All Romance Ebooks, Noble Enterprises, Noel York

Jackie Says Noel York’s Randy and Edward (Birds of a Feather #1) Is A Promising Start To A New Series

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all. ― Emily Dickinson

In this, the first installment of the Birds of a Feather series, we meet the three major players. First there is Randy, an out and proud gay man. Recently Randy has been re-evaluating his life due to a health scare. What he finds is a total surprise to him. He realizes he is over the love ’em and leave ’em lifestyle he has been leading; he wants a partner, someone to share his life with. Then we meet Max and Jimmy. These two guys are Randy’s best friends. He could never date either one of them, because as he says, he isn’t into incest. To round out Randy’s little family we meet his sister Kat, a plastic surgeon who is in town visiting for a wedding she and Randy are both participating in.

While attending the wedding rehearsal Randy meets Edward. Edward is everything Randy has been looking for in a man. He is handsome, well built and funny. After some fun flirting Randy is sure he has met a man who could turn out to be “the one”. That is until Edward informs Randy that he is straight, as in a newly divorced father that is straight as an arrow. Randy isn’t buying for a second that the flirting and bantering was misunderstood. Does he want to see where things could go, or should he just walk away?

The next day during the wedding, he gets the answer to his question. Edward explains how his ex-wife found out he is gay, divorced him and threatened to take him to court for full custody of their daughter if he ever had a relationship with another man. Randy feels sorry for Edward, but he can’t force the man to risk his relationship with his child on the off chance they might work out. He asks Edward for one kiss, and man does that kiss put him back on his heels. It leaves him wanting more, but Edward won’t risk it, can’t risk his daughter, no matter how much he may want to.

Imagine Randy’s surprise when Edward shows up at his door the next day, asking for a chance to date and see where they could go as a couple. Of course, they would have to keep it a secret from everyone. Randy decides he can take a chance with Edward and starts dating him. Everything goes great for a while; he and Edward have started to truly care for one another. Unfortunately a mistake sends Edward running and leaves Randy angry and alone.

Will Edward let his ex-wife ruin a good thing between himself and Randy? That question does get answered and in a very sweet way. As much as I found myself not liking Edward in some parts of this book, he wins me over in the end. The ending of this book blew my mind and now I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next! It was a very sweet read, there weren’t many surprises, but the writing was great. I can’t wait to see more of Jimmy, Kat, and Max in the next book, it should be very interesting. I also wouldn’t mind revisiting Edward and Randy. :)

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Randy & Edward (Birds of a Feather #1) here:

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Chris T. Kat, Dreamspinner Press

Sometimes, No Matter How Much We Fight It, Strings Attach

We don’t get to pick who we fall in love with, and it doesn’t happen like it should. – “No Strings Attached”

I have to say when I first met Detective Jeff Woods and Detective Parker Trenkens I wasn’t very fond of either one of them. They were both fairly jaded and had some unpleasant opinions. We meet the two men at a crime scene of a physically disabled man. It seems neither one of the men have a very high opinion of anyone that has physical disabilities. Even while Woods tries to keep Trenkens under control verbally, he is having his own inner dialogues that are pretty harsh.

Needing to blow off some steam, Woods heads to the local meat market for a night out. Once in the bar he has found a few good candidates for his tension release, but instead he ends up getting picked up by someone that is the total opposite of his “type”. Alex is very direct, pushy even. Wood calls him “an arrogant prick,” but he seems to like him. They end up at a pay-by-the-hour motel and when they are spent, lying on the bed Woods finds himself doing something he normally doesn’t do….cuddling! How does that happen? Woods is the king of “no strings attached”, he had made that clear to Alex. Feeling angry and confused, he hugs Alex tightly and kisses him hard, right before walking away.

Two weeks later, the two detectives are assigned a case by request of the mayor to investigate threats made against his granddaughter, who happens to be physically disabled. They find out that it is not only the mayor’s granddaughter, but more than a few children at her school have also been threatened and had some scary accidents. The thought of someone taking out kids because of their disabilities seems to affect Woods. He has been in a surly mood since his night with Alex, ofcourse that has nothing to do with it. Woods does end up seeing Alex again but once he overhears a conversation with someone named Sean, that ends with an I love you and a see you in 20 minutes, Woods is gone without letting Alex explain.

Throwing themselves into the investigation, Woods and Trenkens start interviewing staff, teachers and parents of children from the school. This throws them into the path of Alex. It turns out that Sean is Alex’s younger brother and Alex is his legal guardian. Woods and Alex end up in a contentious relationship that runs hot and cold while Woods is protecting Sean from threats made against him. Maybe by the same person threatening the mayor’s granddaughter. Alex is hesitant to listen to Woods’ orders and while Woods and Trenkens are out investigating more leads Alex decides to take Sean to the pier even though they are being threatened.

An awful accident lands Sean, Alex, and Woods in the hospital, and during the rescue Woods manages to out himself to the entire city due to a news helicopter. While visiting Alex and Sean, they are confronted by the murderer in a hair raising scene where all is almost lost. Alex and Woods decide to give it a go, to see if they can make things work between the two of them with Sean in the mix.

The book has a pretty abrupt ending, but I asked the author and it turns out this will be a series, most likely 3 books. Personally I can’t wait for the next one. The two Mc’s Woods and Trenkens are very flawed individuals. There are times where you won’t like either of them. Then, there are times you can’t help but be smitten with them, because they shock you with the sweetness. This is a great story. I didn’t figure it out til the very end, when the bad guy reveals himself, and I love that in a mystery.

The connection between Alex and Woods starts to bind them as soon as they meet, but they do have to work out a lot of misunderstandings. The one thing they don’t have to work out is the sex. These two men are H.O.T. Chris T Kat wrote some amazing sex scenes in this book; not only were they well, sexy, but they were sweet. It was amusing to see Woods fight himself the whole way on having any sort of relationship with Alex. Trenkens has his own relationship start in this novel, but we only get a glimpse into that. I hope we will see more and more of them in the following books.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who doesn’t need roses in their romance. There aren’t many tender moments in this book, but there are a few. I will definitely be reading any other books in the series and truthfully I am ready for them now!!!

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Attachment Strings here:

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Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing

If It Fornicates You Better Put A Cage On It

If it is the dirty element that gives pleasure to the act of lust, then the dirtier it is, the more pleasurable it is bound to be. ― Marquis de Sade

You remember Nick and Spencer, don’t you? Yes, of course you do, but only if you’ve already read If It Flies. And, if you haven’t, what are you waiting for anyway?

Who could resist, let alone forget, the Market Garden Dom and his quiet attorney, the utterly perfect sexual submissive who brought Nick-the-sadist to his knees? Figuratively speaking, that is. Literally speaking, Spencer is the man who has caused Nick to begin reexamining who he is, what he does for a living, and why doing it now feels so much more prosaic than it ever had before Spencer came into his life.

Love—or something very close to it—will do things to a man, and do those things in such a cunning way that he never sees them coming, let alone providing him with the means to identify or label what those things are. It begins in such an insidious fashion: the need to be with someone, the desire for that someone and everything he gives you, so consuming that you’re suddenly changing habits without understanding why, when all it really is, is the simple fact that you’ve found the one and only person who could ever make you want to change—without really understanding why you want, or even need to, when the person you want to change for has never once asked it of you.

It is the very thing that happens when a man finds perfection—not a person who is perfect but the person who is perfect for him. Spencer is that person for Nick, the perfect gift of complete surrender which makes all of Nick’s other clients slip so far beyond the pale in comparison that suddenly the one place Nick has always wanted to be, becomes the last place on earth he wants to be because Spencer is somewhere else.

Nick is bound.

Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt have delivered once again in this chapter of the Market Garden Tales, and this time it’s the closest thing to a romance I’ve read in the series. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from these two authors: a story that’s sexy and raw and, depending upon your definition of the word, just a little bit kinkay, thank you very much. It’s a down and dirty romance in which Spencer learns the beauty of orgasm denial and Nick learns the beauty of compromise and trust. And maybe the best part of it all is that this installment left me believing in Nick and Spencer beginning.

If you love your rentboys and love just about all the hot sex you can possibly handle in a purely voyeuristic sort of way, now would be a great time to start the series.

Reviewed By: Lisa

You can buy If It Fornicates here:

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Geoffrey Knight, Wilde City Press

Geoffrey Knight Gives Tina A Case Of The Feels In The Boy From Brighton

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. – Nelson Mandela

The Boy From Brighton was a strange read. It was a great story. It just took me to the very end to figure out where it was going. At times it seemed to be going nowhere and everywhere, but that didn’t keep me from loving it. From laughing and crying and feeling empathy for every single character in the story. Geoffrey Knight created characters in forty-three pages that I feel like I know better than some in novels ten times that length.

Charlie and his mother are leaving again. Another in a long series of abusive boyfriends. Charlie stands up to this boyfriend, he says “fuck“ for the first time in his eleven years.. He protects his mother for the first time.

Charlie has no memory of the first four years of his life. When he was four, he had a heart attack. In his child’s mind, his heart was replaced with an old-style alarm clock. “The kind that go tickety-tock all day and all night long. The kind with the earmuff bells on top.”

I felt Charlie’s child-like wonder in the fact that he believed his heart would never stop, never break. If his mother’s heart was broken by the man du jour, she could just get a new one like he had.

Aunty June had to come out at night and pick up Charlie and his Mum again. She had never liked Charlie, thought him an “odd tot“. In just the few words of interaction between the two, Knight had me feeling her disdain for Charlie. Then moments later in a private moment that Charlie inadvertently witnessed, a completely different facet of Aunty June’s personality shone through. Just a glimpse was all that Knight gave me, but I saw it so clearly.

Aunty June told Charlie to go to the pier because his Mum was tired and needed him to not “make a racket.” It was 7:30 am. She gave him a few dollars and sent him on his way. He went to the end of the pier and saw just the railing and the water separating him from France. It was so sad. I was sad, but Charlie only felt the wonder of it all. Would his tickety-tock heart keep going in the water? Would his Aunty June chase after him if he jumped in and made it to France? In the next second, he had fallen in.

He awoke cold, wet and with strange lips against his. It was The Boy From Brighton who pulled him from the water. Charlie’s heart re-started and the little earmuff bells went “ring-a-ding-ding!” The skinny boy with the Smiths t-shirt helped Charlie start breathing again and took him to his flat to patch up his cut chin. After a failed attempt to shop-lift some band aids and a stow-away ride on the tram. How exciting this was! Charlie seemed to take it in stride, but I felt the excitement he should have felt. Would they get caught as the security guard chased them? Would they get kicked off the tram?

The entire story, from the chasing the curlers so they wouldn’t go down the storm drain to kissing the boy (whose name was Joe) to meeting his sad brother and his brother’s sad, pregnant girlfriend seemed to be about Charlie believing that his tickety-tock heart didn’t feel things like other people. So Knight makes the reader feel them instead. Exceptional read and I can’t recommend it more highly.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy The Boy From Brighton here:

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Dreamspinner Press, S. Blaise

A Daily Dose Of Snookered by S. Blaise

Whoever called snooker ‘chess with balls’ was rude, but right. — Clive James

Snookered is part of Dreamspinner Press’s Daily Dose Collection for June. It is a cute little short that works well as what it is.

Neil Davis is a three time World Snooker Champion. He is traveling from New York to Florida and makes a stopover in a tiny nowhere town. In the local sports bar he spots Paul Burnwix playing pool. Paul looks like a lumberjack to Neil, due to his clothing and build.

Paul challenges Neil to a game of American pool and Neil accepts. The two exchange only first names. I must say that Ms. Blaise came up with more pool and sex related innuendo than I realized existed. Some of them were quite funny, what with the balls and shafts and all.

Eventually the innuendo and flirting gets Neil and Paul thrown out of the bar. At some point in the evening, Neil tells Paul his last name and what he does for a living. They head to Neil’s hotel for a one night stand. When Paul wakes up, Neil is gone but has left the cue ball from their game the previous night. Paul decides it’s not over between them yet.

A month later Paul shows up in England at one of Neil’s snooker tournaments dressed in a business suit. He introduces himself for real this time, as the owner of a company that makes pool tables. Paul has brought along an eight-ball. This is the ball that needs to be sunk to win a game of pool. He challenges Neil to another game and the stakes are a date. As Paul bends Neil over the table and kisses the breath out of him, it is obvious that the challenge has been accepted.

This short story left me feeling satisfied. It didn’t hint at a backstory that I would want to know more about. It was self contained and stands alone quite well. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Snookered here:

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Ethan Day, Wilde City Press

Ethan Day Might Make You Change Your Definition Of Self Preservation

As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task. – Diogenes

This was the second time I read Self Preservation by Ethan Day. The first time, it was released by a different e-publisher and I gave it three stars. The editing was missing completely from that version. I have to admit I had forgotten the reason I gave it three stars and I was not looking forward to re-reading it for this review. Why did I volunteer? I think because I had already read several Wilde City Press e-books and had found true nirvana. Almost flawless editing, proofing and formatting. This version of Self Preservation is a now different animal entirely from its previous incarnation.

To me, story is King. But the court jesters of bad proofing, editing, formatting and spelling can assassinate the King. Because of the much needed improvement in those areas, which were made by Wilde City Press, the story in Self Preservation was able to shine through. I got my first true taste of this lovely, heart-warming book.

Ethan Day is one of my favorite authors, genre be damned. He is witty, snarky and creative but also has emotional depth that translates well onto the page. Or screen if that’s how you read. He created characters in Self Preservation that were so likeable, I wasn’t sure I was rooting against ANYONE! I wanted them all to get their HEA.

Davis is invited to Jack’s wedding. Jack was his first love and Davis has been in a holding pattern for six years, just waiting for the moment Jack will walk back into his life and tell him he made a mistake by leaving him. Now Jack is marrying a man he has only know for weeks. A man named Tadd. Tadd the toad!

Davis and his best friend, fashion designer Desiree, decide to go to the wedding, planning to make-over Davis and get Jack back for himself. As usual, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

After much tomfoolery an nonsense, it turns out Tadd isn’t such a toad after all. And Tadd’s best friend Alex, he is just a knight in shining white armor. The wedding happens (of course it does, you didn’t expect such a quickly planned caper to work!).

But a funny thing happens on the way to the HEA. Alex likes Davis. Really likes Davis. And Davis is pretty sure he likes Alex right back. Desiree, she has a big secret of her own and meets a tall, dark and handsome stranger at the reception.

The over-arching observation for me in Self Preservation is that Ethan Day injects humor into every possible little nook and cranny that he can find. He had me laughing out loud so many times! But he also had me crying. I think that an author capable of causing such heights of humor and happiness is equally capable of causing us to tap deeply into our inner well of sadness. Not all authors choose to do that. Ethan Day is one of the best at it. He elects to wield every emotion at his disposal, and uses them like stealth bomber. I’m laughing, and then, wait, what? Why am I crying? Ohhh. I get it, that’s funny but it’s so sad, too. The capacity to inject a situation with those opposite extremes of emotion is a rare talent. I have so far not read an Ethan Day book that I have not liked. I know that the combination of his innate talent and the talent of the staff at Wilde City Press (of which he is one of the co-founders, by the way) will be unbeatable. I can’t wait for more. I recommend Self Preservation with no reservations. You will love it.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Self Preservation here:

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JL Merrow, Riptide Publishing

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t… Such Is The Life Of A Demon

The path to paradise begins in Hell. ― Dante Alighieri

It’s difficult being a detective with the Paranormal Enforcement Agency when your only claim to anything even remotely magical is that your mother happens to be a Valkyrie, which means you happen to be half immortal. At least, it’s a bit of a thorn in the side of Detective Lars Thornsson, seeing as how being the son of one of Odin’s “choosers of the slain” didn’t gift him with any sort of special powers to aid him in his career; it just made him gorgeous and large, which, if you stop to think about it, could really come in handy in some instances; say, when you’re hunting a succubus who’s draining the souls out of men through their…well…their little soldiers.

Rael is a saucy and sexy little minx of a demon, one who defies labels, seeing as how he’s a succubus rather than an incubus. But, really, who cares about the label? It’s the suspect behind the latest rash of succubus murders that counts, and Rael happens to have found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, when Lars and his partner Rochelle show up at the scene of the latest soul-sucking (emphasis on the sucking part) crime only to find a dead body, and Rael doing what he does best.

Well, it doesn’t take long for Lars to discover that Rael’s a rather pacifistic demon—he’s a lover not a killer—and while he’s certainly capable of murder, he simply lacks the motive and the malevolence to commit such a crime. He’s just far too busy being adorable and irresistible to be a villain, but that’s not much of a character defense, and Rochelle remains not only unconvinced but unenthused, as well, by…yeah, pretty much everything. Honestly, if she weren’t one-hundred percent human, she’d make a very convincing demon herself. She pretty much rocks at the giving of hell.

So, what’s a sex demon to do when he needs to feed but is capable of sucking the very life out of a human? Well, luckily for him he finds a half-immortal Viking who can take everything Rael can dish out. And luckily for Lars, the demon he finds utterly mouth-watering is willing to be a one-man-demon for the right man. And, yes, Lars is absolutely the right man. They’re meant for each other like a starving demon at an all-you-can-eat buffet of sex, they are.

JL Merrow has written four stories, each set in a world of magic, a place of witches and their familiars, of demons and vampires and pseudo-genies who grant questionable Wishes, a place where nothing at all is alien as long as it has a green card. There are crimes to solve, crimes in which the suspects aren’t always the worst of the bad guys, really. In fact, some of them are downright loveable—if only to the good guys who find them so.

A Calling for Pleasure, A Blast from the Past, A Wish Too Far, and A Glutton for Punishment are brimming with mischief and mayhem, offering more than a few chuckles along, with some downright laugh-out-loud moments, too, courtesy of JL Merrow’s clever ways, and the wicked tongues that wag their way through these deliciously demonic tales.

If you love a paranormal story that doesn’t take itself at all seriously, if you’re looking for a little tongue planted firmly in the cheek take on demons and sex, and demon sex that burns hotter than hellfire, then I suggest you give Damned if You Do a good seeing to. It’s devilishly fun!

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Damned if You Do here:

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Amy Lane, Dreamspinner Press

Just In Case You Haven’t Heard, Amy Lane Has A New Book Releasing Today. And Just In Case You’re Interested, We Have Amy Here As Our Guest!

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We’re so excited to have the always delectable Amy Lane with us here at The Novel Approach today to celebrate the release of her latest book Forever Promised. Jackie wrote a fantastic review of the book, then she, Tina, Bruce, and I put our thinking caps on and came up with a few questions for Ms. Amy and, in her true super good sport way, she answered every last one of them and then shared some excerpts with us–both from “Forever” as well as a sneaky peeky from her current Work-In-Progress!

So, read on, and enjoy!

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• With Forever Promised closing out the Promises series, are there any characters you will miss writing about more than others?

I think Shane and Mikhail. I mean, I loved Deacon and Crick and Jeff and Collin, but Shane and Mikhail are going a different way with their “grown up and mature” happy ever after, and I think I could live with them and see how that goes!

• One thing that I have noticed with your characters is that you don’t seem to have any one certain type of guy. There are cowboys, basketball players, porn stars and yarn makers. Out of all these men, do you have a favorite, or is there one man that pulled those heart strings more than another?

See, I’ve always wanted to DO ALL THE THINGS. So when I write characters, I enjoy writing characters that DO ALL THE THINGS—because honestly, there are only a few things I personally could actually do myself. (An office job is right the hell out, for example. And remind me some day to tell you why I don’t ride horses. High entertainment—it only took three broken bones, a broken nose, stitches, and two concussions for me to realize we weren’t meant to be.) So my “type” of man is mostly the good type of man. I like men with integrity, and even though they might have that pesky communication problem, I like characters that can work around that. And right there I think is my type. The type who means well, and wants to do good in the world. Ta-da!

• I loved “Truth in the Dark”: do you think you’ll write more paranormal/fantasy/fairy tales anytime in the near future?

Yes! I so have an idea for a couple of AU stories. One of them, Immortal is going to be the last thing I do before I write Quickening, which is part of my Little Goddess series. (This series is not m/m—but it does have m/m relationships.)

• Are you more of a plot it out from beginning to end writer, or are you a fly by the seat of your pants type?

I’m a “road trip” writer. I have a beginning, a few stops planned in the middle, and an end. Everything else that happens on the trip is fair game—and I look for those moments as I go.

• What author do you feel has influenced your work, if any? Also, do you have a favorite author?

The authors I read as a kid influenced me a LOT—Lloyd Alexander, Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip, Barry Hughart, Guy Gavriel Kay, David Eddings—I know they’re all fantasy, but they had such an approach to prose and storytelling and giving the reader a space to find their own words instead of filling that space with empty words—these are lessons I’ve never forgotten.

• I love that your passion for knitting shines through in so many of your books. How did you get started with your knitting?

Ooh! I LOVE telling people this! See, I had a couple of grandmothers who crocheted and knitted, and they tried to teach me, but, well, patience, not such a strong suit. Anyway, after the one who crocheted the most passed away, I had this dream. Not about grandma, but about the hook and the yarn, and how it fit together. I woke up, thought, “I can do that!” and went and bought myself some yarn and a hook and a how-to book. And then I saw pattern books in the store with crochet and knitting patterns. I bought the books, and felt sort of left out not knowing the knitting patterns while I had the book so I taught myself that too. And then I started reading The Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-MacPhee) and I’ve been completely obsessed with knitting and premium yarn ever since!

• I cry a lot while reading your books, mostly while reading the characters’ backstories. Does it affect you the same way as you’re writing about their lives?

Yes. I cry every damned time. When I’m writing, these people are a part of me. Finding out what happened to them always sucks.

• Which of your books is your favorite, and what is your all time favorite book?

Hm… which of my books is my favorite? I think my personal favorite is Truth in the Dark—for a lot of reasons. My all time favorite book? Is probably Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, or The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, or maybe Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.

• What is the strangest thing you have ever knitted?

When I was knitting a sweater for Zoomboy, the front of the sweater had a duck’s face on it. The back of the sweater was blank, but I sort of thought I could do better than that—so I knitted a big square back with a duck’s butt on it. And even though all anybody saw was the front (and the fact that it looked ADORABLE on Zoomboy!) I kept calling it the Duck’s Butt sweater. So, well, yeah. That. I also knitted an afghan with a cat on it. The original pattern called for a black and white cat on a red background, but Chicken wanted pink with rainbow stripes. (Ask me what a nightmare this was—I dare you.) It was hideous—but she loved it very much.

• What’s the easiest and most difficult part of writing a sex scene?

The easiest part is what goes where. The most difficult part is why these two people are putting it there and why we should care.

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

Sometimes really inappropriate things—I’ve had to seriously monitor my sense of humor to keep from being a creepy little spazzmonster who would scare people. But mostly what makes my sense of humor perk up is a playing with words, unexpected takes on things, and boldly stated truths. And wiener jokes. I can never get enough of wiener jokes. And weird pet names. That’s one of my all-time faves.

• What’s the strangest thing a fan has ever done for you or to you?

Well, I’ve had a surprising number of them cry on me (*wink*) so that’s no longer strange, but it’s still sort of awesome and humbling. I’ve had fans make fan art (one of my favorite things ever) buy me lunch, make me sock knitting bags, and knit me scarves. I’m like a big, fat, lazy cat—if a fan wants to stroke me I will roll over and purr. I’m just always so grateful that what I do makes other people happy! *(Wink Note: Amy is a real sport when people ugly-cry all over her. You should try it sometime. Just sayin’.)*

• What famous person would you most like to have in a room…naked? ::waggles eyebrows:: :)

Jensen Ackles, hands down. But once Tyler Hoechlin hits 30 and I can consider him fair game, I’m taking that fantasy and adding a hotbody!

• Have you ever written something and then thought, “Oh my goddess, I can’t put that out there for people to read?!”

Yes. Absolutely. I think I have a moment like that with every book. But I was working on Wounded and inwardly spazzing over the sex scenes (which, at that time, were some of my most explicit) when someone asked me about Vulnerable in front of my husband. I turned red and muttered something about “explicit” and “alternative” and “you might not like it because of, uhm, guys and guys” and Mate said something that I’ve carried with me ever since. “Own your sex scenes. They don’t make you a bad person, they just make you a creative writer.” So now, before I go back and take it out (Ace’s cold, calculating description of how he has sex with women is one of the moments that sticks in my mind at the moment) I run it by Mary. Usually the stuff that makes the chubby soccer mom in me cringe the most is the stuff that makes Mary (Calmes) as well as my other readers say, “That was amazing and brave.”

• Have you ever seen a picture of a beautiful man (men) and known instantly that you have to write a book based on that picture?

Chase in Shadow, Dex in Blue, Ethan Gold, Racing for the Sun—ah, Corbin Fisher, the many gifts you’ve given me!

• You have been called an evil genius before, by someone in this very interview. Are you an evil genius, or just a misunderstood writer of heartbreaking angst?

(crosses eyes) Well, I think I’m someone in between. I can think of two instances where I did something heinous in print because I thought it would be “interesting in a literary way” instead of sticking to the rules of storytelling that I know in my bones. Both times beta readers said, “No. No, that feels forced. Please take that out.” I never even thought of myself as a “writer of angst” until the reviewers started pinning me with that after Keeping Promise Rock. The only thing m/m audiences had really seen from me at that point was If I Must. I think I surprised people, going from the cute and light to the sturm and drang—all I’ve ever really striven to do as a writer is to write real. I hear about as much news as I can stand, and I hate watching it because it always feels exploitive. What I actually do when someone tells me a story about something awful or something painful that happened to a friend or herself is internalize. “How does somebody survive that situation? How do they walk away and interact with other human beings?” That’s often what drives me to write broken people. I want to see these broken people fixed—or at least in a place where someone else can help them with their brokenness, and they can thrive.

• What’s the one thing about you that might surprise us to know?

I suck at keeping family albums. One of the reasons I started keeping a blog is so I could document my children growing up because putting pictures in a book just seemed to be so beyond me.

• Do you have any works-in-progress you’d care to share with us?

I’m currently working on Ethan Gold, and it’s currently breaking my ever-loving heart. Here’s a little snippet, where we see Jonah, who knows nothing about Johnnies, and his interaction with some people we know very well:

“Who are we meeting again?” Amelia asked for like, the five-hundredth time.

“A guy I met at work. He’s a friend of the new manager’s.”

“Whom you like.” She was looking at him suspiciously, and he couldn’t blame her. He’d simultaneously bitched about Tommy and felt bad for him over the last four days.

“He’s a good manager,” Jonah said after a few moments. “He’s just… I think he’s really tightly wound right now.” It had taken him a while to put stuff together, but that blond guy had come by a couple more times and every time he did, Tommy, the god with the bright eyes and the abrasive manner, seemed to become Dex’s favorite little brother. Jonah had overheard a few more conversations, and he realized that all of the hushed references to Tommy’s boyfriend and his illness had actually been references to mental illness, and Jonah wasn’t sure what to think about that. And then he’d heard “not suicidal anymore” and he was sure that Tommy, who was starting a new life and taking care of someone who couldn’t take care of himself, deserved whatever break Jonah could give him.

And that included nodding his head and saying, “Yeah, sure!” even when Tommy was more gruff than tactful.

“Dammit, Jonah, could you get the fucking fish food? I don’t know who forgot to stack it but I wanna spank them with a four-by-four.”

“Yeah, sure!”

“Fuck it—I don’t give a fuck when we’re scheduled to clean the cat cages, they smell now! Get someone to—no, dammit, you don’t do it, you’re the only reason I don’t fucking kill everyone in the fucking store!”

“Yeah, sure!”

And finally, tonight, actually, “Dammit, Jonah—Ethan’s gonna be hella fuckin’ bummed if you don’t get your ass outta here and get ready for your date—”

“It’s not a date!”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever. Get the hell outta here. I’ll finish the stocking.”

“Yeah,” Jonah said, finally realizing that Tommy’s gruffness, his manic intensity (and his overuse of the F-word) did not actually make him a bad person. It just made him gruff. “Sure, Tommy. Thank you.”

“You been a good helper this week, kid. And Ethan needs a good night out, even if it’s a not-date. Get your ass outta here, kay?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

Jonah smiled tentatively, and Tommy’s grin back was truly remarkable. Pointy teeth, glittering black eyes—no matter how shadowed—and hard-apple cheeks. Jonah’s heart beat just a little faster, but he didn’t linger over that smile.

He really wanted to see Ethan again.


• Would you be willing to share an excerpt from Forever Promised with us?

Sure—here’s one of my favorite sequences, because Mikhail doesn’t do bad dialog!

Mikhail

Mikhail eyed Martin with deep suspicion, especially since the boy had obviously not heard a word he’d said two and a half years earlier, and had eaten enough to grow to the size of a house. Any boy who grew that big was obviously a person not to be trusted.

“You understand, this is a very special vehicle,” he said sharply.

Martin, to his credit, eyed the giant purple Chevy van with the freehand pink lettering without batting a thick black eyelash.

“I understand,” he said, and his voice was soft and low, but Mikhail still scowled.

“You understand that this is a special vehicle, or you understand how to work on such a thing?” he demanded. “The other boy—”

“Collin?” Martin asked, confused, and Mikhail waved his hand.

“Pfft—yes, he is still a boy. You are all children. I am surrounded by children, and disrespectful ones at that, or that boy would not have gone off and on a holiday when my car chose to break down.”
Martin thrust out a pink-chocolate lip and turned big soulful eyes on Mikhail without the slightest twinge of impatience. Martin had been able to make it out for the wedding, and he’d been a mechanic in a garage down south during his entire junior year of high school. Although technically an adult, this was the summer before his final year of high school, and he’d come out to attend the wedding and watch Collin and Jeff’s house and Collin’s business. The two of them were spending a week in Manhattan, seeing plays and museums and generally boring Collin to death (or so Mikhail assumed).

It appeared that Martin had earned enough self-possession in the years to not succumb to Mikhail’s little temper tantrum about his beloved Purple Brick. “They’re on their honeymoon,” Martin emphasized, “and Collin wouldn’t have left me in charge if he didn’t trust me.”

Collin, in fact, had told Mikhail that this boy was planning to come to California permanently once he’d graduated, where he would live in Collin’s old flat above his mother’s garage and assist Collin and Joshua with the business. Next June, he would be a high school graduate as well as an adult, and right now, he was practicing for the job. Mikhail had trouble believing that—the boy had been the next best thing to a delinquent when he’d first arrived at Levee Oaks, and he had certainly hated Jeff’s queer ass with everything inside him. But still, Mikhail was walking, irritated proof that people could indeed change.

“This van is very special,” he conceded. “When I brought it home, my cop took one look at it and called everybody we know to come out and fix it. It took them four days.”

Martin’s eyes got a little wider, and he looked under the hood of the van again. “You got off lucky, little man. If you’d brought that thing to me in any worse condition than it’s already in, I would have gotten Collin’s gun out of the safe and shot it dead.”

Mikhail grunted and narrowed his eyes. “You say that, but you? You do not have the guts. It takes a Russian to make a mercy killing, but only on a good day. I have no mercy in me. You’d better fix it, or the damned thing is going to haunt you like whatever small city you ate for breakfast.”

Martin grinned. “I frickin’ missed you, you grumpy Russian bastard.” He straightened up and wiped his hands with one of the cloths he and Collin seemed to sprout from their pockets. “Do you have a ride, or do I have to send you into the garage to make Joshua’s life a living hell?”

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

Thanks for stopping by, Amy, and congratulations on the new release! Don’t be a stranger! ;-)

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Amy Lane, Dreamspinner Press

Forever Promised by Amy Lane Promises Happy Tears And Happy Endings

I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. – Louisa May Alcott

I actually finished this book a couple days ago, but I needed some time to let it stew in my head before I could write about it. I will say that in preparation for reading this book I invested heavily in boxes of Kleenex. Turns out I didn’t need them as much as I thought I would. For the most part, this book is just a wonderful wrap up and a fun visit with old friends and a few new ones.

We get to visit with Benny and Drew, Jeff and Collin, Shane and Mickey, Jon and Amy, Kimmy and Lucas and of course, Crick and Deacon. There is a visit from Martin in here also, so yeah, the gang’s all here.

Benny and Drew want to live together, just the three of them. Benny, Drew and Parry Angel. Once the decision is made and Benny is ready to tell Deacon, she finds out Jon and Amy are leaving. Feeling guilty about leaving Deacon when his heart is hurting over the loss of his childhood friend, Benny feels she has to give Deacon the one thing he can love that will never leave him. It takes some time for Drew to get over the jealousy, but finally they both agree, but getting Deacon on board is a whole other story.

Jeff and Collin are finally getting married, in the hottest month of the year! I guess these two will never do anything the easy way. They are excited about Martin coming to stay after he graduates; they feel like he is part younger brother and part son to them. They have moved into a new place together fully decked out with a playroom for the largest house cats in the world. It is also revealed later in the book that they both want kids of their own one day. The idea takes some getting used to for both of them. Two HIV positive men adopting will not be easy, but they are ready for the challenge and they have a lot of love to give.

Shane and Mikhail have gotten Promise House up and running and it is a success. They are helping these young people immensely and in turn they have found a kind of kinship with these children. Shane and Mikhail both feel like they are the parents to these kids. Through the ups and downs, the successes and the failures, they are always by their side. They have also found true happiness with one another. Mikhail in still head over heels in love with his “stupid cop” and Shane would never have another.

Jon and Amy have been handpicked to work with a legal team in Washington D.C. They will be working to push through legislation for LGBT rights. As much as this appointment means to Jon it is still so very hard for him to leave Deacon. They have been best friends since kindergarten and there are times that Jon wonders if life would have been better if he could just love Deacon the way he loves Amy. But, he knows that will never happen and he realizes some things just happen the way they are supposed to.

Kimmy and Lucas are dealt a pretty terrible hand. Kimmy feels that it is all her fault and that Lucas is suffering because of her. With some tough love from Mikhail and some coddling from Jeff she starts to heal. She realizes that there is more than one way to get what it is that you want the most.

We also get introduced to a new character in this book. Sweetie, or LaLauna, is a streetwise kid that comes to live at Promise House. She doesn’t talk a lot until she meets Martin. The two of them strike up a sweet relationship through email and some great love songs from Motown. I don’t like to give spoilers so I won’t tell you how this part of the story plays out, but I will give you a hint. Amy Lane wrote it so get some tissues.

Now the only pair I haven’t said much about, Deacon and Crick. These two are still trying to move on from their past. It seems that no matter how much they forgive each other, Deacon is still worried about being left alone. Benny offers Deacon and Crick the greatest gift they could imagine. A baby, part Deacon and part Benny, the closest thing to Crick and Deacon combined possible. After a heartfelt confession from Benny, Deacon is convinced that it is ok, this one time, to be a little greedy and want something for himself.

I truly didn’t spend much time crying over this book. Most books by Amy Lane have my eyes and nose red and swollen for days after I am done reading. This book was truly a happy book. Yes, there are some sad parts, yes there are some emotional parts. Most of my tears were happy tears. I guess if I have to give up the guys and gals from Promise Rock, I can rest assured that they are all happy, they are all loved and their story will live on with the next generation. I hope you can all be as content as I was when reading the last sentence of this book. Thank you, Ms. Lane, thank you so much!!!

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Forever Promised here:

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Rhys Ford, Self-Published

Feel Like Playing The Blues? How About A Little Black Dog Blues And An Amazon Gift Card?

Ever since he’d been part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figured he’d used up any good karma he had when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races were left with a messy, monster-ridden world and Stalkers were often the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy and dark moved into the neighbourhood.

There certainly were no shortage of monsters or people stupidly willing to become lunch for one.

It was a hard life but one Kai liked. And he was good at it. Killing monsters was easy. Especially since he was one himself.

After an accident retired Dempsey out, Kai set up permanent shop in San Diego, contracting out to the local SoCalGov depot. It was a decent life, filled with bounty, a few friends and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him he wasn’t really human.

That was until a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego and Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It was supposed to a simple run; head up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary with the new Court then back to San Diego. Easy, quick and best of all, profitable. But Ryder’s “simple” run leads to massive trouble and Kai ends up being caught in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich by being a Stalker. But then hardly any of them got old either. The way things were looking, it didn’t look like Kai was going to be the exception.

Well, now that I have your attention, perhaps it’s time to announce that Rhys Ford has a new book she’s just self-published, which is the best part, but here’s another really awesome part: Rhys would love to give away an e-Copy of the book along with a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner! That’s right, two, two, two prizes in one! (In the event the winner is a non-US resident, a substitute gift will be offered in lieu of the Amazon card.)

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment (along with your email address) right here, and you’ll automatically be placed in the running. All comments must be posted by 11:59pm Pacific time on Monday, July 1, 2013 (one entry comment per person, please).

The drawing will be held on Tuesday, July 2nd via Random.org, and the winner announced right here, so stay tuned, and good luck!

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Torquere Press

Attention Authors: A Torquere Press Special Call For Submissions

SEPTEMBER – OUTSERVE CHARITY SIP BLITZ

Every year, the great authors at Torquere Press put their money where their mouth is, donating their time writing stories for our chosen charity. Those same authors donate any royalties earned on their stories to the chosen organization, with Torquere matching those donations 100%. In the past we’ve raised $5000.00 for Lambda Legal, over $3000.00 for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and more than $10000.00 combined for organizations such as NOH8 and Doctors Without Borders.

For the 2013-2014 Charity event, which will premiere in September 2013, we’ve chosen OutServe-SLDN as our donation organization. OutServe is an non-profit that provides legal services and support to LGBT military individuals and families, working toward equal representation and benefits.

This year’s theme for Charity Sips, or short stories, is “In Uniform”. Who doesn’t love a man, or woman, in uniform? While OutServe is primarily a military charity, we want to encourage authors to use their imaginations. Soldiers, sailors, pilots? Absolutely. But we’re also open to stories about first responders like police, firemen and EMTs, as well as security guards, park rangers or anyone else who wears a snappy uniform to work. Give us hot, romantic, fully realized stories with happy endings about all the unsung heroes and heroines in the world.

Word count for Charity Sips ranges from 3000-8000 words. Deadline for submissions is July 1, 2013. Please send stories to submissions@torquerepress.com with OutServe Charity Sip and your story’s title in subject line. Include full manuscript in RTF or Word formats, and in the body of the email include a cover letter with your full legal name and address information, as well as a synopsis of your story. Please our general submissions guidelines for formatting and other information. Feel free to emailkristi@torquerepress.com for more information.

OCTOBER – LIGHTS OUT SIPS!

They say there’s nothing there in the dark that isn’t present in the light. We disagree! Halloween is all about things that go bump in the night, and October is all about Halloween here at Torquere. Give us romantic, fully realized, LGBT tales about Halloween and/or paranormal activity, from ghosts to were-creatures to vamps and everything in between. Give us all the things that only come alive when the lights go out!

Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Lights Out in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is August 1, 2013. Length, 3000-8000 words.

NOVEMBER – THANKFUL SIPS

We should all stop and be thankful for something. Whether it’s the big things — like love and family — or the little things — like flavored lube — or simply the HOT things, we want to know! For our Thankful sips, we’re looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about love during Thanksgiving holidays. Make us laugh or cry, surprise us and make us glow with happy endings! Length is 3000-8000 words.

Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Thankful in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is September 1, 2013.

DECEMBER – ALL I WANT SIPS

All I want for Christmas (or Hanukah or Yule) is you. Or you and you… Who doesn’t want to be with someone they love for the holidays? For our All I Want sips, we’re looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about love at the holidays. Make us laugh or cry, surprise us and make us glow with happy endings! Length is 3000-8000 words.

Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with All I Want in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is September 15, 2013.

Happy Reading,

Kristi Boulware
General Manager – Submissions Editor

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Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes

Mary Calmes Delivers A Heaping Dose Of Speed In Heart of the Race

Maverick: “I feel the need…” Maverick & Goose: “…the need for speed !” – Tom Cruise & Anthony Edwards in Top Gun.

Wow. Heart of the Race is part of Dreamspinner Press’s Daily Dose Anthology for June. As usual with Ms. Calmes’s work, it towers above the rest. I must issue a disclaimer that I am a huge fan of her work. But, wow.

Heart of the Race is the story of Brian and Varro. Brian was nine years old and in his sixth foster home when he looked out his window and saw Varro on the roof of the house next door. Varro was about to jump a go-cart off the roof. Brian asked if he could be next and they were inseparable for the next decade.

The go-cart jump was a massive fail but Varro’s parents fell in love with Brian and immediately took him in as a foster son. Brian had the forever home he had dreamed of. One problem. He realizes that he is gay and in love with Varro, whom he considers off limits due to their best friend/foster brother relationship.

When it is time for college, Brian can’t take the close proximity any longer. He leaves to go to college. Varro leaves and starts racing motorcycles all over the world. Brian proceeds to turn avoidance into an art form. He only goes home when he knows Varro won’t be there. They don’t talk or keep in contact like they used to.

Brian’s pain is palpable. He suffers constantly both for loving and missing Varro and because he worries about Varro’s safety. The first time Varro has a life threatening injury, Brian is called to the hospital. Varro’s parents, brother, friends and co-workers are all there. They talk to Varro to try to get him to wake up.

Varro remains comatose until he hears Brian yelling at him to wake up. Brian proceeds to do what he needs to do to bring Varro back to them. The intimacy with which he shares secrets with Varro is deeply moving. Brian whispers threats to tell Varro’s mother about embarrassing teenage memories. The memories are mostly about girls that Varro slept with and where he did it. For Brian to re-live this must have torn him up inside. When Varro wakes, Brian needs to leave the room immediately.

Varro uses emotional blackmail to convince Brian to go on the racing circuit with him. Brian agrees to one season only. Varro still seems oblivious to Brian’s true feelings. He doesn’t realize that he is causing his best friend such pain. Only the reader knows. We feel it because Ms. Calmes is such a master at making us feel it.

While on the circuit, Brian watches Varro put his life at risk on a daily basis. He watches Varro sleep around with sometimes multiple women in a day. In the midst of this, Brian has an epiphany. He realizes that his dream of Varro figuring out that he isn’t straight after all and professing his love for Brian is not going to happen. The writing at this point in the book, the revelation itself, just sucked all the air out of my lungs and made me tear up.

As agreed, Brian finished the season. He returns home to the states. Brian starts a life. He opens a center for troubled youth which gives them a place to go and just be or to get vocational training if they need it. Brian buys a house. He starts to date. Varro and Brian don’t speak for a year.

Suddenly, Varro is back in Brian’s life. After having Brian there full-time for a season, then gone for a year, it seems that he, too has had an epiphany. He is in love with Brian and wants a life with him. He is willing to, as he puts it “be gay” if he gets to have Brian. The kissing scene alone that follows pretty near burned up my Kindle. It was passionate, loving, coming-home, so hot for you, going to die if I don’t get you naked soon kissing. Wow.

Varro has had a job offer to be a test driver for a new motorcycle manufacturer. While the job involves travel, it allows him to be home most of the time. He wants to know that Brian will be his home and vice versa. They both settle into their new life together and have page burning sex.

This story is so well-written, I could read another 300 pages about Varro and Brian. But I don’t need to. Because it is so well-written that I don’t have to read 300 more pages to be satisfied. I loved this little book and order you to read it immediately!

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Heart of the Race here:

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Ramblings

It Is A Day Of Celebration!!!

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As our nation has witnessed the landmark 5-4 defeat of DOMA, we celebrate the truth and unconditional belief that LOVE IS LOVE!

We are all now equal in the eyes of the government. Let us all continue to strive for the day that we are all equal in the eyes of mankind!

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Dreamspinner Press, Eric Arvin

Eric Arvin’s Woke Up in a Strange Place Is A Life After Life Adventure

To die will be an awfully big adventure. – Aristotle

Imagine, if you will, standing upon the banks of a lazy river, its surface a cool and contemplative deception that masks the roiling current tumbling below. You wade into its deceptive stillness, unaware of and unprepared for what lies beneath, an unknown variable that, in its depth and power, sweeps you off your feet and carries you to the beyond, a traveler on its every whim, helpless to do anything more than succumb to it, leaving you at the mercy of its will.

This is exactly what reading Woke Up In a Strange Place was like for me, drifting along on a river of words that flowed at once serenely then became turbulent in their emotional depths. Eric Arvin sat down in front of a computer one day and began to tell a story, opening a floodgate of imagery so museful and inspired that it lured me in, in all its subtle tranquility, and then drew me under, setting me adrift on an unexpected journey that transported me to a place far, far from where I’d begun, a place that is other and exists just beyond the veil of “I am”, in a place we may know as “I was”.

Imagine, if you will, that we are little more than souls inhabiting a temporary shelter, traveling on an endless journey that loops in a continuum of beginnings, the sort of beginnings that lead us down a path once traveled then forgotten that must be traveled then remembered before we can begin again. The journey will take you through a Neverland of wondrous and impossible possibilities, an Elysian Field where each station of the course is laid out in a carefully constructed relief map of the unexpected, where those who are expecting the unexpected watch and wait in remembrance of us.

Joe has set out upon this journey through his own Avalon, chasing his life in death through snippets of memory until the moment he will reach the thing closest to a heaven only he can claim as his own. Only, Heaven is closed for business…or, is it?…in this through-the-looking-glass adventure, in this searching of souls where a man discovers that the pride in all his battles in life have built the strength that leads him to a love of lifetimes.

Over land and water and through the skies, Joe will encounter places of grief and regret, of seduction and salvation, of mystery and revelation, places of grace and of love, and faith and forgiveness. It is the place called the Eternal Second, the place where mythology meets the poetic, and where Joe will search for The Stranger he knows so well but can’t yet remember, not until he relives time and time and time again.

Woke Up In a Strange Place is a story of death and rebirth, of destiny and second chances, like an ambling journey through a long and winding poem written in perfect symmetry and rhythm, a visual journey sketched on the mind’s eye of halcyon days and a tempest of moments that have served to build a man from beginning to end to beginning again.

I love this book, love it with everything there is to love about storytelling and wordsmithing and imagination and speculation about what lies beyond for us all. It is personal but not only to the author. It is personal to each and every one of us who is willing to read and examine our beliefs of what happens once we shuffle off this mortal coil, but it is not a story of what happens after we die.

This is a story of what happens after we’ve lived.

The book is subliminal and it is sublime, and if you haven’t read it yet, I can’t recommend highly enough that you do, and soon.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Woke Up in a Strange Place here:

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Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea

You May Have Trouble Catching Your Breath While Reading M.J. O’Shea’s Catch My Breath

When love is not madness, it is not love. ~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

It is not an original trope. Two men love each other. They are in a professional situation in which their love may not be accepted. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they are forced to hide their feelings from everyone except those closest to them.

It is not an original trope. Two young men, barely men almost boys, experience first love. The powers-that-be do everything they can to keep the young lovers apart for their own reasons. Sometimes it is parents keeping them apart for religious or moral reasons. Sometimes it is a corporation that seemingly controls every aspect of their lives.

What is original is M.J. O’Shea’s spin on combining these two tropes and taking the reader on a wild, heart pounding, angst and tear-filled thrill ride. Simply put, Catch My Breath is one of those “I can’t put it down, even though I know I have to function in real life tomorrow, I have to finish it or I won’t be able to sleep worth a damn anyway!” books.

Even when I was happy with what was happening with the characters, I was crying. M.J. created these young men, five of them, not just the two main characters, as whole human beings. They leap off the page and into your heart. They are three dimensional, just… real. Young men with lives, hopes, dreams, families and the same need all human beings have to love and be loved.

All Danny Bright wants to do in life is to entertain people. Elliot Price reluctantly takes part in a talent competition because his best friend talks him into it. They and three other young men are chosen to form “Static”, the next hot American Boy Band. As is normal in these situations, there are thick contracts with lots of legalese and tiny print to be signed. All the young men take the contracts to lawyers, doing the responsible thing before signing them. They are being given the opportunity of a lifetime, right? Any one who has ever read a romance novel knows it simply can’t be that easy.

The five boys become closer than brothers, but before they know it, they are no longer people. They aren’t even a music group. They are a commodity. And for the entertainment machine to make money, certain appearances must be kept up. The boys must behave in a wholesome manner that makes the mothers of their teenage fans think it would be ok for their daughters to date them. They mustn’t drink, smoke, sleep around (too much), go to wild parties or do illegal drugs. And above all else, they must not be gay!!! They have to appear attainable to their tween fangirls.

It is painful to read the lengths to which the producer and PR people are willing to force Danny and Elliot to go to hide their love for one another. I felt the agony in Elliot’s heart every time Danny was forced on another fake date. It was maddening. It was frustrating. It had me yelling at my Kindle. I did keep myself from throwing it, though.

A loophole is eventually found in the contract by one of the other band member’s lawyers. By this point, Elliot and Danny have been forced to live this horrible, hidden existence, even breaking up, for over a year. They take a very public stand. They force the record company to back off and explain that they now know what the fine print really says!

It is so empowering to these boys to take control of their own destinies. O’Shea appears to be taking them by the hand and leading them into adulthood. Her masterful hand brings things back to center. Everyone is back where they belong. It is amazing how deep into the emotional upheaval O’Shea was able to take me. I loved every minute of it. Even the ones I hated! This is a great book. A must read.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Catch My Breath here:

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JL Merrow, Riptide Publishing

Well, Look Who Just Dropped In For A Quick Visit – Please Welcome JL Merrow! And Yes, There’s a Giveaway!




Hello and welcome to the virtual book tour for Damned If You Do! I’m JL Merrow, and our lovely host has been kind enough to interview me today. I made sure to bring along a giveaway—leave a comment below by 11:59pm on 6/28/13 and you’ll be entered in a week-long contest to win a $10 gift certificate to Riptide! Follow the tour all week for more Damned If You Do celebrations, including more interviews, thoughts from editor Sarah Frantz, and, of course, more chances to win.

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Hi JL! Congratulations on your new release with Riptide!

Tell us a little about yourself. Which do you read on: Nook, Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPad, Paperback, or Hardcover? Why?

None of the above – I have a Kobo Glo. I absolutely love e-readers, and am on my third one now. Why? Well, for one thing, I’m a fickle reader. I generally have several books on the go at any one time, and read them according to the mood I’m in. I just love being able to take ALL of them with me whenever I go somewhere. Plus, there’s the dictionary features – particularly useful if you read in a foreign language – and all the free out-of-copyright books you can get from places like ManyBooks.
If I absolutely have to get a dead tree book, I’ll buy paperback. I’ve never been a fan of hardbacks. Reading is supposed to build up your brain, not your muscles!

How big is your personal library? What genre do you read/collect the most?

This is the wonder of ebooks—I never have to admit to how many I’ve bought! These days, I generally read m/m or LGBT fiction, and within that genre, I’m very partial to a mystery. I also like paranormals. I used to read a lot of mainstream urban fantasy, but I don’t have so much time for it now I’m writing myself. I still enjoy classic, Golden Age mysteries.

Which authors have influenced your writing the most?

Without a doubt, Sir Terry Pratchett. His books are a masterclass in comedy. Also Jim Butcher. The Dresden Files are a perfect example of a strong first-person narrative.

Okay, last question—If you were stranded on an island with one book and one object, what would they be?

Preferably some kind of escape craft. And the instruction manual. Roughing it is not my favourite pastime. And I burn in the sun, and dislike eating fish.

Thanks for coming by, JL!

Thanks for having me!

Blurb: Sexy male succubus Rael has an insatiable appetite for men that gets him into all kinds of trouble. And he’s just found his favorite flavor: hunky blond detective Lars Thornsson. When those cool Nordic looks combine with Rael’s smoldering dark charms, all Hell could break loose.
Lars’s job at the Paranormal Enforcement Agency means he’s supposed to be policing demons, not falling in lust—or love—with them. But there’s something about this feisty little sex demon that hits all his buttons.

With no shortage of deadly sinners in his city, from serial-killing succubi to drug-dealing demons, all Lars can do is try to keep his private life from interfering with his work. But Rael has a knack for getting mixed up in cases that threaten both their domestic harmony and their lives.

Damned If You Do can be purchased from Riptide here.

About the Author: JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: http://www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow.

DYID_TourBanner

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N.R. Walker, Self-Published

N.R. Walker Proves That Falling In Love Isn’t Always Easy In Blindside (Blind Faith, Book 3)

Don’t you ever let another put their hands on something that’s already yours, because you might end up breaking your own heart. – Jonathan Anthony Burkett

Blindside is the third book in the Blind Faith series by N.R. Walker. This is the long awaited story of Mark Gattison, best friend to Carter Reese from books one and two.

Mark has been a favorite character for most of the people that read this series. I know for me I couldn’t wait to see him get his HEA. However, knowing Mark as well as we do, we knew it wouldn’t be an easy path. The Mark we fell in love with is the Mark we saw in this book, and that is why he had such a long row to hoe.

Once we meet Mark’s mother, we finally get a glimpse into what molded Mark into the man that he is. With five failed marriages and a habit of trying to be Mark’s friend instead of his mother she has never given Mark any example of what love should be. Now, I am not saying she is a bad mother, just not the most nurturing. So, is it any surprise Mark can’t see what is right in his face?

From Mark’s point of view, he and Will are best friends. They are totally in sync and have the best friend banter down pat. They get along so well most of the time people think they are a couple. While reading this I felt bad for Mark. It was clear from the beginning that no matter how much he tried to find Will a boyfriend, he was the only man Will wanted.

It is obvious from the beginning that Will loves Mark. Mark still believes that he doesn’t want or need a relationship and he is happy just playing the field. Will finally seems to give up on Mark and moves on once he meets a new guy. When things get serious between them Mark starts to get this weird feeling, like he is losing his best friend. When Mark finds out the new guy has been abusive with his past boyfriends he tries to tell Will, but Will isn’t buying it. Eventually Mark proves to Will the guy is no good and the two friends start to mend the rift between them.

A bad reaction to an intimate moment causes Mark’s world to crumble around him. When Mark finally confesses to Will that he loves him and his love is rejected, Mark experiences physical pain from the emotional trauma. Luckily for him Carter and Issac come in to save the day.

As funny as this book was in parts, the last few chapters will definitely pull at your heartstrings. There is some soul-searching for Mark and some honest realizations for Will. Once they truly talk to one another about their feelings, they start to mend what they both have broken.

I loved the ending of the book, the love the two men build is something we should all strive to find within our lives. Mark is finally at peace with his life, with Will and with himself. I don’t think we could have asked for anything more for our favorite best friend. This book was a great addition to the series and if it is the last book, then I feel the series ended wonderfully. N.R. Walker did a great job with Mark and Will and I would highly recommend this story to anyone who loves a great love story.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Blindside here:

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Harmony Ink Press, Jamie Mayfield

This Review Might Make You Want To Stand Up And Cheer! – Choices by Jamie Mayfield

We here at The Novel Approach are welcoming a very special guest reviewer to the blog today, and we couldn’t be more excited to have her here with us! Please allow me to introduce you to Savannah.

Savannah just so happens to be the daughter of our very own Jackie, so you can see where she gets not only her passion for reading but her budding passion for reviewing as well.

Savannah is twelve-years-old and will be entering the 6th grade in the fall. She likes science and math, and listens mostly to classic and alternative rock, counting AC/DC, Metallica, Black Veil Brides, Imagine Dragons, and Nickleback as a few of her favorite groups.

Sweet Savannah is a member of the generation I like to call the “Difference Makers”, because Jackie and her husband, like so many of us out there, are raising their children to know that Love Is Love, simple as that, and they will be the ones who make a difference going forward.

And now, it is my great pleasure to present to you her review of Jamie Mayfield’s Choices

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My thoughts on “Choices” by Jamie Mayfield

The book starts with Brian sitting in church listening to the pastor of Jamie’s church talking about the evils of homosexuality. Brian has started to think of Jamie, his best friend, as more than just his friend. If what the Pastor said was true, then he was going to hell, and he didn’t like that. So after that sermon he decided to not spend so much time with Jamie so maybe his feelings would go away. When Jamie figured out what Brian was doing, he kissed Brian. It turns out that they both felt the same way about each other.

Once they realized that they loved each other they also realized something else. Because they live in a small town with a lot of people that would agree with the pastor, they had to keep it hidden. Jamie gets a girlfriend, Emma. Brian hates this, and he hates seeing them together, but he knows this will keep him and Jamie safe. Brian even went on a couple dates himself. When Brian gets very upset about Emma, Jamie takes him on a date, their first real date. It starts out weird for them, but then it ends nice for them. So they keep up with Jamie dating Emma, and he and Brian spend time together every chance they get.

When Brian turns 17, he and Jamie make love in their tree house on his birthday. The only bad part is they don’t wake up on time Sunday morning, and Jamie’s mother catches them sleeping in each others’ arms, naked. After a talk with the pastor does not work to keep the boys apart she makes Brian stay away and the next thing Brian knows, Jamie is moving away to California. When the boys are saying goodbye Emma sees them and that starts the end of an easy life for Brian. No Jamie, bullying at school, and eventually he ends up nearly dead at the hands of Emma’s brother and his friends.

While recovering from his injuries someone reports Brian’s foster dad for molesting Brian. He is taken away from his foster parents when he needs them the most. After having to do a lot of things that were embarrassing for Brian, and days spent at a group home, he finally got to go home with his foster parents. After he got home his, foster parents told him they got him signed up for martial arts. He had kept up his school work with the help of Mr. Barnes, his art teacher and his friend. The best news for Brian was he was getting adopted. That way no one could take him away again and he would have real parents.

Brian gets a job teaching at the dojo where he studies. He is happy because he can earn money to follow Jamie to California. His parents aren’t happy he is going, but they also understand they can’t stop him. But when he went to work at the dojo he made a new friend, Adam. They did karate together and got to be good friends. Brian found out Adam was gay too and that made him happy to have a friend that could understand all about how Brian felt. Adam got a crush on Brian and Brian liked him, but only as a friend, most of the time. He thought Adam was cute, but Brian was in love with Jamie and always would be.

Brian was confused for a while after that. He hadn’t heard from Jamie since he left. He didn’t know what that meant. So, he applied to college and got in. When he graduated from high school he realized that he had won. He beat all the people that hated him, he beat all the people that didn’t want him to be there. On his 18th birthday, after spending a fun day with Adam, he got a letter that changed everything. He finally heard from Jamie. The letter told him to go on with his life without Jamie. Brian couldn’t do that, he loved him. He decided right then and there college was not going to happen. He was going to California to find his love!

The book ends here and I can’t wait till July for the next one.

Now my mom says I need to tell you what I think about the book. :-)

I love this book because it tells the truth about how mean people can be and how nice they can be. I have been taught to love everyone, even the people that don’t like me. My mom says you can’t hate someone just because they don’t have common sense. It is hard sometimes, but I try to remember that when I get mad. I got mad a lot reading this book. At the beginning of the book it made me mad when the pastor said that being gay is a bad thing and you will go to hell. Mostly because it made Brian feel bad about himself and because it just isn’t true. I got mad at Jamie’s mom for how she treated Brian and Jamie. I got mad at Brad, Emma’s brother, because he hurt Brian. I don’t understand hating someone just because they love someone. The parts of this book that I liked were the good people in Brian’s life. He got a real mom and dad, and that was cool. He had Kyle and Coach Williams. Brian also had Adam. I felt bad for Adam, but I also don’t. I was rooting for Brian and Jamie, so I am kinda glad about how that turned out. I think what was the coolest part of this book is I can understand where Brian is coming from. If I was in love with a boy like Brian was, I would want to be with him no matter what anyone said. It isn’t fair that people tried to keep them apart. I also thought it was good to see Brian get stronger. I think that will help him stay safe and he deserves that.

I think kids should read these books if they are gay or if they are not. For gay kids, they can learn there is always someone that loves them no matter what. For the kids who aren’t gay, well, maybe they could see how bad they hurt people with their words. Even in 5th grade I heard people say “fag” and “homo”. We aren’t allowed to use words like that in my house and now I understand why. Words can hurt as much as hands or fists. So we should be careful how we use them.

Reviewed by: Savannah

You can buy Choices here:

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Anne Brooke, Eric Arvin, Ethan Stone, Hank Edwards, Jacob Z. Flores, Patrick Darcy, Sandrine Gasq-Dion, TJ Klune, Wilde City Press

And The Winners Are…

Hi! Remember Eric Arvin and TJ Klune’s video? Yeah, me too! Well, as it happens, they had a little giveaway going on along with their shenanigans, and guess what? The six winners have been selected. And guess what else? They’ll each be receiving a nifty download code apiece for a FREE book from Wilde City Press. See? Nifty.

So, on that note, it’s my great pleasure to announce the lucky winners right here! They are:


Diana

Maya

Joanne from Colorado

Jbst

little1kry

and

russ coons

Congratulations to each and every one of you, and to everyone who participated, thanks for stopping by and playing along in our Wilde Week of fun!

And on behalf of Bruce, Tina, and Jackie, I’d like to take a moment to offer a huge thanks to Geoff Knight, Ethan Day, and Dolorianne, the woman behind the scenes who made this all go off without a single hitch, as well as a heaping helping of feels to all the authors – Patrick Darcy, Hank Edwards, Eric & TJ, Jacob Z.Flores, Ethan Stone, Sandrine Gasq-Dion, and Anne Brooke, who each made this such a stellar week!

Cheers!!

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Anne Brooke, Geoffrey Knight, Wilde City Press

Look Who’s Just Turned 21! Please Help Us Give A Warm Birthday Welcome To The One And Only Anne Brooke!


The incomparable Geoffrey Knight had the honor of asking the inimitable Anne Brooke a few questions about her first Wilde City publication, The Beginning of Knowledge, her upcoming release Taking a Chance, her contributions to the WCP poetry collection Falling Awake, and a lot more. What came of it is this, an interview you won’t want to miss!

Happy Birthday, Anne!

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GK: First of all, a big thank you to Lisa and everyone at The Novel Approach for having us, and Anne, thanks so much for joining in the fun of Wilde City’s week at The Novel Approach. Lisa from TNA has told me she’s a big fan of yours and has read everything you’ve written, so I’m very pleased to let her know that we’ll soon be publishing a new short romance from you titled Taking A Chance. Why don’t we start by chatting about that, because I think everyone is going to love Taking A Chance.

AB: The cheque’s in the post, Lisa – again … Seriously, what a lovely woman you are – thank you very much! It’s fabulous to be here. Yes, I’m really looking forward to getting Taking A Chance out there. I’ve a real soft spot for people who make sudden dramatic decisions that have the potential to change their lives. It’s an incredibly brave and liberating thing to do. Which is just what my hero Benjamin does in the story:

The moment model and part-time actor Benjamin spots the sexually alluring David outside his local restaurant one Friday night, he’s determined to get to know him better. Much better. So he takes a chance and pretends to be Timothy, the blind date David is waiting for. Soon he realises it’s not just an ordinary date, but something way beyond his experience is actually going on.

When David asks him about submission, safe words and spanking, Benjamin knows the sensible thing to do would be to make his apologies and leave. Funny then how his body keeps telling him something different, and instead he finds himself strangely eager to know more. Will it be a date to remember and if David discovers his deceit, could he ever be persuaded to take any kind of a chance on Benjamin?

Many years ago, one of my husband’s friends went on holiday to Spain, met a man out there – and married him, all in the three weeks of her holiday. When she came back, everyone who knew her was totally shocked (she was really a very sensible kind of a gal) and they all said it would never last. I thought it was amazing, and a huge well done to her (and the man concerned). Well over twenty-five years and three children later, they’re still going strong. Sometimes your whole life has the potential to change in a moment if you just have the courage to believe in yourself, and that’s the kind of dilemma I wanted Benjamin – and David – to have. I hope people will enjoy the read.

GK: The thing I love most about your writing is that, no matter how short or long a story is, you thrive on characters with complexities, even if you only hint at them or we have to dig to find them. Even when the plot seems to control the stakes in the story, it’s actually the depth of character and their reactions that steer things. How easy or hard is it to come up with your characters?

AB: I’m endlessly fascinated by people and what makes them tick – which is something of a family trait as my grandmother could sit on park benches for hours, watching people going by and making up stories about them. She was an odd one, was Grandma! I always loved to hear what she came up with – and it’s probably from her that I learnt the truth that people are always a thousand times more complex than you think they are. Everyone’s capable of great saintliness and great horror in their lives, no matter how straightforward they might look on the surface, and there’s no end to the actions we all might do at any time. Even when we think we know someone incredibly well, we most definitely do not – people are like onions in the sense that there’s no real end to their layers. It’s that kind of mystery I like to convey in my stories, in the best way for the particular character I’m writing about. Sometimes the most important thing about writing is to stand aside – as far as any writer can – and let the character run with the text. It’s the hardest thing to do, but always the most satisfying.

GK: Your first story with Wilde City is The Beginning of Knowledge, published under our Charlie Harding Presents banner. As a porn star who knows how to turn up the heat, Charlie publishes books that are highly erotic, but also strong on story and character. We were lucky enough to publish The Beginning of Knowledge, which is dark and edgy and hot, and ticks all of Charlie’s boxes. Tell us about the story and what compelled you to write it.

AB: The Beginning of Knowledge is a story about passion and power, and how it can change our lives for the worse as well as for the better. A lot of my stories focus in one way or another on the issue of obsession, especially sexual obsession, as I think it’s a very powerful driver, and it’s always fascinating to explore people living life at an extreme edge. The blurb is:

When University administrator Alan Castleton meets temporary worker and talented pianist Luke Milton, he doesn’t expect to become obsessed with the handsome young blond. But soon he is heavily involved in a passionate and angry affair, and exploring the dark shadows of his own personality in a way he’s never encountered before.

The more Alan tries to break free from his obsession, the deeper it entangles him. The dangerous split between his reason and his sexual desires threatens his peace of mind and, when the crisis point comes, he must decide once and for all the kind of life he should lead.

It started out as a very different story which simply wasn’t working and I couldn’t think why. Then it came to me that I was skirting round the issue of the heat and passion between Alan and Luke, and trying to make it something it wasn’t – ie by focusing on the business setting where they’d first met, rather than on the erotic relationship. I wasn’t really listening to either character’s story as they understood it – which is always a fatal mistake for any author to make, of course! Once I’d given up trying to fit them both into my idea of what they should be and started really listening to them, the whole story just came alive and was a thousand times easier to write. I did scare myself though with how much I enjoyed writing angry desperate sex. Funny – I think my husband might be hiding right now, hmmm …

GK: You write both sweet romances and scorching hot erotica, not to mention you’re able to pen laugh-out-loud comedy, heart-wrenching drama and dark, dangerous thrills. Is there any one genre or sub-genre you prefer?

AB: Oh heck, that’s really tough. It honestly depends on what mood I’m in – as I go with the genre which fits my feelings about life at the time. Which probably goes to show – rather too well for comfort – just how unstable I can actually be! I do enjoy writing the comic fiction, but I suspect the dark stuff sits more naturally with the way I am underneath. Strangely the scenes which I find easiest to write and I tend to be able to do without a lot of editing afterwards are the sex scenes (well, I’m only human …) and the scenes involving violence and pain. I did explain this to my husband some while back and, worryingly, he didn’t look that surprised but just smiled and walked backwards out of the door whilst calling the Police for help. I made that last bit up – no, really I did!…

I think this is part of the trouble I have with actually selling books – people don’t tend to know exactly what genre I’ll be writing in this time whenever they pick up one of my stories – so they can’t always instantly tell if it’s going to suit them or not. I suspect it’s easier being an author these days who only writes in one genre, as then everyone knows where they are. On the other hand, I get a big kick out of writing in different moods and formats as it just seems more honest a way of doing things, certainly for me.

GK: I’ve asked you this before when I interviewed you for Why Straight Women Love Gay Romance, but I love that you as a person contradict what many perceive to be the norm. You are a straight, married woman and devout Christian living in the English countryside. Yet you have struck this amazing balance between being true to your faith and writing gay male romance and erotica, and even better, you’re not afraid to discuss your views and fight for them.

AB: Ha! Thank you – I loved your questions for that book, and am really proud to be part of it. You did a brilliant job and I can thoroughly recommend it to everyone. I think in many ways every one of us is contradictory and that’s something that should be celebrated rather than questioned. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually met a normal person – or maybe I’m not moving in the right circles (as it were)?…

On the other hand and at a deeper level, I see nothing wrong and everything right with being a happily married Christian and a gay romance and erotica fiction writer – I believe very much that this is part of God’s “calling” to me, and all I need to do is fulfill it the best dang way I can – it certainly helps me to be able to express the powerful male voice in my head that’s been with me as long as I can remember. And, besides, as I’m sure I’ve said before – to you and many others! – God invented sex and romance as part of being human and we should celebrate these gifts. Goodness me, even Christians have sex – but only on Sundays and out of sight of the vicar, naturally (hmm, now there’s a plot line – no, stop right there as I’m scaring myself!)… Anyway, I do find it funny how many people question writers of erotic fiction as if they’re very strange indeed – but nobody ever thinks to question writers of crime fiction. Murder is much odder than sex, after all, and certainly less desirable!

GK: Both in terms of time and headspace, how do you manage to juggle writing, marriage, a job at the university where you work, your dedication to the Church and your fabulous baking! (Yes, I’ve seen the posts on Facebook and my mouth waters every time you bake a cake!)

AB: I hate being bored. No, seriously, I really hate it. I love doing a lot of things at once, though these days (I’m 49 years and 2 days old by the time you publish this on Sunday!) I find I have to factor in sleep as well, or I get rather too angsty for sanity – mine and everyone else’s. I believe also that you always make time for the things you’re passionate about and all those things you mention above are a huge part of who I am and who I see myself to be. Marriage, writing, my faith are all vital and I couldn’t be me without them – and I thoroughly enjoy working for the Uni and once a week pretending to be a Domestic Goddess in the kitchen. Mind you, don’t forget you only see the cake successes though – I’m too embarrassed to post pictures of the disasters, and also you can’t tell what they actually taste like, which occasionally is definitely a blessing. Of course my husband is far too much of a gentleman to be anything but complimentary about my baking…

GK: Poetry! There’s just not enough of it in the world today, which is why Wilde City decided to give poetry a chance and publish our first collection from various Wilde City authors titled Falling Awake (which is the title of one of your poems in the collection). Best of all, it’s Free! Why did you jump at the chance to be in this collection, especially knowing that nobody was going to earn a penny in royalties? What is it about poetry that seems to awaken our senses?

AB: I think all poems should be free and there for everyone to enjoy – as if you get the right poem at the right time for you, then it just sings and can speak to you in a way nothing else can. That’s the magic of it. Sometimes people tell me they hate poetry – when actually they’ve not met the right poem or type of poetry for them just yet. I also think that people actually speak poetry and rhythm every time they open their mouths. It’s the way we’re wired. Nobody speaks in prose, ever. Listen next time you go to the supermarket or the bank – you’ll hear the lilt and song of everyday speech all around you. Truly magical indeed.

GK: Do you have a favorite poem in the collection?

AB: I think Falling Awake maintains an incredibly high standard throughout and I’m thrilled to be part of the anthology. If I absolutely had to pick a favourite and you were twisting my arm for an answer (cruel man!), then I’d say I truly LOVE Exchange by Hank Edwards which makes me gasp each time I read it for the way it tells a whole relationship story just in two perfect verses. Then again (and I know you don’t want me to mention yours, Geoff, but, sorry, I’m going to anyway …) Pedestal is just brilliant and I smile each time I read that one. It says it all in such a short space and I dang well wish I’d written it. Curses, foiled again …

GK: What’s currently on Anne Brooke’s WIP list?

AB: I’m currently working on a gay fantasy, The Taming of The Hawk. It started out as a short story, then it became a novella and, heck, it’s still going. Oh heck, anyone for a trilogy?? It’s all very rough at the moment so it’ll need a load of editing when the first draft is finally all on the page, but I’m enjoying the ride.

At the same time, I’ve just started a new short story (which will definitely remain a short story, I’m – almost – sure of it) called The Frozen Heart. It’s about a man physically terrified of touch – for good reason – and his relationship with a young hooker. This one’s in the early stages for now, but I’m looking forward to getting more of it down over the summer. Weather permitting!

GK: Anne, thanks so much for chatting, I love a good chat with you. One day we’ll do it over scones and tea! And one of your cakes! :-)

AB: Thanks so much for letting me be part of Wilde City Press – I’m loving the location and the company. And thanks again to Lisa for letting us take over her site for a week-long party – we’re all very grateful. And we promise to leave everything tidy when we go, honest. Meanwhile, in terms of cakes, I’m already getting my apron on and my spatula out, Geoff (as it were …). Naturally, my door is always open to you!

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Thanks so much, Anne and Geoff, for closing out our Wilde Week on such a great note! It’s been an honor to host Wilde City Press and all the authors who’ve contributed their time and talents to making it stellar!

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Anne Brooke, Ewan Creed, Geoffrey Knight, Hank Edwards, Owen Keehnen, Wilde City Press

Falling Awake Is Poetry In (E)motion

Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance. – Carl Sandburg

Oscar Wilde once said something to the effect that every portrait painted with feeling is truly a portrait of the artist, not the subject. I suspect there’s some truth to that, and also suspect the same can be said of poetry. What is poetry, after all, but a portrait painted with a palette of words rather than colors? It begins with a thought, an emotion, an event, and ends with absolution for the writer as he examines and exhumes and purges himself of the feelings that have prompted him to bare his soul, or, at the very least, his heart; to take those emotions and turn them into myriad hues of musical words on a colorful scale.

Anne Brooke, Ewan Creed, Hank Edwards, Owen Keehnen, and Geoffrey Knight are the artists who have joined together in this collaborative effort called Falling Awake, a collection of poetry that speaks of loss, betrayal, denial, faith, sex…love. Each piece is but a small window through which the reader is able to catch a glimpse of the authors’ creative talents, each piece telling a story—a beginning, middle, and end—in all the rich tones of a free-form and lyrical language. The collection is aesthetic, much like a portrait, and much like those tangible forms of art, the beauty of Falling Awake will be in the eye of the beholder. But the true beauty of poetry is that, unlike a work of art hanging in a museum, once the poet shares those words they then belong to the reader as well, becoming an emotion in motion.

Falling Awake, in some ways, reads like flash fiction that has been structured with a cadence and rhythm all its own. This collection is being offered as a FREE download from Wilde City Press. If you enjoy poetry at all, I highly recommend grabbing this one as soon as you can.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can download Falling Awake here:

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M.A. Church, Sandrine Gasq-Dion, Wilde City Press

Want To Find Out What Sandrine Gasq-Dion’s Muse Looks Like? Read On, And Welcome Sandrine & Author M.A. Church To Wilde Week!


Author M.A. Church took the opportunity to sit down with Sandrine and ask her a few questions about her latest book A Betting Man, and we here at The Novel Approach are glad she did, because that means Sandrine gets to be part of our Wilde, Wilde week of fun with Wilde City Press!

And now, we give you…the interview.

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Hey guys! Pull up a chair and join me. Lovely day for an interview, huh? :) Today I have the fab Sandrine visiting. She’s going to talk a little about her latest M/M release A Betting Man from Wilde City Press. Plus, she’s going to reveal all, lol, in an interview. o.0

Hope y’all enjoy! :)

A BETTING MAN
By Sandrine Gasq-Dion

Blurb:

How bad could one harmless bet be? Kent Samson is about to find out. Raised in Alabama, Kent has hidden his past and now loves his life as a big time ad exec for a prestigious advertising company in New York. But when he makes a bet with his best friend, Blaine, Kent is thrown for a loop—for Kent has to make the next person to walk through the door fall in love with him.

Terry Barron is hiding out in New York. Raised in England in a wealthy family, Terry escapes to New York to avoid arranged marriages and the lifestyle he’s grown to hate. When he delivers a package to an advertising firm, he meets the unbelievably sexy Kent Samson. Suddenly, secrets and lies complicate everything and both men find themselves in uncharted waters. How will Terry feel when Kent is revealed as a betting man?

AUTHOR BIO & LINKS:

Sandrine (Sandy) was born in Inglewood, California. Raised by “Old School” French parents, she later moved to Tucson, AZ. It was there that writing became a hobby. Always told she had a great imagination, Sandy wrote short stories for her friends in high school. In college, she took more writing classes while working on her Criminal Justice degree, but it wasn’t until a soap opera caught her eye that she got involved in male on male romances. On the advice of a friend, Sandy dipped her toes into the world of M/M Romance. Sandy takes the writing seriously and has had countless conversations with gay men as well as hours of research. She’s been involved with the military in one way or another for over twenty years, and has a great deal of respect for our men in uniform. She’s traveled the world, but is currently enjoying the South.

And now for the interview…

~When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Middle school. My English teacher told us all to write an essay about where we saw ourselves in ten years. It was due by the end of the week and I wrote it in one day—all ten pages front and back. I got an ‘A’ and she told me I had one hell of an imagination.

~How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Almost all of it! There are places I’ve been, people I’ve met, situations I’ve been in that most people would say, “Well, that could never happen!” But it does! I think almost all writers pull from their own life, that’s what makes great storytelling! I’ve been involved in the military for over twenty years and the stories from that alone could make another ten books! My personality is most definitely in all my books. I think it comes out the most in my snarky characters.

~Have you ever doubted yourself as a writer and if so, how did you overcome it?

Oh God, all the time! I am so lucky to have friends that back me up and shout in my face when I become a babbling, crying idiot. I don’t think you ever really overcome it. I think you’ll always have that little voice in your head that pokes you and tells you that you’re just not good enough. I think for me, I write the best I can and when I look at a finished manuscript, I know at least ONE person is going to love it, and that’s all I need.

~How do you come up with a title?

It’s been interesting how many times I’ve bounced ideas off my friends who are close to me. Reflash was me talking to firefighter friends. Since the book revolved around Firefighters and Cops, Reflash became the only title I even considered. Mostly I’m looking at the storyline itself and what one word brings it all together. In the instance of The Nik of Time, I let my readers name it!

~When do you do your best writing… morning, afternoon, evening, night?

There really isn’t a set time of day. I TRY to write when the kids are at school, but half the time I’m up until about two in the morning typing like a mad woman. So I’d have to say I get more done in the early morning hours. My editor hates it because I do less punctuation at that time. lol

~Out of all the stories you’ve written which one are you most proud of?

I would have to say Second Time Around it was really my first try at first person and I realized I LOVE writing in the first person. I think in a lot of ways it’s easier and the words flow faster. I like putting myself into that character and bringing him to life.

~Do you plan your stories and, if so, to what extent?

I do and I don’t. I know with the Assassin-Shifter books, I have couples that I plan out way ahead of time (Wyatt and Preston, Devin &Andrei and Keegan and Vince) Then there are the ones that come to me as I’m driving down the road. I’m 16 books into the Assassin-Shifter series and I have so many more to write! Coming up with fresh storylines is where the planning starts. I don’t want to rehash the same story over and over so I’ve added a few characters to mix it up a bit! I’ve also got the books I’m writing for Wilde City Press and those will not be a series, but you’ll see past characters come in!

~How many stories do you work on at any one time?

Oh God, right now I’ve got five going at once. It’s like a never ending voice in my head. Usually it’s when I’m driving down the road I’ll get an idea for a book. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the night!

~What was your favorite character to write, and why?

I think Riley Flynn is my favorite. He’s just so much fun and he has innocence about him. He’s spontaneous and has an inner child that loves wreaking havoc. He’s also very loving and to an extent– naïve.

~Name three things that would surprise your fans to know about you?

I speak fluent French.

I actually hang out with tatted, bulging military men.

I have actually lived in every state I’ve written about. And not just for a few months, we’re talking YEARS.

~What’s your guilty pleasure?

ANGRY BIRDS! lol

~What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

In the beginning I couldn’t afford an editor. My friend and I tried our best, but I’ve never been one to care about where a comma goes and if that period needed to be there. So I think the flack we both took in the beginning hit us both hard. I changed editor’s right after Half Moon Rising but still keep anyone involved in this close to me. They were here from the beginning and shall remain here throughout.

The best compliment hands down are from my readers. When I get an email telling me how much a book lifted someone’s spirits, or just made their day, any five star review can’t beat that.

~What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

I had another author tell me never to read reviews below five stars. Normally, I try to adhere to that advice, but there’s still that part of me that wants to see if I could do better. I’m a glutton for punishment.

~If there was one piece of advice you could give a new author, what would it be?

Edit, edit, edit. Try not to take that one star review to heart. If there is one thing I learned over the last year and a half, it’s that you can’t please everyone!

~What was the hardest book for you to write, or the hardest scene in one of your books to write, and why did you struggle with it?

Second Time Around and Summer of Awakenings tie as the books hardest to write. With “Second”, I pulled a lot of emotion from my own loss. I lost my father and my grandmother in a plane crash and I think for me, losing someone so suddenly takes one hell of a toll on you. So the funeral scene in “Second” drained me emotionally. “Summer” was hard to write as well, especially for the character of William and the kids that had been abused. That book was mainly for all the teenage kids I have been blessed to meet, and some of the names in the books are actually theirs.

~When you sit down to write a book, do you go with the flow? Or do you outline and plot all the important details out first?

Both. Some books just write themselves and I’m going with the flow. Other’s I’ve had to actually sit down with a pad of paper and write down how I wanted it to go chapter by chapter. Sometimes I’m writing the ending of the book and then I fill in all the spaces in between. It’s crazy!

~Who are your favorite authors (in your same genre or not) and some of the best books you’ve ever read? What is your favorite book that you remember from childhood?

I fell in love with The Thorn Birds. I think that all-consuming-can’t-have-it love makes a story that’s much more compelling. And the movie was done beautifully! That book has remained my favorite all this time.

I love Stephen King; he’s just got this twisted mind that I love! Dolores Claiborne is my favorite, with Misery close behind!

I love M.A. Church (Hehe), GA Hauser, Mercy Celeste, Mary Calmes, Ethan Day and Geoff Knight, just to name a few!

Feeling inspired yet? I am.

~If your “Muse” were an actual flesh and blood person, what would he/she look like?

A seriously tall, tatted man with bulging muscles!!

~What part of the writing process do you dread?

Research. Although I’ve lived in every state I’ve written about, I still go back and make sure I’ve got that right street, or that building is where I said it is. Researching Russian Prey started with me trying to find a maximum security prison in Russia out in the middle of nowhere. FUN! lol

~Do you prefer hot or cold weather and why?

Now this is funny. I was born in California, but raised in Arizona, so I LOVE hot! BUT, on that same note, I was stationed in Fairbanks Alaska for two years and LOVED the cold. I think in Arizona, I loved the fact that I could just go dip in the pool and get a tan in five minutes. In Alaska, I loved the cold because I could bundle up and watch the Aurora Borealis from my front porch. I’m at an impasse…lol.

~Are you a romantic?

Oh God yes! I believe in love at first sight!

~Do you listen to music when you’re writing?

All the time. I also incorporate songs into the books so my readers know just what song I was listening to when I write that hot/sexy/steamy love scene.

~If we could see your writing space, what would we see?

I’m so organized it’s pathetic. You’d see a very clean desk with little to no clutter. I keep little knick knacks on it that the kids have made for me, or readers have sent me. Other than that, my coaster for my coffee cup and the cat bed.

~Do you own a pet? If so, tell us about him/her!

I own two cats, one dog, three fish and four rats. I’ve had the dog the longest though. She’s a Siberian Husky and fourteen. She set in her ways and loves to drive me up the wall. I had another Siberian, a male named Nikoli, my readers will know that name ;). I lost him last June and adopted my cat, Mateo. (My readers will know that name too). He sits on my desk and watches me work. Nikoli used to sit in my office all the time and I would talk to him about what I was writing. So in a way, Mateo has helped me heal just a bit!

~What are your favorite TV shows?

Supernatural, Castle and The Vampire Diaries. I’ve cut out so much TV in the last year I’ll have to watch all the shows I dumped on Netflix.

~Want to tell us about any projects you have in the works? Or any releases coming soon?

I’m actually writing a follow up to A Betting Man. I’ve also got The Littlest Assassin-Shifters as well as Lesson’s Learned in the works, and four more other books, some in the Assassin series and some off on their own. The Nik of Time Should be out soon. I’m going to be very busy this summer.

~Where can your readers find you on the web?

I have two facebook pages, a blog and a website.

https://www.facebook.com/authorsandrine.g.dion?ref=tn_tnmn

http://authorsandrinegasq-dion.blogspot.com/
http://www.sandrinegasqdion.com

~Is there any message you’d like to share with readers?

First off, thank you! If it wasn’t for all of you, I would not be where I am. So thank you, thank you, thank you!! Second, I look forward to bringing you many, many more books in the future!

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And that’s it, folks! A huge thank you to Sandrine and M.A. for visiting us today!

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Sandrine Gasq-Dion, Wilde City Press

Sandrine Gasq-Dion’s A Betting Man Comes Highly Recommended

You’re better off betting on a horse than betting on a man. A horse may not be able to hold you tight, but he doesn’t wanna wander from the stable at night. – Betty Grable

A rich man moving to a new country living as a poor man. A poor man raised in rural Alabama moving to New York City and becoming rich and notorious. What could bring them together? A bet, of course. And it was a fun ride getting there!

Everyone had always told Kent he looked like David Beckham. He had the ego and the swooning women to go along with his looks. He loved his money above everything. His business partner Blaine was the only one who knew of Kent’s humble beginnings. Kent and Blaine had an unfortunate habit of making silly bets.

The current bet: that Kent must make the next person to walk into their office fall in love with him. Kent also had to convince this person and everyone around them that he loved the stranger just as much. The stakes are not important, because the bet is just stupid. Stupid, but hot!

Terry was born Terrance, almost aristocracy in England. He had left home to make his own way in New York because his parents refused to believe that he was gay. They tried to convince him to marry woman after woman. When he tired of it, he decided living poor in New York was better than living with his parents trying to turn him into what they thought he should be.

After their bet, Terry the bike messenger was the next person to walk into the advertising office shared by Kent and Blaine. While Terry is openly gay, Kent is straight as straight gets. He has a different woman every night. Oh yeah, except for the nights spent playing “gay chicken” with Blaine in college.

What ensues makes for very good reading. Terry’s “what does he see in me”? and Kent’s “maybe I am actually gay” are fun to explore with them. The meeting of the families. Kent’s mom (or as she calls him Kennay in her Alabama accent) manufactures a reason for Kent to return home around Christmas and Kent decides that taking Terry with him is the perfect way to prove that Kent loves him.

Funny thing happened on the way to the last page. They actually fell in love with each other. Kent parents accepted him as gay and capital LOVED Terry. Terry’s parents were so glad to see him after so much time had passed that they fully embraced his being gay and his love for Kent.

Terry inevitably found out about the bet. Kent and Terry had some time apart with Kent begging forgiveness and professing true love. All in humorous fashion of course. I won’t tell you how it ends, but I will tell you that there is bonding over hot dogs.

A really good book. One of Wilde City Press’s first efforts and highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy A Betting Man here:

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Ethan Stone, Wilde City Press

Here In The Present Tense To Talk A Little Bit About His New Book Past Tense, Please Welcome Ethan Stone!

Is he dressed to thrill… or out for the kill? Does he pray for forgiveness… or prey through the night? Will he take you down a dark, cobblestone alley to have his way… or make you pay?





Intrigued yet? Well, that’s Ethan Stone for you, folks, here in the flesh…almost, and pun fully intended…to celebrate this Wilde, Wilde week of erotic, thrilling, chilling, madcap, futuristic fun!

Park yourself somewhere cool, why don’t you, and enjoy what Mr. Stone has in store for you!

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JerkyA lot of changes for you recently, how is the move to Oregon working out?

It’s been great. I love the weather and the beautiful scenery. So green and beautiful, especially compared to the bleak, starkness of Nevada. Moving here was definitely the right choice for me. You’d think all that would translate into writing inspiration, right? Not so much. Totally blocked at the moment. I’ve been missing one of my biggest writing tools; Werner’s Peppered Beef Jerky rounds. I used to eat them all the time when I was writing and I haven’t been able to find them here.

You’ll be attending the Seattle meet-up in September … what should be in store for readers and authors who are able to make it?

I am way excited about this event. I don’t really know what to expect since it’s the first year, but the organizers have been great and have a lot of awesome plans. I think it will be a great chance to meet with readers for some great conversation. GayRomanceNorthwest.

Where did you get the idea for the storyline of your book Past Tense?

It was one of those ideas that was circulating in my head for a while. And it turned out very different than I originally imagined. In addition to the names changing several times (which is normal for me) I originally conceived Jason as a married man whose wife is killed by the father of his teenage lover. Jason was either a journalist or lawyer before he became the Blackjack dealing stripper he transformed into. Quinn’s character was still a loner but his and Liam’s family didn’t appear to me until I was writing the book.

Was Liam’s family based on your own or someone’s you know?

Definitely not based on my own, which would mean they all sit around watching tv and not much else. The MacKenna’s are totally my own creations, taking the best and worst of families I’ve seen. In a way, they’re a family I’d love to be part of.

You mentioned that Past Tense went into a whole other direction than you planned, what was the key factor that changed the story?

When I started writing it I had no idea it was going to become paranormal. I was about halfway through and didn’t think it would be any different than lots of other stories. I want it to at least be unique and I accomplished that, regardless of whether readers enjoy it or not.

Is that the reason behind keeping the paranormal so subtle in the beginning of the book?

I wanted readers to have a surprise. I wanted readers who may not normally read a paranormal to be swept into the world and go for the ride. If I accomplished that or not, I’m not sure.

Was there a scene that you loved but for some reason or another it had to be taken out?

I was tempted to write in omniscient third because I kind of wanted to be in the mind of Kyon, the leather dog. He still fascinates me and would love to someday use him again. Can he be redeemed? I’m not sure, but it might be fun to try.

Kyon is a frightening character, where did he come from?

leathers8He was a character in my head from the very beginning. I’m not so much into the leather scene or puppy play, but I stumbled across a few pictures and the idea formed. Waking up with a man dressed in the dog getup staring down at me would freak me out. Add in him being a sadistic bastard and I had an awesome villain. There’s a reason why Kyon isn’t dead at the end of the book. I’m sure I’ll use him again.

Do you plan on writing a sequel?

Absolutely. I think there is much more story to tell. Why didn’t Jason’s parents tell him about his powers? Are there others out there like him? What’s the deal with Quinn and his wings? Why didn’t his wings appear when he was with Liam? And…

I want to know all those things! We can have book 2 sometime next week, right?

Ummm, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Hopefully soon if I can break the damn blockage.

Are you planning to write a backstory for Liam and Quinn’s relationship?

I hadn’t originally planned on writing a back story for them, but if readers want it I could go there. I have a lot of the story in my head so you never know.

What scene was your favorite to write?

I enjoyed the final battle scene because it was so different than anything I’d done before.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Same answer as above.

Was it the paranormal “rules” that were so challenging and exciting? Or something else?

It was freeing to be able to go further than I had in other stories while also trying not to go too far overboard. Part of it was using images I’d seen on the net or in my mind and putting it on the page.

How did you decide on what Jay’s power would be?

Chlorophyll KidFor his powers I wanted something somewhat simple but still useful. Jay is a down to earth guy so the ability of an earth-based power came to mind. Limits had to come into play again with him. I didn’t want to go overboard and say he could affect ropes if they were made out of hemp. I chose to make it that he could control only live plants.

Are you a fan or superheroes?

To answer that question let me tell a few things I own; Green Lantern wallet, Justice League t-shirt, Superman, Batman and Green Lantern underwear, oh and about 3,000 comic books. In Past Tense there is a mention of Chlorophyll Kid. That is a genuine character, though in the comics he was presented in a humorous manner. Chlorophyll Kid


Is there a meaning behind the title, Past Tense?

The book deals a lot with both Quinn’s and Jason’s pasts, so it was a play on the writing term past tense.

If Past Tense were to be made into a movie, what actors do you imagine playing Quinn, Jay or even Liam?

Matthew FoxMark Ruffalo
For Quinn I’m torn between Matthew Fox and Mark Ruffalo. They both have the rugged good looks and can play the tortured soul very well. For Jay I’d love Chad Michael Murray. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching One Tree Hill on Netflix that I’m obsessed with Chad Michael, but he can play the brooding young man extremely well. Former gay porn star Blu Kennedy would make a perfect Liam.

Chad Michael MurrayBlu Kennedy 2




What is your typical process when starting to write a book?

Grab onto a kernel of an idea and praying I can make it into something.

Do you “write what you know” or search out uncommon things to write about? How do you go about researching themes that you aren’t familiar with?

I try to start with something I know and go from there. I love adding twists to common ideas to make them fresh and unique. I admit I’m not the biggest researcher. When I do need information it’s all about Google. My upcoming book, Compromised, involves prison gangs, which I had some knowledge about since I worked at a prison for several years, but online I found history and information I didn’t know. Facebook is also great. I can throw out a question and ask my friends on there for help. I usually get what I need that way.

What are some things you would love to write about, but haven’t found the right “story” yet?

I’ve wanted to write a twincest or brocest story, even came close a few times, but just never had enough of a plot. I’d love to write a post-apocalyptic story as well.

Anything that you would never write about?

I don’t have many limits, other than some of the obvious like underage guys. At one point I’d have said you never find a bare vagina in one of my stories but lately I’ve been contemplating a m/m/f scene.

What are some of the future projects you’re working on right now?

It’s been a struggle lately. Lots of nothing. WIP’s include a sequel to Compromised, which is due out soon from Total-e-Bound, and a short story set in a gay men’s resort in Vegas.

What is Compromised about?

Daniel “Kash” Kashaveroff is a correctional officer at a maximum security prison and looking for Mr. Right. He has a NSA relationship with a co-worker, Zane Davis. The relationship turns serious but they face challenges because of Zane’s bi-sexuality and Kash’s desire to prove the innocence of an inmate, Kody Ives.

Lots of hotness to be found in a gay man’s resort … does what happen in Vegas really stay in Vegas?

I don’t think anything really stays in Vegas. For some men who stay at Hotel Incognito (the resort in my story) what happens there will stay there, for others it continues outside the walls of Incognito. Incognito is based on the Blue Moon Resort in Las Vegas. And yes, I did stay at Blue Moon one time, but what I did there, will stay there. A gentleman should never kiss and tell. I may not be a gentleman but…

Thanks, Ethan!

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