5 Stars, Anne Tenino, Genre Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino

Title: Wedding Favors (A Bluewater Bay Novel)

Author: Anne Tenino

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 318 Pages

At a Glance: This is a great journey back to the world of Bluewater Bay – the more I read of this small town the more I want to visit someday!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her man of honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the best man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.

The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.

When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.


Review: Bluewater Bay: a small logging community in Northwestern Washington State, with a history of being sleepy, backwoods, and quaint. At the beginning of the Bluewater Bay series, this fictional small town is overrun by a new television series about shifters called Wolf’s Landing. This small town has been the same for a hundred years but is suddenly awash with Hollywood – people, cars, stars, and business. The first few books let us meet some of these stars and the men they choose as partners. The last few books have moved away from the TV show angle, and we are getting a chance to meet some of the local people who have called this town home their entire lives. The great thing about this series is that each book is written by one of eleven award winning, popular LGBTQ authors, each giving you new viewpoints and stories with fresh perspectives.

Anne Tenino’s Wedding Favors is about Lucas Wilder, an artist who grew up in Bluewater Bay and, of course, couldn’t wait to leave after high school. The thing he did keep from his hometown is his best friend Audrey. Audrey is wonderful and a genuine friend – someone who supports Lucas in everything he does or tries, even if she doesn’t agree with it. We all need an Audrey in our lives.

Lucas is a little self-absorbed. And that’s putting it mildly. He also has precious few people who understand him – who see him for who he really is underneath the persona he has crafted for the outside world. Lucas is an artist and has a tendency to get lost in his head, thinking about his sculptures or just second guessing everything about himself. If he had to count the people he thought truly knew him, he would say just one – his best friend Audrey; not family or even his husband of several years, whom he is divorcing. And now, Audrey is getting married – to his brother of all people – and opening a dress shop in Bluewater Bay. Of course, he has to go back. He has to support Audrey and his brother and be the Man of Honor – which leaves his brother to choose Gabriel Savage as his best man. Little does Lucas know, but Gabe knows the real Lucas too. Being his brother’s best friend let Gabe study and crush on Lucas for years. After an intense sexual encounter in high school, right after graduation, Gabe let Lucas go to be the star artist he knew he would be.

Gabriel Savage is tied to the land. He is descended from the original pioneering families who started this logging community, and would not live anywhere else. He is connected to it – loves it – breathes it. Gabe is determined to get Lucas to stay this time; he let the one man he has loved for twelve years get away last time, and he is determined it won’t happen again. When Audrey asks Lucas to create her wedding favors, Gabe offers his farm as a place for Lucas to create his sculptures and set up a studio.

Their lives begin to intertwine once more, and the journey is colorful, with great supporting characters who keep us entertained with witty dialogue that keeps the self-discovery Lucas must go through from being too heavy. Lucas reconnects with everyone in his life, from his family to his friends, and discovers that by embracing what he thought he would never want, he gets the best of both worlds – a great guy, a great workshop – a place to call home. This is a standalone book, all the Bluewater Bay stories are, but they all stay centered on this wonderful town and the people who live there.

Read them all, you won’t be disappointed!


You can buy Wedding Favors here:

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Anne Tenino, Giveaways, Riptide Publishing

Excerpt and Giveaway: Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino


Welcome to Anne Tenino on the Wedding Favors (A Bluewater Bay Novel) blog tour. Anne’s teasing us today with an exclusive excerpt from the book and on behalf of Riptide Publishing, is also offering the chance for one lucky reader to comment-to-win a $15 Riptide Gift Card! (Tour Wide)

Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 18, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so they can contact you if you win!


WeddingFavors_400x600Blurb: Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her man of honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the best man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.

The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.

When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.

Buy Links: Riptide | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks


Excerpt: Lucas drank too much at the engagement party. He pretended it was because he was with people he hadn’t seen in forever, like Audrey’s other bridesmaid, and other friends from high school who were still living in Bluewater Bay.

In reality, he’d tied one on to forget about Gabe Savage. He woke up Saturday morning with a headache and a bad taste in his mouth, but it had all been in vain—he could still remember the night before.

Fucking Gabe. With his sincere face and his lying tongue and his twisted history of them. The worst part was that Lucas had been falling for it, exactly like he’d sworn not to, because: peanut butter.

He’d loved peanut butter. Still did, but Drew had trained him out of eating it from the jar. Lucas’s arguments about them sharing bodily fluids anyway, and pointing out they’d never offer guests PB&Js were swept aside. Too weak to stand against Drew’s disgusted faces and comments about Lucas’s total lack of decorum. Shame was a great motivator for breaking bad habits.

Apparently, though, Gabe had liked it when Lucas ate peanut butter. Had been turned on by it. Or maybe by his sartorial choices when indulging, he wasn’t clear, but still. If Lucas were to, theoretically, eat peanut butter out of Gabe’s jar . . .

Don’t go there.

Yeah, bad idea.

Good thing Gabe had said that thing about respect. Respect. Such a perfect example of the kind of parochial, conservative, good ol’ boy mentality he’d been fleeing when he left this town. Had the guy seriously thought he’d respond positively to that? It offended him on so many levels—including his sexist bullshit-o-meter, and he wasn’t even a girl—especially since, two years later, Gabe had clearly stopped respecting him. That was what had kept him from believing it when Gabe made that comment, “When I found out you were leaving . . .” Trailing off suggestively was such a dead giveaway. He’d known he couldn’t come up with the right words, so he’d hoped Lucas would for him. Manipulative bastard.

If he lay here all day, he’d be rerunning that scene the whole time. Especially that part about peanut butter.

Maybe Audrey had some? That got him out of bed in spite of the headache, because for some reason he was sure if he could lick some of the gooey stuff off a spoon, it’d cure his hangover. No use clinging to the condition if it couldn’t block out what had happened.

Throwing on a pair of sweats over his briefs seemed like the polite thing to do. And the bare wood floor of Audrey’s studio was cold on his naked toes, so he needed socks. The whole room held a chill—wasn’t it heated? He’d never asked. Making a mental note to do that, he pulled a hoodie on over his T-shirt on his way across the landing to the main apartment, in search of magical elixir of nut.

Heh. Magical elixir of nut. He’d have to tell Audrey that one. She’d appreciate it.


Anne TeninoAbout the Author: Catalyzed by her discovery of LGBTQ romance, Anne Tenino left the lucrative fields of art history, non-profit fundraising, and domestic engineering to follow her dream of become a starving romance author. For good or ill, her snarky, silly, quasi-British sense of humor came along for the ride.

Anne applies her particular blend of romance, comedy and gay protagonists to contemporary, scifi and paranormal tales. Her works have won awards, she’s been featured in RT Book Reviews, and has achieved bestseller status on Amazon’s gay romance list.

Born and raised in Oregon, Anne lives in Portland with her husband and two kids, who have all taken a sacred oath to never read her books. She can usually be found at her computer, procrastinating.

Connect with Anne:Website | •Blog | •Twitter: @AnneTenino | •Facebook | •Goodreads

4.5 Stars, Amy Lane, Anne Tenino, Anthology, Holiday Romance, L.A. Witt, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing, SE Jakes, Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Lights, Camera, Cupid! An Anthology From Riptide Publishing

Title: Lights, Camera, Cupid!

Author: L.A. Witt, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, Anne Tenino, Z.A. Maxfield

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 226 Pages

At a Glance: Instant gratification in five satisfying pieces

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Nothing’s been the same in this sleepy little logging town since Hollywood came to shoot the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing—especially Valentine’s Day.

In L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day, beloved actors Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels have an announcement for their fans, while in Z.A. Maxfield’s I’ll Be There, actor Spencer Kepler and his boyfriend Nash Holly brave a blizzard and a fan convention to spend their first February the 14th together.

Of course, it’s not just TV stars celebrating the day. In Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand, an aspiring artist eager to escape Bluewater Bay decides he just might have a reason to stay: lust-inspiring logger Gabriel Savage. In S.E. Jakes’s No Easy Way, a local teacher reconnects with an old lover working security on the film set. And in Amy Lane’s Nascha, a Bluewater Bay elder recalls how his own unconventional family used to celebrate the holiday.

Real life may be nothing like TV, but when Cupid comes to town, there’s plenty of romance and drama to go around.


Review: If you’re like me, going into an anthology with the anticipation that there’s going to be one “weak link” story which then makes for an imperfect reading experience, I think I can safely say you can put that expectation away for Lights, Camera, Cupid!, a collection of stories set in the Bluewater Bay-verse and centered around Valentine’s Day.

Whether or not you’ve read every book in this series, or just a select few, it shouldn’t affect at all the ability to enjoy this collection for what it is: a glimpse into the lives and loves of its characters on the one day of the year dedicated to romance. In fact, at publication time, only L.A. Witt’s and Z.A. Maxfield’s characters have been introduced in Baywater, Washington, home to the popular TV series Wolf’s Landing, so enjoying the remaining three stories in the anthology is based solely on the talent of the authors and the strength of their writing.

Fittingly, L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day kicks off the collection with Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels, as they were the first men to be introduced in the Bluewater Bay series, in Starstruck.

Levi feels a lot like I, and many others do, about Valentine’s Day and the poor excuse it makes for picking a man’s pocket every 14th of February. Being in a relationship, however, means thinking not about himself but about the man he loves. Carter doesn’t want grand and ostentatious shows of commercialism. He just wants his and Levi’s first Valentine’s Day to be special.

And wow… does Levi deliver.

There’s a bit of conflict thrown into this day founded on the idea of romance, but it’s that conflict’s sweet and satisfying resolution that is the true definition of the word romantic.

Nascha, Amy Lane’s contribution to the anthology introduces characters who have yet to be discovered in Bluewater Bay, and won’t be until The Deep of the Sound is released in June 2015. Cal McCorkle’s introduction, that novel’s MC, is peripheral to the story told in Nascha, that of Cal’s aging granduncle and how Cal and his brother Keir came to live with Nascha.

This story is told in the present and through flashbacks, plucked from the mind of a man whose lucidity ebbs and flows. For this brief moment, Nascha relives his past and recalls the love he shared with a man and woman with whom he’d intended to spend the rest of his life, but for the fact that fate and circumstance intervened, then the system declared his relationship an unfit environment in which to raise a child—his niece Beth.

There is a strong sense of longing woven throughout this unexpected tale, threaded with the sharp sting of regret and the pain of lost years, and, without giving any more of this story away, it ends with an unapologetic tug at the heartstrings, which is probably not altogether unexpected from an Amy Lane story, is it?

SE Jakes’ addition to the collection, No Easy Way, is, I must say, my favorite novella in Lights, Camera, Cupid!, and that’s saying something because I found all the stories engaging.

At the age of sixteen, Cary Teijan lost the love of his young life. Dylan James disappeared without a word or a backward glance, so when Dylan turns back up in Bluewater Bay, working security on the set of Wolf’s Landing, not to mention returning with the intent to claim Cary—finally and irrevocably—the stage is set for six years of anger and resentment to throw plenty of roadblocks in the way of their journey to reconciliation.

There are secrets that Dylan’s been keeping from Cary which, coupled with the fact he saw nothing of his future but the possibility of following in his own father’s miserable footsteps, is why he enlisted and is what kept him from returning to Bluewater Bay until he’d worked to become the man Cary deserves.

Jakes mixes just the right amount of emotional conflict with sexual tension, unresolved anger, and regret to deliver a great second-chance love story.

Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand wins the award for story most in need of a sequel, and I’m hoping Lucas Wilder and Gabriel Savage are set to have their own novel in the series.

This story has a bit of a different flair to it, as it’s a coming out/coming of age story. Lucas has always been the odd piece in his blue collar family’s puzzle, and he’s just been accepted into the California College of the Arts, but first he has to break the news to his parents. Which he does…right about the same time he also announces to them that he’s gay.

Family tensions run high in this story, but not nearly as high as the sexual tension between Lu and his brother’s friend Gabriel. One moment of passion between the two leaves us with an inkling that Gabriel’s not half the ass he lets Lucas believe he is, and left me wanting more—Lu and Gabe, the post college years.

Tenino wrote this story with humor and heart, but if you’re not a fan of loose ends, well, just be prepared.

Finally, providing the bookend to L.A. Witt’s piece, Z.A. Maxfield treats readers to another taste of the delicious that is Nash Holly, first introduced in his and Spencer Kepler’s novel Hell on Wheels.

I’ll Be There finds the men hundreds of miles apart in the days before Valentine’s Day, with a snowstorm bearing down on the Midwest that threatens to keep them apart on their first February 14th together.

For all you readers who attended GRL2014, be prepared to recognize the setting of the convention Spencer’s attending, and be prepared to smile at the tenacity and ingenuity Nash uses to make sure he makes it to Bloomingdale, Illinois to be with Spencer, come hell or high water. Or feet of snow and treacherous road conditions, as the case may be.

This is the one story in the collection that I’d suggest might be best appreciated by reading Hell on Wheels first—to know these guys is to love them—but as sweet and romantic gestures go, Nash’s is just about the sweetest and romantickest. If not the dangerest.

If you’re looking for a little variety, solid storytelling, and some romance to round it all out, Lights, Camera, Cupid! is instant gratification in five satisfying pieces.

You can buy Lights, Camera, Cupid! here:

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3 Stars, Anne Tenino, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Riptide Publishing

Review: Billionaire with Benefits by Anne Tenino

Title: Billionaire with Benefits

Author: Anne Tenino

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 443 Pages

At a Glance: Fell just a bit short of the quality work I am used to reading by this author

Blurb: It’s just a friend thing.

Before confessing his gayness to his best friend, Tierney Terrebonne’s sex life is strictly restroom. After confessing his gayness to his best friend . . . it doesn’t improve much. Why bother trying when the man he’s loved for fourteen years (see: “best friend”) is totally unattainable? Good thing Tierney is an old hand at accepting defeat; all it takes is a bottle of bourbon. Or fifty. Repeat as needed.

Dalton Lehnart has a history of dating wealthy, damaged, closeted, lying, cheating, no-good, cowardly men, so of course he’s immediately attracted to Tierney Terrebonne. Fortunately, Tierney is so dissolute that even Dalton’s feelings for the man would be better described as pity. Which becomes sympathy as they get to know each other. Followed by compassion, concern, caring, and hopefulness as Tierney struggles to change his life. When the man comes out very publicly and enters rehab, Dalton finds himself downright attached to Tierney. And as everyone knows, after attachment comes . . .

Uh oh.

But post-rehab Tierney can’t handle more than friendship, so Dalton should be safe from repeating his own past mistakes, right? Right?


Review: Tierney is a walking disaster. Deeply closeted and fearful that if he steps outside the boundaries set by an aging Grandfather he will be the disappointment of the family, Tierney hides and drinks and grows more angry with every passing year. When he discovers that his best friend Ian, whom he has had a secret crush on for years, is actually gay and in a relationship, his entire world implodes, leaving Tierney a drunken, wounded mess. It will take the help of one former rent boy, Dalton, and the most poorly planned announcement that he is gay to make Tierney realize he can no longer live pushing the anger and hurt down with nightly bottles of bourbon. The only question that remains is can he really be the one person to commit to loving such a wonderful man as Dalton? And should he even try?

The second installment of the Romancelandia series, Billionaire With Benefits, is a sweeping saga that follows the slow and steady implosion of Tierney Terrebonne, the youngest member of a family that has more money than god, and strict rules of conduct every good member of the clan must follow. Complete with massive doses of inner dialogue from both Tierney and his friend-with-benefits, Dalton, the novel is a study in character like no other I have read. This is not a quick read. Rather, it is a real dismantling and introspective study of how one man represses himself to the point of nearly drowning in the booze that he uses to keep all his anger and needs at bay. Fortunately, Tierney has a few friends who amazingly stay by his side despite how hard he tries to kick them away. Ian, for example, his old college buddy and long time crush, gives Tierney chance after chance despite the fact that most of their encounters early on end with punches being thrown or loud, explosive and nasty interchanges. When Dalton finally meets Tierney it is a sure bet that there is an attraction, but will it be the destructive kind where Dalton once more sublimates what he needs to cater to the whims of a rich playboy? That is a path Dalton refuses to take again but perhaps there can be something more with Tierney—the real Tierney, the one Dalton sees underneath all the sarcasm and anger and hiding.

Anne Tenino is an author I genuinely enjoy. Her biting wit and ability to draw realistic and wounded characters is the stuff that great novels are made of, time and again. Billionaire With Benefits is not the typical romantic comedy we are so used to seeing from this author, but it was still a remarkable study in how one deeply confused and angry man can turn his life around, given the right support system and someone to love—someone to make all that work worthwhile. Never rushing, the story unfolds slowly, allowing us to really understand the depth of Tierney’s fears and paranoia. With each moment that was spent watching this poor man drop further and further into the abyss, you grew to love him more and more. However, this story was not without some serious missteps that made me confused and wondering why the author chose to go down the path she took.

I believe the place where this novel broke down for me was twofold. The first was actually Dalton’s family. I really grew to dislike his sister Andrea and, quite frankly, did not understand why she was written as a strident and bitchy meddling older sister. I felt that if she and the brothers were really the ones who took Dalton in after his parents threw him out that she would somehow be more supportive and caring. Her constant harping felt like she was attacking her brother rather than caring for him, and I could not understand Dalton’s desire to even remain in contact with her.

The second place was the short time that Tierney attended rehab. Two weeks just does not seem like enough time for a man to get on stable footing after he had hit rock bottom, drinking daily a bottle or more of bourbon, and so confused and terrified about coming out that he blurted it out in a drunken moment at his Grandfather’s wake. Then we are to believe that the rehab center releases him with admonitions that he should contact a therapist and maybe look in to AA? He was an absolute mess, a well-written, highly believable mess, and the swift way in which he was “cured” enough to somehow cope by setting up a network of friends to contact when he felt on the edge seemed just too farfetched for me. For all the time and effort that went in to writing this fascinating character just to have him be shoved through recovery felt wrong.

Anne Tenino is a top-notch author who consistently gives us impeccable novels with interesting and entertaining storylines. For me, Billionaire With Benefits fell just a bit short of the quality work I am used to reading by this author.


You can buy Billionaire with Benefits here:

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Anne Tenino, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post: Billionaire With Benefits by Anne Tenino

BillionaireWithBenefits_TourBannerHello, and welcome to the Billionaire with Benefits Blog Tour! *fanfare, etc*

You might have noticed this book took me a while to write . . . or maybe you didn’t notice, but take my word for it, it did. That might be why it ended up longer than it needed it to be. Ultimately we trimmed over 15,000 words from the original Billionaire manuscript, so posts from me (as opposed to spotlights and reviews) are all going to be cut scenes from the book. Sort of like the extras on a DVD, but, you know, not. Continue reading

A.M. Arthur, Anne Tenino, Brandon Witt, Brita Addams, Chris Quinton, Erica Pike, Erin McRae, Lee Brazil, Racheline Maltese, RJ Scott, Sean Michael, Sneak Peek, Suki Fleet, Tere Michaels

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to see what we have in store for you in the coming week here at The Novel Approach.

It was a whirlwind weekend at GRL—lots of fun, lots of friends, and very little sleep—and I hope to see many of you next year in San Diego for GayRomLit 2015! A big congratulations also goes to Jilly Reads, who was the lucky winner of the Grand Prize giveaway of a Kindle Fire HD.

One of the highlights of the weekend, apart from spending time with authors and readers, was the chance to spend time with so many of my peers—Joyfully Jay, Susan Lee (Boys in our Books), Brandilyn Carpenter (Prism Book Alliance), Dani Elle Maas (Love Bytes), Heather and Nikyta from The Blogger Girls—everyone is just so lovely and so much fun. Not to mention I also got to hang out with my very own Jackie, Jules, and Kathie, which was a huge treat. And now it’s time to begin the countdown to the next GRL (it’s never too soon). Continue reading

5 Stars, Abigail Roux, Andrea Speed, Anne Tenino, Anthology, Comedy, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Riptide Publishing

Review: My Haunted Blender’s Gay Love Affair, and Other Twisted Tales Anthology

Title: My Haunted Blender’s Gay Love Affair, and Other Twisted Tales

Authors: Abigail Roux, Andrea Speed, and Anne Tenino

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 340 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: A collection of not-so-chilling tales of love and laughter from three of the genre’s masters of pulp.

In The Bone Orchard by Abigail Roux – Pinkerton investigator Ezra Johns and US Marshal Ambrose Shaw have a lot to learn about life—and the afterlife—in their quest to bring a vicious murderer to justice. Fortunately, they’ve got all the time in the world to figure it out. Continue reading

4 Stars, Anne Tenino, Reviewed by Tina, Riptide Publishing

Anne Tenino’s “Poster Boy” Takes Love To The Country Of Romance – Reviewed by Tina

“Anticipation. In love and travel, getting there is half the fun. The lustful impatience, the passionate daydreams, the nerve-wracking waiting… lovers and travelers are all alike when they find themselves on the brink of a new adventure.” – Vivian Swift

Title: Poster Boy (A Theta Alpha Gamma Novel)

Author: Anne Tenino

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 360 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: It’s all fun and games until someone puts his heart out.
Continue reading

Anne Tenino, Riptide Publishing

Be A “Good Boy” (Or Girl) And Grab This Installment In The Theta Alpha Gamma Series

“The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Oh, it is always a treat to revisit one of your favorite couples in a series and Sebastian and Brad have to be one of my favorite couples in the M/M genre. In Frat Boy and Toppy, Brad and Sebastian overcame many obstacles to earn their HEA and I couldn’t wait to see how they are doing with it. We got a glimpse of them in Sweet Young Thang and it didn’t seem like all was well.
Continue reading

Anne Tenino, Riptide Publishing

Well, It’s That Time Again – Anne Tenino Blog Tour Time!! Woooot!!

This tour is in celebration of my July 22 release from Riptide, Sweet Young Thang. This book is the third (but not the last) in my Theta Alpha Gamma series. As is usual for the blog tour, I’ll be giving something away, but what’s unusual (for me) is that this year, what I’m giving away is a mystery. To me. In other words, I’m going to offer the winner their choice of a number of items, like signed copies of my print books, or possibly a crocheted to order phallus, or even a different handmade item—I have a few things in mind . . .

So, how do you win? Well, it’s simpler this year. There will be one question and one question only about Sweet Young Thang, but you have to find the question somewhere on this tour. I’ll be announcing just before the tour where each post will be, so make sure you check in if you want to win.

Okay, enough housekeeping, on with the tour!

* * *

Eric Doing What He Does

I never planned on writing about firefighters or paramedics. In fact, I specifically planned on not writing about them. For me, the reality of emergency services and the fiction of it are different, and something I wasn’t interested in tackling. Yet somehow, I ended up making Eric, one of the main characters in Sweet Young Thang, a firefighter paramedic.

I was a wildland firefighter for seven seasons. Wildfires are sometimes different than forest fires, and a lot different than structural fires. I worked with and went on calls with many rural and municipal fire departments, was stationed in regular fire stations, and dated my share of emergency services workers. Then I married a paramedic (hereafter called the Husband).

At this point in my life, firefighters and paramedics aren’t that interesting to me in general. I’ve noticed I’m in the minority, there.

The Husband used to have some friends (which presumably he still has, but we can’t seem to find them) who worked for an insurance company. They had boring jobs, like entering data about new subscribers, or accident claim stuff. The Husband was thought by his friends to have an interesting job—possibly made doubly interesting by the fact that they dealt peripherally with emergency incidents, but in a very removed, data-entry-in-a-cubicle kind of way.

One night he went to a party at the house of a couple of these guys, and most of the people at the party also had data-entry jobs at the insurance company. A bunch of them (who were fairly well drunk) cornered the Husband in a dead-end hallway, and started pestering him. “What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever seen?”

The husband was fairly drunk himself, and after some persuasion he told them a story. He got to the end, “ . . . and then I pulled her shoe off, but her foot came with it!” and started laughing.

To him (and to me, I confess) that’s funny. Gallows humor. But for those people at the party, who stared at him in horror, it was a bit too much reality, and not in keeping with their romantic, heroic vision of the job.

I want to be clear, the people who do these jobs do incredibly heroic things, but most of the time, what they mostly seem to do is . . . wash rigs. Sure, in some areas paramedics run their asses off, and some fire companies are busier than others, but the majority of emergency calls are “B.S.” calls. Frequent flyers, hypochondriacs, fakers, old and/or very ill people CTD (circling the drain) and of course the DRTs (dead right there). Not to mention some legitimately ill people who need an ambulance, but for whom a paramedic can do very little other than give them oxygen and put in a saline drip. Firefighters also have B.S. calls—false alarms, fires that are extinguished by sprinkler systems before they show up, calls for manpower that result in them directing traffic around an accident. They only rarely get to go on a really good fire, and for them that’s what it is—a “good” fire.

It’s not that firefighters and paramedics don’t understand the enormity of the tragedy that’s happening, it’s that they have to deal with it too. It affects their lives and emotions as well as the victims. It’s stressful to know someone could live or die by your actions, or to walk into a burning building, regardless of whether you’re wearing SCBA’s and turnouts or not (SCBA = self-contained breathing apparatus). These things take their toll, especially when you know you’ll have to do it again, no matter how rarely those calls are toned out.

There’s another issue that stopped me from writing them for a while—different areas of the country have different protocols and laws, which affect how they treat patients or set up their incident command on a fire, or even the way their stations are manned. During the writing process, I worked with a medic from the east coast, and we had a constant back and forth on the differences. I expect to hear from a few readers about those differences as well.

So, you may be wondering why I went ahead and wrote a story about the firefighter paramedic named Eric. Well, it’s because that’s what he wanted to be. I’ve given up arguing with my characters—it never ends well for me. So I let Eric do his thing, and here he is doing just that in Sweet Young Thang.

Chapter 1

“I’m probably going to die, aren’t I?”

Eric Dixon fiddled with his patient’s IV for a few seconds, collecting his thoughts. Mr. Siskin was on a fair amount of pain medicine, but his speech seemed clear. Eric met his gaze. “Do you remember what I said the problem was?”

Siskin grimaced. “Uh . . . aneurism in my abdomen, right?”

“Well, that’s what I think, but we don’t carry the equipment on the ambulance to know for sure.” Not to mention he wasn’t a doctor. Eric watched the pulsing swelling just below Siskin’s navel and could only imagine that was one thing, though. “It’s called a thoracic aortic aneurism. It means your aorta—the main artery supplying blood to your body—is in danger of rupturing. If I’m right, and that happens, you’ll bleed to death.” So fast that even if he was already in surgery and opened up, they might not be able to save him.

“How much danger?”

Eric blew out a breath. “You hear the sirens?”

Mr. Siskin nodded tightly, closing his eyes a second. Sweat beaded on his forehead.

Eric leaned forward to adjust the drip, giving his patient more medication. “We don’t always go to the hospital code three, meaning with the lights and sirens on. Only when someone’s in imminent danger of death or permanent injury.”

Mr. Siskin nodded again. Maybe he believed in the power of prayer. Eric hoped it’d work, because there was nothing he could do except keep the patient as comfortable as possible. This sort of call frustrated the crap out of him. In this case, Lincoln’s job—getting them to the fucking hospital as fast as he safely could—was the more important one.

Lincoln’s job was extra hard today, though, because the Siskins had been vacationing at their cabin up on the McKenzie River, right at the border of their ambulance service district. Eric glanced at his watch. Best-case scenario; ten more minutes to the hospital.

Crap, he should have fucking called for a helicopter. But no, it wouldn’t have been any faster. He’d had Siskin nearly ready to go when the swelling in his abdomen had started. One of those cases where even though the patient had shown signs of a heart attack, the EKG hadn’t backed the diagnosis up. Eric’d had a bad feeling, and he and Lincoln had to take the guy in anyway, so they’d been working fast.

Siskin flinched, grimacing again. Even though his eyes were closed, when Eric reached for the IV again, he said, “No.”

Eric looked down at him. “How bad is the pain? Remember the pain scale? Give me a number between one and ten—”

“I don’t care.” Mr. Siskin waved him back. “I don’t want to die while I’m stoned.” He smiled for a split second. “More stoned, I mean.”

“Gotta tell you, Mr. Siskin, in my professional opinion, you need to believe you’re going to live.” He’d seen some people who should be dead refuse to die, and he’d seen a few who had no medical reason to die go ahead and do it.

“Call me Bryson.”

“I can do only do that if you promise me you’ll live.”

Siskin’s eyes opened again and he actually grinned. Not for more than a couple of seconds, but he met Eric’s gaze and shared a moment of humor.

Humor is a good thing. Eric smiled back, trying to make it genuine.

“Okay, it’s a deal.”

You can read the rest of the chapter (and a whole lot more excerpt) at http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/sweet-young-thang-theta-alpha-gamma-3 (go to the bottom of the page and click on the “excerpt” tab). And of course, you can also buy the book there, or at any of your favorite online booksellers.

* * *

Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.

Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. They were raised to be open-minded children, however, and other than occasionally stealing Ken1’s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.

Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.

Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site. http://annetenino.com


Anne Tenino, Riptide Publishing

Tina’s Kinda Sweet On Anne Tenino’s “Sweet Young Thang (Theta Gamma Alpha, Book #3)”

“There’s things that happen in a person’s life that are so scorched in the memory and burned into the heart that there’s no forgetting them.”–John Boyne

Sweet Young Thang is the third and best (so far) in the Theta Alpha Gamma series. Collin Montes’s father died when he was young. His Uncle Monty stepped in and filled the role of father-figure. He over-filled the role! Monty took over much of Collin’s life, including his education, extracurricular activities, which fraternity he would join in college and his career plans. Collin has never known any different, so he doesn’t know he is being used to further his Uncle’s business interests.

When TAG (Theta Alpha Gamma) becomes the first fraternity on campus to pass a rule that says it will accept openly gay members, Collin has to do some convincing to get his Uncle to support it. As a very active member of the Alumni Association, which funds some of the current fraternity’s activities, Uncle Monty could make life very difficult for TAG in general and Collin in particular if he wants to. Collin must assure his Uncle that there will be no repercussions from the passing of the gay-friendly policy.

Would we meet Collin’s love interest if there weren’t repercussions? Not likely! Someone rigs the hot water heater in the frat’s basement to go off like a rocket. Then someone unsuccessfully plants a bomb in their basement. These events may or may not be linked to each other or to the new policy, but they bring firefighter-paramedic Eric Dixon to the scene when one of Collin’s fraternity brothers is injured in the water heater explosion. Instant chemistry. Although there is a fifteen year age difference between them, Eric and Collin can’t stop thinking about each other and trying to seek one another out.

Eric’s insistence that he be the one to keep Collin safe leads to them spending more time together and love quickly follows. Collin is still in the closet and as the situation develops, he begins to realize that he will have to come out to everyone involved. He also begins to see, with Eric’s help, exactly how manipulative Uncle Monty has been his entire life.

Anne Tenino certainly was creative and liberal in her use of pet names. Sweetie, sweetness, sweet young thang, cuddle bear. Sometimes it was a little too much, sometimes just right. Best new word ever: “bearadise”.

The best parts of the book for me weren’t between Eric and Collin, but when the whole fraternity was involved. It was hilarious. All the references Ms. Tenino put in to the “sensitivity training” that the guys had evidently had to better enable them to welcome their gay brothers into the fold smoothly. The interaction was realistic for a group of college age young men whose biggest concern for a portion of the book was where the funding for their kegerator was going to come from. I was laughing out loud. And their continual viewing of Project Runway was priceless. “What would Tim Gunn do?” became a mantra.

The relationship between Eric and Collin didn’t resonate with me as much as I had hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them and they were believable and very hot together, I just didn’t click with them emotionally. But Ms. Tenino more than made up for it by including such a colorful and varied cast of supporting characters, from Uncle Monty to Tank (and his baby brother Jock) and Danny.

I can’t wait to see what Anne Tenino gives us next with the Theta Alpha Gamma boys. I also can’t wait to see what new phrase will be stuck in my head after the next book!

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Sweet Young Thang here:

Anne Tenino, Carole Cummings, Storm Moon Press

We’ve Got A Couple Of Fun Things Coming Up This Week, But Boy Oh Boy, Just Wait Until August!

As you may or may not have heard, Jay of Joyfully Jay Reviews and I have cooked up something special for readers this year in our Joyful Approach Countdown To GRL 2013. When we first began discussing the project and whether it was something we could pull off successfully, we never imagined that we’d get the sort of response that came pouring in from participating authors. In less than eight hours, we filled our original forty-two time-slots, quickly bumped it up to FIFTY, and still have authors on our waiting list over and above that fify cap, authors whom we both dearly hope to be able to accommodate as we fill our calendars for the seven weeks between August 19th and October 6th.

Be on the lookout for announcements in the coming weeks, including a list of participating authors and the dates they’ll be scheduled to appear both here and at Joyfully Jay!

But on to what’s on tap for this coming week: on top of some really great reviews, we’ve got Anne Tenino here tomorrow to talk about her newest release, Sweet Young Thang, and she’s also bringing along a goodie or two.

On Thursday, we’ll have a guest post from Storm Moon Press, as they continue their Big Damn Heroine tour.

Then, on Friday, Carole Cummings will be our guest, and she’ll be offering one lucky reader the chance to win her latest novel The Queen’s Librarian.

So be sure to stay tuned, and have a great week!

Anne Tenino, Riptide Publishing

Love, Hypothetically by Ann Tenino

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese

Ooooh, back in high school, star baseball play Trevor Gardiner did the unforgiveable: He outed his boyfriend. We’re talking a forced out here. We’re talking, threw him under the team bus, backed it up and then ran over him again, and poor Paul wasn’t even aware he was playing the game. That’s how Trevor’s steamy encounter with Paul in the gym locker room went from homerun to sacrifice play in the bottom of the ninth when they got caught. Trevor changed up, went for the bunt when he should’ve swung for the fence, and struck out to lose the game.

No balls and lots of errors.

See, Trevor was destined to make something of a life for himself in the big leagues, and jeopardizing that by being an out gay athlete wasn’t part of the game plan. When it came time to choose between having a boyfriend and having a shot at a major league contract, Paul came in somewhere lower in the equation than the guy who cleans stray tobacco spit off the locker room floor. (Is that even a job? I doubt it, but it works here.) But to be fair to Trevor, he was young, he panicked, and he also seriously miscalculated that Paul would understand and go along with the story.

Swing and a miss…

Well, it’s nine years later, Paul’s a prickly bastard who’s tutoring over the summer at Calapooya College, and guess who’s just recruited him to tutor the women’s softball team? Yep, you guessed it, their new coach, Trevor Gardiner, who’s retired from baseball and is now apparently looking for another at-bat with Paul. Make sure to pay very close attention to the prickly bastard part, though, because Paul is not about to make it easy for Trevor to just take a base on balls again.

Are we done with the baseball metaphors yet? I am.

So let me just paraphrase Paul and say, dammitall, this book pushed my humina-humina buttons. Ann Tenino has written a funny story that is, not so surprisingly, also a little bit touching, witnessing Trevor trying to make amends for his mistakes and Paul warring between his attraction to Trevor and his deep-seated and lingering bitterness over Trevor’s betrayal. That Paul is most definitely a man who can hold onto a grudge, and he’s not about to let Trevor forget that that single mistake all those years before won’t be something that’s easily forgiven either, especially when Paul lets his mouth get ahead of his brain and nearly blows everything up when it’s not at all what he meant to do.

Love, Hypothetically is a short and simple story about the complex issue of being outed before you’re ready, about forgiveness and second chances, and about discovering that, against all the odds, you find yourself trusting the one you never thought it possible to believe in again.

But that’s all part of the game of love, folks.

Ann Tenino is a GayRomLit participating author. You can find her blog HERE.

Buy Love, Hypothetically Here