Ava March, Loose Id

More Goodies To Share That Just Might Fit Into Your Book Buying Budget

Hi All!

I just ran across an announcement on Twitter from author Ava March and thought I’d share it with anyone who might’ve missed it, or for those of you who don’t Tweet.

Ms. March has six (::pfft:: I just accidentally typed “sex” and had to correct myself. OY!)… Yes, that’s six titles on sale at Amazon for just $.99! Of the six, the only one I’ve read is His Cient, which I loved (the Brook Street Series is great too!), and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to snatch up the other five titles, because when it comes to historical fiction, Ms. March has rapidly become one of my “go to” authors.

So, if you have a Kindle, why not snatch these up? But hurry, I’m not sure how long this sale will last! Just click on the cover images to go directly to the page for each book. :)







Andrea Speed, Dreamspinner Press

Lesser Evils: Infected Book Six by Andrea Speed

Monsters are real … They live inside us, and sometimes they win. – Stephen King

Cliffhanger! The lemon juice to my paper cut. I kind of love them. Not paper cuts. Cliffhangers.

If you want Holden Krause to have his own book, please raise your hand. ::raises hand:: Okay, maybe it’s just me, and maybe I don’t even want him to have his own book because then he wouldn’t be Roan’s cynical, pragmatic, ultra-scary smart, ethically flexible, wickedly loyal, human/hybrid doppelganger anymore. Maybe I just want him to have more page time in the Infected series. Maybe I love him like Donald Trump loves his crispy-dried-comb-over. Yeah, I love Holden a lot.

And yes, Holden’s all human…in a matter of speaking. All human from the standpoint that he doesn’t transform into a big, scary cat every month, but there’s still something about him that’s evolved into a rather animalistic quality. He is utterly feral and adaptable to his environment, and will viciously defend his territory, and is dangerous when provoked. He’s also self-aware that he is two entities living in one body, and most everyone underestimates him and dismisses the fact that neither of him is someone you want to mess with. And Holden’s got Roan’s back, which is good for both the Lion and the Fox because it keeps them both human in an oddly connected sort of way, because Roan’s got Holden’s back too. And now there’s Scott Murray, of the Seattle Falcons Murrays, and where the hockey puck does he fit into Holden’s life? That’s a very fine question. Clearly neither of them is boyfriend material. Or are they? No. No? I’m watching and waiting…

Roan’s definitely not all Human, though. In fact, it’s looking like he’s becoming more lion with each passing day. He’s caught in the cross-species crosshairs of the cross he bears, and in this installment of the series, his burden just got a whole lot heavier, emotionally, physically, psychologically. The question now is not if he’s going to survive it (Andrea Speed couldn’t possibly be that mean!), but how he’s going to survive it. One thing appears certain; Dylan, as much as he is torn by his love for Roan and his own sense of self-preservation, will be there every step of the way. Yes? Yes. Gods, I hope so.

There was a lot going on in Lesser Evils, not only with the big cases Roan took on, cases that threatened the foundation of his special breed of people, but also in the health and welfare and wellbeing of my favorite biology-bending shifter. Damn, he’s got some enemies, both from within and without. But he has some amazing friends too. And while they all seem to have an opinion about Roan, no one has any answers about what to do for him or how to fix what’s drowning him in his own virus-laden gene pool. Maybe that’s for the next book. I’m watching and waiting…

If I had any niggles where this book is concerned, they are small and they would be this; there were times when I felt there were too many characters involved in the great Roan opine, and that, at times, bogged down the pacing of the story for me because everyone seems to be of the same opinion that the guy’s in some deep doo-doo. So yes, that got a bit repetitious, but that’s okay. I still love him, love that he loves so fiercely and so fiercely protects the people he loves. And I love that he has people who want to protect him right back.


You can buy Infected: Lesser Evils here:


Sharing Goodies…

I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. I’m a bit slow on the uptake, what can I say? Anyway, did you know that JMS Books is giving away a free E-Book every day? Yep, that’s right, totally and 100% free, and that lovely gift is going on now through the end of the year, so imagine how many books it could add up to! If your book buying budget is anything like mine, which pretty much means it doesn’t exist, getting freebies to pad the collection is always great.

Today’s offering is a full-length novel called Bergdorf Boys by Scott Alexander Hess. I’ve already snatched it up. Why not go have a look?

Click on the pic to take you straight to the JMS homepage

J.M. Snyder, JMS Books LLC

No Place Like Home: A Vic and Matt Story by J.M. Snyder

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke. – Charles Dickens

Okay, there are no two ways about it; this story is just too cute. I love Matt and Vic, have loved them for a very long time, so whenever J.M. Snyder decides to pay them a visit, it’s pretty much guaranteed to make me happy. Well, No Place Like Home is no exception.

If you’re not familiar with Matt diLorenzo and his big, burly, pierced and tattooed lover Vic Braunson, who’s all ::grrrrr:: on the outside but squishy on the inside for his beloved, let me bring you up to speed. Vic has superpowers. Vic gets his superpowers from Matt. Matt gives Vic all sorts of strange and sometimes wholly unfortunate powers when they have sex. There, you’re caught up. Actually, their story is far better than that, infinitely better, and this is why I leave the storytelling to the people who know how to do it.

Based on the title, you can probably guess what these guys are getting up to in this chapter of their life story. Yes, there’s a storm; yes, there’s a Good Witch (“Good” being an entirely flexible designation); no, Matty isn’t in Kansas anymore—or Richmond either—and yes, there’s a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Lion that’s anything but Cowardly. And there’s a yellow brick road. Need any more clues? I didn’t think so.

And yes, there’s even a message at the end, though Dorothy’s wasn’t nearly as romantic as the one Matt and Vic share when their adventure is over—that home isn’t the somewhere but is very much the someone with whom your heart resides that makes you feel safe and warm and sheltered and loved and connected.

No Place Like Home is fun and sexy, pretty much like all the other installments in this series, and while love stories aren’t necessarily a horse of a different color, Matty and Vic are true originals. This was a sweet little trip over their rainbow.

Buy No Place Like Home here:

Amelia C. Gormley, Smashwords

Acceleration (Impulse, Book 2) by Amelia C. Gormley – There’s Still Time To Enter To Win!

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. – Jan Glidewell

Amelia C. Gormley’s “Impulse” series could easily be subtitled The Erotic Anatomy of a Relationship, and whether you like it or not may depend on how much you love to get into the nuts and bolts of what makes a man who he is, and why everything that has happened to him in the past has a bearing on everything he does and feels and says—or doesn’t allow himself to say—in the present.

Acceleration is the continuation of the story begun in Inertia, the story of Derrick Chance and Gavin Hayes, two men who have brought a fair amount of baggage into their relationship, and the ways in which they’re working to sort out their trust and communication issues outside of the bedroom—the one place Derrick seems to be able to understand what he needs from Gavin—and how the backdraft of their sexual connection influences them in other ways, as Derrick learns he wants the pleasure/pain of sexual submission, and Gavin accepts that his dominance and the need to mark and claim Derrick is not in any way a form of hatred, neither of himself nor of gay men in general, but is simply an innate part of who he is.

The two men still have a ways to go to mend all the things that are wrong with their relationship, both in the ways Derrick tends to alienate Gavin in his instinct to keep parts of himself to himself, as well as in what’s becoming the unfortunate realities of prejudice and what it means to Derrick now that he’s living as an openly gay man. And of course, there’s also the overarching shadow of Gavin’s HIV status and the weight it places upon so many of Derrick’s actions and reactions.

I’m completely hooked on these guys, no question about that. This serial is one-hundred percent character driven and is an erotic interface of psychological boundaries and sexual release and relationships 101. I want to stick around and play voyeur in their bedroom, and I want to follow them headlong into all the challenges they still have coming their way in the next book, Velocity.

Available for purchase at the following E-tailers:


Amelia C. Gormley, Smashwords

Oh Look, Amelia C. Gormley Had A Sudden Impulse To Give Away A FREE Book!

Hi, Amelia! Welcome to The Novel Approach; I’m so glad to have you here with us today. :)

Hi! Thank you for having me! I’m very excited you’ve decided to feature me!

Before we get to the contest portion of your visit, let’s just start right off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself, and then we can get down to the big questions.

I am a 38-year-old homemaker and mother. I live in the Portland, Oregon area with my husband and 5-year-old son. I originally hail from Michigan, I’m a huge fan of choral music and musical theater, studied voice when I was younger, and until I got pregnant, I was in school to become a midwife. I have zero drawing/painting talent, but I can cross-stitch and crochet.

Q. Was Inertia your first published novel?

Yes. I’ve written a number of novels that were posted as fanfic over the years but this is my first original piece.

Q. How long did it take you to write the book?

I began writing in, I think, late November or early December of 2011, and finished around mid-January 2012. It took me until May to find an editor, however, and then I had to rewrite about 40-50% of the book from scratch, which took another few weeks.

Q. And now you have Acceleration, the second book in the series, set to release on November 30th. How many books do you have the series planned out for?

Impulse is a trilogy. The third part is Velocity which is written and will be going to the editor next month. I hope to publish it in late February or early March, 2013, but that will depend on whether or not I need to do much re-writing.

Q. Are you a plotter, or do you write in a more freestyle fashion?

I tend to write very freestyle. I diligently attempt outlines and mapping plot, but somewhere along the lines, my characters almost always grab the reins and say “No, we’re going in this direction, and then I’m along for the ride and my outline is rolling with the tumbleweeds somewhere in the dust of our tracks.

Q. Derrick and Gavin are cautiously pursuing a relationship in spite of the chance Gavin may have been exposed to HIV. What made you decide to bring that particular conflict into the storyline?

It actually began with a character question regarding Gavin’s ex, whom I knew was a character who had a “cause” that could have been a very worthy cause, except that he warped it somehow into something insupportable. I was already aware of AIDS denialism, and I started to ask myself, what if someone packaged themselves as someone who wants to spread awareness and education about AIDS, only if you look beyond the “AIDS awareness educator” label they plastered themselves with, what they’re actually preaching is the exact opposite of AIDS awareness, willful, deliberate AIDS ignorance.

Once my friends, with whom I was plotting, knew what drove Gavin’s ex, we then had to ask what effect this would have had on Gavin, coming out of that relationship, and then upon Derrick, with his own painful history.

Q. Was there one particular scene in either book that you found more difficult to write than the others?

The scene where Derrick walks out. God, that hurt to write. I know a lot of readers really sympathize with Derrick, but it was a shitty thing to do. So Gavin was hurting. But Derrick had reasons for what he did and he was hurting too, and I had both of them hurting in my head and ouch. Just ouch.

Q. Have you always written M/M romance? If not, how did you find your way to it?

No, this is actually a fairly recent development for me. Up until a couple years ago, I wrote exclusively het, until I found a slash pairing that worked for me in a way that none of the others I had encountered before had, with regards to situational plausibility and characterization. Then I started writing m/m and I was hooked. It just felt like I could explore my characters in whole new ways.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received with respect to writing and publishing?

Hm, that’s a good question. There’s been quite a lot. I was advised right off the top to keep my distance from reviews of my work, good or bad, because I don’t want to creep readers out making them think I peer over their shoulders as they’re reading or discussing my work. I don’t even go near negative reviews, which, thankfully, I’ve not had many of. “Keep writing” is a good one, of course, because they say the best way to sell your first book is to write your second, and I could have easily got bogged down in obsessing over the sales of my book and neglected writing in favor of trying to figure out how to market better.

Q. If you could trade lives with any one fictional character, just for a day, who would it be and why?

My initial response was going to be “Just about any denizen of Terre d’Ange from Jacqueline Carey’s amazing Kushiel’s Legacy series, except maybe Phèdre, because her life frequently sucks.” But then I remembered Joscelin, whom I adore, and of course he’ll never be with anyone but Phèdre. So yeah, I’d have to be Phèdre, even with the high risk of suck.

Joscelin aside, I love the idea of Terre d’Ange. A place where there is no kink-shaming, no slut-shaming, no homophobia, where sex and pleasure are revered as art forms and practiced as a form of worship, where the highest crime, nay blasphemy, a person could possibly commit would be to disregard someone’s consent. I love the idea of it and I want to live in that world.

And I want Joscelin. Just sayin’.

Q. Have you ever read something and thought, damn, I wish I’d written that? If so, what was it?

You mean, aside from Kushiel’s Dart? That book. God, that book. It was life-changing for me. Carey’s prose. Her lush, eloquent, gorgeous, overblown prose. I don’t know how to do it but God, I want to.

Q. How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

Dry and quirky. I tend to make a lot of bad puns. In an author interview that was posted not long ago elsewhere, I was bemoaning my lack of ability to write comedy and I remarked, “For an author of gay romance, I write a lot of straight-men.”

I don’t think anyone got it.

Then of course, there’s this exchange from Acceleration:

“(Derrick, speaking to Gavin, who has just been clapped in irons on their way to a Halloween party):

“I thought you said this wasn’t that sort of party.”

“BYOB,” Gavin said with a careless shrug. “Bring Your Own Bondage.”

So I guess you could describe my sense of humor as “Get ‘em with a groaner.”

And I make myself laugh, whenever I get ridiculously proud of myself for one of those sorts of jokes.

“See, I can be witty!” Which, of course, I really can’t, but I try.

Q. Do you have news of any works-in-progress you’d care to share with us?

Well, as I mentioned before, the third book of the trilogy, is titled Velocity and it’s completed (causing me no small amount of angst as I try to find a way to say goodbye to Derrick and Gavin.) Beyond that I actually have to play my next project close to the vest because I’m not entirely certain where it’s going to end up.

Q. Where can we find you on the internet?

Pfft! Where can’t you find me? Here’s a list. I’m all over the place:
Facebook (Fan Page)

I have accounts at LibraryThing, Shelfari, Pinterest and Google+ as well, though I never use those.

Q. Would you consider sharing an excerpt from one of your books with us?

Sure! This is an excerpt of a scene from Chapter Eight of Acceleration:


Grateful for the distraction of driving, Derrick kept his eyes on traffic and worked on shaking off the tension of his argument with Devon. “You sure you’re all right?”

“Sure. Why wouldn’t I be?” He couldn’t tell Gavin, he thought, keeping his expression blank as he navigated through traffic. Gavin had enough to worry about without Derrick adding to his troubles. Worse, he might blame himself, or worry that being with him caused too much trouble for Derrick.

No. It was better just to suck it up, deal with it quietly, so Gavin wouldn’t have to worry.

“I don’t know,” Gavin murmured, turning to stare out the passenger window.

Something began to ache inside Derrick’s chest again, clenching in counterpoint to the drumming of a single thought over and over in his mind. As he had that morning, when Gavin had asked him about his music, he knew without a doubt that he had let Gavin down.

He just didn’t know how.

“Maybe I should go home,” Gavin said as they pulled into Derrick’s driveway. He opened the door of the truck before Derrick had even turned off the ignition. “I don’t think either of us is in a very good frame of mind tonight. I’ll go inside and get my things.”

The hollow sense of failure transformed into a heart-racing jolt of panic. He followed Gavin quickly into the house.

“I really wish you wouldn’t.”

“Are you going to tell me what’s eating you, then?” Gavin demanded.

“I don’t know,” Derrick said with a frustrated shrug. “It’s not anything worth ruining our night over, that’s for certain. Just…don’t go. Please.”

He wasn’t sure just what his expression gave away, but something in Gavin softened. He reached out and drew Derrick close, and the sense of anxiety began to abate. Touching Gavin, being touched, even when everything else felt wrong, that was right.

Derrick slid his hand along Gavin’s jaw, pulling him into a kiss that grew urgent and needful. He felt the overwhelming tide of emotion he’d fought to keep in check that morning begin to rise again, threatening to drown him. He pressed his forehead to Gavin’s, seeking something, anything, to say to hold it all at bay. Fear made his breath come short and fast as he cupped Gavin’s face and drew back to look at him.

“I love you,” he murmured, panic and elation fighting for room in the constricted confines of his chest. “That’s…that’s all. That’s what this is about.”

Gavin’s eyes widened, and Derrick cut off whatever response he was about to give with another kiss.

He didn’t have to talk again that night.


Thanks again very much for being here today, Amelia. I hope you’ll come back and visit again soon! :)

I would absolutely love to! Thank you for being so wonderful and hosting me!

How would you all like the chance to win a FREE E-copy of Amelia C. Gormley’s Acceleration: Impulse, Book 2? It’s easy enough! All you have to do is leave a comment (including your email address) for Amelia right here on this post and you’re automatically entered to win. Just be sure to do it before 11:59pm Pacific time on November 29, 2012. A single winner will be drawn at random on November 30, and contacted for prize delivery. Good luck!

Small Gems, Tam Ames, Torquere Press

Small Gems – The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall by Tam Ames

Wear your heart on your skin in this life. – Sylvia Plath

God, I’m a sucker for hot men with tattooed flesh. And stories about hot men with tattooed flesh make my mind wander all over the muscular landscapes of smooth, inked skin. And yes, that makes me shallow, but it also makes me happy, so there.

And apparently I’m not the only one who shares an affinity for muscular tattooed men. Spence Brownley does too, and this is his story; well, his and Vander Jarvis’s story, actually—The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall, a sweet and sexy little quickie about a strong and confident older man whose life is illustrated in artful ways on his body, and the younger and ever-so-adorkable guy who thinks maybe a tattoo would be a little bit of all right…if only he didn’t faint dead away at the sight of needles and blood.

It’s the story of their unplanned meeting in a tattoo parlor, their unlikely attraction to each other, and their undeniable connection that the reader doesn’t get to see develop beyond the first date, which is a bit of a bummer since I’d have loved to spend more time with them, but we do get a six months later that’s almost as good, or at least good enough, because we get to see them wear their hearts on their sleeves, or on their skin, whichever, and you can’t help but feel okay about their happy beginning.

Spence and Vander are two pretty loveable guys who, along with Tam Ames humor and warmth, made this one a pretty fun little read, though I’d have loved more than just a sip.

Buy The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall here:

Ramblings, Videos

What Are You Thankful For? Besides Books, I Mean…

Was November kind of an insane month, or is it just me? Not who’s insane (debatable), I mean, but who thinks the month has been crazy?

I’m going to be completely honest here; I’m kind of glad it’s almost over, but it’s pretty much my fault for spending too much time on Facebook watching people fight over their political beliefs. It was kinda nutty, wasn’t it? But you just have to kind of laugh it off because, let’s face it, the people who can’t laugh about it are the ones who end up going postal…or threaten to secede from the Union…whatever. So laugh, darn it! Just laugh. We’re starting to take ourselves way too seriously, if you ask me, and all this anger going around is making people say stuff that hasn’t been publicly acceptable since about the middle of the 20th century, except it sounds worse now because we should all know better.

So, here we are, on this day in the month when we all are supposed to remember to give ourselves a mental “DOH!” and offer thanks for all the things in life we’re grateful for, my attitude of gratitude pretty much all boils down to one all-encompassing thing:

I’m just grateful for each new day.

That doesn’t sound like I have much to be thankful for, does it? Well, lemme ‘splain. No, there is too much. Lemme sum up. (Sorry, this moment brought to you by the Princess Bride.) :)

Years ago, I read the book The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini. It was brilliantly written, one of those books that stuck with me long after I’d finished reading it, but there was one passage in particular that I remember over and above any other in the novel. It’s near the beginning of the book, when the boy, Amir, is talking to his father about sin. Baba says something to his son that I found so profound I couldn’t forget it if I tried, and whether or not you agree with him, you’ve got to admit the man makes an interesting point.

There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing.

So, what does this have to do with being thankful? Not a damn thing. :-D But it’s not the message itself as much as the nuance of the message that leads me to my point.

I do have so many things to be thankful for, don’t get me wrong, but for me, all of those gifts hinge on a single promise, (the principle of “one” in Baba’s message – the fulcrum around which everything else revolves) and that’s each new day that I’m offered. Every other gift in my life is just a variation and a result of what I do with each twenty-four hours I’m given; time I try very hard not to take for granted, time I use to try to make me a better person – a better example to my little people, a better friend, a more compassionate person. Each new day offers the opportunity to change and to be changed by whatever it has in store for me, to be kind, to love and to be loved in return. None of those things would be possible without the chance to build – or to sometimes just wipe the slate clean and start over again – on the foundation of a new day. That’s all. I don’t take it for granted, even for a moment, because my days come standard with family, friends, health (so far!), books and books and more books. :-D And yes, there has been a lot of sadness in this year for me too, but even that has been an opportunity for me to try and find more things to be appreciative of. So, really, there’s so much to be grateful for on a daily basis that it’s just easier to be grateful for my days than to try and enumerate everything in them for which I give thanks. And that, as they say, is that.

Oh! Wait, I’m also thankful we love to look at beautiful men together too! Every day. Yeah. :-D

::bows:: I give many thanks for Levi Poulter and Paul Francis, and those gorgeous Andrew Christian boys, don’t you? AMEN!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who’re celebrating. To those who aren’t, well, just go ahead and join in by eating yourself into a food coma! You’ll fit right in. :-D

Amy Lane, Dreamspinner Press

A Knitter in His Natural Habitat: A Knitting Novella by Amy Lane

The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one minute to the next. – Mignon McLaughlin

I don’t know the first thing about knitting other than I’m a fan of my sweaters. I don’t know the first thing about writing other than I’m a fan of my books. What I do know is that knitting and writing seem to have a lot in common, because if an author doesn’t have the finesse and the patience and the dexterity to unravel a skein of words and stitch them together into something that doesn’t make your brain itchy, then that story is about as useful as a sweater with three arms and no neck hole.

Amy Lane knows how to knit like nobody’s business, darn it. She doesn’t make my brain itchy. She makes my heart twitchy and I looooove this series like a bunny loves to fu… loves carrots. I was going to say something naughty there, but I decided to keep this a family friendly review. Or not, because next comes more sex.

So what do you do with a guy who has settled for Mr. Whatever his entire life? How do you reform a guy who thinks special sex is the kind of quicky he had with Craw in the bathroom of the store he works in because it’s cleaner than the one-offs he had with strangers in private rooms at night clubs. Here’s what you do: you have a delivery guy walk into that store and you make that guy prove that he’s no Mr. Whatever. That guy proves he’s Mr. Everything, and you have Stanley Shulze wag his fluffy little tail, and you have Johnny Russo grab that fluffy little tail and love it till neither man can see straight. Then, if you’re Amy Lane, you throw in an ass-load of trouble called the mob—yeah, that mob!—just to keep things interesting and to keep you on that invisible thin line between “Awwww” and “God, I may vomit from the anxiety”. Dontcha just love it?! I do.

Then what do you throw in? Stanley’s people. Not his family, his flock, the people he loves and, lo and behold, who love him in return. And what do you do with them if you’re Amy Lane? You make them freaking awesome people you wish were your own family because they’re accepting and loving and they don’t throw you away just because your new boyfriend may or may not have an Etch-a-Sketchy past he’s trying to shake even though someone keeps turning those knobs and has drawn a dangerous line straight to him.

Then what? Well, then Jeremy, that sweet, gentle Jeremy, who is a bunny with the heart of a lion…well, he thinks he has a debt to pay to the cosmic deities; you know, the ones that keep the checks and balances in the ledger of guilty conscience and personal accountability, the ones that keep you from going spiritually bankrupt. Yeah, them. Jeremy feels he owes them a sacrifice for what Johnny did for him years before, so the least he can do to pay off that debt is to keep Stanley safe for Johnny, even if it means gutting Aiden in the process and forcing Aiden to go all whoop-ass in a totally righteous way. And lo, it was good.

But here’s the thing, and I love this quote because it fits:

It is not possible to make a guilty man innocent by suffering in his place. – Carl Lofmark

No, it’s not, so Stanley did what he had to do, and Jeremy did what he had to do, and now Johnny has to go and do the right thing, to reset the checks and balances in his own moral ledger so he can be the man Stanley needs him to be—the man who’s there and who loves him and who has taught him the difference between making love and having sex.

And then what? Well, if you’re Amy Lane, you get on with the business of putting those final few stitches into the word weft, tie it up and pronounce it happiness. And then we get to stand back and look at what she has made, with a critical eye, and see the hue and the shade, the strength and the fiber and the precision with which she has laid every stitch.

And if you’re me, you curl up in it and wrap it around you and call it good.

Buy A Knitter in His Natural Habitat here:

Harmony Ink Press, John Goode

End of the Innocence (Tales from Foster High, Book 2) by John Goode

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. – Harriet Tubman

If you decide to read End of the Innocence (Tales of Foster High, Book 2), the continuing story of jock, Brad Greymark, and his invisible boy, Kyle Stilleno, who has arguably become the most visible boy at Foster High School, well, let me keep you from making the same mistakes I made.

1. Don’t try to read this book at the 87% mark onward if you’re expecting to sleep anytime soon.
2. If you do, don’t go to bed without a box of tissues, or at least do it with the expectation that you’re going to über-ugly-cry all over your pillow. Because you will. It’s unavoidable. I very well may start blubbering again just thinking about it.

Charles Darwin must’ve been in high school when he came up with the theory of Natural Selection:

The process in nature by which only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive.

It’s where the term “survival of the fittest” came from. In the high school hierarchy of predators and prey, the bullies and the bullied, sometimes survival is a touch-and-go-day-to-day proposition, where strength and courage are impossible to come by because fear and humiliation and denigration comes along and desecrates and profanes the one place that should be sanctuary from all the other crap you have to face at home. But then the internet came along and gave the bullies a new platform from which to intimidate and shame their victims, and suddenly nowhere was safe. Then the lines started to blur between who are the bullies and who are the bullied, because revenge is so easy a war to wage when you believe you can wage it anonymously and without consequence.

The only problem is that there’s no such thing as consequence-free vengeance, and an eye for an eye eventually ends up leaving someone blind to the potential devastation of his actions.

And that’s where the heartbreak and tears begin.

And that’s where the courage comes from to take a stand, to step out on the ledge without a safety net and find the strength to try and change the world from within, by remembering those who were made sacrifices to others’ prejudice and hatred, by remembering those who were without the hope they needed to survive in spite of how much Kyle wanted and tried to help; now he will take the passion for change and reach for the stars in an effort to make this a better place for everyone.

And we are the dreamers of dreams.

And Kyle and Brad are without a doubt in the upper stratosphere of my all-time favorite characters, simply because John Goode has made them so. He has a great gift for telling a story that is, by all accounts, a means of delivering the sweet promise of a love story designed to make me believe in forever, blended with clever dialogue and sharp prose, added to that a powerful message that shares both tragedy and hope.

I could gush on and on about this book and this series. It is easily one of the most outstanding examples of realistic Young Adult fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Sometimes the message is that real life sucks hard, but then again, sometimes the message is that when enough people care to band together for the sake of change, change is inevitable for the sake of those who care enough to make it happen.

Let me tell you, this book isn’t easy on the heart or the tear ducts, but is so very, very worth the journey if you’re willing to heed the word.

Click here for a list of E-tailers to buy End of the Innocence:

Amelia C. Gormley

Amelia C. Gormley Is Here Today With Some Serious Thoughts About A Serious Subject – AIDS Denialism

HIV/AIDS Denialism

I’ve really struggled to think of a way to write this post, because I almost didn’t want to give this issue any press. I remember earlier this year in the early stages of the presidential campaign, President Obama’s campaign began releasing videos to address lies being told by their opponents, and one critic of this campaign said this was a very bad move because you should never, ever repeat your opponent’s claims, or they will stick in the minds of people who hear it and gain validity.

That’s kind of how I feel about AIDS denialism.

I’ll start by quoting Wikipedia on the subject:

HIV/AIDS denialism is the view held by a loosely connected group of people and organizations who deny that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of acquired immune Ideficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some denialists reject the existence of HIV, while others accept that HIV exists but say that it is a harmless passenger virus and not the cause of AIDS. Insofar as denialists acknowledge AIDS as a real disease, they attribute it to some combination of sexual behavior, recreational drugs, malnutrition, poor sanitation, hemophilia, or the effects of the drugs used to treat HIV infection.

What are some of the claims made by AIDS denialists?

AIDS is not a well-defined disease entity but rather a sociopolitical construct (Culshaw) or a single name for numerous diseases;

HIV has never been isolated in pure form, so that the existence of HIV is questionable as is validation of HIV tests;

Antiretroviral treatments have never been proven in properly controlled trials to effect clinical improvement or better health, let alone extended life;

The existence of HIV has not been proven; HIV tests are unreliable; and there is no evidence for sexual transmission of HIV (Papadopulos-Eleopulos*)

HIV exists but it’s harmless (Duesberg, among others);

HIV is not sexually transmitted and does not cause AIDS (Henry Bauer, among others);

Pharmaceutical firms know that antiretroviral drugs are ineffective at treating AIDS but effective at causing AIDS (Rath and Farber);

AIDS deaths are caused by malnutrition, narcotics, and antiretroviral drugs.

Yeah, you read that right. They claim AIDS drugs cause AIDS. Pretty whacky, yeah?  Luckily, it’s a “theory” that seems to be becoming less relevant as the years pass, and how could it not with such notable supporters as Bryan Fischer,  spokesman of the American Family Association, a believer in Creationism who claims that homosexuality is to blame for the Nazi Holocaust. (I wish I were kidding.)

I admit, my discovery of the theory of AIDS denialism was not necessarily an intellectual one. I first learned about it on an episode of Law & Order: SVU (I watched the first seven seasons on DVD during the marathon 20-22 hour a day nursing session which was my son’s first ten weeks of life — and no, that’s not an exaggeration) called “Retro.”

It was, in true Law & Order style, not so much ripped from the headlines as ripped off from the headlines. It’s loosely based on the story of Christine Maggiore an HIV/AIDS denialist (sorry, they prefer to think of themselves as “dissidents”) who infected her daughter with HIV by breastfeeding while HIV-positive. Her daughter later died from pneumocystis pneumonia, the type of pneumonia found almost exclusively in immuno-compromised people and largely associated with AIDS. When Maggiore later died herself of AIDS-related pneumonia, some of her supporters went so far as to blame stress from the publicity of the L&O episode for making her sick. (Christine Maggiore’s Death: Lessons From a Tragedy)

Dying of AIDS-related illnesses is a trait seen in quite a lot of HIV-positive AIDS denialists, as you can see here

But Christine Maggiore is only a headline because she’s a white, middle-class woman in the United States. AIDS denialism is responsible for many more deaths, particularly in Africa, where an estimated 330,000 people have died and another 200,000 infections, adult and infant, have occurred because of Thabo Mbeki’s support of AIDS denialism during his former presidency.

In 2000, Mbeki called together a round table of experts, including Duesberg and his supporters, but also their opponents, to discuss the cause of Aids. Later that year, at the International Aids conference in Durban, he publicly rejected the accepted scientific wisdom. Aids, he said, was brought about by the collapse of the immune system – but not because of a virus.

The cause, he said, was poverty, bad nourishment and general ill-health. The solution was not expensive western medicine, but the alleviation of poverty in Africa.

In a new paper (PDF), Harvard researchers have quantified the death toll of Mbeki’s stance, which caused him to reject offers of free drugs and grants and led to foot-dragging on the part of his government over bringing in a treatment programme, even after Mbeki – under intense international criticism – had taken a vow of silence on the issue.

It’s conspiracy theory thinking, of course. Conspiracy theories are dangerous because they often contain enough pseudo-science to sound credible to the uninformed and are extremely seductive to people looking to reject painful truths. They’re also give a platform to people who want to paint themselves as fiery rebels against conventional wisdom and saviors of the unenlightened masses. There’s a lot that goes into conspiracy theory thinking and AIDS denialism. Psychologist Seth Kalichman does a brilliant job of dissecting the psychology behind pseudo-science, conspiracy theory adherence and AIDS denialism in this article.

So why did I decide to make AIDS denialism a significant plot point in Inertia (and onward through Acceleration and Velocity) and along Gavin and Derrick’s journey? Because this quote stuck with me:

Every now and again, this group wins a dollop of attention from the media. But this attention is always short-lived and the denialist movement retreats back into well-deserved obscurity.

So why am I talking about them? Because even though they’re irrelevant, they can still do damage. Each HIV-positive person who is pulled in by their misinformation and ends up not starting life-saving HIV treatment is one life that may be lost. Denialists can only be ignored to a certain extent. It’s our responsibility to inform the world about HIV, and that includes informing the world about the harmful information that denialists dish out.

And then later in that same article, Kalichman says:

What makes AIDS denialism different from other types of denialism (like Holocaust denial, 9/11 truth-seeking and all these other conspiracy theories), and what is particularly destructive about AIDS denialism, is exactly what you said. Where we turn to now for information is on the Internet. The AIDS denialists are so prevalent on the Internet that the odds are that, if you search for “AIDS treatment,” “AIDS cure” or “HIV/AIDS,” the hits that you’re going to get will be the National Institutes of Health [NIH] and Johns Hopkins University, and right under them is going to be Rethinking AIDS, the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society and AIDS VirusMyth, the Web sites for AIDS denialists groups literally around the world.

How one can distinguish the science from the non-science is not obvious. They’re very slick. They have created scientific-looking publications. They write books and self-publish them. To the average person, it’s indistinguishable. What they have done is very successfully created confusion.

With those quotes in mind, the question I asked myself was just how much damage a person adhering to this theory can do to the unsuspecting. So throughout the Impulse trilogy, we hear the echoes of that question bouncing off of Derrick and Gavin as they establish their relationship and wonder what the future holds for Gavin.

Other links:
How to Spot An AIDS Denialist
Debunking AIDS Denialism

Amelia C. Gormley, Smashwords

Inertia (Impulse, Book #1) by Amelia C. Gormley

“I have ever since seemed to myself … a kind of solitary wanderer in the wild of life.” – Samuel Johnson

Derrick Chance has been alone for ten years, ten years during which he has lived a half-life of working and taking care of the needs of others, all while ignoring the fact that his own risk-free and insular existence is adding up to little more than a pole to pole exercise in denial; denying himself the right to love and to be loved in return, to feel all the beautiful fears of falling, and instead being paralyzed by the risk that comes with trying to weave your life into the tapestry of another’s, the needing of that intimacy and the sharing of all the uncontrollable and unpredictable good, bad, ugly, and indifferent that fate sometimes throws your way just to make sure you’re paying attention.

And Derrick was fine with it, or at least resigned to it; not that he was unaware there was a different way to live, but he was content with his life, as monotone as it was—until he was hired by Gavin Hayes to do a small home-improvement job; then suddenly he saw someone who made him want things, need things, things he knew were missing but were absent from his life by his choice rather than by his fault. And then there was fear, because losing his heart and letting someone in meant leaving himself open to the pain of losing…again. And it’s more than he’s willing to forfeit…for at least a short while, until a pair of whiskey-colored eyes brought an intensity of feeling to his life, and he found he couldn’t look away.

Inertia, book one in the Impulse series is an exploration of the tenuous beginning of a relationship between two men whose pasts have very much influenced who they are and what they’re willing to compromise in order to see where their attraction to each other could go. Potentially devastating truths nearly undo them before they even have a chance to explore their potential—truths that for Gavin could be life altering, truths that for Derrick could be too much to overcome because they signal the possibility of a repeat of his painful past.

Amelia C. Gormley has treated me to something that, as a reader, I love more than just about anything: a character driven story that’s allowed me the chance to become invested in the lives and trials of the people she’s created, and the promise of what will be an emotional journey, for sure, as Derrick and Gavin continue to navigate their way into a relationship that seems destined for both hope and hardship.

Inertia offers no quick resolutions or easy answers for these two characters—there’s still too much for them to work through and too far yet to go, but there’s progress and promise and that’s all I need to keep me coming back for more.

Be sure to stay tuned, because Amelia C. Gormley is going to be back on November 25, 2012, to offer one lucky reader the chance to win Book Two in the Impulse series, Acceleration!

Buy Inertia (Impulse, Book #1) here:

Benji Bright, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

Small Gems – The Chevalier Series by Benji Bright

“The fruit of my tree of knowledge is plucked, and it is this: adventures are to the adventurous.” – Benjamin Disraeli

So if you’re feeling particularly adventuresome, Benji Bright is three books into an eight book mini-serial that might be right up your adventure/fantasy alley.
Continue reading

Salome Wilde, Storm Moon Press, Talon Rihai

After the First Taste of Love – A Character Interview – Get The Lowdown On Angelo And Nick Right Here

While authors can describe their fiction well, there’s nothing quite like a character’s perspective to let you know what’s going on. While co-author Salome was out to lunch, Talon sneaked in to conduct the following interview with Angelo, protagonist of the novella After the First Taste of Love, who goes from friends to lovers with his best friend, Nick, and must reap the consequences—for better and for worse.

Talon: I’m here at Kidd’s Bookstore—a hang-out for the characters in After the First Taste of Love—with handsome, young, gay graduate student Angelo Antonio del Valle. Angelo, hi. Let’s start with your name. It’s quite the moniker: a straightforward Latino name with little ambiguity. But one of the first things we learn about you in the novella is that your background is anything but straightforward. Can you tell us about that?

Angelo: I find it hard to check off boxes on application forms, that’s for sure. [laughs] My father is a Cuban with far more native blood than Spanish, though he denies it. From him, I get my coloring, my name, and a tendency to lead rather than follow. I’m quieter and less macho than my father, though, and that’s where my mother comes in. She was born in South Korea, but adopted and raised in Iowa by my grandparents, who—since they won’t be reading this, I can say with honesty—are the whitest people I’ve ever met. [smiles] Mom gave me the love and support I needed to grow, my Asian eyes and hair, and a love of learning. Why my eyes are gray is anyone’s guess—recessive trait or whim of the gods. By the way, thanks for the “handsome”. I’m still getting used to the “gay”.

Talon [chuckling]: You’re very handsome and very welcome. Have you always known you were gay?

Angelo: Always known it, absolutely. Never liked getting shit for it in high school, especially because I never thought I looked or acted “gay”. Whatever that means. But from the first shot of puberty hormones, I knew it. It’s the being “out” part that’s new, courtesy of Nick, the bratty love of my life over there making lattes [gestures to the coffee counter].

Talon [glancing over to be met by Nick’s cheerful middle finger]: I see. What do you mean that being out is new for you? Did you ever hide your sexuality?

Angelo [shaking head at Nick, who is now sticking out his tongue]: Isn’t he delightful? [sighs, and a hint of a blush appears] Yeah, being out is new. But I wasn’t hiding so much as private. Why is it anyone else’s business, you know? If that’s pretending to be straight, I guess I was pretending, but does that mean gay people act “gay”? Or is that just a stereotype? [shrugs] The truth is I mostly slept with closeted guys before Nick, didn’t much need to worry about being out when it was all flings or one-night-stands.

Talon [nodding]: I can appreciate that. You’ve always been a fairly private person, is that correct?

Angelo [smiling]: Been talking to my mother? She loves being the pot to my kettle. Yes, that’s true.

Talon: Interestingly, she did have quite a bit to say about your privacy, but let’s move on. Tell us what it is about Nick that changed your privacy policy?

Angelo [smiling broadly]: “Changed my privacy policy.” I like that. He definitely did. Since high school, we’ve been “big bro” and “little bro,” a pair of misfit friends from crazy mixed and mixed-up families. And when we became more than friends, he got me to look at my life, maybe without even meaning to. Got me to open up. He has this incredible combination of vulnerability and toughness—like he needs me, and I need to be needed—but he also looks out for me, always has. What more could I want?

Nick [appearing at the table and wriggling his posterior]: My hot, Mexican-Jewish ass.

Angelo [grimacing as Nick kisses his cheek]: Yeah, that.

Talon [throwing her hands up]: Well, there you have it. For the rest, you’ll want to read After the First Taste of Love, the first book in a novella trilogy about Angelo and Nick, now available from Storm Moon Press.

After the First Taste of Love

Talon Rihai and Salome Wilde are the authors of After the First Taste of Love, their first novella, which is now available through Storm Moon Press. They can be found at their website, Sal & Tal Erotica.

Amazon Digital Services, J.C. Lillis

If You’d Love To Learn How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, J.C. Lillis Is Here To Give You A FREE Shot At It!

Look! It’s The Nifty Retro-Sci-Fi-Flavored Cover! Sweet!

Hi guys!

I’m very excited to offer a free copy of How to Repair a Mechanical Heart to the winner of this contest. It’s only available as a Kindle version for now, so the winner will just need to provide an email address that’s linked with an Amazon account so I can gift a copy. The giveaway winner will also receive a FREE POSTER of the nifty retro-sci-fi-flavored cover, created by Baltimore artists Mindy Dunn and Andrea Sabaliauskas. Good luck! And thanks again to Lisa for having me as a guest on the blog and organizing this giveaway. – J.C. Lillis

A free Kindle copy of the book AND a free poster of the cover sounds pretty great, right? Well, all you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment right here on this post between now and 11:59pm Pacific time on November 19, 2012. A random drawing will be held on November 20th and the winner will be contacted by J.C. for the distributing of the goodies. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment, as well, so she knows how to reach you. And good luck from me too! :-D

Ethan Day, Geoffrey Knight

I Didn’t Catch A Fox, But I Did Manage To Catch Geoff Knight & Ethan Day

So… I read this great little book last month called To Catch a Fox. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Anyway, it was pretty darn fun and funny and sexy and I thought to myself, hm, I wonder if Geoff and Ethan would have a minute to answer a few questions about it. And guess what? They did. Which makes me happy plus infinity, so I thought I’d share what they had to say. Without further ado ::drum roll:: here they are, the incomparable, always witty and ever charming, and did I mention talented? Knight & Day!

Q. Guys, when you sit down to start writing a book, do you write with a particular audience in mind? Do you feel you write more for your male fans, your female fans, or is that not even a consideration?

ED: I’ve never thought about it in those terms. I write the types of stories I like to read and I hope that other people will end up enjoying them as well. For the most part, I think it’s the characters that set the tone for my books. That’s about the extent of it for me. I think it’s impossible to predict what anyone is going to like or not and I’ve seen reviews and comments from both extremes for all my books, lol. Every writer out there needs to accept the fact that not everyone is going to like what they put out there. It’s tough to take when someone doesn’t like what I have to offer, but I’m old enough now that it doesn’t bug me as much as would have 20 years ago. Back then there would have been loads of teeth gnashing and bitchery, lol! I’m a lot sweeter than I used to be. :)

I wouldn’t think it’s healthy to try and write from the perspective that you’ll ever be able to please everyone. That sounds like a dangerous recipe for writers block and loads of second guessing.

GK: I agree with Ethan, I try not to write for a particular audience…except me, I guess. I truly believe you need to entertain yourself first, because if you can’t do that, chances are nobody else will be entertained by what you’re writing. I think sometimes as a story evolves you realize a certain scene might have more of an impact on a female or male audience, but I try not to change my writing to cater to that. I try to keep everything flowing as naturally as possible.

Q. Knight and Day—hm, seems a bit karmic that the two of you would eventually collaborate on a novel, don’t you think? Who came up with the idea, and how long did it take to make it happen?

ED: It was all Geoff’s doing! I still think he only asked me because of the name thing, though he refuses to admit to it!! ;) The basic idea of the Betty Black character walking into a private investigators office and hiring the P.I. to teach her how to find the man she wants to murder was what Geoff brought to me when he so kindly asked if I’d be interested in writing a book with him. Once I got over the initial disappointment that ‘writing a book together’ wasn’t his way of trying to get into my pants, I decided it was still an awesomely fun idea. I love reading mysteries, and was a fan of his Fathoms Five books. Saying yes to working with him was easy.

Getting the book finished was not so easy. Life and time zones played havoc with each of us, but I think we were both happy with the end result. I personally love the first book and I’m really excited for the way it has set up books two and three. I think Jon and Tucker are going to make for a very satisfying relationship arc over the course of the series.

GK: Yes, coming up with the idea and then playing with the plot outline was a lot of fun. It was almost too much fun. We had to keep pulling ourselves back because we just wanted to cram so much into this already big baby! But then when it came to writing it…wow, that was a mammoth task. We spent so much time plotting, that when it came to the actual writing it took us ages to build up some momentum, which was probably more my fault than Ethan’s. Plus we approach writing very differently – Ethan is REALLY fast! He can pound out word counts that would make my head spin, filled with pages and pages of the most hilarious dialogue! On the flipside of that, I’m a bit slower and like to spend time blocking action scenes and trying to get the tension right. It worked out in the end, but it did take longer than we first anticipated. I think getting the characters all set up was a bigger task than we realized. But now that there are established – with all their wonderful flaws and messed-up pasts – we should be able to power through Book 2 without dragging our heels.

Q. When you came up with the characters Jonathan Fox and Tucker Wilder, was there ever a question of who would write which character?

ED: Not at all. I think we decided very early on in the creative process that we would each write different sections, but would still each make a pass over one another’s work. We were both hoping that process would help with continuity and make the book seem like it wasn’t written by two authors.

GK: But having said that… I can’t read Tucker’s dialogue without imagining it coming out of Ethan’s mouth! He’s so sharp and hilarious, he’s got Ethan stamped all over him (which I’m sure Ethan would very much enjoy if Tucker were in fact a real person – lol).

Q. So… cliffhanger… evil much? ::shakes fist and demands you write faster:: What made you decide to end To Catch a Fox where you did? Because seriously, it’s just an evil thing to do to your readers. :-D

ED: LOL! I was aware many would not be happy with that, but we hoped everyone would love the characters enough to stick with us. When we seriously started to think about the relationship of Jon & Tucker it was important to both of us to keep their individual personalities and experiences in mind. They’re both pretty damaged in somewhat similar ways – though I think both men have dealt with that pain in completely different ways. It does bond them together in a very traumatic way, yet I also think that in the end, that which has driven a wedge might be the very thing brings them back together – making a stronger unit than they’d otherwise have had. Let’s face it – had it not been for the extraordinary circumstances that Tucker finds himself tangled up in, Fox would have never allowed the man to get in that deep – would have never brought him to De la Fontaine, and would have NEVER allowed him anywhere near the inner workings of his personal life.

It’s a relationship that is born purely by accident. By the time Fox realizes Tucker isn’t going to end up in witness protection, it’s too late. The veil has come down and Tucker has seen the man behind the curtain – and he hasn’t run screaming, lol. And Jon is hooked as well – he’s had a taste of Tucker and wants a seat at the all-you-can-eat Wilder buffet, but I don’t think he’s equipped to deal with all that entails. Fun and sex would be one thing, but having actual feelings about Tucker isn’t a scenario Fox knows what to do with.

We both knew that it would be completely unrealistic for these two to go walking off into the sunset hand-in-hand at the end of this book. Too much has happened. And we wanted to have a relationship arc that would hold up over the span of the three books we have planned. If all the issues are resolved in book one, there’s no room for growth.

GK: Cliffhangers! I love them!!! They make me feel all-powerful and all-knowing – lol! Just kidding, but seriously what Ethan has said is all true. We wanted to flesh out these characters as much as possible in the first book, but still leave room for more to develop in the next two books. And as Ethan said, with this much damage to try to heal between these two, a sunset ending would have felt forced and wrong. Sometimes a neatly-tied bow is the wrong ending for a story, and our story is still writing itself. Having said all this, the original ending was even more jaw-dropping but Ethan told me if we ended it that way, we’d be lynched by an angry mob! **Okay, Mr. Knight, you can’t even resist ending interview questions in a cliffhanger, can you?!** :-D

Q. If you could choose one scene, which would you say was your favorite to write?

ED: I think for me it was just after the first time they’ve had sex – when Tucker starts to really think about how odd it was that Jon just happened to have been hanging out in that dark alley. I laughed so much writing that, for some reason it all struck me as being very funny.

There was also a short scene later in the book – when Eva calls Jon from Vegas. It’s like 5 am or something and poor Jon is trying to carry on two conversations, one with Eva and one with Tucker. Something about that scene stuck out for me – a familiarity that all the characters already share with one another and the sense that Fox can’t seem to do or say the right thing to either one as Eva and Tucker keep mistaking which comments are intended for whom.

GK: Oh I have two favorites. The first is after the big warehouse scene where they’re hiding out in a motel and Jon has been shot and Tucker has to get him drunk to get the bullet out. It starts off quite funny and leads into sex, but Ethan threw a challenge down and said, ‘Let’s make that sex scene really dark. Let’s make Jon’s anger come out through the alcohol.’ And it worked, it’s a very tense and erotic scene that adds another layer to Jon’s quest to heal himself or die trying.

My other favorite scene is the flashback scene near the end of the book. I love writing lavish party scenes and that scene was the perfect place to unravel so many secrets. I won’t give anything away, but for me, that scene is like a microcosm of the entire story and all its main characters.

Q. How many books do you have planned for the series?

ED: We definitely have a three book arc planned, but we may decide to do more if it seems like we have someplace to go with the characters along with a new mystery for them to solve.

GK: Yes, three is definitely the number at the moment. I think we’ll probably decided during three if we want to keep writing or if we should stitch up the trilogy and give it a proper ending.

Q. Care to give us a little taste of what we might expect in A Fox in the Hole?

ED: More sex, more bantery-goodness, more danger, more thrills and chills and an ending that leaves you waiting breathless for what’s next! :)

GK: Oh yes, we have some wonderful plans that will make readers want to throw even more furniture at us! For anyone who’s already read the first book, the last chapter pretty much gives you an idea of where Book 2 is heading as well as setting up the main villain for the second book. Oh we are gonna have SOOOOO much fun writing her!

Q. Are there any other Works In Progress you’d care to share a little info about?

ED: I’ve got so many unfinished projects on my hard drive that I’m beginning to feel like a commitment phobe! I keep getting ideas for other books so I try to get it all down before I forget it which means yet another unfinished manuscript in the queue. That can overwhelm me at times.

For this year, I am planning to have book one in my Meteor Springs series finished – which is sort of an alien/paranormal dramedy. I have that series plotted out for 4 books in total with a possibility for a fifth. A more serious turn for me with a short story drama titled, The Northern Star. I also plan to get the final book in the Sno Ho/Summit City series completed as well as the companion book to Love in La Terraza – for which I don’t have a title just yet.

Geoff and I together plan to have Fox in the Hole completed, as well as a Zombie romance which will be part of an anthology through our new press, The Empire Press, and will include two other stories, one co-written by TJ Klune and Eric Arvin, and another by Ethan Stone and Daniel A. Kaine.

GK: Oh we’re SOOOO excited about Zombies, as well as kick-starting our new adventure together, The Empire Press. We have several amazing m/m and gay lit authors lined up and can’t wait to announce our release slate.

In the meantime, I’m currently writing an Australian short story for MLR Press, as well as a Valentine’s Day short story for an anthology organized by Sara York. I also have my first shifter novels in the works through Stiff Rain Press, the first of which is called Serpent. Like Ethan said, I have so many projects on the go, I just can’t wait to make them all happen! Busy busy busy… but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

OMG… Zombie romance?! Too much teasing makes readers kind of stalkerish, guys! Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to be here. You’re both kinda awesome, just sayin’. :)

And if you’re not following Geoff and Ethan all over the internet already, here are some links of interest for them:

Facebook: Ethan Geoff

Twitter: Ethan Geoff

Blogs: Ethan Geoff

Goodreads: Ethan Geoff

JMS Books LLC, Paul Alan Fahey, Small Gems

Two Small Gems From Paul Alan Fahey

“I’m not different for the sake of being different, only for the desperate sake of being myself.” – Vivian Stanshall

Paul Alan Fahey offers two very different LGBT short stories in Boys Will Be Boys and The View from 16 Podwale Street, but there’s one thing they both have very much in common: they are both stories about what it means to be labeled “different” within a social order that won’t settle for anything less than uniformity and conformity.

The View from 16 Podwale Street is a story set against the backdrop of pre-World War II Poland, just as it’s beginning to appear imminent that Germany and her allies will become the aggressors in Hitler’s bid to dominate Europe. It’s the story of Elwira Malinowska and her companion/lover Raz Zielinska, and the dangers that may face the two women in the coming months and years, as with hindsight as our guide, the reader knows full well the unfathomable horrors suffered by the men, women, and children who didn’t fit into the basic scheme of the Nazi ideal.

This story is very much about the looming danger, but is also very much about how difficult it was for Elwira to accept that danger and all that it could mean for her country. It’s a story of the taboo of two women who are a loving and committed couple, but is also the story of Elwira’s affliction and what it might mean to her if Germany succeeds in its campaign to cleanse the world of people who were born imperfect in its estimation. It is a subdued and subtle story about fraud and fraudulent friendships and the way the tides turned neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend. And the way in which fate has a way of balancing those betrayals.

But perhaps best of all, it is a story that has a happy ending for Elwira and Raz, set in a time when there were no happy endings for many millions of people.

Buy The View from 16 Podwale Street here:

Boys Will Be Boys—especially teenage boys deep in the throes of discovering who they are and what they want—is the story of Phillip Noland, a freshman at St. Sebastian’s Catholic School for boys, a place where the rules don’t seem designed to help the students avoid Hell as much as they’re designed to prepare them for an inevitable trip there.

St. Sebastian’s, ca. 1958, was a place and a time about which, many decades later, Phillip can reminisce. It was a place where rules were specific (“At all times, keep your hands out of your pockets,” because pocket hockey is apparently a one-way road to perdition.), and the consequences of disregarding the rules were done at the students’ peril. It was also a place where Phillip was branded an outcast and bullied for being queer. It was a place where his first kiss happened with a boy, a boy known to the reader only as Smith, and a Jewish boy, no less. It was a place where a memory was born and forever imprinted on Phillip’s heart as something special, something much better to hold on to than all the others, because it was a memory of unconditional friendship and the memory of a common bond in a place Phillip knew he didn’t belong.

Boys Will Be Boys is a story of faith versus free will and, in some ways, at least from my perspective, is also a brief glimpse into the conflict between the literal interpretation of The Word and the truth of human nature and how Phillip took charge of his own choices.

If you like character driven and introspective stories that often read more like personal memoirs than short fiction, Paul Alan Fahey delivers it in both of these pieces.

Buy Boys Will Be Boys here:

About The Author: Paul Alan Fahey (1944-) created and edited Mindprints, an international literary journal for writers and artists with disabilities, at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. He retired in 2008. During his tenure, Mindprints made Writers Digest’s “Top 30 Short Story Markets” list for two consecutive years. His writing has appeared in Byline, Palo Alto Review, Long Story Short, African American Review, The MacGuffin, Thema, Gertrude, Kaleidoscope, and in several other literary journals and anthologies like A Cup of Comfort, Somewhere in Crime, My Mom is My Hero, and Writing on Walls. His monthly online column at Coffeehouse For Writers focused on writing advice.

Paul is a six-time winner of the Lillian Dean Writing Award for short stories and nonfiction at the California Central Coast Writer’s Conference. He is the author of THE VIEW FROM 16 PODWALE STREET, BOYS WILL BE BOYS, WHEN THE RIGHT ONE COMES ALONG, BOMBER’S MOON, and the soon to be released anthology of personal essays, THE OTHER MAN, from JMS BOOKS.


Dreamspinner Press, Jacob Z. Flores

Jacob Z. Flores Wants To Give You The Chance To Win An Autographed Copy Of His Novel 3!

Hi, Jacob, and welcome to The Novel Approach! I’m so thrilled and honored to have you here today! ::claps/fanfare:: And how fun is it for me to be able to say I’ve met you?! Really a lot, trust me. So, why don’t we just jump right into things by having you tell us a little bit about yourself—keep it clean. Or not. We’re all adults here. ::winkwink:: :-)

Before I begin, Lisa, I want to thank you for having me here. It’s truly an honor! Also, it was great to meet you in Albuquerque during GRL. You’re such a beautiful person, inside and out! The dinners and our conversations, both serious and silly, were a blast. We definitely need to have standing dinner plans in Atlanta. If we don’t, I’ll pout, and you don’t want to see me pout. Just ask Bruce. :-)

As for information about me, I have to admit that I lead a pretty regular (meaning boring) life. My husband and I have three wonderful kids. They keep us fairly busy as any parent knows. When we aren’t chauffeuring children to dance or soccer, we’re helping with homework or teenage angst. I swear, sometimes their problems rival what most of us read in our favorite m/m books! But they keep us going, and we love them to pieces.

We live in a small Texas town named Victoria. It’s pretty conservative, but we’ve been surprised by how welcoming everyone has been of our relationship and our family. Still, we are planning on leaving Victoria once the kids are out of the house and settling some place that isn’t quite as red of a state as Texas. Where we end up isn’t set in stone, but we love Provincetown, Massachusetts, so that’s definitely at the top of the list.

Right now, I teach college English, but I wait for the day when I can write full time. While I enjoy my job and my students, nothing inspires more professionally than writing.

But enough about my boring life, let’s get to your questions, which I’m certain will be far more fun!

Q. When did you begin writing creatively, and who was your inspiration?

I actually started writing comic books as a child. Wonder Woman was always my favorite character, and it wasn’t just because of her red high heel boots and star-spangled bathing suit, which I secretly wanted to wear, or her kick ass accessories. I mean, what little gay boy didn’t want those bracelets and tiara? And that golden lariat that forced people to obey? Um, yeah! I totally wanted that too! There were a few boys I secretly wanted to force to do my bidding.

But I digress…Let’s see, where was I? Oh, yes, Wonder Woman.

She was a strong woman, and being raised by strong women, I naturally gravitated to her. I guess that officially makes Wonder Woman my first inspiration! How gay is that? :-)

Oh well, we are what we eat!

Q. How did you come up with the idea for 3?

I actually got the idea for 3 a few years before I wrote it. When my husband and I vacationed for the first time in Provincetown, we met a man who was a part of a trio. We wondered just how the heck a relationship like that started. It wasn’t something we had actually run into before, so we had lots of questions but were too shy to actually ask them at the time. 3 is my attempt at answering how such a relationship might begin.

3 isn’t a typical ménage book, where there’s tons of sex and a lighthearted jaunt through life. While there are most definitely some pretty hot sex scenes, the book deals with three men and how they cope with the changing dynamics of their lives and their hearts. It chronicles their missteps and their pain, but also their desire to try and rectify what they have broken.

Q. How long did it take you to write the story?

From start to finish, it took me about three or four months. I had difficulty figuring out how to organize the novel, which resulted in several restarts. I wanted to tell the story through all three men’s perspectives while at the same time moving the reader through a span of a decade. I wanted the story to be as believable as possible so that the reader understood why the men made the decisions they made. That was crucial for me. Readers needed to see their strengths and their flaws; otherwise, it wasn’t going to work.

Q. How long did it take for Dreamspinner to accept the story?

Dreamspinner accepted the manuscript about 6-8 weeks after I submitted it. OMG, that was a glorious day! I remember jumping up and down and dancing like it was 1999! Luckily, no one was home, so no one else saw me act the fool! Although even if they had, no one in my family would have batted an eyelash. I act stupid. A lot!

Q. What made you decide to write a ménage story, anyway?

I wanted to show the complex dynamic of an m/m/m relationship as well as dispel some common misconceptions about trios. Some people think that a relationship involving three people is based either solely on sex or a result of people incapable of choosing one person over another. In many instances, that’s not the case. While sex is a part of any adult relationship, I’ve learned that relationships can sometimes grow to include more than one person. It’s just a natural progression some relationships take.

I’ve met some trios and have personal experience in seeing how this has occurred. I wanted to capture the essence of that journey.

Q. What do you think would be the most difficult part of a ménage relationship to navigate?

That’s easy—the jealousy! In a traditional m/m, m/f, or f/f relationship, you have two hearts dedicated to each other, and it’s a lot easier to know where you stand in that relationship. When you have a committed relationship between three people, knowing where you stand becomes more problematic.

If you happen to be the third forming a relationship with an already established couple, you’ve got to wonder just where you will fit it? Will I be made to constantly feel like the third wheel or will the relationship become more of an equilateral triangle? If you happen to be in the couple, you have to wonder: why are we adding this third person into our relationship? What was wrong with just the two of us?

The answers to that require a lot of soul searching and communication.

Q. Was there one character more than any other who was most difficult for you to write?

Dutch was probably the hardest to write because he was the one coming into the already established relationship. I knew readers might not like him because of his affair with Justin and the secret he keeps with Spencer. I had to do my best to keep him both likeable and relatable for the reader.

Q. Are they any characters in the book who resemble you or someone you know?

I think many authors insert themselves and people they know into their books. It helps add to the believability of the characters. Justin and Spencer are fashioned after my husband and me. I inserted parts of our characters into both of them, so in a way Justin and Spencer contain the best and worst of the two of us.

Q. Are sex scenes difficult to write? (I’ve always been mildly to rabidly curious about this. ^_^)

They are difficult to write.

First of all, there’s the research. To get in the mood, I watch one gay porn scene after another. It gets quite tedious really, and my hand usually ends up cramping from all the…typing. Yeah, that’s it, the typing. Once the research part is complete, I sometimes force my husband to try some of the positions I imagine. It’s really for academic purposes as I tell him, and he’s such a good sport! After all, if I want someone to bend a certain way, I have to make sure that it’ll work.

Once that’s done comes the writing, which sometimes makes me sweat more than the actual research. I try my best to capture every sensory detail. I want my readers to see, smell, taste, hear, and feel what’s going on, so it’s as believable as possible.

What can I say? I’m dedicated to my craft.

Q. Which part of a book do you think is most difficult to write: Fleshing out a compelling beginning, finding just the right balance for the middle, or coming up with the perfect ending?

The perfect ending. I can start a novel without a problem and usually coast all the way up to the climax (no pun intended), but I find the endings the most difficult. I put my characters through a lot, and sometimes coming up with a reasonable resolution to their conflict is difficult. Most stories don’t end the way I first envisioned them. I know 3 didn’t!

Q. What’s your favorite part of being a published author?

The fame and fortune! The paparazzi! The throngs of men wanting me to sign their jockstraps!

Wait, I’m obviously confusing myself with someone else!

Seriously, though, the best part is that I have satisfied a long time dream of mine. I’ve wanted to publish a book since I first started reading. For me, it’s an accomplishment I’ll never grow tired of, no matter how many books I might end up publishing before I die.

Q. If you could offer one word of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Be persistent.

Persistence is key to getting published. There are only a handful of authors who have been published based on their first submission. Most of us go through tons of rejection letters before we get that one acceptance letter that changes our lives. To be an author, you can’t let rejection stop you. You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move one.

Q. If you could trade lives with any one fictional character, just for a day, who would it be and why?

My friends won’t be surprised by my answer, but those of you who don’t know me well enough will think my answer is crazy. I would want to trade lives with Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley from Alien.

I absolutely love that movie and am a BIG TIME horror fan! I think it would be fantastic to experience the movie from her perspective—the discovery of the alien, the fight to stay alive, and then being alone on the ship with just the alien. My God, that’s just so absolutely terrifying! But if given the chance, I would love to experience it while at the same time knowing that I was going to survive in the end.

Q. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?

It’s nothing fancy or truly enlightening, but I live according to honesty. I hid who I was for a long time out of fear and I’ve witnessed first hand how truly destructive deception can be. Living life honestly is really the only way I know how to live. I can handle the truth, and I expect it from those I’ve chosen to surround myself with. I don’t really know what to do with lies or liars anymore. I just don’t have the time for such nonsense.

Q. Have you ever read something and thought, damn, I wish I’d written that? If so, what was it?

Does Alien count? Have I told you how much I LOVE that movie?

Okay, okay. I’ll choose something else. I really wished I had written The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. It’s a book that was really the first of its kind. Cisneros tells the story of a young girl growing up in the barrio (a poor, mostly Hispanic neighborhood) and discovering herself and her own voice. Until I read the novella in college, I had never actually heard a story similar to mine, where the people I knew and the environment I lived in was actually the subject of a book.

I found that novel truly groundbreaking!

Q. If you had the opportunity to sit down to dinner with one famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?

That’s easy. Jesus.

So many people these days speak for him and for God that I would love to hear what he has to say. I think many people who think they know him and who he hates would be surprised as to what the truth really was.

Q. Where’s your favorite place to write?

On my over-sized comfy chair. It’s quite plush and makes me happy and my butt not so sore from the hours I spend in it!

Q. How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

I don’t have a sense of humor. I’m really quite dry and bland.

Okay, that’s so not me! I have a weird sense of humor. I find shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken quite hilarious.

Ooh piece of candy! Ooh piece of candy!

People who love Family Guy will get that reference. If you’ve never seen that episode, look it up!

Q. Do you have news of any works-in-progress you’d care to share with us?

Right now, I’m working on a series set in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Provincetown is such a magical place. It can definitely bring people together, but it also has its pitfalls and can drive people apart. It’s an m/m romance gold mine, really. I plan to write a series of books that captures the essence of the town, on what makes it so special to me, and the power it has to alter relationships.

Q. Where can we find you on the internet?

You can visit my blog at www.jacobzflores.com. I can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2 or http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores.

Q. Would you be willing to share an excerpt from 3 with us?

I would love to!


“I think someone’s growing chicken wings,” Xavier said, clucking like a chicken.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Justin asked as his mind once again returned to the present. The DJ was spinning the latest mix of “We Like to Party” by the Vengaboys, and the gays were tearing it up on the dance floor. “And I’m no chicken.”

“Then go pick him up.”

“Pick who up?” Justin asked, aggravated. “Are you blind to how many people are here?”

Xavier laughed and took another gulp of his beer. “I’ll give you one minute to do it before I go get him and bring him to you. Which, as you know, is a penalty, punishable by—”

“Two tequila shots, I know,” Justin said, cutting him off. “Will you just point him out to me? And be more specific than ‘walking through the door’.”

“He’s the Mexican leaning against the wall on the right.”

“Really?” Justin asked. “Mexican is being specific? We live in San An-fucking-tonio!”

Xavier laughed like a fifth grader at recess, something he did whenever he teased Justin, which meant he heard the snicker on a daily basis. “He’s wearing a black muscle shirt and acid-wash jeans. Thick black hair. He’s also wearing a puka shell necklace that all the fags are wearing these days.”

Justin scanned the crowd and saw him, leaning against the far wall with a pink Cape Cod in his hand. He was muscular and rugged, and way out of Justin’s league. Well-sculpted arms and shoulders framed the black shirt. Even at a relaxed stance, his biceps and triceps were clearly defined. Justin hated him for that. He had been working on his arms for months and had yet to develop such muscle tone.

The muscle shirt also clung to his body as if the fabric was wet, and it revealed an absence of love handles on his tightly packed form. Small, perky nipples poked out from the cloth, and the shirt’s fabric ended about an inch before the jeans began. A treasure trail of hair started at his navel and disappeared beneath the waistband of the jeans. Just below the waistband was a package ready to be delivered.

“Do you see Puka Shell Boy?” Xavier asked.

“Yup,” was all Justin could say.

“Then go get him.”

Justin swallowed hard. This wasn’t going to end well. The image of a B-52 going down in flames flashed before him.

Then he noticed Puka Shell Boy’s friend.

His friend was a few inches taller than both Puka Shell Boy and Justin. If he had to guess, he would put him at almost six feet tall. Sandy-blond hair lay perfectly manicured and parted to the left. Longer strands of hair curled inward at his cheekbones and lightly kissed the most unbelievable alabaster skin Justin had ever seen. His skin looked smoother than silk, as if a sculptor had spent hours chiseling the precious stone into perfection. Draping his skin was a green short-sleeve button-down, neatly tucked into his dark-blue denim jeans. The shirt was fitted but not painted on him like Puka Shell Boy. His lean body resembled a dedicated runner and was neither waifish nor frail.

Then Justin noticed his eyes. Dark-green tinted eyes decorated his features, magically cutting through the dimly lit bar and outshining the sparkling disco ball. They weren’t a green he had seen before. He had seen light green and even olive green eyes, but these eyes looked to be made of jade. They were a deeper, richer green hue than he had ever seen before in his life. They looked exotic and expensive, found only in jewelry from a faraway Asian country like China or Japan.

They were breathtaking. Justin didn’t understand how people were walking by him and not staring into those eyes. He could stare at them for the rest of the night.

“What’s the matter with you?” Xavier asked. “You’re standing there with your mouth open like a fucking retard.”

“He’s so beautiful.”

“No shit!” Xavier exclaimed. “Think of him as my New Year’s present to you. You just have to close the deal.” Xavier put his arm around Justin’s neck, Xavier’s sign of friendship and love. “By the end of the night, Puka Shell Boy will be on his back looking up at you, or you know, looking down at you on your back.” Xavier then pushed Justin forward. “Now, hurry up. It’s almost midnight.”

Justin didn’t know what came over him. All it took was a simple shove, and he was crossing the room toward the stranger with the perfect skin and the amazing green eyes. He felt drawn to him, as if he were caught in an unbreakable gravitational field.

Puka Shell Boy noticed Justin coming first. He elbowed his green-eyed friend and flashed a disinterested grin, most likely thinking Justin was coming to talk to him. He wasn’t. Puka Shell Boy no longer existed in his world.

As he approached, the crowds around him got louder. Apparently, the stroke of midnight was approaching. Someone was speaking on a microphone, most likely the drag queen hostess for the night’s festivities, but he couldn’t make out what she was saying. All he could see were the green eyes and the white skin pulling at him like the moon pulls on the ocean.

“Ten, nine, eight…”

Closer still he drew, passing by couples with their arms around each other, preparing for their New Year’s kiss.

“… seven, six, five, four…”

Six feet from the most beautiful man he had ever seen, Justin found he was holding his breath. He had to remind himself to breathe for fear that he would pass out only a few feet away from his intended. Up close, his eyes were more radiant than from across the room. Flecks of gold glinted within the green irises.

“… three, two…”

Then he was standing before him. Puka Shell Boy leaned next to his friend, amazed that he wasn’t the object of Justin’s attention. He whispered something in his friend’s ear, but his friend wasn’t paying attention. He, too, was staring straight at Justin.

“… one ….”

Justin reached up and put his left hand around the green-eyed beauty’s neck. Pulling his head toward him, Justin crossed the remainder of the distance.

Their lips met, and the world suddenly came crashing back to life. Noisemakers exploded throughout the club. People were yelling “Happy New Year,” and confetti and glitter were tossed about. The DJ began playing “Auld Lang Syne.”

Through the noise, the revelry, and the singing, the two never stopped kissing. Their tongues jostled in each other’s mouths as they each inhaled the other’s hot passionate breaths.

Never had Justin been more excited about a new year.

Thanks again very much for being here today, Jacob! I hope this is only just the beginning of a long and lovely writing career for you! :-)

Thank you again for having me, Lisa. I can’t wait till we meet again in Atlanta. We have to find some way to top “caca” and “butt carrots” as topics of conversation! **Inserting snort/laugh here!**

**How about the chance to win an autographed copy of Jacob’s book? Sounds great, right? Well, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and you’ll automatically be entered to win. Contest is open to all fans until 11:59pm Pacific Time (2:59am Eastern) on November 15, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted by Jacob for prize delivery. Good luck!!


3 by Jacob Z. Flores

“A talent for drama is not a talent for writing, but is an ability to articulate human relationships.” – Gore Vidal

3 is a book that surprised me.

Why? Well, let’s just say it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be when I started reading it. What I expected was the story of three men working their way through the complexities of a ménage relationship, all the ups and downs, trials and errors, love and unavoidable insecurities. What I got instead is a story of infidelity woven into the story of two men whose relationship was on the brink of failing miserably. What I got was the story of a couple who weren’t looking to add a third to their partnership to help fill a void; rather, their story was that of a relationship that was already so fractured Justin Jimenez unintentionally found someone to fill a need that Spencer Harrison wasn’t satisfying. Justin found Lukas “Dutch” Keller, began an affair, regretted that affair in the midst of the realization that he still loved Spencer enough to fight for him, and left Dutch broken nearly beyond repair.

What 3 is, is the story of three credibly flawed men, men who’re sometimes tragically shortsighted and blind to their own needs and desires. They are three men who are each culpable in his own way for the failures of his relationships. This novel is a character study; it’s not an action packed tour de force, but, rather, is the exploration of the way in which the mystical and inexplicable force that is love will profoundly affect the events which gradually back these men into a relationship that isn’t a continuation of what was but is a beginning of something new, something unconventional, and something that grew from the whims of fate and coincidence but found roots in the absolute purpose of redemption and second chances.

It’s difficult to articulate how and why two people fall in love with each other—sadly, it seems much easier to explain why they fell apart. It’s even more difficult to articulate how and why three people can fall in love with one another, equally and unashamedly. 3 does so, beginning in the middle and then using flashbacks to catch the reader up, in a deeply dramatic study of the way it happened for Justin, Spencer, and Dutch. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pretty. It was intense. It was, at times, a study in endurance, but it worked in the end.

Watch for Jacob Z. Flores’ interview right here and the chance to win a FREE autographed copy of 3!

J.C. Lillis

Author J.C. Lillis Talks Fandom, Fiction, And Which Characters She’d Love to Slash

Hi, J.C.! Welcome to The Novel Approach; I’m so glad to have you here with us today. :)

A. Very excited to be here! Thanks for having me.

Let’s just start right off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Q. Is there any one person you’d credit for influencing you to become a writer?

A. Probably my second-grade teacher, Mr. Daniels. He was so awesome. He was this snarky bearded guy who drew caricatures of himself on your papers if he liked what you did, and he had real love and respect for kids. He had us keep a journal, and I hated it at first. I remember thinking okay, I’m seven. NOTHING EXCITING ever happens to me. “I ate Corn Chex and went to school and did my book report and my guppy died and I watched Little House on the Prairie and went to bed.” I used to start off every single entry with “Today was a normal day” until Mr. Daniels got fed up and wrote in the margin, “When do you have an ABnormal day?” I looked up abnormal in the dictionary. Then I retooled my strategy. I started writing these intricate stories about my mysterious “pet,” who was eight feet tall, green, and liked popcorn, midnight dance parties, and backyard campouts. I was scared Mr. Daniels would call me out for tall tales, but instead he started sketching bearded smiley-faces on my journal entries. I was pretty much hooked.

Q. When did you decide that your writing was something you wanted to share with others rather than something you kept to yourself?

A. It took a long time. I’m a natural introvert, and it’s always been tough for me to share my writing with anyone besides my parents (who are terrific and supportive) and a few close friends. Writing’s always been like this secret lover I visit at night. I’d do it no matter what, love it no matter what. I’d submit something to an agent every now and then, but it wrecked my nerves and my heart was never in it; I was happier using my spare time to write new stuff. But then this year I grew a pair and confronted myself, like “what are you doing? Are you seriously going to write in a vacuum your entire life? MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.” My husband—who’s also my copy editor, because we’re crazy like that—passed me this article on indie publishing just when I’d officially had it with the hermit-writer routine. I spent a few more months doing one last merciless edit to this book, and then I closed my eyes and jumped in. And it’s been awesome. The fact that people are finding, reading, and enjoying the book I wrote on my couch in my flannel PJs is. . .I don’t know, whatever word is stronger than “thrilling” but doesn’t sound cheesy. Plus the indie YA community is huge and friendly and generous, and I’m proud to be part of it.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for How to Repair a Mechanical Heart?

A. Well, I’ve been involved in one fandom or another my whole life; when I was a little kid I fangirled over Star Blazers and Sesame Street (totally shipped Bert & Ernie), and I’ve followed tons of online fandoms, starting with X-Files in the mid-90s. So I know and love the world, and I knew I wanted to write a YA novel about it.

In one of my fandoms a few years back, there was some hotly debated real-person shipping going on, and I started thinking about how bizarre it would be to find yourself on the receiving end of that—especially if you were a regular kid just a few months earlier and rocketed to fame on a reality show or something. That’s what sparked the idea. I toyed with writing about two teen reality stars with a rabid fandom trying to push them together, but then I thought it would be funnier to do it on a much smaller scale: like, two regular boys with some dinky vlog that’s attracted this unlikely little cult following. I also thought it would be interesting if they themselves were anti-slash; the first thing I imagined was this horrific moment where they’d stumble across the fan community and see all the slash written about them, and they’d just go fluorescent with embarrassment.

I knew right away that this would be a love story, and the boys would both be gay and nursing a mutual attraction. I didn’t want to make one of them straight and force an unrequited-love thing. I had this idea that they’d be fans of a sci-fi show, kind of Star Trek meets Lost. And I knew one of the guys would be super-comfortable with himself and use fandom in a fun, lighthearted way (the way I use it now), and the other would be dealing with the aftermath of coming out and rely on fandom as a lifeboat (the way I used it as a teen). The rest of the plot elements—the roadtrip, the bet with the Cadsim fan community—fell into place pretty fast once the basics were down, though weaving it all into one cohesive story was kind of a challenge.

Q. Was it always going to be a Young Adult novel, or did it begin as something entirely different?

A. It was always YA. I’ve tried to write a few books for adults, but it never really works. Most days I still feel like I’m seventeen inside. There’s so much about the adult world that baffles me, but that feeling you get when you want to kiss someone but your hands are sweaty and you’re scared they’ll turn away at the last second? I get that. That sense of terror and discovery and possibility. I’ll be writing about stuff like that until I’m seventy.

Q. How long did it take you to write the book?

A. I worked on it off and on for a little over two years, pausing at regular intervals to bang my head against the keyboard and vaporize entire chapters. There was a lot to juggle, and it took some trial and error.

Q. I have a very personal passion for Brandon’s struggles in the story. What made you decide to bring his family’s faith into the plot as a point of conflict for him?

A. I kind of backed into it. I didn’t start with that intention, but as I thought about Brandon’s character, it reached up and smacked me and I was like, “oh crap. He’s an angsty Catholic boy, isn’t he?” I knew I was taking a risk, because a plot element like that is bound to turn some people off, but it made a lot of sense for his character. I gave myself a talk before I started writing. Like, “okay, you can make this a part of his character, but you can’t drench the whole thing in angst, and you have to play fair. No fire-and-brimstone villains, no cheap shots.” I’ve seen a lot of “evil priest” characters, and I didn’t want Father Mike to come across that way. I wanted to make it clear that he had a big impact on Brandon not because he was some raging bigot, but because he was otherwise friendly, gentle, caring, and intelligent. When a person is all of those things, it’s harder to reject what they’re teaching you.

The Catholic thing is personal for me, too. I want to acknowledge up front that I’ll never have specific firsthand experience with what Brandon’s going through—I’m a girl married to a guy, so my particular situation isn’t comparable. And my parents are wonderful, much more open-minded than Brandon’s. But I was born with this nervous, introspective streak, like Brandon, and adding Catholicism was like splashing gasoline on my natural anxieties and lighting a match. I mean, sexuality? Forget it. I wasn’t comfortable with my body until I was into my twenties, and I’m way too familiar with the kind of superstitious dialogues Brandon has with himself. Like, “if I do X, then something bad will happen.”

I know that won’t resonate with all readers, and I’m glad; I wouldn’t wish my old neurosis on anyone. My goal wasn’t to slam religion as a whole or ridicule people who use faith for good. But a lot of young people who find themselves at odds with religion start locking horns with their families as they reach adulthood, and I think it’s always a good question to grapple with in a YA novel: How do you secede from your family’s belief system while maintaining a relationship with the people who love you?

Q. Okay, I simply have to ask this. If you were going to slash any two well known characters, literary or otherwise, who would it be and why?

A. Jeeves and Wooster from P.G. Wodehouse’s novels (though that might be my Hugh Laurie love talking), and Dylan and Brandon from old-school 90210.

I’m totally serious about Dylan/Brandon (Dyldon?). I just rewatched that episode where they meet and that first scene between them is crackling with sexual tension—there’s like an obscene amount of smoldering going on. This would have been so much hotter than the Kelly vs. Brenda drama and Brandon’s revolving door of girlfriends. Plus they would’ve cancelled out each other’s worst qualities. Brandon would tell Dylan to admit he’s 35 and stop James Deaning all over West Beverly, and Dylan would tell Brandon to knock it off with the hair gel, cut the self-righteousness in half, and quit kissing like he’s devouring a person’s actual face.

Q. Have you always written M/M romance? If not, how did you find your way to it?

A. This is actually my first time writing M/M, but probably not my last. I usually come up with a basic story idea first and then start developing characters. This concept lent itself naturally to an M/M pairing, but I loved writing Brandon and Abel so much that I’ll probably go back to M/M at some point. I’ll always do whatever feels natural for the characters. They’ll let me know early on if they like boys or girls.

Q. Which would you say is the most difficult part of a book to write: a great beginning or ending?

A. Neither—the middle is what kills me every time. I love writing beginnings. It’s like the blissful first bites of a big banana split. And then halfway through you start getting a stomachache, and your mind starts to wander, and you get SO FREAKING BORED with ice cream that you start craving corn chips, pickles, ANYTHING else. About eight or nine chapters in, I always hit a wall and consider “cheating” on my book with a bright shiny new idea, and that’s when I have to shove aside writing for a while and recharge. I read books I admire, pick up some great nonfiction. Then I’ll come back with fresh perspective, and that helps me address stuff that’s not working and power through to the end. I stress out over endings, too, but I like writing those.

Q. If you could trade lives with any one fictional character, just for a day, who would it be and why?

A. Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones). Just once I want to know what it’s like to have a flawless quip ready the second I need one.

Q. Have you ever read something and thought, damn, I wish I’d written that? If so, what was it?

A. Oh, it was probably something by Zoe Heller or Ian McEwan. Or Francesca Lia Block, who’s one of my YA heroes. The imagery she comes up with makes me almost dizzy sometimes; punk music that’s like black roses on fire, a broken heart that’s like a giant bee sting, descriptions of food that make me so hungry I want to zoom off to the nearest farmer’s market and buy everything. It’s like, I can’t even envy her because I never get the sense that she’s showing off—these lovely words just radiate from her naturally. Whenever I’m feeling burned out, I’ll grab one of her books and soak up four or five chapters before bed, and I’ll wake up kinda loving words again.

Other than that—well, there are tons of authors I admire who write better books than I ever will, but I wouldn’t trade places with any of them. I’m glad to be me, writing exactly these stories.

Q. How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

A. I never know what’s going to make me laugh. I love dry wit and wordplay, and I also love when someone wipes out on waterskis. My five-year-old makes me laugh. She told me the other day that she didn’t like rhinos because they lolled around all day “like they’re too heavy for themselves.” Maybe I’ll ask her to write my next book.

Q. Do you have news of any works-in-progress you’d care to share with us?

A. Yeah! The book I’m working on right now is actually a revision of the novel I wrote before this one. It’s still YA, but it’s really different from HTRAMH—it’s about a guy and girl who fall in forbidden-love with each other and try to “reengineer” their emotions with this crackpot self-help program. It’ll probably be out late spring/early summer.

I’ve got about a half-dozen other book ideas in my head right now. It drives me nuts that I can’t work faster. I’m an awful hypochondriac and I’m always terrified I’ll die before I write everything I want to. However long I last, I hope people who enjoyed HTRAMH will come along with me for the ride!

Q. Where can we find you on the internet?

A. On MY BLOG, on TWITTER, and on FACEBOOK. I love talking to readers, so stop by!

Q. Would you consider sharing an excerpt from How to Repair a Mechanical Heart with us?

A. Sure, you can sample the first 2 chapters on AMAZON. I’m not supposed to post excerpts anywhere else for now, but you can read a nice chunk of it over there and see if you might enjoy it.

Thanks again very much for being here today, J.C. I hope you’ll come back and visit again soon! :-D

Thank YOU for inviting me! It was a pleasure.

Make sure to check back on Friday, November 16, 2012, for your chance to win a Kindle copy of How to Win a Mechanical Heart!

Amazon Digital Services, J.C. Lillis

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m just going to go ahead and say right out of the gate that finding How to Repair a Mechanical Heart was at least, at least, eleventeen kinds of awesome for me.

This is a story that deals with one boy’s coming out and with his struggle to reconcile who he is with whom his religion has instructed him to be. It’s a story of contrast. It’s the story of a guy who decides it’s better to simulate a heartbreak with a perfectly fictional perfect ex-boyfriend than to risk his real heart on real romance, especially when it comes to the one guy he wants more than any other. It’s the story of three friends who go on a six-week-long road trip and along the way discover that sometimes life truly does imitate art, and that sometimes truth is very much stranger than fiction, and that oftentimes if you don’t like the way a story’s going, you have to be brave enough to go ahead and rewrite it and give yourself the ending that can best mend a fractured heart. It is a story of two friends who play their roles in a popular lexicon but quickly discover the pretense might exact a far higher price than they’re able to pay, especially when it stops being a game. It is a story of what it means to begin something in the public eye that suddenly becomes very personal and private, and how difficult it can be to live up to the image that’s been spun for you when things begin to unravel.

But the part that really makes this story rock out loud in so many different ways is the “Castaway Planet”-worshipping fandom it’s set against, where fanfiction meets purists, where lines are drawn, wagers are made, illusions are tarnished, and Brandon Page and Abel McNaughton discover something a bit creepy/flattering about a group that follows their vlog, Screw Your Sensors. But in the end, for Brandon and Abel, it all boils down to the blurry line of conflict between what is the fact and what is the fiction of the virtual reality romance they allowed themselves to be lured into.

And there you have it. Just when I’ve become complacent in the belief there can’t possibly be any more original ways to tell me a coming-of-age story, J.C. Lillis happens along and not only tells it but sells it in a colorfully wrapped package of humor and pop-cultural icon worship and maybe even just a smidgen of satire, then plops a big red bow of characters I unashamedly fell in love with smack-dab on top of this ginormous gift.

Brandon, Abel, their fabulous friend Bec, and perhaps the most prominent character of all, Brandon’s hyperactive and very vocal conscience, shared a story with me that made me laugh, brought a lump to my throat, and tweaked the part of me that made me want to hug Brandon close and tell him that love is never wrong.

I can’t even recommend this book highly enough.

Be sure to stayed tuned, folks, because tomorrow, I’ll have J.C. Lillis here to tell us a bit about herself and how she came up with the idea for How to Repair a Mechanical Heart.

And coming up on November 16th, she’ll be back to offer the chance to win a FREE Kindle copy of the book!

Torquere Press

Hop, Hop, Hop For NOH8!

Welcome to the 2012 Charity Sip Blog Hop from Torquere Press, being hosted on glbtromance.blogspot.com!

Every year the authors from Torquere Press choose a GLBTQ charity and donate all the proceeds from the stories they write on a shared theme to the chosen charity. This year, our authors chose NOH8, a non-profit organization that protests bullying, misinformation, and persecution of all kinds. NOH8’s photographic protest is becoming a phenomenon, with duct-taped mouths and logoed cheeks appearing in photos of celebrities and average folks alike. See their efforts HERE.

The Charity Sip authors are blogging this weekend about Leather and Love: How Romance Helps Stamp out Hate. Our theme this year was Leather, as Torquere turned nine, and nine is the leather anniversary. Check out how you can buy all the Sips HERE.

Please visit the authors linked to the blog hop and comment to let them know you appreciate them giving their time and money to support NOH8. Keep an eye out for contests, giveaways and opportunities to give your input.

In addition to all the great authors and their posts, Torquere will be giving away a $50.00 gift card to one grand prize winner from all the commenters throughout the hop!

Thanks so much to all of our readers and authors for proving that love is by far the most important force in the world.

Though really, leather isn’t all that bad, either!

Thank you,

Kristi Boulware
General Manager – Submissions Editor
Torquere Press, Inc.
Romance for the Rest of Us
GLBT Romance

Prizm Books, a subsidiary of Torquere Press
There’s Room Under the Rainbow
Young Adult Fiction

Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press

Want To Win A FREE Book? It’s No Fairy Tale…

Well, actually it is, because Hayden Thorne is here today to offer one lucky reader the chance to win her newest book, Rose and Spindle, a fun and fractured tale set in the world of Sleeping Beauty and Hayden’s own imagination.

Check out the blurb, then have a look below to see how you can enter to win!

Boy meets boy. Boy hates boy. Each swears never to have anything to do with the other, forever after.

Unfortunately for Prince Hamlin and Prince Edouard, history has a bad habit of repeating itself, and worse, each time the two boys run across each other, things get a touch muddier as well. Destiny and free will go head-to-head, the princes’ dilemma echoing the more baffling curse that’s been placed on Edouard’s young cousin, Princess Roderika. Doomed to prick her finger on a spindle on her fifteenth birthday and fall asleep for a hundred years as a result, Roderika’s rapidly dwindling time becomes an inescapable tapestry into which Hamlin and Edouard’s own fates are woven.

With the help of a magician princess and a crotchety talking raven, Hamlin and Edouard not only have to outgrow prejudices, but also find the courage and the will to define their destinies, even if it were to take them a hundred years.

To be eligible to win, all you have to do is leave a comment – including your email address – on this post. It’s that simple! One winner will be drawn at random and will receive an E-copy of the book, available soon from Queerteen Press. Good luck!!

**Entry deadline for this contest is 11:59pm Pacific Time (2:59am Eastern) on November 11, 2012**

Clare London, J.M. Snyder, JMS Books LLC, Small Gems

Small Gems – It’s Never Too Late For A Little Horror From J.M. Snyder & Clare London

Yes, another October has passed, which means the time to have read these two short horror stories has passed too, so it’s a good thing I’m always in the mood for a good mind-screw of the twisted and ghoulish variety, no matter the time of year. Even though they’re not very long on word count, these two tales are still the sort that made my hair stand on end and sent me around the house, turning on all the lights so even the deepest, darkest shadows couldn’t hide all those sinister things that only seem to go bump when you’re home alone.

J.M. Snyder’s Infected Heart is the story of a college laboratory experiment gone wrong. It’s the story of a brilliant young man, Rich Murdoch, whose grandiose scheme to find the secret to immortality ends up becoming a cautionary tale about the dangers of playing God and attempting to outmaneuver Mother Nature.

Trust me when I say there’s absolutely nothing natural or godly about what happens when the serum he develops makes its way into the human population. It’s a devastating and terrifying blow to mankind—and to his lover, Donnie, an unintentional casualty of genius gone horribly wrong.

It’s a race against time for Rich, as he culls victims from the ever-dwindling herd of uninfected, who become unwitting sacrifices to Rich’s higher purpose as he works to find a cure for the human holocaust he’s wrought. But this isn’t a story of good versus evil; there is no evil here, only a tragic mistake that he’s working diligently to put an end to.

Infected Heart was creepy to me in the same way books like The Stand and I Am Legend messed with my head. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, who really knows what freakish and nightmarish viruses might be lurking in test tubes around the world, just waiting for a single slip-up to set them free on the unsuspecting masses? That’s the truly scary part of it all.

What made this one even more twisted was the way J.M. Snyder chose to end it. If there was any evil to be found in this story, I’d say that’d pretty much be it.

Available in all e-formats here:

Clare London’s Perfection was just frightening, in an “it rubs the lotion on its skin, I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti” kind of way. ::shivers:: No, there’s no cannibalism here, but if it’s murder you’re looking for, with a side of miscreation to up the creep factor, then this is the story for you. It’s a psychological spine-chiller about obsession and possession, and a man with a broken mind and unhinged ideas about love and commitment.

This is the story of James, a man who doesn’t do romantic entanglements. He’s more a co-workers with benefits kind of guy, who wants nothing to do with Vic Ellison on a permanent basis. Vic’s the kind of guy you see and think he’s basically harmless but you don’t necessarily want to socialize with him outside of work. In fact, he’s so unremarkable as to be nearly forgettable—unless you’re looking for a quick screw, like James, then Vic is perfectly serviceable. Until he becomes a bit too close and clingy for James’ liking. Then Vic just disappears, and James realizes, much to his surprise, that he misses him. Oh James…

But like the proverbial bad penny, Vic returns with a new position in the company, looking to take up where he and James left off. But Vic is…different too: more confident, more polished, fitter and a lot less forgettable looking than he was before he went missing. He’s, for lack of a better term, put together in a way he never was before. Unfortunately for James, he’s about to find out how very put together Vic truly is.

In a world that’s become increasingly narcissistic and appearance-centric, Perfection becomes a cautionary tale about the obsession with the façade while overlooking all those little cues that should warn you to be very careful what you wish for. James finds out the hard way not to play fast and loose with the quiet ones. Especially if you’re not prepared to throw your whole self into it.

There’s no happy ending here. Except, perhaps, for Vic. He does end up stealing James’ heart in the end, after all.

Available in all formats here: