can of worms that she knew she was not in the right emotional state to deal with right now. She hadn’t been in quite some time. She had too many things to figure out for herself first before she could get serious with anyone ever again.

I’m not sure the damn po-po could do anything anyway, she shrugged. Her trust for the police ended when she was stopped by an older cop, her freshman year of college for possible prostitution. It was the last time she ever walked to the gay bar in drag. Prostitute? He wished. He had let her go when he realized his mistake, but it burned itself onto Ursula’s psyche. The only cop she trusted was Kris, and she broke his heart two years ago.

She approached the metal gate that enclosed the property and protected the townhomes from the street. She knew the code to get in. How many times had she used it in her life? Too many to count. She walked through the small garden and was just about to bang on the door when she heard footsteps behind her.

“He’s not home, honey,” a musical voice quietly said behind her. “I guess you haven’t heard.” Ursula turned around to face a pretty lady in her 30’s who looked like she didn’t want to be there. “Hi, I’m sorry, I’m Margaret. Were you and Eric friends?”

“Ursula,” she said shaking her hand lightly. “And yes, I guess we were… Wait! I’m sorry,” Ursula said realizing that this woman had used the past tense. “What do you mean ‘were’?”

“I… Well, I’m sorry that you are finding out this way, but Eric passed away two days ago.” She whispered sadly, unable to meet Ursula’s gaze.

“Son of a bitch!” Ursula quickly turned around without saying another word and walked back to her car. “Asshole!”

Length: 63,000 words approx.


Drag goddess, Ursula Moolay, left Kentucky as fast as her size twelve pumps could carry her and has created a new life for herself in Los Angeles. Here, she has found herself surrounded by a group of people with their own secrets and lies:

A daytime Soap stud hiding in the Hollywood closet.

A reality television producer prepared to destroy his star.

An aging showgirl- the complex’s mother hen, fighting to survive.

A married male escort desperately hiding his profession from his pregnant wife.

And finally, Ursula, pulled into a terrifying ordeal of drugs, murder, and deception as she grapples with her own identity.

Enter the world of red carpet meltdowns, sex tapes, shopping with drag queens, earthquakes, mortgages and murder.

Can they survive or will they each fall into the cracks of LA’s fault lines?

Author Bio

Shane K Morton lives in Studio City, CA with his husband Jody and their fur baby Slayer. His first novel, The Trouble With Off-Campus Housing was published in 2016. When not writing, Shane can be found at a film festival or performing cabaret somewhere in a dark dive bar in LA.


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