5 Stars, Ai Press, D.H. Starr, Genre Romance, New Adult, Reviewed by Jackie

Review: Wrestling With Passion by D.H. Starr

Title: Wrestling With Passion

Author: D.H. Starr

Publisher: Ai Press

Pages/Word Count: 247 Pages

At a Glance: Wrestling With Passion is a great continuation to Scott and Derek’s story.

Reviewed By: Jackie

Blurb: Scott and Derek’s epic passion continues into sophomore year with new challenges to face and overcome. There is one problem: How can you fight an adversary you can’t see?

Derek has always helped others, often placing himself in risky situations. Scott has lived with instability his entire life, moving from place to place, never able to set roots. Surviving the obstacles set in place by Scott’s unloving father and overcoming the threat of an unstable fellow student their freshman year, they start their second year of college believing they’ve overcome all of the barriers blocking their future happiness.

All that changes when a troubled student, Tim, enters their lives. Derek can’t help but reach out to the drug-abusing freshman. Scott can’t suppress the paralyzing fear of losing Derek, the one stable thing in his life. As they compromise their own internal needs in an effort to support each other, resentment builds and guilt festers.

Is this new obstacle, the demons that live deep inside each of them, the one that might tear them apart?


Review: I have loved following Scott and Derek since they met in their senior year of high school. It was great watching Derek grow and come into his true personality with the love he finds in Scott. Scott, though, was a little trickier to like. But, once he finally came clean about everything in his life, he quickly became an all-time favorite character. When the boys went away to college, they faced some of the same growing pains all couples face, but they came through it stronger than when they began.

With the summer almost over, and Derek and Scott getting ready to head off to college for their sophomore year, they take a short weekend trip to have some alone time before the pressure of wrestling and classes and all the other time consuming tasks begin. During this trip, the boys share everything: their hopes and fears and, of course, plenty of smexy times. There are promises made, and both of them feel more secure together than ever.

The first day back at school brings their dorm-mate, Tim, into their lives, and it seems that is where the problems begin. After the issues Derek had their freshman year, after reaching out to someone in need, they are both leery of getting too close to this troubled young man. This situation by itself wouldn’t be a problem, but throw in Scott’s fear of losing anyone else in his life, and Derek’s feelings that Scott is trying to change him, and it leads to some troubled times for our two favorite guys.

As usual D.H. Starr takes us on a journey with Scott and Derek, both of them having to dig deep and be up front with each other about their deepest, darkest fears. Once they lay all their cards out on the table, though, it seems like they are better than ever. Wrestling With Passion is a great continuation to Scott and Derek’s story. I truly love the fact that these two haven’t just had an easy path to happiness, but have had to work hard to get where they are today. Their sexual chemistry is off the charts, and the love they feel for each other is one that seems to be able to overcome any obstacle that comes their way.

The believability of their relationship, and the fact that their love leaps off the page, is the direct result of the author’s writing ability. With every one of his books I read, I am more and more impressed with the way he brings his characters to life. His characters always seem to be able to overcome anything that comes their way, and what I appreciate most is that the obstacles they face are very believable and not contrived or over the top.

I completely adore Scott and Derek and if you haven’t read their story yet, I highly recommend getting to it right away. Begin at the beginning and love these boys just like I do. I don’t know what is next for them, but I will be first in line to witness it.


You can buy Wrestling With Passion here:

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Ai Press, Giveaways, R.P. Andrews

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Czar of Wilton Drive Blog Tour With R.P. Andrews

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The Novel Approach welcomes author R.P. Andrews today. He’s talking Kinky Sex (NSFW, dear readers!) and is also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!


I don’t apologize for what you’re about to read. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of what I’ve done in the name of pleasure; I am what I am and, well, it is what it is. The long anticipated BDSM erotic romance Fifty Shades of Grey opened Valentine’s Day weekend, and while it was largely panned by the critics as “insipid,” it is making a mega-fortune off wives who drag their husbands to it in hopes its dirty tale inspires them. I didn’t read the book nor plan to see the movie. But from what I gleaned from the internet, my response is one big yawn.

I mean what’s the big fuckin’ deal?

I can’t speak for str8s, but unless you’re totally vanilla without sprinkles in the bedroom, most of us gay guys have “been there, done that” somewhere along our checkered careers. I know I certainly have as a seasoned leather man: I’ve been cuffed, had my balls tied up and weighed down with fish hooks, had hot wax dripped on my privates, have deep fisted and punched fisted at least a dozen men, tightened a belt around the neck of a guy who craved breath control till he passed out, had a young guy who looked as squeaky clean as a farmer’s son eat out my dirty asshole, wore a gas mask while a guy shot poppers up the hose and a third blew me, and get a hard-on in Home Depot and Office Depot when it comes to looking for new toys. That’s just for starters, and most of the time I wasn’t even high.

Not bad for a former Sunday school teacher, huh? (No, you’re right, pretty awful.)

Take, for example, my introduction to electrical simulation or e-stim. The closest I came to being adopted by the Mafia, besides living and working on Staten Island, a borough of the Big Apple, and the most Italian American county in the U.S., was Peter, a short (like me), stocky, swarthy, hairy, Italian gorilla with a shaved head and thick black beard and a build that Tom of Finland would have used as a model. It was mutual lust the second we eyed one another in the Lure, NYC’s legendary leather bar. Pete said he was in “construction,” but at 47 was already retired, and living on Staten Island all those years taught me not to ask too many questions.

After screwing around at his Jersey mansion a few times, we rendezvoused at his other estate a bit closer to New York City, in Caldwell, Jersey. I took the afternoon off from work to play, and this is where Peter introduced me to this new kink. With us squatting on the bed, face to face, he placed a long metal rod beneath our ball sacs wired to a large lantern battery and another wire around the base of each of our hard cocks, then flipped some switch and began slowly racketing up the voltage with a dial. It was the first time I shot without touching myself, and the sight of globs of cum spurting from our twitching cocks up onto our furry bellies and chests almost in unison would have been a ratings winner on xtube.com if it had existed then.

Peter actually wanted to keep me, but I was too self-reliant a person to be held down. Looking back now, thirty years later, I think I was plain stupid. Peter, who was almost twenty years my senior, might be dead by now, and I would have been set for the rest of my life, like some jerk I met on the beach years later in Fort Lauderdale who, after taking care of his “partner,” thirty years his senior, for fifteen years, and not working a day all those years, is now living off a trust fund. But, hell, at least Peter didn’t hire a hit man when I deserted him.

Then there’s that very acquired taste: fist fucking. The first time I fisted a guy was in the Clubhouse II baths in Lauderdale, on one of my snowbird visits in the nineties. The guy, a lean and mean, lightly furry, handsome fucker, all of thirty, was obviously strung out on something when he gave me the eye as I passed his open room door. Even if I wasn’t quite as versed in the ins and outs of gay sex as I am today, I knew the can of Crisco on his bed stand wasn’t there for frying chicken.

That night I also learned I was a born fister. I had the strong but tightly built hand of a musician and, in fact, had been a concert pianist by the age of eight, but gave it all up when my piano teacher moved to another town. It took very little effort for me to slide first two fingers, then three, then my tapered fist, and finally my whole hand half way to my elbow up his stretched hole. He was a clean machine – you know what I’m saying – and all I felt was wet, warm tissue enveloping my arm. Frankly, I wasn’t sexually turned on by the experience, but neither was I turned off – just curious. My buddy, on the other hand, was in Fistee Heaven. I’m sure whatever he was on certainly helped the cause.

I thought guys who loved getting fisted may have gotten bored with conventional dick fucking or even super-sized dildos. I also knew from that first night that it had to be far more than massaging the guy’s prostate since the prostate is only a few inches up the rectum while your hand feels like you could grab the guy by the throat from inside. But as a seasoned fister buddy explained to me, the anal sphincter is another erogenous zone which becomes so sensitive after a fisting experience, just touching it continues to drive the guy wild and even more hungry for a hard cock to enter next.

OK, I’ll buy that, but I still think there’s also something of a mind game going on here, the fact the guys knows that once you’ve got half your arm up his butt, you have complete dominion over his life. And his soul.

Over the years I had my fair share of asses, but increasingly I found the experience, well, a little boring. While I knew that the guy I was doing it to was obviously enjoying it – I could tell by the level of his grunts – my mind would often wander to my weekly food shopping list.

That is, until I met my fisting brothers from LA, Tim and Tom.

We connected on Manhunt; they were on vacation here in Lauderdale, staying at one of the overpriced guest houses by the beach, but they were willing to make it easy for me by coming to my place. Hairy, masculine, gym-built fuckers with thick uncut cocks, they looked like the types who would want to tie me up to a post and take turns fucking the shit out of my tight virgin ass. Tim, 44 had a shaved head, his younger brother, Tom, 40, sported a buzz. But no, instead it was I who took turns fisting their glorious furry butts, Tim’s first while Tom went down on my dick, then vice versa, as they say. Reciprocation made all the difference for me, something that could only happen in a threesome arrangement. We took it slow but the more arm I gave them, the more each of them wanted, till I felt I could rip their hearts out if I willed it.

And when they had both gotten off, flaccid dicks spurting away, Tom twisted my nips while Tim went down on me and took my load like a pro. Then they packed up their stuff, in as organized a fashion as they had unpacked, slipped back into their jogging shorts and tight tanks, and thanked me for a good time. For once had by all.

A few years later, this studly bearded furry handsome Cuban named Marcos hit me up on Daddyhunt and invited me over to his Miami luxury condo. Marcos wanted one thing and one thing only: for me to pound his bull balls with a mallet or, when he was really warmed up, a baseball bat, while he lay there, those thick muscular, hairy legs spread. No touching, no kissing, just three hours of solid whacking while we smoked meth.

Ever wear one of those Israeli gas masks you can pick up cheap for twenty bucks on one of those online sex shops? The feel of confinement is over the top. A meth head buddy introduced me to his while he gave me a bj and I watched through the mask goggles. Later, a geek FB and I had loads of sensual sex with mine as he blew some poppers up the hose while he ever so slowly stroked my tool. He told me later his best hard-on was watching me go into some kind of trance. But, shit, this was child’s play compared to what that guy years ago in Columbus, Ohio, asked me to do to him.

I was on a drive vacation to Chicago and decided I’d stop along the way at lesser cities I’d never been. Columbus, Ohio, was among them. I’ve forgotten the name of the place, but one glance said bear/leather/levi bar. It was August, hot and sticky (the bar had only ceiling fans) and when I saw a few other guys shirtless, I slipped off my T and strung it through my belt loops.

“So you gonna enter the contest?” asked the burly, bearded bartender as he handed me my Bud Lite.

“Contest?” I asked.

“The best hairy chest contest. We do it every Friday night. Winner gets fifty bucks.” Then he reached over the bar to stroke my chest. “Yep, you sure do qualify, mister, yum yum.”

Not exactly being shy, I signed up with the MC but knew that bars held these things to milk the crowd for more drinks, so that “Contest at Midnight” actually didn’t happen until closer to one.

I was on my second Bud when Gary strolled in. Tall, lanky and hippish with long flowing black hair and a long scruffy beard, he wore big horn rimmed glasses, a baggy, button down shirt that he had open to his navel to show off some lightly fuzzy flesh, and baggy black jeans. I was used to mentally stripping the superfluous off a guy, though, and could tell underneath his disguise that he had the bod and the looks. I was holding up the wall by the bar as he came over to stand directly across from me.

“Ten more minutes till we crown this week’s hairest chest!” announced the MC, along with a drink special. Gary used the cue to open up.

“So I hope you entered buddy. I’m sure you’ll be the hands-down winner.”

“You never know,” I replied, moving over to him. “There’s always somebody better.”

“Hey man, I live here and I can tell you nobody I know has got you beat. Not by a long shot.”

I laughed. He groped. I told him about my trip. He told me about his life as a sometime employed graphic artist.

“Listen,” he went on more in a whisper,” If you win, will you come home with me? I live only a few blocks from here.”

“And if I lose?” I asked.

“Then I’ll come home with you.”

“Hotel, you mean.”

“Hotel, motel, convent – shit. As long as it’s got a bed.”

There were only three other guys up there competing with me and frankly, it was a slam dunk. Hell, I had more hair on my left shoulder than one of them had on his whole body. I collected my money and fifteen minutes later, we were in Gary’s cramped cluttered apartment, naked on his waterbed, foreplaying away.

That’s when he sprang it on me.

“You into breath control?”

I tried to look and sound ecumenical.

“Never tried it but if you like me to do it to you …”

With that, Gary stood up, reached for his jeans he had flung on a chair and slipped off his wide leather belt. Then he lay back on the bed, tucked a pillow beneath his head, and handed me the belt as I sat down on his belly, straddling him.

“I want you to put it around my neck and pull it tight.”

As I did what he told me to do, I could see his chest first become more agitated, then his breath more labored. I stopped.

“No, no,” he said softly, grabbing my hand. “Keep going. Don’t worry, I’m okay.”

I hesitated a second, then continued my tug on the belt until his face turned blue and he appeared to fall into unconsciousness.

That’s when I panicked, slapped his face a few times, and getting no response, sprung up, grabbed my T and headed for the door.

“Where you’re gonna?” he shouted in a gruffed tone. “I’m not done yet.”

“I am,” I shouted back, slamming the door behind me.

But nothing quite beat going over the top than the time I was in a bath house in Montreal and a big brute of guy, J, asked me to punch fist him and was disappointed when no blood showed on my hand.

Now do you get why I can’t understand all the hoopla about Fifty Shades?


Czar CoverBlurb: The Czar of Wilton Drive, the story of Jonathan Antonucci, a 21 year old, barely-out-the-closet gay man from suburban New York who overnight finds himself a multi-millionaire, thanks to a bequest by his late gay great uncle. Uncle Charlie has unexpectedly died of a heart attack, leaving him the sole owner of several of the most successful bars in Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto, making Jonathan the Czar of Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors’ main drag.

Flying down to Lauderdale to claim his bequest, Jon encounters Uncle Charlie’s dubious friends and business associates, and is immediately submerged in Lauderdale’s scene of unbridled sex and heavy drugs. He also discovers his great uncle’s memoirs which reveal truths not only about Jon’s own past but also what may have really happened to his uncle.

Book Links: Kokoro Press | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


RP Andrews PicAbout the Author: RP Andrews spent most of his life in New York City as a public relations executive before relocating to Fort Lauderdale in 2002, where he enjoyed a brief, second career teaching writing at a local university.
All his works of erotic gay fiction and non-fiction are available on amazon.com and Barnes and Noble; and other select publishers’ sites.

His first work of erotic gay fiction, a collection of edgy short stories called Basic Butch, was originally published by San Francisco-based GLBT Publishers in 2008. Basic Butch features characters who go down life paths that, in the end, they wish they had never explored.

His latest works of serious gay fiction include: The Czar of Wilton Drive, is the story of Jonathan Antonucci, a 21 year old, barely-out-the-closet gay man from suburban New York who overnight finds himself a multi-millionaire, thanks to a bequest by his late gay great uncle. Uncle Charlie has unexpectedly died of a heart attack, leaving him the sole owner of several of the most successful bars in Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto, making Jonathan the Czar of Wilton Drive.

Flying down to Lauderdale to claim his bequest, Jon encounters Uncle Charlie’s dubious friends and business associates, and is immediately submerged in Lauderdale’s scene of unbridled sex and heavy drugs. He also discovers his great uncle’s memoirs which reveal truths not only about Jon’s own past but also what may have really happened to his uncle. In the end, Jon is torn between avenging Uncle Charlie’s death or loving the man responsible for it. From Kokoro Press.

Not In it For The Love, set at the turn of the new millennium. Josh, a young street-smart Florida drifter is snatched from his dead-end existence as a male hustler in a cheap Key Largo motel by Bishop, a Wall Street power broker who sets him up as his trophy boy in Manhattan society.

There, Josh, after leading a promiscuous lifestyle within New York City’s gay sub-culture, meets Hylan, a young, bi-racial, down-on-his luck, wheelchair-bound musician who awakens in Josh what love can be between two men. But their chance at happiness and the lives of those around them are forever changed by 9/11.

Buy Guys, RP Andrews’ newest novella scheduled for release late spring, 2015, is the story of Blaze and Pete, two young, gay handsome drifters with nothing, and nothing to lose. Blaze convinces Pete, who is falling in love with him, to leave dreary New Jersey and lead free and easy lives as male prostitutes in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Blaze, however, soon pulls Pete into a much larger, more dangerous scheme, a scheme that eventually threatens to destroy them both.

RP Andrews’ daily social commentary blog on gay life in America has been running since 2010 at str8gayconfessions.com, and a second edition collection of these commentaries is available as an e-book on amazon.com.

Confessions of a Str8Gay Man is RP Andrews’ unvarnished, unorthodox views of Modern Gay America which are often counter to today’s political correct gay media. In addition, there is Furry Man’s Journal, his erotic memoirs as a hirsute gay man as told through his experiences with the dozen iconic men in his life

AUTHOR LINKS: Website | Facebook | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads



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4 Stars, Ai Press, DH Starr, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jackie

Review: Meant for Him by D.H. Starr

Title: Meant for Him (Meant for Each Other: Book Two)

Author: D.H. Starr

Publisher: Ai Press

Pages/Word Count: 203 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Another hot guy from Greenwich Village is about to meet his match. That is, if he doesn’t mess things up…this time.

After the failure of his relationship with Jeremy, Andrew Jamieson threw himself into a routine his high powered job on Wall Street and workouts. After two years, however, he is unable to quell the longing in his heart for that special someone. Feeling hopeless, Andrew resigns himself to life of work and living alone in his pent house apartment. That is, until he’s fixed up with Peter, the local bartender in Jeremy’s favorite watering hole in the East Village. Peter is hot, sweet, sensitive and…masterful. Peter brings out a side of Andrew he never knew he had. And he can’t get enough. However, the same difficulties Andrew had with Jeremy threaten to rear up and ruin his chances with Peter. Will Andrew love Peter enough to let himself have the one guy in the world who could be meant for him? Continue reading

Ai Press, D.H. Starr

Character Interview and Giveaway: Meant for Him by DH Starr

MFM Banner Novel Approach

Between the Sheets: Interview with Andrew and Peter

Bella: Welcome to Interviews Between the Sheets. I’m Bella Rotundo, the host. I’ve got two hot beefcakes with me tonight. Andrew Jamieson and Peter Somers. Aren’t they lovely? (Audience applauds. There are some catcalls and whistles as well). Priceless! These two hot studs have joined us to talk about their remarkable journey together. Their story is told in the book Meant For Him by DH Starr. Welcome to the show. I hope you’ve been treated well since you’ve arrived.

Andrew: Yes ma’am. Everyone’s been really sweet.

Peter: The make-up artist was a bit too sweet with Andrew. I never realized applying make-up included a body massage. Continue reading

Ai Press, DH Starr

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

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

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

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

Ai Press, Jeff Erno

There’s New Blood In The Vampire Mythology – “Forever Young” by Jeff Erno

“Love will find a way against time itself.” – Sylvia Day

Jeff Erno has written some wonderful books. Trust Me is one of my all time favorite coming of age novels. I have also read his Dumb Jock series and a few of his individual titles. Forever Young is Jeff’s first vampire novel and I have to say it was absolutely wonderful. There is a lot going on in this story, but the writing was so fluid and the story so well told it all just worked, and it all worked well.

First we meet Robbie. He is an 18 yr old recent high school graduate working at the local grocery store. He is extremely socially awkward and stumbles over the most basic attempts at conversation. He is bullied by a co-worker and harassed by an elderly customer. Robbie is very slight in build, about 5’9”, with blond hair and striking blue eyes. He is also a bit too trusting at times. Especially when he meets a handsome stranger at work one night.

Colton, or Colt, is a 167 yr old vampire that doesn’t look a day over 17. Colt comes to Robbie’s rescue at the supermarket and then walks him home later that night. Colt hasn’t felt a connection like the one he has with Robbie since he was made into a vampire. His initial thought was just to feed from Robbie, but he felt a connection with him that he couldn’t understnnd. He hadn’t felt like that since he was actually 17. Against the advice of Richard and Brendan, his two fathers, he pursues a relationship with Robbie.

Richard and Brendan have been together for as long as Colt has known them, well over a century. The two men love one another more than anything else in the world. The two men worry that Colt’s relationship with Robbie is going to threaten the peace they have found in their new home. Richard has been keeping some pretty heavy secrets from Colt, and with him not understanding the ramifications, Colt puts their little family square in the middle of trouble.

Now, if you have a book about vampires, they need a nemesis. Jeff Erno wrote our vampires a very unique enemy: the Matarians. These hunters are unique in the fact that they are very well organized. Once a member of the order turns 16 they receive a tattoo on their arm and attend hunter “bootcamp”. Here at this bootcamp are two boys, Issa and Dylan. Dylan comes from a long line of Matarian hunters and is ready to train so he can avenge the death of his parents. Issa is a whole other story. Before Issa was even born, his older brother Shadi disappeared and Issa believes he was killed by vampires. Dylan and Issa become fast friends and even faster boyfriends.

There is also an ongoing battle within the vampires themselves. The half-breeds decided well over a century before that they didn’t want to be slaves to the full blooded vampires, so they rebelled. Even in the present there is still a resistance and they are still fighting for their total freedom. When Brendan comes up missing Richard appeals to Raoul, one of the oldest full blood vampires in existence, for help. This leads to a showdown of epic proportions and some major losses on both sides. I hope that Jeff Erno makes this a series because there are so many wonderful plot lines, new characters introduced right at the end and some surprise reunions. There are minimal descriptive sexual situations in this book, but the love that is shared between the couples is tangible. The final battle scene is very violent and bloody, and I loved every second of it. There are no sparkly vampires brooding in this book, but it does have a great love story. There is a HEA, but I for one hope that it is To Be Continued……

This book is well written, the characters are well fleshed out and there are some very interesting plot twists to keep you on your toes. Highly recommend this book. It should be on everyone’s summer reading list if it isn’t already.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Forever Young here:

Ai Press, D.H. Starr, Sedonia Guillone

From Friends to Lovers To The Chance To Win A FREE Book! Sedonia Guillone And D.H. Starr Are Here To Make It Happen!

Hi, Sedonia and D.H., and welcome to The Novel Approach! I’m so glad to have you both here with me today. Wahoo, a two-fer! :) Before we get to the GIVE-AWAY!, let’s just start right off by having you tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Q. I’m going to jump into things and ask this question first because I absolutely adore the friends-to-lovers theme. How did the two of you come to the decision to team up and focus an entire anthology on that one particular thematic element?

Sedonia: The friends to lovers theme has always been my personal favorite as long as I can remember. I tend to write those anyway. I put that together with my desire to collaborate with Doug Starr because we make a great team and voila! :)

Doug: Sedonia snapped me up right at the start of my writing career. She saw what I was going for in my writing and pushed me to become a stronger story teller. She gets the emotional stuff I love so much and she isn’t afraid to push my thinking. When she approached me with this anthology, there was no hesitation before I said yes.

Q. How long did it take you to come up with the ideas for, then finish the stories included in the book?

Sedonia: The way it works with me is that I have an inventory in my head of stories that need to be written – I can already classify them into a genre and then fit them where needed and then write. It’s weird, I know, but for whatever reason, that’s what happens. As far as finishing the story I wrote, it took a few months to write it all down and then more time to go through and revise, have it beta read then edited and line edited. After that, I was STILL making improvements until I felt fully satisfied.

Doug: This project took quite some time and I have to thank Sedonia for her patience. Many of my online friends know how consuming my work is and outside of summer, I have to work very hard to make the time for writing. From start, when we agreed to do this anthology, to finish, the arrival of our work for others to enjoy, it took well over a year, but with major gaps of time when I put the stories aside. It was worth the wait for me though. I’m very proud of the stories and I think they tell a story everyone can relate to on some level.

Q. When did you decide that writing was going to become more a serious pursuit than a hobby?

Sedonia: Well, I’d begun writing seriously back in 1998 or so. I have also always wanted to work from home. So with the rise of the Internet and email, once I had a computer and could submit stories electronically, I was able to make writing more of a career. That, and I have the generous support in every way from my boyfriend and friends and family that enable me to write full time.

Doug: Back in 2009 I found myself unemployed like so many others. I’ve never been someone to sit around feeling sorry for myself, so I started reading…a LOT! And as I explored gay erotic fiction, I said, Hmm. My mind’s just as dirty as theirs and I’ve had a story kicking around in my head forever. Why not? So I wrote Wrestling With Desire, then Wrestling With Love, then Meant For Each Other. All three just flowed from me because I had the time to focus entirely on the writing, the characters, and the story. Let’s just say…IT WAS AWESOME!

Q. Have you always written M/M Romance/Fiction? If not, how did you find your way to it?

Sedonia: I have always written fiction with a romantic element. However, in the beginning I didn’t know about the rise of erotic romance which is more my way of writing. I was trying to write more “literary” fiction and it wasn’t working out. My boyfriend told me to stop trying to be the next Saul Bellow and write what is more natural for me. I did and in 2004 got my first acceptance with erotic romance (M/F). My writing career mushroomed, thankfully. Then, in 2006 I got an idea for spinoff characters in one of my M/F stories, to write an M/M because the character was a gay man. Well, I wrote it and got completely hooked and addicted to writing M/M. Now, it’s my passion.

Doug: Well, as a gay male, this is certainly a topic of interest for me. See, when you’re a man-whore like me, writing m/m erotica is like therapy! You get to live out all your evil little fantasies and somehow manage to seem normal by day. Okay, if you were buying any of that shit, I totally got you! I write erotic m/m fiction because it’s where my hopes live. Every character’s flaw, stress, elation…they are part of me and how my characters live out their lives…they open possibilities of what could be out there for me. Oops, did I forget to mention I’m a naïve optimistic guy?

Q. Of all the characters you’ve both created, who would you each say is your favorite and why?

Sedonia: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I love all of them. But I would say my absolutely favorite is Kiku Fujimara from my White Tigers series. I love him because he’s complex, incredibly sexy and very human all at once.

Doug: Oh wow! You’re putting me in a Sophie’s Choice situation here. My favorite? Let’s say I relate more to the submissive characters in my stories. Not necessarily sexually submissive, but emotionally. I’m talking about the home-makers. Sure, they may make lots of money, work long hours, have their own little stubborn streaks, ultimately, their goal is to make a home and to love their man. The dominant characters are super attractive to me because they don’t run around with their emotions dripping from their pores. They man up when they have to, but when it really counts, they can bare their souls to the one man who makes it safe for them to do so. Oh hum! Now I’m in fantasy land again.

Q. Which part of a book do you think is most difficult to write: Fleshing out a compelling beginning, finding just the right balance for the middle, or coming up with the perfect ending?

Sedonia: The middle and end are the most difficult. The compelling beginning for me is the easy part. I often end up having to write middle scenes in disjointed order and sometimes even write the ending first and then fill out the middle. It depends on how easily the storyline falls into place in my mind first.

Doug: I find the endings are the toughest. The beginnings just come because I have my idea and when I’m ready to give myself about three hours to write, I just get going and the characters introduce themselves to me. The middle is my favorite part to write because I might have an idea of the story line when I begin the process, but the stories never turn out as I imagine. It’s once I’ve tortured my characters as much as I can with angst over that one character we know they should be with, figuring out how to wrap it up without seeming trite or rushed, or prolonged is difficult for me.

Q. If you could offer one word of advice to a writer just starting out, what would it be?

Sedonia: It’s hard to offer just one word of advice but I’ll try (and probably fail), lol. For a writer just starting out: be humble, willing to be tough on your writing and take constructive feedback, even if you weigh the advice against what you are trying to achieve. Read GOOD literature, a lot of it. The mind is very impressionable and if you read junk, your writing won’t be so good. If you read really good stuff, your mind will absorb the good stuff and it will uplift your writing. Don’t ever be a difficult, arrogant author to work with, even if your work ends up being profitable – always remember that the ability to write is a gift and that the other people who are helping you along the way are on your side.

Doug: Nothing more to be said. Bravo!

Q. If you could trade lives with any one fictional character, just for a day, who would it be and why?

Sedonia: I would trade with ANY of my White Tigers for a day as long as I get all the benefits of being in that character’s place. ROFL!

Doug: That one’s easy. I’d want to be Derek. What I wouldn’t have given to have my own Scott when I was in high school.

Q. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?

Sedonia: This is what I repeat to myself every day and was given to me by my teacher: I wish to surrender my mind to Truth, my heart to love and my actions to harmlessness.

Doug: Aw. That’s great Sedonia. Mine’s: Patience is a Virgin and I Ain’t been no Virgin for a LONG time!

Q. Have you ever read something and thought, damn, I wish I’d written that? If so, what was it?

Sedonia: Oh yeah! I wish I’d written Harry Potter or Twilight for sheer monetary reasons. I wish I’d written Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse) because it’s one of the most beautiful, deepest books ever written.

Doug: Sloan Parker’s book Breathe is simply stunning work. What she managed to do in those pages was nothing short of magic.

Q. If you had the opportunity to sit down to dinner with one famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?

Sedonia: That’s easy: John Lennon because he was a beautiful, amazing awake human being.

Doug: Oh God. I have NO idea!

Q. Where’s your favorite place to write?

Sedonia: The kitchen table.

Doug: Living room couch.

Q. How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

Sedonia: My sense of humor includes a great appreciation of irreverence and earthiness. For me, farts are one of the most hysterical things ever created, lol. And my boyfriend’s sense of humor is for me, one of the most hilarious because he will say the unsayable – things that just should not be uttered from human lips – I LOVE that.

Doug: I’d say it’s sarcastic and a bit sexual. I’m very open about being gay, but I’ve also been referred to as a straight man with a gay dick…which I found oddly complimentary for some warped reason. Anyhow, I digress. Sarcastic and sexual. And the thing that makes me laugh harder than anything is the Phone Taps Elvis Duran and the Morning Show does each morning as I drive to work.

Q. Do you have news of any works-in-progress you’d care to share with us?

Sedonia: I am close to finishing my next White Tigers book, Men of Tokyo: Forbidden Cravings. I am making my own foray into the taboo of twins, which I know other M/M authors before me have done. It’s been quite the interesting writing experience. :)

Doug: Oh my GOSH do I have stuff coming. I’m one of the authors in the Lost and Found anthology, put together in support of struggling gay youth and letting them know there are adults out there who want to help them. I got to write with the brilliant and beautiful Ms. Michele Montgomery and absolutely adore what we accomplished together. She wrote from the POV of the boy and I wrote from the point of view of the boy grown up to become a man. I have a story Perfect For Him coming out once I finish it through MLR (Kris gave me a deadline of 11/30 for final revisions so hopefully the wait won’t be too long). I then plan to write Meant For Him, a story which segues from the first book Meant For Each Other. In Meant For Him, Andrew, Jeremy’s ex from the first book, gets his happily ever after. I guess that’s enough for now.

Q. Where can we find you on the internet?

Sedonia: You can find me in all the usual places: www.sedoniaguillone.com, www.sedoniaguillone.com/blog, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sedonia.guillone Twitter: @SedoniaGuillone and Goodreads (which I love): http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/915705.Sedonia_Guillone

Doug: You can find me at www.dhstarr.com, http://www.dhstarr.blogspot.com/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/doug.starr.10, Twitter @dhstarrontwtr, and Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4422750.D_H_Starr

Q. Would each of you be willing to share an excerpt from one of your stories in Friends to Loverswith us?

Sedonia: Of course! I’m a show off. Lol. Here is a tid bit from “Blind Love” in which samurai Hirata is desperate to get back his childhood friend Sho. Sho was blinded by illness and then sent as an apprentice to learn the healing arts of massage. He disappeared but Hirata promised to search for him and won’t rest until they’re back together again. However, for reasons of his own, Sho is not making it so easy…for a while.


A line of rope tied to a pole stretched the distance, parallel to the path, ending at another pole at the river’s edge. Hirata assumed it to be a line to hang washing to dry since Sho stepped out beside him, undressed and slung his kimono over it. “Leave your kimono here,” he told Hirata. Hirata undressed and slung his clothing next to Sho’s on the line. But then Sho grasped the rope with one hand, Hirata’s in the other and took a step. The rope was Sho’s guide between the river and the house.

“Come.” Sho gently tugged Hirata’s hand.

In halting steps, Hirata let Sho, also clad only in his loincloth, a washrag slung over one shoulder, lead him toward the water’s edge. Inwardly he grumbled at his own weakness. Weren’t normal samurai able to sustain such an injury as he’d received without needing so many days’ rest and nursing? Did he have to be so different in every way possible?

Glancing up he watched Sho’s fingers slide along the guide rope. His testy feeling intensified. As a child, Sho had adapted to his blindness seamlessly. As an adult, he’d gained even more skills. In addition to being an accomplished healer, he was as deadly a human weapon as any samurai or ninja. Hirata couldn’t help comparing himself to Sho and to every other human being he’d ever encountered. Everyone else seemed to fit somewhere in this world except him. Until two nights ago, at least, before his horrible conversation with Sho, he’d held onto the belief that the fire of love and loyalty burning in his heart for Sho distinguished him as a samurai in the true sense. Now, that too, seemed a paltry joke.

They reached the riverbank and Sho released the guide rope whose end was tied to a pole a mere few steps from the river. “The water should be nice and warm.” With Hirata’s hand in his, Sho inched down the bank, toward a large rock protruding from the water. The surface of the rock reached from the water to the grassy slope, its edge an arm’s length from Sho’s guide pole and serving almost as a kind of makeshift platform. Ichi-san had apparently set everything up for them perfectly, Hirata thought with a touch of bitterness. No sighted people needed.

Sho took the first step into the water. “Ahh, it’s beautiful.” He tugged Hirata’s hand. “Come, let’s have a bath, then I’ll wash your hair.”

Hirata followed Sho into the river. Admittedly, the sun felt glorious on his back while the cool water enveloped him up to the waist. In his heavy mood, he didn’t want to allow these things to give him enjoyment, but he couldn’t help it. He’d never been truly able to shut the wonder of life out, even in the depths of missing Sho.

Releasing Hirata’s hand, Sho dipped under the water, remained under for several seconds then came back up under a curtain of cascading water. “Wonderful,” he said with an uncharacteristically wide smile. “Go on, Hirata, wet your hair.”

Hirata paused, caught himself staring at Sho. Sunlight made the droplets of water clinging to Sho’s skin shine. Water beaded down Sho’s chest and abdomen, making small rivulets in the furrows between his muscles. Truly he appeared some sort of god in human form, standing there, the water lapping at his waist.

Sho’s smile faded. No doubt he felt Hirata’s gaze on him. “What are you waiting for?” He smoothed one hand over his closely shorn head. “Go under.”

Wordlessly, Hirata obeyed. He went under and opened his eyes. In the clear water, he had a perfect view of Sho’s legs, of his sloping thighs and calves, full of power. Sho had worn his loincloth into the water, but Hirata still caught a glimpse of the bulge in front.

Air ran out of his lungs and he surfaced. Since he’d taken the tie out of his hair before leaving the house, his now wet hair hung heavily over his shoulders. He pushed it back, off his face, his heart beating rather hard. A memory flashed in his mind, of the kabuki actor, Aoki, in sexual congress with Sho, riding him as if astride a horse. Hirata cleared his throat, dispelling the erotic image and its painful contrast to his own experience. “You were right.”

Sho’s smile returned. “Of course I am.” He dipped the washrag into the water and stepped toward Hirata. “Neither of us was ever one to stay indoors for any length of time.”

Before Hirata could answer, Sho was right in front of him. “Now, stand still and let me wash you so you don’t keep lifting your arm.”

“Tha-thank you.”

Sho lifted the washrag and sloshed it over Hirata’s back. Up, down, around, with the same caring touch he’d used in all his ministrations. Hirata tensed, in spite of how good the cloth felt against his skin, down his arms, under his arms then…over his chest and abdomen. Down below, his musuko stirred in his loincloth. The more Sho washed him, the more it hardened, rising until it pushed uncomfortably against the cloth. The sensation made Hirata feel oddly wild, abandoned, rather than uptight, as sexual desire usually made him feel.

Sho slung the washrag over his shoulder again and shifted around so that he stood once again at Hirata’s back. “Dip into the water once more time. So I can get your scalp clean.”

Again Hirata obeyed and then rose up again. When he did so, Sho reached up. Burrowing his fingers into Hirata’s wet hair, he began to rub Hirata’s scalp vigorously in small circles.

Immediately, Hirata’s whole body relaxed. He closed his eyes and let his head loll back a bit. Sho’s touch was heavenly. And…he thought, feeling wanton again…he wanted it all over his body. Everywhere. “What about the rest of me?” he asked.

Sho’s hands stilled. “Excuse me?”

“The other parts of me, below the water. Don’t you wash them, too?”

“You don’t need to raise your arm in order to wash there,” Sho answered. “You can do that yourself.” He fell silent and resumed his work on Hirata’s scalp.

Sho’s response made that testy feeling resurge. Hirata’s misery redoubled. Like a cloud over the sun, it blocked out the pleasure of Sho’s fingers on his scalp, the sun on his skin, and the beauty of Sho’s bare physique. “If I were Aoki,” he mumbled, “you’d gladly wash my nether parts.” The words flew from him, beyond control. After all, Sho had spoken frankly and with brutal honesty the other night. Why shouldn’t he do the same now?

Sho’s hands left his hair. “Would I?”

Tension returned, gripping Hirata’s muscles with such force, his neck began to ache. “I believe so. I saw you and him with my own eyes.”

The water churned with Sho’s step back, away from Hirata. “So, because I lay with Aoki, that means I would do whatever anyone bids of me? Is that what I am? A manservant?”

“No! That’s not what I meant.” Blood rushed hot into Hirata’s face. It flowed through his veins like liquid fire. The erection in his loincloth tightened yet more.

“Then what did you mean?” Sho’s cheeks bloomed with red and his nostrils flared.

“I meant that…I meant…” Hirata couldn’t finish. The fight left him suddenly, and the burn of anger turned to the burn of shame. His own words spiraled in his mind. Unseemly things that reminded him of the way Sozaemon had spoken to him that night in his bedchamber as he forced himself onto Hirata’s struggling form. He hung his head. “I’m sorry, Sho. I’m being cruel. I didn’t mean anything. Forgive me.”

Sho was quiet a moment. “No, I’m sorry. Perhaps the way I bathed you made you feel…” He cleared his throat. “Teased.”

Doug: Sure. This is a snippet from “It Was Always You”. In this scene, Caleb, who’s been in love with his best friend Kevin for as long as he can remember, is walking away from Kevin and his new man, Jason. Devastated he’d waited too long, Caleb goes to get a drink and take a moment to recompose himself.

Just before he was swallowed by the crowd, Caleb turned back to face Kevin and Jason. Their heads were close together, both deep in conversation. When Kevin looked up and saw Caleb looking at them, he immediately placed his arm around Jason’s waist and pulled him closer.

Turning away from the happy couple, Caleb forced his way through the tightly packed room. More than one hand ran across his back or landed on his ass along with a few cat-call compliments, but Caleb was too focused on what he’d just heard and seen to gather any pleasure from the attention.

Elbowing two larger guys to the side, Caleb placed his glass on the table with greater force than he’d intended, causing the bartender to turn from the register. “Just a minute, hon.” He then turned from Caleb giving him a glorious view of a well-rounded ass pushing mercilessly at the fabric of worn-in jeans. The guy was shirtless and his back muscles undulated under smooth skin. The line running down the middle of his back was bordered by long ropes of muscle which rounded into square shoulders. All he could see of the man’s blond hair was the tight, stubbly buzz cut. As the man moved, the symmetry of his body drew Caleb’s eyes in like a magnet.

When he turned around, the bulge in the front was just as prominent as the rear view. “What’ll it be, doll?”

Caleb had to forcibly drag his eyes from the sizable bulge he’d been staring at. Unfortunately his eyes had to pass over a rippling torso until they rested on deep brown eyes. The guy’s smile revealed he was entirely aware what Caleb had been doing. Heat flooded Caleb’s cheeks, which must have amused the bartender since he reached across the bar and placed his hand on Caleb’s face for a moment. “Don’t be shy, babe. You’re a hot piece too.”

“Uh, er, thanks.” How long had it been since someone had flirted with him?

They continued to stare at each other until Brown Eyes broke the silence. “So, what can I get you?”

“Right. Sorry. Could I have a Stoli-O Madras?”

“Sure thing, sweetie.” He turned to the bar, and Caleb’s eyes fell directly back to the ass he’d been admiring moments earlier. This guy was hot. Really hot. And he was flirting with Caleb. Come on. He’s a bartender. That’s how he makes his tips.

It had been far too long since Caleb had been out in the scene, surrounded by men. Long enough he’d forgotten that he could still turn a few heads his way. What with the looks, the gropes, and the flirting he’d experienced in the past few minutes, there was no telling what lay ahead if he put himself out there. Maybe that’s exactly what he should have been doing all along. Clearly Kevin wasn’t waiting around for him.

The bartender returned with his drink. “Here you go. What’s your name? I can’t keep on calling you doll, honey or sweetie.”

This couldn’t be happening. A hot bartender wanted his name? “It’s Caleb?”

His response was greeted with a heartfelt laugh. “Are you telling or asking?” As he slid the drink across the bar, he encircled Caleb’s hand with his own, the slender yet strong fingers cool against Caleb’s hot skin. “My name’s Josh.” He pressed a slip of paper into Caleb’s hand. “And the drink’s on me.” With a wink, Josh moved to the next person, flashing his wide smile.

Taking a sip from his drink and one last look at Josh, Caleb turned from the bar and headed back toward Kevin and Jason. He glanced at the slip of paper. Josh had written his number and a request. Call me. It had been too long since someone had shown Caleb this kind of attention. Too long since he’d felt attractive and desired. For once, Caleb took notice of the eyes of club-goers turning his way. Flirtatiousness and stray hands continued to greet him as he walked, each interaction boosting his self-esteem.

With each step, he could feel his feet landing more confidently on the ground, his shoulders pulling back, his head lifting. The recognition he was receiving, something he’d given little thought to over the past few years soaked into him like water into a dry sponge. What perplexed him is how he hadn’t even known he was craving this kind of attention. How had he allowed himself to sink to a place where Kevin’s behaviors defined whether he was happy or not?

By the time he reached Kevin, he’d almost forgotten about Jason. One look at the two of them standing next to one another, leaning together, clinking their glasses and laughing and Caleb’s confidence blew out of him like a balloon deflating. No matter how many men found him attractive, no matter how many hands groped him, they were strangers. There was only one man who held any real attraction for him.

Thanks again very much for being here today! I hope you’ll come back and visit again soon! :)

Sedonia: Thank you so much for having me here!
Doug: It was my pleasure. Thank you.

Now, here’s your chance to win a copy of Friends to Lovers! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post – please include your email address so we know how to reach you – and you’ll automatically be entered to win. One lucky fan will be selected by random drawing and contacted for prize delivery at the close of the contest. Good luck!

**Entry deadline is 11:59pm Pacific Time (2:59am Eastern) on Thursday, November 8, 2012.**

Ai Press, D.H. Starr, Sedonia Guillone, William Neale

Friends to Lovers: An Anthology by D.H. Starr and Sedonia Guillone

“The hardest part about being friends, is loving you so much.” – Unknown

There are so many things I love about the theme of friendships crossing the line and toppling over into romance—the built in anxiety of the risks involved, the doubts and fears, the hesitancy to upset the balance of a relationship…the heartache of loving someone for so long and then finally finding the courage to let that person know how you feel.

The payoff when, in a single moment, a first kiss strikes the perfect chord in an extraordinary new harmony.

Sedonia Guillone and D.H. Starr have struck that chord in their new anthology Friends to Lovers, a three-story compilation that is, by turns, the perfect blend of anxiety and heartache and hope, delivered in three very different tales.

Setting the mood perfectly, right from the outset, is D.H. Starr’s It Was Always You, a contemporary romance starring Caleb Richards, a man whose endurance has been tested time and time again over the years by his best friend Kevin O’Brien, whose multitude of sexual conquests are the stuff of poor Caleb’s tortured heart.

Caleb loves Kevin with everything he is but has never found the ideal time, the right words, or the courage, for that matter, to express his feelings. It all comes down to the very valid question for which the answer is terrifying: What if?

What if Caleb pours out his heart and soul and Kevin doesn’t feel the same way. What if, in Caleb’s desire to be something more to Kevin, he causes irreparable damage to their friendship? There are too many emotional and psychological barriers in the way, and now it appears there’s another very real obstacle to overcome—an obstacle named Jason. Then the question becomes, what if I’ve waited too long?

D.H. strikes the perfect balance in this story, between anticipation and denial and longing, and then ties it all up perfectly in the end. – *5 Stars*

Blind Love by Sedonia Guillone is, simply put, gorgeous. Where It Was Always You is a twist to the gut, Blind Love is a historical drama that clinches everything into a tighter knot of anxiety, in the story of Hirata and Sho, two boys who were bound by love and friendship, but who were separated at the age of ten by destiny and circumstance.

Theirs is a story of promise and heartbreak, the legendary story of a shogun and the man he has vowed to spend his life searching for. It is a story of blindness not only of the eyes but of the heart as well, the story of an undying and unconditional love. It is a story of denial and desire and evolution and the way in which a sightless man comes to understand that the bonds of promise and conviction can’t escape the blind optimism of the one who loves him without limits.

It’s not often I would consider describing a short story as epic, but if I did, Blind Love would be the one. – *5 Stars*

William Neale

Wrapping up the collection is D.H. Starr’s Skating for Gold, a story written nearly two years ago and lovingly dedicated to the late but never forgotten author William Neale, who passed away unexpectedly in March of this year.

This is the story of Olympic Figure Skating hopeful, Devon Hayes, and the trials he faces not only in his journey to make the U.S. Figure Skating team but to choreograph his way through a love affair with his coach, Lance Dawson, and to navigate his way toward the realization that directing a portion of all the love he has to give, inward—to love himself just a little bit more—is the key that will unlock his quest for success in all things.

This story was just the right endcap for the anthology, filled with dramatic elements but at the same time sweet and romantic, and as much a story of acceptance and unconditional love between a father and son as it is a story of transformation for Devon and Lance. – *4 Stars*

Find out how you can enter to win Friends to Lovers HERE.

Available for purchase from Ai Press here: