Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays


Happy holidays to all, however you spend them.


Thanks to everyone who still swings by, and I appreciate that you guys remember me. This last year has been pretty tough with health issues and I've been trying to get to a point where my hands are under my control again. This is my first post in a long time, and while I can't promise regular updates, I do recall that I owe people reviews. Being unable to do my own typing (coffee pouring, contact insertion, anything with fine motor control) has taken a toll on my normally sunny temperament, but things are looking WAY UP!

So, beware. There will be reviews. And Goodreads giveaway announcements. And Thousand Word Thursday pictures, and with any luck, there will be posts from authors who get inspired to write to the prompt. And if I can get any takers, guest posts. And if I can scare up some partners in crime, some guest reviews.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Little bit of Country by Christiane France

littleBitTitle: A Little Bit of Country
Author: Christiane France
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher Buy Link: A Little Bit of Country
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 16k

When misfortune ended Max Mayler’s career as a singer, he bought The Showtime Bar, an establishment with a long history of giving aspiring artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. It’s where Max got his chance, and he wants to continue the tradition.

Jay Ferman has the exceptional voice and the sexy good looks to make it big, and although he’s been performing every Saturday night for weeks, no one pays him any attention. It could be canned music for all they seem to know or care.

Max quickly realizes the problem is Jay’s failure to truly connect with his audience. But, as Max tells one of his servers, he operates a bar and not a school for wannabees. He likes Jay, but his performance deficit is none of Max’s business.

But will Max make it his business and give Jay some much-needed advice, especially after the men connect in a very personal way?

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Max uses his bar as a talent launch, since he got his start here and gives other performers the opportunity. So it’s a little contradictory that he’s so standoffish about actually giving critique to someone who’s got most of what it would take to make it. It’s not explicitly an open mike night, or an open mike place in general, so Max’s refusal to say even “You might want to make some eye contact,” is a little weird. If he’s trying to give folks a start, they wouldn’t be surprised he’s supportive, and since he was fairly successful, he might even know what he’s talking about. Most aspiring musicians would treat this like gold.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Picture is worth...

What's going on here? Any snippets or excerpts that apply? Any ficlets? 100-1000 words is great.  Look here for directions.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lori Toland's Dangerous Submission, with giveaway!

DangerousSubmissionblog-tour
Welcome, Lori Toland! Lori's here to tell us a little about her new release, Dangerous Submission, now out from Loose Id. I thought the whole setting was very intriguing, and just had to find out more. 

She'll be popping in and out today to answer questions, and Lori's even giving away some fabulous prizes! Be sure to sign up below for your chance to win one $50 gift card of the winner’s choice to Loose Id, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe, and one $25 gift card of the winner’s choice to Loose Id, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe.

Is SOCA a real agency or based on a real agency? How did you decide how to place your agent?

Lori: This is such an awesome question! 

SOCA, which stands for Serious Organised Crime Agency, is a real UK agency that focuses on organized crime in the UK. They cover everything from smuggling, such as animals, people and counterfeit items, to illegal drugs, mainly anything that involves organized crime, such as the business that gangs of criminals run to fund their crimes. They have been in the news several times regarding drug busts in UK waters. 

The true problem lies in researching their organization, which has been like trying to catch a unicorn. Because of their secretive nature and undercover work, they’re not very forthcoming with their ideas and methodology on solving their crimes, much like other government agencies around the world that fight crime.

That also gave me a very open playground to do whatever I want. SOCA has wide sweeping powers inside the UK and probably works with Interpol on solving crimes. In this day of international travel and information traveling faster than a heartbeat, the authorities have their hands full with terrorism and agencies do work together across borders to stop crime.

In Dangerous Submission, I do have a representative from Interpol working with Drake and Robbie on their mission in Prague, where they go undercover at a BDSM party to make contact with Stefan Zuliani, one of the big players in a crime ring that stretches across Europe. In this wealthy world, appearances are everything. Drake and Robbie go all out to fit the bill but not everyone is exactly what they seem.

And here's more about this steamy adventure:

British Agent Drake Steele never thought when he was hired on at the Serious Organised Crime Agency that his job would involve spanking a co-worker. But when the colleague is Lord Robbie Covington, the sexy red-headed computer hacker for SOCA and MI-6, Drake can't agree fast enough to pop Robbie's cherry and pull him into the sensual world of BDSM.

Now they are caught up in a web of lies as they pose as members of the jet-setting crowd. Drake and Robbie have to race against the clock to stop a weapons haul that could threaten the safety of all Europe. As their covers begin to fade and danger is closing in, protecting Robbie is Drake’s most important task, but neither man is ready for the moment when their hearts are put on the line.



Of course we need a sample, which I have to park behind the cut, because, well, you know... ;) It's a bit naughty. Go on, read, and then sign up for a chance to win.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Sticky Wicket in Bollywood by T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes

stickywicketTitle: A Sticky Wicket iin Bollywood
Author: T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Publisher Buy Link A Sticky Wicket in Bollywood
Amazon Buy Link: Sticky Wicket in Bollywood
Genre: Bollywood, contemporary
Length: 155 pages

A handsome Bollywood actor must choose between his career and a rugged cricket player from his past, who he’s fallen in love with…again.

Rajan Malik has the world of Bollywood in the palm of his hand—a beautiful girlfriend, starring roles, adoring fans… He should be happy, but behind the façade lies a man conflicted and exhausted by the pressure placed on him by his terminally ill mother, his agent and society. His life is not his own, and all he wants to do is escape.

Indian Premier League cricketer Ajay Singh can’t believe how bad his university roommate Rajan looks when he spots his picture in the paper. They had parted on bad terms. Still, he’s moved to offer Rajan his support by renewing their friendship.

But friendship was not all they shared back then. Though Ajay is out, Rajan isn’t willing to give up his carefully cultivated Bollywood image to be with him publicly. And with very little privacy, it won’t take long for someone to find out they are more than friends.

Their renewed secret affair is fraught with difficulties as they deal with the death of Rajan’s mother, the secret of Rajan’s till-now absent father, a jealous friend, the intrusive media and threatening notes from someone who seems to know all about their private lives…

It’s a bit of a sticky wicket they find themselves in. Will it be too late when they finally realise that they’ll both need to compromise, or they’ll stand to lose everything?

Review

After that blurb there just isn’t much I can put as a spoiler, so.…

I don’t know much about Bollywood, other than India has a thriving movie industry and that very often where a Western film would insert a love or sex scene, the actors break out into song and dance instead. So guarding the public image of the biggest stars in a way that made Rock Hudson’s marriage to Phyllis Gates look like a weak effort seemed right in character.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stealing the Dragon by Mell Eight

stealingthedragonTitle: Stealing the Dragon
Author: Mell Eight
Cover Artist: London Burden
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publisher Buy Link Stealing the Dragon
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Length: 27k words

Stealing from a dragon's hoard is never a bright idea, but stealing from a baby dragon's hoard can lead to tears, sniffles, and smoke in the middle of a busy marketplace.

Jerney, a witch who does work for a well-known thieves' guild, knows exactly who's to blame for the brazen theft. With no other choice in the matter, he quickly becomes entangled in trying to help the baby dragon. What he doesn't expect is that his own heart might get stolen in the process.

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The promised baby dragon really is a baby—he might look like he’s a seventeen year old human (probably the author’s signal that “yes, I know he’s too young for a sexy story”) but in dragon years that makes him more like a bright four year old. Tori’s adorable, and part of his problem is that even people who know better treat him the way his human form looks, not in an age-appropriate manner.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A picture is worth...




Time for another aww.... inducing picture. We haven't had a shifter in a while, so what might these two kings of the jungle be up to? Look here for directions. 100-1000 words is great.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Slam! by JL Merrow

Title: Slam!
Author: JL Merrow
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Publisher: Samhain
Buy Links: Publisher, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 275 pdf pages


Limericks, lies, and puppy-dog eyes…

Jude Biggerstaff is all the way out and loving it—mostly. The Anglo-Japanese university graduate is a carnivore working in a vegan café, an amateur poet with only one man in his life. His dog, Bubbles.
Then there’s “Karate Crumpet”, a man who regularly runs past the café with a martial arts class. Jude can only yearn from afar, until the object of his affection rescues him from muggers. And he learns that not only does this calm, competent hunk of muscle have a name—David—but that he’s gay.

Jude should have known the universe wouldn’t simply let love fall into place. First, David has only one foot out of the closet. Then there’s Jude’s mother, who lies about her age to the point Jude could be mistaken for jailbait.

With a maze of stories to keep straight, a potential stepfather in the picture, ex-boyfriends who keep spoiling his dates with David, and a friend with a dangerous secret, Jude is beginning to wonder if his and David’s lives will ever start to rhyme.

Warnings: Contains a tangled web of little white lies, a smorgasbord of cheesy limericks, a violin called Vanessa, some boots that mean business, and the most adorable little dog ever. Poetry, it’s not...

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After that blurb, the question isn’t what happens, it’s how. And it’s fun.

Stream of consciousness barely contained, that’s Jude. He’s flamboyant, funny, and when he bleeds internally, he bandages it with another joke. He’s head over heels for David, but what doesn’t go strange in one way goes strange in another. JL Merrow has “frequently been accused of humor” and this story earns her the shaky finger again, in the best way.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lighting the Way Home by EM Lynley and Shira Anthony

lightingthewayTitle: Lighting the Way Home
Author: E.M. Lynley and Shira Anthony
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Buy Link: Lighting the Way Home

Genre: Contemporary
Length: 206 pages


World-class chef Joshua Golden is homesick for Paris before he even arrives in New York, but he’ll endure it—his parents need him to help run the family restaurant while his mother recovers from surgery. Running a place so far beneath his talents is bad enough, but bad turns to worse when Josh discovers his former best friend and lover, Micah Solomon, is living at his parents’ house with his ten-year-old son, Ethan.

For ten years, Josh has done his best to forget how Micah shattered his heart into tiny pieces. Now Micah’s back, fresh out of prison, and helping out at the restaurant. Micah may not be the kind of sous chef Josh is used to, but he is more helpful and supportive than any of the other employees. But Josh finds it hard to keep his distance when, time after time, Micah proves himself a better man than Josh thought. Reluctantly, Josh realizes there is more to Micah than his lousy life choices… but that doesn’t mean Josh is ready to forgive him.

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This was a peek into a fully realized society for me—part of our American life but unique and with deep flavor. It’s not my background, but I wasn’t lost, and I was definitely intrigued. This is life in a New York Jewish community that’s accessible for those of us who aren’t of that background. The community was palpable but not overwhelming; Josh and Micah fit in but not in any predictable pattern.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A picture is worth...

How about something straight from mythology? (Or not so straight?)  Anyone with a little story for these two, send it along, with links, a cover, and a blurb from one of your releases, and let us enjoy both. Look here for directions. 100-1000 words is great.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Gay as Mardi Gras by Lily Velden

GayAsMardiGrasLGTitle: Gay As Mardi Gras
Author: Lily Velden
Cover Artist: Lily Velden
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 77 pages

After the demise of his relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Janey, Jesse needs to get away. His nan has just the thing: a month-long cruise around Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. It seems perfect—until Jesse realizes what kind of cruise it is.

A gay cruise.

Since Jesse’s roommate, Daniel, is recovering from a broken heart, the two decide to buddy up. They hit it off, and with Daniel now Jesse's partner in crime, they explore the boat and participate in all the fun activities on offer—with some, ah, interesting results for straight boy Jesse.

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This story was off to a rocky start—some things do not cross multigenerational barriers well. I was aghast at the beginning, where ultra-accepting Nan not only thinks about the MC’s sex life, she tells him what it is, and meddles in it. This woman is a combination of loving grandmother and Intrusive Female Best Friend with Inappropriate Curiosity. She’d probably be fun if I could get past that shrill NONONONONO! in my mind for the opening 10% of the story where she’s front and center. But I can’t. Others might.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Title: Monster Town
Author: Dakota Chase
Cover Artist: BS Clay
Publisher: PRIZM/Torquere
Buy Link:[amazon_link id="B00BTK4L9G" target="_blank" ]Monster Town[/amazon_link]
Publisher Buy Link Monster Town
Genre: YA paranormal
Length: 67 pages/18500


James Dire has a problem. He doesn't breathe fire, suck blood, or sprout fur and a tail during full moons. He doesn't eat babies, or trample cities, or carry screaming women off to his underwater lair. In short, he's about as dangerous and exotic as a boxful of sand.

While this may not be an issue elsewhere, it is in Eden, James' hometown. Here, everyone, from his parents and siblings, to his classmates, to the mayor, are fire-breathing, bloodsucking, fur-sprouting monsters, and James doesn't fit in anywhere.

James always feels excluded and knows he's always suspect because of his difference. He's very shy, has few friends, and his only sense of purpose comes from his job as reporter for the school paper.
When a girl is kidnapped, James's secret crush, gorgeous werewolf, Theo, pulls him into a hunt for clues to find her before it's too late. What they discover is a plot that's much more involved than a simple kidnapping, and may get them both killed.

In Monster Town, there's nothing more dangerous than being ordinary.

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

Young adult is tricky territory: the age range intended is 12 to 18, and the styles cover the gamut from simplistic to quite literary. Monster Town feels like it should appeal to the younger edge of the range. The sex is nonexistent aside from an embarrassing erection and an almost but didn’t happen kiss. It’s skewed to a high amount of heart-goes-pitty-pat-he-likes-me! And it’s cute. While the story probably doesn’t have enough complexity to interest the older teens, I wouldn’t hesitate to put this story in the hands of 11-14 year olds, for style, the handling of the love interest, and the level of plot. Adults might find it a refreshing quick read.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Art of Touch by Dominique Frost

Title: The Art of Touch
Author: Dominique Frost
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher Buy Link: The Art of Touch
Genre: contemporary
Length: 20,517 words/ 79 PDF pages

Jared Hamilton is the director of the famous law firm, Hamilton & Hamilton. He’s a brusque, no-nonsense type that doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Thus, it is no surprise that he finds Kyle Washburn instantly and aggravatingly annoying.

Kyle is Jared’s massage therapist and is cheeky and irreverent. Jared doesn’t like cheekiness or irreverence. Unfortunately, Kyle also turns out to be absolutely brilliant at his job, which means that Jared can’t find an excuse not to return to the massage parlor when Kyle’s massages are clearly having such a beneficial effect. Jared is more relaxed and congenial than ever - well, as congenial as he can be.

It is only when another one of Kyle’s customers implies having had sex with Kyle that Jared realizes that he, too, finds Kyle sexually desirable - and that the thought of anyone else touching Kyle is unbearable. This revelation changes Jared’s perspective and his behavior, and he finds himself more and more attracted to Kyle with each therapy session. But does Kyle want him, in return, or is all that flirtation just part of the art of touch?
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Failing to read the excerpt in this case was an extremely good thing, because I might have bailed at the present tense within a paragraph or two. And that would have been a shame, because this turned out to be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Thousand Word Excerpt from PD Singer


From Return to the Mountain by PD Singer

Adjusting his grip on the five iron, Gary addressed the seventeenth ball from his bucket. The Phippsburg municipal course wasn’t a good patch on the Wapiti Creek course, but the resort courted golfers who could be playing at Augusta or Plum Creek instead. The town spent a sizeable chunk of its Parks and Recreation budget on golf, and the course saw plenty of use. The Humphrey Chamberlin High School golf team teed off three times a week during fourth hour and spent plenty of time on the driving range and putting greens in exchange for some grounds maintenance.

Today was a driving range day, and Gary wasn’t getting anywhere close to the distance he needed on each ball. With grim determination and studied relaxation, he lifted the club behind his head and swung. If he’d been trying to practice hooking the ball instead of driving it, he’d be happier with his performance so far.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's kind of, well, unkind. Kindof. Or kindof not.


This is a reaction to a piece on Jessewave's, where Rick R Reed spoke about kindness. He called for civilized discourse in all things. and I'm fully behind that. However,  what is civilized can also be perceived as unkind, depending, and what an observer may just take as an opinion may be fighting words to someone who's much closer to it. I can only control what I say or write, I cannot control how others perceive it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A picture is worth...

If I make a hole in one joke, is someone going to throw tomatoes? Anyone who can come up with something better is invited to do so, look here for directions. 100-1000 words is great.

Prelude to the Night by Angela Ploughman


preludetothenightTitle: Prelude to the Night
Author: Angela Plowman
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs
Publisher: Loose Id

Publisher Buy Link
Genre: historical, vampires
Length: novella 136 pages, 34k

Victorian England is a place of double standards and hidden mysteries. A chance meeting at the opera propels dutiful, innocent Christian into the seductive arms of an older man.

Valentine has come to England searching for a reason to live. He walks in the darkness listening for that siren's song which will recall him to life. He may have found it in beautiful young Christian but can he persuade Christian to give up the conventions of society and walk a more dangerous path?

Between the two there are perils in the London fog which could separate them forever. The conflict of his comfortable life on one side and the dangers of loving Valentine on the other threaten to tear Christian apart. Whichever path his choose, listening to the music of the night is likely to cost Christian his soul.
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This novel takes us back to a more formal time, when young men escorted their mothers to the opera and liked it, and young women could lose their reputations at a glance. Christian is the man of his family, his father being deceased, and is responsible for his mother and sister. It’s a year past the date when Oscar Wilde went to prison, and Christian doesn’t plan to tell a soul where his desires lie.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Thousand Word Thursday story from A.B. Gayle


An Extra Scene From Leather + Lace from A.B. Gayle

Rancid, thats the word I was looking for. Not tangy or any of the other wanky descriptors emblazoned on the outside of the pack. Ever since good old Minos of Crete slapped a goat’s bladder on his tickler, inventors have sought Nirvana: condoms that taste as good as the real thing. Brother, nothing tastes as good as the real thing. Sure, they smell divine and, at first, the chocolate flavour might add a touch of decadence to the proceedings, but after a few decent sucks, the damn lingering lilt of latex inevitably returned. Unfortunately, the orange, coconut and banana varieties tasted just as putrid. Compactylon, retractylon, sensatylon or whatever the rival brand is called might have been better, but thanks to the huge bag of bucks donated by the manufacturer to tonight’s charity, we were stuck with these goddamnawful things.

In a way, it was my own fault for taking too bloody long to finish the guy off. I should have been as efficient as my fellow participant. Talk about a fucking Hoover! Cycling his clientele through like a bottling plant. Cock in mouth, quick suck, full condom, next please. Trouble is, I’d been trained to believe that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well and, judging by the moans of appreciation coming from somewhere above my head, the guy connected to the dick in my mouth seemed to agree.

Next time, our customers should be charged by the minute, not by the load. That way, my tally would match the Hoover or Dyson or whatever the twink working beside me was called. Dawson. That’s right. Dawson the Dyson. I might suggest that when we finally come up for air. Much better than his current porn star tag. Mind you, he was definitely well versed in the art. Probably did this every day for a living, whereas I made more money in my usual line of work. A lot more. Come to think of it, I should have just calculated my earnings and donated the money instead of wearing out my knees and getting a serious case of lockjaw.

Wearing knee pads would have helped too. Especially as my outfit would have disguised the fact. I should have remembered from bitter experience what spending hours in this position felt like, and it wasn’t as if there were plush pile carpets in the games room of the Hotel Paradiso.

When I arrived, I’d been surprised that the Blowjob for Bucks segment was being conducted so openly, but apparently the phrases: testing a new range of condoms specifically designed for oral use, infection prevention strategies and all for a good cause had magically morphed into something legal, or at least worthy of a blind eye from the vice squad. At least, I hoped so.

I took another long, slow slurp along the sheathed shaft in my mouth and barely suppressed a shudder at the taste of the latex. Maybe that was the reason for my stupid agreement to participate. One sucked condom too many. In the process, a Trojan virus must have wormed its way into my brain, short-circuiting any common sense that would have warned me that coming back to Australia was a bad idea. A very bad idea. Especially, considering I’d been taking such pains to keep my whereabouts secret. My carefully shored up defences had started to unravel when I heard through the grapevine that Fred was now in charge of the hotel where we met. Possibly my self-imposed exile was starting to wear thin, and there had been a Freudian slip when I sent him a Good Luck email. “You’ll need it,” I had added, “but if anyone can make a success of that dive, you can!”

The invitation to participate arrived soon after. “It’s about time you came back, anyway.” Fred seemed keen for me to have a chat with Master D, an American BDSM expert who was also part of the re-opening extravaganza. He had to be kidding. A leather man was the last person I wanted to speak to. Tonight, it was all about seeing whether my ex was still in the scene without being seen. Catch my drift?

Poor Fred nearly had a coronary when I turned up a couple of weeks later, dressed to impress. He’d never seen me in drag before, but after he picked himself up off the floor and stopped laughing, he could see the potential. “Some straight friends of mine are coming, and they might prefer to be sucked off by someone who looks like a girl.”

Yeah. Especially when that girl bears a stunning resemblance to Stevie Nicks.

Okay, I know. She’s not your usual subject for impersonation, but with all the other female rock stars being done to death, once I got that curly wig on my head, the image kinda stuck. Who would have thought I’d ever be grateful for the pretty-boy face that had been the bane of my existence growing up, or could quit worrying about my lack of inches or the fact that no matter how much I ate, I never put on any weight? Once, my muscles would have been a dead giveaway, but since escaping from the all-controlling whip wielder, both metaphorical and physical, I’d lost a lot of my previous gym-bunny condition.

Ah, finally. The cock in my mouth swelled and jerked, filling the condom that I had carefully smoothed on ten minutes ago. Damn it, Dyson was already onto his third punter and my next one was still sheepishly taking out his flaccid member. While he readied himself, I applied some more Papaw ointment and waggled my jaw to release the aching muscles. Once I started again, my allotted stint sped by, and I soon passed my companion’s tally. Nice to know that I still sucked with the best.


Leather + Lace

An Opposites Attract novel (available from Dreamspinner for preorder--releases March 22)

Swathed in chiffon and lace, Steven Stanhope owns the stage as Stevie Tricks, lip-synching the songs of the famous gypsy queen. But after he escapes an abusive Master/slave relationship, the only collar he'll allow around his neck is black velvet.

After a four-year absence, Steve is ready to reclaim his life and the property he left behind. But is it safe? Definitely not if his ex is still into leather. To find out, Steve appears at a charity night for the local BDSM community, using the anonymity of his stage persona to mask his identity.

Instead of his ex-Master, Julius, Steve finds a tangled mess centered around another Master of Leather, Donato Rossi. In order to unravel their ties to the past, Steve and Don must find common ground and work together. In the process, they learn that when it comes to love, sometimes you have to make your own rules.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vanity Fierce by Graeme Aitken

Title: Vanity Fierce
Author: Graeme Aitken
Cover Artist: not available
Publisher: Random House Australia
Amazon Buy Link: [amazon_link id="B008JVXCDO" target="_blank" ]Vanity Fierce[/amazon_link]
Publisher Buy link: Vanity Fierce
Genre: Contemporary/recent historical
Length: 375 pages

The ultimate comic novel of gay Sydney – Armistead Maupin meets Melrose Place at the Mardi Gras!

Stephen Spear is everyone's golden boy (including his own). Blond, blue-eyed, blessed with every talent and advantage, he has the world falling at his feet. And he's ready to trample all over it.
When Stephen falls for Ant, the only gay man he knows who still has chest hair, he is astounded to find his desire unrequited. Or is it? Ant is so inscrutable, it's impossible to be entirely sure.

But Stephen is determined to get his man. And if the wiggle of his cute butt isn't enough, then scheming, lying and manipulating is second nature to him. He's too young to realise that love can be tricky enough without adding any extra complications.

Vanity Fierce is a love story that's big on outrageous schemes, dark secrets and firm muscles.

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I had read one of the author’s shorts a while ago, and so when he inquired if I was interested in this novel, I was ready to read and I enjoyed it on several levels.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A picture is worth...



a thousand words, but which thousand? A.B. Gayle knows--watch this spot for the answer. And they might have something to do with her upcoming book, Leather and Lace, due March 22 from Dreamspinner.


Leather + Lace

An Opposites Attract novel

Swathed in chiffon and lace, Steven Stanhope owns the stage as Stevie Tricks, lip-synching the songs of the famous gypsy queen. But after he escapes an abusive Master/slave relationship, the only collar he'll allow around his neck is black velvet.

After a four-year absence, Steve is ready to reclaim his life and the property he left behind. But is it safe? Definitely not if his ex is still into leather. To find out, Steve appears at a charity night for the local BDSM community, using the anonymity of his stage persona to mask his identity.

Instead of his ex-Master, Julius, Steve finds a tangled mess centered around another Master of Leather, Donato Rossi. In order to unravel their ties to the past, Steve and Don must find common ground and work together. In the process, they learn that when it comes to love, sometimes you have to make your own rules.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Perfect for Me by D.H. Starr

Title: Perfect for Me
Author: DH Starr
Cover Artist: D. W. Skinner
Publisher: MLR Press
Amazon Buy Link: (go to right side nav at the bottom and insert from there)
Publisher Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 81K words
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Sean Sullivan is a principal and a happy person, but he has one major complication…HIV. Frustrated with constant rejection, Sean decides to stop dating negative men. When a student experiences a crisis and Sean meets Emery Benton, the case worker assigned from Child Protective Services, his decision is challenged.

Sparks fly the moment they meet, but Emery is negative and Sean doesn’t want the pain of another disappointment. As he struggles with his feelings for Emery, a war between the fear in his head and the fire in his heart force him to answer one simple question…Is this the perfect man for me?

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

Sean starts out the book on a date with a man he has high hopes for. And in one swell foop we can see that he is an honorable man who gets his honesty thrown back at him. One too many rejections based on his HIV status and he’s willing to throw in the towel on dating from the HIV negative pool.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Naked Tails by Eden Winters



Title: Naked Tales
Author: Eden Winters
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press  
 Genre: Shapeshifters
Length: 234 pages


Seth McDaniel wasn't raised among a shifter passel and has no idea what it's like to turn furry once a month. An orphan, torn from his father's family at an early age, he scarcely remembers Great-aunt Irene. Now her passing brings him back to Possum Kingdom, Georgia, to take up a legacy he doesn't understand and reconnect with a friend he's never forgotten.

As Irene's second-in-command, Dustin Livingston has two choices: assume control of the passel or select another replacement. Unfortunately, the other candidates are either heartless or clueless. Dustin's best hope to dodge the responsibility is to deliver a crash course in leadership to his childhood pal Seth, a man he hasn't seen in twenty years. However, while Dustin's mind is set on his task, his heart is set on his old friend.

Seth's quest for answers yields more questions instead. What's with the tiny gray hairs littering his aunt's house? Why do the townsfolk call each other "Jack" and "Jill"? Do Dustin's attentions come with ulterior motives? And why is Seth suddenly craving crickets?

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That smarty-pants possum on the cover tells you right away that this is no ordinary shapeshifter story.  No wolves, no big cats, and most importantly for me, no insta-luv based on “finding your one true mate.” These fellas have to work to find their HEA.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Velocity by Amelia C. Gormley

Title:Velocity (Impulse #3)
Author: Amelia C Gormley
Cover Artist: Kerry Chin
Publisher: Amelia C Gormley
Amazon Buy Link:  Amazon
Smashwords buy Link: Velocity
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 210 pages



Reaching Optimum Speed

For Derrick and Gavin, the holiday season is filled with the promise of new beginnings. Gavin’s officially moving in, and after the new year, they’ll begin house hunting. But they both know all the talk of gift exchange, whose holiday ornaments go where, and what repairs and remodels will be needed to put Derrick’s house on the market is only a smoke screen.

Before the holiday season is over, Gavin will have the final verdict on whether or not his dangerously delusional ex, Lukas, infected him with HIV. No matter how good Gavin’s chances appear with the three-month hurdle already passed, neither he nor Derrick know what the future holds for them.

The holidays have always been a time of loss and mourning for Derrick, but now he has to stay strong as Gavin’s own fears and doubts assail him relentlessly. And when Lukas returns, unexpectedly penitent amid troubling revelations, Gavin has to ask himself whether he can offer Derrick the future he truly deserves, or whether these first few months of happiness are the best they will ever get.

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All the tensions and concerns that have been building through the first two books come to a head here—this is a trilogy like Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, a great big book in manageable sections, with small plot arcs that resolve internally and an overarching arc for the whole. Read the first two—they are good. (Reviews for Inertia here, and Acceleration here.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Thousand Word Thursday story from Clare London


DRESSING by Clare London


“What’s up?” Sal looks at me across the table, a half smile on his handsome face. “You don’t like the meal?”

A slice of sweet pepper catches in the back of my throat and I start coughing. “No,” I reply hoarsely. “It’s great.”

“It’s my signature recipe, you know.”

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A picture is worth...

He's not too naughty to put up without a splash page, is he? What's he making and who's he making it for? If you have 100-1000 words to tell us, send it on. Directions here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Coming Home by Missouri Dalton

boxofchocolates185Title: Coming Home
Author: Missouri Dalton
Cover Artist: Not available
Publisher: Torquere
Genre: Historical
Length: 4300 words


He might be Alan Trent, but the sole survivor of the crashed RAF bomber isn’t sure. He can’t remember his name, just the horror of the crash and flashes of the War. Whoever he is, he knows there’s someone waiting for him and that for some reason, he’s reminded every time he takes a sip of cocoa.

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This very short story follows an RAF airman through his recovery after a crash. He’s nearly completely amnesiac, not even knowing his own name. He might be one of several people, and the life that claimed him doesn’t fit very well. Step by step, the wounded flyer has to reclaim himself. He must find out who he is, and just as important, who he isn’t.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Collusion by Eden Winters

Title: Collusion
Author: Eden Winters
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: contemporary, action/adventure
Length: 275 pages

Dead men can’t love.

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter “died” in the line of duty while working off a ten-year sentence in service to the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, only to be reborn as Simon “Lucky” Harrison. The newbie he trained, former Marine Bo Schollenberger, is now his partner on (and maybe off) the job. It’s hard to tell when Lucky doesn’t understand relationships or have a clue what any sane human is doing in his bed. Bo’s nice to have around, sure, but there’s none of that picking-out-china-together crap for Lucky.

While fighting PTSD, memories of a horrid childhood, and a prescription drug addiction, Bo is paying for his mistakes. Using his pharmacy license for the good guys provides the sort of education he never got in school. Undercover with his hard-headed partner, Bo learns that not everything is as it seems in the world of pharmaceuticals.

When a prescription drug shortage jeopardizes the patients at Rosario Children’s Cancer Center, it not only pits Bo and Lucky against predatory opportunists, but also each other. How can they tell who the villains are? The bad guys don’t wear black hats, but they might wear white coats.

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Forget sleep, I had to find out how this worked out. With a fast paced and tense external plot plus a relationship moving to a new level, Collusion kept me turning the page until I got to the end. Diversion, the first Bo and Lucky book (review here), did the same thing to me, and this is a more than worthy follow-up. I’d say the story stands alone, but the first one is too good to pass up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Immortal Symphony: Overture by SL Armstrong and K Piet

Title: Immortal Symphony: Season One: Overture
Authors: S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet
Cover Artist: Nathie Block
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Genre: Paranormal, Serial
Length: 39 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


You think you know the story of Dorian Gray, but you're wrong. The real story didn't end the way Oscar Wilde penned; in fact, it hasn't ended at all. The ageless beauty of Dorian Gray walks now in our world of cellphones and lattes and internet porn. His latest conquest is Gabriel Lawrence, a paranormal investigator with a secret or two of his own. But the trouble with a life as long as Dorian's is that the skeletons are threatening to overrun the closet... and not all of them want to stay dead.

Season 1: Overture introduces Gabriel to the truth of a world he had only suspected, where ghost hunting is the least of his worries. And at the heart of it all is the mysterious and fascinating Dorian Gray, as though he'd stepped out of the pages of the book bearing his name. But if he has, he hasn't come through alone. And this figure from a past Dorian had though long behind him bears a grudge nurtured for a hundred years and intends to tear down everything Dorian has built, a piece at a time.

Episode 1: A Meeting of Fate
Gabriel Lawrence, a paranormal investigator from America, finds himself in London chasing down a supposedly haunted artifact. While there, he meets a man who calls himself Dorian Gray, who may not match the description from that famous story, but certainly has the attitude. And the seduction. And because ghost hunting isn't exactly a lucrative venture, Dorian's invitation into his world of opulence, decadence, and wealth may just prove too tempting for Gabriel to resist!

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Serials are a sore point with me: they can be done right, or they can be done wrong. Generally the difference is presentation and disclosure. Storm Moon Press understands that, and they are labeling their new serials so that there is no question in anyone’s mind. Each installment can be purchased separately and clearly identified, or one can purchase the bundle and collect each section as it appears, plus additional materials that can’t be obtained any other way. They are up front about it, and for that I applaud them. It isn’t clear from the site how many sections to expect, but judging from this first, it would take at least 5 to make a novel length piece. Per private communication with the publisher, this one is the 'Radio Drama' format, where each episode (aka short story) must be read in sequence for the plot to make sense, and each episode ends on a little bit of a cliffhanger or substantial shift in the plot. They have other formats explained in that link.

And I’m fine with that. I’ve been warned, and I’ve also been given a nice hefty chunk of story, priced sensibly by the chunk. The bundle price suggests there are substantial goodies included. So bring it on!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dragon Touched by JB McDonald

Title: Dragon Touched
Author: JB McDonald
Cover Artist: BS Clay
Publisher: Torquere
Genre: fantasy
Length: 63 pages/17,500 words
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Being called a demon and given suspicious looks has become old hat for Ashe, depressing as it is. But a mob attack leaves him shaken, aware of the danger he's in every time he walks out of the palace. With no purpose, no friends, and a culture that hates him, Ashe is barely putting one foot in front of the other. He wants to go home.

Katsu wants to go home, too, but first he has to fulfill his duties. The problem is that every time he finishes one thing, something else needs his attention. If Ashe will just be patient, Katsu will figure it out. But Ashe is running out of patience, and the boys are learning that sometimes, love isn't enough. Katsu knows the solution is there, if he can just find it... before everything falls apart.

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I’m invested enough in this undisclosed serial to keep reading, but that may not last. Again, we don’t have a complete plot arc—it feels like we left off at an inciting incident last time. (For a more complete discussion of three act structure, look here.) Here the stakes get higher, but resolution? What resolution?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A picture is worth...


Poker face, hmmm. I think his mouth might just give him away. Have a story, 100 to 1000 words, for him, send it on. Directions here.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guest Blogger Angela Benedetti on Serials

Please welcome Angela Benedetti, who has graciously allowed me to repost her well reasoned discussion of serial fiction, originally on her blog, Angie's Desk. This was timely for me because I have serial fiction in my review queue, some offered well, some offered poorly.

*************

Can we talk about serials for a minute?

I know serialization is supposed to be the hot new way of sucking extra money out of readers. (Oops, was I not supposed to say that out loud?) But you know, most readers can actually do the, like, second grade math required to figure out how much the whole story cost them. If your short novel is coming out in five two-dollar parts, or your normal sized novel is coming out in ten two-dollar parts, a lot of people are going to do the above-mentioned math and figure out that you're ripping them off. 'Cause seriously, ten bucks for a short novel in electronic form is ludicrous. So is twenty bucks for a regular sized e-novel. If this is how you price your "serial," then you (either the writer or the publisher, whoever came up with the scheme in any given case) has absolutely no moral ground to stand on when readers start complaining, in print, on their blogs or on Goodreads or wherever else. Because that? [points up] That's a major rip-off.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cover Up by K.C. Burn

cover up kc burnTitle: Cover Up
Author: K.C. Burn
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: contemporary, police
Length: 236 pages


Detective Ivan Bekker has hit rock bottom. Not only is he recovering from a bad breakup with a cheating boyfriend, he’s also involved in a drug bust gone bad. Ivan had to kill a man, and his friend was shot and is now fighting for his life. Though Ivan is under investigation for his part in the shooting, his boss sends him on an off-the-books undercover operation to close the case. The timing is critical—this could be their chance to plug a leak in the department.

Off-balance and without backup, Ivan finds himself playing a recent divorcé and becoming Parker Wakefield’s roommate. He finds it hard to believe that sweet Parker could possibly be a criminal, much less have ties to a Russian mafia drug-trafficking operation, and Ivan lets down his guard. His affection is unprofessional, but Parker is irresistible.

When Ivan comes across clear evidence of Parker’s criminal involvement, he has to choose: protect their relationship, regardless of the consequences, or save his career and arrest the man he loves.
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I turfed this book at the 15% mark, and wasn’t planning to come back to it. Objecting to the absolute lunacy of the setup on Ivan’s behalf, I didn’t think I could bring myself to read an entire novel that worked with that sort of logic. Curiosity got the better of me, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A picture is worth...

Happy Valentine's Day to all, and may everyone be able to rejoice in their love.

Anyone with a story of 100-1000 words (Honest, I like drabbles!) send it on. Directions here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sharing Tomorrow by Michael Barnette

newyearsipTitle: Sharing Tomorrow
Author: Michael Barnette
Cover Artist: n/a
Publisher: Torquere

Genre: paranormal
Length: 17 pages

Fae-born Kyle has been alone for decades; everyone he once knew is gone. The need to be around others, even humans, has grown so great he can no longer remain alone. Then he enters a bar and he someone who seems to know what he is, a man named Anluan.

But Anluan is more than a man and on the cusp of New Year's they discover they don't have to be alone anymore as the magic of faerie weaves a spell around them to bring them a very Happy New Year indeed.

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This is a sweet little short, only 17 pages, but it was a pleasant read. Kyle, whose fae-name can only be said by others of his kind, is driven by loneliness to enter a pub. He has magic enough to disguise himself from the humans who don’t believe in him any more, but not quite enough familiarity with the human world to keep the bartender, Anluan, from being able to pick him out as non-human. Can’t really blame him when the last time he came ashore to mingle was back when gaslights were common.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It can be right and still be oh so wrong



I have a spelling checker.
It came with my pea sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye kin knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished inn it's weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.

*********

I'm getting a little tired of crap proofreading, to the point where it may take me a while to read things from certain publishers again.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tumbling Blindly by Sue Brown

TumblingblindlyTitle: Tumbling Blindly
Author: Sue Brown
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Publisher: Total E-Bound

Genre: Contemporary
Length: 63 pages

Book one in The Arches Series

Dumped by his partner, Matt isn’t looking for love. Once he meets Gabe at the gym, he finds a friend as well as a lover.

After he is dumped by Milo, his long-term partner, Matt retreats to his bed, only to be scared out of his wits by two policemen breaking into his house, checking to see if he is still alive after being alerted by a nosy neighbour.

The last thing he expects is to meet one of the policemen a few months later at his local gym. Gabe makes it obvious that he is attracted to Matt, but Matt is still getting over his break-up. To his surprise, Gabe isn’t deterred by Matt’s reluctance, and promises to be friends until Matt is ready for more.

Then Matt’s world is turned upside down by Milo’s return, begging a bed for one night. One night turns into a week and Milo doesn’t move off the sofa. Although Matt still has feelings for Milo, he realises he also has feelings for Gabe, who is more than a friend, and waits patiently to be a lover.

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There’s not much to spoil after that blurb, so I guess I can speak freely. The story turned out to be more fun than I feared after a slightly off-putting beginning.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Thousand Word Sequel by Eden Winters


There he was again! Dirk’s heart skipped a beat. In this light, at a certain angle, the man sitting by the window looked just like… Nah, it couldn’t be. Dirk had seen the telegram with his own eyes, “Lost, presumed dead.” None of the “presumed dead” ever came home. Ever. He lowered his gaze to his drink, watching light play over the amber liquid. For years now he’d come here, simply to visit old memories—with all his former mates long gone. What a pathetic thing he’d become after the war.

Still, eying the stranger was like a visit from an old friend. He raised his glass in silent toast to the man gazing out at the darkened street. Ten years, it’d been. Ten long, lonely years. From time to time Dirk found a willing bedmate to spend the night, a week, a month, and, in one case, two years. They always left again. And Dirk always found it hard to care. His heart had died long ago, with a fighter pilot over war-torn London.

Monday, February 4, 2013

After the BBQ by Matthew Lang

afterthebbqTitle: After the BBQ
Author: Matthew Lang
Cover Artist: Deanna Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 9000 words



Trent Gaudeen was going to spend Australia Day alone--on principle, of course. When an invitation comes out of the blue to attend his ex's holiday barbeque, he goes along despite himself. Will he open a can of worms or find the perfect match to his American pumpkin pie?
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I like stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Here the beginning starts out with the promise of paranormal that doesn’t mesh up with the contemporary middle, which in turn doesn’t support the happy ever after ending. This could have made a lot more sense.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Football and 1000 words

This is the first time I've ever chosen my Superbowl team based on human rights, but Brendon Ayanbadejo is my favorite football player ever now (sorry, John Elway, but not very, even you haven't done anything quite this awesome). The 49ers' recent hoof in mouth incidents would make me root for anyone else playing against them, but I will yell extra hard for the Ravens.

Go Ravens! Go Ravens! Go Ravens!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Cost of Secrets by Cassandra Gold



Title: The Cost of Secrets
Author: Cassandra Gold
Cover Artist: Kalen O’Donnell
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 121 pages (PDF)/Word count: 35,457


Police officer Dan Fallon knows the streets, but he's a rookie at romance, and still very much in the closet. He thinks sexy fitness instructor Isaac is way out of his league, until a dangerous situation breaks the ice between them.

Isaac Weiss has spent years trying to get his life back together after a series of terrible mistakes. The last thing he should be doing is trying to have a relationship with a cop, especially with his past. Too bad he's unable to resist sweet, shy Dan.

It's not long though, before the secrets both men are keeping rise to the surface and threaten to destroy the fragile connection they've forged with one another. Can Dan and Isaac find acceptance or will the cost of secrets be too high?

Review

The blurb sure looked good. Given that the stated theme is secrets, one expects that total honesty will be hard to achieve, but the problems in this story go far beyond difficulties in communication. Between the treatment of some serious life issues and stylistic clunkers, I would have DNF’d this story at the 20% mark had I not been reading for review. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Comment verification returns, sorry

Due to the horrible increase in spambot traffic and the way it's working my nerves, comment verification has been turned back on. I'm hoping this will be a temporary situation, but do spambots ever really lose interest once they've decided you're a target?

At least my captcha won't be as hard as the cartoon's.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This doesn't work for me



I must have a terrific library then, because of all the recent acquisitions that are offending me.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Aria by Shira Anthony

ariaTitle: Aria (a Blue Notes novel)
Author: Shira Anthony
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 236 pages



Five years after a prestigious scholarship jumpstarted his opera career, Aiden Lind has it all: fame, choice roles, and Lord Cameron Sherrington to share his life with. Maintaining his façade takes effort, but under his poised, sophisticated mask, Aiden is still the insecure kid from rural Mississippi. Then he walks in on Cam with another man, and the illusion of perfection shatters.

Philadelphia attorney Sam Ryan never moved on after his partner died, though he tried. Instead of dating, he keeps himself busy with work—but when he unexpectedly runs into ex-lover Aiden while on a rare vacation in Paris, he’s inspired to give their love a second chance. First, though, he’ll have to get Aiden to forgive him. Because when Sam was still grieving five years ago, he broke Aiden’s heart.

When rekindled lust blossoms into a true romance, it seems like the start of something wonderful. But Aiden’s career has him on the road much of the time, and the physical distance between him and Sam starts translating into an emotional disconnect. If Aiden and Sam can’t learn to communicate, their separation may prove more than their love can bear.

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To paraphrase Chekhov: If the gun has been presented in Act 1, it must be fired by Act III. Aria has an uncomfortable number of undischarged firearms lying about.