Monday, July 30, 2012

Alike as Two Bees by Elin Gregory

Author: Elin Gregory
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Historical
Length: 20k words

Horses, love, and the tang of thyme and honey...

In Classical Greece, apprentice sculptor Philon has chosen the ideal horse to model for his masterpiece. Sadly, the rider falls well short of the ideal of beauty, but scarred and tattered Hilarion, with his brilliant, imperfect smile, draws Philon in a way that mere perfection cannot.

After years of living among the free and easy tribes of the north, Hillarion has no patience with Athenian formality. He knows what he wants—and what he wants is Philon. Society, friends and family threaten their growing relationship, but perhaps a scarred soldier and a lover of beauty are more alike than they appear.

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Elin Gregory draws us into the ancient world of Greece, where democratic ideals didn’t necessarily penetrate to the countryside and the hand that holds the purse rules the world. Lovers are just as sweet in that past. Alike as Two Bees takes us to the sculptors’ yard where beauty we are accustomed to finding in museums is just today’s work.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Excerpt from PD Singer


Granite towered over the two young men, reaching half a mile into the blueness of a soft California sky. Pale crystals glittered against the morning, streaked with dark veins of diorite. El Capitan beckoned in the early morning sun; figures could be seen clinging to rock well beyond arm's reach. No picture Ansel Adams had ever taken compared to the reality of the monoliths jutting out of the earth. With almost too much to look at, Kurt Carlson had to focus on this one—Rock was too small a word. Monolith didn't tell the grandeur. He'd stood atop Half Dome, feeling small in the majesty of Yosemite, where the bones of the world lay bare to men. The thanks had formed a lump in his throat then, and now, at the base of the titan, Kurt could barely swallow.
"If you really wanted to get to the top, we could have hiked up the valley by the falls." Carabiners loaded with pitons, hex nuts, and 'friends' clanked against each other on the webbing harness slung over Benji's shoulder.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shadow Men by Edward Kendrick

Title: Shadow Men
Author: Edward Kendrick
Cover Artist: Reece Dante
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: action/adventure
Length: 49K

Two men, Rafe de Lorca and Steele Reid, are committed as deeply to their job as they are in their love for each other. Trained in espionage, they are killers by necessity and patriots by choice. Betrayed by the very people they work for and on the run, will they manage to survive, or will those who are after them prevail?

Espionage agent Anders must protect Grant Eastman and his son, Nicky, after Grant discovers information vital to national security. Teamed with a third man, they attempt to get the information into safe hands while trying to elude those who would kill them to retrieve it.

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I’m coming at this book as a fan of both Jason Bourne and James Bond, and also as a John le Carre and Eric Ambler reader. I’m willing to be thrilled, can tolerate a high body count, and think sexytimes after the chase ends is perfect. I also like to know what’s at stake.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Picture is worth...


That rope looks too much like a spiderweb for me, but I think the guy's having a good time. Or is he? If you care to explain with 100-1000 words, send them to CryselleC AT gmail DOT com (See the Thousand Word Thusrday page for full directions) and the rest of us will just scream.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Story from Amelia C. Gormley


There were easier ways to get off, Gavin thought, watching Derrick work. Cheaper, too.

After all, Gavin didn’t imagine a phone sex or live webcam sex show would cost as much per hour as Derrick billed for labor.

But then, a phone sex operator wouldn’t fill out a simple pair of well-washed jeans the way Derrick did. A webcam sex operator wouldn’t push his hair back behind his ear with such an artless lack of awareness of his own appeal.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hawaiian Gothic by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane

Title: Hawaiian Gothic
Authors: Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Publisher: Loose Id
Cover artist: April Martinez
Genre: Paranormal
Length: 168 pages


Ori and Kalani were childhood friends too afraid to be lovers. Now in their darkest hour—Ori disgraced and Kalani a wandering spirit—they’ll fight the world and death itself for a second chance.

Gregorio “Ori” Reyes thought there was nothing left for him in Hawaii. A former Army Ranger and promising MMA fighter, his dishonorable discharge turned him into the family disgrace, and his childhood best friend Kalani never could love him back--not the way Ori needed to be loved--even before Kalani’s doctors declared him to be in an unrecoverable coma. Ori’s return to Hawaii seems fated to be a depressing reminder of every chance he never took... until Kalani himself impossibly welcomes him home.

Kalani’s body is bedridden, but his spirit is free to roam, and it turns out it’s not just Ori who had unspoken yearnings. Kalani is eager to prove that he can still savor all the pleasures of this world. Together, they remember all those years of surfing, wrestling, touching and aching but too afraid to act; now, they cross that final barrier and struggle against each other in an entirely different way.

Passionately but tenuously reunited, the pair must solve the mystery of Kalani’s unlucky life, sorting through dark family history and even journeying to the Hawaiian ghostworld. And the greatest terror of their journey is that Ori might have to put Kalani to rest.

Review

“Gothic” implies dark and mysterious goings on, an interesting balance against the bright sunniness of Hawaii. This book is a juxtaposition of many more things, with an unique structure, and it works out in a most surprising fashion.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

XBar by Michele L. Montgomery

Title: XBar
Author: Michele L. Montgomery
Cover Artist: unknown
Publisher: Dare Empire
Genre: contemporary, BDSM (minor)
Length: 83K words

"Unless things have changed since the beginning of time, it's not even remotely possible for two guys to make a baby. A family of two, yes, but not three."

Being a straight, single man wanting to adopt in today's society is hard enough. Not being straight? Whole new level. Red tape, classes, interviews, not to mention the expense, drive so many away with shattered dreams.

Steven comes from money, has a degree in business management, even though he's chosen to work as a bar tender, he believes making a family can be done. He's determined to do it, with or without long time lover Jorge.

At thirty-four, it's time. Fate, of course, has other plans. His haunting past, and the brutal grind of daily life all have the power to destroy both the life he has with Jorge and the family he's trying to build. Determination might not be enough to keep his dream of a family alive.
XBar is about a man finding the truth in lies, lies in truths, and learning how to be stronger than he ever thought possible.

Based on a true story.

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Anyone who opens this book expecting a domestic story based on the blurb is in for a shock. This is Michele Montgomery writing, so there will be dark elements and a bit of BDSM.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Picture time!


Just in case our author's brains have cooked in the hot summer sun, we'll go for a pic that already has the right words attached. But if you have more ideas, for this or any of the other pics, go ahead and let me know. See "How Thousand Word Thursday Works" in the upper left corner of your screen. ;D

Monday, July 16, 2012

Top Mark by Graeme Aitken

Title: Top Mark
Author: Graeme Aitken
Cover Artist: Tane Cavu
Publisher: self
Genre: contemporary, not romance
Length: 7500 words

It was strange at first for Mark, dating a guy with the same first name as him. But ‘the Marks’ developed nicknames for each other. Mark became ‘Top Mark’, a sly nod to his role in the bedroom.

But after seven years together, Mark hasn’t had much opportunity to be on top lately. There have been a lot of conversations avoided, unexplained absences, and some very unsettling phone calls.

From the author of the very popular Sydney based novels 'Vanity Fierce' and 'The Indignities', comes this new e-book short. In his trademark sexy style, Graeme Aitken explores the intricacies of a modern gay relationship with wit, insight and empathy.
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Cryssy found another not-romance, so HEA-requirers may want to move along. This one isn’t a slice of happily ever after, it’s more what happens when the romance goes stale.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dragon Soul by JB McDonald

Title: Dragon Soul
Author: JB McDonald
Cover Artist: Alessia Brio
Publisher: Torquere
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 11,800 words

Everything was supposed to work out. They had the dragon under control, they were back with the mercenaries - things were supposed to be good now. That was the plan. Then word of plague in Katsu's country arrives, and with it knowledge that will shatter everything Ashe thought he knew about his lover.

When Katsu has to make a choice between Ashe or sailing overseas to a country that abandoned him to save a beloved sister—Well, some choices are harder than others. Some are nearly impossible to make.

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At the end of the last section, reviewed here, I griped about having to make a grumpy Katsu-face and snagging the next installment just to find out what happens next. After reading Dragon Soul, I have no reason to change that assessment, and in fact, I’m getting really annoyed about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the story, all 44 pages of it. It’s well written, has a lot of character development for Katsu, whose eternal grumpiness hides a caring heart, and moved the overall story along. Katsu’s been an enigma all along, and here we find out a lot of what he’s been hiding. Ashe’s troubles with the dragon are at this point manageable, and he’s showing some nice growth in the relationship now that he’s not being sucked dry. I’d worry a whole lot more about spoilers except that the blurb pretty much makes it a moot point. It doesn’t hide a thing. Frankly, trying to maintain any sort of mystery in each segment is probably really difficult by now, since each blurb spoils the story before.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A picture is worth...


Someone want to tell us what's on this little nymph's mind? He's so cute I may never mow the grass again, just to avoid endangering his wings. If you want to play, look here; and the rest of us will help him cool off.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Sky Full of Wings by M. Raiya

Title: A Sky Full of Wings
Author: M. Raiya
Cover Artist: Alessia Brio
Publisher: Torquere
Genre: fantasy
Length: 15k words

You're invited to a dragon's wedding!

That's right! Varian and Josh from the Notice series are getting married! There will be swooning (not by whom you'd expect) and wings (not on whom you'd expect) and champagne, roses and rainbows. Warning: there will also be mysterious prophecies, swords, and uninvited guests from the distant past. And the grooms will get a wedding gift beyond their wildest dreams.

Find Varian and Josh in Notice, and in Nice: The Dragon and the Mistletoe.

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It’s always lovely to see the big pay-off in the true love—here we get to see Josh and Varian celebrating their wedding. If you don’t know the characters ahead of time, there is enough in here to introduce them somewhat, and to let the reader sink into the general “Aw!” feeling any wedding will inspire. There are a few extra possibilities for the little oopsies no wedding is without, because one of the grooms is a shapeshifting dragon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rogues by Ava March


Author: Ava March
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: historical
Length: 28k words (122 PDF pages)


London, 1822

Two of London's most notorious rakehells, Linus Radcliffe and Robert Anderson, are the best of friends. They share almost everything-clothes, servants, their homes, and even each other's bed on occasion. The one thing they don't share: lovers. For while Linus prefers men, Robert prefers women...except when it comes to Linus.

As another Season nears its end, Robert can't ignore his growing jealousy. He hates watching Linus disappear from balls to dally with other men. Women are lovely, but Linus rouses feelings he's never felt with another. Unwilling to share his gorgeous friend another night, Robert has a proposition for Linus.

A proposition Linus flatly refuses-but not for the reasons Robert thinks. Still, Robert won't take no for an answer. He sets out to prove a thing or two to his best friend-yet will learn something about the heart himself.


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Rogues is the third in the Brook Street series, and while the characters have wandered in and out of the other books, the tale stands alone. I didn’t feel that I’d missed any huge chunks of character development by coming in at this point. Some of the secondary characters here star in their own stories, so readers will feel a warm familiarity as they read through this and other of Ava March’s works.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Card by George Seaton


Title:The Card
Author: George Seaton
Cover Artist: Deanna C. Jamroz
Publisher: MLR
Genre: memoir (memoir-ish?)
Length: 7000 words


The dynamic between fathers and sons is complex, most often least understood by the players themselves. But is it the father who does not know his son, or is it the son who does not know his father?

The discovery of a Father's Day card in a box---long ago shoved into a dark corner in a cellar---provides a revelation to a son, a gay son that shatters all previous conclusions about his father. Set in Denver, the ravages of a massive flood, and the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl, provide the background for a son's coming of age, and a father's eerie ability to "...read the hunch...," that is essential to his prowess as a cop.

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If this story isn’t a true event in author George Seaton’s life, it really feels like it—this story ranges from present day to back in time, back and forth, with stories and details that feel absolutely real.