Friday, January 31, 2014

A Picture is Worth...





If a picture is worth a thousand words, is a sculpture worth 1500 words for being 3D instead of 2D?

What's the model thinking? Or is one of the artists dreaming of flesh rather than clay under his hands? If you have up to 1000 words (it can be shorter, flash fiction is fun stuff) to tell us, send it and your news along. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works.

The rest of us will dream of the model turning around.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Devil at the Crossroads by Cornelia Grey

Title: Devil at the Crossroads
Author: Cornelia Grey
Buy at Riptide
Buy at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Jared Rackler
Genre: paranormal
Length: 72 pages, 19k words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, html

The devil covets more than his soul ...

Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite escaping showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.

Review:

Ah, another taste of Cornelia Grey’s lovely, atmospheric prose: she can create such a scene with words you can practically reach in and pick things up. Here she’s using the language of despair, because Logan’s at the moment of reckoning.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Thousand Word Story from Eden Winters



 Cowboy by Eden Winters

One by one the midway lights dimmed, signaling the late summer crowd to amble through the gates marked, "Greenway County Fair." Young, old, short, and tall shuffled away in groups or singly toward the parking lot.

Shane shut down the Ferris wheel, making a quick round with a flashlight to ensure no distracted couple lay in the shadows between the control box and concession stand. He'd caught them there before, pretending not so notice a flash of panties or hands down each other's pants as he intoned, by rote, the carnival rules, such as they were. What did he care if some young woman showed her gratitude for the stuffed bear her date won, or if a couple of local guys found the shadows too tempting and decided to test the boundaries of their friendship. Didn't matter to Shane none—Lord knew he'd picked up plenty of short-term amusements on the job.

All clear. He tuned out the cheesy carnival music blaring from overhead speakers, sighing deeply and wishing the night might have turned out differently. He'd had his eyes on a cowboy, spotted the man every now and then, Stetson pulled down low over his forehead, jeans tight across firm thighs and muscular haunch.

They'd made eye contact a time or two, Shane casually mentioning what time he'd get off. Cowboy smiled, nodded, and walked away. For good, apparently.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spirit Sanguine

Title: Spirit Sanguine
Author: Lou Harper
Buy at Samhain
Buy at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: paranormal, vampire
Length:
Formats:
• Adobe Acrobat for Sony
• eBook ETI-2
• EPUB
• HTML
• Mobipocket/Kindle
• Rocketbook

Blurb:
Is that a wooden stake in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

After five years in eastern Europe using his unique, inborn skills to slay bloodsuckers, Gabe is back in his hometown Chicago and feeling adrift. Until he’s kidnapped by a young, sexy vampire who seems more interested in getting into his pants than biting into his neck.

Harvey Feng is one-half Chinese, one-hundred-percent vampire. He warns Gabe to stay out of the Windy City, but somehow he isn’t surprised when the young slayer winds up on his doorstep. And why shouldn’t Gabe be curious? A vegetarian vampire isn’t something one sees every day.

Against their better judgment, slayer and vampire succumb to temptation. But their affair attracts unexpected attention.

When Chicago’s Vampire Boss makes Gabe an offer he can’t refuse, the unlikely lovers are thrust into peril and mystery in the dark heart of the Windy City. Together they hunt for kidnappers, a killer preying on young humans, and vicious vampire junkies.

However, dealing with murderous humans and vampires alike is easy compared to figuring out if there’s more to their relationship than hot, kinky sex.

Product Warnings
Fangalicious man-on-man action, a troublesome twink, cross-dressing vampiress, and role-playing involving a fedora.



Review:

A fun take on vampires. We have vamps as people types, only moreso—the author has bloodsucking granola-boy, an undead mob boss, and a slayer who doesn’t know what to think any more.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A picture is worth...

That cowboy's going to rope himself some-- Some what? Anyone with up to 1000 words to tell us, send it along, with news and stuff. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Duet by Eden Winters

Title: Duet
Author: Eden Winters
Buy at Dreamspinner 
Buy at All Romance eBooks 
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Genre: Historical, paranormal, contemporary
Length: 200 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, html/zip, paperback

Blurb:

A conqueror’s decree can’t separate Aillil Callaghan from his Scottish heritage. He wears his clan’s forbidden plaid with pride, awaiting the day he becomes Laird, restores his family’s name, and fights to free Scotland from English tyranny. An Englishman in his home? Abomination! Yet the tutor his father engaged for Aillil’s younger brothers may have something to teach the Callaghan heir as well.

Violinist and scholar Malcolm Byerly fled Kent in fear, seeking nothing more than a quiet post, eager minds to teach, and for no one to learn his secrets. He didn’t count on his charges’ English-hating barbarian of an older brother, or on red-and-green tartan concealing a kindred soul. A shared love of music breaks down the barriers between two worlds.

Aillil’s father threatens their love, but a far more dangerous enemy tears them apart. They vanish into legend.

Two centuries later, concert violinist Billy Byerly arrives at Castle Callaghan—and feels strangely at home. Legends speak of a Lost Laird who haunts the fortress in wait of his lover’s return. Billy doesn’t believe in legends, ghosts, or love that outlasts life.

But the Lost Laird knows his own.

Review:


It’s not often that I like a book well enough to track it down and review it again after it’s been republished, but anyone who hangs around here already knows Eden Winters is an autobuy for me. This one’s been hanging fire because of my health issues (sorry about that) but it’s a comfort read, and if I couldn’t write about it, I could at least reread and feel better.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Yes, it’s an ebook, the table of contents still matters

I hear a lot of squawking one way and another about ebooks vs paper books, and why should one be a slavish imitation of the other. Or maybe one is a pale copy of a form that’s functioned for centuries and has a more or less standard format. It’s an ebook, shouldn’t it be its own wonderful self?

Yes and no.

I’m all for innovation, I’m all for utilizing the tools available. What I’m not in favor of is throwing out a useful item or using it so badly that it might as well have been thrown out.

So whatever else an ebook has or doesn’t, a table of contents should be there doing its job.

Right now I’m mad, because I just finished an anthology. Here’s a form that lends itself to hopping around, reading a story here, skip a story, read a story there, come back and read one by that author who’s name caught your eye. Which is easy with a functional, meaning clickable, table of contents. TOC from here. For a lot of books, it might not matter so much, although just being able to get to “Cover”, “Chapter 1”, “author bio” might be enough. Basic navigation. But for non-fiction or anthologies or for anything where you might not read linearly, make the damned thing work. And make it work right.

What’s right, you ask?

Let’s start with internal links. If I want to get to Chapter 11 Understanding the Export Code, or the short story Great Balls of Fire by E. Lectriceel, give me something to touch and get there. And a name so I know where I’m going. If it’s part of what I can get to when I punch up the navigation pane on the Kindle, fine. If it’s an underlined blue link on the page, also fine. Don’t give me a non-linked line of text and expect me to flail around playing “guess your location”. A “back to TOC” button could be useful in some applications.

Just because ebooks don’t have page numbers doesn’t mean navigation is irrelevant. It just has to be done differently. Kindles will open to the last read location, and that’s important too. Because if the TOC is at the back of the book, and you consult it once, now every time you open that book, straight to the TOC you go. No picking up where you left off, even if it takes you days to finish the book. Even if you left off at a section break in the middle of the chapter, and you don’t recall which chapter. No, now the reader gets to flail around hunting, if she (ok, I) didn’t set a bookmark because I expected to be able to pick up at the last read location.

Will I use a bookmark in the future? Probably not, because most books don’t require an extra step to make this work, the Kindle does what the Kindle does. So I’m likely to forget. What’s more likely to happen is that when I choose books I’ll only remember that anthology=aggravation last time. Anything that gets between the reader and the story is a bad thing.

This one was particularly aggravating because there was a nonfunctional TOC at the beginning, starting me off with “hunt the location” because I wanted to read the stories in the order I wanted to read them, and I couldn’t just go “Click! I’m there!” And if one is looking at a TOC, does one think to look for a TOC? No you do not. You curse the unclickable text and play hunt the location. Which is not a fun game, I might add.

And then when I went to find the next story, I did click go to TOC, because I had to have some idea where to flail to, and guess what I got? Yes, a clickable TOC in the back of the book! Now my last read location function is useless! Even if I didn’t click!

So obviously a working TOC is possible to build in an ebook, and equally obviously, it is possible to put a TOC at the front where readers have been trained for a couple of centuries to look for it. And where it doesn’t screw up newfangled Kindle features.

So can we please have these two things at the same time?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Closet Capers Anthology

Title:   Closet Capers
Author:  Multiple
Cover Artist:  Paul Richmond
Genre:  anthology
Length:  282 pages
Formats:  epub, mobi, pdf, zip/html, print

Blurb:

A dash of intrigue keeps any relationship fresh: laughing breathlessly over a little thrill, feeling clingy after a shiver of suspense, mucking through a minor mystery. This anthology offers a dozen light and humorous romantic short stories in which a quickly solved caper may be just the ticket to spice up any romance.

Kitsch Me by Mari Donne
Leveling Up by Jude Dunn
Philip Collyer vs. the Cola Thief by Amy Rae Durreson
A Kiss in the Dark by Eli Easton
Calberg's House Specialty Blend by Skylar Jaye
Small Change by Danni Keane
Lawrence Frightengale Investigates by Aidee Ladnier & Debussy Ladnier
The Whole Kit and Kaboodle by Ari McKay
Le Beau Soleil by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
Joie de Vivre by Pinkie Rae Parker
Made Good Under Pressure by Maja Rose
Tempest for a Teacup by Andrea Speed

Review, with stories in the order presented in the text:

A Kiss in the Dark – Eli Easton

Cute and fluffy: Lane gets kissed by a mysterious person during a power outage at a party, and spends the rest of the story working out who it was, assisted by his hypnotist roommate. Then of course he glomps the mystery man. Not sure I believed the disclaimer about Lane’s sex life before the kiss, but it’s fun watching him flail. A lesson in paying attention. 3.5

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Picture is Worth...



Looks like a story there, huh? Anyone want to tell it? ;)

If inspiration strikes up to 1000 words worth (honest, flash fiction is great!)  send it along. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chase the Ace by Clare London

Title: Chase the Ace
Author: Clare London
Publisher listing at Amber Allure
Buy at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 24k (novella)
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, prc, Microsoft Reader

Blurb:

Newly single in his late twenties, and looking for more fun than he gets from his boring job, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. After a few hiccups, he’s excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from the Scorching Summer Sports Club of 1990. He lost touch with his “Gang of Four” after that summer, but now he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become.

It starts well with a link to the first boy’s current address, through a mutual friend on Facebook, until Dan realises he’s been chatting online to the wrong man. Nick Carson isn’t an old school friend at all. It’s a genuine mistake, and Nick isn’t offended. He offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It’s the first step to friendship and something more for both of them.

For Dan, the reunions with the “Gang of Four” range from startling, heartening and disturbing. Nick’s company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets they’d thought were long-hidden. Dan begins to suspect that he’s really looking for a direction in his own life—and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.

Review:

After that blurb, there’s not a lot I can say that’s spoilery—the story is now a matter of how rather than “what”, but it’s still a pleasant afternoon’s read.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review policy reviewed

Now that I'm back, hopefully for the duration, here's how it works if you want my opinion.


Email me at Cryselle C AT gmail DOT com with a MOBI file, a cover art pic, the blurb, and a buy link or two, and let me know anything special about the book, like if it's your first or it's up for an award, stuff like that. I'm willing to look at m/m, m/m/m, and m/m/f.

Now that I'm not reviewing at Jessewave's, I can go back to my previous policy of the occasional ladybits among all the guybits. Anyone who doesn't like ladybits can hold their noses if they like. My blog, my rules. I'm still not reviewing het, but half the world's people are women, I'm a woman, and I refuse to act like women have cooties. A huge number of gay men have had relationships with women, been married, fathered children, might even still be friends with the ex, and all that might be in the story. I want to read that story. Women are part of gay men's lives as something besides Obligatory Pushy Best Friend. Get over it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Picture is Worth...

Are they an established couple? New lovers entwined for the first time? Solidifying a relationship? Wouldn't we love a little ficlet (please 1000 words max, or I'll glower, make you expand it, and convince you to publish it) to explain why these two are cuddled together.

See the page How Thousand Word Thursday Works if you're inspired to write, and the rest of us will say AW.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Help for one of our own

You know Patricia Nelson, even if you don't know Patricia Nelson. She's the reviewer who recommended books with her whole heart as Pattycake, Patty, or Trish. She's the Facebooker who's offered a kind word to the sad or laughed with the happy. And she's the fellow m/m reader who lost her husband just before the holidays.

Becky Condit not only has summed up the situation but done something about it. Here's how she explains:

Pat read and reviewed over 600 books, primarily in the m/m romance genre in 2013. She is a strong supporter of gay rights and a respected member of the review and publishing community. Her husband had several episodes of chronic breathing problems during the fall and in December he succumbed to the disease. Pat now lives alone in a small town in Arkansas. She faced the holidays bravely but very much alone. Her only car is giving her trouble and she has the final expenses of her husband's illness and death to pay. The m/m romance community is a tight knit group and we take care of our own. Let's help Patricia get past this point in her life and move forward knowing her friends are at her side.

Pat has been a fan, friend, and confidant to many. She's made us smile with her emoticons and stickers, and brought smiles when we felt down. She has promoted the sales of hundreds of books. And she is a truly lovely person.Please give what you can. Every dollar will help.
I can't say it better than that. Please reach out as you can. Let's keep Patricia warm and fed. She's one of us. She could be us. The Patricia Nelson Support Fund is here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Queen's Consorts by Kele Moon

Title:   The Queen’s Consorts
Author:   Kele Moon
Publisher listing:   Loose Id
Cover Artist:  Scott Carpenter
Genre:  Fantasy, Menage
Length:  95,200 words (long novel)
Formats:  epub, mobi, pdf, prc, html

Blurb: The Queen’s Consorts. Just laying eyes on one is a death sentence. So when Sari, who spent most of her life on the streets, ends up entangled in a steamy relationship with the two most forbidden men on the planet, she knows it can’t end well.

After a brutal attack, Sari’s taken to the Sacred City, exposing her to the secret lives of the Rayians who rule in the long lost queen’s absence. It’s in this darkly sexual world where she first meets the legendary consorts.

Too handsome and talented for their own good, Calder and Taryen have learned to trust only each other in order to survive. Bred to be feared warriors and exclusive companions to a queen, instead they’re slaves to other Rayians desires for them.

Their brutal lives make the two consorts hesitant to care for Sari when she’s unexpectedly dumped in their laps, but they soon discover she’s different from the cruel women they’re used to serving. Drawn to Sari on a soul deep level, Calder and Taryen can’t seem to stop themselves from going back for one more taste of the beautiful outsider… even when it puts the fate of the entire world in jeopardy.

Review:

In retrospect, I should have turned this one down. I’m probably not the target market, because I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, and therefore have some expectations about world building, like consistency combined with cause and effect.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Play Me, I'm Yours by Madison Parker

Title: Play Me, I’m Yours
Author: Madison Parker
Buy from Publisher: Harmony Ink 
Buy from All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Genre: YA contemporary
Length: 244 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Lu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and now he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.

Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.


Review:

I’ve had this book for a while, and it’s been through the Rainbow Awards since I collected the story. It placed tenth in LGBT Young Adult, and the story deserves that accolade. It’s a lovely read, even for someone who usually gets more smuts in her stories.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Picture is Worth...

The Morning After, 1884
The Morning After, 1884


Okay, it's not Thursday, but since I've been not blogging for so long, I have a whole bunch of Thursdays to make up for. And the dissipated mess that is these three guys just begs for an explanation of what they were up to all night long!

Any author who has a flash length story (honest, a thousand words should be the upper limit for posting here, (if it's longer I will do my VERY BEST to make you publish it and then I'll help you promote it, we've had a couple of published stories start from one of these prompts. And a couple more stories that should have been pubbed.), send it along, with your news and such. (See the page about How Thousand Word Thursday Works). If one of my older pics works for you, wonderful, there's no time limit on inspiration. See tag Thousand Word Thursday or Prompt to find them all. See the tag Free Read to find what other authors have accomplished. Some great reading there!