Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press

It’s Time For Random Acts Of Promotional Kindness

It’s that time again, the time for a visit from our friend Brita Addams, who has created a webpage on Facebook dedicated to the act of promoting the books and authors we love.

As a site dedicate to doing that very thing, we very much approve! Thanks, Brita, now take it a way.

I am often struck by how strangers comment on my Facebook page or retweet something on Twitter, and being who I am, I wonder what makes them do that. The fact that they do has given me an idea.

I’ve live next door to people for five years and have only a nodding relationship with them. Most times, I don’t speak to friends on the phone for months on end. It isn’t that I’m antisocial, but I am busy and so are they. My neighbors don’t know Brita Addams, they don’t know I write, and likely, they don’t care. When we share the same space, we smile, comment on the weather, then we go about our business as before.

I’d love to start a campaign for Random Acts of Promotional Kindness. With that, I challenge everyone who reads this to do something to remedy that solitary feeling so many of us have.

With the advent of Facebook and Twitter, the opportunities for random acts of kindness are immense. In my corner of those outlets, authors and readers interact, enabling us to get to know our readers and other authors.

In being in epublishing, the onus for promotion is on the author, for the most part, unless you have an exceptional publisher that gets out there and helps you out. There are those, Dreamspinner and Riptide to name two of the best, that go the extra mile for their authors. Nonetheless, the author shoulders a tremendous weight in getting the word out about their latest releases.

Here is what you do. When you see an author’s post about an interview or guest post, a review, or perhaps a sale, please share or retweet that post and ask your friends to do the same. It takes a moment to do but the rewards are tremendous.

I did that for an author friend recently and he sent me a message, thanking me. I smiled at the thought that he appreciated the effort and took the time to thank me. I didn’t do it for his thanks, but it was nice to get it.

Blog tours take many hours to set up and even more preparing the posts. You always want your posts fresh and new, which takes research into new topics. You don’t want the same pat answers in every interview, so you have to take time to answer questions in a new and refreshing way.

Internet chats are an iffy proposition, which is why I haven’t done them. I still have that feeling that no one would show up and I’d be talking to myself. Believe me, there is enough of that going on as it is!

Share or retweet for your favorite authors and those who might be new to you. If you see they are on a blog tour, promo their stops. You might want to stop by and leave a comment, see what they have to offer.

If your favorite publisher has a sale, spread the news. If an author has posted a great review, help them out by sharing.

Do you have a blog and would welcome guest bloggers or interviews? Reach out to authors, leave a message on the Random Acts of Promotional Kindness Facebook page. You can like our page too.

If you love books, help those who write them to spread the word. Believe me, you will incur the appreciation of authors and publishers alike.

Ready to go

Don’t forget to follow my Brita’s British Travelogue, which chronicles my trip to England, Scotland, and Wales.

As you read this post, we are away, but I’m sending back photos and stories. Share our trip of a lifetime. I’ll be chronicling our adventures, which will include many locations I’ve written about in my historicals.

Toward the end of our trip, we will visit the estate that inspired the setting for my Sapphire Club series. Not the activities, just the floor plan. :) Little did I know that I would ever have the opportunity, but it is upon us!

The first book in that series is Serenity’s Dream, and details the inner working of the infamous (if fictional) Sapphire Club.

Blurb for Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity

Serenity Damrill has returned to her husband, Lucien after a ten-year absence. She carries with her a secret that could destroy her life and possibly all that Lucien has built.

Lucien was quite happy in his life running the Sapphire Club and has no need for the frigid wife who deserted him the day after they were married.

Can Lucien teach Serenity that her fear of the marriage bed is unfounded? Will Serenity’s secret be the death knell for their marriage?

You can purchase Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity at Amazon

You can also snap up my latest releases at Dreamspinner Press.

In 1917, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.

After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.

Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.

As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.

Read an excerpt and purchase the Tarnished Gold ebook or print, signed by me (if one of the first twenty sold.)

I also have For Men Like Us, which takes place during the Regency in England. You can find it at Dreamspinner Press. Just click the title to be magically transported.

Blurb for For Men Like Us:

After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at Salamanca, hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors he witnessed.

The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.

When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains, “The streets are dangerous for men like us.”

About Brita Addams:

Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee.

She writes, for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the tone for each historical is important. Research plays an indispensible part in the writing of any historical work, romance or otherwise. A great deal of reading and study goes into each work, to give the story the authenticity it deserves.

As a reader, Brita prefers historical works, romances and otherwise. She believes herself born in the wrong century, though she says she would find it difficult to live without air conditioning.

Brita and her husband love to travel, particularly cruises and long road trips. They completed a Civil War battlefield tour a couple of years ago, and have visited many places involved in the American Revolutionary War.

A bit of trivia – Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, like the woman’s name, and oddly, not like the famous water filter.

Please visit me at any of these online locations:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Fan Page
Goodreads
Bookshelf
Amazon Author Page
Pinterest

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Erin Lark, Loose Id

When Happily-Ever-After Takes On New Meaning – His Heart to Reap by Erin Lark

Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion. – Dylan Thomas

Some people are blessed to pass from this mortal coil with the knowledge that their lives have been lived with purpose and can be celebrated without regrets when the end comes. But sometimes the journey from this world to the next gets waylaid by things left unfinished, things left unsaid…loves left unclaimed. For those souls, there is a place called limbo—the space that exists between life and the ascension—where the troubled soul resides until it can make peace with whatever it is that’s keeping it tethered to the in between.

Aiden Scott has lived in limbo for years, so long, in fact, that he’s made a career out of being a reaper, a counselor to the recently deceased who helps those who’ve just crossed over to come to terms with their deaths and then helps them attempt to find the closure they need to move beyond the state of flux in which they currently abide. It is a state of perpetual motion in which Aiden has become stagnant, not quite ready to put a name to what it is that keeps him from experiencing his own ascension, not quite happy in the lonely existence carved out for him by virtue of that inertia, not quite convinced that confession will be entirely good enough for his soul to move on.

But, then even in death, it seems some have a purpose far less ordinary than to follow the preordained path to what lies beyond.

When Brandon Jamison arrives in limbo, to say that Aiden is shocked is a bit of an understatement. He and Brandon had met in elementary school, and though their friendship had taken a brief intermission in junior high, they’d drifted back together in high school and had remained close until Aiden’s death. But that’s all they ever were to each other—friends—because neither had ever confessed to the other that he was gay, nor did they ever speak of the attraction they’d felt for each other. Life was about wasted time and squandered opportunities. And sadly, it appears as if they may be doomed to repeat that history, even in death.

Some people live a purpose driven life. Aiden and Brandon live a purpose driven death, and Erin Lark has written a sweet and sexy, and sometimes heart-tugging little story about sacrifices and second chances filled with universal truths about the power of forgiveness and of the grasping hold of happiness at each and every opportunity, because you never know if it might be your last.

It’s a story of compassion that begets healing, and of the healing that begets fulfillment and achieves the ultimate joy in the midst of the life that happens after…well…life. It’s a story that suggests it’s not at all how one dies that matters, but, rather, how one lived that truly accounts for who one becomes in the ever-after, and I liked it very much.

You can buy His Heart to Reap here:

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Rick McGranahan

R.I.P., Puppyboy – You Lived A Life Most People Only Dream Of

62876_1510041882755_4294744_nBack in September of 2010, a book was submitted to me by an unknown author, a memoir, which is not usually the sort of book submitted to a site that’s dedicated primarily to romantic fiction. The first thing I worried about, as a doer of whatever it is that I do, was the case of the unknown, not to mention first time, writer. I very much want to love every book I read, so there’s always the fear that a story isn’t going to reach out to me in the way each author intends. The second worry was that I’d never read a memoir for review before and wasn’t sure I knew how to review one properly. You’re not reviewing the story of a fictional character, after all, you’re reviewing the events of someone’s life and the way each and every one of those moments, the good and the bad, were lived. Trust me when I say it’s a delicate contradiction between critiquing and judging.

As I got into the story, I’m going to confess that my worries escalated because it became increasingly obvious that I’d received an unedited copy of this particular book, which, for me, is very difficult. I labored over it, wondering how in the world I was going to finish it, let alone give it a fair and honest review without harping on the way in which it was presented. Well, lesson learned–this book was purposely presented in unedited format, published precisely the way Rick McGranahan lived: Fully unedited. Within the pages of Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy, I found the life of a man who lived out loud, who loved deeply, who followed his heart and his dreams, who made mistakes, who fell, but who, most importantly, kept getting back up and carrying on, all the way to his happily-ever-after.

Rick and I never met face-to-face, and outside of knowing some of the most intimate details of his brief life, I’m not going to pretend I knew him well or that we’d become great friends, but we did chat occasionally over the years, mostly on Facebook, and I can say with some certainty that he continued to live his life exactly the way it was written–kick ass, take no prisoners, live and love unapologetically. He was a character in his own brave and bold adventure, and his loss is being felt deeply by those who knew him, those who loved him, and those who were merely fortunate enough to have breezed through his world through his words.

My heart goes out to his husband, Paul, and to his family, who are mourning the loss of a light that burned bright in this world, but sadly, burnt out too quickly.

If you haven’t read Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy, I encourage you to do it. I’m re-posting my original review (written on September 29, 2010) today in honor of Rick’s memory.


If you’re the sort of reader, like me, who tends to skip over the beginning pages of a book—the publishing notes, the acknowledgments, the dedications—to get straight to the meat of the story, I’m going to save you some frustration.

“PublishAmerica has allowed this work to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, without editorial input.”

This book was intentionally published in an unedited state and is something I didn’t realize until I’d gotten more that halfway through. Why? My belief is that it’s because this story demanded to be told in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. This is a long soliloquy of the life of the author and his alter-ego, Puppyboy, and the reader is the voyeur who is gifted with a glimpse into the diary of an image whose flame burned brightly, then faded away. This is the story of a life filled with imperfections, told with the imperfections that occur when a person pours his heart and soul out on paper, without pausing to worry about anything as inconsequential as delivery. The eloquence of this story is in the honest and passionate way in which it is expressed, and I feel entirely appreciative to have made the three-hundred-ninety-four page journey.

Rick McGranahan’s addictions began in Atlanta, in 1993, in a nightclub called The Masquerade. Addictions come in many forms, and the first began as a desperate craving for the spotlight and attention he gained as a Go-Go boy. The entourage, the adoration, and the recognition all served to provide the foundation for a narcissistic journey that eventually led to stripping, porn, and a nearly suicidal addiction to the drugs that helped to support the Puppyboy persona and to obliterate the very reality of the life that Rick so desperately wanted.

Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy is a pilgrimage that began with a single, unplanned dance on a platform in a nightclub and ended with the blatant truth that Go-Go boys who strip on a bar top and abuse their bodies night after night, can’t exist forever.

Through Atlanta, Washington DC, and various cities throughout Europe, the reader is transported on a mission of hedonism, eroticism, fetishism, anonymous sex, and the desperation of a man who longs for love but looks for and finds it in all the wrong places, with all the wrong people. It is a story of wanton self-annihilation, of the boy who becomes someone else in the hopes that the persona will lead to something meaningful. This is the story of useless, nameless, faceless encounters in bathroom stalls, inhaling and self-numbing to deaden the senses.

Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy is a story that highlights the reality that there is a very real difference between being alone and being lonely, that there is a difference between being loved and being worshipped, and that there is a vast difference being loved and being used for a night.

Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy is a book that will most likely make one’s life seem utterly dull in comparison; it is also a book that may make one thankful as all hell that one’s life has been utterly dull in comparison. It is a moving, compelling, impressive, and exceptionally striking accomplishment.

This book is neither for the judgmental nor the squeamish. It is a book that should be absorbed and appreciated for its candor and its value to the author, as well as to those whose lives he touched. I was profoundly moved by it and am immensely grateful for the opportunity to have shared the author’s memories.

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Beau Schemery, Harmony Ink Press

Sometimes Half The Battle Is Believing You Can – The Unlikely Hero by Beau Schemery

Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with. – Brodi Ashton

Renwald Mallorian wants nothing more than to be a Hero. He’s read all the books, after all, so what more could he need? Oh, right. He needs someone to hire him so he can get practical experience; he needs to get himself hired for a Hero’s Quest and prove that all his reading hasn’t been for naught. He even has magic-infused weapons to call upon in battle, elemental weapons of fire and ice that practically guarantee his Hero status. I mean, come on, swords forged of Elven silver? What could be more hero-making than that? The only problem is that the vampire he copped them from wants to be paid for them or to get them back from Ren, and being a little low on funds, with no prospects for Hero-ing on the horizon, Ren has no choice but to surrender his swords and concede the fact that nobody is going to hire a Hero who doesn’t even have his own weapons.

Well, you know the old saying: When a door closes, a window opens? In Ren’s case, it was another door that opened, but it wasn’t the open door as much as it was who walked through it that put Ren on the path to greatness.

Celestrian is a Unicorn, but not just any Unicorn. He’s the Lost Unicorn, and he was taken in as an infant by Mother Dragon, who taught Celestrian many things about life, including how to transform into a man. But now that Mother Dragon has gone, Celestrian must travel far and wide to find what few Unicorns may remain following a war that decimated their population. When he ambles into the Rusty Cutter with plenty of need and more than enough money to procure exactly what—or whom—he’s looking for, Renwald Mallorian transforms into Ren the Resilient, and it’s then and there that an unlikely hero is born.

With a magical emporium of imagination and a menagerie of fantastical creatures, Beau Schemery has created a world that pays homage to fairy tales and folklore and high fantasy, from The Wizard of Oz to Harry Potter to a little Dr. Moreau, and everything in between. It is a battle of good vs. evil, an epic score of danger, intrigue, misplaced loyalty, zealotry, and radical allegiances that also happens to weave together a lot of humor and a sweet—but incomplete—romance in its pages. There’s much more that needs doing here to get Ren and Trian to their happily-ever-after, so don’t expect this episode of their saga to be tidily wrapped up at the end, but do expect to find a story that’s clever and creative, in which both young men become Heroes and prove that fantasy is reality and their reality is the stuff of legends.

There isn’t a single thing about this story that didn’t make me ooh and ah and cheer, and I’m so looking forward to the next book in the series.

You can buy The Unlikely Hero here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Jacob Z. Flores

Part Angel, Part Little Devil, And He’s Here With A Giveaway – Please Welcome Jacob Z. Flores!

Our special guest here at The Novel Approach today is none other than Dreamspinner Press author Jacob Z. Flores, who has been hopping around the internet recently to promote his newest novel, The Gifted One. Not only has Jacob agreed to answer a few questions about the book, but he’s also giving one lucky reader the chance to win his/her choice of either an eCopy or a signed print copy of the book. Read on and see how, at the end! :-D

Welcome back, Jacob! Bruce and I couldn’t be happier to have you here visiting today. But let’s talk about you, okay? Will you give readers a brief synopsis of The Gifted One?

First of all, thanks for having me back, Lisa. We had fun the last time, didn’t we? (**YEP!**) Tossing back drinks and flirting with hot guys. Good times. I say, we do that again after the interview. You up for it? (**YEP!!**) I know I am. Haha! :-D

And I’d be happy to give you a synopsis, although I can’t guarantee I’ll be brief. I like to take my time for most things I enjoy doing. The Gifted One is a paranormal romance about a man named Matt who falls in love with his guardian angel, Gabriel. Matt and Gabriel battle demons that want to kill Matt and the angels who want to keep Matt and Gabriel apart. There are some very tender moments between Matt and Gabriel, but there are also some tense, scary moments as well. What better way to get them in each other’s arms, right? Well, there are other ways, but the danger brings them together. Gabriel’s goal is to protect Matt, and in protecting his charge, the two fall in love. I think readers will be pleased to read a love story about such devotion. Plus, there’s some pretty hot scenes that will make reader glad they came.

Q. Angels and Demons are irrevocably intertwined and their mythology, the conflict of the pure and the corrupted, has long held a fascination for people, regardless of religious views. How did you come up with the idea for this story?

A. I totally based the story on me since I’m an angel/demon hybrid. My smile may seem innocent and pure, but the intentions behind it are usually far from wholesome. :-)

In all seriousness though, the idea actually came from a dream I had. No, not a sex dream, Lisa. Although I do have some good ones. This was actually a nightmare. I was in this dark room, and all I could see was a door. Something on the other side was trying to get in. I was trying to keep it out, and I was failing miserably. The door then caught fire and disappeared but before whatever was on the other side could reach me, this bright light turned on behind me. When I turned around to see who brought the light, I woke up. ::(Dear readers, please note that Jacob has never once caught me thinking about his sex dreams. Ha!)::

Naturally, I jotted that sucker down in my dream book. I asked myself questions like: where was I? What was on the other side of the door? Who brought the light?

My answers turned into The Gifted One.

Q. There are several variations of the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son legend, depending upon the country. Did you use any particular bit of folklore as a foundation for your version, or is yours entirely original?

A. Oh my God, there are tons of variations! I didn’t realize how many until I started researching. I felt like I was at a bar in my single days with how many seventh sons I went through! Haha! But to answer your question, despite the research, I went with what I already know—that seventh sons typically have healing hands and are considered blessed, or cursed, depending on how they live their lives. I wanted Matt to represent the best of the best, and I created him with that in mind. He’s been through a whole heck of a lot in his life, and I wanted to portray him as an individual who wouldn’t let his tragedies turn him down a dark road, no matter how hard the demons might try.

Q. Let’s talk about that gorgeous cover for a moment! It must be so difficult to be forced to look at pictures of gorgeous men all the time. :-D Did you have a lot of input in its design?

A. Lisa, words can’t explain how difficult it is. I’ve looked at so many pictures of hot men that I’m sure I’ve developed carpal tunnel. But, hey, I’m willing to suffer for my craft, so bring it on! Luckily, Reese Dante, who did my cover for Dreamspinner, found the perfect image to capture what I was looking for. I wanted the reader to see the two characters in a loving, protective embrace, and I wanted it to be super hot! Reese exceeded all my expectations. I was blown away by what she did. ::I agree, Jacob! It’s really stunning.::

Q. Do you do a lot of plotting and mapping when you get an idea for a book, or are you more of a pantser?

A. I’m pretty anal when it comes to my writing. Well, I guess I’m pretty anal about most things, but I do try to plot out my books. I like to see where the story is going to go, so I create a tentative outline. That way if things change, I can make adjustments to the outline as I go. The story doesn’t always work that way though. Sometimes, the characters have a life of their own, and they tell me where they want to go. When that happens, I go with the flow. I’m easy like that.

Q. What’s the most difficult part of the writing process for you?

A. Writer’s block! I hate when I become creatively constipated. It makes me a bit grumpy. When it strikes, I usually start reading, which tends to get my creative juices flowing. Then, I’m happy Jacob again. I’m the most content when I’m writing so no matter if it’s writing, editing, or revising, I’m typically pretty darn pleased. I just wish I could write even more than I do now, but that darn day job gets in the way. But since my family has grown accustomed to a roof and food, I’ve got to keep plugging away at both.

Q. This is a random question, but one that Rhys Ford made me ask recently (Yes, she challenged by big-girl-pantsiness. I accepted the challenge for the win. Go me!), so I’m going to ask you too. :-D If you were going to come up with the most romantic place in the world to have sex in public, where would it be?

A. Hmmm. Do you want a hypothetical answer or a true story? Haha! Let’s go with hypothetical. That would probably be safer. I think it would be at the Tabacon Spa in Costa Rica. They have a beautiful outdoor spa with luxurious hot springs and a volcano named Arenal rumbling in the background. On a starlit night, you can see the red glare of the lava against the night sky. It’s really quite beautiful. Sigh. I miss Costa Rica. We need to go back.

Q. What makes you laugh?

A. Silly things get me. I like oddball shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken. I know. I have a weird sense of humor, but I like comedy that is a little weird like me. But being with my family, friends, and loved ones can really get me going too. It doesn’t even have to be something that anyone else finds too terribly funny, but being around the people I truly care for makes me happy. When I’m happy, I laugh. I can’t help it. Maybe that’s one reason I’m always smiling.

Q. I know a lot of authors that write to music, have playlists that fit their plots, do you ever have certain songs in mind when sitting down to write a book?

A. I actually can’t write with music playing because then I’ll start singing. I love music so much that if a song’s on, I start belting it out like I’m auditioning for X-Factor or something. My family finds it terribly annoying. Probably because I sound so much like an angel while I sing. Haha!

Songs do inspire me though. The whole time I wrote The Gifted One the song “Send Me an Angel” by Real Life played through my head. I LOVE that song. Of course, now that I’ve talked about it, I can’t stop singing it. Sing it with me, Lisa! ::OMG! 80s flashback! Let’s all sing along!::

Q. What projects do you have lined up next?

A. A lot actually. Wilde City will be publishing Moral Authority a book I self-published in 2011. It’s gay fiction not gay romance. Think Orwell’s 1984. It’s a dystopian novel and takes place in America of 2050, where homosexuality is a sin and lifestyle legislation rules the land. It’s a darker book, but it’s one that I wrote when I was worried about the future of our country. The book is intended to be the first book of a series and will be coming out in May.

I also have the first book of my Provincetown Series slated for release in August/September of this year from Dreamspinner. The book is titled When Love Takes Over and like the title suggests, love takes two characters who don’t want to fall in love and brings them together. Zach, who is a struggling author suffering from a painful breakup, heads to Provincetown to escape the pain.

He’s a bit of a goof and doesn’t see himself for what he is, which is a pretty good guy, but he heads to the Cape to find himself and well, have a good time. What he finds is Van, a porn star, who loves doing porn. He loves it so much that he’s never happier than when he’s on all four with the camera rolling. Van has no time for love, but love has time for him. When Zach and Van meet, they’re destined to be together. They just have to figure that out for themselves.

Q. Would you care to share an excerpt from The Gifted One with us?

A. I’d love to! The scene I’m sharing is the first time Matt and Gabriel meet. Well, at least, the first time Matt can remember. ;)

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The minute his head hit the street, Matt’s breath left his body and stars suddenly rocketed into his field of vision. The world spun around and made him dizzy.

Rain continued to fall around him, splashing his face and getting in his mouth and nose. Each splatter of rain felt more like a slap across the face. Never before had rainfall hurt so much. It reminded him of what he sometimes did to unresponsive patients at the hospital. Gentle smacks to rouse the patient to consciousness.

The sudden sound of a car peeling toward him grabbed his attention. Even though it hurt to move, he turned his head to the left and watched as a black truck barreled down the road toward him.

He needed to get to his feet and get out of the way, but when Matt sat up, the world spun around even faster and he almost lost consciousness. He had a concussion and that meant he was going nowhere without someone to help him up.

Now only a few feet away, the truck continued toward him. Matt knew this was it. His number was up, and it was time for him to meet his maker. He just hoped his death wouldn’t break his grandmother’s heart. She had suffered enough loss in her life already.

Matt braced himself for the impact, but instead of metal slamming into him and tires crushing his bones, a blur of movement darted toward him through the rain. Someone he couldn’t see through his hazy vision lifted him off the pavement, before sidestepping the oncoming vehicle.

A flash of something bright flew from the stranger’s hands and hit the rear tires of the truck. In response, the vehicle skidded and lost control. It spun to the left before lurching forward and careening into the intersection, where an eighteen-wheeler T-boned the truck. The resulting impact caused the truck to split in half with a deafening crunch of metal.

“Good God!” Matt exclaimed as his vision cleared enough to see drivers exiting their cars in an attempt to rescue the man in the truck. It wasn’t until his feet once again touched the ground that he realized he had still been safely cradled in his savior’s arms.

Matt looked up at the man who saved him. When he saw him for the first time, his breath left him for the second time that day.

The man was stunning. His eyes looked like chipped fragments from the heavens. The radiant blue filled Matt full of awe and made him want to soar like a bird on the uplifting currents emanating from the man’s stare. Rivulets of rain fell from his jet-black, short-cropped hair, which matched the stubble that spread across his face. It made him look brooding, serious, and intimidating.

Matt, however, wasn’t fooled. Hidden behind the strong, chiseled face, that most would find unapproachable, he sensed only kindness and compassion. A rough exterior existed, no doubt. His chest was expansive, framed by massive shoulders and muscular arms. Packaged inside a black leather jacket and dark blue denim, he looked tougher than diamond, but Matt instinctively knew he had nothing to fear from this man.

He had risked his life to save him, and Matt knew he would do it again, if necessary.

“How’s your head?” the man asked. His voice sounded like a symphony.

“It hurts,” he replied. Although he forgot the pain for a few moments, the throbbing returned with a vengeance. “Good thing I’m a nurse. I know what to do.”

“I have no doubt.” The man reached up and placed his sizeable hands on each side of Matt’s head. After a few moments, the pain ebbed to a dull ache before disappearing all together.

“The pain’s gone. What did you do?”

“I did nothing,” his savior said before turning to leave as the heavens abruptly shut off the rainstorm.

“Wait a minute. Come back here.”

“Excuse me, sir, but are you okay?”

Matt turned to face a police officer. “I’m fine,” he told the officer. “But I have to go.”

“I’m afraid I can’t allow that. You need to answer some questions. And see a paramedic.” The officer glanced back across the street, where the man’s partner dealt with the accident.

“Listen, Officer Belton,” he said, reading the name on his tag. “I have to go find the man who saved me and thank him.”

Officer Belton’s eyes narrowed in concern. “The man who saved you?”

Matt nodded in reply and turned around only to find his savior had disappeared as suddenly as the rain.

“There wasn’t anyone else here, sir. I was in my patrol car across the street. I saw you fall down and the truck headed toward you. I tried to make it here as fast as I could, but you jumped out of the way at the last second. There was nobody else.”

The serious look on Officer Belton’s face told Matt that the policeman believed he was telling the truth. The problem was that Matt knew it wasn’t.

How was it possible for him to be saved by a man no one else could see?

§§§§§§§§§§§§§§

Q. Where can we find you on the internet?

You can find me at my blog at http://jacobzflores.com or become by visiting http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2, http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores, or http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5142501.Jacob_Z_Flores. I’m all over the place, so I love meeting new people. I hope everyone stops on by one of my social media outlets. I promise if you do, you’ll be glad you came.

§§§§§§§§§§§§§§

Thanks very much for being here with us today, Jacob! As always, it was fun! :-)

And now here’s the contest information: Jacob will be giving away a copy of The Gifted One to one lucky fan! If you’re selected to win, you can choose to receive either an eCopy or a signed Print copy of the book!

All you have to do to win is leave a comment here (with email address) by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, April 29, 2013. The winner will be selected via Random.org and notified on Tuesday, April, 30th!

Good luck!

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Uncategorized

Dirty Deeds Tattoo Winner Announced!

Wooot! Who’s up for round two in Down and Dirty???

Rhys Ford

1366104155ea421The winner of the Dirty Deeds tattoo contest at The Novel Approach is….

Cole Riann!

He will be featured in a scene in the next Cole McGinnis novel getting inked with the tattoo of his choice!

For those of you who did not win, there will be another chance to be inked in the future! There will be another contest held for you to be included in Bobby’s book, Down and Dirty.

So don’t throw out your tattoo ideas just yet!

And Congrats Cole! Wooooot!

View original post

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Kay Berrisford, Loose Id

A New Lyric In The Ballad Of Robin Hood – Lord of the Forest by Kay Berrisford

Never archer there as he so good
And people called him Robin Hood
Such outlaws as him and his men
Will England never see again – Thomas Gale, Dean of York

Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men rob from the rich and give to the poor; or so the legend goes, of the man who lives as the outlaw of Sherwood Forest, whose sworn enemy is the Sheriff of Nottingham, and whose life is about to become all manner of complicated when his band of fellow outlaws each goes his own way, leaving Robin alone, a man with a purpose but with no one left to aid him in the serving of it.

Kay Berrisford’s Lord of the Forest is a re-imagining of the larger-than-life mythology of one of England’s most notorious heroes…or villains, depending upon which side of his brand of justice one stood on. She’s given more than a few great twists to the tale, introducing plenty of intrigue, as well as fairy tale magic, and has managed to turn the legend of Robin Hood into a lovely romance between a lonely man and the young spy who is a traitor to his birthright and whose life is complicated beyond measure.

Robin and the Sheriff are still the bitterest of adversaries, but their relationship is so much more than the Sheriff simply wanting to capture Robin and bring him to justice. No, the Sheriff wants to possess Robin, body and soul, before he sees that the man pays for his crimes, and it is an obsession that Cal—the forester, the whore, the spy—must decide upon which side he stands before he can decide which man he will betray.

The living forest of Greenwood plays its own unique role in the romance between Robin and Cal, building upon the sensuality and the mysticism woven into the story, and reinforcing a bond that was forged by each of their births, as children of the woodland.

There is danger and treachery and even a little bit of heartbreak before an ending that effectively resolved the demands of the Greenwood that the protector bloodline must endure. It is an alchemy that only the Fae could perpetuate; it challenges the imagination, and it also left me wondering if (read: hoping) the author might consider a sequel to the adventure.

You can buy Lord of the Forest here:

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Ramblings

Booty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

lets-talk-about-sex

There’s nothing better than good sex. But bad sex? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is better than bad sex. – Billy Joel


I don’t talk about sex a lot, not unless it’s the entire point of a book. To me, the sexual content of a book is tertiary to the plot and the development of the characters—if it’s there, fine, if it’s not, I couldn’t care less. I will say, however, that when a sex scene is well written and organic to the building and growing of the relationship, especially in BDSM, it adds dimension to the story and to the physio-emotional bond between the two people involved, which, in turn, can do a lot for my emotional connection to the couple I’m learning about. But, and this is the BIG BUT in the room, the opposite of that is also true: if a sex scene is written like a technical schematics manual rather than a passionate and/or primal interlude between the two main characters (or whomever the protagonist happens to be with at the moment), it can really diminish the strength of that scene for me. I’ve never in my life lowballed a book because it didn’t contain enough sex; though I do admit that I’ve deducted points because a book contained a lot of gratuitous and meaningless sex. No, not even gratuitous and meaningless…more along the lines of elaborately and clumsily manipulated, overdone to the point of skimming; it’s ::yawn:: more sex, sex, and that’s bad sex, people. That’s peanut butter and jelly sammich time sex, and that’s not good.

There used to be a day when I would turn to Young Adult fiction when the sex started to get ho-hum-not-again, in the grownup stuff, but I’ve noticed a growing trend lately, even in the YA genre, toward a more intimate exploration of the sexual relationship between characters, albeit a far less graphic one, but still something I’m not altogether certain of my feelings on yet, knowing that sex is a part of growth and self-discovery but not really wanting to read about two teenagers doing the humpty-hump. That tows a fine line of Eek-Squick! for me, but so far, I’m remaining Switzerland on the subject. I think in that matter, tasteful should always be the primary rule of thumb—the less explicit imagery, the better, as far as I’m concerned. Really. My imagination can go places all on its onesies, with no help from the words on the page. But, as usual, I digress.

I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention lately, or if you’ve participated in the conversation, but there’s been a fair amount of honest, not to mention articulate, debate (very recently over at The Armchair Reader) on ways to try and delineate romance and erotica in an effort to come up with a way to distinguish between these two elements so readers for whom sexual content is important, either a lot of it or none at all, can find books they can potentially enjoy, provided that all the other plot elements come together in the perfect storm for them.

Is giving “Heat Ratings” in reviews becoming a necessity, even though some publishers already provide that information? Is it helpful to note the frequency of sex in a book? I’m extremely neutral on the subject, so I honestly don’t know. I can say, with a 100% degree of accuracy, that I have no interest at all in keeping track of how often characters have sex while I’m reading about them having sex. There’s nothing that’ll ruin a scene or the flow of a story for me more than going, “Oh, wait! Sex. Put it on the board.” But I don’t mind doing “Heat Ratings”, though I still find that to be so very subjective. Someone could read a book I’ve rated low on the Heat scale and think, “Dear God, she’s a perv.” Could happen. I’ve recently become a little bit fascinated by the Marquis de Sade, so take that for what it’s worth. :)

So you tell me, how important is it for you to be fully informed of the amount of sexual content in a book before you dig into it, and whose responsibility do you believe it is to provide that information? Is there such a thing as too much sex in a book for you, and if there is, what’s the saturation point, the point where you’ve become so desensitized to the boinking that you want to send that booty call straight to voice mail?

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Loose Id, Lori Toland

Dangerous Liaisons And Dangerous Submission by Lori Toland

Sex without pain is like food without taste. ― Marquis de Sade

The boys from SOCA, the Serious Organized Crime Agency, are back in Lori Toland’s Dangerous Submission (Dangerous Affairs, Book 2), but this time the story focuses not on Nathaniel Bradley and Tony Terranova, the lovers from The Long Con, but on Agent Drake Steele and his soon to be undercover partner, Agent Robbie Covington, a computer specialist and the youngest son of a duke, who are being sent to Prague on a top-secret mission of intrigue and espionage to infiltrate an art-smuggling ring, a job that will just so happen to lead the men deeply into an elite world of BDSM, a world with which Drake, as a Dom, is entirely familiar, but for Robbie is an alien world in which he will be getting all his training on the job, and will discover that being a good sub is far from easy.

These two men couldn’t come from more divergent backgrounds; being a son of the peerage, there’s no doubt Robbie will blend in well in the sophisticated society of art dealers and collectors. But that’s not Drake’s realm. Drake’s world has more to do with whips and handcuffs than tuxedos and cufflinks, and given the surroundings they’ll be thrown into, it will be Drake’s knowledge and talents that will ensure they locate their marks and infiltrate Brandon Mueller’s and Stefan Zuliani’s operation.

Dangerous Submission is more relationship book than spy thriller, which is something I think worthy of mentioning if you’re looking for a story that’s intense with the action of a covert mission and international intrigue. There are definitely dangerous liaisons within, but this story is more about the building of trust and an emotional bond between two men who should be nothing more to each other than co-workers who’ve been given a job to do, and are expected to fulfill it while maintaining a professional distance from the intimacy that can’t be helped, or avoided.

There are enemies and allies, and plenty of non-stop erotic moments that build to the moment-of-truth for Drake and Robbie, forcing them each to examine whether the feelings that’ve grown between them can exist outside of the mission, or if everything that transpired was merely an illusion wrapped within the roles they played.

While I’m the sort of reader who’d have liked to see the crime drama side of the plot a little more fully explored, the single attraction for me in their story, the one thing that made this book more than just a passable read, was the chemistry between Drake and Robbie and the development of the trust between them, a trust that didn’t necessarily happen as a slow and methodical building of a relationship but came upon them in a more intense way through the intimacy of dominance and submission and the surrendering of and the taking of control, and the back-and-forth power play between them.

You can buy Dangerous Submission here:

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Dreamspinner Press, SJD Peterson

Pup by SJD Peterson – It’s Like A Trip To Disneyland, Only Sexier

Of course it hurts, it’s a spanking. How else would it work? ― Breanna Hayse (“The Game Plan”)

Now as a gay man, I must admit that I have played “dress up” in leather and even have dabbled with “role play” on occasion with my sexy husband. I view these times as visits to Disneyland and though I may enjoy visiting on occasion, living in Disneyland has never had much of an attraction to me. So, when I saw SJD Peterson’s new book, Pup, I was intrigued but not too sure if it was the right book for me. I had never read a BDSM novel but I thought, “What the heck, this may not be my cup of tea but since BDSM seems to be relatively prevalent in the genre right now, I might as well give it a try.”

Oh my goodness, was I ever wrong about me not wanting to live in Disneyland! I am in current negotiations with my husband to negotiate our own BDSM contract!!! This book is HOT and had me enthralled from about chapter 2.

Trackett Austin is a Dom in his mid 40’s wondering what he’s doing with his life. He’s never had a long time commitment and seems to be wandering somewhat aimlessly. A young mid 20’s bartender the character of Micah has been pursuing Trackett wanting to become the Sub to his Dom. Their story and how they forge a relationship is what this novel is completely about.

As a reader of the m/m genre, I at times get tired of the endless sex scenes that get injected into stories that seem to have little purpose in spurring the story along. Now I recognize these as a necessary part of the genre, but often they are not what keep me engrossed in the story. However, with “Pup” all the sex scenes are very relevant to the story and I found myself more than once a little breathless at the end of said sex scenes. I was amazed at how loving a BDSM relationship could be portrayed and watching the love between the two characters develop in the context of a BDSM relationship was titillating, to put it mildly.

Now this book is not without its faults. I found the multiple third person points of view in the same chapter, and often the same scene, a bit confusing. I also had a hard time picturing what the characters looked like. Now I admit that may be my own fault, as I was devouring this read rather voraciously, but a little bit more physical description for the rabid reader would have truly amped up the volume for me in this great book.

Overall, this novel was a great read and I applaud Peterson for her ability to make me want to sell my house and go live at Disneyland.

You can buy Pup here:

Reviewed by Bruce

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Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press

Brita Addams’ Internal Soundtrack

On my Tarnished Gold blog tour, I met some wonderful people, hopefully gained some new readers, and learned much about the love and support people have for authors. I smiled when I saw the same people at each stop, leaving encouraging comments, and worming their way into my heart by their presence.

One lady commented on a post I did about what took me so long to write seriously. As it goes, I had a dad who was less than kind and he parented with abundant criticism and discouragement.

When I was in seventh grade, I wrote a short story, which my teacher thought was good enough to send to Hal Borland, an author he apparently knew (though, darn it, I never asked!) Some weeks later, I received some wonderful critique and encouragement, the margins littered with sprawling handwritten comments.

I was excited about the thoughtfulness of my teacher, Ronald C. Green, and Mr. Borland and I couldn’t wait to tell my dad. I suppose that was a child’s everlasting need to impress their parents. Honestly, I thought he would be pleased, but instead, he was angry. Suffice to say, I don’t have the story anymore. There wasn’t enough scotch tape to piece it back together after my father finished with it.

I was fortunate though, to have Mr. Green, and English teachers that followed him, all of whom encouraged me to write.

However, as is often the case, the negative voice in my head shouted over all the positive ones, and I listened. For years, though I wrote newspaper articles for our hometown weekly, and did publicity for all the school plays throughout high school, I wrote nary a word of fiction. I thought about it, many times, but as I’d put pen to paper, I’d see the pieces of that short story as they fluttered the floor and relived the hopeless feeling I’d had that day.

tinaclintweddingThen life had a way of happening—I got married, had my two older children, and followed my military husband for six years, which included a two-year stint in Iceland. Then divorce happened, I met my second husband, we married, had our lovely daughter and settled into a life that has now lasted for nearly 33 years married, 37 together. Life went on, as my writing took a backseat to everything else.

The kids grew up, married, two have children of their own, and I found myself, at last, with blessed time. My husband retired, which gave us time together to travel, and just be alone, something we never had before all the kids flew the nest. I also had more time for reading, something else that I could only do at night, when I wasn’t so exhausted that I’d just fall into bed.

My darling husband gave me Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and other Gregory works for my birthday one year. I devoured them, loving her mix of real history and fiction. When I finished with her books, I found others, and though most didn’t have real history involved, I found that I loved historical romance. Mary Balogh and Lisa Kleypas took up my dusting and vacuuming time, but I couldn’t put their books down. Elizabeth Hoyt and Cathy Maxwell followed with their wonderful Regencies, and later, Pamela Clare captured my heart with her MacKinnon’s Rangers.

As I devoured the books, I’d tell my sweetheart about each story, and whether he was interested or not, he asked questions and listened, which made me think he cared.

One day, after I’d finished catching him up on the latest story, he looked at me and smiled. I’m usually wary of that grin, because he is, more often than not, up to something. (Heaven help me when the kids are around, they are just like him.)

“Do you think you could write one of those?” he asked, as he stood in the doorway between our living room and sunroom. “I think you could.”

With my father’s passing in 2005, my internal soundtrack of his voice has, albeit gradually, faded, to where I can hear the good things, but his negativity has faded. In its place are my Clint’s words, spoken daily—I love you, I’m proud of you, you’re my girl.

For most of my adult life, I’ve had the man who created a marvelous internal soundtrack for me, and my children. The last thing they hear from us when we speak to them on the phone or after a nice visit is, “I love you.” That says it all, doesn’t it?

PS: Now I tell him all of my stories. His reply? “I knew you could do it.”

Check out my bookshelf. My newest releases are:

Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity

Serenity Damrill has returned to her husband, Lucien after a ten-year absence. She carries with her a secret that could destroy her life and possibly all that Lucien has built.

Lucien was quite happy in his life running the Sapphire Club and has no need for the frigid wife who deserted him the day after they were married.

Can Lucien teach Serenity that her fear of the marriage bed is unfounded? Will Serenity’s secret be the death knell for their marriage?

You can purchase Serenity’s Dream – Lucien and Serenity at Amazon

Tarnished Gold:

In 1917, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.
After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.
Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.

As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.

Read an excerpt and purchase the Tarnished Gold ebook or print, signed by the author (if one of the first twenty sold.)

I also have For Men Like Us, which takes place during the Regency in England. You can find it at Dreamspinner Press. Just click the title to be magically transported.

For Men Like Us:

After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at Salamanca, hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors he witnessed.

The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.

When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains, “The streets are dangerous for men like us.”

Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee.

She writes, for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the tone for each historical is important. Research plays an indispensible part in the writing of any historical work, romance or otherwise. A great deal of reading and study goes into each work, to give the story the authenticity it deserves.

As a reader, Brita prefers historical works, romances and otherwise. She believes herself born in the wrong century, though she says she would find it difficult to live without air conditioning.

Brita and her husband love to travel, particularly cruises and long road trips. They completed a Civil War battlefield tour a couple of years ago, and have visited many places involved in the American Revolutionary War.
In May, 2013, they are going to England for two weeks, to visit the places Brita writes about in her books, including the estate that inspired the setting for her Sapphire Club series. Not the activities, just the floor plan. :)

A bit of trivia – Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, like the woman’s name, and oddly, not like the famous water filter.

Please visit me at any of these online locations:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Fan Page
Goodreads
Bookshelf
Amazon Author Page
Pinterest

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Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press

A Star Emerges In the Golden Age Of Hollywood – Tarnished Gold by Brita Addams

Hollywood has always been a cage… a cage to catch our dreams. – John Huston

The handsome Jack Abadie is an aspiring actor who leaves his home and family in rural Louisiana and strikes out for the promise of an emerging Hollywood to make a name for himself. As a gay man who knows nothing of big city life, Jack struggles to find himself in a burgeoning new industry of silent pictures and eventually “talkies”. The reader is taken through many of Jack’s relationships, loves and struggles as his star emerges in Hollywood. A major theme of the book is how Jack reconciles his sexuality and his relationships in a time where at first there may have been acceptance but eventually discrimination is imposed by the studios from the outside “moral police”. The struggles that ensue from this conflict help to spur the story onward and make for some fast page turning for the reader.

The author does a remarkable job capturing the golden age of Hollywood, and her research into the history of what was happening in Hollywood at the time is to be commended. Her factuality and ability to make this time period come alive and leap from the page is truly remarkable and the signs of a gifted historical writer.

Not to be forgotten at the core of this well told story is the love and relationships of the main character Jack Abadie. The sex and love scenes are very sparse at the beginning of the book but become quite abundant, with a full throttle embrace of erotica in the second half of the book. Though a good deal of the romantic scenes take on a BDSM slant, they are written in such a loving, well versed manner that they fit seamlessly into the relationship of Jack and his lover Wyatt.

If, as a reader, you love great historical fiction with a good dose of erotic romance, this will become a true favorite.

You can buy Tarnish Gold here:

Reviewed by: Bruce

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Dreamspinner Press, Rhys Ford

Of Tattoos And A Contest And Some Dirty Laundry From Rhys Ford

You can sacrifice and not love. But you cannot love and not sacrifice. ― Kris Vallotton

If you’ve been following Cole McGinnis and Kim Jae-Min from their first dirty kisses to their short-list of dirty secrets, you know by now that dirty laundry was bound to surface somewhere along the way. The real question was whose dirty laundry was going to be aired, and when. Well, let me assure you there’s plenty of the dirty stuff to go around in this third installment of the Cole McGinnis Mystery series, where murder, as always, is the name of Cole’s game, and love, at least the kind that Cole and Jae share, is the kind that hurts so good, like a knife that cuts both ways and still leaves you wanting more.

Someone is murdering fortune teller Madame Sun’s clientele, and Cole’s been hired to find the connection and stop the killer before the body count grows any higher. And wouldn’t it be fortunate for Cole if that’s all that was going on in his life? Sure, but that’s not the way things roll for the man who loves with abandon, and who is in love with a man who can only love with restraint. What’re a few bullets in a man’s life, after all, when happiness and heartbreak seem to coexist as a means of keeping things real?

Cole’s investigation leads him deep into Madame Sun’s business, and turns up some dirty shenanigans going on in and around the world of fortune telling, not to mention him discovering that he has a little family laundry of his own he didn’t know about: a half-brother, Ichiro, whom Mike is determined to introduce Cole to and then force him to embrace…whether Cole damn well likes that idea or not. I, for one, have to say I’m on Mike’s side in this little skirmish, and I think you’ll love Ichi just as much as I did. Pretty sure you will if for no other reason than he is awesome. Vague? Yes, but read the book. You’ll see for yourself.

Fair warning: Rhys Ford is out to throw some gut checks and sucker punches in this installment of the series, something she’s brilliant at, and, I believe, something she relishes in a hand-wringing, evil moustache twisting sort of way. Dirty Laundry packs a bit of a wallop, especially as things come to a rather shocking climax between Cole and Jae, one I don’t mind admitting left me feeling a bit flayed and skewered myself. It’s a murder mystery and I was a victim. That’s what I call audience participation.

While there are indeed some relationship, and familial, issues for the reader to savor in Dirty Laundry, it’s the case of the dying clients that stands front and center. You’ll get to spend some time with all the characters you’ve come to know and adore, and you’ll get to meet some new ones too, but savor this one for the mystery, and love it for its no-holds-barred suspense at the end.

You can buy Dirty Laundry (Dirty #3) here:

But before you rush off to snatch it up, don’t you want to hear about the contest Rhys is offering? Of course you do.

Here it is, folks, the opportunity to have yourself written as a character in the fourth Dirty book, Dirty Deeds! Yep, that’s right, but you won’t be just a random name on the page; no, the best part of this deal is that you’ll be getting inked in a very special way, so not only will you be playing the client but you’ll also get to choose the artwork for your tattoo, which Rhys will describe in vivid, stylistic detail. So much the fun!

All you have to do is leave a comment right here on this review of Dirty Laundry and you’ll automatically be entered to win. Please be sure to leave an email address so we know how to contact you.

The contest will run through 11:59pm Pacific time on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The drawing will be conducted via Random.org on Wednesday, the 24th, and the winner will be notified ASAP.

Thanks so much for participating, and good luck!

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Iyana Jenna, Prizm Books

And We Are The Dreamers Of Dreams… Dreamcatcher by Iyana Jenna

Trapped in a hellish dream
Spinning past worlds unseen and frightfully vanishing
Into the dark eternal night – Dream Theater

Jordan Sullivan is the harbinger of a legacy passed down through generations of his family, an inheritance from his ancestors that will long go dormant over the course of decades but will find a resurrection when kids at Jordan’s high school begin dying in their sleep, a mystery that in and of itself is terrifying enough, but one that doesn’t truly hit home until Jordan’s best friend Jamie falls victim to an evil that dwells in nightmares.

Iyana Jenna’s Dreamcatcher is a short story in the Prizm Books “Pinches” collection, which dabbles in Native American folklore and the legend of dreams and nightmares and the sacred web that sifts the good from the bad and protects the spirits of those who wander unprotected in the dreamscapes of the subconscious mind.

This is a sweet sip of a tale, a blend of historical and contemporary fantasy, in which the young hero fights for friendship, sacrificing his own safety and battling a familiar yet unknown evil, all for the sake of the one he will never give up on or let go of, the one he will save and who will then save him in return.

You can buy Dreamcatcher here:

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K. Lynn, Storm Moon Press

Coffee Break Quickies – It’s Sort Of Like A Nooner, Only… Quicker

The Novel Approach is thrilled to be playing host to author K.Lynn today, a contributor in Storm Moon Press’ new anthology Gay & Lesbian Coffee Break Quickies. Thanks so much for being here with us today, K. Let’s get right down to business.

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been an avid reader and writer since childhood, spending more time at the library than anywhere else. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t coming up with new character adventures, from writing plays and short stories to venturing into novellas and novels.

In college, I increased my involvement in LGBT issues and began writing within the LGBT fiction genre. Most of my work features LGBT characters prominently, many of whom are in established relationships and show how love perseveres through every trial and tribulation that life holds.

I’m also a life-long learner, holding degrees and certificates in the areas of American History, Religion, Creative Writing, Public Health, and Journalism, as well as being a member of Mensa. To me, life is an ongoing adventure, and I seek to learn something new every day.

Storm Moon Press’ Gay & Lesbian Coffee Break Quickies anthology just released April 12th. What is the name of your short story contribution, and what is it about?

My story is called “Personal Assistance” and it’s about Tom, the overworked personal assistant of Mr. Neal Thompson. Tom’s coworkers often pity him for having to work for such a difficult boss, but what they don’t know is that the job also has a few perks and everything is not what it seems.

As an aside, April 12th is also my birthday, so it’s a nice present to have an anthology release on this day!

What theme in your erotic short sets it apart from the rest? Is there something special you put into it that readers should look forward to?

I think a theme that is evident in this story, as well as many of my stories, is that I deal more with established relationships than first times. I like the draw of having two people who have already gone through awkwardness of meeting and getting to know one another. Now they’re set, committed to one another, and trying to make it work for the long-term. In this particular story, there’s also the element of office power dynamics and thriving for equality in the relationship both at work and at home.

Do you have your own coffee break fantasy from a menial job? What about that secret flame for a co-worker? Any work-related tidbits from your life you can share in celebration of your book release?

Ah, if only my company were bigger, this would be relevant. Instead, I have to fantasize about imaginary companies and their employees to live out the dream. I can tell you one thing: at no point in my career has an under-the-desk blowjob taken place… that I know of.

What’s television show comes up most at your water cooler conversations?

My office is so small that we don’t really engage in “water cooler conversations”. It’s sad, but at least I have the Internet to fulfill my fannish needs. And what’s at the top of my list? Supernatural of course! I love those Winchester boys.

Where can readers find you?

If you want to find out the latest about my releases, my works-in-progress, etc. then you can stop by my website WriterKLynn.com. I’m also on Twitter @writerklynn (though my alter ego is more active). I’m always up for engaging in conversations, so drop me a tweet or an email.

Thanks for stopping by!

Gay & Lesbian Coffee Break Quickies – Now available from Storm Moon Press for $3.99 (ebook)

Ah, the allure of the office romance. The sly smiles across the room as you wonder if anyone else knows. The danger of being caught by the boss. The thrill of those stolen moments in the copy room or supply closet. It’s this feeling that we’ve condensed, distilled, and captured in the short shorts of Gay & Lesbian Coffee Break Quickies. We’ve compiled thirteen brief tales of men and women getting it on with a co-worker or a boss in a steamy office romance.

Some of them are established and have been sneaking around the office for some time, like Lori Hunt and her P.A. Ms. Lovell in She’s the Boss or Tom and Neal in Personal Assistance. Others, like The New Guy‘s Greg and Eli or the awkwardly-named Rebecca A. and Rebecca B. from Tele-Romance are just beginning to experience the allure that can come from keeping the secret. Nor are such trysts confined to the office itself, spilling out into stairwells, copy rooms, gyms, and even computer server rooms. Whatever the case, though, they’re sure to arouse your imagination, and maybe even leave you looking at your own co-workers a little bit… differently.

Gay & Lesbian Coffee Break Quickies includes:
Skype Wars by Rob Rosen
Hands On by K. Piet
One Week by L. Alonso Corona
Working Lunch by Ann Anderson
Personal Assistance by K. Lynn
She’s the Boss by Angel Propps
The New Guy by John Amory
Stair Walking by Harper Bliss
1-800-BOREDOM by Raven de Hart
Fair Play by Anna Hedley
His Nonexistent Coffee Break by Lor Rose
Tele-Romance by Erik Moore
Three Strikes by Piper Vaughn

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Thanks so much for taking the time to be here with us today, K. It was a pleasure having you. :)

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Marshall Thornton, MLR Press

It’s A Murder Book Of Murder – It Even Says So In The Title – Boystown Book 5: Murder Book by Marshall Thornton

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. – Khaled Hosseini

Nick Nowak’s lover is sick with AIDS, back in the earliest days of the disease when fear and ignorance had the medical community scrambling to figure out how it was being transmitted and was at a loss as to how stop it, let alone how to treat the patients who seemed sadly destined to succumb to it. Bert Harker was a police detective until he became too ill to fulfill his duties with the CPD, but just because he’d left the force didn’t mean that he’d left behind the instinct or the desire to see justice served in the murders of five young gay men. The Bughouse Slasher is out there, somewhere, and Bert’s got the Murder Book and the will and more than enough desire to hunt him down, even if it’s the last thing he ever does.

It’s 1982 and the police not only have a serial rapist/murderer on their hands, but they’ve also got their hands full trying to solve the Chicago Tylenol murders, a crime with no clues, no suspects, and little hope of ever being resolved, a crime which eventually took seven lives. The CPD’s investigative priorities are overwhelmed by the tainted Tylenol case, relegating the recently low-lying Bughouse Slasher’s crimes firmly on the back burner; until, that is, he strikes again. And this time, for Nick, things get all too personal, and all too real. And thanks to Harker, Nick now has the tools he needs and the clues that will become integral to piecing together a killer’s identity, propelling the private investigator into a hunt for the monster who brought death to Nick’s doorstep.

Nick tells this story in all its raw emotion, drawing the reader in, page by page, exposing his pain and the conflict he experiences when secrets are unearthed and circumstances shift the outcomes of a carefully orchestrated plan, playing them out in a way that wasn’t supposed to be. He is a man who is struggling to achieve some sort of equilibrium in a life that’s been thrown horribly out of balance.

I’m going to be honest; I was just a wee bit concerned about reading this book. It’s the fifth in the series, after all, and not having read the first four novels, I was afraid every piece that’d been added to its foundation in the previous books would be lost on me and would then leave me entering Nick Nowak’s world at a major disadvantage. This installment of the series is most certainly a significant piece in a much larger puzzle in Burt’s life, but trust me when I tell you my worries were quickly laid to rest as I got drawn further and further into this tautly written cat-and-mouse mystery, where the line between who’s the cat and who’s the mouse blurs the link between the serial killer and the man who’s driven to stop him.

If you don’t like the idea of delving into a series mid-stride, then absolutely begin at book one and work your way forward to this one. I can’t speak to those first four books, but let me tell you, I loved this one just fine.

You can buy Boystown Book 5: Murder Book here:

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Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press

Hayden Thorne Won’t Make You Climb A Beanstalk To Find This Treasure


We’re so thrilled to have author Hayden Thorne as our guest today, and we hope you’ll help welcome her. :)

Hayden has a new book that released on April 14, 2013, from Queerteen Press, called Gold in the Clouds, a project she’s here to tell us a bit more about, as well as offering an excerpt from the novel AND giving one lucky reader the chance to win an eCopy of the book! Read on to see how to enter to win.

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Q. When did you start writing creatively, and who was your greatest literary influence?

A. I started out writing cartoon strips with my younger sister. We used to deface our family encyclopedias by doodling in the margins, which, obviously, didn’t go down very well with our parents. But we got blank notebooks and filled those up with crazy stories and weird characters. I remember writing a comic strip about a family that got stranded on Easter Island. That was long, long before I knew that Easter Island wasn’t a Robinson Crusoe type of place.

I didn’t pick up the pen again till around 2000, when I got sucked into the Gundam Wing fandom. Eventually I messed around with Kaze to Ki no Uta, literary slash, and then original fiction, mostly short. It wasn’t until around 2006 when I started publishing short stories for anthologies (adult, by the way). I got tapped by the editors of Prizm Books to contribute material for their new LGBT Young Adult imprint, and things snowballed from there.

My greatest literary influence is Charles Dickens. His books were one of my first forays into classic literature in high school alongside Victor Hugo, and I adored – still adore – his works. His books were instrumental in broadening my horizons from J.R.R. Tolkien to some pretty heavy stuff, and I’ve absorbed what I could of his characterization. I think that element right there is what inspired me the most. He’s not a perfect writer and is the worst when it comes to the use of coincidence in plots, but his characters are incredible. I’ve always wanted to write teenagers (and even adults as side characters) who stand out in some way or other and leave some kind of impression in readers’ minds.

Q. What was the first of your books to be published?

A. It was a group thing, so to speak. Prizm Books opened their doors with Icarus in Flight, Banshee, and Masks: Rise of Heroes. Those books plus additional titles from other authors.

Q. If someone had never read your work before but was getting ready to dive in, what’s the one thing you’d want them to know before they purchased one of your books?

A. Hmm. That I’m no romance writer, even in YA. I remember having some readers react in shock at realizing that Desmond and Garrick weren’t going to get together because their names are front and center in the series’ title. But my main point is friendship developing between two completely disparate characters. I prefer to focus on other relationships involving gay kids in my stories, and I really enjoy exploring families and friends as opposed to love interests. Romance is always secondary to whatever the main conflict is.

I’m also not a writer of contemporary issues faced by gay teens. When I do write about them, it’s always removed from the real world, i.e., I love playing with metaphors and symbols. By and large, I want to write gay kids as individuals who’re much more than their sexual orientation. I prefer to write them no differently from the way I’d write about straight kids. My fairy tales, especially the novels, don’t even make a big deal about homosexuality unless a side character decides to twist it for a reason.

Q. You’ve often said you write in a very niche segment of the LGBT YA market. How do you come up with the ideas for your books, especially for those like The Twilight Gods and Renfred’s Masquerade which, to this day, are two of my all-time favorites?

A. The “preferred genre” for LGBT YA fiction remains contemporary coming-out novels or issues-based novels. You’ll see a lot of those books being published by the larger, more mainstream presses, with occasional fantasy fiction mixed in. And there’s a good reason for that, of course. LGBT kids will always need them, no matter what generation we’re looking at. But at the same time, the even smaller market for genre fiction for LGBT teens is slowly growing, thanks to small, independent presses who aren’t afraid of taking chances. Those books have yet to win over the majority of gatekeepers in the LGBT YA world, but they’re holding steady, and I don’t see them going away at any time soon. As far as the importance of speculative fiction for LGBT teens is concerned, it’s just as needed as coming-out novels; if we want to help these kids find their courage to be who they are, why can’t we write about them in every genre out there?

I tend to find inspiration in art: music, visual arts, literature. The Twilight Gods was inspired by a Native American folktale and is in fact a retelling of the story. When I first read the folktale, I saw so many connections between the imagery of death, the skeletons, and the marriage with the more negative beliefs that too many of us still have regarding homosexuality. But music tends to have a stronger influence on my writing. Renfred’s Masquerade was inspired by Offenbach’s “Barcarolle” in the sense that when I listened to the piece, a number of images and, again, connections came to mind. A masquerade, for sure, was one of them. The context of Offenbach’s piece also made me think of reality vs. fantasy because the aria is sung by a doll, with whom a man falls in love and believes to be real. Plus I couldn’t help but picture two people in a boat or gondola leaving—but it wasn’t a happy image.

Classical music to me is the best source of story inspiration. Each piece works on my imagination in ways that are different from another, but overall, it’s the emotions roused by these pieces that I zero in on and use to influence the way the plot unravels. Strong emotions tend to give rise to images, which can lead to something more, etc. I recently blogged about Carl Orff’s “Gassenhauer” and how it’s helping me sort through my difficulties with a story I’ve been having trouble with. The piece is very short, very light, and very playful—a child’s song, almost. But it’s helped me work out some kinks in a story that I had to set aside for the time being because the emotions affected by it really fit the tone of the story, which is very whimsical.

Q. You have a new book just released from QueerTeen Press called Gold in the Clouds. Would you tell us a little bit about the story, where you found the inspiration for it, and perhaps share an excerpt with us?

A. Gold in the Clouds is “Jack and the Beanstalk” as witnessed by Jack’s gay best friend, Blythe Midwinter. It’s a fantasy and a comedy along the same lines as Rose and Spindle, but it’s snarkier. The novel’s conflict revolves around Blythe’s self-worth and the constant struggle in him regarding wealth and luck because he’s poor, and he’s tired of being poor. It doesn’t help him any that, on one hand, his best friend happens to be a lazy little bugger and prefers to wait for Lady Luck to shower him with gold and so on, and on the other hand, his sister keeps rubbing his nose into the value of honest, hard work despite their poverty.

Inspiration for this story came a long time ago. I was toying with the idea of writing a picaresque series involving two gay kids (boyfriends, to be brief) who run away and try to find how they fit in a number of fairy tale plots, and one of them was “Jack and the Beanstalk”. I pictured them both standing around the chopped-up beanstalk and staring at it forlornly, wondering why they couldn’t be a part of the adventure. My rationale behind the series is like a satirical stab at different fairy tales—especially those princess ones—and how cool it would be to have LGBT kids be a part of those adventures. Or maybe even create their own or add an unexpected turn of events to one that’s already existing.

The series idea died pretty quickly, but I liked the idea of telling familiar fairy tales from the point-of-view of side characters who didn’t exist in the original stories. So Rose and Spindle and Gold in the Clouds came about, but for the next one, I’d like to go back and write an original fairy tale.

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(excerpt from Chapter 2)

The sound of rumbling carriage wheels broke through the lovely calm, and Blythe looked up to watch a handsome private coach being pulled by an even handsomer team of horses along the dirt road on the other side of the river. The liveried driver sat straight and proud, his nose high even as he guided the gleaming horses with skill and confidence.

“I’d love to have one of those,” Jack said in breathless tones.

“You’ll have to work for it.”

“I know. It’s not fair, I tell you.”

Blythe followed the coach’s progress till it vanished behind some trees and dense shrubbery. “I suppose you can always gamble for it.”

“I don’t have any money to gamble with, you oaf.”

Blythe tried not to roll his eyes again. “Sell something, then. One of your cows, for one thing.”

“Mama and I only have one cow,” Jack retorted. “I don’t think she’ll take to selling it. I mean, where will we get our milk?”

“Then find a job, you lazy dog!”

Jack let out a noise that sounded suspiciously like a fart, and he stumbled to his feet, brushing grass and dirt off his ragged trousers. “Dear God, you sound like Mama. Worse, you sound like a wife. I’m going home.”

Blythe shook his head as he watched Jack yawn and stretch his long, bony arms, twisting his torso and cracking his back when he did.

“A wife,” Blythe said. “That’s what you need, Jack. A wife. Preferably a rich one.”

Jack made a face and lightly slapped the top of Blythe’s head with an open hand. “Don’t be stupid. I’ll never marry. I’d rather go off on grand adventures and come back rich.”

“If so, then you’ll have dozens of girls running after you and your money.”

“Ha! They’ll never get a penny from me!”

Blythe grinned as he threw another stone in the river. “I doubt if your mama will be too happy about that. I’m sure she’ll be demanding grandchildren from you someday.”

“Bah! I’ll be the one bringing home the gold, not her! If she wants to stay on my good side, she’ll keep her nose out of my business and let me have my way!”

A sudden movement just off to the right side of the road across from them caught Blythe’s attention, and he cackled as he gave Jack’s leg a sharp slap.

“Speaking of staying on one’s good side, it looks like you haven’t gotten that far with your mama.”

A plump, red-faced woman walked into view, her ragged gown and smock as well as her bonnet caked with road dust. On one hand she held a particularly large rolling pin, and from what Jack had told him, it was never used for baking.

“Jack Wicket!” she hollered, turning her head left and right. “Where are you, you no good lout?”

Jack stuck two fingers into his mouth and whistled—a shrill siren that always set Blythe’s teeth on edge and send nearby dogs howling. Mrs. Wicket stopped dead and caught sight of the boys, and if her face was red then, it turned nearly black upon clapping eyes on her son.

“Jack! What the devil are you doing? Get your lazy, bony arse back home right this instant if you value your worthless hide!” she screeched, waving her rolling pin wildly in the air. “Didn’t I tell you to chop wood? Didn’t I? You’ve had all this time, and you never bothered to do one simple thing?”

For his part, Jack looked to be taking it all in stride. He stood silently for a moment, allowing his hysterical mother to unburden herself so passionately and convincingly, before turning and saluting Blythe.

“I’ll be dreaming of riches while she thrashes me,” he said and then strode off, hands in tattered pockets, and sang a vulgar drinking song. As to where and how he’d learned it, Blythe couldn’t even begin to guess.

* * * * *

Q. I love to ask this question because I get so many different answers: if you could sit down to dinner with anyone, past or present, first of all, whom would it be, and second, what’s the one question you’d be dying to ask?

A. I’d love to sit down with John Keats and ask him how he came up with such gorgeous, gorgeous poetry. I’ll probably be too emotional to hear what he’d say, though, and will likely end the conversation blubbing over how lovely he is and how sorry I am that we never get to see him write more glorious verses till his old age.

Q. Do you have a favorite fictional character? If so, whom and why?

A. I don’t, sorry. There are just way too many great, memorable characters I’ve read that no one really stands out.

Q. Of all the characters you yourself have created, do you have a favorite, and same as above, whom and why?

A. I’d say Eric Plath from the Masks series. That boy’s my free personal therapist. He’s got the confidence and especially the balls to do things that would get me locked up in a convent if I even attempted any of them. He’s everything I’m not, both as an adult and when I was a teenager, and it’s incredibly liberating, writing him in so many adventures—especially when he shoots his mouth off and tries to sass his way out of an argument with his parents and ends up getting grounded or punished for it.

Q. Along the same lines: if you were to choose your favorite among all the books you’ve written, what would it be and why?

A. I’d say Renfred’s Masquerade (a really tough choice between that and Desmond and Garrick). It’s the novel that comes the closest to the kind of book I’d love to be known for as a writer of speculative LGBT YA fiction. It’s an original fairy tale that makes use of the setting as part of the characters, so to speak, and the fantasy elements really played themselves out as well as I’d hoped. I really enjoyed the writing process, too, especially the masquerade scenes, and I even put together a playlist over at YouTube to listen to while working on the rough draft. It’s also the first book I wrote where I didn’t ease up on the darker or more tragic elements and was able to tie things neatly together at the end without making the conclusion implausible or, worse, laughable. I managed to do something similar with The Glass Minstrel, but Renfred’s Masquerade unfolded more smoothly and less tentatively compared to the other book. If anything, how the book ended is inevitable; there really was no other way for Gustav, Constanza, and Jacopo’s story to conclude, and while I was tempted to do something along the lines of a deus ex machina, I held back and let logic dictate the final events. I suppose I could sum things up by saying that this was the first book where I went all out with my imagination and didn’t regret a single decision I made.

Q. How involved are you in the process of coming up with just the right cover art for your books?

A. Very involved. I usually start looking for images to use when I’m almost done with my rough draft. I collect as many links as possible and share those with my publisher. Sometimes we decide which image would work best with the book, and sometimes I decide which one and send my preferred image instead of a collection of links. My publisher takes care of acquiring the image and tweaking the graphics. If you’ve noticed, all books published by Queerteen Press don’t have boys on their covers; that’s my preference. I don’t like having people on my book covers and would rather work with the story’s theme. I find that I have a lot more freedom choosing images that way, and readers’ mental images of my characters aren’t already fixed before they start reading.

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

A. I think my sense of humor is dry /deadpan, and I’ve got my dad to thank for it. The man had some pretty powerful genes because every one of us has that sense of humor; my mom was the only killjoy in my family.

My favorite comedy series of all time is Blackadder, and that series pretty much encapsulates what I consider to be the best kind of comic writing on TV. Wee caveat: I don’t care much for Blackadder I save for “The Queen of Spain’s Beard” because the humor comes across as a bit strained. I think the writing vastly improved from Series II and onward.

Q. Do you have any other works-in-progress you’d like to share a few details about?

A. I’m currently expanding a novelette I’ve already contracted with Queerteen Press called “The Weeping Willow”. It’s an original fairy tale that started out pretty light and whimsical—rather sentimental, even, but we’re changing that, aren’t we?—that was also supposed to be a part of a new single author anthology. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out with that project, so it’s been shelved for now, and I’m given the green light to work on “The Weeping Willow” some more.

It’s going to turn into a gothic folktale with a lot of supernatural elements worked into the main plot. There’s really not much more to say at the moment since I’m practically starting over with the story, but I’ll definitely be sharing more with readers as I go along over at my blog.

Q. Where can readers find you on the internet?

A. My wee corner of the web is over at http://haydenthorne.com/

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**And now, on to the contest!

All you need to do to enter to win a copy of Gold in the Clouds is leave a comment for Hayden right here. Please remember to include your email address so we know how to contact you for delivery of the eBook. This contest will run through 11:59pm Pacific Time on Friday, April 19, 2013.

A single winner will be selected via Random.org and notified on Saturday, April 20, 2013 for prize delivery.

Thanks so much for participating, and good luck!**

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Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press

Now Available: Gold in the Clouds

Hayden Thorne is going to be our guest tomorrow here at The Novel Approach, with not only an interview but a chance to win an eCopy of her brand new release, Gold in the Clouds, from Queerteen Press. :)

Now Available: Gold in the Clouds.

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Brita Addams, Bruce Tharp, Dreamspinner Press

::Fanfare:: ::Drumroll:: ::Happy Dancing:: Ladies & Gentlemen, General Merrymaking Will Now Ensue…


Go ahead and ask me if I’m I just a little bit excited. Why yes, yes I am, because The Novel Approach review staff has just doubled! Woot! I’m thrilled to be able to welcome Bruce Tharp to the party, as a permanent reviewer. I hope you’ll take a moment to say hello. :-D

A little bit about Bruce:

Bruce Tharp is a father of three, husband, and physician. Bruce was introduced to the M/M romance genre by his husband and jumped at the chance to do hot, steamy research for his husband the writer. When Bruce does not have his head buried in a book, he spends his time cooking, tending to the children’s busy lives, and perfects his creative blowing skills making colorful glass works of art.

Brita Addams will be our guest on Friday, April, 19th, when Bruce’s first review of her Tarnished Gold will go live, so stay tuned!

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Uncategorized

101st Anniversary–why is Donal agus Jimmy on sale?

One of my all-time fave PD Singer stories is on sale!

P.D. Singer

titanic_factsApril 13th, 1912

The Titanic is  519 miles from Queenstown, Ireland, on her way across the Atlantic on her maiden voyage. The passengers are having a good time. The crew are working their asses off. Donal is missing Jimmy.

And their story, Donal agus Jimmy is on sale at 25% off at All Romance eBooks, where you can get mobi, epub, or PDF files.  Or shop Rainbow eBooks, where the same formats are available. If you read on a Kindle, find it on sale at Amazon, too.

DonalagusJimmy4darksepiaThe best jobs in 1911 Belfast are in the shipyards, but Donal Gallagher’s pay packet at Harland and Wolff doesn’t stretch far enough. He needs someone to share his rented room; fellow ship-builder Jimmy Healy’s bright smile and need for lodgings inspire Donal to offer. But how will he sleep, lying scant feet away from Jimmy? It seems Jimmy’s a restless sleeper…

View original post 58 more words

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Dreamspinner Press, Rhys Ford

Countdown to Dirty Laundry….

Countdown to Dirty Laundry…..

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Jennifer Cierra, JMS Books LLC

A Song Of Regrets and Redemption – No More Lonely Lullabies by Jennifer Cierra

Is there any scream more piercing than that of the soul which suffers in silence? – Author Unknown

Cole Grayson had thought his best friend and lover, Jake Walker, was dead, until he walked into a bar one night and the bouncer turned out to be the man—the only man—who, even from the grave, had influenced every single event in the man’s life up to that point: his dreams, his music career, his sham of a marriage…

Finding Jake again and rescuing him from the life he’d been living was supposed to be the realization of everything perfect and whole, and should have completed the picture of the future the two men were destined to have together. But for Jake, the past has left too many scars to ignore, has left too much pain in its wake to leave him in peace and to allow him to believe that who he is and what he’s suffered and what he’s been forced to do to survive are the things that make him anywhere near deserving enough of Cole.

Singing Alone introduced these two men, telling the story from Cole’s point-of-view. In No More Lonely Lullabies, Jennifer Cierra tells Jake’s story, the agonizing truth of the events that shaped who Jake has become, the man who goes through the motions of living but who did, in a figurative way, die all those years before. He is the man who can’t outrun his past in spite of how hard he tries, unless he can allow himself to accept that he has someone to run to and deserves everything that someone is willing to give. Jake is the man who must learn to trust that his silence will keep him bound to the past and only the truth will set him free.

This was an emotional cap on Cole and Jake’s story, filled with the sadness of a boy who was cheated out of the life he deserved and robbed him of the happiness that should have been his to share with the man he loved, and of the purging of the secrets that had become the poison in Jake’s mind so that he could finally forgive himself and look to the future.

This is a lovely completion to Cole and Jake’s story, and I loved the short little commingling at the end of these characters with Paul Ashton from the author’s Melting Wax and Burning Feathers.

You can buy No More Lonely Lullabies here:

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All Romance Ebooks, Jordan L. Hawk, Self-Published

Jordan L. Hawk… She’s At It Again – Master of Ghouls (SPECTR #2)

Good and Evil have the same face; it all depends on when they cross the path of each individual human being. – Paulo Coelho

Special Agent John Starkweather and drakul possessed Caleb Jansen are in that does he?/doesn’t he? phase of their relationship, the part where they really aren’t quite sure where they stand with each other because everything between them has happened so fast and so… well, let’s face it, things are a little weird, what with Gray in the mix, always just beneath the surface of Caleb’s every thought and emotion, trying to convince him to gnaw on possessed people’s neckmeat to get to their ghoulish center. Not to mention being the cause of what appears might become a push me/pull you decision between exorcism and co-existence, and then there’s the trust factor and Caleb not being altogether too fond of the agency John works for…

All I know is that Book #3, Reaper of Souls, isn’t going to come soon enough.

This installment of the series is filled with some gut-clenching excitement amidst relationship tension, not to mention the ghastly bits and the parts that made me think, whoa, that Jordan L. Hawk’s imagination is kind of impressive in a very cool way. It’s an episode of twists and turns in which the hunter becomes the hunted in a game of avarice and mutiny, when the garden of good and evil becomes tangled with the thorny truths and prickly deceptions of betrayal and set-ups, when a former ally becomes the enemy because he covets, blurring the lines of whom the true monster is.

My only advice is this: don’t miss this sequel to Hunter of Demons, because Jordan L. Hawk has done nothing but deliver another fresh and fantastic book to add to her repertoire. It’s filled with plenty of action and suspense, top notch storytelling, not to mention how very skillfully she baits the not-so-fast-dear-reader hook, offering just enough to lure you in and then leaving you dangling, and doing so happily.

You can buy Master of Ghouls (SPECTR #2) here:

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Alex Kidwell, Dreamspinner Press

Sex? In Public? Go See Where Alex Kidwell Says He’d Do It… (How’s that for a catchy title?)

Today’s guest at The Novel Approach is Alex Kidwell, author of the utterly sublime After the End, which, if you haven’t read it yet, is a novel you ought to very much consider adding to your TBR and placing it right at the top. Just don’t forget the box of tissues you’ll need to get through it. :-P

So, go pour yourselves a cuppa, or whatever it is you like to drink, and help me welcome Alex to the show. :-D

Q.) How long have you been writing creatively, and is there one particular person you’d credit for fostering your love of storytelling?

A.) I’m actually a relative newcomer to creative writing. I’ve always made up stories, and my love of books means I’ve developed quite the daydreaming habit, but when I was younger I took most of my creativity out in theatre. I wrote plays and monologues through high school and college, but somewhere in the back of my mind I always wanted to write a book. About eight years ago, I tried my first short story. I still remember sitting there, tentatively poking out words, making my roommate read every sentence. It was nerve-wracking, it was terrifying, and I got hooked immediately.

I have somewhere in a hidden part of my hard drive my very first novel. It’s terrible and should never see the light of day, but it’s finished, and doing that proved to me that I could do it. It took me another six years before I tried again, but when Robin and I had the crazy idea to start Blood Howl, just knowing that I’d written something that long before and managed to complete it was huge.

There’s not one specific person, I think, who really pushed me into writing. More like a series of people – my dad, who gave me A Little Princess one Christmas, which is still my most cherished book, and who constantly was encouraging me to read new and different things; two friends that happened into my life and pushed me to try something terrifying and dare to be geeky and proud in my writing; Robin, who constantly makes me step up my game and who is a source of boundless inspiration – who have set up different stages of my road to becoming an author.

As for people I don’t know personally, much to my constant sorrow, I point to four writers as my biggest heroes – J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis who filled out my childhood with stories and places that formed my imagination, Madeline L’Engle who captured my adolescent angst for something more, and Rob Thurman, who was my inspiration to attempt to write professionally.

Q.) If I’m not mistaken, this is your first solo novel (without partner Robin Saxon). What made you decide to venture out on your own with Quinn and Brady’s story?

A.) The short answer is boredom.

Robin lives in Australia much of the time while I’m in the States. Visas are hard to come by for same-sex partners, so mostly we’re fourteen to sixteen hours separated. We write when we can together, but there would be large blocks of time when we’d be on our own, and we decided that we’d each try to write our own novels in our spare time. So Robin came up with The Royal Road, and I sat down to write After the End. It was honestly the scariest, hardest thing I’ve ever done, but what started out as a kind of experiment and a way to pass the time turned into characters I love and a story I am extremely proud of.

Q.) Speaking of After the End, tell us about the writing process for this book, because I don’t mind admitting I was sobbing before the end of Chapter One. How did the idea of writing a novel about death and grief and the whole process of recovery come to you? And please, be honest, how emotionally draining was it on you?

A.) The idea of After the End was to distill the emotion of grief and write a very simple, very pure story about the stages of it. It came from missing Robin one night and honestly feeling like I couldn’t move for how deeply I ached with that. We’re simply separated by distance; I started to wonder how someone could handle something more permanent, and the idea of writing through that developed from there.

When I write, I start always with the characters. Quinn came to me first, the idea of someone who’d had the love of his life, who had already had his happy ending, how do you go on from there? Actually, the original idea was to do a short story and Brady didn’t exist at all. It was just going to be Quinn dealing with his grief. But as I started to play around with Quinn’s character, I realized that I was writing a fairy tale; the flip side of one, where the happily ever after happened and then ended. Quinn was frozen, unable to force his way out of his own coffin. In order to really tell that story, I needed to find the person who would help him thaw. And so came the character of Brady. I always wanted to explore the idea of someone who had loved so completely figuring out how to live when that love was gone, and I felt, in the end, that having Brady there to support Quinn through his recovery – a recovery that happened not for Brady, or because of him, but that was helped by his presence – allowed for hope and for the promise that eventually you can live with your grief.

I’m an emotional writer. If I don’t feel the story or the characters, I can’t continue. Needless to say, writing After the End meant I was very involved in the emotions that were happening. It was draining, yes, for sure. I think that writing a good story always is, in some ways. But this book felt personal for me; I wanted the readers to walk side by side with Quinn through his grief, through the numbness and the haunting agony of loss, and then come out the other side with a sense of hope.

Q.) When writing the book, did you find it difficult to strike a balance with Quinn, to keep his dark from becoming too dark?

A.) I think the character himself is really what keeps it from veering into totally dark. I mean, here’s a guy who has lost the biggest thing in his life, and he’s still pushing forward. His coping methods aren’t that great, and he’s shut down a lot of himself, but he’s trying, and I think that’s huge. We open the book with hope and we follow Quinn as he learns to accept that. I don’t know, I just loved writing him because while he might not be emotionally healthy, he’s at least trying to figure out how to get there. He’s so sad and so lost, and I think his question is really a universal, poignant one – how do you say you loved someone when you’re trying to move on.

Q.) Aaron Paterson is such a larger-than-life, tangible influence in the story, yet he never spends a single moment on the page. Did you purposely set out to make him such a forceful presence in the book, or did he simply turn out that way as the story evolved?

A.) The one thing I knew from the start was that I wanted people to fall in love with Aaron. For Quinn, Aaron was not the lesser choice. He wasn’t someone he settled with for ten years. He was the absolute, hands down love of Quinn’s life. They were happy, they were fulfilled, and losing him absolutely destroyed Quinn.

If Aaron hadn’t been that important, or if Quinn hadn’t really been that in love, then the moving on part wouldn’t have been as heartbreaking for Quinn. It was incredibly important to me that we could feel how much Aaron and Quinn had been in love, and that they be a couple you would root for in any other circumstance. Their love story is the central theme of the book, really.

Q.) Brady Banner is, hands down, one of the most romantic characters I’ve ever read. What’s the most romantic gesture you’ve ever made?

A.) I really would say I’m not that romantic of a person. The interesting thing to me about Brady is that I never intended him to be overly romantic, either. I do think he’s like Robin in the sense that both of their love languages are in actions. How people express love is often how they believe love should be shown, and so I think Brady’s actions, in this book, definitely speak for how he’s feeling, even when he doesn’t say the words.

Q.) Do you foresee there could be a sequel to After the End? Not that I’m pressuring you or anything. Unless begging would help, in which case, I am indeed begging and/or groveling. ;-)

A.) Actually, just the other day I sat down and mapped out the plot of the sequel! I wasn’t sure if I was going to. I felt like After the End was a fairly complete story and I didn’t want to tack something on that wouldn’t have the same emotional weight. But I can say now that I have found a plot I’m very excited about; we’re going to get the next part of their story from Brady’s perspective and I’m really looking forward to writing it.

Q.) Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have one who’s your absolute favorite? If so, whom and why?

A.) Oh, man, good question. While I love all my characters equally, I will admit to a special kind of pleasure that comes from writing Jed Walker from the Sanguis Noctis series. He’s this great mix of foul mouth badass and vulnerable good guy that I really enjoy. The things we have planned for him in the future are really going to stretch him way beyond his comfort zone, which is where I love him most.

Q.) Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A.) Totally depends. With Robin, we are hard core plotters. We have plotting documents that would rival novellas in length. For After the End, I had nothing written down. My current projects vary – the one that was just submitted had a few paragraphs, the one I’m in the middle of has a few pages. I’m unfortunately not very consistent with my process, but once I find what each story needs I get into my groove for that book.

Q.) What makes you laugh?

A.) Robin. Honestly, no matter how bad of a mood I’m in, no matter how much I don’t want to laugh, Robin can always make me.

Q.) If you could sit down to dinner with one famous person, past or present, fictional or not, whom would that be, and why?

A.) I am actually terrible at questions like this, because in a real life situation with someone I like or admire, I wouldn’t be chatty or brilliant or witty. I’d more than likely sit there with a big dumb grin on my face or fall down or burn myself on the soup. But I’d love to sit there and listen to J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis while they down pints and discuss theology and philosophy and the nature of fiction. I’d never be able to say a word, but I think that would be something magical.

(Lemme ‘splain, people, that the next three questions were submitted by Rhys Ford, and one of them made me blush so I wasn’t going to ask it, but then she told me to put on my big girl panties and ask anyway. Oh yes. The gauntlet was thrown and I accepted her challenge, and dear Alex had this to say: “I am an open book, my dear, and no question is too naughty.” :-P So, here with go…

Q.) If you were on death row and were down to your last meal, what would you order?

A.) Something that counteracts poison. (Hah.) Seriously, though, probably a turkey dinner. I’m a big fan of simple, homey meals, as my cooking skills are sadly lacking (I think the Food Network is a magic show). Turkey, my mom’s cranberry orange relish, which is my favorite food ever, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, and a peach pie for dessert. I’d just nap through my execution.

Q.) Where’s the most romantic place you can imagine having sex in public, without that pesky risk of worrying about being caught? ::blushes::

A.) I think half the point of having sex in public is that thrill of possible discovery. But if I got my choice, I am a huge fan of the idea of being under my partner’s desk, slowly teasing them with my tongue, completely undoing them while they’re having to pretend nothing at all is going on. ::Oh myyyyyy:: :-D

Q.) What’s your favorite swear word, and why?

A.) Fuck. God, I love the word fuck. I was never allowed to curse as a kid and I think I overcompensate now – I have a mouth like a salty sailor.

Q.) Do you have any Works-In-Progress you’d like to share a bit about?

A.) I have a few that I’m really excited about. The first one is Bloodlines, which is the third book in Robin’s and my Sanguis Noctis series. In it, we’re delving hardcore into the lore of that world. Jed and Redford are getting tangled up in a brewing war, we’re introducing new characters, and we’re really exploring this idea of wolves within the supernatural community. In it, Jed and Redford are having some growing pains, which is both fun and heartbreaking to write. The book is basically about family – what it means to be born into one and what it means to choose your own – and I have to admit, it’s my favorite one so far.

I just submitted a solo novel called Gumption & Gumshoes. It’s extremely lighthearted, which is a nice change, and I had a blast writing it. It’s the story of August, an overweight underachiever who gets to pursue his dream of being a detective like in the film noir movies he loves so much. Oh, and he’s also a chinchilla shifter.

Sam is a gruff, bitter divorcee who is also the landlord for August’s detective agency. Together, they fight crime! (**ETA: Gumption & Gumshoes is scheduled for publication with Dreamspinner Press in August/September 2013!**)

What I’m working on now alone is The Women in the Water. It’s a murder mystery that, I hope, will be an homage to the likes of Agathe Christie. It’s set around an isolated lake town with a serial killer on the loose, two characters who alternate between suspicion of each other and outright dislike, and a snowstorm that traps them all. It’s a very different type of thing than I normally write and I’m finding it to be a very thrilling challenge.

And then there’s Happily After, which is the sequel to After the End. I won’t give away too much, but as I said, it will be from Brady’s perspective as he and Quinn start to make a life together. There will be heartbreak for them, of course, but I really hope to be able to capture the hope and love they have together as well.

Q.) Will you share an excerpt from After the End with us?

A.) Here’s a snippet from Brady and Quinn’s first real date. They’ve gone to the movies and are now off to get a piece of the infamous peach pie:

“Pie?” Brady asked, tugging my hand lightly. “Come on, I know this great diner. The coffee is strong enough to hold up a spoon.”

“Sounds like my kind of place.” Our steps matched as we wound our way through the evening crowd. “So, this is kind of embarrassing, but other than the fact you’re a party planner who hates overly fussy cocktails and enjoys fried cheese—”

“Which, by the way, is what makes America great,” he interjected with an impish grin.

I huffed out a laugh and nudged his shoulder with my own. “Fine. Besides the fact you’re a good American cheese-loving man, I don’t know much about you.”

He opened the door for me, a bell chiming lightly to announce our entrance. There were tables scattered around a long counter, the clank of dishes and hum of quiet conversation, and the delicious aroma of coffee. We got seated, and I ordered the promised peach pie, Brady adding a scoop of ice cream to his order.

“Well,” Brady said, sprawled out on his side of the booth, looking good in his tight black sweater. Not that he wasn’t perfectly aware of how he looked. His deep brown eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled at me, and he drummed his fingers on the back of his seat. “I’m a middle child. I went to school for biology for three semesters before I realized I couldn’t stand it, dropped out, and started working catering.”

“Wait.” A smile curled up my lips. “You were a science geek?”

“A very handsome science geek,” Brady shot back, poking a finger at me with a haughty look that only lasted through the beginnings of his laugh. Rubbing a hand through his hair, he shrugged. “I like knowing what makes people work. But now I use that knowledge for creating beautiful moments instead of cutting open frogs.”

Our coffee and pie came out and I dug into the sweet fruit. As promised, Brady reached over to steal my crust. I batted at his fork with mine, but he triumphed, grinning. I didn’t mind at all.
“How about you? Tracy mentioned something about a store?”

Shifting a bit, I fussed with my coffee, adding cream, keeping my eyes down. “Uh, yeah. I own a comic book store.”

People had different reactions to that. Mostly, I got laughed at. Yes, the grown man still spent his days talking about comic books. And Brady did laugh, yeah, but it wasn’t an unkind sound.
“Really? That’s kind of adorable.”

My eyes lifted to find him smiling at me. Something tight lifted in my stomach, a soaring kind of lurch, and I fiddled with my fork. “Adorable?” I murmured, quirking up an eyebrow.

“Yeah.” His hand stole across the table to find mine, that smile still doing weird flippy things in my chest. “Cool. Adorable. Kind of awesome. Take your pick of adjectives.”

“You really shouldn’t be this sweet,” I managed, kind of abruptly, though maybe it just felt that way because my cheeks were all red and I was barely able to keep from stuttering. “I just…. You’re the first person I’ve done this with in a really long time. And Aaron….”

And Aaron. Wasn’t that always the coda in everything? The start and the end and the fucking middle. And Aaron. Only there wasn’t any and anymore.

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

Q.) Thanks so much for that, Alex! Where can we find you on the internet?

A.) I am all things and everywhere. The internet is in my blood.

Robin and I have a website: www.saxonandkidwell.com

I’m on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alexkidwellwrites

Occasionally I tweet @KiddingAlex

And Robin and I are on Tumblr, where we reblog incredibly geeky things and give anonymous love to strangers as saxonandkidwell

We are both really friendly and I hardly ever bite, so if you’d like to drop me a line about books or writing or how amazing Doctor Who, Sherlock, or Hannibal are (seriously, we are huge geeks), I am always up for a chat.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all these nosy questions, Alex! It’s been a pleasure having you here and getting to know you a bit better. :)

And thank you! I had a wonderful time answering these.

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