New Release Blitz: Breakfast Buddies by Ildar Daminov (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Breakfast Buddies

Author: Ildar Daminov

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 11/01/2022

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 23900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, college students, self-discovery, first love, cultural differences, writing

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We humans are spectacularly bad at understanding our own emotions.

A socially conservative Asian young man makes a life-changing decision—he moves to an international metropolis in the very heart of Europe to start his first year as a student at a prestigious academic institution. During one of the very first breakfasts at his new residence he meets a senior student, Jürgen B., to whom he takes an instant liking. As their friendship progresses, these small breakfast sessions become more and more meaningful to the young man, who starts to question both his own identity and his values as he discovers the depth of his confusing feelings about Jürgen.

His struggles to figure out what Jürgen means to him are made even worse by his fears about opening up, especially to his own family. In his desperation, he turns to the only method at hand—reflecting on his diary records, which he makes every day. That is how his first academic year in Europe becomes an exercise in understanding and accepting himself and his own feelings. As the summer approaches, Jürgen, who is completely oblivious of his friend’s dilemma, is about to graduate and leave the academy for good. In the meantime, his friend is still torn between confessing his feelings and doing what others seeming to want from him.


Breakfast Buddies
Ildar Daminov © 2022
All Rights Reserved

August 16, 2019


We humans are spectacularly bad at understanding our own emotions.

I rummaged through a pile of books, trying to find it. Where could it be? I thought it had to be somewhere in between these dusty old tomes. Yet my attempts to find it seemed futile, and I got increasingly angry—my short-tempered nature did not help either. I pushed aside a pile of books standing in my way, mumbling in great annoyance. Some of them fell on the floor with loud thumps. After the idea came to me, I simply could not forget about it. I had to find it. There was just no other way. It must have been somewhere among all these heavy monographs on Korean politics, East Asian history, and countless language textbooks—the scholarly legacy of my former studies.

In my hectic search, I accidentally toppled one of the piles and cursed quietly. That was when I saw an old, laminated picture gracefully land on top of the scattered books. It looked familiar, so I picked it up. It was a photo of me and my academy friends—Jean Luc, Aja, Negasi, and… Jürgen. I felt a funny prickle in my heart. The picture made me slightly nostalgic about my student days. Ah, the academy, that international, scholarly melting pot. That was the place where it all started… Then I came back to my senses and shook my head, as if trying to free myself from some magical slumber. I had to concentrate, so I hid the photo in my coat pocket and resumed my search.

Where could it be? I clearly remembered leaving it here after my trip to Seoul, at least I thought I did. As the evening progressed, so did my desperation. I had come all the way back home to retrieve it—all this could not have been in vain! I sneezed. A cloud of dust exploded right in front of me, and I closed my eyes, grunting yet again in a mix of annoyance and desperation. Still, I persisted. After an extra hour of extensive searching that involved tired puffing, desperate muttering, and other forms of noiseless complaints, I finally found the precious object that I had been so obsessively looking for.

There it was. A rather unremarkable battered notebook with a brown leather cover that had almost lost its color. The binding had two numbers engraved on it—2016/2018. Inconspicuous though it looked, there was something mysteriously magical and enticing about it. Why did I need it so badly in the first place? I asked myself. I certainly knew the uncomfortable answer. It was a part of me, a part that I wanted to forget. Its semi-magical importance was reflected in the story that it told—a long-forgotten story of internal struggle, love, cowardice, and personal growth.

I smiled to myself furtively. It had taken a lot of courage to get back home, find it, and embark on a new adventure. So I had to make sure that I did everything properly. After all, diaries are simple but powerful tools: these mighty artifacts of the past that can bring back unnecessary memories and reopen old wounds. A phenomenon truly curious and somewhat egocentric in nature. Why do we even write diaries? We share our hopes and dreams, vent out anger and frustration in their pages. There are people who do not even have a clear aim when they first put pen to paper. There are people who want to organize their thoughts properly. There are people who do not know to whom they could entrust their secrets and so choose a silent paper friend. There are people who like to self-reflect and want to better understand themselves. There are people…

So many people and so many diaries. Some are full of trite details of daily routines, while others diligently guard what our past selves thought to be our dearest and most important memories. Some become deeply cherished heirlooms passed down from generation to generation, while others are consumed by the insatiable quicksand of history, the names of those who wrote them vanishing like the final gentle whisper of the early autumn wind. Yet every diary—no matter how boring or gripping it is—tells a story and creates meaning where there was none. If used wisely, that meaning helps us to better understand this ridiculously complicated world through the stories of ourselves and others.

My furtive smile became brighter as I carefully studied the dusty notebook in my hands. I was full of triumph and determination—and yet felt a tiny droplet of melancholy and wistfulness. As I kept looking at it, I wondered whether I was ready to finish the last entry. Perhaps, this was the right time to revisit the diary and do it.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Ildar Daminov is a Tatar Kazakhstani social scientist and a modern-day nomad who resides in and travels across Europe. In his free time, he writes short stories in English and Russian and does a podcast on North Korea. If you like this story, you can contact him via his email or on Facebook.


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