Friday, August 31, 2012

A Picture is Worth...

Can't have any wrinkles of fabric bunching up between his thighs and the motorcycle, and if it makes him nice to look at, well, let's look! If anyone has an excerpt or wants to write 100-1000 words for him, send them along! (full directions on the Thousand Word Thursday page).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Birthdays Suck--A Free Read from Angela Benedetti

Angela Benedetti has a story about birthday misadventures to share, even if it's not exactly a faceplant into the cake.

Birthdays Suck

by Angela Benedetti



Every year since he hit eleven, Paul MacAllister had waited for the magic to show up. For the magic to literally show up, because he knew it was out there; he just couldn't see it yet.

Any time, it was due, it had to show up. When he was twelve and thirteen, it was disappointing, but plenty of people got their magic when they were older than that. Eleven had been wishful thinking -- not impossible, but not very likely. Twelve and thirteen were sort of early, kinda.

He'd been focusing his attention on other boys all along too, because if he had magic then he had to be gay. Well, not had to be, but it was like ninety-nine percent, right? Or even more. So he'd ignored the girls in his classes (easy to do when he was a kid) and told himself he was into boys. When he was twelve, he got solid -- as it were -- evidence that he really was into boys, so that got checked off the list. See? He came from a magegifted family, he was gay, he was going to be a mage.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Almost Paradise by Caitlin Ricci

Title: Almost Paradise
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Cover Artist: Lee Tiffin
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: paranormal, shifter
Length: 17,300 words



Travis will do anything to keep his daughter safe, now that he finally has custody. Financially ruined, he cannot even afford food for himself most days. Could a stranger’s offer to dogsit be the solution Travis has been hoping for?

Travis has done everything to keep his daughter safe. He's fought a long, hard battle with the courts to gain full custody and has finally found some breathing room. But that security comes at a heavy price.

Staying in a motel and living off his quickly dwindling savings is no way to raise a toddler, so when Liam steps into his life and offers him hundreds of dollars just to watch his dogs for a weekend, it almost seems too good to be true.

But when he finds out there is more to Liam than he ever thought, he has a hard decision to make. Can he and his daughter stay and be safe or will he need to leave?

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I both adored this story and was frustrated, as an assortment of interesting plot points got rushed treatment. I would have gladly followed along for a slower ride. Even so, I was charmed.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Picture that Inspired Thousands of Words from Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane



Photo taken by Heidi Belleau at Newgrange in Ireland, 2012


The triskelion, also known as a triskele.

An ancient symbol that consists of three bent arms that all radiate in rotation from a center point, it features heavily in Celtic art in one form or another. One of the most famous instances of the shape is where it is carved as a triple spiral into the huge stones that surround the Neolithic passage tomb at Newgrange, in Co. Meath, Ireland. It’s been ascribed many meanings over the years, from the Christian divine where it represents the holy trinity, to pagan meanings where the number three is held sacred, to representations of the three trimesters of pregnancy. I even hear that some consider it just a strange image dreamed up by ancient Irish carvers who’d been taking hallucinogens. Whatever its original meaning, it represents a symbol as essential to Ireland as the Celtic cross or the Claddagh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Policy change

Due to a recent unpleasant experience, I have updated my reviewing criteria. The changes are primarily in the realm of BDSM. and now look like this  (it's also on the If You Want a Review page);

Cop Out by KC Burn



Title: Cop Out
Author: K.C. Burn
Cover Artist: Reece Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: contemporary
Length: 200 pages


Detective Kurt O’Donnell is used to digging up other people’s secrets, but when he discovers his slain partner was married to another man, it shakes him. Determined to do the right thing, Kurt offers the mourning Davy his assistance. Helping Davy through his grief helps Kurt deal with the guilt that his partner didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth, and somewhere along the way Davy stops being an obligation and becomes a friend, the closest friend Kurt has ever had.

His growing attraction to Davy complicates matters, leaving Kurt struggling to reevaluate his sexuality. Then a sensual encounter neither man is ready for confuses them further. To be with Davy, Kurt must face the prospect of coming out, but his job and his relationship with his Catholic family are on the line. Can he risk destroying his life for the uncertain possibility of a relationship with a newly widowed man?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cop Out starts out with a bang, literally; Kurt’s been shot and his partner killed. He’s been paired with Ben a long time, but in a work relationship, not a true friendship. They have nearly no personal interactions, no shared confidences, and Kurt is floored with the realization of exactly how little he knew the man he trusted with his life.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Wrong Impression by James Ryder

Title: The Wrong Impression
Author: James Ryder
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Silver
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 12,300 words


Ben Garrett might have got it wrong about his former High School bully, Corey Donovan, who now regrets the past and wants to be friends. But when sexual attraction shatters their tentative truce, Ben wonders if the wrong impression might have been the right one after all.

Getting roped into writing essays for his former High School bully is the last thing Ben Garrett anticipated doing at college. Corey Donovan is an arrogant, privileged jock. And to make matters worse, he's hot as hell!

To Ben's surprise however Corey wants to be friends...and possibly more? Corey's killer smile and charismatic seduction is impossible to resist. Did Ben get it wrong about Corey? After all, people change, don't they?

But their night of passion comes at a high price. Corey is nowhere to be found and Ben might just have landed himself in a whole lot of trouble with Corey's homophobic frat brother, Teddy Hayman. Was Ben's wrong impression the right one all along?

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

The set-up looks like it ought to be good for an enemies-to-lovers story, and it probably would, with different handling. Unfortunately, the one shred of decent behavior in this entire book doesn’t kick the co-existence level anywhere that high.

From the opening scene where Max manipulates his buddy Ben into writing the newly transferred jock Corey’s essays (for a fee, of course) so that he can get into a social group that would otherwise reject him, the ethically questionable behaviors come hard and fast. While each action individually is somewhat understandable, given the pressures to fit in and make friends, the aggregate is a peek into a cesspool.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

An Excerpt from Cartography for Beginners by Jenna Jones


From Cartography for Beginners by Jenna Jones, an excerpt


"Here's your room."

"Oh, my God," Leo breathed as he walked in. The room was pale cream with rose and cream brocade curtains, and matching brocade curtains around the rose-colored bed. There was a dormer window with a window seat that looked out over the garden, the olive trees and the vineyard on the slope below, and then beyond that, cherry trees and lavender bushes and more olive groves, and further still was a green valley and the white clustered buildings of the village.

"I thought you might like the view," Stuart said softly behind him. "I know the colors are a bit feminine."

Leo turned to him. "I love it. It's beautiful. It's like a fairy tale."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Italian Ice by EM Lynley

Title: Italian Ice
Author: E.M. Lynley
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: action/adventure
Length: 290 pages

In this exciting sequel to Rarer Than Rubies, gay romance author Trent Copeland and former FBI agent Reed Action head to Italy for a Roman holiday. What should be a relaxing and romantic vacation is interrupted when Reed’s not-so-former boss asks for his help with a case. Trent's shocked to discover in the six months they’ve been living together in LA, Reed hasn’t been completely honest about his "retirement."

Reed heads for Sicily on the trail of a suspected antiquities-smuggling ring and to find Peter Isett—a former FBI partner he also hasn’t been completely truthful about. Stung by Reed’s dishonesty, Trent questions what else Reed might be hiding. But when he overhears something that tells him Reed's life is in danger, Trent follows Reed to a remote chain of ancient volcanic islands off Sicily's northern coast. Soon Trent is caught up in the smugglers’ web, and Reed must decide between his heart and his mission—a decision complicated by his past with Peter. Reed’s position is perilous: unless he can learn to put the past behind him, he risks destroying everything he's built with Trent.

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

There’s nothing quite like getting called in to work while you’re on vacation halfway around the world from home—but if you’re vacationing where the work is, goodbye sightseeing. Reed’s phone goes off while he and his lover Trent are exploring the Vatican museums, and that’s the end of fun in Italy.

Reed and Trent got together in Rarer than Rubies, and if you don’t care to start with an established couple, definitely read that first. (Read it anyway, it’s good.) These two are on much shakier ground than either of them believe, so if you don’t mind catching up on the history as you go, this also stands alone. The reveal of the backstory is nicely done and doesn’t go beyond what’s needed to enjoy this one.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Picture is Worth...



I like an older man: there are stories in his eyes and experience in his hands. Perhaps someone has 100 to 1000 words for him, and the rest of us can imagine.

(See the Thousand Word Thursday page, upper left to share a story.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Recondite Matter by G.S. Wiley

Title: A Recondite Matter
Author: G.S. Wiley
Cover Artist: Alessia Brio
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: time travel
Length: 14,800 words

Francis is an Edwardian gentleman who prefers the quiet life. When a mysterious gift from a more adventurous friend, Sir Desmond Rivest, transports him a hundred years into the future, Francis needs to use every wit he possesses to fit into a world of smart phones, fast cars, and paper plates. Simon, an antiques dealer, seems uniquely equipped to help Francis adjust, and to help him find a way back home. But as Francis' feelings for Simon begin to emerge, an encounter with a descendent of Sir Desmond's threatens to take Francis away from Simon before they really begin to know one another.


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

As behooves a time-travelling story, the roots of both the tragedy and the happiness lie in one era, but are resolved in another. For Francis Holden-Burrell, the man he loves dearly lies dying at a time when the papers are full of the sinking of the Titanic. What he and Sir Desmond Rivest can be to one another is limited by the times and by Sir Desmond’s unwillingness to risk himself and his bosom friend by stepping any farther from propriety than they already have.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Declaration by Geoffrey Knight

Title: The Declaration
Author: Geoffrey Knight
Cover Artist: Deanna Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: historical, short story
Length: 6000 words



A humble stable boy might just be the inspiration Thomas Jefferson needs to finish writing The Declaration of Independence.

On the night before his draft of The Declaration of Independence is due, Thomas Jefferson sends his trusted servant boy Jasper to fetch more writing supplies. It is a task Jasper jumps at, knowing he'll be able to spend a few last precious moments with Myles, the stable boy, before Jefferson and his staff leave Philadelphia in the morning.

But just as their love begins to fully blossom in the lantern-lit stables of the Graff House, the drunken stable master threatens to end not only Jasper and Myles' romance, but their lives as well. Can the love of a black servant and a white stable boy overcome hatred and cruelty? And will their declaration of love be enough to give Thomas Jefferson the inspiration he needs to finish writing one of the most important documents in human history?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These are words that changed the world and redirected history. These words helped create our current lives: they ring with poetry and truth. But they were truly revolutionary when they were written, and how did Thomas Jefferson come to change our thinking so much?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fire on the Mountain by PD Singer

Title: Fire on the Mountain
Author: P.D. Singer
Cover Artist: Reece Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary m/m
Length: 72k

Take a break from academics, enjoy the Colorado Rockies, fight a fire now and then. That’s all Jake Landon expected when he signed up to be a ranger. He’ll partner with some crusty old mountain man; they’ll patrol the wilderness in a tanker, speak three words a day, and Old Crusty won’t be alluring at all. A national forest is big enough to be Jake’s closet—he’ll spend his free time fishing.

Except Old Crusty turns out to be Kurt Carlson: confident, competent, and experienced. He's also young, hot, friendly, and considers clothing optional when it’s just two guys in the wilderness. Sharing a small cabin with this walking temptation is stressing Jake’s sanity—is he sending signals, or just being Kurt? And how would Kurt react if he found out his new partner wants to start a fire of a different kind? Jake’s terrified—they have to live together for five months no matter what.

Enough sparks fly between the rangers to set the trees alight, but it takes a raging inferno to make Jake and Kurt admit to the heat between them.


Bonus Short Story: Into the Mountains

Long before he met Jake, Kurt Carlson climbed Yosemite with his best friend, Benji. But after a storm traps them halfway up the face of El Capitan, Kurt has to accept that their friendship isn't what he thought.

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

Jake Landon’s ready to hide from the world and his own sexuality for the duration of the fire season, a plan that would work a whole lot better if his new partner wasn’t seriously hot and wholly uninhibited. From the opening scene, where Kurt rinses off the sweat from firefighting in an impromptu shower to an unplanned trip into a chilly mountain lake to retrieve runaway groceries, Kurt’s clothes don’t stay on consistently. For two guys who aren’t exactly part of civilization, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Thousand Word Thursday Story by Leta Blake


Jumping In With Both Feet

Hanson has never liked the water. When he was a kid, Jarod, his jerk of a big brother, used to throw him in the deep end to watch him flail for fun, before jumping in to rescue him. Hanson still remembers the burn of water in his lungs, the terror that this time his brother might wait too long.

It’d been bad enough that when Hanson’s little niece and nephew were born, he’d worried that Jarod might think it was a funny joke to play on them, too. But age (or his sister-in-law) has thankfully dulled his brother’s sadistic streak.

Unfortunately, time had never taken the edge off Hanson’s fear of the water. Which is why it was noteworthy that he was currently in a row boat with his boyfriend, Marshall, and he’s not entirely sure why he’s not wearing a life vest. He supposes, should he fall in, he trusts Marshall to be faster to jump in and save him than Jarod ever was. Even so, he’s careful not to rock the boat.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Inertia by Amelia C Gormley

Title: Inertia
Author: Amelia C. Gormley
Cover Artist: Kerry Chin
Publisher: Self
Buy at Amazon
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 46k


Quiet, down-to-earth Detroit handyman Derrick Chance has had enough loss for a lifetime and he has no intention of ever risking his heart again. Living alone in the old house his grandparents left him, with only his dog and a few close friends for companionship, he has written off the possibility of romance or even sex. He refuses to consider himself lonely, or wonder what he might be missing. His life is organized, predictable, and, best of all, risk-free.

Until the day he installs shelves for accountant Gavin Hayes. With his contradictory combination of confidence and self-doubt, Gavin draws Derrick in with an intensity he's never known. As undeniable as gravity, Derrick finds himself falling for Gavin in defiance of all his usual slow and methodical ways. But Gavin carries wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with a dangerous betrayal, his future is far from certain. Can Derrick choose passion over safety, and let himself believe that Gavin is worth the risk?

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I first encountered this author when she submitted a hot little ficlet for a prompt picture, and after reading that, I was delighted to find out there’d be more. A lot more. Inertia is the first of three stories with Gavin and Derrick, and I’m looking forward to the next one already.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A picture is worth...


I'm going to have to look for a volleyball picture--the constant hugging and butt swatting should pretty much write itself, but Aw! moments happen in other sports too. Anyone who'd like to put some words to this scene, see the "How Thousand Word Thursday Works" page (100 to 1000 words works fine), and the rest of us will sit her and smile.