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 fa├žade 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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Picture is Worth...

The official title of this painting is Hermes Stealing Apollo's Herds, and there's an ancient story that goes with it. The Artist is Andre Durand (1949- )from Canada, and it was painted in 1997. If someone would like to tell a new story to go with it, great, or retell the old story for us, please, send it on. Details here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

La Posada by Kate Roman

laposadaTitle: La Posada
Author: Kate Roman
Cover Artist: n/a
Publisher: Torquere
Genre: Western
Length: 20 pages



Twenty-one-year-old Clay Garcia is obligated to take part in the posadas, his family's traditional Mexican Christmas celebration. But while Clay's spirit is willing, his flesh dreams of the return of his older ranch hand lover. On December 23rd, the eighth of nine nights of festivities, the wise man returns, and Clay finally has something to celebrate. Now if only he can keep his family from finding out…

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This holiday story features a clandestine meeting between Clay and his much older lover, Warshaw, and cowboy and sheep-shearer, who were first seen in Riding the Silverado, which I enjoyed. That one ended on a bittersweet note, so it was nice to see the two of them together again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Angel in the Window by Charlie Cochrane

AngelInTheWindowTitle: Angel in the Window
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: historical, Age of Sail
Length: 18k words

Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of Nelson’s navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to the exposure of their relationship—and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship.

When sudden danger strikes—from the English rather than the French—where should a man turn?

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There feels to be substantial back-story here, meaning that should Charlie Cochrane decide to write it, I will be jostling for first in line. According to her blog, this is her first foray into Age of Sail, and begins with an established couple.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Picture is Worth...


These guys just make me happy to look at--what kind of secrets are they sharing? Anyone with an idea in 100 to 1000 words, please send it along and I'll post it. Directions here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dead in L.A. by Lou Harper

Title: Dead in L.A.
Author: Lou Harper
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Publisher: self
Genre: paranormal
Length: 80 pages

Trouble comes in deceptive packages Still recovering from an accident that left him emotionally and physically battered, Jon's goal is to lead a simple life, free of complications and attachments. His new roommate— a happy-go-lucky bookworm— seems to fit into his plans fine at first. He doesn't find out till later that Leander's also a psychic, specializing in finding lost pets.

Jon's a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, so he's convinced Leander's a nut job. Jon's beliefs are challenged when Leander has to track down a missing teenager and he ropes Jon into assisting him. Soon the two of them are knee-deep in a decades-old murder case. The hills and valleys of the City of Angels hold many buried secrets, and Leander has a knack for finding them.

Jon's hopes for a trouble-free life go out the window as he's drawn deeper into Leander's psychic sleuthing. Digging into the past poses many dangers, but the biggest risk Jon faces is putting his bruised heart on the line.

Warning: Men loving men, skeletons, and an unlucky Chihuahua.
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I was charmed by this set of stories, featuring a bereaved gay man with a complicated past and a low key but generally happy psychic who moves in, initially as a roommate. In spite of Jon’s best intentions, he gets engaged first in Leander’s cases, and then with Leander. Overcoming his skepticism is a bit of a hurdle, but Jon’s intrigued, and then involved.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Brothers in Arms by Kendall McKenna

Title: Brothers in Arms
Author: Kendall McKenna
Cover Artist: Jared Rackler
Publisher: MLR Press

Genre: contemporary, military
Length: 34,000 words


Jonah Carver is a Marine and combat veteran. He and his former Captain, Kellan Reynolds, once shared a scorching night, but then lost touch; something Jonah has long regretted. When an investigation into government corruption, and the murder of U.S. troops, ends in the killing of a V.I.P. on Jonah's watch, the FBI arrives. With them is Kellan Reynolds. When Kellan is kidnapped, Jonah has to find and rescue him. If he doesn't, not only will the investigation unravel, but he'll lose Kellan for a second time--for good.

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For those who love military fiction, this one may be a bit of a mixed bag. I like such stories, but there’s a reason fiction is written differently than after-action reports.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Picture is Worth...

Revelations III by Aldo Balding
Revelations III by Aldo Balding


Aldo Balding, British painter, was born in Southsea in 1960 and studied for a Diploma in Illustration at Southampton College. Aldo now lives in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Beginning his career as a freelance illustrator his work appeared in and on the front covers of numerous magazines including the Sunday Times Culture Magazine, TV Times and Punch. Aldo is now a recognized and successful figurative and portrait artist.
 
The narrative quality of Aldo Balding's magnificent paintings is usually what initially draws his viewers in.
 
Aldo's works have been referred to as "nostalgic", but he considers them timeless. Aldo's conveys his love of the more formal time and finds a suited man is much more interesting, narratively speaking, than someone in sneakers and jeans. 
 
******************
Yes, well, I'm terribly interested in what these men could be saying to each other. If anyone has a story...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Little Crow by Caitlin Ricci

Title: The Little Crow
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Cover Artist: Tabatha Heart
Publisher: self
Genre: paranormal
Length: 25k words


Detective Jamison Landry knew his job was never going to be easy. He’s dealt with the worst criminals imaginable and believes in his work and the community he serves. But he’s never met someone like Mal before. The mysterious man keeps him guessing, both confuses and excites him and Jamison isn’t sure how he feels about him. Things turn from unusual to downright strange when people start insisting Mal isn’t quite human. And Jamison’s creepy dreams of crows and graveyards don’t make things any better for him. Will Mal stay around long enough for Jamison to figure out his secrets or will this stranger leave him wanting more?

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After finishing this story, I was left with the distinct feeling that I had not read a complete story arc. Beginning at a raid on a cult’s quarters and rescuing their bound captive, and ending on a highly ambiguous note, I followed along with the gathering sense that all was not as it should be, but was not left with any demonstration of what to do about it or why. Jamison Landry, the MC, was not having as easy a time putting the clues together and has equally little resolution.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Skybound by Aleksandr Voinov


Title: Skybound
Author: Aleksandr Voinov
Cover Artist: Jordan Taylor
Publisher: Riptide Press
Genre: historical, World War II
Length: 13,300 words/44 pages



Love soars.

Germany, 1945. The Third Reich is on its knees as Allied forces bomb Berlin to break the last resistance. Yet on an airfield near Berlin, the battle is far from over for a young mechanic, Felix, who’s attached to a squadron of fighter pilots. He’s especially attached to fighter ace Baldur Vogt, a man he admires and secretly loves. But there’s no room for love at the end of the world, never mind in Nazi Germany.

When Baldur narrowly cheats death, Felix pulls him from his plane, and the pilot makes his riskiest move yet. He takes a few days’ leave to recover, and he takes Felix with him. Away from the pressures of the airfield, their bond deepens, and Baldur shows Felix the kind of brotherhood he’d only ever dreamed of before.

But there’s no escaping the war, and when they return, Baldur joins the fray again in the skies over Berlin. As the Allies close in on the airfield where Felix waits for his lover, Baldur must face the truth that he is no longer the only one in mortal danger.

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The viewpoint and setting of Skybound is truly startling: the losing side of a desperate war is bleak ground for a love story, yet here it is.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tristan by K.M. Mahoney

Title: Tristan
Author: K.M. Mahoney
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Allure
Buy Link:Tristan
Genre: paranormal/shifter
Length: 41k words/138 pages

As one of the top paranormal investigators in his company, Tristan is used to the weird, inexplicable, and downright nasty. His latest case, though, is proving to be more trouble than it’s worth…

Tracking an elusive serial killer has Tristan heading for the one place he would prefer to avoid: Putman County. Between the often-frightening residents and his always-frightening relatives, it’s not exactly his preferred vacation spot. But Putman County is where his latest target was spotted, so that’s where he goes.

From day one, the situation spirals out of Tristan’s control. His target always seems to be one step ahead of him, his brother is mad at him, while his boss keeps calling him a dozen times a day. And one annoying werewolf is looking far too attractive for Tristan’s peace of mind!

It’s going to take every ounce of Tristan’s not-inconsiderable skill to track down a murderer. And it’s going to take every ounce of his courage to admit that he might be falling for the last person anyone would expect.

NOTE: This book is part of the Putman County series.

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I find myself perplexed by this book enough that I need to make a what worked for me/what didn’t work for me post. The whole didn’t hang together.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Picture is Worth...

Neapolitan Youths on a Terrace
Neapolitan Youths on a Terrace


Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden (September 16, 1856 – February 16, 1931) was a German photographer who worked mainly in Italy. He is mostly known for his pastoral nude studies of Sicilian boys, which usually featured props such as wreaths or amphoras suggesting a setting in the Greece or Italy of antiquity. From a modern standpoint, his work is commendable due to his controlled use of lighting as well as the often elegant poses of his models. Innovative use of photographic filters and special body makeup (a mixture of milk, olive oil, and glycerin) to disguise skin blemishes contribute to the artistic perfection of his works.

Famous in his own day, his work was subsequently eclipsed for close to a century, only to re-emerge in recent times as "the most important gay visual artist of the pre–World War I era" according to Thomas Waugh.
 
(And that's how I justify all the bare bums. Someone write these guys a story, 'kay?)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolutions, right.

Oh to have Calvin's self-absorbed certainty in perfection. I need to lose that 15 pounds, vacuum  under the couch more often, and eat more spinach and less chocolate, preferably while exercising, but since I've promised myself stuff like that every year for **cough**quite a while now**cough** and  my fat jeans have gotten fatter and under the couch has swallowed more popcorn, let's be real. I think I ought to make some resolutions I have some hope of keeping.

I should: