4 Stars, DSP Publications, Lissa Kasey, Paranormal, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Evolution: Genesis by Lissa Kasey

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Evolution: Genesis (Evolution: Book Two)

Author: Lissa Kasey

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Genesis is an interesting, if somewhat tangled, read for paranormal fans.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Evolution made music history when one bandmate turned vampire and another joined the vampire hate movement Preservation Group. Gene is trying to cling to the music as his relationship with Kerstrande begins to spiral into the darkness of hidden demons. Jaded by his years as a vampire flunkie, Kerstrande uses his newly won power over New York City to destroy his enemies and protect Gene. But a demon called a Fallen begins to take control of KC, slowly devouring his soul and through him the entire city. Battling against the evil that wants to destroy him, Kerstrande fights to hold onto Gene’s brightness.

A power unlike any other grows within Gene and shines like a beacon to the demons surrounding him. Realizing that only he can save his lover, Gene is willing to do anything to shake the darkness loose. Even if it means reshaping the future, the band, and his own existence.

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Review: I was thrilled to see a sequel to the riveting novel Evolution by author Lissa Kasey. With book two, Genesis, two of the most exciting characters in the paranormal genre are back, center stage, and sparks fly once more—and by sparks I mean an all consuming fire, which is exactly what Gene is currently dealing with at the story’s beginning. I cannot state more clearly than this that you must read this series in order to appreciate all the nuances and relationships that are further developed in book two. If you have not, then please stop reading this review and go read Evolution, for I will be remarking upon some of the themes and incidences from the first book to set the stage for book two.

At the opening of Genesis, Gene is still grappling with the fact that he is a human hybrid in the form of a phoenix. Those who know their mythology will remember that the phoenix never really dies but instead is reborn from flames—dying when engulfed from inner fire—and that is exactly what Gene had discovered he could do when he took down Hane—the maker of Kerestrande (KC), Gene’s vampire, again/off again lover—in the first novel. But remember vampires cannot be fully destroyed by flames—instead, they must incinerate by being exposed to sunlight, which burns them to ash never to rise again. This is exactly what KC does to Hane, and when he does so, the dark shadow—the fallen that clung to Hane—consumes KC and begins to slowly take him over.

Meanwhile, every bad guy and paranormal on the earth seems to be after Gene as a means to get to KC. Consequently, Gene undergoes several horrific deaths only to be reborn again each time. However, Gene is weakening, and coming back to human form takes longer and longer each time. Instead, he is trapped in darkness where he can clearly see what is eating at KC, and all the undead that cling to his lover as well. In the end, it will be up to Gene to save his vampire lover from certain death, as the Fallen within KC pushes its way into his soul and consumes that which is KC at his very core, taking him over completely.

Okay. That was a major oversimplification of a very intricate plot that I must admit I lost my way in at certain points in this novel. Not only were there additional characters to learn about, there were also so many creatures after Gene that it was hard at times to keep up with who was after whom, and why. Still, the bones of this story were really solid and KC and Gene, when they were together, were pure gold in terms of an “it’s complicated” relationship. Every time KC pushed Gene away, Gene’s pain and dejection was so poignant to read—really just heartbreaking. And this author was so smart in that she alternated the point of view almost chapter to chapter so we were privy as to why KC was sending Gene away. Plus, we saw just how it guts the vampire when he does so.

Alongside these two was a cast of secondary characters that were convincingly real, and each became an integral part of Gene’s life—some with deadly and evil intent. Without them, Gene would have never been able to survive all that he does at the hands of evil forces determined to use Gene as bait to draw out KC and the shadowy evil that holds him captive.

So why wasn’t this a five star read? Well, when it came down to it, this story got very involved with the mystical side of both vampires and Gene himself—this phoenix hybrid. In doing so, I honestly was often confused as to where this whole plot was moving and just exactly why Gene kept getting…well, brutally beaten and killed, only to rise again. I felt that the plot was sometimes unanchored and drifted too far into mystical realms that were not always fully realized or fleshed out in the story. That made for some real frustration when I just wanted this story to “get on with it” and come to some conclusion I could understand.

As a result of all this action without a solid plot theme to plant itself on, the ending seemed way too easy and a bit rushed. The final outcome was nice, but after all the angst and miscommunication between KC and Gene, a sweet happy-ever-after seemed just a bit contrived. Still, this is an author whom I really admire and whose writing is often involved and well executed, therefore I would encourage fans of the first in this series to see how things play out between Gene and KC. Genesis is an interesting, if somewhat tangled, read for paranormal fans.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

 

You can buy Evolution: Genesis here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

OmniLit/ARe

OmniLit/ARe

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Lissa Kasey

Guest Post and Excerpt: Thankfully a Great Year by Lissa Kasey

Cardinal Sins Banner

It’s almost Thanksgiving. Can you believe it? This year has gone so fast! I’m so thankful for all the amazing things that have happened this year. We could all use a little positive, right?

Two years ago I completed my first novel after a year long dry spell. It was a new dystopian sort of novel called Hidden Gem. There was a lot of dark angst in that book because I was in a dark time with my writing, and as a person I’m sort of dark and agnsty. I was not confident in the book because it was different than my normal quirky first person flawed character. But Hidden Gem sold remarkably well. Reviews were mostly good and people wanted more. So last year at this time, sales report in hand, I decided to begin the sequel.

Life often gets in the way, but after all of Jan and most of Feb this year sprinting with Lexi Ander, Cardinal Sins was finished at a whopping 105k. My longest book ever. I was feeling pretty good. Confident of the story, loving the characters, knowing where the next book would go. But my editor said, why not write the next one, already? I don’t usually, as my projects are fueled by the sales that give me time away from overtime and part time jobs to write the next book. And I’d just decided I’d be re-editing the Dominion series and self-publishing to make some changes that I’d wanted to for a while.

But I after finishing the edits on the first two Dominion novels, I did begin the new novel. In fact, just finished it in late Sept. Candy Land, a story about Candy, Jack, and Ivy in the Hidden Gem world tops out at just under 99K. Not as long as CS, but just as action packed. In the meantime, I also released Dominion book 3.

I’ve had an amazing year. Two brand new, super long novels, and three rereleased novels with at least 20k apiece added. And I’ve recently gotten sales reports for my first contemporary mystery, and the news is good. So I’m working on the next Model book, and editing Dominion 4 for release in late Jan.

Winter slows me down. I admit I’d much rather lay on the couch under a blanket when the days get short and cold. I’ve not done so hot for NaNo so far this year. And that’s okay.

The holidays are just a week or so away, and we all need to stop and look back. Why? Because it’s the only way to know if the direction we’ve been heading is the one we want to keep going. I’ve come to terms of late with the fact that I will never be as fast or prolific as some of my favorite authors. I just don’t write that fast. And that’s okay. It’s not a contest. The prize for being at the top is not a lifetime of paid bills (not in this genre). It’s about writing what’s true to me and pushing myself to the next challenge. I want people to read my novels and think “Wow, that was more than just fluff.”

That being said, if you’re looking for sunshine and rainbows it’s probably better to try another writer. While there is always a HFN ending to my books, there is often a lot of angst. I realized this year while I was at GRL battling a persistent migraine while trying to be cute and perky for everyone to like me that it’s just a lie. Nothing about me is cute or perky. That’s okay. I’m thankful to be who I am. Even if it doesn’t make me the center of the crowd or most favorite person in the world. We can’t all be the monkey in the middle.

So looking back over this amazing year, with the ups and downs and stress of real life thrown in, I’m so thankful to still be here. To be fighting another day, writing and reading another day. Not everyone gets that chance. Not everyone is as free as I am to make decisions like if I will write or share the next book. Or if I am even allowed to read something just for the sake of escape. I’m thankful for the readers, the fellow authors, editors, and publishing company who’ve helped support me. Thankful to my best friend and her unwavering support, and my mother and sister for letting me bake cookies for them on the weekends to help ease the anxiety.

I am hopeful for another year of success in writing, publishing, sales, stress management, and self-confidence. I will work harder at the last one as it’s the one I’m the worst at.

What about all of you? What are you thankful for? Take a moment before the madness of the holidays begin and think about it. Hug your family. Send your best friend/husband/lover/online pal a note of appreciation. Sometimes just hearing someone else is thankful for you is enough to brighten someone’s day.

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CardinalSins_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeedCheck out Cardinal Sins: Paris Hansworth, star whore turned senator and the most powerful man in City M, has been hiding his terminal illness for years. Searching for a way to reverse the toxic environment that’s killing him, Paris stumbles upon a lost research facility, and a merman named Rain.

Years alone have made Rain long for companionship, and the beautiful man on the other side of the glass intrigues him. But Rain speaks the wrong language, and is decades out of touch. He isn’t quite sure what to think of the new environment he’s been thrust into.

As a virus spreads through the city targeting City M’s most private residents—A-Ms—Paris realizes he’s out of time. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life, to stop it. But Rain might just be the missing DNA link to explain the mutations created in the last plague, maybe even the cure.

Watching Paris race to save his friends, Rain knows he’s found someone special and will do anything to stay by his side. But the past Paris thought he’d escaped is seeking revenge, and he’s forced to adapt yet again, possibly even becoming a monster. He only hopes Rain will still want him.

Buy Now linkDSP || Amazon || BN || All Romance Ebooks

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Since Cardinal Sins has just been released how about a sneak peek at Candy Land? (Please note Candy Land has not been professionally edited yet)

“Try to focus on control,” Paris told Aki.

Aki sighed, hating these lessons more and more every time. They sat in Aki and Shane’s living room practicing how to control the change. Paris had arrived that evening, after Aki had put him off for the tenth time, with an arm full of painter’s cloths, and a stern determination. Every object in the room that could be covered was covered to protect it from blood splatter. The last thing Aki wanted to do was change.

“I think if you can control it, you won’t bleed so much when it happens, and it won’t hurt,” Paris assured him.

If Aki had known that afternoon Paris planned to corner him, he would have insisted on accompanying Shane on errands in town despite the blowing snow and cold weather unseasonable for this time in March. Of course if Just Shoes updated their stock on Tuesdays instead of Fridays he’d have gone out anyway and perhaps missed his old master. He didn’t think he’d ever obtain the ease between his two forms that Paris or even Shane could. Something was just wrong with him. Maybe because he’d been made an AP instead of just evolving like the others had.

“Candy’s coming over tonight,” Aki protested. It was the first time in months they were getting a movie night together. Candy was overworked, and Aki had begged until he finally gave in. The many video chats they had each week just weren’t cutting it anymore. He needed his best friend, and he was looking forward to the quiet time. He suspected Ivy partially guilted Candy into the break as he seemed to have Candy wrapped around his fingers.

Paris tugged at Aki’s shirt. “Off, so it doesn’t get ruined. You might as well just strip.”

“But…”

“Strip,” Paris demanded in that no nonsense voice that was so ingrained in Aki’s head he couldn’t help but comply. He left on only his lacy undies. It was a nice pair, but not priceless. He tucked his shoes under a cushion beneath the tarp just in case and stood in apprehension waiting for his next order.

“We have plenty of time before Candy is done with a client.” Paris rubbed his hands together like this was going to be the easiest thing in the world. “We’ll work through the change once or twice, and get things cleaned up.”

If there was one thing Aki hated, it was pain. He’d spent years tortured in a psi concentration camp before finally escaping and finding his way North to the relative freedom he had now. He still feared that someday the ISS would show up on his doorstep to drag him off for more tests since he wasn’t exactly a normal psi. The years of torture, experimentation, and imprisonment had changed him. Left him with an ability to change. To become something not human. Was he really ever human? Shane assured him he was, but Aki didn’t know if his lover was just offering sweet lies or truly believed his insane DNA was just the normal evolution of nature.

Aki had wings—and claws. But he suspected it was the wings that Paris most wanted him to control. Releasing his wings always caused Aki pain. Usually so much so that he lost consciousness and often his memory for at least several hours afterward. And then there was his other self’s inclination toward violence. “Maybe we should wait for Shane. What if I hurt you?”

Paris held up his hands, which instantly turned to claws. “I’ll take the chance.” His control, as always, was perfect. “Now stop making excuses and concentrate. I want you to focus on each part of the change. Do one at a time and draw them back. We’ll work on the wings last. So focus on your hands first.

Aki sighed again. He’d just gotten a manicure yesterday and loved the sparkling blue gems pasted to his nails. Changing was sure to ruin them. Not that Paris cared. He wouldn’t care if Aki was a disheveled mess by the time Shane got home. Though Shane wasn’t usually put off by that either. He sort of liked seeing Aki mussed, debauched, and dirty. Well Aki could give him the first and the last. Shane would have to help with the second one.

He shut his eyes and tried to focus on his hands. Imagined they were claws, willed the sharp obsidian ends to do their thing and tear apart the delicate flesh of his fingers and reveal his ugly talons. Nothing happened. No pain, no feeling at all, and no change. He opened his eyes and frowned at his hands. “It’s not working. I think I have to be angry. Or at least have someone I care about in danger.” He could sometimes hold back the change if it started, but he’d never started a change without being really angry.

“Yeah, no. We’re not going that extreme. Last time you thought I hurt Shane you almost eviscerated me and half my guard and called a horde of shifted A-Ms to your side as soldiers. Try again. Focus on freeing yourself. Sort of like casting off the restraints. Let the other out, but with control.” Paris’ fangs appeared, large and terrifying with his eyes glowing luminescent green. “You work so hard to keep yourself closed off from everyone. How do you release your psi power? Can you do the same thing with the change?”

Aki thought for a moment about what it felt like to open himself to his power. He was post-cognizant. Had spent most of his life trying to avoid touching other people because his ability was amplified by touch. Using that power was a lot like breathing. He kept a leash on it, which muted the world around him of the colors and history that snaked from fading memories. The strongest memories were always the most painful, and of course the ones Aki wanted to see least.

He sucked in a deep breath and started with the release of his power. He blinked away the barriers and vivid brilliance erupted around him in their stark living room. There was almost a ghost version of Aki and Shane making love on the couch, and dancing green lights hovering around the kitchen counter where they often cooked together.

Along the wall near the door was a hook of just Shane’s things. There was darkness there. Like a shadow. Bad thoughts, memories, fear maybe. Aki never touched those things. Instead he stuck to the left of the door where the shoe rack was overflowing with bejeweled heels and glistening flats. The twenty-four cubed shelf only held the most commonly used of Aki’s shoes. Or the ones Shane preferred to see on him.

“Stop dreaming of shoes and change,” Paris ordered, somehow knowing Aki’s exact thoughts.

Aki groaned as the command broke through his calm, disrupting his control. The claws slid from his fingertips with a painful slow glide of hot pokers being shoved through his flesh. “Ah,” Aki cried, blood pouring over his hands.

“Try to control it. Pull them back,” Paris instructed. “Rain says it’s just a matter of will. Intense emotion can cause me to change, but I can control it. So can you.”

Rain was a merman. He could shift back and forth from a half-fish half-man thing to a full man with a speed and ease that Aki could never imagine attaining. But Rain had also been born what he was, not made. He’d had an entire lifetime to master the change.

Aki didn’t think he’d ever be that at ease. He clutched his hands into fists as much as his claws would allow. The pain a hot white stabbing through each finger, and every bone in his hand as they reshaped themselves.

“Candy is here,” Miles the computer system informed them.

“Send him up,” Paris told the computer.

Maybe Candy could put a stop to this, Aki hoped. No wonder he blacked out when he changed. It hurt. And the only thing that had changed was his hands. He wanted to cry.

“Reverse it, Aki. You can do it,” Paris assured him.

Only he couldn’t. The fire spread like acid had been released into his bloodstream, pouring from his hands into his arm, racing toward his back where the worst of the pain was yet to come. Aki gulped and struggled to mentally stop the change, shut down his power, anything.

“Whoa, are you two fighting again?” Candy’s asked as he stepped into the room.

“What the hell is going on?” Shane’s deep voice suddenly slammed through the pain and Aki shuddered. Shane was right behind Candy, his expression a mask of anger and worry. “Aki, stop!”

Only there was no stopping. Fire erupted down Aki’s back in a spider web of pain, and though he grappled with the idea of pulling them back, his wings flapped free in the usual flourish of gore and ripping agony. “Fuck!” Shane swore, but he was still across the room.

Aki dropped to one knee. The sudden weight of his wings was almost worse than the tearing of flesh that had freed them. How was he ever able to fly with these? Crap, he was still conscious too. Like him, not the other who liked to tear everyone apart. He sucked in large breaths hoping the pain would ease, but spots were beginning to dot out his sight. His temple gave a warning throb of the headache to come. That couldn’t be good.

“What are you doing?” Shane demanded of Paris.

“Aki?” Candy whispered. He was close now. “Can you hear me?”

Aki nodded. “Sorry, hurts,” he slurred.

“Paris shouldn’t be pushing you this hard. You’d probably learn better from Rain. It’s like pushing a baby bird off a high rise and assuming it will fly.” He glared at Paris who was arguing with Shane.

Aki dropped to his other knee. Goddess, the wings were so heavy like this. They stretched and he teetered. How did he control them? Every movement of his back made them twitch and pull, tearing at the barely healing skin around where his spine met the boney arch of his wings. He ground his teeth together trying to hold on to consciousness despite the pain. Shane was strong. He could hold Aki back if the other awoke. Paris probably could too, but Aki didn’t want to lose more hours.

Candy gripped his arm, steadying him but also plunging him into a vision of Candy gasping for breath while blood filled his lungs. Aki screamed as Candy’s horrific death played out before his eyes. He saw claws jutting from Candy’s chest, blood pouring from his lips, eyes wide with shock. He was reaching for someone. And then he was suddenly on a hospital bed with Paris standing over him, a grim look on his face. Paris raised his own razor-sharp claws, covered in blood. Aki struggled to stamp down the power, step free of it as Dr. Vitoric had taught him. Breathe, he reprimanded himself. He’d never seen so deeply in Candy’s head before. Always before there had been a barrier. Why now? And why this?

His sight cleared to little more than a foggy, red-filled haze. Aki was breathing fast, but couldn’t seem to catch a full breath. “Shh,” Candy told him. “It’s okay.” Candy’s arms wrapped around him, careful of the wings. He probably thought he was bringing Aki the familiar peace of candy-colored clouds, only instead of calm there was horror. Aki could see Paris across the room, and Shane now beside him.

“You killed Candy!” Aki accused Paris, the memory vivid in his head.

Shane took Candy’s place and yanked Aki into his strong embrace of warmth and the scent of peppermint. “Candy’s fine. He’s right here.” He pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and held it to Aki’s nose. Of course he was bleeding again. Always with the nightmares came a rain of blood. “Candy is right here.”

And he was. For now. Aki’s wings vanished leaving a bloody splash of stained feathers, and toppling him forward when the weight disappeared. Shane held and rocked him as Aki cried. Blood trickled from his nose, slowing. He looked over Candy, who had changed so much since Bart’s death. The dyed dark hair, suits, and added height wasn’t exactly what Aki had seen in the vision. Candy’s hair had been colored, clothes brighter, but he didn’t look all that different. Aki was sure it wasn’t the past. What he had seen was the very near future.

He reached for Candy and when Candy was close enough, pulled him into his arms as tightly as he could. Across the room Paris stood with his arms across his chest, expression thoughtful, but worried. He should be worried. If he hurt Candy, Aki would kill him. Even if Paris was a good friend and his former master. Aki could only hope he was wrong. After all, how often did he see the future?

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DSPP's Genre Talk, Lissa Kasey

DSPP Presents: Genre Talk and a Giveaway with Carole Cummings and Lissa Kasey

DSP Publications

Yay, it’s time for Genre Talk again here at The Novel Approach Reviews! This week we have DSP Publications author Lissa Kasey here to talk about her new Urban Fantasy/Paranormal novel Evolution: Genesis. And as a special treat, she’s giving away a signed paperback! So grab a cuppa, put up your feet, and let’s let Lissa tell us all about her genre and why she loves all its delightful (and sometimes impossible!) possibilities.

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Evolution: GenesisEvolution: Genesis

Evolution made music history when one bandmate turned vampire and another joined the vampire hate movement Preservation Group. Gene is trying to cling to the music as his relationship with Kerstrande begins to spiral into the darkness of hidden demons. Jaded by his years as a vampire flunkie, Kerstrande uses his newly won power over New York City to destroy his enemies and protect Gene. But a demon called a Fallen begins to take control of KC, slowly devouring his soul and through him the entire city. Battling against the evil that wants to destroy him, Kerstrande fights to hold onto Gene’s brightness.

A power unlike any other grows within Gene and shines like a beacon to the demons surrounding him. Realizing that only he can save his lover, Gene is willing to do anything to shake the darkness loose. Even if it means reshaping the future, the band, and his own existence.

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Carole: So, Lissa, let’s start with the obvious—tell us about your genre.

Lissa: I write Urban Fantasy. The simple definition is supernatural elements integrated in modern society. Like Supernatural, Buffy, Heroes, etc. It’s a question of “what if” the supernatural really existed in our modern world. And I have to say really, what if? Have you ever seen a ghost? Seen anything you just can’t explain? Experienced a miracle? These are all elements of the genre. Typical UF tends to be a little darker. Often the MC hunting the bad guys who happen to not be quite human. It’s about the story, the world, and the people. That’s why I love it so much.

Carole: So is that why your work contains the M/M dynamic? The possibilities?

Lissa: There are a lot of people who question why I write m/m or as I call it LGBTUQA fiction. I always wonder why. Why do I have to write “het” fiction? Why can’t my characters be a spectrum? I myself identify as asexual so I guess writing in the spectrum feels more natural for me. It’s a level of unacceptance, really. The characters I identify with easiest to write about are mostly male. It feels natural. Not sure there has to be another reason.

Carole: Absolutely not, but it’s something everyone always wants to know, isn’t it. So let’s move on to what’s really important. Tell us about Evolution: Genesis.

Lissa: Evolution/Evolution: Genesis is a novel that took about ten years to write. It was a lot about my evolution as a writer, as well as the evolution of the darkness of the characters trying to break out and destroy them. Gene is the average kid, barely out on his own, only kind of smart, but he’s got a big heart. KC has seen the worst of the world and knows it’s out to get him. The darkness is eating him from the inside out, and only Gene seems to be able to push it back. They have to learn to work together. Embrace the bad with the good and create their own future. Which is why I love these books so much. While their demons are very real and physical, this story could very much be about a lot of psychological demons we all fight every day.

Carole: Evolution: Genesis is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for nonromance genre novels. Tell us about the relationship in Evolution: Genesis and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.

Lissa: For a long time I’ve used the tagline: More than just romance. That’s what I write. My books have always been more story driven than relationship driven. Yes, there are often relationships in the books. It’s a fact of life. Most of us couldn’t survive the day to day struggles without some sort of relationship. But it’s never my focus. In Evolution it’s really on the backburner. Yes, KC and Gene are a couple, but it’s not the point of the story any more than Frodo and Samwise’s relationship in The Lord of the Rings was the point of the story. It changes them as people, helps them through the good and bad times, and gives them a hand to hold when the fire erupts (literally in Evolution), but there is so much more going on. So many other things that are important.

Carole: And speaking of things that are important, let’s get to my favorite part of Genre Talk: tell us about the evolution (ha!) of this story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of Evolution: Genesis?

Lissa: Ha. Shall I say it? Fan fiction. It’s a concept that I really don’t care for in this day and age, but 10 years ago when I was in college and stuck in class for three to four hours at a time I did a lot of fan fiction reading. I was also a huge fan of anime/manga (still am). There was a series which is very old now about a snarky writer and an over-exuberant singer who just found each other. And then the comics sort of got weird. I stopped reading, but the seed had been planted. What if snarky writer was actually an ex musician who was now hiding the fact he was a vampire? Or if the singer had weird powers that drew the supernatural to him like a moth to flame? I actually wrote two other books that overlapped the Evolution series, but the characters have since vanished. The evolution of the series is complete and it only took ten years to do so.

Carole: So, with all that going on, why did you feel this story needed to be told with the M/M dynamic?

Lissa: Again this goes back to the point I made above about why I write m/m. There aren’t a lot of spectrum characters in UF. Lots of side characters have begun to pop up in the past ten or so years, but not MCs. I wondered why. There’s always some super hot girl with a dozen guys after her, or a tall, dark, handsome guy with girls immediately drawn to him. I never really understood it. (Probably due to my asexuality) But it sort of became the norm. Expected. Which means for me at least it lacks excitement. I’m sure there are a million ways to make a het relationship exciting. I still read it. I just don’t write it. The M/M dynamic is still interesting, and so I’ll keep pushing the boundaries of my comfort levels as I continue to explore the depths of my characters. They are really the ones who choose, not me.

Carole: Before we wrap up, Lissa, I have one more for you: if there’s one thing you hope to convey about this story, one small, maybe even subtextual thing you really want readers to get, what would that be?

Lissa: There is this long sequence through these novels about time. KC is always checking his watch. He’s sort of obsessed with time, yet he’s a vampire, so for him time has essentially stopped. It’s a bit of irony. And while it was toned down in the final version, it is still present.

Carole: Awesome, Lissa. I really enjoyed this Q&A and I’m so pleased you agreed to come and let us have a peek inside your creative process. Thanks so much!

And thanks to our Awesome Readers for spending time with us today. Lissa’s got a fantastic giveaway for you, but before you scroll down to the Rafflecopter widget, please enjoy this brilliant excerpt from Evolution: Genesis.

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Excerpt: A group of people stood gathered around the address Lee had given me. Everyone was dressed in combat gear—heavy boots, camouflage, goofy goggles, and gloves. I stood out in my jeans, brightly colored hoodie, and orange hair. Lee walked up in battle fatigues similar to the rest of the group, bandana around his forehead. I felt like I’d stepped out of New York and into some weird third-world country, ready to go into battle. There were guns and knives, but I didn’t know enough about weapons to know if they were real. They looked real, but so did a lot of toys nowadays.

“Everyone ready?” Lee took charge. “Target is in the western quadrant. Scouts have cleared the area of all living persons, so it should be a straight in and straight out assignment.” It sounded like a game. Quadrant, assignment, and all that. I shrugged and got into the van with everyone, feeling marginally safer in the group. Lee dropped a small chain with a cross attached into my hand.

“What am I supposed to do with this?”

“It’s protection. You point it at evil, and they stay away.”

That made no sense. Metal was metal. And I wasn’t Christian. I shoved it in my pocket anyway.

Everyone stared at me.

“What’s the deal?” I asked them. Had they heard “Midnight Rain”? I’d been stopped a few times on the street by people wanting autographs, but mostly no one seemed to recognize me. Maybe ’cause my hair was always changing. Who knew?

“Did you bring any bombs with you?” one of them asked.

Bombs?

“We’ve tried to copy you, but nothing we’ve found can burn that hot. Are you using napalm? We tried to get it, but it’s government restricted and heavily monitored.”

If I’d been any more confused, tiny duckies would have been spinning around my head like they did with cartoon characters. Lee gripped my arm.

“Leave him be. I invited him, but he doesn’t have to do anything. Our methods are probably too juvenile for him. So just stop.”

Everyone nodded with wide eyes. Obviously I was the only one in the dark. The van stopped, and everyone got out. Lee pulled me along with him. He smudged dark paint on his face, then dug through his backpack to find something.

“Do you have any weapons on you?”

“Why would I need a weapon?” The area looked decimated, something that happened when the vampires had come out more than ten years ago. There had been a sort of microwar between vampires and police. The government had come in with the military and stopped it, but the damage had been done. Some cities, like New York, had entire areas destroyed and turned into ghost towns. Buildings had been turned to rubble, nothing grew, no one dared to enter those places anymore—except, apparently, for a bunch of kids with a hard-on to fight zombies or something stupid. A game. Ha. I was more likely to twist an ankle out here than run into a zombie. I’d seen a lot of weird crap in my life, but I was pretty sure zombies didn’t really exist. I was open to being proved wrong, however, so long as it didn’t try to eat my brains.

The broken city was devoid of everything. Having never been here before, I expected lots of ghosts. After all, hundreds, maybe even thousands had died. But there was nothing. Not even a flicker. I’d learned about the war in school, but like everything else politicians didn’t like, it was downplayed until it seemed almost unimportant. I’d never visited Old Town simply because why would anyone want to? The idea of thousands of ghosts would have scared me, but the lack of anything worried me more.

Everyone headed toward a building. Lee handed me a pair of goggles. I stared at them a minute, then put them on. Cool, infrared.

“Where’d you get these?” I so wanted my own pair.

“Army supply store.” Lee pulled out a knife and handed it to me. “I’ll feel better if you take it. It’s blessed and empowered by a whole church. Even if you have your own stuff, just take it.”

I frowned at the weapon. It was in a sheath, but when I opened the snap and pulled it out, it was real enough and very sharp. I was more likely to cut off my own fingers, so I shoved it back in the leather and snapped it shut before putting it in my hoodie pocket.

“Where are we going? These buildings don’t look safe.”

“They’ve been cleared. Stay away from the upper levels and watch your step. The higher up you go, the more unstable they are. He’s new, so it should be an easy hunt. He’ll be clumsy and loud and really hungry.” He paused, waving the rest of the team to positions, I guessed. “The young are always hungry.”

Hungry? Should I have brought some pizza? I followed him into the building, picking my way around debris and giant holes in the floor. Safe. Yeah, right.

“What are we hunting?” I whispered, feeling a little silly since we were already to the second floor and everyone was moving room to room like SWAT on TV.

“Vampire.”

The word froze me in my tracks.

“You’re kidding, right?” The infrared goggles let me see the team just fine, but it was hard to see the floor or anything else. Hunting a vampire? Were these kids insane? “Like a real vampire?”

“Shh.” Lee hushed me.

The place actually looked pretty clean. No graffiti or debris in the hall, other than pieces of the wall. It sort of looked like my old neighborhood. The door to the third floor hung on its hinges. Something had been in a hurry to open it and hadn’t cared about handles or locks. A weird smell irritated my nose, and I had to pause to sneeze twice. Both times Lee shushed me. If there was a vampire in here, maybe I could warn him. But that meant I had to find him first.

I pushed my way past the rest of the team, taking “point”—or so they called it—and headed toward the third floor. The floor was even less stable. Patches of the outer wall gave way, letting the night breeze flow through it. Was there someone else here? I focused on my surroundings, calling any lingering spirits who might still be hanging around.

My grandfather often said my aura shone like a beacon to the dead, a homing signal to let them know that I was there to direct them to the correct path. Though how exactly I was supposed to do that seemed to stump him. No amount of “go into the light” could make a spirit leave. Mostly they just left on their own.

Even pushing out extra power, there was nothing. It was so weird. I’d never been in a place so barren of any kind of life, even spiritual life.

Lee came up behind me as I approached the stairway to the final floor. “It’s up there. Do you hear it?”

Something was up there. Could have been a raccoon for all I knew. Well, yeah. I guess I knew, since whatever it was didn’t feel human. Not a person in a costume, then. But Joel and KC never felt like this, so devoid of everything. Crap. I sucked in a deep breath. Lee kicked the door open, and something flew at me in the same moment. Pain smashed into the right side of my head, and I hit the wall so hard I went through it, landing in a room half-crumbled down. The goggles went spinning away. Stars danced around my vision as darkness swam up for a minute, threatening to take over. Something tore into my shoulder, bringing me back to consciousness and making me scream all at once. Whatever it was, it had a human shape, but no aura.

I swung upward with my good arm as hard as I could, aiming for the side of its head. Aim for the ears to disorient, that’s what Cris had always taught me. It grunted but didn’t let go. In fact, I was pretty sure it was gnawing on my shoulder. Maybe it was a fucking zombie!

With no choice but to fight dirty, I swung my knee up and slammed into the sensitive area between its legs. No matter what it was, it would go down. Cris had promised me. And he was right. It howled and fell back for a moment, long enough for me to roll away and get shakily to my feet. My shoulder ached, and I could feel the heat of blood staining my clothes. It probably should have hurt more, and that it didn’t worried me. My arm wouldn’t move. The shoulder pulsed, a dull ache, and the heat of the blood poured down my chest and back. Deep wound. That couldn’t be good.

It was up in seconds, mimicking my movement, shifting in whatever direction I did. Where were all the people I’d come in with? Didn’t anyone care that the newbie was being attacked by something? Only a few feet stood between me and a deadly drop of three stories. The floor and walls didn’t look strong enough to hold much weight, so I tried to ease away from the edge.

It flew across the room, lunging at me and slamming me into the floor, hands locked on my throat. Black starbursts exploded across my sight as my lungs screamed for air. I clawed at its hands, yanked at its arms, kicked, but it didn’t budge. The knife Lee had given me dug into my side where I’d stuffed it in my pocket. I struggled to reach it before the creature succeeded in suffocating me. The second my fingertips brushed the hilt, I smashed my attacker with my fist again, aiming at the eyes. The grip loosened, and I opened the sheath and ripped the knife out, slashing forward.

Blood splashed me from a wound I’d opened up on its arm. But it kept coming. It bled, but it was determined to kill me. My lungs ached, and my shoulder hurt enough I couldn’t move it. Was this a true vampire? Not the dressed-up-nice-hiding kind like Kerstrande or Hane, but the real animal with no fear, no morals, just hunger? It didn’t speak, but I saw enough of it in the small amount of moonlight to know it had once been male. It was strong. It wanted to kill me.

He danced around me like he knew how to fight with a knife. I just held the weapon in front of me, praying for a chance to get away. I jabbed at it with the knife, but he smacked it away like I was nothing more than a child holding up a toy. I could have called the fire, but if I did, the whole building would go up. There were others inside, and as stupid as they were to play this game, they didn’t deserve to die. And what made it right for me to kill this thing? Maybe he was like Joel, lost. Maybe I could save him too.

He lunged at me, baring fangs like the stuff of horror movies in a face gaunt and rotting. This was not a vampire. What the hell was it?

“Stop!” I screamed at the creature.

It made an unearthly sound as it tackled me to the floor, extended fangs tearing for my throat.

“Stop!” I screamed again, heart pounding. Inches from my neck, he sagged. Hot liquid poured over me, then a horrible stench—like a sewer only magnified. Lee rolled the creature off me, the knife he’d given me in his grip, dripping blood. Everything inside me went cold as I watched the creature shudder. It looked human, a normal guy, probably no older than me. Darkness seeped from him like blood, slinking away, hiding in the pooling red mess that was the end of his existence. And once the black shadow was gone, all the cuts and bruises appeared. His skin took on an ashen tone. Blood burst from his flesh like from a balloon too full of water.

I lost the pizza I’d eaten earlier, and probably everything else I’d eaten for the past week.

“The young never die pretty. Old ones sort of dry up, I guess. The young ones just pop,” Lee was saying. His words made me heave again. He patted my back. “Thanks for cornering him. The blade only works in close combat if you shatter the heart. You had me worried for a minute there. But I realized you were testing me. My loyalty. I hope I passed.”

Passed? This guy was fucking insane. I wobbled to my feet, the pain in my shoulder bad enough to make my head spin. Hopefully I could make it downstairs without falling down them. My fingers were numb as I pulled the cell phone out of my pocket and slumped against the wall to drag my ass down the stairs. I’d killed some kid. Sure, he hadn’t been human anymore, but maybe I could have helped him.

The phone rang and rang. Cris was probably out hunting. I wondered what that meant since he fed on sex. Cruising, I guess. Would it matter? I hoped he didn’t kill anyone. Funny how the things that mattered to a person changed so much when they were faced with issues of life and death.

I sighed, hung up, and dialed again, praying for Cris to pick up. Was there a cab company in the whole country who would drive to this forbidden part of town for a guy bleeding to death on the doorstep of a building where some sort of undead had just been slaughtered?

“Gene?” Cris’s voice suddenly filled the line.

“I need help.” I finally reached the bottom floor. The world outside looked no different than when I’d gone in. Everyone was standing around talking, and just like every other occasion in my life, I barely seemed to exist. The city looked so far away, high-rises towering in the distance.

“I’m bleeding. Bad.” Darkness danced around the edges of my vision. I was going to die again. And I couldn’t do it where anyone could see.

“Where are you?”

“Old Town. What’s left of it.”

“You shouldn’t be there. Do you know how unsafe that is?”

“Ah, yeah, bleeding to death.” I wondered if my sarcasm was lost on him.

“Shit. Are you alone?”

“No. Norms everywhere.”

“Can you shift?”

Could I? I’d tried it at will many times with no luck. Thinking about it just gave me a headache. Nothing happened, even when I paused to focus for a minute. Nope. Nothing. I kept walking, letting the group get farther and farther away. I rounded a few buildings, trying to stay aware of my surroundings. Maybe there were more like that kid.

“There was this kid. He wasn’t human anymore….”

“I know, baby. Old Town has a lot of those. I’m on my way to you.”

“They came to hunt him. Told me it was a game.” A fucking game. Of course it wasn’t. My life didn’t give me outs like that. I saw dead people. That made me exempt from normal. I thought of Joel, his smiles, jokes, and generosity. If I hadn’t saved him, would he have become that thing back there? Something feral?

“Combat gear, high-tech equipment?” Cris asked.

“Yeah.” The cool goggles that I had wanted had been lost somewhere in the rubble.

“PG. Fuck. That’s how they operate. Get kids in acting like it’s a game. How far away from them are you?”

Not far enough, as far as I was concerned. I wandered into a building, watching for signs that anyone had followed or that anything occupied the space but me. Nothing moved outside or in. My vision was starting to go, and I could feel the beat of my heart slowing.

“Not long now. Sorry. Probably won’t be here when you get here.” My speech was slurred. Too much blood.

“Put your wallet, keys, and phone somewhere outside of the blast zone if you can still move. I’ll pick them up when I get there.”

“What if PG finds me first?”

“They won’t. You’re gonna fly, remember?”

“Yeah, maybe.” Everything was pretty fuzzy. I put my stuff between a few rocks and covered them with another. “Putting the phone down. Sorry,” I slurred.

“See you soon, baby. Don’t be afraid.”

Easy for him to say. He wasn’t about to die.

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Evolution Genesis is available in ebook and paperback from DSP Publications, Amazon, and most other retail outlets.

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Lissa KaseyAuthor Bio: Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about about vampires, witches, and shapeshifters. Oh My!

You can follow Lissa via her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and/or her Facebook Author Page.

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To enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Evolution: Genesis, please comment below then click the Rafflecopter widget below. (Don’t forget to leave your email address!) A winner will be chosen and notified on November 4th.

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Please join us next time on Genre Talk, when T.A. Venedicktov will be by to talk about the upcoming SciFi release Chrysalis Corporation.

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5 Stars, DSP Publications, Lissa Kasey, Paranormal, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Evolution by Lissa Kasey

Title: Evolution

Author: Lissa Kasey

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

At a Glance: Evolution unlocks an exciting paranormal world where the focus is on the heart and soul of its characters rather than just their superhuman qualities.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Gene Sage has only ever wanted to sing, but his band, Evolution, is pushing him toward the big time. He finds it hard to focus on making musical history when he’s dreaming of graveyards and seeing ghosts. And while all he can think of is hiding who he is from a world unforgiving of anyone different, he discovers he’s also the ultimate snack for vampires and demons. When Gene literally runs into—over—his idol, Kerstrande Petterson, rock god, vampire in hiding, and music cynic, his life falls over the edge into chaos.

Jaded by the world and nearly a decade in the music business, Kerstrande thinks Gene wants to use him to make Evolution immortal in more than one way, but he can’t seem to brush aside the young singer’s enthusiasm.

Getting involved with Kerstrande drags Gene into otherworldly power struggles. Between the ghosts stalking them, the media painting supernaturals as villains, and a vampire out of control in the city, the only way for Gene and Kerstrande to survive is for Gene to embrace his powers—and his destiny.

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Review: How to understand living a life that was always skirting the edge of reality, versus the terrifying thought that there was something so very wrong with you. Genesis sees dead people. But it’s more than that, for he also sees the darkness which possesses people and creates such a sinister and evil change in them that they become nearly unrecognizable. It is more than their aura and yet it is. From an early age he knew he was different, and he spent years being the focus of bullies and trying desperately not to stand out. Then one day, after nearly being drowned, and knowing the one person who professed to be his friend stood by and watched, Genesis chucked school and pursued his dream—to sing. Forming the band Evolution with two friends, he set out to be himself: gay, quirky and unafraid. However, living in a world where vampires were registered and regularly hunted, and being different himself, Genesis still walked on the edge, trying to live free yet still weighed down with fear.

When his car accidentally hits a living legend, Kerstrande, of rock star fame, little does he know that his life is about to change forever, and for the first time, he will truly understand what it is to be the balance in another person’s life. Unfortunately it is unclear if Kerstrande really wants that feeling of calm Genesis provides for he also evokes other strong feelings, and some of those put Genesis in mortal danger.

Author Lissa Kasey creates a world so familiar yet innately sinister and fantastical in her novel Evolution. Set in New York, we enter a city inhabited by creatures that roam the city, hunting others for sport and, of course, for blood. But those are not the only beings that inhabit this world. The undead roam the streets and are just as real and frightening to Genesis as the vampires. Along with these, our hero himself is not quite human and possesses unknown and untapped power waiting to surface. The world building, the paranormal thread that is unraveled, and the tender and poignant person that Genesis is all converge in what is a fascinating story that had me hooked from the very beginning.

Genesis was, in many ways, a simple young man, full of loving compassion and a core of iron strength that had not yet been fully tested despite his painful history. Each time he was described by the author, from his ever-changing hair color to his painted nails, he evoked such a protective response in me. Much like one of her secondary characters, Cris, Gene’s only real friend, I felt such a need to protect this young man. Lissa Kasey writes her novel with such deliberate care, vividly describing her creations, laying out the city with such a visceral and graphic description that you taste the grit and the evil underbelly that makes up her world. To say that this book was an intense ride is an understatement. Ending with a cliffhanger, I am thrilled that I can turn immediately to the next installment in this exciting series.

Evolution unlocks an exciting paranormal world where the focus is on the heart and soul of its characters rather than just their superhuman qualities. It is an exciting novel that I can definitely recommend to those who love this genre.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

You can buy Evolution here:

OmniLit/ARe

OmniLit/ARe

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GayRomLit, Lissa Kasey

Guest Post: The Countdown to GayRomLit Celebration with Lissa Kasey

GRL Tour Banner 800px

Today we welcome author Lissa Kasey in the continuing celebration of the Countdown to GRL 2015 in sunny San Diego.

The flawed characters, gotta love ’em, right?

Enjoy!

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A Spectrum of Flawed Characters

flawed

These GRL blog posts are kind of intimidating. I never know what to say that I haven’t already gone over before. So I thought I’d go over one of the biggest topics that run through all of my fiction. Flawed characters, and their crazy issues.

Anyone who’s read my stuff has probably heard of the Dominion series, which I’m currently in the process of extending and rereleasing, and Seiran Rou. Seiran is the kind of guy you either love or hate. He’s got a lot of opinions—mostly formed by experience of things that have happened to him, and not all of them good.

See, Seiran grew up the kid of a public figure. Sure he had money and a good education, but he also had expectations placed on him most of us would shudder to think about. He was the unwanted male child of a female dominant society. And since he was treated as thus, he has a poor opinion of most women. He expects them all to be like his mother: cold, demanding, and have no use for him.

He’s also got commitment issues that stem from his less than loving mother and an abusive ex-boyfriend. All of these things color Sei’s world view. And since the first, second, and fourth book of the series is in his point of view, our perspective is from Sei’s very skewed head.

I’m currently expanding and editing the third book of the series which is from Sei’s best friend Kelly’s point of view. Interesting facts about Kelly: he wasn’t born to a rich and infamous family. He doesn’t have the expectations forced on him that Seiran did, and therefore his glasses are a little more rosy.

These bits of upbringing, perspective, and history are what color our characters to react. Life is really just a series of reactions. The Hidden Gem series, which is written in third person, is still heavily colored with tainted and warped characters. Aki’s spent years in a containment camp being tortured and tested upon. Shane was a soldier and is now a detective for the police department. He’s seen some of the worst the world can throw at humanity. Only together can they find some sense of peace. And while it’s not perfect, it’s more than a lot of us find.

The second book in the series is finished and is about Paris, former whore and politician who was thrown away by his family for being gay—though he readily admits to being bi. His love interest is a man who has a past, but doesn’t let it define him. The idea of that is sort of revolutionary. Not being defined by your past. We all say we want that, but how many of us actually get there?

Just a few weeks ago Model Citizen was released. MC is a story about Oliver, a former model who is trying to deal with life after the death of his brother. He’s seriously depressed and refuses to seek help until someone pushes hard enough. Ollie is probably the most seriously flawed of all the characters I’ve written. And I don’t mean because he’s genderfluid or demisexual. I mean because he really does think the entire world hates him.

Anyone living with depression knows how this feels. Now the truth is that most of the world couldn’t care less if we lived or died, so no, the whole world doesn’t hate him or anyone in particular. But it does make a person react a certain way. Ollie’s views are very narrow. He fears opening himself up to change will rip him apart again. He loves hard but suspects everyone of betrayal. That’s a difficult way to live. It can make a person angry, suspicious and hateful.

I love the flawed characters. Can relate to them more than most stories. I know writing is all about fantasy, an escape from the daily grind, but people who live with depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and a host of other mental illnesses find it hard to believe that people like us will ever find love. It’s hard to love someone else or believe someone will love you when you can’t love yourself. So that’s my fantasy. Showing really fucked up people still making it. Still finding love.

This is why I write flawed characters. You don’t have to love them. You just have to understand them. They are strong and beautiful, even if sometimes they are angry or hateful and confused. I’ve written about characters with body perspective disorders, like Dane from Unicorns and Rainbow Poop and Jamie from the Dominion series. Depression: Ollie from Model Citizen, Bas from Unicorns and Rainbow Poop, Kerstrande from the Evolution series. Anxiety: Seiran and Ollie.

Some of these things have become “cool.” It’s cool to have social anxiety. Or so I hear so often when it comes times for conventions and such. However, the truth is, general anxiety is worse because it doesn’t need a crowd to set it off. You’re just always on the verge of a panic attack. Most of the time for no reason.

However, depression still has the worst stigma. No one likes to be around people who are “Debbie Downers”. Everyone loves the smiling happy people in the center of the crowd. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of those folks in the center of the crowd hiding their depression behind fake smiles.

I’ve had a hard couple of months emotionally myself. Not because of events in my life going wrong. Depression and anxiety doesn’t really need a trigger. It’s made it hard for me to write, and I’ve been looking hard for more books about characters with issues. Issues that probably aren’t completely solved by the end of the book, but manageable. Maybe they’ve found someone to love them anyway, no matter how beautifully fucked up they are. That’s what we all hope for, right?

So until it becomes the norm, I will keep writing deeply flawed characters who some people love to hate. I’d love to see more of them in works other than my own. We all know love isn’t all rainbows and sometimes it’s just poop. I’d rather slog through some poop than be blinded by fake rainbows.

Thanks for reading! Stop by at GRL and say hello.

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Booklist:

Model Citizen

Amazon
DSP
ARe

Inheritance (Dominion 1)

Amazon
ARe

Reclamation (Dominion 2)

Amazon
ARe

Hidden Gem (Hidden Gem 1)

Amazon
DSP
ARe

Evolution (Evolution 1)

OmniLit
DSPP

Evolution: Genesis (Evolution 2)

DSPP

Under the Sam Kadence Name:

On the Right Track (Vocal Growth 1)

Amazon
DSP
ARe

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Vocal Growth 2)

Amazon
DSP
ARe

Coming soon:

Conviction (Dominion 3) Sept 2015
Cardinal Sins (Hidden Gem 2) November 2015
Ascendance (Dominion 4) December 2015

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tattooAbout the Author: Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.

Find Lissa At: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Lissa Kasey, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey

Title:  Model Citizen

Author:  Lissa Kasey

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  220 Pages

At a Glance:  Model Citizen did what the author intended, and has me on pins and needles to see what will happen next.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.

Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.

When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

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Review:  Ollie Petroskovic is such a unique character, in some ways so confident and secure in himself, yet so lost and unsure in other aspects.  I really enjoyed seeing the different sides to him and how he interacted with those around him.

Kade Alme is exactly what I love in a character in a book I am reading—strong, confident and knows what he wants.  A little broken but more sure in himself, and willing to work and wait for what he really wants…and he really wants Ollie.

After being cheated on, having people only want him for his looks, and losing his brother, Ollie has decided that being alone will protect him from having to watch anyone else leave him or only want him for one thing.  Kade sticks it out and proves he is in it for the long haul.

Will and Britney were definitely a little overprotective of Ollie, they love him and wanted to make sure he was happy, healthy and safe, and I get it. He had been through a lot and they didn’t want to lose him, but I think it was maybe just a tad excessive.

Ollie and Kade getting together was super hot and sexy. I love guys in satin and lace, and it appears Kade does too. :)  I even really enjoyed the whole who-done-it aspect of the book, all the “accidents” that were happening around Ollie’s ex-friend, and the back and forth over who should do what aspects of the PI business kept me interested and turning the page to find out more.  I was definitely not a happy camper at the end, as I stared at my Kindle shouting, “Are you kidding me? I have to wait!”  But Model Citizen did what the author intended, and has me on pins and needles to see what will happen next.

TNA_Signature_Karen







 

You can buy Model Citizen here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Dreamspinner Press, Lissa Kasey

Guest Post: Who Are We Really Writing About and For by Lissa Kasey

Model Citizen Banner

 

Lissa KaseyTwo weeks ago I saw a link on Facebook to a poll about M/M romance. I clicked it because I read and write the topic, so why not answer the poll? Only it wasn’t really a poll. It was a question. A pretty basic question: What do you want to see more of in M/M romance? What do you want to see less of?

First reply to this from a self-confessed gay man was that he wanted to see less “chicks with dicks” in the genre. Sigh. It’s a comment that has been uttered a million times and never ceases to make me angry. I’m going to call it out for what it is. Homophobia within the gay community. Yes, that’s right. If you feel like men who have some “feminine” traits are an insult to the community, then you are no better than the hate groups. I’ve even heard some authors speak of how this genre has been corrupted by all these feminine men…

I’ve met hundreds of gay men (and women) in my life. Most are more “feminine” than me. Now that’s not saying much ’cause I’m the least feminine woman I know. I’m also asexual, which I think gives me a different view on the whole genre. The sex between two guys thing doesn’t fascinate me as it does a lot of straight women. In fact, within this genre it has gotten really old. How many ways can butt sex be described? A blow job? A hand job? Yeah, I never understood the appeal of any of that.

See, I’m not looking for that hookup. I know a lot of readers came from erotica. They want the sex with two “stereotypical” straight men who just happened to be gay for the story. Not me. Instead, I want the dynamics of the relationship. I’m fascinated by how people just click emotionally. The physical stuff just confuses me, though I’ve had a lot of life to observe.

The men in my stories are a little more swishy, somewhat “feminine.” (I use the quotes because anyone calling someone “feminine” in this day and age is trying to insult someone and that’s just wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a woman. In fact, some of the strongest people I know are women. And being called feminine should be a trait to be admired, not scorned.) I try to represent men I’ve met throughout my life. The LGBTQA spectrum is much broader than alpha male.  Even the more “masculine” men in my stories have “feminine” traits. Like Gabe in the Dominion series who is nurturing, and Kade in Model Citizen who is looking for a relationship, not a quick fuck.

I spoke with a blogger friend this week when talking about this topic, and she said a gay friend of hers said the genre is about women fantasizing about two straight men together, not about two gay men together. I want to challenge that. I know a handful of authors who really do represent the spectrum of more than just manly men. And as a writer, I strive for that myself.

Ollie from Model Citizen is based off of model Stav Strashko in appearance, and hundreds of gay men I’ve met for personality. He’s genderfluid, demisexual, and bleeding from an emotional wound inflicted by the death of his brother. That wound is more important than how he dresses or acts. We all have our struggles. Why does identity have to be one of them? Especially in what is supposed to be our own community. I challenge the readers out there to analyze why it really is that you read the genre. Are you being supportive of real people with real struggles? Or are you just in it for the fantasy sex?

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Model CitizenBlurb: Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.

Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.

When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

Dreamspinner Press

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Lissa KaseyBio: Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters and has three cats that enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. When she’s not writing about boy romance she’s reading about it.

Booklist: Model Citizen (DSP) | Hidden Gem (DSP) | Evolution (DSPP) | On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence | Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence | Inheritance (Lissa Kasey) | Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

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Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, Lissa Kasey, Sam Kadence

Lissa Kasey & Sam Kadence – Two Sides of The Same Coin

Badge2x3Today, The Novel Approach welcomes Dreamspinner Press author Lissa Kasey, who also writes Young Adult fiction for Harmony Ink Press under the pen name Sam Kadence. By way of introducing Lissa’s work to you, I asked her if she’d share an excerpt from her paranormal/fantasy Dominion Series. She’s selected an excerpt from Book One, Inheritance, which is going to be renovated and republished in 2015.

I kind of fell madly for Seiran and Gabe when I first read the book back in 2011. Here’s a little taste of the reason why. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Dreamspinner Press, Lissa Kasey

Guest Post and Excerpt: The Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey

HiddenGem_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeedThere’s a doll on my shelf that everyone mistakes for a girl. Could be the long hair, or the skirt, or the high heeled shoes that make people think this, but everyone who meets him knows who he is. Misaki ‘Aki’ Itou, psi, companion, AP survivor and the hidden gem is unforgettable.

When I first started writing Aki’s character he came across to me as very girly—something I am not—into clothes, hair, painted nails, and shoes. His shoe fetish is legendary. But that’s all exterior. The saying “old soul” is barely scratching the surface with him, and as I wrote more about him, delved deeper into his story he began to pour out some very painful and terrifying memories.

At the time the story began I was having a lot of medical problems that no one could explain. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Lissa Kasey, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey

Title: Hidden Gem

Author: Lissa Kasey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi—a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion—a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find. Continue reading

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Brigham Vaughn, E.S. Skipper, Elin Gregory, GayRomLit, J.A. Rock, Jason Lloyd, Jay Northcote, Kindle Alexander, Lex Chase, Lissa Kasey, Lou Hoffmann, Piper Vaughn, Poppy Dennison, Rhys Ford, Sneak Peek, Susan Mac Nicol, T.T. Kove

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another peek at what we have in store for the week ahead, which, as usual by now, I guess, will include lots of great author visits, giveaways, and reviews.

Here’s what we have on tap:


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MondaySusan Mac Nicol kicks things off for us this week on her Love and Punishment Blog Tour

Jay Northcote will also be offering a Backlist E-title giveaway today along with Sammy’s review of The Dating Game

Lex Chase also drops in today on the second leg of her promotional tour for Americana Fairy Tale

TuesdayJason Lloyd drops back by on his Salty Aftertaste Blog Tour

And Nya Rawlins also joins us on her Pumping Iron Blog Tour and Giveaway

Wednesday – We have author J.A. Rock with us to help in the countdown to these final weeks before GRL

And to go along with the GRL celebration, we’ll also be hosting the cover reveal for the anthology From Chicago With Love, a compilation put together exclusively for GayRomLit

Author E.S. Skipper also joins us today on the Flight of the Kiwi Blog Tour

ThursdayLou Hoffmann joins us today on The Key of Behliseth Blog Tour and Giveaway

We’ll also have Lissa Kasey with us on the Hidden Gem Blog Tour

FridayKindle Alexander stops in today on the Full Disclosure Blog Tour

And we’re also kicking off what will become a monthly installment here at The Novel Approach – Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy – featuring, who else? Piper Vaughn and Poppy Dennison

SaturdayT.T. Kove stops by today on the More Than Anything Blog Tour and Giveaway

Elin Gregory will also be with us on her A Taste of Copper Blog Tour and Giveaway

Sunday – And finally, to finish up the week, we’ll have Poppy Denison and Rhys Ford with us on the Creature Feature 2 Blog Tour

And Brigham Vaughn will also join us on the Partners Blog Tour

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And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Dreamspinner Press, Lissa Kasey

Conviction (Dominion #3) by Lissa Kasey

Weeks after the tumultuous events that capped off the danger and suspense in Reclamation, Seiran Rou is still suffering the psychological aftereffects of a past, long thought dead, that came back to claim him.

A man from Gabriel Santini’s past wants Seiran dead, not because he really has anything against Sei personally, but because Andrew Roman knows that Sei is the key to making Gabe suffer unspeakable pain. It doesn’t seem to matter where they go or how far away the get; Andrew is a vampire who will do whatever it takes to see vengeance wrought.

Though Conviction is technically Kelly Harding (Sei’s best friend) and Jamie Browan’s (Sei’s half-brother) story, it’s the dogged pursuit of Sei that’s the catalyst for bringing Kelly and Jamie together. Told in alternating first person points of view, the reader has the opportunity to experience the thoughts and feelings of both men, which was a nice change of pace from the limited viewpoint of the single first person narrator. I felt it gave the story just a touch more edge, as the reader could see what Jamie and Kelly couldn’t, could hear the thoughts they were too hesitant to say to each other, and could witness firsthand how tenuous the bonds of family can be when trust is something that’s so difficult to give and to earn.

Overall, I think Conviction is a nice complement to the series, not necessarily as a vehicle to advance the world building or political underpinnings of the Dominion and Ascendance, but as a way to highlight how the magic of this world works. It seems that the more a man is willing to sacrifice, the more he stands to gain in this realm, and Kelly was willing to give entirely of himself in exchange for the lives of those he loves.

Buy Conviction HERE.

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Dreamspinner Press, Lissa Kasey

Inheritance (Dominion #1) and Reclamation (Dominion #2) by Lissa Kasey

Seiran Rou’s life was marked for misery the moment he was born into the female dominated society of witches, made all the more difficult by the fact that his mother is the leader of the Dominion–the governing body of witches–as well as the fact that she saw his being born a boy as reason enough to mistreat and torment him throughout his childhood.

Seiran’s life has been punctuated by random acts of abuse, everything from rape to being repeatedly bullied and hexed during his freshman year of college. His first sexual experience at the age of eleven, with an older boy, marked the beginning of Seiran’s downward spiral into intimacy and commitment issues. Matthew Pierson’s betrayal continues to haunt Seiran psychologically, and he fights back by being emotionally unavailable, seduces men simply because he can, but it’s strictly one and done, sex with no strings attached.

His one and only exception is Gabe Santini, the millenniums old vampire who has loved Seiran since the moment they met five years earlier. Gabe is the one and only man with the power to make or break Seiran. Gabe is the one and only man Seiran could love, if only he could find the courage and strength to let it happen.

Lissa Kasey has created a supernatural world in contemporary Minnesota, where vampires, shapeshifters, and elemental witches coexist. It’s a place where a witch can still be burnt at the stake as punishment for magical crimes. It’s a place where sometimes the only crime one commits is that of being born the wrong sex. Seiran’s fate and the balance of his future hinge on the fact that he is the son of Tanaka Rou, he’s male, and he’s the most powerful male earth witch to come along in decades. Seiran is a target and his life is in near constant danger. When the murder of a coworker brings that danger directly to his threshold, the race begins to find and stop a serial killer who is disposing of witches and stealing their powers, before the killer gets to him.

Opposing factions in the witch community want Seiran, someone within one of those factions wants him dead, and it’s his own mother who’s at the top of the list of suspects that might be attempting to frame Seiran for the crimes.

Well written and briskly paced, this series is one of those lucky finds for me, where I stumbled across a couple of great reads by virtue of little more than an interesting blurb, but the purchases paid off 100% in the introduction of compelling characters living in a world that I don’t claim to fully understand the inner machinations of yet (I’m not sure I’m supposed to know all the political underpinnings at this point) but am more than excited for another installment in the series.

I think my only area of concern, really, was a momentary feeling of “this again?” in Reclamation (Book 2), fueling my belief that there might be an unfortunate formula the series was falling into, but the final result was a suspenseful and emotional climax that left me pulling for Seiran and reconfirmed that I’ll be on board for book 3.

BUY LINKS:

Inheritance

Reclamation

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