Diane Adams, Love Lane Books

Diane Adams Gives You “A Home For Christmas”

“True love is like a metal tested in a fire. Fires of adversity surround us daily. Are we to love only when it is merely convenient? Like gold or silver, which very hot fire must heat to purge them of impurities, love must be thrust into the fire from time to time to make it purer, stronger and more resilient. And in the same way, love shines its brightest right out of the flames.” – James Michael Pratt

Title: A Home for Christmas (Making of a Man #6)

Author: Diane Adams

Publisher: Love Lane Books

Pages/Word Count: 22,300

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Jared and Alex Douglas-Ross enjoy the freedom of their lives as couple without children, but still intend to have one or two…someday.
They register as foster parents as step in that direction, but any real plans for having a child remain a vague part of their future. A time that turns out to be closer than they imagine when fire, once again, changes the course of their lives.

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Ari McKay, Torquere Press

It’s a “Holiday Hootenanny” With Ari McKay

“Family is everything. Family comes first. It’s not what I expected it to be, but nothing ever is.” ― Madonna

Title: Holiday Hootenanny

Author: Ari McKay

Publisher: Torquere Press

Pages/Word Count: 80

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Clint Barker wants to take his relationship with boyfriend Joshua Cash to the next level, and that means meeting Josh’s family at Christmas. Clint is sure he can deal with anything, even though Josh has expressed reservations that his big, loud hillbilly family might be too overwhelming for an introvert like Clint to handle.

Josh loves his family, but the only other time he brought a boyfriend home to meet them, the guy didn’t last through dinner. Clint means everything to him, and though he knows his family means well, Josh is worried their nosiness and sheer overwhelming presence will drive Clint away.

Between having to fix an illegal still, getting treed by a wild hog, and barely avoiding a bar fight between rednecks and bikers, the holiday doesn’t get off to an auspicious start. Then at the traditional Christmas Eve Hootenanny, Josh and Clint argue, and Clint later turns up missing. Will this spell the end of their relationship, or will a newborn in a stable work a little Christmas miracle for them both?

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Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes

Mary Calmes Draws The Map To “Where You Lead”

”Today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” – Khalil Gibran

Title: Where You Lead

Author: Mary Calmes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 82

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: ATF agent Peter Lomax isn’t a hearts and flowers kind of guy, but he can be possessive, and it caused problems until Carver Fleming. Carver may be part of the art world, but he gets Peter, loves belonging to the man, and Peter treasures the way Carver understands them together.

Carver loves Peter, but he’s fully aware that six months doth not a commitment make. Carver wants to make the relationship last forever, but he’ll have to leave their life in Chicago to take care of the family he loves. He wants to do it with Peter by his side, but going from the city of Chicago to tiny Colt, Kentucky is a big change.

Carver has only one Christmas wish: Please, oh please, let Peter fall enough in love with Carver’s family to follow Carver home.

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The Year In Reviews

2013 – The Year In Reviews

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! The TNA crew has been busily compiling our list of the top reads of 2013, which is never easy considering we read and review hundreds of books each year, but we’ve managed to come up with a few that we felt stood out from all the rest and have put them together for you.

They are in no particular order, just the books and characters that made us think, laugh, cry, smile, or touched our hearts and minds in their own unique ways. We’ve also included a special category just for cover love, in honor of our own A.J. Corza, whom we miss terribly and look forward to returning after the first of the year.

As a special celebration of these and the many more hundreds of books that aren’t on this list because of space constraints, but very well could have been, The Novel Approach would like to give you the chance to weigh in on your own favorites.


And now, here they are—our Top Picks of 2013

Favorite YA/Coming-of-Age


    1.) Fearless by Chris O’Guinn
    2.) Atom Heart John Beloved by Luke Hartwell
    3.) The Battle for Jericho by Gene Gant


    1.) Omorphi by Cody Kennedy
    2.) The Cost of Loving by Wade Kelly
    3.) Just Between Us by JH Trumble


    1.) Memorizing You by D.W. Skinner
    2.) Not Broken, Just Bent by Mia Kerick
    3.) Superhero by Eli Easton


    1.) Relationships 101 (Dear Diary 3) by Allison Cassatta


    1.) Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Favorite Contemporary


    1.) Muscling Through by JL Merrow
    2.) King Mai by Edmond Manning
    3.) Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan


    1.) Billy’s Bones by Jamie Fessenden
    2.) With or Without Him by Barbara Elsborg
    3.) Catch My Breath by MJ O’Shea


    1.) A White Coat is My Closet by Jake Wells
    2.) Hungry for Love by Rick R Reed
    3.) More Than Everything by Cardeno C


    1.) Double Full by Kindle Alexander


    1.) The Trouble with Tony (Sex in Seattle #1) by Eli Easton
    2.) The Hardest Thing by James Lear
    3.) Stripped Clean by Ellis Carrington


    1.) Blame it on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton
    2.) Probation by Tom Mendicino
    3.) Home Team by James Dash

Favorite Historical


    1.) The Impetuous Afflictions of Jonathan Wolfe by Charlie Cochet
    2.) Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story by Ruth Sims
    3.) Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1) by Jordan L. Hawk


    1.) A Place To Call Their Own by L. Dean Pace-Frech


    1.) The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

Favorite Fantasy (Incl. Urban Fantasy/Alt U/Steampunk/Sci-Fi/Fairy Tales)


    1.) The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin
    2.) The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Rae Durreson
    3.) Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed


    1.) Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford
    2.) Moral Authority by Jacob Flores
    3.) The Harvest: Taken by M.A. Church


    1.) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Deanna Wadsworth


    1.) Submerging Inferno by Brandon Witt
    2.) Rising Frenzy by Brandon Witt
    3.) Full Moon Dating by Julia Talbot

Favorite Paranormal


    1.) The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) by KJ Charles
    2.) Spook Squad (PsyCop #7) by Jordan Castillo Price
    3.) Someday It Will Be by S.A. McAuley


    1.) The Haunted Heart by Josh Lanyon
    2.) Fish & Ghosts by Rhys Ford
    3.) Airos by Jennifer Wright


    1.) Thicker Than Water by A. F. Henley


    1.) Every Drop of My Love by Jane Davitt
    2.) Bloody Love Spats by Valentina Heart
    3.) Blood Moon by MJ O’Shea


    1.) Last Dance With Mary Jane by John Goode

Favorite Series


    1.) The Borders War Series by S.A. McAuley
    2.) The Wode Series by J Tullos Hennig
    3.) The Whyborne & Griffin Series by Jordan L. Hawk


    1.) The Collars & Cuffs Series by KC Wells
    2.) The Market Garden Series by Alexsandr Voinov & L.A. Witt
    3.) The City Knight Series by T.A. Webb


    1.) The Cut & Run Series by Abigail Roux
    2.) The Diversion Series by Eden Winters
    3.) The Johnnies Series by Amy Lane


    1.) The Broken Series by Kol Anderson


    1.) The Men of Myth Series by Brandon Witt

Favorite Couple


    1.) Cole McGinnis and Kim Jae Min – The Cole McGinnis Mystery Series by Rhys Ford
    2.) Percival Whyborne and Griffin Flaherty – The Whyborne & Griffin Series by Jordan L. Hawk
    3.) Larry Morton and Al Fletcher – Muscling Through


    1.) Marcus & Ben – City Knight Series by T.A. Webb
    2.) Aiden & Finn – Marshall’s Park Series by Lisa Worrall


    1.) Bo & Lucky – Diversion Series by Eden Winters
    2.) Chase & Tommy – Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane)
    3.) Brian & Jamie – The Little Boy Lost Series by JP Barnaby


    1.) Wes and Micah – Livin’ on the Edge by Dee Dee Brock


    1.) Brett and Finn – Submerging Inferno by Brandon Witt
    2.) Brett and Schwint – Rising Frenzy by Brandon Witt
    3.) Tony and Jack – The Trouble With Tony by Eli Easton


    1.) Michael and Finn – Bring Him Home by Sammy Goode
    2.) Tavio and Tommy – Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek by R. Cooper
    3.) Sir William and Sir Christian – The Lion and the Crow by Eli Eston

Favorite Cover


    1.) Stung by K.A. Merikan
    2.) The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin
    3.) Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships by Kim Knox


    1.) Heart of the Race by Mary Calmes
    2.) Billy’s Bones by Jamie Fessenden
    3.) Collide by J.R. Lenk


    1.) Inside Out by Andrew Grey
    2.) Whiskey & Wry by Rhys Ford
    3.) Newton’s Laws of Attraction by M.J. O’Shea


    1.) Black Hurricane by Erica Pike


    1.) Submerging Inferno by Brandon Witt
    2.) Rising Frenzy by Brandon Witt


    1.) Northern Star by Ethan Day
    2.) Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
    2.) Blame it on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton

And that does it for The Year In Reviews. :)

Amy Rae Durreson, Self-Published

“The Lodestar of Ys” Is Amy Rae Durreson’s Free Fantasy, And It’s Fabulous

“Unhappy the land that has no heroes? No. Unhappy the land that needs heroes.” – Bertolt Brecht

Title: The Lodestar of Ys

Author: Amy Rae Durreson

Publisher: The Goodreads M/M Romance Group

Pages/Word Count: 138

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Sjurd is convinced that Celyn of Ys is the most irritating man alive. It’s a good thing that Celyn is engaged to Sjurd’s brother, not him, because Sjurd loathes the brat, and it’s quite mutual. When an elopement and the threat of invasion force the two princes together, however, they have no choice but to marry and fake true love to keep their countries safe. Can warrior Sjurd and diplomat Celyn find any common ground?

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Anthology, Storm Moon Press

There’s Love Between Brothers In “Fraternal Devotion”

“Because brothers don’t let each other wander in the dark alone.” ― Jolene Perry

Title: Fraternal Devotion

Author: Anthology

Publisher: Storm Moon Press

Pages/Word Count: 186

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: When you pit knowledge against emotions, there’s the no-man’s land in between those two opposing forces where taboos lie. Incest is one of the untouchables, a taboo that even in alternative cultures is often still looked on negatively. But how can something that feels so right be wrong? In Fraternal Devotion, the focus is on brotherly love—in every sense of the word. These are tales of love, lust, devotion, and passion as real as any other romance. Why should the fact that the two men are brothers take away from that? This collection may challenge your assumptions and beliefs, but may also melt your heart. Not to mention steam up your glasses.
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Dreamspinner Press, Johanna Parkhurst

Three Cheers For “Here’s to You, Zeb Pike” by Johanna Parkhurst

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ― Confucius

Title: Here’s to You, Zeb Pike

Author: Johanna Parkhurst

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Pages/Word Count: 180

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Fact: When Zebulon Pike attempted to climb what is now known as Pikes Peak, he got stuck in waist-deep snow and had to turn back.

That’s the last thing Dusty Porter learns in his Colorado history class before appendicitis ruins his life. It isn’t long before social services figures out that Dusty’s parents are more myth than reality, and he and his siblings are shipped off to live in Vermont with an uncle and aunt they’ve never met.
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Dreamspinner Press, Rhys Ford

Tristan Pryce Sees Dead People. Rhys Ford Writes Dead People. “Fish and Ghosts” Has Dead People In It, And There’s A Contest!

Once a long time ago *coffs* — a few years ago— I got an email from a reader, well, a reviewer, really. She was sweet and made ridiculous noises about how much she loved Dirty Kiss and how it—I don’t know what else. My brain was busy going off like a Jiffy Pop shipment that’d fallen into a volcano. Who the hell would think that about what I’ve written?

I responded—kind of overwhelmed and rather more than a bit touched; in the heart as well in the head—and well, we’ve not stopped emailing ever since. Lisa—blogger extraordinaire—probably some days regrets emailing that first time because her day is full of neurotic messes and my loathing of what I’m writing but God, I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve met, laughed, eaten together, snored, falling asleep on one another and had champagne.

I guess I’m shoes

On the surface, Lisa and I have very different lives and life experiences. Yet here we are, so very much aligned in philosophies and thought. She can also stand to be around me for long periods of time without killing me, which is always a plus in my ledger. We can talk for hours about everything or nothing.

But most of all, we also talk about books.

I’ve found, you see, a deep friendship by simply writing a book.

Because words—emotions—thoughts—ALL of it brings the most unlikely of people together.

I think ultimately that’s why I write. Okay, some of it is because I’m certifiable but mostly because I do believe the writing and reading of books brings people to places they might not ever have been. It allows us to step outside of what we know and dabble a bit in the unknown and yet the desired.

I kind of wrote Fish and Ghosts with that in mind. There is so much outside of what we know. I will be the first one to say; the world’s a mysterious place so I’m not going to discount anything. We merely perhaps lack the science—the understanding—of why something is or is not.

It’s all about the maybe. The possibilities. The wonder.

And The Coffee Squirrels

So with this in mind, I’d like to offer up to one reader here a special place in the afterlife of pixels and letters. I’ll be scribbling together the next Hellsinger novel, and I will be needing a ghost. YOU can be that ghost. Simply comment below to enter! The winner will get to choose the ghost’s appearance and name.

In addition to the spectral guest appearance, the winner will be sent a small token from Hoxne Grange—a seven inch Jack, in corporeal form this time around. A plushie from Webkins. Yes, I’ll send him international. Ghosts have no boundaries! And he’ll fit in a padded envelope—much like a padded room. Muah hah hah *coffs*

So! Visit the afterlife! Send a postcard from beyond!

But most of all, imagine the possibilities.


Fish and Ghosts

When his Uncle Mortimer died and left him Hoxne Grange, the family’s Gilded Age estate, Tristan Pryce knew he wasn’t going to have an easy time of it. He was to be the second generation of Pryces to serve as a caretaker for the estate, a way station for spirits on their final steps to the afterlife. The ghosts were the simple part. He’d been seeing boo-wigglies since he was a child. No, the difficult part was his own family. Determined to establish Tristan’s insanity, his loving relatives hire Dr. Wolf Kincaid and his paranormal researchers, Hellsinger Investigations, to prove the Grange is not haunted.

Skeptic Wolf Kincaid has made it his life’s work to debunk the supernatural. After years of cons and fakes, he can’t wait to reveal the Grange’s ghostly activity is just badly leveled floorboards and a drafty old house. The Grange has more than a few surprises for him, including its prickly, reclusive owner. Tristan Pryce is much less insane and much more attractive than Wolf wants to admit and when his Hellsinger team unwittingly release a ghostly serial killer on the Grange, Wolf is torn between his skepticism and protecting the man he’d been sent to discredit.

Dreamspinner Press, Ruth Sims

“Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story” Is A Grand Score For Ruth Sims

“The music resumed, as strange and compelling as before. ‘And the world is going to break his heart.’” – Ruth Sims

Title: Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story

Author: Ruth Sims

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 332

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: At eighteen Dylan Rutledge has one obsession: music. He believes his destiny is to be the greatest composer of the rapidly approaching twentieth century. Only Laurence Northcliff, a young history master at The Venerable Bede School for Young Gentlemen, believes in Dylan’s talent and encourages his dream, not realizing Dylan is in love with him. But Dylan’s passion and belief in his future come at a high price. They will alienate him from his family and lead him on a rocky path fraught with disappointment, rejection, and devastating loss that kills his dream. A forbidden love could bring the dream back to life and rescue Dylan from despair and bitterness, but does he have the courage to reach out and take it? Will he deny the music that rules his soul?

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Leta Blake, Reesa Herberth, Rhys Ford, Riptide Publishing, Storm Moon Press, VJ Summers

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

It’s hard to imagine in just a couple of days, we’ll be ringing out the old year and welcoming in the new. It’s a clean slate we get every 365 days, a chance to start over and anticipate new possibilities, so here’s hoping your 2014 is filled with lots of joy and the gift of peace.

We’ve got a great week ahead of us as we play catch up on reviews, welcome some great authors, and usher in the New Year with a few giveaways!

MondayRhys Ford is with us today with her latest novel Fish and Ghosts, and there’s a one-of-a-kind giveaway you won’t want to miss.

Tuesday – Happy New Year! The TNA Team has selected our Top Books of 2013, so we’ll not only be listing those, but we’ll also be offering a giveaway to one lucky reader.

WednesdayRiptide Publishing presents the Reesa Herberth In Discretion Blog Tour, so you’ll want to stay tuned for what they have in store.

ThursdayStorm Moon Press is here today to kick off the first of its three 4th Anniversary Blog Tour guest spots.

FridayVJ Summers is our guest today with something that’s sure to be a little entertaining and a lot smexy.

SaturdayLeta Blake visits today with her latest novel Training Season, and she’s also offering a giveaway of the book, so be sure to stop in and say hi.

SundayPhillip MacKenzie Jr. is with us today with an interview and excerpt from his new anthology Bite the Pillow: Six on Sex.

And that’s it for another week. Until next Sunday, happy reading!

Love Lane Books, RJ Scott

It’s A “Texas Christmas” With RJ Scott

“True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.” ― L. Frank Baum

Title: Texas Christmas: Texas #5

Author: RJ Scott

Publisher: Love Lane Books

Pages/Word Count: 189

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Six men with lives linked to the Double D… Danger comes to the Double D from Liam’s past and threatens everything Jack and Riley hold dear.

Centering on Jack and Riley, parents, lovers and friends.

Eli and Robbie have their home on Double D land. Their love is rooted in the Texas soil and they weather as many storms as can be thrown at them.

And Liam, a young men with a head full of dreams and sleep full of nightmares, finds that all things are possible when Marcus decides to interrupt his solitary existence.
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Boroughs Publishing Group, Susan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol Is Here Today With Giveaways Galore!

I am constantly amazed at the charity and support of people on the various Social Networking groups that I use for promotion and to build my ‘author platform.’ Not only is it a lot of fun building these blocks on which an author steps her way up the ever increasing competition ladder to try to get the sales for her stories, but it has shown me the innate goodness of people I don’t even know face to face.

The whole concept of ‘online and virtual friends’ was alien to me only sixteen months ago. In fact, I pooh-poohed the idea of being able to make friends on the internet, thinking it was only teenagers talking to each other because they couldn’t communicate face to face, and lonely people looking for something to do in the evenings. My bad. Because what I have discovered has been breathtakingly, overwhelmingly, AMAZING. And yes, there are the perverts out there who are trying to get into my virtual pants, offering me wonderful deals on moving money with a percentage for myself, and even the occasional pervert offering things I can’t talk about on a family show. But overall, the response has been positive and my fellow authors and bloggers have been nothing but kind.

I’m not going to mention individuals as there are too many to thank and I may miss someone, leaving myself open to threats of dismemberment and cyber voodoo doll activity when someone sticks pins in me :)

I mean honestly. Where else can you discuss these sorts of things openly with people with no fear of being thought as a pervert or a sociopath?

 The impact of a tongue stud on a blow job recipient

 The merits of bottoming, topping or being versatile

 The facets of BDSM and whether you’re a sub or a Dom by nature (I’m not going to tell you my preference :) Maybe that should become my next Facebook poll on my page…

 101 uses for a dildo and whether it should vibrate or not while being used

 The best way to plunge a knife into someone’s chin in a way that they die instantly

 Using a rolling pin to torture a man

Uh huh. You see where I’m going with all this? It’s a world of discovery out there for a writer doing research. I absolutely LOVE it and sharing it with people of like ilk makes my little heart pitter-patter with joy.

And seeing another author, blogger or reader share my news, talk about me, send me good wishes for a new release, make me amazing pictures depicting scenes from my book, post their thoughts about my book on my wall, and generally express an interest in what I’m doing is heart warming. Having bloggers approach me asking me to do something special for them as an exclusive because they enjoy my work is fulfilling to say the least. I hope I can keep their faith in me and continue to give them books they enjoy.

If you’d like to see a short excerpt, Worth Keeping was featured recently on the Gaylitauthors blog.

Blurb: Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone.

On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other. Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man… worth keeping.

We are contributors to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children- http://www.nspcc.org.uk – and we encourage you to donate, too.

Buy links:


New author bio:

Sue Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. At the age of eight, her family moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she stayed for nearly thirty years before arriving back in the UK in December 2000.

Apart from her M/F Starlight trilogy series, she has written two M/M Romances, Stripped Bare and Saving Alexander, which became best-sellers. Sue currently has five further novels in the pipeline and has also contracted with Boroughs Publishing for a six-book series called Men of London. She loves writing the element of gay male romance, and this thread runs through all of her books.

Sue is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She is also a member of a rather unique writing group called the Talliston Writers Circle. She lives in the quaint village of Bocking in Essex.



AR Moler, MLR Press

Finding Love Means “Coming to Terms” With The Past

“Life gives us something that we could hardly imagine.” ― Marcel Proust

Aidan Sterling is trying to find his way back to a normal life. At least as normal as life can be when you work Black Ops. After surviving captivity, Aidan returns to the States and he realizes he might not be as well adjusted as he could be. This realization comes while he is grocery shopping and can’t decide on a brand of cereal, yet he has plenty of middle-eastern items in his basket. Once he finally makes his choice and gets out of the store, he discovers his car won’t start. Enter Kris Jameson, a tall, built blond, who luckily has a set of jumper cables.
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Alicia Nordwell, Self-Published

Alicia Nordwell Offers A Story That’s Been “Picked at the Peak”

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” ― Libba Bray

Blurb: Aislin was surrounded by his extensive, but close-knit, family his whole life. He was the younger brother or the cousin they needed to protect and the kid’s favorite uncle, but he was never just Aislin. His overbearing family rarely listened to him, so sure they knew best. His adult years had all been about proving that the accident that damaged his leg as a teenager didn’t limit him.

He started a microbrewery business, bought a winery and decided to have… a baby.

The news shocked his family and friends, but he was determined to be a single parent. Not that Aislin wouldn’t love to have a partner, but dating never really worked out for him. It didn’t matter if he was gay, or single, or had a handicap. He was more than prepared.

He was not expecting the drastic change the next nine months would wreak on his life.
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Breathless Press, Kay Fraser

Kay Fraser’s “Coming Home” Is A Story Of Healing At The Holidays

“The past cannot be changed, and we carry our choices with us, forward, into the unknown. We can only move on.” ― Libba Bray

Kay Fraser combines history and the holidays, in Coming Home, the story of two boys who meet in decidedly touchy circumstances, and through the kindness and persuasive skills of young Alexander Harrington, the orphaned Christopher “Kit” Whyte and his sister Lottie, find a place of service amongst Lord Langholm’s staff.
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Charley Descoteaux, Dreamspinner Press

Let’s Go On A “Toy Run” With Charley Descoteaux, And There’s A Giveaway!

I’ve had Therapy!

Nope, not that kind (although it probably wouldn’t hurt).

Ian Bowen, my burly redheaded biker from Toy Run, is a certified physical therapist. I’ve been through PT three times in my life, and every one of those times had a cool “professional torturer” but never anyone quite like Ian. He’s a strong, silent type who thinks he’s idling below everyone’s radar—in fact, he’s pretty sure he has more than one or two things figured out, but life isn’t quite as black-and-white as he thinks.

I’m not going to spend a few hundred words telling you about the ways Ian’s ideas are skewed—you’ll have to read the story to find that out. This is about physical therapy and how great it is.

Yep, you read that right—how great it is. Two of my three stints in PT are in the running for the most painful things I ever did that didn’t involve sex. I’d walk in the door knowing that within the next hour I’d do things that would make me hurt for the rest of the day. Sometimes I had to force myself, others it was easier (thoughts of vicodin and regaining use of a limb will do that). But each time, I was lucky to draw a therapist who really cared that I was successful. They minimized the pain and maximized the benefits whenever they could, and we worked together to get me whole again. That’s who Ian is—he’s the guy who feels a deep satisfaction when a client gains another degree or two in their range of motion, the guy who’s happiest when he’s helping someone. I didn’t set out to write a thank-you story to all my physical therapists but I can give this one guy his happy ending, and that makes me happy too.

How about you? Have you known someone like that? A physical therapist or a teacher or a counselor who truly wanted to see you heal (or succeed, or fulfill your goal, whatever that may’ve been). Share your stories and one random commenter will win a copy of Toy Run!


Former physical therapist and reluctant loner Ian Bowen has spent the three years since his grandfather’s death searching for a man to inspire him to park his Harley for a while—without much hope of finding him. On a whim, he shows up for a Toy Run and meets Ed Gonzalez, another loner with a pile of toys lashed to his bike. A few beers at the end-of-the-run party turn into an invite to Ed’s for homebrew. But instead of a night of fun, the unseasonable cold renders Ed immobile with pain. When he tells Ian he just needs meds, Ian does one of the things he does best—he massages Ed’s pain away, allowing him a rare restful night’s sleep and creating intimacy neither wants to lose. Ian thinks two men have to follow certain rules to be together, but Ed’s prepared to show him how wrong he is.


“It’s okay. I know what I’m doing.”

“Just need a muscle relaxer and—”

“That’ll take too long.” It had been a while since my last session, and I’d never done a hip like his before, but it was startling how quickly the basics came back. I could almost see the paths his muscles and connective tissue took beneath his—oh my, shit, how fucking soft was his skin.

The first few touches made him shudder and sweat, but just as he opened his mouth to tell me to get my hands off him and stop making it worse, his body started to respond. A little bit of the tightness gave way, and he relaxed the tiniest bit.

“What you need isn’t an antispasmodic on top of beer, but regular soft tissue work.”

By then his eyes were closed, his chin pointed at the ceiling. “How’d you learn to do this?”

“I’m a licensed physical therapist in California.” One of my best tricks was to slip the painful maneuvers in while I was talking.

Ed cried out but didn’t make a move against me, so I didn’t stop.

“Professional torturer?” He panted, but his body had relaxed more than I thought possible in so short a time. “How long?”

“About ten years.” I moved my hands toward his thigh as I talked and found another pocket of tightness and scar tissue. He grunted and clenched his jaw even harder. “Quit almost three years ago. They couldn’t just leave me alone to help people, too much paperwork and meetings and a goddamned tie—once Granddad was gone, there wasn’t much point in sticking around there.”

I kept telling Ed my life story as I worked on his mangled body. Told him how my granddad kept me out of trouble with teardowns in the living room every winter and car restorations in the summer, and about his brother Oliver who’d been in The War. About having no direction after Granddad died, the guilt that threatened to take me out because I’d never found the stones to tell him anything that really mattered, and the panic because there I was, thirty-two years old, and all I knew about being gay could be summed up in the three-hour ride to a bar I’d taken once every few months since I turned twenty-one.

It wasn’t intentional, spilling my guts to this guy I’d just met, just an old habit coming back to haunt me. That had been the way to get the worst patients through their therapy so they could get back to the business of living. Distract them with chatter—any kind of chatter would do—and most of them were in so much pain I never worried about them remembering later. Not that I ever told any of them such personal shit, but even though I’d been on the road off and on for almost three years I didn’t have many interesting stories from it. Should’ve known better but I wasn’t thinking, just helping someone.

Thanks for reading!


Toy Run is available to purchase from Dreamspinner Press.

About the Author: Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear. As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.

Rattle Charley’s cages—she’d love to hear from you!

Blog | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Goodreads Pinterest | e-mail: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

photo credit: Therapy by Pedro Vezini via photopin cc

Andi Van

Andi Van Gives You “A Swift Herd for Solstice”

“One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ― Lewis Carroll

A Swift Herd for Solstice was a very funny story. Imagine driving home from work late and almost hitting a drunk elk….. that talks! When this happens to Martin Jones, he ends up taking the elk home and this changes his life.

When Martin Jones wakes up with Haven Clarke the next morning, he realizes that he likes this man. They start dating and when Martin meets Haven’s herd, he finds out that there may be a way to stay with the shifter longer than he thought.
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Amy Lane, Riptide Publishing

In Which Amy Lane Throws A Little “Christmas Kitsch” Your Way

“I love Christmas. A time to slow down and enjoy life and be with my family and friends. In busy years, it keeps me sane. In bad years, it makes me feel whole again.”– Mary Jo Putney

You can’t go wrong with Amy Lane. No matter what the season or reason, she seems to always get it right, in my humble opinion. Most Christmas stories are short stories or maybe novella length. Amy Lane had the guts and talent to write a full-length novel out of her Christmas story. And it is excellent.

Russell (Rusty) Baker is a poor little rich boy. Blonde and beautiful, he is a star football player in high school and seems to have it all. He has an air of entitlement and is oblivious to anything that isn’t in his immediate surroundings. Until Oliver Campbell comes to class. Oliver is out and proud. He is the opposite of everything Rusty is. Oliver is smart, confident and knows what he wants.
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Guest Contributor, John Goode

Let’s Have A Little Talk With John Goode

You said what now?

So an acquaintance of mine said on Twitter that he was working on a screenplay and posted a picture of his laptop with it open. Being the nosy inquisitive person I am, I enlarged the picture to read what he had written. Now, I know nothing about the story or the scene in particular, but it was set in an art gallery and the janitor sees a man looking at a painting and asks him if he was liking it.
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Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press

Hayden Thorne Brings On “Masks: Rise of Heroes”, And A Giveaway!

Firstly, thanks to everyone for putting up with me twice in a month. I’m normally a lot more reclusive than this, but Lisa’s been very encouraging, and even a hermit can’t say no. :D So let’s get going, shall we?

Masks: Rise of Heroes is the first of a three-novel arc (and the first of six books in a series) about the (mis)adventures of Eric Plath – sixteen, gay, and not a superhero, unlike his friends. It was one of three YA novels I debuted when Torquere Press first opened Prizm Books, their YA imprint. I recently got my rights back, with my contract with Prizm expiring, and I’m now re-releasing it through Queerteen Press. With additional edits to smoothen rough edges and some minor tweaking of a few passages that have always bugged me with their muddiness, I’m now very happy – not to mention much more confident – to offer it up again.

Masks: Rise of Heroes – 2nd Edition Cover

It’s now in its second edition with a new cover image.

Rise of Heroes started out as a short story – an erotic adult story, at that – that I’d submitted in answer to an anthology call years ago (called Unmasked: Erotic Tales of Gay Superheroes). Rejected, of course, as yet another ding to my belief that I can write adult erotic stuff. It sat inside my folder for a few months until I received a request for material from Torquere Press, who’d said that they thought that I’d be one of a handful of TP authors who’d be interested in writing gay YA for them.

I doubted my ability to write from a teen’s POV at first but decided, why not? The worst they could do was reject my manuscript. Besides, I suck at writing erotic adult material, so there you go. The gay superhero theme turned out to be a promising one, so I decided to dust off the short story I wrote, purge it of all erotic elements, and expand it into a novel. As it turned out, Eric’s story wasn’t complete by the time I’d written the last chapter, so I thought then to expand it into a series and ended the Rise of Heroes with a mini-cliffhanger of sorts.

Eric Plath was – and still remains – my free therapist. As a fictional character, he’s always been the teenager I never was (ignore the fact that he’s male and gay, and I’m female and straight). He’s confident (overly so in some instances), brash, sassy, a serious drama queen, and always in trouble with his parents. I was the kid who hid herself in the darkest corner of a given room, vanishing behind a book, while everyone had fun around me. I never gave my parents any lip. I was a freakin’ Catholic School girl, for crying out loud, from kindergarten all the way to my senior year in high school. I suffered through hour-long rosary rallies during October. I forced myself to shed a tear when Pope Paul VI died because all my classmates were crying around me. Good lord, I was hopeless.

So writing Eric was like a fun, fun, FUN tumble into the rabbit hole, and I’ve never looked back.

Masks: Rise of Heroes – Original Cover

I wanted to avoid writing him as a superhero because it would’ve been expected for me to do that, and I really wanted to do something different. After all, that would’ve meant lots of material for teen existential angst, with superhero otherness mirroring a gay kid’s sexuality otherness, in a manner of speaking. I wanted him to be an outsider and yet not, and it meant making him the non-genetically manipulated kid whose normalcy helps ground his superhero buddies. Yeah, he’s the outsider looking in, a hanger-on, so to speak, but he’s the one his friends depend on to keep their superhero feet on the ground. He doesn’t spare them his snark and his attitude. He marvels at their powers and is even jealous of them in some way or another, yet he treats them no differently from everyone else, doesn’t place them on any pedestal.

Unless it’s his superhero boyfriend, of course. In that case, all Eric wants is to get inside Peter’s pants while placing him on a pedestal.

Another reason why I avoided turning him into a superhero was that I wanted to explore teen issues from the perspective of an ordinary boy who’s trapped in extraordinary circumstances, with him being both observer and participant. It’s bad enough he’s got his Regular Joe Blow issues to deal with, with his Chemistry and Geometry classes making him want to retire to a monastery if he could; he certainly doesn’t need the craziness of all the superhero vs. supervillain activity exploding around him.

Besides, it messes up his commute.

The biggest reason was humor, which is kind of my default tone when it comes to writing. I wanted to show the superheroes as awkwardly kickass, their development never perfect, and I wanted Eric to be the critic who’s also fumbling his way through his own issues. Superheroes are campy, something that Joss Whedon understood very well, which was why The Avengers proved to be a great success (and why I love watching it again and again). You can certainly do angst when it comes to superheroes, go all-out gritty and dark a la Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight series, but for me, it’s all about embracing those campy elements and knowing when to have fun with the material. Magnifiman, the leader of the superhero pack, even talks a certain way – very silver screen, as Eric puts it. He even strikes a very heroic pose now and then that’s never lost on Eric.

I’d just finished writing the first draft when Perry Moore’s Hero was released. As I’d been holed up for months working on my books for Prizm, I’d remained in the dark regarding Moore’s debut novel and missed out on the buzz surrounding it. Of course I bought it and eagerly read it. And I loved it. It remains my all-time favorite gay YA novel even with what I feel are its flaws.

It was the first gay YA novel I’d read that’s out and proud of its fantasy elements while it uses them to explore contemporary LGBT issues. It’s not a completely escapist read, but I really appreciate the humor and the earnestness of the way it tackles Thom’s problems, which include his relationship with his father. It was also a much-needed reassurance for me as I’d wondered if going escapist with Rise of Heroes with a heavier emphasis on humor would be a good move.

It was also reassurance for me to be out and proud of my fantasy books for gay kids, when the overwhelming preference for gay YA fiction has always been – and continues to be – contemporary realistic (or issues-based) stories. I figured there’ll always be room, no matter how small, for Eric and other kids like him, whose experiences are nutty, weird, freaky, and everything in between, with the world around them hopelessly cockeyed and all the more fun – or even thought-provoking despite the comedy – for that.


In honor of Hayden’s visit today, she’s offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an E-copy of Masks: Rise of Heroes.

All you have to do is leave a comment right here on this post, and you’re automatically entered. Comments must be received by midnight Pacific Time on Monday, December 30, 2013. One winner will be drawn at random on Tuesday, the 31st, and contacted by email for prize delivery.

Good luck!

Dreamspinner Press, Evan Gilbert

Evan Gilbert’s “The Haint” Might Give You A Case Of The Heebie Jeebies

“Ghosts could walk freely tonight, without fear of the disbelief of men; for this night was haunted, and it would be an insensitive man who did not know it.” ― John Steinbeck

Okay, this one scared the freaking bejeezus out of me. I may never walk in the woods alone again, and guess what…I’m surrounded by trees.

Let’s start at the beginning, the build-up so to speak.

Zebulon’s father has just died from a stroke, leaving Zeb as sole caretaker of his younger siblings, Hannah and Donnie. Zeb and Cale are best friends. Unbeknownst to Cale, Zeb has secretly had a crush on Cale since they first met in high school.
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Dreamspinner Press, Posy Roberts

Follow The North Star To Posy Roberts’ “Fusion”

“A woman is like a teabag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”– Eleanor Roosevelt

Fusion is the second book in the North Star trilogy. It follows Kevin Magnus & Hugo Thorson from the end of Spark as they begin to try to live their lives as gay men and build a relationship.

Kevin had never told anyone he was gay. Now he is faced with telling his children that he really did love their mother; he wasn’t lying to her for the years they were married. They knew of Hugo as Kevin’s best friend in high school, not as his boyfriend. And certainly not as his current partner.
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Dreamspinner Press, Kris T. Bethke

Sacrifice Makes Waiting For Love “Worth It”

“You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” ― J.M. Barrie

BLURB: Jackson Bennett and Ryan Hennigan met and fell in love while Ryan worked on Jack’s family’s Christmas tree farm. Back then, Jack broke his own heart by convincing Ryan to leave and pursue his future. Ryan went, but only after they made a pact to reunite after Ryan graduated from college. Now, five years later, it’s time, but Jack is convinced Ryan won’t show—and when he does, Jack is certain Ryan can’t possibly want to stay. Ryan, however, has no intention of being anywhere other than in Jack’s arms. But he faces a hurdle he never expected: proving to Jack they can have each other without having to sacrifice their dreams.

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Blaine D. Arden, Storm Moon Press

Blaine D. Arden Wants To Know, What Elf Would You Be?

TheForester_BSBlaine D. Arden here with the opening post for my The Forester II: Lost and Found blog tour! Join me in celebrating and be sure to read to the bottom. There’s a mini-competition I’d love for you all to participate in!

When I was a wee one, I spent a lot of my time daydreaming, and I don’t think I ever stopped doing that. Only, now, my daydreaming mostly consists of me making up worlds for my characters to play in and for others to enjoy. Sometimes I’m not even sure I’m from this world.

This world is fast, full of technology, and we always seem to be on our way to one thing or another. Of course, there are times I have to be surgically removed from my laptop, desktop, and smart phone, but they are more or less necessities of my writing. That said, should I ever survive an apocalypse, I’m sure I’d adjust to writing on cave walls or paper again. Us humans are an adaptable lot, after all.

One of the worlds I like to spend my days in is my forest world. There are no cell phones in the Forest, no cars, planes, or electricity. No money, either. The forest tribes are self-sufficient and provide for all their elves. The harvest is evenly divided, as are the hunters’ catches. A carpenter will make a cabinet for a new tunic or a nice dress for his vowed. I can’t help it, I love the idea of bartering, of helping each other out, and I can just imagine Taruif, one of the main characters in The Forester Trilogy, making me a lovely attic room in my favorite tree where I can write.

Now, I can’t promise that life in the forest is more evenly paced, easier, or quieter, and I’m not saying the small forest communities are perfect. Every tribe has its own problems, from strife between neighbors to common thieves, and even the occasional murder. Not to mention the chance of a ruined harvest or disease among the villagers or the animals they hunt. The tribes can also be quite isolated, other villages are often at least a week’s walk away.

But… it’s certainly a change of pace, and sometimes all we want is a change of environment.

Today, you can all be whoever you want to be, from winged hunter to a wingless baker. You can experience living in the forest’s gorgeous tree-houses and sit in the center, chatting, eating, and drinking with the rest of the tribe. So… who would you want to be?

Feel free to choose from the lists below by picking whatever catches your eye, or if you’re more of a gambling person, throw some dice and see what that brings you.

Because I still need to sort out some of the characters within my current work in progress, I’ll randomly choose one commenter’s Elf for a (small) role in Part Three of The Forester Trilogy, after the blog tour has finished.

1: wings or no wings:
In the forest, there are two species: the winged cloud elves (dice: 1,3,5), or the grounded tree elves (dice: 2,4,6). Choose one, or throw your dice.

2: How to earn our keep in the village:
For that, we obviously need a job, don’t we? Now, since this tribe already has a Guide, a Truth Seeker, and a Forester, those jobs are unavailable at this point. Furthermore, while there can be a little overlap, some jobs are mostly performed by one species of elf. Something to do with different species having different abilities.

Choices for a Tree Elf Choices for a Cloud Elf
1. Smith 2. Healer 3. Farmer 4. Bone Carver 5. Hunter 6. Baker
1. Herder 2. Messenger 3. Hunter 4. Healer 5. Baker 6. Bone Carver

3: We also need fitting Forest names, of course:
1. Kore
2. Roan
3. Vide
4. Guur
5. Ocer
6. Remza

4: Last, but certainly not least, feel free to choose gender and sexuality. No dice, this time. Choose any combination you like:

Male, Female, Trans*, Gender Queer, Asexual, Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Pansexual, Bisexual, and any term I’ve not mentioned. It’s really whatever you feel fits best.

One final note: You can of course make up your own name or profession… but I’ll have to check it against my list of Forest characters to see if I can use it.

Enjoy the game and remember to comment with your results!


The Forester II: Lost and Found – Now Available for just $3.99!

“The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.”

One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers—smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif—is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht.

If it isn’t sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it’s heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free.

And if that’s not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.

Blaine D. Arden is a purple haired, forty-something writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes, and the colours black, purple and red, who sings her way through life.

You can find Blaine at blainedarden.com, twitter,facebook, and goodreads.