Giveaways, Rick R. Reed

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Couple Next Door Blog Tour with Rick R. Reed

Rick Banner

Hi, Rick, thanks so much for being with us today to chat about your new novel The Couple Next Door. It’s always great to have you here for a visit.

And it’s always great to be here! I’m so excited to share my new release with you guys and your readers! THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR is certainly a roller coaster of emotions—mysterious, romantic, thrilling, and ultimately a love story about overcoming almost impossible odds to be together.

There are two things that leap out at us readers in the blurb for the book, the first being that it deals with the subject of domestic violence. Do you feel that domestic abuse of men is more prevalent than we may realize, and how did you come to the decision to tackle such a weighty subject?

I do feel that domestic abuse of men is a very real and prevalent thing. Studies show that it occurs as often in LGBT relationships as it does in straight ones.

As I’ve said before, when I write a book, I am completely a pantser. What that means, if you don’t know, is that I write pretty much from the seat of my pants with a general idea of the story and the plot arc. It’s my characters that really take me on a journey. When they become real in my head, which is a necessity for me, they consistently lead me to new and unexpected places, which is part of the joy of creation for me.

With THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR, my first image of the two men who would become my love interests in the story was one of domestic violence. Often it’s a simple image that comes to me and shapes how I write the rest of the book. In this case, I first had the idea of an almost light romantic comedy opening, when my main character, Jeremy, comes home from yet another disappointing date. Then I do a 180 and throw the reader into shocking territory—he sees a man flinging another man down the front stairs of Jeremy’s apartment building. Here’s the scene:

I open the front door, and that’s when everything changes. My life turns upside down. I go from bored discontent to panic in a split second. 

The first thing I hear is someone shouting “No!” in an anguished voice. I look up from the lobby to see two figures on the staircase above, on the second-floor landing. One is a guy who looks menacing and so butch he could pose for a Tom of Finland poster. An aura of danger radiates from him. Aside from his imposing and muscular frame, he’s even wearing the right clothes—tight, rolled jeans and a black leather biker jacket with a chain snaking out from beneath one of the epaulets. His high and tight buzzed hair gives him a military—and mean—air. He has his hands on the shoulders of a guy who looks a bit younger and much slighter, making me want to call up the stairs, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” The smaller guy, blond and clad only in a pair of pajama bottoms, struggles with his attacker, looking terrified. Their movements, clumsy and rough, would be comical if they weren’t so scary. The smaller guy is panting and batting ineffectually at the bigger one. 

“Please! No! Don’t!” the smaller guy manages to get out, his voice close to hysteria. 

I have never seen either of these men before. In fact, the whole scene has the quality of the surreal, a dream. The danger and conflict pulsing down the stairs makes my own heart rate and respiration accelerate, causing feelings of panic to rise within me. 

And then the worst happens. The big butch guy shoves the smaller one hard, and all at once he’s tumbling heavily down the stairs toward me. 

The fall is graceless, and it looks like it hurts. It’s over so fast that I’m left gasping. 

I look up to see the leather-jacket guy sneer down at his mate, lying crumpled and crying at my feet, and then turn sharply on his heel to go back into a second-floor apartment that had been vacant yesterday. He slams the door. The sound of the deadbolt sliding into place is like the report of a shotgun. Both slam and lock resound like thunderclaps, echoing in the tile lobby, punctuation to the drama and trauma of this short scene. 

I switch into Good Samaritan mode and drop to my knees at the sniveling, crumpled mess of a man lying practically at my feet.

That scene brought out the nurturer in me, as well as my main character, Jeremy. I hope it brings out the same sense of protectiveness in readers and will make them want to root for Shane, however mysterious he may be on the surface.

It was interesting for me to get inside the heads of all three players in this triangle of abuse, the protector, Jeremy, the protected, Shane (and he has all the low self-esteem earmarks of the abused, often blaming himself for the abuse instead of his abuser), and the man with whom Shane lives, a very enigmatic figure to say the least.

How does all of this plays out and how it results in a very poignant and real love story? I leave that for the reader to discover…

The second thing that stands out, then, is that Cole may display signs of multiple personality disorder—or, at least he’s more than just Cole. Was it fun to write a character who presents so atypical in personality? How easy or difficult was it to get in Cole’s headspace, and what did you do to prepare yourself for letting loose your darker side?

It was really interesting writing a story that had elements of multiple personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder, as it’s called today. It was fun, in an evil way, to write Cole/John/Vera because the character is so multi-faceted and so enigmatic. Is he good but damaged? Or is he evil and plotting? These are the kind of questions I think readers will be scratching their heads and asking about him as they wind their way down the twisted pathways of my story. There are plenty of switches and shocking revelations, so that once a reader is comfortable with who they think Cole/John/Vera might be, I pull the rug out from under them. That might seem cruel, but this is the kind of book I like to read—one that has an element of romance, but one that keeps me turning the pages so that I can discover what happens next. I think readers will be surprised by the twists and turns the story takes, especially where Cole/John/Vera is concerned. As the tag line says on the cover, “Things aren’t always as they seem.”

This would be a good time to give a shout out to readers and reviewers and plead with them: PLEASE DO NOT REVEAL ANY SPOILERS. This book, more than any other I’ve written, has unanticipated twists and turns that I hope readers can come to without expectation, so they can have the appropriate emotional reaction.

As far as letting loose my dark side…. Well, it doesn’t get nearly enough play. When I write, this is my chance to let out my twisted side, the one people who’ve met me are always surprised that I have. After all, I’m so quiet, mild-mannered, and a real sweetheart. Right?

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The Couple Next DoorBLURB: With the couple next door, nothing is as it seems.

Jeremy Booth leads a simple life, scraping by in the gay neighborhood of Seattle, never letting his lack of material things get him down. But the one thing he really wants—someone to love—seems elusive. Until the couple next door moves in and Jeremy sees the man of his dreams, Shane McCallister, pushed down the stairs by a brute named Cole.

Jeremy would never go after another man’s boyfriend, so he reaches out to Shane in friendship while suppressing his feelings of attraction. But the feeling of something being off only begins with Cole being a hard-fisted bully—it ends with him seeming to be different people at different times. Some days, Cole is the mild-mannered John and then, one night in a bar, he’s the sassy and vivacious drag queen Vera.

So how can Jeremy rescue the man of his dreams from a situation that seems to get crazier and more dangerous by the day? By getting close to the couple next door, Jeremy not only puts a potential love in jeopardy, but eventually his very life.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press || Amazon || All Romance eBooks || Barnes & Noble

DividersRick R. ReedAbout the Author: Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Where to find the authorWeb || Blog || Facebook || Twitter || E-mail || Goodreads Link

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THE GIVEAWAY

Enter to win an e-copy of Rick R. Reed’s TRICKS

TricksBlurb: Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.

Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Stops and Dates:

7-Dec
The Novel Approach

8-Dec
Prism Book Alliance

9-Dec
MM Good Book Reviews

10-Dec

BFD Book Blog

11-Dec
Havan Fellows
Inked Rainbow Reads

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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Giveaways, Rick R. Reed

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Tricks by Rick R. Reed

Tricks Banner

Today we’re so pleased to welcome author Rick R. Reed to TNA on the tour for the re-release of his novel Tricks. Enjoy the excerpt, enjoy that photo! ;) and then be sure to answer Rick’s question in the comments below to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of the book (see below for details).

Good luck!

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A Playlist You Can Strip To—Or Read To
A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed

My new book, TRICKS just came out and that’s cause for celebration. Yay! TRICKS takes place in the world of male dancers (i.e. strippers). My main character, Arliss, is a one of the hottest dancers at TRICKS and, when I was putting this post together, I wondered what kind of music he’d pick out to dance to and get down to just his little pouch and combat boots.

Below is the (very diverse!) list I’ve come up with. Put it on to get yourself in the mood to immerse yourself in the world of TRICKS.

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WIN A FREE COPY:
To win a free ebook copy of TRICKS, simply comment below (leaving an e-mail address so we can get in touch if you win). And, just for fun, let me know: what song would you add to my list? You know, something good to take your clothes off to? I will draw a winner from all entries submitted by October 23.

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TRICKS PLAYLIST

  1. Cookie by R. Kelly
  2. Night Train by Oscar Peterson
  3. Pour Some Sugar on Me by L.A. Guns
  4. Hot for Teacher by Van Halen
  5. Magic Man by Heart
  6. Slow Ride by ZZ Top
  7. Toxic by Britney Spears
  8. Erotica by Madonna
  9. Pull Up to the Bumper by Grace Jones
  10. Face Down, Ass Up by 2 Live Crew

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TricksBLURB: Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.

Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.

BUY: Dreamspinner ebook || Dreamspinner paperback || Amazon

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EXCERPT: Arliss had everything he needed right in front of him for that night’s performance—hardhat, check; steel-toed boots, check; tool belt, check; black mesh thong with pouch for his rather prodigious endowment, big check—yes, Arliss was just about ready for his turn on the stage at Tricks, located in Chicago’s infamous Boystown neighborhood, at its epicenter on the corner of Belmont and Halsted. He also had before him a tall tumbler of Stoli vodka with just a whisper of cranberry juice cocktail in it for color and a half-empty pack of Marlboro Ultra Lights. The latter two items helped the twenty-one-year-old calm himself before a performance, and the vodka in particular went a long way toward reducing backstage jitters.

He lit up a cigarette and regarded himself through the smoke. The lights in the crowded dressing room, which he shared with the other eight or so exotic dancers, were unforgiving. Fluorescent did little to hide any imperfections, like rings under the eyes, reddened noses from too much partying, and for those on their way out of the club, track marks on the arms. But Arliss didn’t have to worry about signs of drug abuse showing up on his person. He had learned to just say no a long time ago, in a manner he preferred not to dredge up, at least not now, when he was trying to put himself in a cheerful, high-energy mode.

The face that looked back at him was young, handsome, and vital. Arliss had a shock of white-blond hair that stuck up in a manner reminiscent of rocker Billy Idol back in his glory days, before Arliss was even born. Both ears sported piercings—from one a single razor blade, cast in sterling, dangled; from the other, three hoops crawled up the side of his ear, growing smaller as they ascended. Arliss had full lips, sharp cheekbones, a cleft in his chin, and the most piercing ice blue eyes in the Midwest (or so he had been told). The only thing that marred his nearly perfect face was a gap between his front teeth, for which he comforted himself by saying the space gave him character. Cigarette clenched between his teeth, he struggled into his costume, ending by stuffing his dick into the pouch that protruded from his black thong. His member stuck out in a way that invited grasping hands, which was what Arliss wanted, as long as there was cash in those hands to stuff the thong even more fully.

BUY: Dreamspinner ebook || Dreamspinner paperback || Amazon

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RickRReed (21)Rick R. Reed BIOGRAPHY: Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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GRL 2015 Featured Blogger Tour, Rick R. Reed

Guest Post: The Countdown To GayRomLit 2015 with Rick R. Reed

GRL blog tour Banner 800px

With only nine more days until the official kick-off of GayRomLit 2015 in San Diego, we’re so pleased to have author Rick R. Reed with us today as our final tour guest. If you’ll be there and have a chance to say hello, do. A more delightful gentleman you’ll never meet.

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Life Imitating Art and “Gender Reveals”

If I just say that the m/m community has been buzzing about a certain “gender reveal,” I think we all will know what I’m talking about even if I avoid mentioning the specifics. I have nothing new to add to that conversation, but a comment one person made on Facebook about it reminded me how my book, HUNGRY FOR LOVE (Dreamspinner Press September 2013) dealt with almost the exact same situation. The Facebook commenter mentioned that he’d already read all about the controversy in HUNGRY FOR LOVE.

Talk about life imitating art!

See, HUNGRY FOR LOVE has a main character that adopts an identity as a woman to write bestselling m/m fiction. When I wrote it, I was thinking of no one in particular (and the fact that the book came out two years ago attests to this), but I thought the similarities were, well…interesting.

Below is an excerpt that better details what I’m talking about. If you want to read the whole story of HUNGRY FOR LOVE, you can buy it by clicking on the links below.

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HungryForLoveFSBLURB: Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep. Nate’s sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model.

When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn’t even know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?

BUY: Amazon || Dreamspinner Press

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EXCERPT: He had never intended for things to spiral so out of control when he picked the pen name. In another age, when things weren’t so instantly available online, there wouldn’t have been the temptation to connect so personally with readers. But one thing had led to another, and soon Nate had created up an entire life for BF Mann. It had been fun, imagining all the things she was up to and her quirky personality. She had become like a character in one of his novels.

He could have kicked himself for never realizing the stock people might come to put in this woman, this writer whom they adored.

Until this morning….

Pen names were one thing. And Nate still didn’t believe he had done anything wrong by adopting one. Writers had been doing that much since time immemorial.

He realized that what he had done wasn’t so very different from what his sister and Marilyn had done, and it had spiraled out of control in much the same way (although his had much bigger consequences). He understood now what had happened, how an online persona could be fun, how we could create a whole new person to be.

Who among us hasn’t longed to be someone else, if only for a day?

Nate got up. He wasn’t enjoying the warm, balmy breezes, wasn’t able to eat more than a few bites of his sandwich.

He needed to talk to his readers. He trudged back up to the third floor, sat down at his desk, and opened his laptop.

He opened a new blog post and stared at the empty screen. And then he began to type.

Dear Reader,

I am writing just to you, the one who has been hurt by my admission earlier today that BF Mann is not a woman but a gay man. I wanted to apologize, to tell you how deeply I regret letting things get out of hand. I never meant to hurt you. In fact, if I could go back and do things differently, I would. Because I love all of you; I have loved communicating with you, even if I was foolishly hiding behind a mask. 

I hope I haven’t damaged things beyond all repair. And I don’t say that because I am worried about sales, or that you will turn away from my next offering, but because one of the greatest treasures I believe any writer has is his or her connection to a reader. A reader like you. It might be on the page, when together, with my words and your imagination, we build a story. Or it might be on Facebook, exchanging messages and good-natured snark. Authors work in an isolated place, and believe me when I say I treasure my connection to you. I would be inconsolable if I thought my actions had done anything to permanently damage that. 

It started with a pen name, and that was all I ever intended it to be. Like the characters in my books, BF Mann took on a life of her own. She’s a wild woman and got a little out of control. 

I had to rein her in. I had to tell you the truth. I apologize many times over for deceiving you, but malice was never in my heart. Know I never snickered at you or thought you were foolish for believing in my persona. As I said, I treasured that interaction, and it never even crossed my mind that I could be doing you harm. 

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I have many more stories to tell, both personal and the kind you like—juicy gay love stories spiced with the paranormal or a big dose of suspense, all set right here where I do live (honest!), in Seattle. 

For me—and I suspect for you too—it’s always been about the stories and not as much the person behind them. I know I will remember that going forward and hope you will as well. 

I heart you. 

Nate

He hoped the blog wasn’t too much and that it didn’t come off as insincere. He prayed, with all his heart, that his readers, his beloved readers, saw that he was baring his soul along with the real him, and in that act, dreamed of a kind of grace—or at least forgiveness.

He hit “publish.”

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Rick R. ReedBIOGRAPHY: Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed.
E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

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5 Stars, DSP Publications, Horror, Reviewed by Lisa, Rick R. Reed

Retro Review: A Demon Inside by Rick R. Reed

TNA Page Turner Resized

Title: A Demon Inside

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 260 Pages

At a Glance: An intense, macabre, edge-of-your-seat, don’t-read-it-in-the-dark thrill ride.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Hunter Beaumont doesn’t understand his grandmother’s deathbed wish: “Destroy Beaumont House.” He’s never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother’s wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And with whom—or what—he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, Michael Burt, a caretaker for the estate next door. The man might be his salvation… or he could be the source of Hunter’s terror.

First Edition published by ManLove Romance Press, 2010.

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Back in July of 2010, when I was still a fairly wet-behind-the-ears newbie to blog reviewing, I grabbed a book from an author whose Tales from the Sexual Underground I’d just read two weeks before. This book, as you can probably glean from the titles, was a vastly different reading experience.

When Mr. Reed contacted me to let me know he’d pulled a quote from my review to use as a blurb on the front of the new cover for A Demon Inside’s re-release, I was both shocked and humbled, and I’m also grateful that he saw something worthy in what I look back on now and can see just how much my reviewing style has changed (and improved, I hope) over the course of the last five years.

So, in honor of this 2nd Edition of one of my earlier reviewing experiences for a book that invokes the spirit of some of Stephen King’s finest tales, here’s a rerun of my review:

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Review: Rick R. Reed’s A Demon Inside is an intense, macabre, edge-of-your-seat, don’t-read-it-in-the-dark thrill ride. From the prologue to its final chapter, I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough to see what would happen next.

The story opens in a dark winter forest in 1845, where the reader witnesses a lone gypsy woman consigning her baby boy to his eternal sleep. The scene is dense with tension, mystery and a sense of foreboding that sets the mood up beautifully for the entire book, as the reader experiences the results of this gypsy’s invocation over her son’s grave.

Hunter Beaumont is an orphan. At the age of five, when a child isn’t nearly old enough to understand the concept of life, let alone death, Hunter witnesses his parents’ murder but has experienced a form of post traumatic memory loss that has helped him escape the worst of the trauma. Hunter’s family legacy holds a dark secret that has cursed his ancestors for generations, and Hunter learns the true meaning of being orphaned when his beloved grandmother succumbs to cancer, leaving him entirely alone in the world. On her deathbed, his Nana exacts a promise from Hunter—to destroy his family’s ancestral home, Beaumont House, a place he’d never known existed until that moment.

The Beaumont family legacy has also left Hunter a wealthy young man, but his sheltered upbringing leaves him a man susceptible to the human predators who would prey on his innocence. Dr. Jay Blackstock, the doctor who saw Nana through her waning days, is just such a predator, a scavenger who feeds on Hunter’s naiveté. Jay manipulates and insinuates himself into Hunter’s life so entirely that his ultimate betrayal of Hunter’s trust leaves the young man broken and wary.

After having made a trip to Beaumont House with the family lawyer, during which time Rick R. Reed serves us a mere morsel of what’s to come, Hunter decides to go against his Nana’s dying wish to destroy the house and instead, aspires to make it his refuge, a sanctuary from the social order that is determined to make him its victim. It doesn’t take long for the reader to understand that Beaumont House holds strange and terrible secrets, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I’d been drawn into this story, feeling as though, like Hunter, I’d become ensnared in a residual web of nightmares reaching out from the past to grab hold of my reality. Just as society had deemed to victimize him, so does Hunter’s home seem determined to exact a deadly price.

Michael Burt is introduced to the story as the caretaker for a neighboring property, living in a cottage at the edge of Hunter’s estate. Michael is a ruggedly handsome and affable man who, living with the loneliness of the remote location of these estates, looks to befriend Hunter, but Hunter, who has determined that he can’t afford to trust anyone, makes it clear to Michael that friendship is not on his agenda. Michael, as fate would have it, is also penning a novel based on the local folklore surrounding a mysterious gypsy woman – some called her a witch – who lived in the area near the mid-1800s. As more and more unexplained phenomena occur in Beaumont House, legend becomes portent, and Hunter has to choose whether to stand firm, or cut and run.

There were times during the reading of this novel that I didn’t know whether to cheer Hunter for a hero, or curse him for a fool. Perhaps there’s a fine line between the two, and the side of the line the protagonist falls on depends on whether he succeeds or fails at his quest. The one thing I do know for certain is that Hunter had me holding my breath and devouring pages in a frenzy to decide whether he would be hero or fool at the end. My final determination is that Hunter was a foolish hero – how’s that for not choosing sides? One important lesson Hunter does learn is that detachment and independence aren’t synonymous, and sometimes it takes great strength to learn to depend on others.

A Demon Inside is an enthralling read that kept my nerves stretched taut as a tightrope, leaving me spellbound from beginning to end.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy A Demon Inside here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Carole Cummings, DSPP's Genre Talk, Rick R. Reed

DSP Publications Presents: Genre Talk with Carole Cummings and Rick R. Reed

DSP Publications

Happy Tuesday, everyone, and Happy Release Day to Rick R. Reed! Rick has graciously agreed to come tell Genre Talk all about his new Horror-Romance, A Demon Inside, which is available for purchase right now from DSP Publications. He’s also brought us an excerpt, but first, let’s have a look at what Rick’s newest is all about.

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a demon insideA Demon Inside

Hunter Beaumont doesn’t understand his grandmother’s deathbed wish: “Destroy Beaumont House.” He’s never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother’s wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And with whom—or what—he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, Michael Burt, a caretaker for the estate next door. The man might be his salvation… or he could be the source of Hunter’s terror.

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Carole: So, Rick, you’ve visited with us before to talk about your Suspense-Thriller IM and how it was difficult to pin it to just one genre. Now you’ve got A Demon Inside, which is categorized as Mystery-Suspense but is pretty heavy on the Romance too. So if I ask you to tell us about your genre, which one(s) are we dealing with?

Rick: Do I have a genre? Am I restricted to only one? Can I check more than one box? See, I love writing—and reading!!—all different sorts of genres. My favorites for both are romance, horror, dark suspense, and thrillers. I suppose, since this post concentrates on my latest release, A Demon Inside, I should tell you about my love for horror. I think I love horror because it’s a very pure genre, with a very pure objective: does it frighten you? Just like the key question for comedy is: does it make you laugh? Horror has the same emotional touchstone, how the author gets you to that fearful place can vary, but he or she must hit that bottom line—to scare you. I find the best way to do that is to appeal to our universal fears, which have to do with protecting our own lives and those whom we love. Horror in a way is like romance, because it’s about distilled and universal emotions, often with the same signposts—rapidly beating heart, uptick in respiration, and so on….

Carole: You’ve been writing M/M for quite a while, since before it was really a genre. You must have seen a lot of changes from then until now.

Rick: When I first began seeing the term m/m romance, I wasn’t even aware I was writing it. I thought I was just writing stories about people I knew (i.e. gay people) and their desire to love and be loved, possibly the strongest and most universal of all desires. When it became a “thing” I realized that I didn’t always color within the lines (my endings might be happy for now, for example), but I think there is room for diversity in m/m romance, just like there’s room for it in life. And thank god for our differences, as well as what brings us together.

Carole: Tell us about A Demon Inside

Rick: I think A Demon Inside is a bit of a throwback to the gothic horror novels of the past, set in contemporary time and place. It’s the story of an outsider, a sheltered young gay man, fleeing the world and its pains to hide away in a big, old, and foreboding house he inherited. Of course, the house, he comes to find is not empty, but occupied by a presence more fearful than anything from which he tried to run. It’s a very traditional kind of horror story, but with a gay twist.

Carole: A Demon Inside is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for nonromance genre novels, but at the same time, there’s as much Romance in this book as there is Horror, isn’t there?

Rick: There is. At its heart, as with almost anything I write, there’s a love story. What’s fun about this is the suspicion I build that the love interest could also be the source of the fear and danger.

Carole: Ah, keep ’em guessing, yeah? That’s why they call is suspense! ;) Speaking of, this is always my favorite question: Tell us about the evolution of this story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of A Demon Inside?

Rick: Short answer: I don’t know how I thought of it, but I once had the realization that one of the most horrifying things I could imagine is to awaken in a pitch-dark room, thinking I’m alone but then to hear someone nearby whispering my name. Just the idea of that gave me chills…and Hunter experiences that in A Demon Inside…and it was really that little thing that inspired the whole story.

Carole: Wow, it is a little thing, but it packs a disturbing punch, doesn’t it? *shudder* And hearkens back to so many classic horror tales. So are there any movies or TV shows that have inspired you when it’s come to your horror works?

Rick: When I was a little boy, I was a huge, huge fan of the horror soap opera, Dark Shadows. I used to run home every day to watch it. I had Barnabas and Quentin posters on my wall, a scrapbook and even the series soundtrack album. I believe that series, and its trafficking on horror tropes, was definitely an inspiration.

I would also mention a couple of movies that probably also taught me a lot about horror and especially how things unseen can be scarier than in-your-face gore and blatant shock value. Those are: The Haunting of Hill House and Carnival of Souls. They’re both so moody, atmospheric, and truly nightmarish. They stick with you.

Carole: They really do. THoHH especially has one of the best opening paragraphs of all time, in my opinion. And no doubt your work will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it.

Thanks so much, Rick, for being with us here today, and much success with your new release.

And thank you, Awesome Readers, for spending time with us today. Please enjoy the following excerpt from Rick R. Reed’s new release A Demon Inside, then scroll down to the bottom of the post for the buy links.

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Excerpt: Hunter stands in front of a blackened Beaumont House, transformed into a silhouette by the dying crimson sky behind it. One by one lights come on in the house, small pools of light. By themselves the double doors of the house open. Hunter backs away, then stands paralyzed, staring at the open doors as if they have issued an invitation to him, which, in a sense, they have.

The night air cools around him. The red sky deepens in hue, displaying swatches of lilac, deep purple, and blue. The orchestra of frogs, crickets, and cicadas grows louder in proportion to the quickly encroaching darkness.

Hunter shivers, and the house looks more and more tempting—warm. But he feels an unreasonable, unnamable dread. The warmth, he thinks, is deceptive. The house is calling to him, he’s sure, but it’s a siren’s call, with purposes he won’t even begin to fully understand until he’s walked firmly into its clutches.

Just as he is about to turn away, he glimpses figures moving inside. He turns back slowly and sees his parents on the curving staircase, about halfway up. They stare at him, their expressions impossible to read. His mother raises a hand, beckoning.

He needs no more incentive. He hurries to the house, picking up his pace as his parents turn, ascending the stairs into the shadows. As Hunter crosses the threshold, his parents vanish into darkness.

He can hear their whispers, though, as he mounts the steps. He gets to the top and sees them at the end of the corridor, watching him. Hunter feels tears gathering in his eyes and starts to run to them.

And slams into a mirror.

He steps back, disoriented, and looks in the opposite direction, but there is only a hallway, almost pitch black, awaiting him. Turning back, he looks again into the mirror and sees the same dark, empty corridor.

Suddenly he is surrounded by whispers, snatches of conversation, music… all of it fading in and out like someone spinning an old-fashioned tuning dial on a radio. Frozen, Hunter stands peering into the black, trying to force the rapid adaptation of his eyes to pinpoint the source of the noise.

Where has all the light gone that he had seen from outside?

He is seized by fear, his heart pounding, hairs standing up on the back of his neck, a scream trapped in his throat. All around he can feel a presence. Blindly he dashes down the hallway, hands outstretched, groping. Webs stick to his face, Insects attach themselves to him until all he can feel are sickening crawling sensations all over his body. Ahead in the dimness, something with a hairless tail and glowing eyes skitters into the darkness.

A light comes on at the end of the hallway. Gratefully Hunter lunges toward it.

He gasps when he enters the room. It is his grandmother’s bedroom, right here in Evanston. With his fist Hunter stifles the scream about to emerge. Nana lies propped once more on the pillows, her eyes engaging and imploring him.

“Destroy Beaumont House.” His grandmother makes the command over and over again, a litany, her voice dead and toneless. Soon other voices join in, people hidden in shadows in corners of the room. The chorus rises in volume until it hurts his ears.

And then it stops. Hunter moves toward his grandmother, but before his eyes she morphs into something else, something scaly with feral yellow eyes.

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A Demon Inside is available now in both ebook and paperback from DSP Publications and Amazon, as well as other retail outlets.

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Rick R. ReedAbout the Author: Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

You can follow Rick via the following links: Website || Blog || Facebook || Twitter || E-mail

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Thanks to everyone for joining us for this edition of Genre Talk, and thanks, as always, to Lisa and the gang here at The Novel Approach for letting us come and pretend we know what we’re doing for a little while. Please join us next time when we drag Luchia Dertien into our genre circus and sic the scary clowns on her, just for giggles. ;)

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Drama, DSP Publications, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann, Rick R. Reed

Audio Review: Third Eye by Rick R. Reed – Narrated by Chad Tindale

Title: Third Eye

Author: Rick R. Reed

Narrator:: Chad Tindale

Publisher: DSP Publications

Run Time: 8 Hours and 57 Minutes

At a Glance: A multifaceted story that could have benefitted from more emotion in the narration.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and a lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed – he isn’t sure which – with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.

When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls’ parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the “third eye”.

Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple – dark and murderous – are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.

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Review: “Fawcettville Pennsylvania a town where nothing ever happens”.

Cayce D’Amico is a single dad to his seven year old son Luke. He’s just an ordinary guy, doesn’t make a lot of money, works at the Elite Diner, lives in an old house, but he gives his all to provide for and love Luke. Cayce was no stranger to abandonment; his ex-wife Joyce had decided, four years earlier, that she no longer wanted the burden of Luke and Cayce, and left them both. Marc, Cayce’s ex, also abandon him and their dog Oreo. And on top of all that, Cayce’s mother doesn’t think her son is responsible enough to take care of Luke.

While Luke is playing in the backyard, Cayce is inside, cooking and trying to keep an eye out for Luke. Then Cayce starts to get strange feelings and realizes a storm is coming. He takes Oreo with him to bring Luke inside, but quickly realizes the boy is no longer in the backyard. When Cayce’s search turns to panic, a neighbor points him in the direction of the dead-end at the woods. As the storm worsens, Oreo spooks and runs for home, leaving Cayce to head into the woods by himself, at which point a tree branch is hit by lightning and hits him on the head.

Luke makes it home and finds his father is not there. Worried, he calls his grandparents. When his grandmother answers the call, her first thoughts are how irresponsible her son is. Luke’s grandfather runs to check on his grandson, sensing something is terribly wrong. He tries to encourage Luke, and they head out into the storm in search of Cayce.

When Cayce awakens in the hospital, after suffering a series of nightmares about his son, he starts having thoughts about different people and can’t figure out why, but still, his main concern is Luke. Dr. Carlos Soto comes to attend Cayce and tells him his parents had brought Luke in the night before. Cayce tells Dr. Soto that he doesn’t remember anything about the accident, but the doctor assures him he will recover just fine. Cayce asks to see his son, and also wants to see the newspaper since he’s heard he’s become somewhat of a celebrity. To Cayce’s surprise the paper isn’t delivered by hospital staff but by Dave Newton, the journalist who wrote the article about Cayce’s accident. As Cayce checks out the article, he notices another about a missing girl, Lucy Plant. Then the nightmares really start!

When Cayce begins experiencing images of some gruesome and frightening things, he has to make a decision about whom to tell. His choices aren’t that great, and he could be facing serious trouble no matter who he chooses, so he settles on Dave, but when he doesn’t hear back from the reporter, he takes matters into his own hands. When Dave does meet up with Cayce again, it’s under less than ideal circumstances, but a special bond forms that night between the two men, and Dave has to make a choice between being a friend or reporter. While Cayce is still haunted by images and feelings, he suffers the worst fright of all when Luke is kidnapped.

Rick R. Reed’s Third Eye is a novel layered with deceit, naïveté, abuse, rape, and murder, and may not be for everyone, but the plot flows well and moves along at a good pace. Reed has created a story that shows how vulnerable young people can be if there is neglect involved, which is sad, because situations like this do exist in society today. It is scary in the fact that fiction can become a reality.

Chad Tindale does a passable reading of Third Eye. It was a somber performance, but I don’t know if this type of story could have been read any differently. He did a good job of distinguishing characters’ voices, but I felt there could have been more emotion reflected in parts of the reading.

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

You can buy Third Eye here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Angel, Rick R. Reed

Review: Dinner at Fiorello’s by Rick R. Reed

Title: Dinner at Fiorello’s

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages

At a Glance: A wonderful tale about surviving loss and finding hope again.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy.

Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more—something real, something true—to separate the good from the bad and find the love—and the hope—that just might be their salvation.

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Review: The thing I love about Rick R. Reed’s work is that it does not disappoint, mentally or emotionally. It is real and fantastic at the same time. By that, I mean there is this way he writes that just draws you in. I can get lost in his storytelling and not realize just how much time has passed, or the fact that I am shedding tears of both laughter and sorrow over a fictional character. The books I have read all have happy endings, but the characters have to work for it. Their conflicts aren’t manufactured, nor are the endings easily found. It is like life and I love that, even in my escapes. There is emotion in the reading that is dramatic but doesn’t feel overwrought—real life issues and consequences that are believable and feel natural; wonderfully flawed characters that play perfect on the page.

Dinner at Fiorello’s is no exception. Reed has crafted a lovely and almost heartbreaking story about two men coping with loss. Both of them are young, one more so than the other, but each has had his world torn asunder. Loss affects everyone and this book, dealing with the loss of family, in both the physical and emotional aspects, hits its mark.

Vito, adjusting to the death of his son and husband, is bitter and has closed himself off to the possibility of love and hope. Henry, young and untried, has just learned his first lesson in life: that privileged doesn’t always mean perfect. The two men come together in grief and begin the path to healing with one another. I love that this takes place over a summer, across a few months, and that both men struggle accepting what is happening.

The breakdown of Henry’s family, the loss of his mother’s leaving, and his judgmental father are an all too real thing, and it hurt to read the words Tank spoke to his son. I nearly broke down and cried when Vito was telling his story about Kevin and Sal’s deaths due to a drunk driver, as well as the guilt Vito felt because of his last words to Kevin. Again, an ache but one that wasn’t forced—more real life incidents that both ripped me apart and made me adore the story all the more for the normality of it.

I would have loved a bit more story before the epilogue wrapped everything up, but I think that is more about me being greedy for the characters and story than it is a complaint about the book. The short chapter details what has been happening with both Vito and Henry, and leaves you with a feeling and sense of the hope both men needed.

Thank you for another fantastic read, dear author!

TNA_Signature_Angel







 

You can buy Dinner at Fiorello’s here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Rick R. Reed

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Dinner at Fiorello’s Blog Tour With Rick R. Reed

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The Novel Approach is please to welcome back Rick R. Reed on the Dinner at Fiorello’s blog tour. Rick came up with a playlist that fits the setting of the book, and might even make you want to mangia Italiano for dinner! Be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below, as well, for the chance to win an e-copy of his book Dinner at Home.

Good luck!

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When you have dinner at Fiorello’s, you’re gonna get three things:

  1. Good food
  2. Good wine
  3. Good music

If you’re lucky, you’re also gonna find a little atmosphere that might lead to some amore, you know?

While the food teases your palate, and the wine makes you fuzzy and warm, there’s gonna be music underneath it all. Here’s what you might hear on any night when you stop by Fiorello’s for a plate of macaroni and red gravy and maybe, just maybe, the capture of someone special’s eye.

(Note: It’s worth it to go on YouTube, iTunes or Amazon and just listen to these songs…you’ll be doing yourself a favor, especially if you pour yourself a nice Chianti.)

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DINNER AT FIORELLO’S PLAYLIST

  1. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant (Billy Joel). Hey, it’s a natural for the list! And that, Billy Joel, he’s a good boy.
  2. Italian Wedding Tarantella. If you’ve ever been to an Italian wedding, either as a guest or the guest-of-honor, you know this one.
  3. O Mio Babbino Caro (from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi): Opera and Italian food go hand in hand.
  4. Se Dolce Suoni (from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermore) Love, tragedy, high notes and opera all go together so well…this one should be listened to during the appetizer course.
  5. Mambo Italiano (Rosemary Clooney). Hey paisano, take my advice: learn how to mambo!
  6. That’s Amore (Dean Martin). And what else, really, is there?
  7. The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra). Vito and/or Henry could have sung Ol’ Blue Eye’s song of love the moment they first laid eyes on the other.
  8. Innamorata (Jerry Vale). Vale and Veal…perfect accompaniments to romance?
  9. Theme from The Godfather (London Philharmonic Orchestra) If you’re lucky, the object of your affection will make you an offer you can’t refuse.
  10. Love Theme from Cinema ParadisoThe gorgeous music by Ennio Morricone is perfect for dessert…in or out of the restaurant, if you catch my meaning.

Do you have an Italian classic you’d add to the playlist? Come on, tell me what it is! But I won’t dance, don’t ask me.

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1792184BLURB: Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy.

Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more—something real, something true—to separate the good from the bad and find the love—and the hope—that just might be their salvation.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

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Rick R. ReedRick R. Reed Biography: Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed.
E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Pride PromotionsTOUR STOPS:

1-May    Hearts on Fire

4-May    Prism Book Alliance

5-May    3 Chicks After Dark

6-May    The Novel Approach

7-May    MM Good Book Reviews

8-May    Joyfully Jay

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4.5 Stars, DSP Publications, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sadonna, Rick R. Reed

Review: IM by Rick R. Reed

Title: IM

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 280 Pages

At a Glance: IM is action packed, horrifying in its detail, and full of the most delicious twists and turns that will make your skin crawl and your heart race.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: The Internet is the new meat market for gay men. Now a killer is turning the meat market into a meat wagon.

One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of Men4HookUpNow.com, he lures, seduces, and charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. When the first body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. At the scene, the young man who discovered the body tells him the story of how he found his friend. But did this witness play a bigger role in the murder than he’s letting on?

For Comparetto, this encounter is the beginning of a nightmare—because this witness did more than just show up at the scene of the crime; he set the scene.

Comparetto is on a journey to discover the truth—before he loses his career, his boyfriend, his sanity… his life. Because in this killer’s world, IM doesn’t stand for instant message… it stands for instant murder.

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Review: IM is a creepy story, there is no doubt about that. The horror of the murders, coupled with the driven, near panicked state of the unrightfully maligned and swiftly made ex-police officer, Ed Comparetto, was perhaps one of the most riveting storylines I have read in a long time. And then there was the serial killer, the cold-blooded monster who brutally destroyed one lonely man after another while pretending to be their answer to cyber dating. All in all, Rick R. Reed’s IM was a gruesome, compelling, and terrifying murder mystery, with copious twists and turns that made for a truly exciting and nail biting, roller coaster of a read.

When Detective Ed Comparetto catches the call to a bloodcurdling murder crime scene, little does he know the witness who found the body would turn out to be a potential suspect. The elfin young man gave detail after detail about finding his friend lying in his own blood, dismembered, in his bathtub. Ed dutifully questioned the witness and filed the man’s sworn affidavit. Only problem was the witness, Timothy Bright, wasn’t exactly who he said he was. Now Ed, who had recently come out to his police force as gay, had to not only find this “witness” but he had to do so on his own, without his badge or gun, after having been fired for allegedly falsifying the same witness statement.

Along the way, Ed will question his own sanity, and stumble upon a man who just may be the answer to his own unending loneliness. But, catching a serial killer as hideous and blindingly intelligent as this one is no easy task. As Ed uncovers secret after secret surrounding the murderer, the horror that is this killer comes to life, and no one is safe.

Why was this novel so very, very good? It is because you alternately hated the serial killer—were sickened and horrified by him, and then mourned for him—then empathized with him for his innocence lost, his life so twisted and strange, his rape at the hands of a man who was sworn to heal those in need. You wanted to hate this man but you saw the reasons for his anger, his insanity, and suddenly, you pitied the very man who viciously destroyed without compunction.

Rick R. Reed takes us deep into the rabbit hole, where so very little makes sense until a dedicated and determined police detective cracks wide open the identity of a killer who somehow managed to escape capture, one murder after another. He does so by sheer grit, and with a new-found love at his side, he pursues the killer relentlessly, even at the cost of his own sanity and, perhaps, his own life.

IM is action packed, horrifying in its detail, and full of the most delicious twists and turns that will make your skin crawl and your heart race. This one is a nail biter from beginning to end, and well worth every moment you will spend reading it.






You can buy IM here:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

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Carole Cummings, DSPP's Genre Talk, Rick R. Reed

DSPP Presents: Genre Talk With Carole Cummings and Rick R. Reed

DSP Publications

Hullo, all! Since Lisa has yet to bar the doors of The Novel Approach, I’m here today with DSP Publications author Rick R. Reed to talk about suspense and serial killers and anonymous hookups. But all in a good way! (…Wait, is there a good way to talk about serial killers? 0_o Eh, Rick will figure it out.)

But first, let’s take a quick look at what Rick has in store for us with his new release, IM:

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IM-400x600The Internet is the new meat market for gay men. Now a killer is turning the meat market into a meat wagon.

One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of Men4HookUpNow.com, he lures, seduces, and charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. When the first body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. At the scene, the young man who discovered the body tells him the story of how he found his friend. But did this witness play a bigger role in the murder than he’s letting on?

For Comparetto, this encounter is the beginning of a nightmare—because this witness did more than just show up at the scene of the crime; he set the scene.

Comparetto is on a journey to discover the truth—before he loses his career, his boyfriend, his sanity… his life. Because in this killer’s world, IM doesn’t stand for instant message… it stands for instant murder.

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Carole: Thanks for being here with us, Rick. How about we kick things off with the basics: tell us about your genre.

Rick: Thriller, suspense, horror…I think there are many overlaps here (even with mystery) and they all fascinate me. I think IM falls as much into the psychological suspense category as it does the thriller category. Either way, the book (and the genre) are marked by escalating peril (suspense) and, usually a sense of dread. What should keep people turning the pages in any good thriller is an investment in the characters, so you need to keep reading to discover what happens next.

Carole: Why M/M?

Rick: I write M/M or gay fiction because I’m a gay man myself. I have an investment in telling the stories of my “people” in a way that I hope is entertaining, thought-provoking and, more often than not, touching.

Carole: I’m sure your fans would say your work is all those things, Rick. So tell us about this release in particular. Tell us about IM.

Rick: It’s been a long journey with IM, because this is its third edition. It was originally published in 2007 as a paperback by the Quest imprint of Regal Crest Enterprises. The book struck a chord because it plays on both the fear and excitement of anonymous online hookups, a form of meeting up that continues to grow. This new edition is, if I may say so, the most awesome edition. Starting with the arresting and gorgeous cover design by Reese Dante, the book has been thoroughly re-edited, so I think this is the best possible version of IM for readers.

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

Rick: I was thrilled that one reviewer recently compared the terror in IM to that found in The Silence of the Lambs, one of my favorite thriller/horror tales. I suppose IM fits better at DSP Publications because of the escalating suspense and sense of dread that defines the plot arc. We have one twisted serial killer at the heart of things—and a compelling mystery: is this killer even alive? Or was he murdered himself? The romantic aspect of the story is strong (it’s between the Chicago cop investigating the case and the love interest he finds along the way—a librarian who helps him with more than just research). Because the suspense of the story is so predominant, the romance naturally takes a back seat, so I think that’s why IM is such a splendid fit for the new imprint.

Carole: Okay, you’ve told us about the journey of IM’s publication. Now tell us about the evolution of the story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of IM?

Rick: It occurred to me, when I was younger and single and guilty myself of doing a little hooking up online how anonymous it all was. How you could, on many of these sites, interact via the site with instant messages and in no time at all, have a stranger at your door. While that stranger could be key to all sorts of earthly delights, he could also be your worst nightmare—and thus, a story was born. Add to that the fact that these online connections are difficult to track, and you have an almost perfect crime scenario—something very tempting for a psycho killer.

Carole: In today’s online/high tech world, a plot like this would seem to have such broad appeal, whether in mainstream or gay lit. circles. Why did you feel this story needed to be told with the M/M dynamic?

Rick: I think that’s fairly obvious. While I’m sure online hooking up takes place all the time in the straight community and even the lesbian community, I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s nowhere more prevalent than in the gay male community. It’s that two-sided coin of risk/excitement versus danger/peril that, I think, makes the story work particularly well with gay men as antagonists and protagonists.

Carole: So, besides the obvious Awesome book, you’ve gotta read this! every author hopes a reader gets from their book, what’s the one thing you’d like to see readers take away from IM?

Rick: I think one thing people have told me, over and over, is that IM made them think twice about hooking up online. You just never know, with such anonymity, what you might be getting yourself into. You could end up with a future lover, future fuck buddy, future husband…or having no future at all. It’s the chance you take when you roll the dice online.

Carole: Excellent advice, Rick. Thanks for chatting with us today, and happy hookup—er, I mean best of luck on your release! :D

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Rick R. ReedRick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction.Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

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Buy IM now in ebook, paperback and Kindle.

Follow Rick through his website, his blog, or through Facebook and/or Twitter.

Join us next time on Genre Talk when Andrew Q. Gordon will come bearing yet more gifts!

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DSP Publications, Giveaways, Rick R. Reed

Excerpt and Giveaway: The IM Blog Tour With Rick R. Reed

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The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome Dreamspinner and DSP Publications author Rick R. Reed today on the IM blog tour. Enjoy the excerpt from the book and then be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win an e-copy of his DSPP novel Third Eye.

Good luck!

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IM-400x600Blurb – IM: The Internet is the new meat market for gay men. Now a killer is turning the meat market into a meat wagon.

One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of Men4HookUpNow.com, he lures, seduces, and charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. When the first body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. At the scene, the young man who discovered the body tells him the story of how he found his friend. But did this witness play a bigger role in the murder than he’s letting on?

For Comparetto, this encounter is the beginning of a nightmare—because this witness did more than just show up at the scene of the crime; he set the scene.

Buy Links: DSPP | Amazon US

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Excerpt: Lake Shore Drive at night has its own excitement, especially when one is hurtling toward a rendezvous with an unknown destiny. On one side of my car, Lake Michigan bears silent witness to the streams of traffic heading north and south, headlights like glowing insect eyes piercing the night. The other side of the highway is crowded with high-rises, their glass, chrome, and concrete rising into the sky, hives of activity within, quiet sentinels without.

I have a cold bottle of Samuel Adams between my legs, a Marlboro burning in the ashtray. Normally, beer and cigarettes are not my vices. I care about my health, you see. But these are props, the same as the deeper-pitched voice I use, same as my word choices, which are much less sophisticated than someone with an MA in English from the University of Chicago. The beer and cigarettes are part of my costume. Tonight I wear faded, ragged Levi’s 501s, the crotch faded, the buttons moving in an inverted question mark, emphasizing the bulge in my crotch.
When did gay men turn into no-charge prostitutes? Has it always been this way?
Whatever. I’m also wearing a Bulls T-shirt, the sleeves cut off raggedly, the neck cut low.
I take a swig of the beer, letting its cold bitterness snake down my throat, and turn up the tape player. Ironic. Leonard Cohen is singing, “Ain’t No Cure for Love.”

I press down on the gas; ahead is my exit: Irving Park Road.

When I arrive, I see the apartment is a red brick six flat, identical to others all over the city. I ring the buzzer, and the guy doesn’t even bother to ask who it is. No difference. We never exchanged names anyway.

Trudging up the stairs, waiting for the shotgun-cocking sound of a lock being turned, a chain sliding back into place. Someone waits to admit me. Someone I don’t even know.

What a friendly world this is.

A door opens above.

What waits upstairs?

I round the bend and I see him. Nothing like his description, but who expected different? I am nothing like what I told him. No matter. As long as you’re male and reasonably young and acceptable, you’re in.

The guy has a good body, and his lips curl into a grin as I head toward him, dragging on my Marlboro. He’s wearing a pair of black bikini briefs. His moment of glory, this is what he’s worked for all those long hours at the gym. Finally someone to appreciate the shaved and defined pecs, the smooth washboard belly, the bulging biceps I just know he will somehow maneuver to flex for me.

But he’s much older than what I had expected. Midforties probably. His reddish-brown hair is thinning, and the blue eyes are framed by crow’s feet. A bottle of “eye-revitalizing” cream is in his medicine cabinet, I bet. The goatee, a desperate ploy to make himself look younger and hip, is embarrassingly ineffective. A cougar tattoo snakes down one of his arms.

“How you doin’?” I exhale a cloud of smoke and pass him as he opens the door wider to admit me.

“Great. Now that you’re here.”

The apartment is small, crowded with “contemporary” furniture: a black leather grouping in the living room, chrome and glass tables, spare jagged-looking twig and dried flower arrangements. On the walls, Herb Ritts posters of absurdly pumped-up young men in various settings: a garage, on the seashore.

The guy leads me into the bedroom. Platform bed, comforter thrown back, striped sheets. The nightstand holds the tools of his true trade: a plastic cup full of condoms he probably never uses, a couple of little brown bottles filled with butyl nitrite, a leather cock ring, a metal cock ring, and a large pump bottle of Wet. On the lower shelf, a stack of neatly folded but ragged white towels.
A dresser faces the bed, and atop it, a color TV and DVD combination. On the screen, a wildly muscled dark-haired guy tries to sit on one of those orange traffic cones. Amazingly, he’s beginning to succeed.

I grin.

The guy drops the black briefs and sits on the bed. Hoarsely, “Why don’t you get undressed, man?”

“Why don’t you do it for me?”

Instantly supplicant, he’s on his knees before me, working the buttons on my jeans. I’m sure his eyes are glistening. Already his breath is coming faster.

I push his hand away. “Hold on.” I lift the goateed face up to my own and look in his blue eyes, where nothing but desire and trust mingle. “I want you to lie down on the bed. Lie on your stomach.”

He gets up and does as he’s told. The half moons of his ass practically glow in the darkness. A thin whiter line disappears in his crack, where his thong was. The definition in his arms shows up perfectly as he raises them above his head to clutch the pillow.

His legs are parted, waiting.

“I just need to do something real quick. You stay right there.” I look back at him as I exit the room. “You’re a good boy, right? Do what you’re told?”

“Yes, sir.”

In the kitchen, I go quickly through the drawers until I find the one with the knives. For the first time, I get hard, and I think of the blood pumping, filling the spongy cavities.

The blood. Essence of life.

I strip down, leaving my clothes in a pile on the kitchen floor. I hope I don’t bring any cockroaches home.

I hold the butcher knife I chose to my side, concealing it with my arm, and head back to the bedroom.

He still lies there, waiting and trustful, thinking he’s about to be penetrated.

And he is.

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Rick R. ReedAuthor Bio: Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Social Media Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | E-mail

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Janet, Rick R. Reed

Review: Blink by Rick R. Reed

Title: Blink

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: There is so much to think about in this book and Reed guides us with a gentle hand

Blurb: Life can change in the blink of an eye. That’s a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago ‘L’ to work every morning. Andy’s life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.

Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the ‘L’ train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever…

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Review: Blink is a fascinating book. Rick R. Reed took one of his own memories and ran with it. He let us experience the what ifs, the maybes, and the if onlys, as he showed us the possibilities of a second look, a chance longer than the blink of an eye.

The book starts in Chicago in 1982 with Andy on the L train. He spies Carlos as he is on his way to work, and is mesmerised by him. Alternating POVs with each chapter gives us a firm base for the characters to grow in, and we get a sense of the difficulties of being a gay man in the 80s. There is hope in Carlos, but he has an overwhelming lack of expectation. When that plays out and results in their parting, we are not surprised: hurt maybe, sad definitely.

When we next see Andy it is in the present time, and he has claimed his life as a gay man. He is long divorced and the father of a young gay man himself. He is comfortable with himself, but lonely. A chance encounter reminds him of Carlos, and he begins a journey to find him.

There is so much to think about in this book and Reed guides us with a gentle hand, never harsh, even though the misery of the 80s for gay men was awful. We are allowed to feel that briefly, but the focus quickly shifts towards the hope and acceptance we enjoy now. I appreciated the back and forth flow of the book the author employed with the POV. I could guess what was going to happen as I was all seeing, but I was totally engaged by the characters at the same time due to the skills of the author. He has an incredible talent for descriptive word use that allows us to see and feel so much more than the simple words on the page.

This was a very simple idea that Rick R. Reed took and turned into a very complex and satisfying read. If you are looking for a sweet romance, then this book is for you. If you want a taste of the turmoil that the older gay men today have gone through, then this book is for you. The search for a sense of self is universal, but the times you live in really have a part to play in that search, and the author gives us that too—the relatively easy quest for his own love that Tate juxtaposes so well with the trials that Andy goes through. While the story begins with the regrets of missed, or passed over, opportunities, there is a sincere sense of gratitude for the gifts life has given to each man. This appreciation adds to the hope the reader has for Andy and Carlos’s HEA, and solidifies our surety of their future.






You can buy Blink here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Rick R. Reed

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Blink Blog Tour With Rick R. Reed

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The Novel Approach welcomes Rick R. Reed on the Blink blog tour. Enjoy Rick’s article, then be sure to enter for a chance to win an e-copy of the book Dinner at Home via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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On Writing What You Know

“Write about what you know and care deeply about. When one puts one’s self on paper — that is what is called good writing.” — Joel Chandler Harris

People argue all the time about the old adage: “write what you know.” I think many of the detractors of this advice take it too literally, surmising that one cannot write anything outside the limits of one’s own personal experience.

I don’t think that’s what the advice means. I think it can mean write what you know in your heart, what you know deep down, what living life has shown you—those experiences can breathe life into your characters and make your fictional world ring true. They are also your unique perspective on the human experience. You can write about other planets, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, early Romans, Hobbits or whatever and still write what you know.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this adage as one of my most autobiographical—and, I like to think, romantic—books comes out this month from Dreamspinner Press. Blink was inspired by a young man I used to know who today seems a stranger to me. That young man was myself, back in the early 1980s, when I had just graduated from college and moved to Chicago and was working as a catalog copywriter in my first job. I was also so far back in the closet I would have needed a passport just to see the hangers. I was engaged to be married to my college sweetheart, a lovely young woman from the north shore suburbs of the city—and trying to see myself living out the American dream: wife, eventually kids, the white picket fence….

Except there was that damn L train ride to work every day! On that ride, despite my desperate desire to be the straight, soon-to-be-married fellow I thought I was, I would have what I called sixty-second love affairs with good-looking guys on the train. You know, your eyes meet and hold that delicious contact for just a little longer than what’s proper—the eyes can communicate, really, so much more than the mouth. One of those fellows, a gorgeous Cuban man my own age, stuck in my head and stayed there through many, many years—through my marriage and divorce, through bringing up my son, through tried-and-fail relationships.

His name was Carlos. And despite the comfortable place I am now, I have always wondered what happened to him.

And there, in that wondering, is how a book gets born. In my story, many of the events that happened in the first part, in the early 1980s, really happened to me. I like to think I conveyed my conflict, my pains and joys adequately. I wrote what I knew.

The second half takes place in the world of what might have been—what might have happened if I had never met my husband and, alone, decided to go off in search of my Carlos from the L, from way back when. These days, with the help of social media and the likes, it’s not that hard to track down someone from your past. That’s what my character does. Even though the second half of the book is totally imagined, I like to think I was still writing what I know, because of its emotional truth, because of my belief in the lasting and sustaining power of love.

I hope you’ll give Blink a chance. It conveys—through characters, time, place, emotions, and love—what I’m trying to say above in the form of a journey I hope you’ll take with me.

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Blink400x600Blurb: Life can change in the blink of an eye. That’s a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago ‘L’ to work every morning. Andy’s life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.

Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the ‘L’ train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever….

Categories: M/M Romance, Gay Fiction

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks

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Rick ReedAbout the Author: Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Author Contact: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | E-mail

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The Giveaway:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Brought to you by Pride Promotions

Brought to you by Pride Promotions

Tour Dates/Stops:

26-Jan

3 Chicks After Dark

28-Jan

On Top Down Under

30-Jan

The Novel Approach

2-Feb

Hearts on Fire

4-Feb

Joyfully Jay

6-Feb

Prism Book Alliance

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Amanda C. Stone, Amber Kell, Carole Cummings, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, Hayden Thorne, Izzy van Swelm, Lexi Ander, Maggie Kavanagh, Rick R. Reed, Sue Brown, Yeyu

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

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Happy Sunday, everyone, I hope you’ve had a lovely week. 

Coming up in the week ahead, we’ve got plenty of great stuff in store for you to enjoy, more guest authors, interesting articles, interviews, reviews, and, thanks to the generosity of our guests, more giveaways just because they appreciate you, their readers.

Here’s what’s on tap:

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MondaySue Brown kicks off our week, talking about breaking rules on the Stolen Dreams blog tour

Charlie Cochrane is also with us on the Lessons for Survivors blog tour, sharing a deleted scene featuring Jonty and Orlando

TuesdayAmanda C. Stone will be here with a short Q&A on The Adventures of Cole and Perry blog tour

Garrett Leigh also joins us today on the Rare audiobook tour

WednesdayMaggie Kavanagh drops by on the Double Indemnity blog tour

Hayden Thorne will also be here to talk about the re-release of the gorgeous (not that I’m biased) YA Historical Fantasy novel The Twilight Gods

Carole Cummings is also here today with a little “Genre Talk”. Joining her is DSP Pubications author Yeyu – the topic: Historical Fantasy

ThursdayLexi Ander stops in on the Songs of the Earth blog tour to talk about world-building

Amber Kell also joins us to talk a bit about magic on the Porter’s Reaper blog tour

FridayRick R. Reed joins us on the Blink blog tour to talk a bit about writing what you know

Saturday – And finally, debut author Izzy van Swelm is here today to close out a week of outstanding guests on the Soul Mate for SIN blog tour

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And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

 

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5 Stars, DSP Publications, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Janet, Rick R. Reed

Review: Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

Title: Third Eye

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn’t sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl. When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls’ parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the “third eye.” Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.

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Review: This book is a thriller in the true sense of the word. The book itself – a return to a genre that I believe Rick excels in, and also a debut in a new marketing niche that I feel has been needed in the world of m/m books for a long time. I am delighted to be able to review this book, and I hope it is the first of many voices to be heard in this new and exciting branch of m/m.

I have looked forward to getting my hands on this book since I first glimpsed the cover – great work Aaron Anderson, and Third Eye does not disappoint.

I was drawn into the book at the first page, and my heart rate was elevated at the second one. Rick R. Reed’s skill with words is proven by the way he layers descriptions of the environment and the emotions of his characters. Cayce is a struggling single Dad in a sleepy little town beside a big ole lazy river. But the weather is changing, and he can’t see his son, and he is worried. That quickly, I was worried too. The pace of the story is fast and directly influences the breathless aspect that a real thriller needs. I turned pages quickly, my coffee got cold beside me, and although I could anticipate trouble coming, I was never quite right. The guessing and being shocked and surprised are such a big part of a thriller, and Rick mastered this. The cast of characters is broad and vivid, and they are revealed and exposed with each page you turn, with each glimpse through Cayce and his visions, or his personal interactions. They are built and fleshed and are made real. I have a mental picture of Janet McKenna that is near photo quality, and that is due to Rick’s skill with painting a character with colors, and smells as well as a physical description.

The tension in the story builds steadily, without pause, against the very bland, menial backdrop of the town Cayce lives in, which worsens the horror of it all.

Third Eye was a very satisfying read, colorful and full of rich detail, with many layers both between and within its characters. I appreciated the full length of this novel and Rick’s ability to sustain the emotional hold he had on the reader for the whole story, the intensity never dropped. The final resolution was brilliantly graphic and still sweetly hopeful. This is hands down the best work I have read by Rick R. Reed in two years. It is a showcase to his skills and left me in awe of his ability to create emotions with words. I sincerely hope there are more books coming from Rick in this genre.








You can buy Third Eye here:

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Rick R. Reed, Self-Published

Guest Post and Excerpt: Matches by Rick R. Reed

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The most common question I get, as a writer, is “where do you get your ideas?” I suppose that many writers would say the same thing.

In the case of my Christmas story Matches, the inspiration came from two places—the wonderful, yet often poignant, fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and the plight of the homeless. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa, Rick R. Reed, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: Matches by Rick R. Reed

Title: Matches

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 17 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago’s frigid chill, it’s a fight for survival. Whether he’s sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm: memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most. Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Blaine D. Arden, Deanna Wadsworth, Joanna Chambers, Kol Anderson, Leta Blake, Meredith Russell, Rick R. Reed, Skylar M. Cates, Sydney Croft, T.A. Chase, Z. Allora, Z.A. Maxfield

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek Banner1

Cheers, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by to see what’s coming up this week. We’ve got lots of great guests and giveaways, as well as reviews, interviews, and cover reveals in store for you.

Here’s what we’ve got on tap in the week ahead. Continue reading

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DSP Publications, Rick R. Reed

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

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Blurb: Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn’t sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl. Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, A.F. Henley, Annabelle Jacobs, Brita Addams, Damon Suede, Eva Lefoy, Hayden Thorne, Hayley B. James, Liam Livings, Ofelia Grand, Piper Vaughn, Rebecca Cohen, Rick R. Reed, Vicktor Alexander, Will Freshwater

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

TNA BadgeGreetings, everyone! Thanks so much for popping in to see what we have coming up in the week ahead. We have lots of great blog tours, author guest posts, giveaways, and reviews in store for you, so have a look-see and what’s in store.

A quick note about the informal poll results we ran last week on the topic of ratings. Of the participating voters, a full 70% of you indicated that we could do away with a numerical rating system altogether, and it wouldn’t affect our reviews in the slightest, so that’s something we’ll be considering doing away with in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, though, here’s what’s on tap.

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MondayAnnabelle Jacobs kicks off the week on the Alliance blog tour, with a giveaway

A.F. Henley also drops by on The Chase and the Catch blog tour, with a giveaway

TuesdayHayden Thorne joins us on the Henning: The Hunted Prince (Book Two) blog tour, with a giveaway

Rick R. Reed’s Third Eye makes a stop here as well, with an exclusive excerpt from the book, and a giveaway

Brita Addams is also here to offer her opinion on our book buying habits

WednesdayEva Lefoy is here on her Love Hurts series promo tour, with a giveaway

Piper Vaughn also stops in on the Hook, Line & Sinker blog tour, along with a review of the book from our very own Chris

ThursdayRebecca Cohen joins us on the Saving Crofton Hall blog tour, with a giveaway

Vicktor Alexander is also our guest today on the Groom of Convenience blog tour, with a giveaway

FridayOfelia Grand is our guest today to present Boughs of Evergreen, a two volume anthology of holiday stories to raise money for the Trevor Project. To join in the spirit of giving, The Novel Approach is purchasing 5 copies of the entire collection, both volumes, all 23 stories, to give away to five readers

Will Freshwater also joins us today on the Favorite Son blog tour, with a giveaway

SaturdayLiam Livings stops by on the And Then That Happened blog tour, with a giveaway

Hayley B. James is also with us today with a guest post on her Undercover Addiction blog tour, so be sure to stay tuned

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And that does it for this time. Until next week, happy reading!

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Kathie, Rick R. Reed

Audio Review: Chaser by Rick R. Reed – Narrated by John Solo

Title: Chaser

Author: Rick R. Reed

Narrator:: John Solo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours, 8 Minutes

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Caden DeSarro is what they call a chubby chaser. He likes his guys with a few extra pounds on them. So when he meets Kevin Dodge in a bar bathroom, he can’t help but stare, even if he does make an ass of himself. As far as Caden is concerned, Kevin is physically perfect: a stocky bearded blond with a dick that’s just right. (They met in the bathroom – of course he looked!) But Caden gets tongue-tied and misses his chance. Continue reading

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Bryan Keating, Charlie Cochet, GayRomLit, Jason Lloyd, Jay Northcote, Katey Hawthorne, Kiernan Kelly, Lou Hoffmann, Mari Evans, Peter Monn, Reviewed by Taz, Rhys Ford, Rick R. Reed, Sneak Peek, Thianna D, Wade Kelly

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week And An Intro To Our Newest Reviewer

Happy Sunday, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week! We’ve just closed out another great seven days of author visits, giveaways and reviews. And, guess what? Well, we’ve got an equally outstanding week just waiting to get underway.

In addition to all the that, I’m also thrilled to introduce the newest member of our review team, Taz! He comes to us with plenty of reviewing experience, so without further ado, here’s the man himself:

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Taz_TNATaz: The largest carnivorous marsupial in the world is characterized by its stocky and muscular build, broad head, pungent odor, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell and apparent ferocity when feeding. That’s me! Voracious lover of romance, I keep a wealth of good books in my pouch to keep my appetite satisfied. But when I read, it’s with a hunger. So bring on the stories. I can’t get enough of ‘em. Oh, but I don’t have a pungent odor…or so I’m told.

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Having met him in person, I can vouch for him…he does not stink in any way!

Now, have a look at what’s in store, and be sure to stay tuned for more reviews and the chance to win some great prizes.


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MondayRhys Ford kicks off the week with an exclusive Cover Reveal and Excerpt from the forthcoming Down and Dirty

Jason Lloyd also helps us start the week off on the Queer Dirty Laundry Blog Tour

Tuesday – Today brings us another Cover Reveal and Giveaway from Lou Hoffmann, author of the YA fantasy novel Key of Behilseth

Bryan Keating also joins us today on the Paused Blog Tour, with a Guest Post and Giveaway

WednesdayKatey Hawthorne is back today for another Countdown to GRL Celebration Guest Post

ThursdayCharlie Cochet pops in today with a Cover Reveal of her upcoming historical romance, A Rose by Any Other Name

Wade Kelly is also our guest today with a guest post on the Names Can Never Hurt Me Blog Tour

This month’s installment of Rick R. Reed: True Confessions will be a short exposé on his upcoming novel Husband Hunters

FridayJay Northcote joins us today with an exclusive excerpt and giveaway on the Nothing Special Blog Tour

SaturdayMari Evans joins us on the Trusting Love Blog Tour and Giveaway

Kiernan Kelly is also here today with a Countdown to Coastal Magic Convention Interview

Sunday – We’ve got an Exclusive Excerpt from Thianna D’s Breathe Each Other In

Peter Monn is also our guest on The Before Now and After Then Blog Tour

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

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4 Stars, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jules, Rick R. Reed

Love, Loss, And A Hate Crime Intertwine In Rick R. Reed’s “Bashed”

“Hate crimes are the scariest thing in the world because these people really believe what they’re doing is right.” – Cher


Title: Bashed

Author: Rick R. Reed

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: 2nd Edition

It should have been a perfect night out. Instead, Mark and Donald collide with tragedy when they leave their favorite night spot. That dark October night, three gay-bashers emerge from the gloom, armed with slurs, fists, and an aluminum baseball bat. Continue reading

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Dreamspinner Press, Rick R. Reed

Why I Wrote “Bashed” – An Afterward: Guest Post And Giveaway by Rick R. Reed

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© Rick R. Reed, 2014, all rights reserved

Bashed, my hate crime/love story, includes an afterword exclusive to this new edition. I’m sharing it with you in this guest post to let you know why the subject matter for this book—hate crimes against LGBT people—is so close and personal for me. I also think this afterword gives you a glimpse into how writers get inspired. Inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places, sometimes nightmare territory where you’d rather not venture… Continue reading

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