Ai Press, DH Starr

“Feed, Prey, Love” – Go Ahead, It’s Halloween…



There are such beings as vampires, some of us have evidence that they exist. – Bram Stoker


BLURB: At Whispering Hills where mortals and paranormals coexist peacefully – and romantically – love really does bite!

Talib Eldridge is a vampire who lives with guilt. 100 years ago, he accidentally turned a human to a vampire and has been afraid to get close to anyone for fear of ever losing control as he once did. When he meets Conley Berillo, his commitment to living in isolation is challenged. Immediately drawn to the human, he can’t help but fall in love.
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Jennifer Wright, Totally Bound

And Now, A Spooktacular Review of Jennifer Wright’s “Airos”



“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” ― William Styron


One of the best things about writing reviews for a blog is the opportunity you have to read a book by an author that you may not have noticed otherwise. This is what happened to me a few months ago. An author I hadn’t heard of before, Jennifer Wright, submitted her novel “Pavarus” to the blog for review and I told Lisa, “What the hell, send it to me.” Little did I know I was going to get hooked on yet another series. Like my to-be-read mountain isn’t tall enough, right? The reason I am telling you this is to give you an idea of how much I was totally jonesing for this newest book in the series. In the first two books, we got a look at Zane, one of the MCs of Airos, and his best friend Larken. I told Jennifer on more than a few occasions that I simply could not wait for Zane’s story and I just knew that Zane and Larken were going to live HEA and walk off into the moonlight together. I was just waiting for Jennifer to write their story. Well, she did…….
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Jennifer Wright, Totally Bound

Boo! It’s A Vampire Kind Of A Day, And Jennifer Wright Wants To Give You A Halloween Treat, No Trick!




TNA: Welcome to The Novel Approach, Jennifer, we couldn’t be happier to have you here with us today. Why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself, a few things that make you, you?

JW: Well, I’m originally from Arizona, but now live in Wisconsin (I know, drastic change in weather, right? :P). I live in a happy home with my sweetie-pie and our two cats. I love watching movies, reading, and spending as much time with my family that I can.

What makes me, me? Simple – writing. Writing defines who I am, my passion, my center, my everything. If I couldn’t be a writer, I’d be a sullen husk without purpose or personality. Wow, too deep? Nah! I know y’all can handle it. ;) I am a writer after all – Drama is my middle name.

TNA: Have you always written M/M Romance, or is that something that came along later in your writing career?

JW: It came along later. I very much enjoyed writing M/F, but then my reading took a turn to the M/M side and I found a whole new passion! My first published book, Pavarus, actually started out as an M/F. It was hell converting it, lol! Now, everything is M/M. My first two books I wrote will stay M/F, and one day when I find time to revamp them, I hope to get them published – maybe under a pen name.

TNA: What was your first published M/M title? Do you remember the precise moment you came up with the story idea and knew you wouldn’t rest until it was told?

JW: My first published M/M title was Pavarus: Finding Home Series book 1. I hate admitting this, but I honestly can’t remember when I came up with the idea, or what inspired it. I’m constantly coming up with new books in my head all the time – it’s hard to keep track of it all.

TNA: How long have you been writing?

JW: I started writing ‘for real’ only a little over 3 years ago. I dabbled in it a little growing up, but nothing serious, just for my own personal pleasure.

TNA: Let’s chat a little bit about the Finding Home series. When you started it, did you have all the books plotted in advance, or do you just write as the characters tell you their stories? Did you know in advance how many books there’d be in the series?

JW: In the very beginning, I didn’t have everything plotted out, but about halfway through writing Pavarus, the rest of the series came to me – well, for the most part. Originally, there were only going to be 4 books, but at the very end of the first one – when writing about Eli – Keddrick and Eli’s story came rushing in. Zane’s story was supposed to be book 2, but the impatient Keddrick and Eli wouldn’t wait and demanded their story next. Thankfully it was all thought out by the time I reached out to Totally Bound.

TNA: I know that Wesley didn’t get the mating mark because he is human, but with Eli being a magical being is there a reason he didn’t get the mating mark?

JW: Actually, it’s a family mark. It’s kind of like their last name – it represents who they are. The family mark is only passed between vampires. Since Wes had a way of getting Remus’ mark by an emblem on a necklace, I wanted Eli to get ‘something’, so I was going to have Eli getting Keddrick’s family mark tattooed on, but it didn’t really fit in well to the story.

TNA: The world building in these first two novels was very detailed. How did you come up with this universe that the vampires and their enemies are living in?

JW: Uh, I don’t know. Lol! It just kinda came to me. It wasn’t like I was thinking and devising it in my head, it was more like I was watching it all be created in my mind and I just wrote down what I saw.

TNA: Which authors have been your biggest influences?

JW: J.R. Ward and J.L. Langley. Ward has a writing style that I’m flat-out envious of, and Langley has some of the best story ideas I’ve ever read. There isn’t a book by either author that I don’t absolutely LOVE.

TNA: As I said in my review of Pavarus, I am a vampire story junkie. What are some of your favorite vampire novels?

JW: J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series has to be #1. Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series has to be #2. I know neither are M/M, but I don’t actually read a whole lot of vampire books.

TNA: Will any of your couples end up having children in the future, either by surrogate or maybe magical means?

JW: Unfortunately, no. There was a moment when I was going to add an abandoned child in and have the little boy be adopted by my couple in the 4th book, but it really doesn’t seem to be fitting in right anymore, so I don’t think it’ll happen.

TNA: Do you have any favorite characters in the series? If yes, which ones and why?

JW: Zane and Larken, hands down. For Zane, I love his attitude, his hardness (stop thinking dirty there Jackie), and his true personality that is only shone when he’s with Larken. And for Larken…well, what’s not to love. ;)

TNA: Will Aliam be given another mate? I would hate to see him mourn forever while all of his friends find true love.

JW: I hate to be the bearer of bad news then, but no, he doesn’t get another mate. His heart will forever only belong to Eveen.

TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?

JW: Ugh! I wish I could tell you about Athis Dey: Finding Home Series book 4, but I don’t want to give anything away for the 3rd book. I really set the 3rd book up as a ‘who’s Zane gonna choose?’, so revealing the main characters in the fourth book will kind of give it away. But other than my FH Series, I’m writing 5 other books.

There’s too many to talk about so I’ll just tell you about a futuristic one titled Love Me As I Am. It’s about this woman, Anna, who has all along known that deep down she’s meant to be a man. Being the future, this is actually possible where she can be transformed completely into a man. Now Rayne (once Anna) has to get Emery, his best friend and the man he’s secretly loved, to except him as a man now instead of the woman he once was.

TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?

Blog: http://authorjenwright.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferWright
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JenWright
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferWright
Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/index.php?route=product/author/info&author_id=253
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Wright/e/B00A2I2F80/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from Airos with us?

Blurb:

Zane has everything in his life under control and in order, but can he keep it that way when a young dragon is thrown into his life?

Zane was meant to be a warrior—end of story. Though he may not have had the most pleasant life living at the coven, he still loved being there. But the steadiness of his world came to a halt all within one day’s events. A man he never saw coming has pushed the boundaries of what little normalcy he has, and learning of a secret love is just confusing him even more. Zane has never felt more torn on what he should be feeling…and for whom. Though, if he assumed having two men plaguing his every waking thought was hard enough, learning of the danger his mother is in nearly has his head spinning off into another dimension.

The leader of the Dráguns is threatening to take everything away from him, his best friend is slipping further and further away from him, and a little dragon is managing to get under his skin in more ways than one. Sorting out what he has to do, what he wants, and what’s right for him will be the biggest challenge he’s ever been faced with. Will he follow his heart or will he take the easy path…or is the easy path the right path to begin with?

Excerpt:

Larken watched the tiny snowflake drift down from the sky. He reached out and let it fall into his hand, melting the moment it touched his skin.

If it were only that easy, to simply melt away and exist no more.

“Larken?”

Larken stilled at the sound of Zane’s voice.

“There you are. What are you doing out here? It’s fucking freezing.” Zane joined him on the balcony but didn’t come up to stand next to him, instead leaning against the ledge a few feet away. “I, uh… I was wondering if we could talk.”

Larken remained silent—he had nothing to say. And even if he did, he didn’t think he’d be capable of forming the words and speaking them out loud.

“All right, I’ll talk—you listen. Can we go inside, though? It’s colder than hell out here.”

Larken made no move to go inside, he just stared at the woods and at the tiny snowflakes that were slowly gathering on the leaves of the trees.

“All right, I guess we’ll stay out here then.” There was a moment of silence and Larken could hear Zane shuffling next to him. “I imagine today came as quite a surprise for you. Even though I hated to do so, that side of my life had to remain a secret. I did it for my mother.”

His half-breed side, that’s what he came to talk about? Of course, I should have known…why else would he be here.

“You have to know, though, that keeping it from you hurt the most.”

Not nearly as much as I’m hurting now.

“There were so many times that I wanted to tell you, to share that side of my life with you.”

Only a side? But I want all of it. I would have given anything to have it…to have you.

“I hate that you had to find out this way. But I just couldn’t… Bo had been hurt, and I had to go find him.”

Larken closed his eyes as a knot formed in his chest, stealing his breath away. The dragon. Zane exposed himself for Bo. His secret was important enough to go a century and a half without telling anyone…and he gave it up for the dragon.

When Larken had left the gathering room the hurt inside him had clutched at his soul and had been slowly sucking the life out of him. The ache had consumed him and spread throughout his body, attacking every nerve and every emotion—the last bit of it tearing at his heart just then, as the man he loved spoke of another.

“Do you have nothing to say?” Zane asked, concern lacing his words.

Larken let the silence linger between them, trying to figure out in his mind how every-thing had gone so wrong. “I don’t care that you’re a half-breed,” he finally replied. It was true, he didn’t care, and it was the least of his concerns. He looked over to Zane. So many times he’d gazed into those sapphire eyes, praying that someday his friend would look at him in the same way. “Yeah, I’m a little mad that you didn’t tell me before, but it doesn’t matter.”

“Then why do you seem so upset?”

Here’s your chance, he’s asking you up front, do not cower away this time.

Larken wanted to curse at the voice inside his head. He had never cowered away before—he just knew that he’d needed to give Zane time to come around on his own.

Bullshit! The time for excuses is over—you and him are over. You let him slip away. You were weak—too scared that he’d reject you, and look where it’s gotten you.

Larken mentally shook his head, shaking away the harsh words. He wanted to argue back, deny everything, but ultimately he knew the voice was right. This was his last chance to tell Zane how he felt, but there were no words to even begin to describe his love for him.

He would just have to show him instead.

Closing the distance between them, Larken framed Zane’s face with his hands and crushed their mouths together. He put all the love he had into the kiss, handing over every ounce of his heart. He wanted to devour every inch of Zane’s mouth, but he held back, keeping the kiss passionate—not possessive. Finally, he pulled back and rested their foreheads together.

Larken brushed his thumbs across Zane’s cheeks. “Tell me you felt something,” he whispered, then placed a chaste kiss on Zane’s lips. “Tell me you felt something for me.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

TNA: Thanks again for being here with us today, Jennifer!

JW: Thanks again for having me as a guest!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Cardeno C., Dreamspinner Press

Cardeno C.’s Latest Release Offers “More Than Everything”



“The heart was made to be broken.” ― Oscar Wilde


BLURB: As a teenager, Charlie “Chase” Rhodes meets Scott Boone and falls head over heels in love with the popular, athletic boy next door. Charlie thinks he’s living the dream when Scott says he feels the same way. But his dreams are dashed when Scott moves unexpectedly and doesn’t return.

Years later, Chase meets brash and confident Adan Navarro, who claims all he wants is a round between the sheets. When they’re still together after eight months, Chase is convinced Adan returns his love. But then the time comes to be open about their relationship, and Adan walks away instead.

Time heals all wounds, but when Charlie runs into Scott and Adan and realizes the only two men he’s ever loved are now in love with each other, his heart breaks all over again. Scott and Adan tell Charlie they want him back, but Charlie doesn’t know if he can trust two people who have hurt him so deeply. And even if he can, why would Scott and Adan want Charlie when they already have everything with each other?
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Allison Cassatta, Dreamspinner Press

“Relationships 101” Is A Lesson In Life And Trust And Faith


“Sometimes we carry mistakes we haven’t even made yet.” ― Saahil Prem


This is the third installment of the Dear Diary series, I highly recommend reading Dear Diary and Dear Diary: Pride first to follow Chris and Josh’s story from the beginning.

This is definitely a coming of age story. Chris is now at college along with his boyfriend Josh. They’ve been together for a year now and are ready to start the next chapter in their life.
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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Article – Oops, Maybe Not So Much…



I have a friend who has gotten bad covers made for her, more than once. I’m not going to point fingers to say who the artists were or what publishers she used that seem to believe that such atrocities will actually sell books to anyone that isn’t listening to them on audio book; but suffice it to say, THEY were BAD.

Bad bad bad!!!!

Did I mention bad or perhaps awkward, uncomfortable, how about unfortunate? Those work for ya?

We’ve all seen them; hell, some of us have even gotten stuck there, and now we’re gonna get to look at them and marvel in the balls it took to publish these works of singularly unique vision. (Self – published authors you’re up in a bit don’t worry.)

Now, while I am NOT the guru ala perfect book cover artist, I do try to take into consideration the fragile emotional state that are most authors after ripping their hearts out for a manuscript. I try to deliver something good, something that complements their story, and heck that may even make them smile. At the very least I try very diligently to NOT give them a cringe worthy half assed hack job that will have all your friends saying, “oh what a great story but the cover…oh sweetie.”

*insert obligatory hug here*

In my endeavors of looking at and for pretty book covers, I’ve come across some very questionable offerings indeed. Today I just wanted for fun to show you some of the worst covers I’ve come across that pretty much made me wince, all the while laughing my ass off. However, before I do that I want to clarify something first:

Everyone has different tastes and EVERYONE is ALLOWED to have different tastes.

This is not about what the cover is alluding to within its bindings so much as the OMG-ness of the covers. This post is ultimately about my amusement, but it’s also about my irritation and ire. Not with the artists or authors themselves, who all try very hard to deliver what they ultimately think is a good product, but with the publishing houses that just don’t give a good god damn about what they’re choosing to put out there that represents not only themselves but their authors as well. You want our money but you want to give us this drek? It could be To Kill a Mockingbird that is housed behind some of these covers but honestly, who would want to buy it? Not me, and I suspect not a vast majority of the readers out there. That said, I’m sure some of these are and were solo authors doing what they could for their own books.

NOTE TO SELF PUBBED AUTHORS: The covers following will hopefully persuade you to find one of the many artists out there that are good but reduced to charging a shockingly low price for covers, and even if it hurts to pay 35.00 dollars for a decent cover, remember, IT HELPS YOUR SALES!!!!!! Bad covers HURT!!! I need to make a bumper sticker that says that. Hmmm…

This also goes for published authors. If you hate the cover to the point of getting hives, ask for another artist. There are quite a few companies out there that will work with you. BUT BE NICE!!! Just say, you know, I hate to do this but I am really not feeling it, do you maybe have another artist? Don’t be afraid to speak up. Heck, some places will even let you use your own artist, not often but every once in awhile.

Anyhow, this little foray into bad book cover land is what I get for having a conversation with a good friend of mine regarding bad movie scripts (she reads a LOT of them) that turned into a conversation about bad book covers. And I’m dragging you right along with me. Share in my pain won’t you?

1.

1. Tarzan

What can be said about a cover where the man in the loin cloth is looking rather longingly at his best friend, Cheetah? And why is Cheetah making that particular facial gesture? The artist says he’s speaking; personally, I think Tarzan’s been training his buddy there in the fine are of oral copulation.

2.

2. Mounted by the Gryphon

Wow. AND bonus, there’s a whole series!!!!!!!! Sex with Gryphons, Velociraptors, a T Rex. HOW THE HELL that would work I have no clue. Oddly enough this isn’t a horrible cover, and it certainly did catch my eye; it’s just, well, all I can think is ouchie and claws. That and it does put me off as a genre I would want to read. I am not even little bit sarcastic when I say I am so going to give huge kudos to Christie Sims (who I think is a self publishedauthor) for having the steel balls of a serial killer and actually putting this out into the world for everyone to see and enjoy. Sex with a half lion/half eagle mythical creature, AWESOME!

3.

3. Now that I'm a Ghost I'm Gay

Now that I’ve seen this cover, I am DONE!!! I don’t know Josh, he’s probably a nice guy, maybe even a good writer but the cover of his book? Oy vey! Let’s just pretend to forget about the picture for a moment and ask what the frilly heck is that title? Is it a cry for help? A deep seated urge the author has to engage in sex with a phantasm? Some sort of self help book for the dearly departed but deeply closeted? Whatever it is, it’s just, well, it’s kinda creepy.

4.

4.-One-Sexy-Daddy

Daddy, you’re scaring me. And it’s a Harlequin romance, for shame! I get that this is a book about a single father NOW, but I know damn well that I wasn’t alone in thinking that it was about something else entirely. That’s right WE ALL went there!

5.

5. My Brother My Rival

And here we have another one that took us there. Was there anyone else that thought just by the title that this was a brotherly lovin’ situation? Guess what? You’d be wrong! Just be glad you didn’t place any bets on it because in reality it’s a het romance!!!! I KNOW, the wonder.

Not only do you have not get even one iota of a hint about this story being a male/female romance due to the one man and his headless twin there, but the title, My Brother My Rival? Smacks of something and it ain’t a man and woman getting hot and heavy under the covers, though I’m not exactly sure what it smacks of except maybe newbieism. (Yes, I made that word up.)

I included this one more from a learning stand point since I can clearly see that this person probably is a total newbie to Photoshop. At least she seems to be a self-published author trying to make her own covers, but sadly I’ve seen similar covers from publishers as well that maybe aren’t this level of oopsie but really close. I personally am all for giving people a chance, supporting people, and helping them get a foot in the door. Hell, I’m still fighting for that myself with publishers, and if I didn’t have a wonderful friend who had in turn introduced me to other wonderful people, I wouldn’t be here writing this. But this sort of cover can hurt you. If you want to be a serious author and want people to take you seriously, you need a cover that looks good. It’s like the clothes you wear to an interview; you wouldn’t wear ratty jeans and a holey t-shirt to impress your potential employer, would you? Nope, you’d wear your best slacks and shirt, you’d have your hair brushed and your résumé crisp and fingerprint free. So why are we seeing covers out there that are amateurish to this extent? Seriously, people, if you have no feel for Photoshop, a nice plain color cover with a nice crisp title can and will work better than a cover that has poorly lit, badly cropped, horribly cut out pics that are awkwardly placed. No one wants to buy it if no one even wants to look at it.

I’ve shown you covers that we can take with a grain of salt and poke some fun at but, authors, you need to realize that if you have a cover like this, people can and will make fun. Not necessarily to be malicious or mean, but just because they’re so obvious. Artists you need to seriously evaluate if you’re good enough to make covers for others and if you don’t think you are, you probably aren’t. I’ve done some mediocre covers in my past (thankfully, not even close to this bad, and a few years ago) but I learned from that period and now my first thought is always whether or not I can do something and whether or not it’s going to be a huge embarrassment later on for either myself or my client. A bad cover reflects on so much more than just one person. And while you may only have a bad cover on one book, you need to stand tall, be proud of what you’ve written, and demand a better cover next time. If you don’t stand your ground, authors, you’ll never get the cover you deserve. You’ll get the one you need instead. (And yes, I quoted Batman. )

Anyhow, that’s it for this week. I leave you with one last cover that just screams for a book burning.
Enjoy, have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J. – Got You Covered

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

6.

6. Mind Pump

At least the title is nice and easy to read, but are those horns growing out of his head or another set of arms? Either way, I find myself wanting to watch a really bad Sci Fi movie now.

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JMS Books LLC, Paul Alan Fahey

Paul Alan Fahey Talks “Lovers & Liars” And Would Love To Give Away A Book


A_Manx_Tale_400x600TNA: Hi, Paul, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself? Hobbies, interests, odds and ends things that make you, you.

PAF: Hi, Lisa, I’m so glad you asked me to be here. Wow. That’s an interesting question. Hmm. What makes me, me? I guess part of who I am came from the way I was raised, a kind of a nomadic existence in the 1950s. My mom was a single mom and during those times it wasn’t cool to be raising a child alone without a father, 2.4 brothers and sisters and a cat or dog that didn’t shed. We had the dog, a little Maltese poodle we both loved dearly and who traveled with us during those years, but unfortunately, he shed. :)

I was the first in my lower middle class family to get a college education and that was mainly due to my grandparents who helped us when Mom had difficulty finding a place to live or gainful employment. After college, I joined Peace Corps and spent almost five years living and teaching in Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia. When I was 13, I wrote my first storybook about a train that toured African game parks. So I guess it was kind of prophetic that I ended up in the land of thirteen months of sunshine—if you don’t count the two very heavy rainy seasons.

Until I retired, I taught adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and emotional problems in two community colleges in California, so I guess you could say my love of diversity continued on in my professional career and played a large part in what friends I made and what job choices I made.

I’ve been writing fiction for the past twenty some years, so I’m kind of a newbie, having only a stack of some very boring and sleep inducing professional journal articles under my belt up to that point. Oh, and a master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation, but they really don’t count as writing. (Please yawn here.) I started writing fiction when my mother passed away. It seemed to be the only way I could deal with my grief by making up worlds where I had control over what happened to the characters. Then of course, being gay and living through the worst of the AIDS crises in the mid-1980s did a number on most of us, so I imagine those terrible times contributed to my need to control the world around me since we had absolutely zero control over AIDS. I guess, like everyone else, I’m the sum total of my experiences both good and bad.

TNA: Do you remember when the writing bug hit you? Do you remember the first story you wrote that you allowed someone to read for something other than a school assignment?

PAF: The book about Africa was a 7th grade English assignment so we can’t count that. I think my writing experience was jumpstarted in Africa by what I was seeing and experiencing daily. I wasn’t’ one to keep a journal, but I did write air grams home every week to my mother, grandmother and to other relatives but not to close pals my age. (I remember being a loner in college, mainly because I had to commute such a long distance from our home on the San Francisco Peninsula to college in the city, so I didn’t make a lot of friends easily.) But in the weekly air grams, I chronicled the unique events of the day: my teaching, the students, the trips I made to East Africa, Egypt and the Middle East on vacation, and the general unrest in the country. At that time I was stationed in Asmara, Eritrea, a part of Ethiopia via His Royal Majesty’s say so. (Most Eritreans hated Ethiopians and Haile Selassie.) In later years I would write more about these times either in short memoir or through fictionalizing the characters and the events. I wrote many short stories with my mom in mind, a sort of freewheeling sprit not unlike the fictional character Auntie Mame. My mother was very much like her. If we ever had two nickels to rub together, we’d laugh at our bills and rush off to a late night movie. That’s another thing: movies and books. I grew up on some of the great films of those years and today still spend hours watching them on DVD and incorporating some of film technique into my fiction writing. I also love live theater. (When I was four, Mom took me to see Mae West in a live production of Diamond Lil. I must have been the only child in the theater.) So for hobbies and loves, movies, books and theater are all tied together.

TNA: Who would you say was your biggest supporter when you started writing creatively?

PAF: I’d have to say a writing instructor I had in the 1990s. I enrolled in a writing class at Cal Poly. My instructor, Ingrid Reti, was so excited about the process of putting words together in unusual and striking ways, and was so supportive and accessible to her students, that in later years we became great friends. Ingrid was the kind of person who always asked you first what YOU were writing and never spoke about herself or her work, even when she published her poetry books or her gorgeous coffee table book, Steinbeck Country—she was an expert on all of his novels and short stories. She also never spoke about her background as a young Jewish child living in Nuremberg during the worst part of the Hitler years or her terrifying journey to England on the Kindertransport. We discovered all these things after her death from her daughter.

TNA: If you had to choose, which of your books would you say you’re the most proud of?

PAF: I’m very proud of our nonfiction anthology, The Other Man: 21 Writers Speak Candidly About Sex, Love, Infidelity, & Moving On. (It’s a 2013 Rainbow Award Finalist.) Proud because I was handed this project by a much-admired writer and essayist, Victoria Zackheim. Victoria edited the wildly successful anthology, The Other Woman, and asked me if I’d like to edit the gay companion, The Other Man. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity then immediately wondered if I’d be up to the challenge since this was a new experience for me. I was terrified I’d let her down, afraid that the book wouldn’t see a publisher and…well, you get the idea. But then I started contacting writers and asking them to contribute and it was amazing how positively they responded. Along the way I met some wonderful writers like Christopher Bram, author of Gods & Monsters, Armistead Maupin and Edmund White, as well as the playwrights, Charles Busch, Mart Crowley, and Christopher Durang, and the list just went on and on. If this was my Andy Warhol 15 minutes, I can tell you it’s lasted three years throughout the process of getting the book published and it’s still going on with the promotion. So, yes, The Other Man would have to be the highlight of my writing and editing experience so far. It’s been quite a ride.

TNA: Those of us who don’t write tend to picture authors sitting down at the PC and effortlessly laying down a story start to finish. In correcting that misperception, what would you say is the most difficult part of the writing process?

PAF: I can tell you for me it isn’t effortless. Far from it. To begin with, I’m not a writer who writes every day. My husband, Bob, and my kids—read shelties here—are really my world and writing is somewhere down the priority list after them. I know this isn’t the typical response from writers who often say things like writing is my life, or there isn’t a moment I’m not writing, or I’ve been writing since birth. That just isn’t me, and won’t be at any time in the future.

The biggest challenge of being a writer for me is dreaming up a story that I think readers will like. And that takes time, especially when I’m working with the same characters in a series that spans several years. Characters who grow, change, do unpredictable things, and talk to me constantly and tell me what they are happy doing and what they absolutely will not do. I know it sounds schizophrenic but they call the shots most of the time.

So back to the process. When I begin a story I do a lot of thinking first. A lot of what-if-ing. I don’t want to bore anyone here but this, in brief, is what I do BEFORE I start writing. I write my novellas, especially the books in the Lovers & Liars Wartime Series in three acts. First I want to know the specific setting and how the story begins. Then I want to know the event at the end of Act I that shifts the action and moves it into Act II. If I can figure out the ending, that’s great. If I can figure out the major turning point that swings the story arc into Act III, that helps me tremendously. Of course this short outline is not fixed in stone. I often shift turning points and events as I write, but I try not to start until I have most of these story points down. If I can come up with the book’s theme, that’s truly a bonus, and I try to layer it into each scene through metaphor, dialogue, motifs, etc.

TNA: The Lovers & Liars Wartime Series is set in World War II England. How much research has gone in to writing the series?

PAF: I have to do a lot of research in the thinking stage before I write. I also have to do a lot of rechecking as I’m writing because it’s so easy to introduce elements into a story that are either a bit off or wildly inaccurate. As an example, I had a specific English village in mind for Caroline’s cottage in the first book in the series, Bomber’s Moon. I did quite a bit of research online and looked at photos from the 1940s to get the details right. Yet in the second book, Weep Not For the Past, I mistakenly ran a river through the town when there wasn’t one. Up to that point I was ready to name the village, but realized I’d best keep it generic if I didn’t want to run into trouble somewhere down the line from UK readers familiar with that area in Kent. (So for now, Caroline’s cottage is unnamed and somewhere in Kent.)

Two books have been great references for Lovers & Liars in terms of “getting it right.” One is Sarah Water’s brilliant wartime novel, The Night Watch, about women in love with other women and working as ambulance drivers during the London Blitz. The Night Watch got me thinking about gay men and their relationships during this very repressive period and in a country that sent homosexuals to prison at the least provocation. What was life like for them? Of course living as a gay man through the 1950s and 60s in a sexually repressed America gave me quite a bit of empathy to start with, but The Night Watch was the inspiration for the series, sort of the other side of the coin.

The Timetables of History, a huge reference that lists practically every aspect of each year from ancient times to present, was invaluable in the writing. For example, for the 1940s, I not only discovered the critical war events for that year but also what people were reading, what movies they watched and the songs they sang. This type of detail made the period come alive for me and also suggested some fun and interesting bits for characterization and dialogue that added to the atmosphere of the times. Anyone who is a writer of historical fiction should grab a copy of this indispensible resource.

TNA: What is your favorite sort of story to write, contemporary, historical, or do you like dabbling in all sub-genres?

PAF: Most of my early fiction was contemporary lit and written from the female point of view. But I think during the past few years, I’ve truly found my writing niche in gay historical romance, especially within the WW II period. Given that I was born during WWII and my father and stepfather both served in the military—one in Europe and the other in the South Pacific—I must have come by this obsession naturally.

TNA: Do you still, even now, feel nervous when you submit a new manuscript for publication? Is there still that fear that it won’t be accepted?

PAF: Absolutely. I love working with JM Snyder at JMS Books. She is the ultimate professional and I respect her tremendously. But I always worry she might not like the next book in the series. So far, that hasn’t been the case, but I’m very neurotic in that respect. Being a fallen away Irish Catholic and superstitious to the hilt doesn’t help much either. I was born a worrier and I doubt I will ever break this habit.

Along with this initial fear that no one will like what I’ve written—I’m talking readers here as well—my other hat as an editor often kicks in, and I try not to send anything in to my publisher unless I feel it’s properly edited and the ms is the best it can be. So, yes, I worry all the time about getting my work published. (People who know me well know I worry about everything so thinking someone will hate my work fits in nicely with who I am. )

TNA: What are some of the primary qualities you’d say all of your MCs share?

PAF: I think mainly it’s having a sense of humor. I’m so glad you asked me this question, Lisa, because the one thing I want to convey to the reader is that my books are not heavy reads full of misery and sadness. True, these were terrible times of unbelievable horror, yet the British soldiered through the war in such an incredible way that I try to use humor to lighten the atmosphere when the characters are together. One thing I love doing is getting the dialogue as right as I can. And it’s interesting how much humor my characters find in these scary situations. Again, they talk to me on a regular basis once I start a novella, and I just follow their lead. If Caroline and Cyril, while honeymooning on the Isle of Man, want to have a silly conversation about fish when the atmosphere around them is full of danger and intrigue, I go with it. If my characters end up on a lonely coastline in the lantern room of a lighthouse with German bomber planes headed their way, there’s always time for an intimate, playful scene between the male lovers.

TNA: Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite? If so, who and why?

PAF: It would have to be Caroline hands down. I identify closely with her take on the world. She’s carefree but not careless. She accepts Leslie and Edward as lovers and welcomes the couple into her home without a second thought. She’s not judgmental but kind and understanding, and above all she enjoys a stiff drink and, well, stiff other things, too. She’s tough when she has to be, but sophisticated and witty in dealing with friends and foes alike. In some ways, she reminds me of my mother. Not such a stretch since many of my characters, including the male ones, are composites of my freewheeling mom and myself. I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me that.

Caroline’s the most fun to write and she seems to be taking center stage with greater frequency in each subsequent novella I write. I’ll have to talk to her about that some day. Right now I’m having too much fun with her.

TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?

PAF: I just finished a Christmas story, A Christmas in Kent, out December 8th from JMS Books. The story continues the Lovers & Liars saga. Here’s a teaser:

“December 1941. Caroline, Cyril, Edward, and Leslie are home for Christmas from their recent exploits on the Isle of Man. On the surface all seems right within Caroline’s world, yet there’s something bothering her that can’t be ignored much longer. Christmas in Kent will indeed be full of surprises.”

I’m in the thinking stages for the next novella in the series. It’s now 1942 and the story will have our cast of characters somehow involved in the plot to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, “the blond beast,” who was one of the prime architects of Hitler’s final solution to exterminate the Jews.

TNA: Where can readers find you on the Internet?

PAF:

Author website

JMS Books

Twitter

Facebook

A_Manx_Tale_400x600TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from A Manx Tale with us?

PAF: You bet. Here’s a chapter that sets the mood and tone of the piece. Caroline and Cyril are honeymooning on the Isle of Man. What really got me interested in this particular setting was the fact that during the war, the British interned “suspected enemy aliens” in neighborhood camps around the island. Once I knew that, I was off and running.




Excerpt from A Manx Tale (release date: November 3, JMS Books.)

Chapter 2: What We Know About People

Cyril took Caroline’s hand as they ran across the green, mainly to avoid the harsh winds blowing in from the sea. Tummies full from a dinner of kippers—a local specialty at The Black Dog Inn—the pair decided on a leisurely walk before bedtime. Caroline had never had kippers for dinner, only breakfast—being the well brought up English lady she was—but nothing could match the Manx kippers served fresh from the sea and smothered in butter. In a very short time, she’d grown to crave them.

The couple had gone some distance when they came upon a large neighborhood square consisting of several blocks of houses surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by sentries. This was Hutchinson Internment Camp, one of the many such places scattered about the isle. Since the beginning of the war with Germany, the camps were deemed necessary “in defense of the realm and in order to detain anyone suspected of being a danger to the public safety.”

“Listen,” Caroline said, grabbing Cyril by the arm and stopping him from moving on. “Is that Bach?”

“Sounds like it. A violin for sure.”

“And notes from a piano,” she said. “It’s coming from one of the open windows. “Wish we could get closer, take a look inside. If only—”

“Uh—huh. That’s the reason for the barbed wire, love. It’s to keep them from getting out. Not us from getting in.”

“I know,” she said. Caroline brushed his cheek with one of her long, lacquered nails. She loved the lean look of his face, the longish dark hair touching his coat collar, even his beaked nose lent him character and made him quite sexy. Even if it does remind me of that chap who plays Sherlock Holmes in the cinema. “Have I told you today how much I love you?”

“About every hour on the hour.”

She nudged him in the ribs. “Don’t press your luck, fella,” and then she pulled his face to hers and kissed him.

“Maybe we should cut this walk short,” he said. “I think I’m working up an appetite.”

“We’ve already eaten, silly.”

“I wasn’t thinking about food,” he said.

She jabbed him a bit harder in the ribs. “In time. In time. Just a few more minutes.” She craned her neck and looked upward to the second floor. “Someone has etched a bird in that blackened window. Such beautiful detail. Edward would appreciate the art here. And the music. I read in the local news that Hutchinson is known for its exhibits, concerts, and even theatrical productions. You’d never know it, would you?”

Cyril shifted his weight from one foot to the other, seemingly anxious to start home. “Well, they have to do something to occupy their time.”

“And that’s the point, isn’t it? Just marking time.” Caroline grew misty eyed and turned away looking out toward the green. “This is the view they see day after day. The wire fence, the street with people walking by free to do whatever they please, and then beyond the road the blasted sea. I’d go crazy.”

“Most probably, love, but you aren’t an enemy alien. Come on, let’s turn back.”

Caroline couldn’t let his remark go. Hadn’t she always spoken her mind? “I think it’s wrong, this whole internment program. It’s demeaning.”

“What would you do then, love?” he said. “Take a chance on letting people with connections to enemy countries roam our streets and plot against us?”

“No, of course not, but many of the detainees are Jewish and confirmed anti-Nazis. What harm can they do? They’ve left their countries for sanctuary and not to conspire against us. Many are even naturalized British citizens.”

“You’re only repeating propaganda, what oppressed people always say. Besides, it’s not what we know about people, but what we don’t know that would terrify us if we did.”

“Sounds like a quote from a boring philosophy professor past his prime, or maybe something you’d read in a fortune cookie.”

“In our business, we know people aren’t always what they seem,” he said.

“Yes. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Sometimes I hate what we do in name of King and Country. All the lying and subterfuge. But I still think the practice of locking people away without any rights based on where they were born or—”

He shook his head. “I should know better than to argue with you. Besides, there are reasons those individuals are locked away, as you say. Someone thought they were a threat to our government.

Besides, they do have it quite nice. They all have their roles inside. Some are house leaders, cooks, and even orderlies who make their lives run smoothly. They have jobs in the camps based on life skills.”

“Right,” she said, “and they offer art classes, lectures, watch movies, and live the high life. It’s all one big game of happy families. Yes, husband mine, I’ve heard that government propaganda as well. They might as well be chained to the wall behind prison walls for all we care.”

“Thank you, Alexander Dumas.”

“You’re very welcome.”

“Listen, dear heart, little by little and once they’ve been vetted, we’ve started letting them out, sending them back to—” He fell quiet a moment. Then, “Are we arguing?” he asked. “Is this our first marital quarrel?”

“Could be.” She turned away from him and leaned back against the fence. “This just feels wrong. Someday—”

“Someday these policies will make sense, and we’ll be glad then we had them in place,” Cyril said. He pulled her toward him and wrapped his arms around her. “We need to go back. It’s getting cold.” The night had turned damp. A misty fog hovered above the sea and was moving in to shore.

“Cold, yes,” she said absentmindedly, wondering about one of the houses near the end of the block. “At least the others have some light peeping though. What do you make of that one completely in the dark?

“Probably unoccupied,” Cyril said. “Come on. Let’s get hopping.”

“Yes, you must be right. It just looks so…I don’t know. Forlorn,” she said, and shivered. “There’s a local myth about the fog. Want to hear it?”

“You can tell me about it later. Much later,” he said practically dragging her along.

“And you know something else?” she asked.

“No. What?”

“In my head I know you’re right. With so much hate and misery around us, we can’t afford to take risks. It’s just some of the internees don’t belong in there.”

“I know,” he said.

“You do?”

“Yes, but I still believe quite a few of them do…belong in there. For now.”

“Then why let me go on as I did,” she said, “especially knowing I would agree with you in the end?”

“It’s more fun when you get your dander up.”

“You, too,” she said. “Do you think it will lift its lovely head again any time soon—your dander, I mean?”

“I wouldn’t be in the least surprised.”

“I’m thinking a good old fashioned spanking is just what I need,” Caroline said, “in the privacy of our room, of course.”

“You know,” he said, “I was thinking the exact same thing.”

* * * *

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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S.A. McAuley, Totally Bound

“Someday It Will Be” – For What It’s Worth, It Was Worth All The While



“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time…” – Green Day “Good Riddance”


There is a cosmic order to the universe – time is linear, the past is unalterable, death cannot stop true love… at least that’s how all the best fairy tales go. And there’s one more inarguable rule to the order of things in life: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – for good there is bad, for joy there is sorrow, for gain there is loss, for fear there is faith, for life there is death.
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Eli Easton, Self-Published

“The Lion and the Crow” Is A Light In The Darkest Hours



“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” ― Pablo Neruda


Summary:

In Medieval England, fearless knight, Sir William Corbit, the Lion, hears news of his sister’s abuse at the hand of her treacherous husband, a union facilitated by the cold scheming of their heartless father. In a desperate bid to liberate his sister from her husband’s tyrannical regime, William visits the castle Brandon to plea with the Lord of the house for assistance. Unwilling to spare the men for the mission, Lord Brandon entrusts his youngest son, Christian, a prized archer, to accompany the knight on his mission. As Christian escapes the abuse of his six half-brothers, he follows William across the land on a mission to save the endangered lady, but what transpires is not what either men expected. As their passion builds to a fever pitch, the Lion and the Crow come to realize that the salvation of the dame is not the only thing at stake. Can their love possibly save the men as well? Honour and valour will take the men to the edges of their darkest hours, and love and trust will light the way for the Lion and the Crow.
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GayRomLit, Guest Contributor

Poppy’s Post-GRL Follow up (as requested!)



Poppy’s Post-GRL Wrap Up

Well, it’s happened again. The GayRomLit retreat is over. I’m back home, snuggled up on my couch and reflecting on an amazing week. True confession: I’m really sad. I miss everyone already. I knew I would, but it’s so hard to explain what it’s like to leave behind folks you’ve bonded with on such a deep level.

So, instead of being maudlin Poppy, I thought I’d share a few special memories with you of my week in Atlanta with the amazing authors and readers of this genre. To say I broke out of my shell a little more this year would be the understatement of the century.

First up, I did as promised in my pre-GRL post and tacklehugged the lovely Lisa (goddess extraordinaire of this blog) and the amazing Rhys Ford. It was worth the trip alone for those two moments! As I expected, Rhys tried to feed me. She does not approve of my microwave dinners. LOL. As to Ms. Lisa, I can’t believe it was the first time we’d met! I feel like I’ve known her forever! (And isn’t she absolutely gorgeous???)

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There were so many new faces for me at this year’s event. Some of my favorite new friends were found in the lobby of the Melia. Just sitting around chatting…it’s really the best part of GRL (amazing parties notwithstanding).  I particularly loved getting to know the Book Addicts crew. I might have glomped onto the adorable Glenn (isn’t he so huggable?) and am working on forgiving him for never delivering my promised coffee. And Cindi, lovely lady, you are a dear with the most amazing energy I have ever encountered. Thank you for greeting me with such a lovely smile and big hug.

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Remember me saying I broke out of my shell a little bit? I have proof. Yes, that’s me, wrapped around Charlie Harding, cover model for Accidental Alpha. You have no idea how glad I am that the room is lit in red lights…because believe me when I tell you, I was redder than I’ve ever been before!

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But that’s part of the magic of GRL, isn’t it? Doing things you’ve never done before, meeting people you have only the slightest connection with and realizing you have so much more in common than you ever imagined.

A few other shout outs to new friends: those of you who shared my table at the Dine With An Author event (L.A. Witt, Eugenia Worst, Nate, K.C. Wells, Brandi, Taylor, Christian, and JoJo) thank you guys for such great conversation!

Have I mentioned how hysterical it was to ask Rick Reed and B.G. Thomas if they wanted to taste my beaver? I still giggle every time I see their faces! In my defense, it was a bag of beaver nuggets that Xara Xanakas had brought along from Texas. But oh…the look on their faces. Priceless!

To Lorelei and Madysn, who made me feel like a princess for the night of the formal, thank you! You guys helped me walk into that room with confidence I didn’t have. It means the world!

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And to my “outside lobby” friends: Jackie, Denise, Suzie (yes, I’m wearing red right now!) Michelle and all the others I’m forgetting…thank you for sharing those moments with me! For my Kelly, who is so magically delicious, and Kade, my little hush puppy, you guys are adorable. Thank you for letting me give you silly nicknames! And for Doug, a new friend who did something nice for me, even though he barely knows me. You are a doll face. Gah, I know I’m leaving out a gazillion people from this list, but you all know who you are!

Another great about GRL? Fangirling. Oh yes. I did it. To one author in particular: Eric Arvin, you are a dreamboat. Seriously. I admire you more than you can possibly imagine, and seeing you sitting in my Q&A…wow. It was amazing. Catching your eye helped me remember how incredibly brave you are, and it helped me find my own courage. Thank you for your kind words and support. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one…

So now that I’ve gushed a bit, I’d like to switch to a more serious note for a moment. Some of you know that I suffer from severe anxiety. There’s no way I could have survived the week in Atlanta without the support of my posse.  The folks in this picture…

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there are not enough words to thank them. They held my hand when I trembled walking through the crowded lobby, bodyguarded me on packed elevators, and gave me giant hugs when it got to be too much. For the posse members not pictured, well, you know who you are. Each of you gave me the strength to walk out of the hotel room with a smile on my face and my head held high.  I heard from so many people this year that they have the same issues. Folks who had a hard time leaving their rooms, who couldn’t attend some of the events, but braved it anyway. You’re all an inspiration to me. Some of you out there might think you can’t come to GRL because of similar issues. Believe me, you can. No one there will judge you. The best compliment I received the entire week was a reader who saw me at a weak moment and said they had no idea. It’s hard being vulnerable, but there are ways to make it through. You don’t want to miss this experience, even if you do have to spend time locked away in your hotel room decompressing. And if it gets to be too much, just hunt me down. Trust me, I understand.

I’ll see you all next year in Chicago—if not sooner!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

A sassy southern lady, Poppy Dennison developed an obsession with things that go bump in the night in her early years after a barn door flew off its hinges and nearly squashed her. Convinced it was a ghost trying to get her attention, she started looking for other strange and mysterious happenings around her. Not satisfied with what she found, Poppy has traveled to Greece, Malaysia and England to find inspiration for the burly bears and silver foxes that melt her butter. Her love of paranormal continues to flourish nearly thirty years later, and she writes steamy love stories about the very things that used to keep her up all night. If her childhood ghost is lucky, maybe one day she’ll give him his own happily ever after.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Visit her on her website
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Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre

There Is Only One Mission For Luki Vasquez: “Saving Sonny James”



“Life means so much more, when there’s someone.” – Lou Sylvre


Loving Luki Vasquez hasn’t always been easy for Sonny Bly James, but it’s always been worth the risk to have given his heart to the man who’s made of ice but melts at the sight of a husband he treasures above all else. This time around, that love is put to the ultimate test in Saving Sonny James, a story that picks up several months after a dramatic rescue in Finding Jackie, and finds Luki waging a war and loosing his footing against an adversary that won’t blink, no matter how hard he stares it down–PTSD–brought on by a snap decision in a life or death situation that put one young man on the losing side of Luki’s gun.
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Dreamspinner Press, SJD Peterson

You Might Want To Consider Being A Part Of This “Tag Team”



“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.” ― Nicole Sobon


My first introduction to SJD Peterson was Lorcan’s Desire. After reading that awesome book I was hooked. I read the entire Whispering Pines Ranch series and that is where I got to meet Ty. After Whispering Pines was concluded I was so excited to find out there was going to be a “spin off”. It seemed that Ty and his Dom were buying a BDSM club in New York and Guards of Folsom was born. The first full length book in the series was Pup and I absolutely loved it. One of the best parts of Pup, other than the MCs, was getting to meet some of the supporting characters. Two of these characters were Bobby and Rig. Ty and Blake bought the club from Bobby and Rig since they were ready to retire.
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Kol Anderson

Kol Anderson Is Here, And He’d Love To Help You Find Your “Soulmate”


TNA: Hi, Kol, it’s so great having you here with us today. Thanks for stopping by. So, why don’t we get right to it?

TNA: Who would you say are your biggest literary influences?

KA: Bret Easton Ellis, Dostoevsky and Oscar Wilde.

TNA: Who would you say was your biggest real-life influence? Was there someone who encouraged your love of writing?

KA: I have friends who have always believed in me. They were always there and I felt their encouragement and they still help keep me going to this day.

TNA: You write about some pretty intense subject matter. What attracts you to the darker side of sex in your writing and makes you want to push those boundaries a little?

KA: I’m attracted to the darker side of life in general, so naturally the same goes for the MM stuff I’ve been writing so far. I don’t think I ever sit down and think “yeah, how can we make this darker?” Some character will show up inside my head, and I’ll sit down and start writing and go where the story takes me. As for pushing boundaries, I think erotica writers are supposed to push boundaries. I don’t know how long we can keep writing the formula-based stories and still feel inspired and churn out good work.

TNA: Is there anything you would never write about, anything you consider taboo that will never make its way into one of your books?

KA: Look, we all know what’s right and what’s wrong. Molesting children is wrong. Period. You don’t need someone to tell you that and if you do, that’s a whole other debate. So as far as consensual adults go, why should I care what they do or don’t do? But yes, everyone has likes and dislikes, and I’ve never been into bodily fluids, etc. There’s some bloody stuff going on in the books, but that’s just my noir/horror-lover side talking. I may always have some very violent stuff going on. But like I said, I never write something to just disturb the reader; I write it to explain the situation as best as I can, in the way I want to. The Prisoner, for instance, is a story about a guy getting raped and tortured and still trying to survive. If you’re into the rape fantasy thing, you will like the scenes but if you’re not, it will be a bit too gory for you, but what can I say? I can’t write something that pleases every person on the planet.

TNA: So, speaking of the dark and steamy and taboo, tell us, if you will, a little bit about your upcoming release, Soul-Mate.

KA: Soul-Mate is a story about a guy who finds himself being attracted to his brother, whereas the brother isn’t even aware of it. It’s not the whole “oh, my brother gave me a hicky and I still can’t tell it’s incest” plot either. Just like the other stories that I write, there’s a whole lot going on in the background that propels the story forward. It is definitely steamy and definitely taboo but hey, you know, it’s like Tarantino says, “You don’t go to see Metallica and ask the fuckers to turn the music down.” ;)

TNA: Do any of your characters ever surprise you with the intensity of their wants and needs as you’re fleshing them out?

KA: I think Vincent (The Prisoner) did. I mean he’s an asshole and I’ve always secretly liked him. I know it’s the masochist in me talking but seriously he’s a psycho. People wonder if real human beings can go from one mind frame to another in so little time, if they can be that unpredictable, well I can only say you haven’t met my exes. I am writing another full-length novel by the title of HEART and those characters are very intense and they keep surprising me.

TNA: Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite? If so, who and why?

KA: Well, right now, the story that I’m working on, HEART, that MC is most definitely my current favorite. But from previous ones, I’d say Aaron is my favorite character. He’s not manipulative, he’s forgiving and despite the whole thing with Vince, he still falls in love with him. To some people that might seem like a weakness, and they might think of him as insecure, but I think he just does it for love. Because he doesn’t know any other way. Because when he gets even a small bit of kindness or love from someone, he makes sure he gives a lot more in return. I think he forgives people for their shortcomings and just loves them, warts and all.

TNA: Do you have an all-time favorite literary character? If so, who and why?

KA: Tyler Durden. I mean I love that guy, doesn’t matter if he’s the typical office-going loser or the instigator of Project Mayhem. I love his voice. I love his voice when he’s telling me about Marla Singer and insomnia and I love his voice when he speaks like a soap salesman cum film projector technician. I’m not a supporter of nihilism, but I love that idea in fiction. Okay, so maybe just a teeny tiny bit nihilistic…

TNA: I know you and I both share a mad love for Oscar Wilde. If you were able to sit down and talk with him, what are some things you’d like to ask him?

KA: Well, I’d definitely ask him why he couldn’t have made those characters a little more gay. Also, how much of Henry’s ramblings were actually his own secret beliefs.

TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?

KA: I think I want to talk about HEART. It’s the first full-length that I’m working on, and I really think it’s going to be one of my best works so far. It’s the story of a guy who’s a slut in every sense of the word. He literally sleeps around like nobody’s business. But he has that one night stand only rule, right? Now suddenly, after this particular one night stand, he has sex with someone who’s actually mean to him. But he can’t help falling for him all the same. Of course, the love interest in concern just looks like a major jerk and comes across as manipulative.

TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?

KA: I have a profile on goodreads and Amazon http://amazon.com/author/kolanderson and https://www.facebook.com/authorkolanderson.

TNA: Would you like share an excerpt from Soulmate with us?

KA: Here’s the excerpt:

Kayden rubbed his hands in an effort to warm them but the cold he felt wasn’t because of the weather alone. He was getting anxious and nothing had even gone down yet. He came out of the bar and turned into the back alley that was usually filled with people looking for a fast fuck but for some reason happened to be entirely deserted today.

“Hey,” Kayden heard the male voice before he saw him walking his way.

“Hey,” he said in return.

The boy stood there, green eyes glinting under the effect of the streetlights. His face had an oddly exotic appeal with the dark hair and high cheekbones. His eyes watched Kayden closely and he showed no desire to hide it. He lit a cigarette before he introduced himself.

“I’m Jacob,” he offered his hand. It was the first time Kayden had an actual feel of him and he couldn’t help but feel a little tingle inside.

“Kayden.”

Jacob was still staring at him with mischief in his eyes. “You don’t remember me do you?”

Kayden tried to jog his memory. “Should I?”

“Perhaps I wasn’t able to make the kind of impression on you that you made on me.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I’m sorry I have a knack of being cryptic,” Jacob said. “We bumped into each other—literally bumped—back at Beretta’s hangout. Remember? You were coming out and I was going in and we collided by the sliding door?”

“Right, I remember now.”

The grin on Jacob’s face widened. “Why are you nervous?”

Kayden tried to look away. “No reason.”

More staring.

“So?” Jacob asked at last. “Your place or mine?”

“Your place is fine.”

Jacob blew smoke through his nose and smiled. “Sure about this?”

Kayden rubbed his hands together again. “I’m sure.”

Jacob’s eyes were still prying, searching as he took the remainder of the cigarette out of his lips and ground it under his boots.

“Let’s go.”

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

Thanks again to Kol for being here with us today.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Dreamspinner Press, Garrett Leigh

“Slide” Between The Covers Of This Book And Discover Its Beauty



“Life is just a game of chance, a dance with fate if you let it be so.” ― Steven Redhead


When I picked up this book, I pretty much didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

OMG…can I give this one, the review it deserves.

For what it’s worth here I go:

Ash is what I call one of the lost children in society: A child of the streets who is rescued by Elle.
Elle sees something in this quiet, homeless young man who draws chalk art on sidewalks for money, something that draws her to conclude Ash is not just another street kid, as she slowly draws Ash out of his shell to trust her. She somehow manages to move him from the streets of Philadelphia to Chicago.
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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, A.J. Corza, Amber Kell, GotYouCovrd, Jennifer Wright, John Goode, Kol Anderson, Paul Alan Fahey, Poppy Dennison, S.E. Culpepper

And Now, A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week




Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to more fun in the coming days. We’ve got another busy week scheduled, filled with guests and giveaways and, of course, reviews galore! Here’s what’s coming up in the week ahead:




>>Monday – Kol Anderson will be our guest, with an interview and giveaway of his upcoming release, Soulmate.
>>Tuesday – Poppy Dennison is going to poppy in to share some of her most favorite GRL memories.
>>Wednesday – Paul Alan Fahey will be here on his “Lovers and Liars Wartime” Blog Tour, with the chance to win one of the first two books in the series.

A.J. Corza from Got You Covered will also be here, as always, with her Top Cover Pick of the Week.

>>Thursday – Jennifer Wright will join us on her “Finding Home” Blog Tour, with an interview and a giveaway – a lucky reader’s choice of a book in the Finding Home series.
>>Friday – John Goode is our guest, as he begins his writing series today with “Once upon a time…”
>>Saturday – Amber Kell will be here on her Birthday Blog Hop, with a great way to win a book from her bookshelf.
>>Sunday – S.E. Culpepper will be dropping by on her “Falling Apart” Blog Tour, with a chance to win any one of the four books in the Liaison series.

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And that wraps up our week here at The Novel Approach. Until next time, happy reading!

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T. Baggins

Welcome To T. Baggins And The “Soulless” Blog Tour!


Sinfully Sexy Tour Banner


Reincarnation in SOULLESS

I’ve been fascinated with reincarnation for many years. As a child in the early 1970s, I recall seeing a TV commercial urging viewing to be “born again.” I clapped and cheered so much, my older brother challenged me to explain what “born again” meant. Ours wasn’t a churchgoing family and he was confident that I, just five years old, had no clue.

I said, “That’s what happened to me. I got old and I died and was born again.”

In my pre-author career working in ophthalmology, including pediatric ophthalmology, I learned that if you ask a young child a question firmly enough, you’ll get an answer. Any answer. So perhaps as a little girl I just confabulated any response to satisfy a sibling. But even as a teen and young adult, I had dreams that took me back to lives I can scarcely imagine in waking life. Once I was a Japanese swordsman who’d disgraced himself. Another time, a backwoodsman in post-Revolutionary Virginia, thieving off his fellow settlers. If past lives are real, I desperately hope I’ve led a few positive, altruistic ones. But I’ve yet to dream about them!

When I started writing SOULLESS, I envisioned a meeting between two very different men—Nicholas, a crippled, embittered lord of the manor, drunk every night and sunk in despair, and Ban, a vain, strutting, life-loving vampire who initially feels not a whit of guilt for his murderous ways. Sometimes I plot a backstory that I, the author, remain aware of, yet never make public, so to speak, in the finished novel. As I wrote the scene, I understood these men had known one another in a past life—loved and lost each other in some prior existence. And gradually I realized that Nicholas had a great deal of unfinished business, not only with Ban, but with Ban’s master, the cruel and deformed Sebastian. I enjoyed weaving together flashbacks from the fifteenth century with the main narrative, which takes place in 1798. It’s tremendously comforting to imagine some higher power, some Wheel of Fate, is looking out for us, making certain that even if we fail, we’ll be given a new life in which to set things right.

Some folks think reincarnation is a relatively new idea, a product of the 1960s counterculture, but it isn’t. Here’s a quick, highly incomplete snapshot about reincarnation over the ages:

• A Hindu holy book mentions reincarnation as early as 700 B.C.E.: “…as the dweller in the body experiences childhood, youth, old age, so passes he on, to another body.” – The Bhaģavad-Gita
• Pythagoras and Plato both taught that human beings would live several lives, in several different bodies, until they attained spiritual purity.
• In the Bible, John the Baptist is asked more than once if he is the prophet Elijah reborn. This goes along with the Hebrew term gilgul neshamot, which means the transition of a soul into another form.
• Reincarnation occurs in Norse mythology, specifically the Poetic Edda.
• A quote from groundbreaking psychiatrist Carl Jung: “I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had been born again because I had not fulfilled the task given to me.”

No matter your personal opinion about the possibility of reincarnation in the real world, I hope you’ll enjoy how I handled the notion in SOULLESS. The love between Nicholas and Ban is predestined, and I took great pleasure in helping them overcome so many obstacles—fear, pain, heartbreak, and even death.

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Synopsis

A Man of Science

Nicholas Robinson is a chemist decades ahead of his time. Crippled by a riding accident and embittered by his injuries, he shuns the world, focusing on his laboratory and experiments. But when the sale of his country estate, Grantley, leads to an encounter with a vampire, Nicholas realizes there is more in heaven and earth than he ever dreamed possible.

A Creature of Darkness

Although three hundred years old, Bancroft Ulwin is young by supernatural standards. Enslaved by his cruel, deformed maker, Ban is forbidden from relations with mortal men unless it ends in death. But his liaison with Nicholas, expressly against his master’s wishes, soon expands beyond mere lust to something more.

A Love Predestined

Long ago while still mortal, Ban met Serafino, the only true love of his life. When death separated them, Ban accepted his role as an enemy of human kind. But as he comes to suspect Nicholas is Serafino reincarnated, Ban begins to question everything he once believed. Including his own damnation.

Excerpt:

“Sir! A doctor is needed,” Ban called, rapping on the door and fighting the impulse to break it down.

“Yes, yes,” Dr. Flowers rumbled, fiddling with the latch. “What is—”

Ban waited, wondering how pale and terrible he looked in the lamplight, cravat and shirt missing, blood-spattered coat buttoned up to his chin.

“What manner of emergency is this?” Dr. Flowers mumbled. His hand went to some trinket or amulet at his throat.

“The very worst kind. Mr. Nicholas Robinson lies on brink of death. A physician is required, and with all haste, sir.”

Dr. Flowers stared at Ban. “I am grieved to hear that. Yet I cannot invite you inside. Let me say it again, I do not permit you—”

“Doctor.” Ban stepped over the threshold. “I know not what fairy tales or grimoires to which you cling. But whether you are wise in truth or wise merely by repute, this man needs your attention. Please, follow me back to Grantley and give him benefit of your healing arts.”

Dr. Flowers swallowed. He was every minute of sixty, Ban realized, if not a bit older. Stoop-shouldered, suffering from ague, vision dimmed with time and use. Ban was willing to bet Dr. Flowers had never seen a vârkolak before, except perhaps in a book.

“You know what I am?”

Suddenly the old man thrust out his amulet, a charm against the evil eye Ban recognized as taken from the Greek Isles. “Flee before this! I command you to flee!”

The amulet’s leather strap snapped easily between Ban’s fingers. He contemplated the item for a moment, and then smiled. “The nazar is useless against me, sir. It’s meant as a defense against envious old women, a symbol of mankind’s fear of wise females, in my view, though no one ever asked me. What more can you offer?”

Dr. Flowers stumbled backward to his desk, procuring a crucifix from the top drawer and holding it up. “Fly before the one true God! Turn your face away.”

Ban moved forward slowly, contemplating the crucifix. “That symbol never made sense to me in life. Priests told me I was supposed to thank Him for his suffering. But why did God the Father, who was also Christ Jesu, require Himself to suffer? I felt like the story was incomplete, the true meaning obscured.

“It took time for me to see, the idea is hope in disgrace and perseverance in pain. No matter what is done to us, no matter what evil we endure, the resurrection will come. The torture will be answered with triumph.”

“The Lord is my shepherd,” Dr. Flowers began. “I shall not want….”

“He maketh me lie down in green pastures,” Ban said.

“He leadeth me beside still waters….”

“He restoreth my soul.”

“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake….” Dr. Flowers’s voice hitched up, eyes wide.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,” Ban said. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” Ban concluded, laughing at Dr. Flowers’s horror.

“Have you not heard it said that even the Devil will recite Holy Scripture for his own ends?”

Author Links

Add to Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18333656-soulless?ac=1
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/therealtbaggins
Twitter – https://twitter.com/therealtbaggins
Blog – http://fiftyshadesofgay.wordpress.com/

Purchase Links

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Soulless-Paranormal-Romance-ebook/dp/B00E7KPLQ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381621559&sr=8-1&keywords=soulless+t.+baggins
Barnes & Nobel – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soulless-t-baggins/1116239553?ean=9781491259542
All Romance – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-soulless-1252116-340.html
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341755

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About the Author

Orphaned at birth, T. Baggins was raised by wolves until age fourteen, when the pack moved on one night without a forwarding address. Returning to human society, Ms. Baggins taught herself to read and write by studying fan fiction. Cutting her teeth on Kirk/Spock (Star Trek: The Original Series, baby!) she soon began slashing rock stars and X-Men. Despite a lifetime spent in the southern U.S., T. Baggins considers herself a citizen of the cosmos and a freethinker, which is good, because no one has offered so much as a penny for her thoughts. In her spare time she enjoys blogging at Shades of Gay, emptying gin bottles and tweeting into the void as @therealtbaggins.

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Giveaway

• 2 x $25 Amazon gift cards
• 3 x Signed copies of Soulless
• 5 x ebooks of Soulless

All prizes open internationally

Rafflecopter link

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tour Schedule

Link – http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.co.uk/p/sinfully-sexy-on-tour.html

October 21

Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews ~ http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.co.uk/
Boys In Our Books ~ http://boysinourbooks.com/
The Blog of Sid Love ~ http://sidlove.wordpress.com

October 22

LeAnn’s Book Reviews ~ http://shirleyfrancesbooksandmore.wordpress.com/

October 23

Pants Off Reviews ~ pantsoffreviews.blogspot.com
Swoon Worthy Books ~ http://www.swoonworthybooks.com
Book Addict Mumma ~ http://bookaddictmumma.wordpress.com
Foxylutely Book Reviews ~ foxylytely.blogspot.co.uk

October 24

Because Two Men Are Better Than One ~ http://someonehastosetabadexample.wordpress.com/
Beanie Brain Reader ~ http://beaniebrainreader.blogspot.com/
October 25
Joyfully Jay ~ http://joyfullyjay.com/
Mommy’s a Book Whore ~ http://mommysabookwhore.bkogspot.com
My Fiction Nook ~ http://myfictionnook.com

October 26

Literary Nook ~ http://literarynook.com
Hearts on Fire ~ http://heartsonfirereviews.com/
Swept Away By Romance ~ http://www.sweptawaybyromance.com/
Smexy Bookaholics ~ http://smexybookaholics.blogspot.com/

October 27

The Novel Approach ~ http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/
Renee Entress Blog ~ http://reneeentress.blogspot.com/
The Book Bellas ~ http://www.thebookbellas.com

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Bebe Burnside, Seventh Window Publishing

Grab Yourself “A Cup of Latte” And Settle In For A Little Romance



“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh


BLURB: Tall, dark and handsome, Michael Stafford is one of the biggest names in business. His job is to take struggling companies under his wing and do what it takes to make a profit from them, even if the people working for the company have to suffer from the consequences.

Alan Weissman is a journalist hired to write a fluff piece on Michael Stafford. The only problem is, Alan would rather rip out his eyes than sit across from a soulless creep like Michael Stafford. It isn’t until the interview begins that Alan notices something different about the deeply handsome businessman. Something unexpected and attractive that makes him second guess his opinion of the man with the dreamy brown eyes.

Sometimes all it takes to change your mind about someone is good conversation and a hot cup of latte.

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A Bear On Books, T.A. Webb

T.A. Webb Proves It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn In “Darkest Knight”



“Friends are family members we have a choice over.”–Mokokoma Mokhonoana



I just love this series. It is the perfect mix of humor, mystery, friendship, family, love and really sheet scorching hot sex. When I read the first one, I didn’t realize it was the first in a series until the last sentence. I was seriously homicidal. These characters that Mr. Webb has created, along with the ones created by Havan Fellows, Laura Harner and Lee Brazil have kept my mind planted firmly in Atlanta (or as my friend Max Vos and many others call it, Hotlanta). That name is a sure fit while reading the books that make up the Pulp Friction Series.
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Pure Slush Publishing, William Henderson

William Henderson Is Here In The “Second Person, Possessive”, With A Giveaway



TNA: Thanks so much for being here with us today, William. After reading Second Person, Possessive, I’m glad to be able to chat with you about the book.

TNA: What made you decide to share this particular chapter of your life with others?

WH: I didn’t set out to share this story with anyone other than Jay. It began as 100 one-page letters that I wrote during my 72-hour inpatient stay at St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton, Massachusetts. Only later did I think that there was a story inside the letters – and inside the experience – to share.

TNA: Was there any second guessing during the writing process about what should and shouldn’t go into the book?

WH: I wouldn’t say second-guessing as much as a need to prune. The first draft was 517 pages and included every moment from the year or so that the book covers (minus the time jump at the end). Inviting early readers to weigh in on the moments that they felt belonged and didn’t belong helped. I ended up excising moments and conversations that didn’t propel the story. There were only so many arguments about his drug use I needed to include in order for the reader to understand that it was a problem in the relationship, you know.

TNA: Are you afraid some readers might judge you harshly for the way that part of your life played out?

WH: I think that no one will judge me as harshly as I judged myself. I am not the only person to have an affair or come out after marrying a woman. I may, however, be the only person to do it so spectacularly.

TNA: Was there ever a point you asked yourself whether or not you should follow through with publishing the book?

WH: There were points when I wondered if anyone would care about my story, but I never questioned the need to publish it.

TNA: Was writing the book a cathartic experience for you? Were old feelings brought to the surface again, or were those feelings ones that have never really gone away?

WH: I wouldn’t call writing the memoir cathartic in any way. I found writing, re-writing, and re-writing again several parts of the story difficult – almost like I had to do it with my eyes closed. I guess I kept hoping for the story to turn out differently – not that Jay and I would end up together but that I had made better choices. And that’s part of why I feel the story needed to be told. You don’t know in the middle of things why you’re going through them or what they will cause to happen.

TNA: What would you say was the most difficult part of telling your story?

WH: The most difficult part of telling this story was deciding when it ended. I think the ends of things are subjective. I could argue that the story continues, since it informs who I am and how I approach relationships today.

TNA: Do you feel now as if you have some closure on the past, or do you feel like you’re still working on putting paid to it?

WH: I have as much closure as I’m going to get. I’ve emotionally moved on. I suppose I’ll always be nostalgic for him and for what being with him felt like – but it was more dopamine than domestic bliss

TNA: Holly’s support, strength and grace really shone throughout the telling of your story. Was she as supportive when you first told her you were thinking about writing a memoir of that time, or did it take some convincing on your part to bring her on board?

WH: I didn’t need to convince her. She thought it would help me process everything that had happened. I talked to her about how much of Avery to include, since he didn’t ask to get involved in this crazy-train of a situation. But I think she trusted me to be judicious with what I chose to and not to tell.

TNA: In the book you reveal you then suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. With the gift of hindsight, are you now surprised it went undiagnosed for as long as it did?

WH: I am. I look back and see many times when it should have been clearer. I’ve been on medication since that hospitalization and cannot envision a time when I won’t take medication. I enjoy being stable – or more stable than I would otherwise be.

TNA: Are you currently in a relationship? If so, was your partner/spouse supportive of your need to tell your story?

WH: When my boyfriend and I started dating two years ago, I told him the highlights of my relationship with Jay. I also told him about Holly, since she and I were still married, albeit separated and working on divorcing. I let him read the book about 15 months into our relationship, only after I felt there were no surprises in there. I wanted him to know those parts of me organically and not by reading them. I don’t think he really had much of a choice to make – just like he wouldn’t have had a say if I was a banker or real estate agent or something other than a writer.

TNA: How do you think Jay felt about you deciding to tell your story?

WH: I don’t know how Jay felt about the book. He knew I was planning to write our story, and he gave me permission to do it. He stipulated that he wanted a copy of it before I published it. The day before the first excerpt from it appeared in a publication, I gave his roommate a copy of the book to give him. I don’t know if he read it or what he thought about it.

TNA: What’s the one thing you hope for readers to take away from the book?

WH: I hope readers take away the idea that everything happens for a reason, which may be a Pollyanna approach to life but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Blurb: After his affair with a man ended, William Henderson came out to his wife, tried twice to kill himself, and ended up at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Massachusetts, where he completed a 72-hour inpatient stay. After putting back together the pieces of his life and redeveloping a friendship with his wife and partner of 12 years, he began learning how to be a single parent to his two-year-old son who didn’t understand why his parents no longer lived together, and figuring out why he was willing to throw everything away for an emotionally abusive man unapologetically addicted to drugs. Second Person, Possessive offers an intimate look at relationships and families, proving that families do not break – they simply untangle and rearrange.

TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt of the book with readers?

Excerpt:

How a Clock Without Hands Tells Time

Had Jay simply texted The End I may not have understood any more than I did—than I do—but I would have given him props for the text message. Text after text after text, each more desperate than the one before it, each making promises I couldn’t really keep, and he, keeping me at arm’s length. At phone’s length.

Don’t call me. Don’t text me. We’re done. We’re over. We’re through.

My world collapsing, playing cards tossed out of a simple deck. Fifty-two pieces of shiny paper floating to the floor. Light as a feather, stiff as a board. Shards of glass where a window had been.

Splintered reflections where once I saw—

“What brings you here, Bill?”

I hate her already, because my name is not Bill.

This woman—Carrie, she said in introduction—is the fifth psychiatrist I’ve talked to since I signed myself into St. Elizabeth’s for a 72-hour inpatient observation. Talking to the first psychiatrist was difficult, the story still bottled in me. Messages tossed out to sea, adrift, waiting to be read. To be heard. Filled with secrets and mysteries. A lock waiting to be turned.

When I talked to her, I was still living the story.

I’m in a different story now.

“Bill,” Carrie asks, pulling me from my thoughts that won’t can’t don’t stop, despite my knowing that all I should do is silence the voices that tell me to wait and be patient and he’ll come around and everything will be OK.

“Will,” I say, probably more harshly than I should, “My name is Will.”

“Will,” Carrie says.

She makes a note of it on one of several pieces of paper she has in her lap.

Wonder what else has been written about me. And what my wife, Holly, is doing and if our son, Avery, knows he’ll see me later and what my boyfriend—ex-boyfriend—Jay is doing and what time it is.

Not allowed to know what time it is here. Measure days in terms of sleep, and I’m sleeping more than I usually sleep, so today could be Monday or Tuesday or Thursday next week. Time, slippery, fast for a while, then slow—my thoughts racing around, wild thoroughbreds intent on winning, then mares out to pasture.

Carrie. Probably in her late forties. A slight accent. She crosses her legs; the papers in her lap make the sound paper makes when it rubs against other sheets of paper.

“Can you tell me what brought you to St. Elizabeth’s?” Carrie asks.

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Massachusetts, a hospital once synonymous with mental health care for young adults. Somewhere in the hospital is a rusted iron lung and rooms where children met with therapists and psychiatrists and took pills to make them big and small and big again.

Chalkboards with faded fingerprints and window blinds hanging half open on dusty windows. Entire wings of the hospital shuttered and closed, forgotten. Stories of screams and screamers, forgotten. Closed.

My wife, Holly, brought me, I want to say.

Don’t be glib, Holly would say, if she were here.

I’m 33, and people have been calling me a faggot since I was 10, when I asked during sex education if two men could make a baby together. The rumors followed me from elementary school through middle school and again through high school and college. I couldn’t be gay, I said, since I was attracted to women, and dated them, albeit unsuccessfully. Didn’t stop the rumors and the name-calling and how some people wouldn’t walk on the same side of the hall with me in case I had AIDS. Learned to ignore the rumors, but couldn’t ignore the underlying message that who I am and what I wanted is wrong.

“Are you thinking about killing yourself today?” Carrie asks.

“Not today,” I say.

My thoughts shouldn’t be this twisted, not when I’m so far removed from what twisted them in the first place.

“Did you think about killing yourself yesterday?” she asks.

“Not yesterday, either,” I say.

“But last week you did,” Carrie says.

So today is Monday.

Five days ago, everything broke, when I felt like I was falling into a black hole. Going supernova. Exploding.

Multiple explosions since the text message from Jay ending our relationship, the text message that should have just said The End instead of all of the hateful things his text message said.

Five days since the text message and the pills.

Four days since the bridge.

Three days since Holly suggested I sign myself into St. Elizabeth’s. Since doing so, July turned to August.

Measure time in sleeps and moments and the number of hours between seeing and seeing again. Bats in the belfry and keys to his home and the side of his bed that he called my side of the bed. Made his bed before I left that last morning. Took him lunch during his break. Called him that night. And called and called. He didn’t pick up and eventually turned off his phone.

“Have you tried to kill yourself before?” Carrie asks.

“No,” I say.

“Did you want to die?”

“Yes.”

I should tell her that I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to die.

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Sammy Goode, Self-Published

It Takes Courage And Love To “Bring Him Home”



“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ― G.K. Chesterton


Summary:

Set against the backdrop of a war in progress, army medic Captain Michael Bradshaw is crushing on the cute and cocky Private Finn McCullan. Unsure if his subordinate feels the same, the two men set about their training, spending increasing time together socially as they await their future assignments. To both men’s surprise, they are deployed to the same destination together, a war-torn area of Iraq where the snipers are plentiful and the danger is high. Their love story unfolds as they fight the dangers of war in a desperate effort to being each other home, safe and sound. But when Finn’s reckless behaviour reaches a fever pitch, even Michael can’t promise their safe passage through the treacherous trials of war.
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L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing

This Is A Good Time To Pick Yourself Up “After the Fall”



“Ten years of dreaming. Three years of saving. Almost a full year of searching for the perfect horse. Six and a half hours squirming behind my desk. And now this.” – L.A. Witt



This is how Nathan feels the first time he gets to ride his prized horse Tsarina. He has always wanted his own horse to train, ride and show, and FINALLY his dream has come true. Unfortunately, day one, ride one turns into a disaster when a motorcycle rider shoots off the bike trails into their path. Falling off the horse would be bad enough, but when the horse falls on Nathan and breaks his leg, his dreams seem to go up in smoke. When Ryan, the motorcyclist that caused the accident, comes up and tries to help Nathan he gets a punch to the face and Nathan ends up with a broken hand to go with his broken leg.
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Katya Harris, Storm Moon Press

My First Guest Post – Katya Harris & “Dark Menagerie”


500Okay.

*Deep breath*

I’ve never done this before, written a blog post I mean. The extent of my social networking skills is a Twitter account, where I mostly talk about what I’ve read and the insanity of my pet rats. I also have a Facebook page I barely use. To say I’m awkward when it comes to public speaking, even through the filter of the Internet, is a gross understatement, so please, bear with me.

When I was asked by the lovely people at Storm Moon Press to write a blog post to promote my story “Dominant” in the Dark Menagerie anthology, I admit I completely panicked. There might even have been undignified flailing involved. What would I write about? Would I do a good job? What if I messed it up? Would anybody even want to read what I wrote? (I hope the answer to the last question is a resounding yes. Otherwise, I’m going to have a hella short writing career.

After a while—during which I really wondered why I don’t drink—my heart rate finally calmed down, and I had an idea.

The main character in “Dominant” is Kade Walker, a man who struggles to live after his life is ripped apart by a werewolf attack. Now, like the monster that left him for dead, Kade has become a bitter and lonely man who believes that his life is effectively over. Afraid of what he is, Kade has abandoned his family and friends and walked away from his future. He simply exists, struggling to control the animal that lives inside him. Then, into his world walks Jonas Forbeck, another werewolf who offers Kade something he never even knew existed or that he needed: a pack.

To a werewolf—at least my werewolves—pack is a family. Essentially, they are a home, a place to belong. The need, the search, for such acceptance is an idea that crops up a lot in my writing, probably because, for a lot of reasons, I never really had that growing up. It wasn’t until I became an adult and had a family of my own that I finally felt like I was comfortable enough to be completely myself.

It’s been on mind a lot lately, what with the controversy of the plague of misogynistic internet troll attacks and Russia’s heinous attitude towards their LGBT community. Acceptance seems to be in such short supply, and for no good reason that I—or I daresay, any sane person—can see. It is criminal that such backwards opinions born of a willful hate are allowed to fester in the world, a crime against the very spirit of that which makes us human.

In “Dominant”, the only person that persecutes Kade is himself, because he cannot see anything good in his new nature. Like any bigot or misogynist, all he can see are differences and not the similarities. In his case, all he sees is what he is and what he once was. He cannot see the man for the monster he perceives himself to be. Luckily, he has Jonas to show him the way. In the real world, I can only hope that those who persist in intolerance be shown a better way, and I shall do my part by being kind to those who are different, to accept people as they are. I hope someone else does the same for me.

I sound preachy, I know, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of things that we as individuals might take for granted. To make up for it here is the beginning of “Dominant”. I hope everyone enjoys my story and the rest of the works in the Dark Menagerie anthology!

***

As soon as he walked into the bar, I knew what he was. Even over the sour smells of stale alcohol, cigarette smoke, assorted body odors and the heavy reek of greasy food, I could smell him. The freshness of the wind, the sweet astringency of evergreen, a hint of warm fur, all of it threaded together with the neck-ruffling musk of a wild thing. Familiar, even though I had never seen him before in my life. The burger fell from my nerveless hands, bouncing and falling apart on my plate.

Deep inside me, in the place I let no one ever see, the wolf pricked up its ears and growled.

The man’s face swung toward me, his eyes clashing with mine.

The shock of it reverberated through me, a blow that made every hair on the back of my neck lift in primal warning. Even across the dimly lit room, I could see the flash of fire that danced across the surface of his eyes. A flash I knew mirrored the one captured in my own gaze.

Whoever he was, he was like me and since the only werewolf I had ever encountered was the monster that had tried to kill me, that wasn’t good.

***

SMP_badgeIf you want to find out what happens next, go buy the Dark Menagerie anthology, and if you like my story (or even this blog post) come follow me on Twitter @Katya_Harris. I do say some funny things every now and again.

Thank you for having me on The Novel Approach! I hope it wasn’t too bad for my first time!

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Katalinya Palokova, Torquere Press

“A Story in the Dark With a Graveyard Tree” Leaves Room For A Happy Haunted Ending


4starrating

“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.” ― Ray Bradbury



Summary:

It’s Halloween night, and the spirits of the graveyard are running riot through the trees as the Dryad of the ancient oak steps down into the world. It is the one night a year when his form will not alarm the residents of the small town, and thus he ventures out to be among the living. The Dryad finds Marlon, a lonely man, sitting by a grave and reading to a lost friend, and together the two lost souls find a connection in a haunted house under the watchful eyes of the ghosts that time forgot.
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Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press

This “Biochemistry” Experiment Proves Opposites Attract



“Opposites attract but the like-minded last.” – Author Unknown


We have all heard the opposites attract theory before, right? Well, this idea is what Andrew Grey expanded on in his latest book “Biochemistry”. We have the big, strong football player and the smaller uber-smart “geek”. There is an instant attraction, but will that be enough to overcome their huge differences?

When Kurt Maxwell first meets head quarterback Freddy Samuelson, they literally run into each other and Kurt becomes “short stuff” and Freddy is “ape boy”. To Kurt’s disbelief, “ape boy” ends up being in his Biochemistry class and unfortunately, his lab partner.
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