Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Excerpt from Chrissy Munder

I spent one long, hot, un-airconditioned summer working in a small, coin-operated laundry and while I never saw a customer like this one a gal, or guy, can dream.

Excerpt from The One That Counts by Chrissy Munder

The mat at the front entrance chimed and Rob lifted his head, turning away just as quickly. Crap. Not tonight. Rob chewed nervously on his lower lip, Barry's voice droning on in his ear. Unable to help himself, Rob stared as the man carried his duffle bag to the end row of washers. Rob had noticed him two or three Saturdays ago. Actually four, his brain helpfully supplied. Nothing too out of the ordinary, a single guy and his laundry strolling in right before the last load time posted on the front door.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dragon Whisperer by JB McDonald

Title: Dragon Whisperer
Author: JB McDonald
Cover Artist: Skylar Sinclair
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: fantasy
Length: 55 pages
 
Getting magically eaten by a dragon wasn't part of the plan. Really, there hadn't been much of a plan to begin with, but it had definitely involved more dragon slaying and less getting knocked unconscious. Even the unconsciousness wouldn't be so bad if it didn't push Ashe closer to death each time.

Katsu is worried sick at Ashe's descent. He's worried enough to find a dragon whisperer to help, despite the fact that he hates her. He hates her appearance, he hates her attitude, and he especially hates the way she's helping his lover when he couldn't. Despite this, he hopes she succeeds -- or soon Ashe won't be alive at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Katsu and Ashe are back, and the dragon hasn’t left. The story arc continues from the previous book, where magic activated a dragon egg Ashe had kept as a curiosity. The dragon that hatched from it bonded with him and feeds on his elven magic. He’s a tasty meal and harder to drain than a mere human, but the dragon is a hungry little beast. Katsu, the curmudgeonly human medic and Ashe’s new lover, doesn’t know what to do to free Ashe from what is basically a parasite, and now the dragon is feeding on others. To protect their friends and to find a way to save Ashe, the two set out to find a dragon scholar.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Picture is Worth...

Anyone want to tell us the story behind these two? Send one hundred to 1000 words of ficlet or excerpt  to CryselleC AT gmail DOT com with blurb links, and cover art and I'll post it. The rest of us will sit here saying "Awww."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do I need the splash page or not?

I don't know if it's some misguided sense of modesty or if a few little tweaks would make a difference, or if I should just make the change. I've had the adult content splash page up pretty much since I started reviewing, but now I'm not so sure.

There's no porn going on. I do discuss sex, but we're all grownups here and there's more sex on prime time TV. And certainly on cable. Even with my pictures, I'm definitely choosing more for what's going on than for what's showing. Even Mr. Naked Christmas Boy didn't have anything exactly hanging out, and he's buried in the archives now.

If there was a way to make the splash page turn off after you've been here once and should know what's inside, I'd leave it. But I could just make a couple of different word choices.

It's not that we're taking about guys having sex that should be the only reason for the adult content page. That's a lot like saying all m/m romance books belong on the erotica shelves at the etailers, and that's sure not true. If it's only how I discuss it, I can change the language a little, like I already have to do to post at Amazon. (The perils of machine censorship-I called a character's attitude 'cocky' and got the review kicked. Twice. Took me forever to figure out why.)

I think the splash page at Mrs. Condit's is great, it's basically a scolding to the sniffy reader.Getting something like that here means going to some paid hosting and different software and importing or exporting or basically doing something with the site that I'd have to get some professional help to do. I sure don't know how to do it and if I make Pam do it then she's not spending time writing Mountain novels and we can't interrupt that, can we?

Some sites just have a warning about mature audiences and away they go, others have the whole splash thing. Since I park most of the text behind a cut anyway to keep the home page from being 4 miles long, there's a built in pause before you go clicking. That should give you time to look at the header, right? I can put a warning up in words to go with the two men at the top. Or instead of "read more" on the cut, I can make it be "read more if you're over 18." Or some combo.

Opinions please.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tommy's Story by AKM Miles

Title: Tommy’s Story
Author: AKM Miles
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: contemporary
Length: 100 pages

It's going to be a real test of Tommy Marsh's strength for him to be able to let go of his past in order to have the relationship he wants with Daniel Anderson.

Tommy Marsh's life was good now. The last nine years had made up for the hell he'd gone through during his first twelve. After growing up at Scarcity Sanctuary, he'd become a counselor with extensive psychology training, working with abused children.

The thing that was missing from his life was a loving, passionate relationship with the man of his dreams, Daniel Anderson. Tommy was so afraid his past would interfere with the future he wanted. A traumatic event sets things in motion and he's forced to admit his feelings and face his fears. Will Tommy's new strength and Daniel's love be enough to get him through?

This was previously released but the story has been re-edited and expanded an additional 12k from the original.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Within ten pages I was snuffling -- with a very clear notion of who these people are and how much the world has kicked them around before they found each other, safety, and family, and now all that’s been rocked to its foundations. Soldier and Dillon foster children, giving them the security, stability, and love they need to heal from the atrocities in their pasts. Seventeen-year-old Gom was gay-bashed, and the whole group is worried for him and about what this will mean for their future.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Title: White Lightning
Author: Adrianna Dane
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 118 pages

In Kentucky, where loyalty means everything, secrets and disloyalty can kill, Linc, the son of a mountain moonshiner, and Whit, the son of the local banker, had dreams of a future together far from the Kentucky hills. But one dangerously foolish act culminated in Linc's need to make a painful decision in order to protect his secret lover. Whit left, and the years have made Linc a hard, dangerous, and lonely man.

When Whit left for college, they’d made a promise to each other. Whit would have stood by Linc no matter what, but Linc shut him out. Years later, a successful New York entrepreneur, love still eluded Whit. Those very hills and the memory of his Kentucky lover called him back to find closure, one way or the other.

Whit couldn’t have picked a worse time to return to Kentucky as a murderous war was about to erupt. Moonshine and bad choices tore Whit and Linc apart a long time ago. Can Linc protect Whit, the man he still loved, from being drawn into the power struggle between moonshiners and drug lords, or would they both die when the smoke cleared, never having a chance to reclaim the love they thought lost?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Linc and White managed to hide their relationship from their sharp-eyed families, who would have taken it ill that their boys cared for one another. Some old mountain customs are alive and well here in the hills: feudin’, moonshinin’, and disappearing the bodies into old mine shafts. “Revenooers” are hated as much as during Prohibition, and the stills remain profitable. Blood is still thicker than water, or should be.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My head aches from this

When I read a romance, I expect to find a plot. The main plot may be the relationship, or the relationship and the external plot may be equally important, but either way, it has to be there. "How are we gonna fuck?" is not plot. It may be PWP, but that's not what I was promised by the blurb.

When I read, I expect to find dialog that sounds like people might actually speak it. Yes, dialog in stories can't sound exactly like a conversation, you have to take out the ums, the pauses, the digressions into how the garden's looking and will there be rain, but it has to sound like real people are involved. If Siri can manage a better conversation, there's trouble. If the dialog sounds like a particularly dry textbook, there's real trouble.

When I read, I don't want to be intruded on by the author's life. I want to be in the story, I don't want to find myself thinking, oh, look, this must be a rewritten part when she switched publishers, it's so much better. I don't want to think, oops, must have been in a hurry to finish, she just wrapped 5 plot points in 3 paragraphs. I don't want to think about the author at all. I want to be engrossed in the story.

I've read some great things lately and I've read some disappointing things lately, not all of which got reviewed. The contrast is making my head hurt. That is all.

A Picture is Worth...

Herein lies a tale, don't you think?  (100-1000 words sent to CryselleC AT gmail DOT com and I'll post it).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Story by Eden Winters


Take That!

The stately grand dame sat nestled between her neighbors, admiring how the sun reflected off her newly painted walls. Oh how grateful she'd been when her new caretakers (she refused to call them "owners") opted to restore her original beauty instead of resurfacing her exterior with cheap plastic siding. She preened, fluttering her new shutters lest her neighbors not notice.

The brick ranch house beside her sighed, rolling its front windows slightly. "Yeah, yeah, so they fixed you up. Big deal. I got a new sprinkler system!"

Delores sniffed, horrified by the mere thought of her lovely lawn dug up to install sprinklers. As if! Her caregivers lovingly watered her lawn by hand. And she had to admit that the new rose bushes set off her all-weather paint exquisitely.

She cast her gaze up and down the street, sorrow tugging at her heart. Of the old crowd, she alone stood proud and tall, once snidely referred to as a relic from another age, a moldy, crumbling ruin. And she had been, she thought sadly. Before "her boys" showed up.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Diversion by Eden Winters

Title: Diversion
Author: Eden Winters
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 274 pages

Drug dealers aren't always on the streets; sometimes they sit in offices and board rooms, selling merchandise in official looking bottles instead of little cellophane bags.

When given a choice between eight more years in prison or using his "expertise" to assist the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau's Department of Diversion Prevention and Control, convicted drug trafficker Richmond "Lucky" Lucklighter takes the sentence with the illusion of freedom. Cynical and unwilling to admit he's begun to care about his job, he counts the days until his debt is paid. His sole obstacle to getting his life back is the rookie he's assigned to train before he leaves; a rookie who quotes pharmacy texts, hasn't paid his dues, and has the obnoxious tendency of seeing the good in everyone – including the target of their investigation.

Former Marine Bo Schollenberger dreamed of becoming a pharmacist and watched the dream turn into a nightmare of PTSD-fueled prescription drug abuse. Battling his demons daily, he wakes up every morning, wondering, "Will this be the day I give in?" To keep his license, he must now put his skills to use for a diversion control task force, deal with a crude partner with too much attitude and no brain-to-mouth filter, and take down a drug lord who reminds him of his favorite cooking show hostess.

The bad guys don't stand a chance -- if Lucky and Bo don't strangle each other first...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once again, Eden Winters has demonstrated why she’s one of my “must buy” authors: I swear Diversion is her best yet. With some plot points ripped straight out of the headlines and shaped deftly into a story that is uniquely hers, and vivid and offbeat characters that riff perfectly off each other, this was a book I had to read more than once.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Excerpt from JL Merrow


JL Merrow says: The picture reminded me instantly of a scene in Wight Mischief – it’s set in a ruined castle, not a house, so the stairs are stone, not wood, which ups the ouch factor nicely!

Researching this scene was kind of fun, in a schadenfreude sort of way. While I’m grateful for the resource, I’m even more thankful I don’t have the kind of friends who think it’s hilarious to set me up to trip downstairs, and then upload the video to YouTube!

Will, our hero, has gone to visit Carisbrooke Castle with his friend-with-benefits Baz, who claims to be looking for ghosts. But that’s not all he’s trying to uncover—and someone is determined to keep things hidden....

***

“Come on, I’ve seen enough, haven’t you?” Baz muttered and pushed past Will to head out into the sunlight.

Will followed, blinking. “Going up to the keep?” he asked.

Baz glared at the twelfth century stronghold, built on a large mound of earth, as if Will had just suggested he run up Mount Everest. “The temperature’s in the nineties, there’s about a hundred steps up there, and for what? No, don’t tell me—the air’s really fresh up there.”

Will grinned. “The view? The exercise?”

Baz shuddered dramatically. “That’s your department, not mine. I’ll be in the nice, cool well-house, trying to get a glimpse of Moaning Myrtle.”

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Maroon: Donal agus Jimmy by PD Singer

Maroon: Donald agus Jimmy by P.D. Singer
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance
Length: 73 pages



The best jobs in 1911 Belfast are in the shipyards, but Donal Gallagher's pay packet at Harland and Wolff doesn't stretch far enough. He needs to find someone to share his rented room; fellow ship-builder Jimmy Healy's bright smile and need for lodgings inspire Donal to offer. But how will he sleep, lying scant feet away from Jimmy? It seems Jimmy's a restless sleeper, too, lying so near to Donal...

In a volatile political climate, building marine boilers and armed insurrection are strangely connected. Jimmy faces an uneasy choice: flee to America or risk turning gunrunner for Home Rule activists. He thinks he's found the perfect answer to keep himself and his Donal safe, but shoveling coal on a luxury liner is an invitation to fate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The hundredth anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking is nearly here, making me wish for fiction about it that doesn’t involve Jack or Rose. PD Singer has provided that with Maroon: Donal agus Jimmy, a novella length story that follows men who built and sailed her rather than the glamorous passengers and officers. Working men love and dream too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Picture is Worth...


That's gonna leave a mark. Tell us about it, in 100 to 1000 words, and I'll post covers, links and blurbs for you, and if another picture inspires you, great, just let me know which it is at CryselleC At gmail DOT com. Meanwhile, the rest of us will sit here and wince.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Thousand Word Excerpt from P.D. Singer


*************************
From The Rare Event


“Ricky, who do you think is going to be hurt worst if this trade goes bad?” Jon had used his “speaking to a lover” voice without realizing it until the last word left his lips.

“Edgar.” Ricky snorted. “He takes it right in his fat ass. With the rest of the investors, but him worst.”

“He loses money. What do you lose?” If Ricky would think, Jon would use his persuasion any way he could—his voice remained soft.

Ricky cut himself short. “My—”

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hunting for Clay by N.J. Nielsen

Title: Hunting for Clay
Author: N.J. Nielsen
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 24,000 words


Two years have passed since Clay and Hunter met on that fateful morning in Tello’s Diner. Getting passed the fact Clay was stalking Marlowe was the easy part. Clay Montgomery’s life changed for the better the day he found the man who was meant to be the other half of him. Hunter understood him well, and knew how to give him exactly what he needs to be happy. Hunter Weldon knows what he wants, and just how to get it. For two years he has loved the man in his arms and now it was time to up the ante.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hunting for Clay follows on from another work which I have not read, although there is enough backstory included here that I didn’t feel lost. Two established couples, Hunter and Clay, who are the primary couple of this story, share a house with Marlowe and Angelo. They’re all friends now, and have a pleasant, easy-going friendship.

Two of the men’s families have serious issues with their gayness, which unfortunately requires much sneaking around for them to spend any time with their younger brothers. Both younger brothers are gay as well, which complicates things further. The subtext of the story is what makes a family? and the efforts everyone makes to spend time with the younger brothers is a large part of the story.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Story from Tam Ames


Promotion Possibilities

“Really, Kyle, if you want to make Vice-President, I think you know what you have to do.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mr. Leslie.”

“Come now, Kyle. I think you know very well. We talked about his just last week. At the staff party.”

“But, but, that was, it was… It was just a joke.”

“Mmm. A joke. You believe I thought you were joking? When you said you’d give your left nut for a promotion?”

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goodreads Giveaways

Some authors are giving away hard copies of their books! Click on the cover to go to Goodreads to enter. The Rare Event ends in less than 2 days, so if you're interested, don't wait. The others end in a few days to a few weeks. (I have my copy of Diversion already, and it's really good.)




A Picture is Worth...



Shouldn't these guys be working? An author with an explanation should send 100-1000 of ficlet or excerpt to CryselleC AT gmail DOT com, with links covers and news, and I"ll post it here.  Meanwhile, we'll be drooling.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Dragon Tamer by Ana Bosch

Title: The Dragon Tamer
Author: Ana Bosch
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: fantasy, bitterweet
Length: 43 pages



Drake, a dragon master of the tamer clan, was barely a man himself when he saved the life of a youth burning with fever. Aedan, a fire mage, has dragon blood mingled with his own, creating such a tempestuous and volatile personality that it can literally burn him from the inside. Though Drake was able to calm the tumult enough to give Aedan a few years of peace, he knew that as the boy came of age, the fire in him would ignite once more.

When, years later, the effects of his fiery impulses force Aedan from the mage clan, his path crosses Drake’s again. Once more taming Aedan with a connection that joins them body and soul, Drake promises to protect Aedan forever—but he fears the day when “forever” might come to an end.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Let me tell you a story about the most powerful, most fearsome dragon I’ve ever tamed.”

This short, bittersweet tale starts out as if we are sitting at the storyteller’s knee. The narrator, Drake, belongs to the tamers, one of several warring clans, and he specializes in dragons. He encounters Aedan as a youth, burning up from the volatility of his dragon heritage; his father had bonded with a dragon, (this is in no way kinky, just non-Mendelian), and had a child with a fire mage, a dangerous combination. His dragon attributes manifest in his temperament, not as shapeshifting.