Thursday, May 6, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - Squealer: Growing Up Gay the Catholic Italian Way by Christopher Calcara

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Squealer: Growing Up Gay the Catholic Italian Way by Christopher Calcara. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Squealer: Growing Up Gay the Catholic Italian Way
Author: Christopher Calcara
Publication Date: February 26th 2021
Print Length: 181 pages
Genre: LGBTQ+ Crime Thriller
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With tongue-in-cheek and dark overtones, Squealer examines the life of an impressionable Midwestern Catholic Italian choirboy who grows into a mob-worthy assassin in order to avenge high school nemeses from his past.

As ‘Pete Casanova’ takes us on a journey through the heart-land, his early ethnic and religious experiences expose the motivations for his deadly actions. We come to realize why, for him, it’s never too late to seek revenge.

Squealer addresses topics of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse inflicted on students by their teachers and religious authorities. It deals with the difficult subjects of homophobia, prejudice and bullying, but with wit … and suspense!

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EXCERPT:
As daunting as the office at the end of the dark hallway was, the St. Ignatius chemistry laboratory presented its own chamber of horrors. Brother Alban’s domain, it was on the second floor and served as the classroom for Biology 202, Chemistry 310 and Physics 404. Always in play for dominance that only the seniors had, juniors amplified its revulsions to freshmen who would be taking Biology sophomore year. Nobody looked forward to the dissection of frog cadavers and fetal pigs.

Alban kept the room, largest of all the classrooms, locked when class was not in session. It contained beakers and test tubes, Bunsen burners, and chemicals that in the wrong hands could be hazardous. Hamsters, snakes and lizards that he treated like companions also lived there, in cages and dry aquariums.

Sometimes he’d pick up one of the beasts and fondle or nuzzle it, not to show they were harmless, but to frighten and remind us that only he was clever enough to avoid their potential dangers. Alban diverged somewhat from the other Brothers in that he was more cerebral than corporeal. He leveled his share of wallops but his specialty was mind manipulation. He could have been a nun.

Georgio, Nickie and I happened to be at one of the Ignatius mixers that Leonard and his cult attended. Nickie spent most of her time stalking Leonard, while Georgio and I danced. (Not with each other, of course, but with girls.) There were always a few lay teachers and Brothers there to chaperone, occasionally the school nurse or secretary Mrs. Murphy. They never danced but stared at us like we were crazy, doing the Hustle and The Bump to a DJ’s records.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After earning a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Calcara created marketing campaigns for businesses and institutions featured in print and broadcast media.

He writes fiction and semi-fiction, short stories, memoirs, plays, novels, and screenplays. He has collaborated with composers to write plays with musical scores. Joan is one such musical play that lyrically exposes the soul of Jeanne d’Arc—Joan of Arc.

Calcara was the only Charleston writer to win the 2011 South Carolina Arts Commission Fiction Project. His short stories have been published by numerous literary journals. He has lived in the South, Southwest and Southeast, and currently writes from the Midwest.

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GUEST POST:
SQUEALER (subtitled Growing Up Gay the Catholic Italian Way) is a fictional work that, by virtue of its plot, assumes a thriller/crime genre form. But it’s so much more.

First and foremost, I want readers to be entertained by SQUEALER. I want them to turn down the final page feeling satisfied, believing that the novel is more than just a good read. I want it to be one that will stay with them because its story is stimulating and gripping, its words and sentences elegant and lyrical, its characters believable and relatable. Even with its darker chapters, I want readers to embrace its humor. I want them to get a real sense of place and history and culture, because they’re all there: Kansas City, Catholic education, the Italian Mafia…

The one idea that I want to remain with ALL readers, who might happen largely to be readers of LGBT writing, is that LGBT-themed prose has evolved. It can be Literature with a capital L. Telling a story from an LGBT point of view doesn’t make it any less literary. It can be as sophisticated and mainstream as writing by our most respected authors who identify as heterosexual and write straight or asexual content. While SQUEALER does contain both straight and gay sex scenes, it is decidedly not pornography. Luca, the protagonist, loves. Family and relationships play important roles in the novel. In that sense, it’s a love story.

Luca also hates. He undertakes a psychologically difficult quest to avenge high school nemeses who abused him (mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually). SQUEALER is a revenge piece.

It’s definitely a thriller. Luca concocts a complicated scheme to capture and punish SQUEALER’s villains. He takes the reader on both a logistical, topographical journey and an interior one told in a non-linear format that exposes his motivations along the path. A surprise plot twist midway through the novel adds even more suspense and complexity.

It’s a coming to life story. The novel covers more than four decades of the characters’ lives that reflect innocence and immorality; revelation, transformation and growth; mistakes, crimes and misdemeanors. With such subjects as bullying, homophobia, and abuse, SQUEALER has scenes of intensity, which lighten considerably with wit as its victims bring justice to their tormentors in unpredictably amusing ways. SQUEALER becomes a historical treatise when Luca delves into the indoctrination that Catholics (particularly children) undergo in their churches and schools. But it is not a rehash of the church priest scandal; it illuminates Catholic school teacher exploitation, largely dismissed or lambasted farcically. Luca shares a lesson in the history of the Italian Mafia as certain characters close to him associate themselves with the mob. SQUEALER does not purport to be all things to all readers, but as an LGBT-themed thriller, it can satisfy many other interests as well, and deserves to be mainstream Literature, without the need for a subtitle.
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GIVEAWAY:
Christopher Calcara will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

35 comments:

  1. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I think you'd enjoy the novel.

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  2. Thanks so much for hosting me on your site. I think your readers would enjoy my novel.

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  3. thanks and congrats on the book

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    1. Thank you, Wendy. I appreciate your congratulations.

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  4. I think that the cover of your book is striking in design.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thank you, Nancy. I had fun working with my publisher in creating it.

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  5. I liked the excerpt, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for reading it, Rita. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  6. This sounds like a very good book.

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  7. Thanks for your comment, Sherry. Good luck with the giveaway.

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  8. Christopher Calcara is a new author to me, but I look forward to reading this. I always love meeting new authors. Thanks to this blog for the introduction.

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  9. Thanks so much, Audrey. While I have written several novels and have had a number of short stories published, this is my first published novel. Great meeting you, too. I hope you become a reader of my novel.

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  10. How long was the writing process?

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    1. Hello Deborah. The novel came to me quickly. I had already written a few short stories that unintentionally fit well into the novel. And then I built around them. I'd say six months to write and put all the parts togethr, and then three more to edit it. Thank you for your question.

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  11. It sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hi Diana
      Thank you for your comment. My pleasure to share.

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  12. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Deb. I had fun designing the cover with my publisher, Wallace Publishing, and I think it speaks dramatically to the story inside.

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  13. It's really nice to learn about your book tour.

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    1. It's nice to have you join us, Calvin. Thank you.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thank you, Holly. It's a very succinct title but within the story, it explodes in so many situations and characters.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. The real intrigue can be found on the pages! I think you'd enjoy the novel.

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  16. After I read the description I know I have to read this. It deals with sensitive issues but with some wit and I know it is a must read.

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    1. Thank you, katieoscarlet, for your kind comments. I do think if these issues are important to you, and you enjoy a witty read, you will enjoy the novel.

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  17. Sounds great, I like the cover and the excerpt.

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    1. Thank you, Susan, for your comments and for reading the excerpt.

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