4.5 Stars, Amazon Digital Services, JP Kenwood, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

JP Kenwood’s “Dominus” Is Sex And Slavery And A Scintillating Mystery


“I fear that when it comes to you, cățel, I may have inadvertently opened Pandora’s box.” – JP Kenwood


Title: Dominus

Author: JP Kenwood

Publisher: JPK Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 285 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: In AD 107, after a grueling campaign against Rome’s fierce enemy, the kingdom of Dacia, Gaius Fabius returns home in triumph. With the bloody battles over, the commander of the Lucky IV Legion now craves life’s simple pleasures: leisurely soaks in fragrant baths, over-flowing cups of wine, and a long holiday at his seaside villa to savor his pleasure slaves. On a whim, he purchases a spirited young Dacian captive and unwittingly sparks a fresh outbreak of the Dacian war; an intimate struggle between two sworn enemies with love and honor at stake.

Continue reading

Standard
4.5 Stars, Amazon Digital Services, Lisa Worrall, Reviewed by Lisa, White Stiletto Press

Lisa Worrall’s “Behind the Mask” Gives Two Men A Second Chance At Love


“Don’t you find that a terribly romantic idea? Love stealing in to overtake two people who’d believed they were merely friends?” ― Cecilia Grant


Title: Behind the Mask

Author: Lisa Worrall

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 80 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: The Downe’s Valentine’s Day Masquerade Ball has been an annual event for over a hundred
years and where, four years ago, Gabe met Mike. It’s been over six months since Mike’s death and Mike thinks that Gabe is ready to move on. How does Gabe know this? He receives a letter and a ticket to the ball, from Mike. Gabe isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to move on, but in deference to Mike’s memory, he attends the ball.

Continue reading

Standard
4 Stars, Amazon Digital Services, Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson’s “Sweet Tooth” Is A Sweet And Funny Memoir – Reviewed by Tina


“Besides, it’s my God-given right as an American to speak my mind and fill others’ ears with my thoughts, my opinions, my innermost feelings, and my repressed childhood memories.” ― Tim Anderson


Title: Sweet Tooth

Author: Tim Anderson

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 333 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: What’s a sweets-loving young boy growing up gay in North Carolina in the eighties supposed to think when he’s diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? That God is punishing him, naturally.
Continue reading

Standard
5 Stars, Amazon Digital Services, Reviewed by Lisa, Riley Hart, Self-Published

Riley Hart’s “Stay (Blackcreek: Book Two)” Is One Great Story


“Running away was easy; not knowing what to do next was the hard part.” ― Glenda Millard


Title: Stay (Blackcreek #2)

Author: Riley Hart

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 212 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Wes Jensen just lost the sister who raised him, and gained custody of his niece. The last thing he needs to add to his full plate is dealing with Braden Roth, the one-night-stand who continues to try to push his way into Wes’ life. He has a kid to raise now, and Wes isn’t great at getting close anyway.
Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Riley Hart, Self-Published

The Novel Approach Interviews Author Riley Hart On Her “Stay (Blackcreek: Book Two) Blog Tour – And There’s A Giveaway!



TNA: Hi, Riley, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself: hobbies, interests, things we might not know about you but should?

Riley: Hello. Thanks for having me. I’m obsessed with all things book related. I’m almost always reading or writing. I have an awesome husband, two great kids, and I love tattoos! I’m also a total and complete romantic.

Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Riley Hart, Self-Published

Riley Hart’s “Broken Pieces” Is A Masterful Bit Of Storytelling


“The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. Nothing less will do. There can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises.” – Carl Jung


Title: Broken Pieces

Author: Riley Hart

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 339 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Can three broken pieces make a whole?

Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Self-Published

Jon De’Lisle Is Here Today With An Interview, Exclusive Excerpt From His Book “The Dantone Project”, And A Giveaway


TNA: Hi, Jon, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself: hobbies, interests, odds and ends things that make you, you.

Jon: First, I would just like to say thank you so much for this opportunity. As a new author, this is a new and exciting process for me.

I guess that first, I would say I have quite an eclectic taste. My friends, family, and people who have known me have commented to me over the years that I must have an old soul. I am an only child, having been born to parents who were already in their 30’s. I like to say that I’m a unique mixture of Golden-Era and modern present-day life, thrown into a blender.

I have had an active interest in the Golden Era, and Film Noir for most of my life. I grew up reading mysteries, watching detectives on television, and playing computer games involving mysteries and detectives. I also have a fascination with old time radio shows from the 1930’s through the 50’s, and have collected thousands of individual episodes ranging from comedy to mystery and thriller, and detective. These sources are where a lot of my inspiration for writing comes from, and for writing mysteries in particular.

I keep myself pretty busy most of the time. I have a pretty demanding full time job, and a good group of friends and family and a partner I live with that fills my free time. I enjoy vacationing, and can find myself having fun in large cities like New York, or relaxing in a popup camper in Durango, Colorado.

TNA: Who would you say is your biggest influence as a writer? Do you have a favorite author(s) who inspired you to become a writer yourself?

Jon: I can’t think of one particular author who has inspired me to become a writer. However, I would have to say that my favorite author of all time is Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone “alphabet series”. I was introduced to her writing in my senior year of high school. I was interviewing the private investigator, who would later become my mentor, for a research paper, and she told me about the Kinsey Millhone mysteries.

The biggest thing I find fascinating about this series is how humble and realistic Ms. Grafton writes the stories, while making them engrossing. She writes Kinsey Millhone as a realistic PI. She isn’t superwoman, and she doesn’t carry a gun around shooting up places and bad guys. She does real investigative work: talking to people, observing things, researching newspapers and police reports, lots of waiting and watching, and writing lots of reports. Aside from the common perception that PI’s only investigate infidelity, the character of Kinsey investigates fraud, and missing persons’ cases, and cold cases; other realistic cases that PI’s take. The information she gains makes sense, and it fits into the conclusion of the story perfectly.

TNA: The Dantone Project is your first published novel. How long did it take you write the book? Did the idea for the story come to you slowly, or was it more a sudden burst of inspiration?

Jon: Actually, writing the book took a considerable amount of time. I started the book when I was a Sophomore in high school in 2002. I completed the rough draft of the story around 2004. The story then sat on my hard drive for close to four years while I was in college.

Strangely enough, even I am not exactly sure how the story developed. When I began writing the book, I was in a dark place in my life, mainly due to the struggles of trying to find my place in the world as a teen turning into a young adult. I had also known for several years that I was gay, although I had not come out to anyone yet. I started writing the book solely for myself, and as a way to process the emotions I was feeling inside. In fact, when I first started the book, I did not know if I wanted the main character to be gay. I actually sat staring at my computer screen for some time before I could type the words. It was almost as traumatic as the first time I uttered the words out loud to an actual person.

When the story began, I had no idea where it would lead, as I had not bothered with a layout or outline of the plot. Over the few years of writing, the story unfolded into what it is today, at least for the most part. I did not make too many changes to the actual plot of the story from the rough draft to the final released version.

TNA: Your protagonist, James Warner, is a private investigator hired to solve the case of a missing person. What well know literary PI would you say James most closely resembles and why?

Jon: Thinking about James’ personality, I actually think he’s a combination of personalities, represented over the course of the story. James is in a very dark place during the first part of the book. I’d say he’s just short of suicidal; he’s bitter and angry, and a drunk. In this, I think he is the epitome of the hard-boiled PIs’ persona, with the major exception of being a “womanizer”. James doesn’t trust anyone, and sees the world as a dark place. This attitude is shown in the personas’ of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, and Dashielle Hammett’s Sam Spade.

Once Clint, James’ client, begins to tear down his wall of isolation, James can’t help but begin to feel that bubbly, lighter than air, feeling that attraction and having a crush brings. With that, while James maintains the somewhat cynical and skeptical investigative trait that Marlowe and Spade have, I’d say he also develops a slightly comedic personality trait. The closest comparison I can make to this trait would have to be in the characters of Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man series (except without as many cocktails), or even the character of Richard Diamond, in the 1950’s radio series, played by Dick Powell. These detectives, being hard-core crime solvers, also try to take a light-hearted approach to tracking down the bad guys.

TNA: If you could describe James in just a few sentences to give us a good idea of what sort of man he is, what would you say?

Jon: He’s definitely an introvert, like me. To an extent, he’s a product of his environment, being skeptical and critical of society. His parents died when he was young, forcing him to grow up quickly, and without having the opportunity to be wholly embraced and accepted by his family. Although his job as an investigator is a hard one, and he’s often broke, he doesn’t know what else he would do; he has a love/hate relationship with his chosen profession. Assuming that someone could reach him and obtain his trust, he is fiercely loyal, and would do most anything for someone he cared about.

TNA: Are you planning to bring James back in a series of books? If so, how many books do you have the series plotted out to, or are you more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?

Jon: There is a definite possibility that James will be brought back in a sequel. I do fly by the seat of my pants when writing, however, I do have the concept of a series in my mind for the characters. Without giving too much away, the end of The Dantone Project does line things up pretty well for a sequel, of which some writing and plot development has already been done. Still, it is in the very beginning stages, so only time will tell where it goes from here.

TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from the book with us?

Jon: Sure! Here is an excerpt from the later part of the book. While the majority of the book is written in first person, there are several parts I wrote in third person to describe the mystery going on outside of James’ realm. This excerpt gives readers an introduction to the main antagonist, as well as the conspiracy that makes up The Dantone Project.

Blurb: James Warner is on the verge of a breakdown. He’s a 27-year old private investigator working at a mom and pop diner just to make ends meet. He’s also gay, and with the exception of his out of town high school friend Shawn, he doesn’t have a friend in the world. All that is about to change, however. A biological weapon project has fallen into the hands of the wrong people, and the project director, Damen Brussell, has gone missing. His brother, Clint, has hired James to find his brother, and the reason behind his disappearance. In one week’s time, James will resuscitate his private eye skills, as well as face his inner demons about what, and who, he truly is. James will encounter true love, as well as pure evil, in this missing persons’ investigation that will take him through Colorado, and into the canyons of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. James and Clint will both learn so much more than just what exactly is so dangerous about The Dantone Project.

Excerpt: There is a little research station on the outskirts of Los Alamos, New Mexico; in a national park known as Bandelier. The town of Los Alamos was quite a scene during the testing of bombs and other weapons in the early 1940’s. Atomic research, that’s what it was all about. This quaint little city has a population of about 11,000 people, many of which work in the research laboratories. Considering this city’s history and its current status, it’s no surprise that it could be just the perfect place to keep another biological weapon project under wraps.

It was a fairly cloudy autumn day in Los Alamos when a white van pulled up to this research station and parked. A slim man in a dark suit got out of the driver’s side and walked casually around to the rear of the van. Banging his fist against the rear door, he waited until he heard a voice from inside say something about being “all clear”. Opening the door, two more men in dark suits climb out.

These two men are holding another man blindfolded, gagged, and handcuffed. The three men bustle toward a crevice in the side of the rock wall. One of the men places his hand under a crevice. A mechanical beep emits from somewhere within the rock wall and the crevice slides open into the Frijoles Canyon wall. The four men enter and the door slides shut again, hiding the inside station from the common public and other non-privileged onlookers.

Some say that the inside of this research station looks similar to the inside of the bat cave in the old Batman shows. The old lamps resemble the type found in mines from the early twentieth century. Even though these lamps are placed somewhat around ten feet apart from each other, the inside space is still very dark and unpleasant to be inside. The lamps are powered by a bay of twelve volt car batteries that gather their power from solar panels built into crevices in the stone outside the facility.

If you were to enter through the security door that these four men passed through, you would find yourself in a guard area. Two guards are usually stationed at this point to catch anyone who somehow managed to break the code and pass the fingerprint scan and gain entry. Don’t get cocky about this however; these aren’t K-Mart style guards. In fact, guards like these are more highly respected than even the SWAT and the highest level detectives on the pay scale. Hired by the government, they belong to a prestigious group, ordered to protect the area they are assigned to, or die trying. The guards in this facility are the brothers of the security guards you would find in other such places like the Pentagon. In times of war, their positions are promoted to Lieutenants, Generals, and in general, fighting machines. If you were to try to take one of them over, or hold a gun against them, you would find very quickly that they are skilled in several forms of karate, martial arts, and street fighting. You might as well not even try to mess with them. You don’t want to even try.

Past this security station is the main research area. Somewhere around two hundred computer terminals occupy this area, all networked and readily capable to hack into almost any other network that exists. On the contrary, these systems are designed to act like phantoms. They exist, but not in the eyes of any outside network. They are completely untraceable. Perhaps this is why nobody knows this place exists. All the machines in this area create a considerable amount of heat. For this reason, cooling systems are in abundance in this area and keep the room at about fifty degrees. This is for safety reasons, otherwise the systems would overheat and the fire risk would be too great. Evidently, the sum of the humming of these machines makes it nearly impossible to hear your own thoughts. And these aren’t personal computers either, but supercomputers produced by companies that the general public doesn’t even know about. You wouldn’t want one, you can’t surf the internet or do word processing or play your favorite action game on them; they aren’t designed for that at all.

Past this bank of supercomputer intelligence is a hallway leading to the rest of this facility. The first rooms off of this hallway contain a few offices and storage rooms. The offices are used by a staff of researchers whom stay at this facility for extended periods of time. You must understand that this station is not regularly occupied, but instead is used when certain government projects require it to be used. It is then that these offices are occupied by the heads of research.

Besides these offices, there are also living quarters. These living quarters fall under the same rules as the offices. The scientists and researchers that work here are required to remain in the facility until their job is completed. This is why living quarters are included.

Beyond the living quarters exist a food storage bin and a cooking station. The food bin can hold enough food to feed a group of twenty-five researchers for six months. If more time in the facility is required, food is brought in by secret via trucks.

Beyond the living quarters, there is one final area to this research station. This area is not supposed to ever be used, but instead exists in the event that there is no choice but to use it. Another security guard station leads to holding cells. These cells are used in the event that one of the people living in the facility commits a crime or kills another worker. It is also used in the event that the government wishes to detain someone that is involved in one way or another.

Oh yes, and there is one thing I have forgotten to mention about this place. While the government owns this facility, and had it built for their purposes, it is not necessarily strictly used for their projects. This facility can go unoccupied for long periods of time and is also prone to being used by other groups, assuming that they have access to it. In the case of Markus Jase, he is one of these men. Using his position, he obtained this facility and has been using it as the heart of his force. Considering the vast hatred that runs through his veins, it is unsettling to realize he works for someone else. Someone even more powerful than he. Markus Jase works for a terrorist group in the country of Iran. In a battle of money and guts, this group, using Jase as their puppet, and the United States have been fighting over the Dantone Project.

The three suited officials enter the first guard station with their captive. After showing an ID card to the guards and quick salutations on both sides are made, the four make their way into the main research area. The fourth man is still blindfolded and stumbles along uncertainly along his path. The three suited men guide him forcefully and gracefully toward the hallway.

On their walk through the facility, other people in the facility glance in the direction of the four with puzzled and amused looks on their faces. A few others follow the four momentarily before one of the suits brushes them off.

When the four get to the holding cells, a guard is waiting by an empty, open cell. He opens a wide, crooked smile to the three suited men and a sneer at the blindfolded man, although he is not seen by him. The blindfolded man is stuffed unceremoniously into the cell and the door is slammed shut. The guard brushes his hands on his black pants and walks off to the food bin.

The facility workers gather around the cell to stare in awe at the man, still blindfolded, as if he were a rare animal in the zoo. One of the suited men smiles, proud of his work. After a moment, he speaks. “Friends, this is the moment we have been waiting for.” He turns toward the mob. “We do not have long to wait now!” A few laughs and cheers resonate from the group and a slight applause starts up. The man in the cage darts in the direction of the sound, trying to determine what is happening on the other side of the blindfold.

The group begins to spread out as the facility workers return to their work. Some go back to the computer bank; others go to the food bin for a break; and yet others go back to the offices and the living quarters. Within a matter of minutes, hardly anyone is paying any attention to the stranger in the cage. There is too much work left to be done.

Hours pass and the lone stranger is still handcuffed, gagged, and blindfolded in his new home. His shirt, once a fine dress shirt, is now rumpled and torn in several places with sweat and blood stains. His pants are in the same state: bloody and torn and covered with dirt. His dirty blonde hair is rumpled and unbrushed with blood caking in his scalp. His face is beaten and torn; more dried blood spots around his mouth, nose, and ears. He is tired, his hands uncomfortably bound behind his back for hours and hours on end. He is now leaning against one side of the cell bars, breathing roughly and nervously. He is too afraid to sleep. Then, there is a voice.

“Enjoying your stay Mr. Brussell?” The suited man is back at the cell door, observing Damen Brussell with curious eyes. “I promise it will get better. Almost everyone here has already forgotten about you; but don’t let that bother you. We’ve been waiting a long time for you Mr. Brussell.” The suit pauses, and brushes a fingernail against one of the iron bars before continuing. “You’re a guest of honor. And do not worry, we have no wish to harm you. We don’t want to hurt you or kill you. You are here because you can do something for us. Markus is counting on you. He’s been waiting a long time for what you’ve promised him.”

The suited man waits for a moment to let his spoken words sink into Damen’s mind. He smirks with every jerky, nervous movement of Damen’s. “You’ve put Joseph Mosely in quite an uncomfortable position, Damen. You’ve left him responsible for your bill, and it’s quite a large one.”

For the first time, the suited man removes a key from his pocket and unlocks the heavy iron door to the cage detaining Damen. He steps inside and closes it behind him again. He walks over to Damen with an air of confidence and causally sits on the hard bunk which Damen is leaning against.

“You now have a difficult decision to make Damen. You can either continue your work on the Dantone Project here in the comfort of our very own lab; or you can put this thing in the hands of Joseph Mosely. The first choice is probably better for you health wise; however I take it not morally wise.” He places a strangely loving hand on Damen’s shoulder. “You warm my heart Damen. You really do have good morals; unfortunately you’re playing with the big boys now and they have a completely different set of rules to follow. So you are either going to have to change your morals and ideals to fit in with us, or you will face being trampled by us.” He removes his hand from Damen’s shoulder and stands up. “I’m sure you will want some time to think this over. Mr. Jase has some other dire matters to look into for the next day, but he will be here as soon as he can make it. I suggest you have made up your mind by then.” The suited man walks back over to the door to the cell and turns back around to Damen to say one more thing.

“If you do put this into Mosely’s hands, I hope you have faith in him, because you’re risking your life as well as his.” The suit opens the door, exits the cell, locks it back and walks off leaving Damen completely alone.

Mr. Jase did indeed show up at the facility two days later. Damen was kept in the cell for the entire duration of these two days. Although he was fed and cared for well, the handcuffs and blindfold remained in place for the first day, and just the handcuffs for the second day. His meals consisted of instant soup mixes, his captive’s logic for making sure he got plenty of nutrients and vitamins to sustain him and keep him healthy. Along with the soup, Damen also got as much water as he wished to drink. All he had to do was get the guard’s attention and ask for it, and it would be brought to him in a rusty cup. For the two nights, Damen slept on the hard bunk. Or at least he tried to sleep, but his nervousness and the general uncomfortable hardness of the bunk made it hard for him to get comfortable.

Every so often, the suited man would walk by the cell and briefly ask Damen how he was feeling and if he needed anything. Damen bravely refused to say anything each and every time. The suited man would try to get Damen to talk for a few minutes, then shrug his shoulders in a sad and defeated way and walk off back to whatever he was working on.

Damen sensed when Markus Jase arrived at the facility. It would have been hard not to notice. All of the workers conglomerated in the main research area and cheers and greetings were heard. Markus Jase’s deep voice was also heard as he responded to each greeting and began to ask for status reports and other items of his interest.

Markus was aware that Damen had arrived as he had been the one to initiate his kidnapping and gave his subordinates the order to bring Damen to their base. Still, it was several hours after Jase’s arrival before he finally took an interest in Damen. He stood at the cell door, gleaming as he observed the sight inside. He finally spoke and Damen jerked nervously. “Hello Damen.” He said.

Damen didn’t say anything and after a short minute of just observing him, Jase finally unlocked the cell door and entered. “I know what you must be thinking Damen, and I can’t say I blame you at all. I’d be pretty ticked too if somebody knocked my teeth loose and made me wet myself.” Jase approached Damen, and for the first time in two days, his handcuffs were removed. Damen glanced up and gave him a not so warm look.

“Come now Damen, you can’t stay mad at me forever. You and I are going to have to work together, and we’ll accomplish our goals a lot more smoothly together if we can be on better terms. Now I apologize for smacking you around like that at your place, but the fact of the matter is that it had to be done. You needed punishment my friend.”

An unknown rage was starting to boil within Damen. Before the kidnapping, Damen had been scared of Jase and his men as if they were the Mafia, anxious to use him for target practice. Now he was just plain angry. In his mind, he had finally determined that the odds of getting out of his situation alive were probably very slim, and he didn’t plan to spend his last moments alive curled into a ball. “You sick fuck.” Damen finally spoke in a quiet yet firm tone. His vocal chords scratched, having been unused for several days. It took Jase by full surprise.

“I’m going to try to be patient with you Damen. Though if you continue to insist on being rude and vulgar to me, don’t think that I won’t shove your head around some more. Maybe I’ll knock some more teeth loose.”

Damen’s cold glance finally left Jase and his eyes began to search his location, taking in what had been his home for two days. He spoke again. “I don’t give a shit.”

Jase sat down on the bunk and entered a mode that could only be described as ‘father’ mode. “You are truly a troubled boy Damen. I don’t want to hurt you; I didn’t want to hurt you back at your apartment. The fact of the matter was that something had to be done. You were slacking and it was my responsibility to get you back on track. Now that you are here, you can accomplish your goals and finish what you started.”

Silence filled the cell for a brief moment before Damen spoke again. “It was bad enough when the U.S. Military got involved with us and made me start this damn project. Then you just waltz in there and start killing people to get us to stop. Then you force us to work for you. God I hate politics.”

Jase laughed. “Come now Damen, surely you see the good in what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter that you’re playing for the other team now. You know my team will support you and pay you dearly for your time and efforts. Once the Iranians declare war on the U.S. and use your lovely creation against them, you’ll be safely moved into Iranian territory and given a nice home there. You and your family. I’m willing to work with you here. You should be thankful.”

“I guess I’m just the only one who sees something morally and devilishly wrong about all of this.”

Jase shrugged and attempted to pat Damen’s shoulder, but he moved back in retaliation. Jase shook his head. “Life just isn’t fair. Sometimes we all end up in situations that we would rather not be in.”

Damen’s anger filled expression was replaced by a more curious and suspicious one. “Why exactly are you interested in my project? Why did you take it over?”

“Okay, so you’re interested in what I do and why I’m here. Okay, I guess I’ll tell you some things. About five years ago, I came into contact with some higher ups in an Iranian movement group. They finally took me into their confidence about a year ago and told me that they would make me a fantastic offer if I found a way that they could crush the United States to its knees. That’s when I joined forces with their members and created my own team here. Through the espionage grapevine, I hear about BioTech and their plan to create a biological weapon much more advanced than any previously used. I figured that this was my lead. That’s why I’m doing this, and why you’re here.”

“But you’re American.” Damen replied.

“Yes, yes I am. But I’m sure you know that we all aren’t necessarily loyal to our motherland. We all do what we must; and this is what I must do.”

Damen and Jase were quiet for a minute. Jase passed the time examining his fingernails and pruning them with his teeth when necessary while waiting for Damen’s response. Damen just sat in his spot glancing around with a miserable, angry look. When it began to look as though Damen was done talking, Jase got up and headed toward the door. Then he turned and spoke again.

“Don’t think too long Damen. Time is of the essence, and if you won’t help us, you’re less important to us than yesterday’s left-overs.” Jase opened the door to the cell, and left, locking it behind him.

TNA: If you could bring one of your characters off the page and into the real world, who would you choose and why?

Jon: Well, my partner may not like to hear this, but my first choice would be Clint Brussell. Clint is James’ client. While writing the book, I envisioned Clint as everything I could look for in a boyfriend, or partner. He’s a very patient, and caring individual. He puts a lot of faith and confidence into James’ detective work, in addition to being patient with him while he’s coming to terms with himself. He’s also extremely loyal.

TNA: What would you say are the best and worst parts of the writing process for you?

Jon: For me, I would say the worst part is the editing process. It’s not nearly as fun as the first draft, when the ideas come to you and you develop the plot. Naturally, the editing part took the most amount of time when I look at the writing process for The Dantone Project as a whole. A close runner up would have to be the beginning of the plot development, before the momentum is really moving.

The part of the process I enjoy the most is developing my visuals and imagery. I find a lot of inspiration for imagery in my writing during my everyday encounters with people, and it’s enjoyable to develop these images into my writing.

TNA: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Jon: I would love to be able to fly. Being able to go anywhere I wanted and anytime is probably one of the most freeing ideas I can imagine.

TNA: If time travel were possible, where would you go and why?

Jon: With the exception of the lack of social progress during this time period, I would like to see the Golden-Era: pretty much any time from the 30’s and into the 50’s. I have a fascination with the clothing from that era, especially fedoras, and even common appliances seemed more artistic and unique. I also think that society did a better job of truly communicating with each other back then. As great as modern day technology is, I believe a lot of highly important social skills have been lost behind computer and smart phone screens. Society was a lot more cohesive back then for the most part than today. We don’t know our neighbors anymore, and don’t generally help strangers out of a fear of being conned.

TNA: And finally, Jon, would you kindly share with us all the places we can find you on the internet?

Jon: So far my spots on the internet are pretty humble, but may expand in the future. For now, I can be found in the following places:

Readers can contact me through my Wix website, and find me on Facebook.

THE GIVEAWAY: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Standard
All Romance Ebooks, Amazon Digital Services, Leighton Rose, Self-Published

True Love Makes Its Way “Back to You”


“Some things just couldn’t be protected from storms. Some things simply needed to be broken off…Once old things were broken off, amazingly beautiful things could grow in their place.” ― Denise Hildreth Jones


Title: Back to You

Author: Leighton Rose

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 195 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: When two stubborn boys fall in love there are bound to be fights, but when those fights become the norm and there are more bad times than good, is love enough of a reason to stay?
Continue reading

Standard
All Romance Ebooks, Amazon Digital Services, Leighton Rose, Self-Published

Leighton Rose Is Here Today To Talk “Back To You” And Give Away A Couple Of Copies!



First off, I want to thank Lisa for inviting me to be a guest today here at The Novel Approach! Being a self-published author, it’s super important to have the support of such wonderful people and blogs, and I can’t thank them enough!

I’d like to start by telling you a little bit about myself and then I will give you a little insight into my boys and their story. I’m a thirty-year-old single mother to a six-year-old little boy with an imagination that blows my mind. He has me laughing on a daily basis, he keeps me on my toes for sure, and even though some days I swear I’m ready to trade him in, I could never actually do it because then who would keep me laughing? I spend more time on Facebook than I should, I’m addicted to Candy Crush and Subway Surfers, and when I sit down to read, the only thing that I should be interrupted for is if someone is bleeding. LOL (I’m really not joking about that!)

I love to watch movies and have a slight addiction to The Hunger Games (I could seriously watch it every single day and never get sick of it!) because I think Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence are both gorgeous, and I wouldn’t say no to either one of them! The Notebook is my favorite love story movie, and I think the second chance romance aspect is the main reason. No one should ever have to live their entire life without their soul mate and I think that in the end, true love will always win.

I love second chance romances more than almost any other type of story. There’s something about them that just draws me in. Something always gets in the way, either one of the characters makes a terrible mistake or sometimes life just makes things impossible for the two people to be together at the time, because let’s face it, life isn’t always fair. But when you’ve met The One, you never forget them. Ever. So you work your way through life day-by-day until something brings you back together and you have to fight for that love, because if love is worth having, it’s worth fighting for. There’s usually angst and years of built up emotion ready to pour out, and I think that’s why I love these types of stories so much, so when I sat down to write this book, I had no doubts that was what I was going to write.

Back to You started off as a piece of Twilight fan fiction. A one-shot, they call it, because it was just one scene but when I wrote the piece, I didn’t envision my characters as Twi characters. However, that was my creative outlet at the time so I made it work. Then my boys kept talking to me and people kept demanding that I write more, but I didn’t want to write more as fan fiction because I felt like I was being untrue to the boys in my head, so I edited my piece and it became the prologue for Tyler and Alex.

The premise of the story was that sometimes love isn’t enough of a reason to stay. That sometimes two people can love each other more than anything but for so many reasons they just can’t make it work. In Tyler and Alex’s case, it was because near the end they were fighting all the time. Both stubborn boys, neither could ever admit they were wrong and after a couple years of living together, never having dated anyone else, I think their youth and inexperience with relationships got the best of them. Alex decided he had to leave to save them both but pushed that decision aside to give them both one last good memory before he left.

I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about my Alex. He’s got the biggest heart and his love for Tyler never died, but Alex has a bad habit of making decisions that he thinks are best for the people he loves without consulting them, and my biggest concern with this book is that people won’t understand him and will blame him for everything. I hope that by the end of the book I have redeemed him, and that people love him as much as Tyler and I do.

Then there are the secondary characters, Riley and Donny. Alex and Tyler try to move on, but it doesn’t work out so well for them, and Riley and Donny get caught in the crossfire. The only thing these guys did wrong was to fall in love with men who weren’t emotionally available. I’m already getting comments about how much people love my secondary boys and how they want them to have their happily-ever-after. I am in the process of starting their story, which will be book two in the series.

But for now, here’s an excerpt from the prologue of Back to You:

Alex

“I don’t fucking know what you want from me anymore!” I screamed at Tyler as I turned to walk out of the bedroom, slamming the door hard to emphasize my point.

I was so sick of everything: the arguing, the screaming, the accusations. Honestly, I didn’t even know what we were fighting about anymore. The point was we were fighting… again. I barely made it halfway down the hall before Tyler caught me and spun me around to face him.

“I just want a fucking answer! Seriously, is it that hard to comprehend?” he spat angrily at me.
Had he even asked me a question in all of the yelling? I wasn’t sure anymore. Apparently my brain filter malfunctioning was enough to set him off again.

“What is it now, Alex? Not paying attention to me again? Are you fucking kidding me?”

Oh. I must’ve said that out loud. “With all the yelling and accusations in there I wasn’t aware there was a question to answer! Seriously, Tyler, we can’t keep doing this. It’s just not working for me anymore.” There, I’d said it and it had just about killed me to say the words.

The look on his face went from angry to desperate in a matter of seconds and I felt like such a fucking bastard. “You’re right, baby; of course you’re right,” he told me, the fight instantly draining out of him.

“I’m so, so sorry…” He kept repeating it over and over, but I honestly didn’t hear it as my eyes had zeroed in on his face and the fact that there was a steady stream of tears running down it.

We’d had our fair share of fights over the past three years, which was to be expected when you had two very dominant personalities in the same relationship, but in all that time, I’d never seen Tyler cry and my heart ripped in two as I witnessed it happening. He just looked so defeated.

It was beyond agonizing to realize that all of our recent fighting and screaming and just pure lack of concern for each other’s feelings in the past few months had broken my boy down so much that he’d resorted to crying.

Tyler wrapped his arms around my waist, holding me close to him. I knew it was wrong; I shouldn’t have let him do it. It really wasn’t right to give him false hope. I should’ve been stronger than that, but I just wasn’t. I needed him in that moment so I slipped my arms around his neck and nuzzled into him, inhaling deeply, trying to imprint his scent into my memory so that I’d never forget it. He sighed a little and relaxed into me so that I was practically holding him up.

“I love you, Alex.” His whispered words made my heart clench. “I love you so fucking much.”

“I know, Ty, I know,” I assured him as I pulled back to stare deeply into his emerald green eyes. “Me too…”

And I did. I loved him so fucking much that at times it felt like I couldn’t breathe without him, but I’d now figured out that sometimes love just wasn’t enough of a reason to stay. We’d loved each other for so many years, yet we just kept hurting each other, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, but what it really came down to was the fact that at this point there had been more bad times than good and we just couldn’t keep doing that to each other. I was far from innocent in the situation, but so was he.

It was the hardest decision of my life, but I realized that the next day I would have to leave and let him go, making good on all the times I’d threatened I would.

His next words snapped me out of my daze. “Make love to me, Alex,” he pleaded, planting a passionate kiss on my lips.

My body automatically responded to his, just the way it always had. My fingers ended up tangled in his hair and my tongue slid into his mouth. I wanted to remember him, all of him, no matter how wrong it was of me. We both needed it.

“Okay,” I agreed, without even really thinking about it. I justified my actions by telling myself that it was just one more time and that I owed it to Tyler and myself. Tonight I’d make love to him, hold him tight, and give in just one last time. For a few hours longer, we could stay in our bubble and pretend that tomorrow didn’t exist.

I hope you all enjoyed this little bit of insight into my brain and the extra info on the beginning of Back to You! To thank Lisa and the lovely folks over here at The Novel Approach for their genuine hospitality, I’m offering a copy of the e-book to two lucky readers.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

Cover by the fabulous G.D. Leigh


Buy from Amazon

Buy from All Romance E-Books Here

Book One in the Second Chances Series by Leighton Rose

When two stubborn boys fall in love there are bound to be fights, but when those fights become the norm and there are more bad times than good, is love enough of a reason to stay?

Alex Parker thinks the best way to save himself and his boyfriend, Tyler Matthews, from any more pain is to leave him and his hometown behind. He finally settles down in Texas and as they both try to move on, it seems like a lost cause.

A tragic turn of events causes Alex to drop everything and head back to Nebraska where he winds up face-to-face with Tyler for the first time since he left two years ago. The spark of attraction is still there, but will these two now grown men be able to overcome the years of guilt, hurt, and broken trust without breaking the bonds of friendship they’ve formed during their time apart in order to get their second chance at love? Only time will tell if their hearts can find their way back to each other.

About the Author:

Leighton Rose is a 30 year old single mother to a 6 year old little monster. She’s lived in the southeast corner of Nebraska her entire life. When she isn’t working her full-time time job, she enjoys watching movies and her favorite television shows which include Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals. She also reads a lot of romance novels and spends far too much time playing Candy Crush on Facebook!

She started out writing fan fiction and has recently begun the journey to writing original M/M fiction. She loves a little heartache in her stories but believes wholeheartedly that true love will always win in the end.

You can friend her on Facebook, e-mail her here, or follow her on Twitter @LeightonRose83. Her blog is http://leightonrose.wordpress.com/ which she updates regularly.

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Kol Anderson, Self-Published, Smashwords

At Its “Heart”, Kol Anderson Delivers More Than Just The Usual



“And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger-something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus


Roman Woodrow and Lucas Mayer meet on a plane en route to Vienna. Roman works for his father’s tech company and Lucas’s line of work is something of a mystery. Once they arrive, they spend a week sightseeing and enjoying getting to know each other before having one passionate night together. While Heart starts out as so many other boy meets boy/boy loses boy/boy finds boy and they live happily ever after books do, it quickly takes a dark turn. Roman disappears from Lucas’s life.

After several years, Lucas has been unable to get Roman out of his head or heart. He sees an opportunity to be in the same place as Roman and decides to take a chance on meeting up again. As Roman has made it clear he doesn’t spend more than one night with any one man, Lucas is taking a chance with his already bruised heart.
Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Kade Boehme, Self-Published

Kade Boehme Wants To Welcome You To “Gangster Country”



“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”– Bob Marley


Kade Boehme is 25 years old. He has already released at least six books with four more coming in the near future. He is 25 years old, people! It is amazing to me that someone Kade’s age should be such a skilled storyteller. He is more prolific than many authors who have been writing for years, and he just keeps getting better and better. I see a long future of myself waiting anxiously for the next Kade Boehme to be released.

In Gangster Country, Kade once again creates characters that feel so real. I got sucked in from the first paragraph and wasn’t let go until the last. Logan Marshall is a transplant from Texas to New York. He is a recently minted social worker and knows if he stays close to home he will spend his weekends working on his family’s ranch. He loves his family and they were accepting of him when he told them he was gay, but he needs to step out completely on his own.
Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Anyta Sunday, Self-Published

“The Douglas Fir” Plants The Seeds Of Love In An Unexpected Place



“Let no one who loves be called altogether unhappy. Even love unreturned has its rainbow.” ― J.M. Barrie


Anyta Sunday’s The Douglas Fir isn’t really a Christmas story as much as it is the story of a man finding his miracle in the last place he’d have ever thought to look.

It’s the story of Jason Kress, a man who’s very much in love with his neighbor Noah… who just so happens to be very straight. It’s the story of a fantastically romantic gesture, one that’s at first made to try and win Noah’s heart but then evolves into an act of pure and simple kindness, the sort of thing that makes a man want to do something for no other reason than to make someone else smile. It’s also the kind of act that even though done for Noah, it spreads its residual happiness to Dave, Noah’s best friend and the man Jase has been competing with for Noah’s affection.
Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Nana G, Self-Published

“Slave of Heart” and “My Warrior, My Slave” – Stories Of Dominance And Submission In An Alternate World



“A Dom never takes away. He only builds.” ― Delaine Moore






Slave of Heart and My Warrior, My Slave are companion novellas, though they can be read as standalones and don’t need to be read in a certain order.

Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Lavinia Lewis, Self-Published

Lust Rules In “Blood Ties”



“Because no one has more thirst for earth, for blood, and for ferocious sexuality than the creatures who inhabit cold mirrors.” ― Alejandra Pizarnik



My vampire book this week was Blood Ties. I was excited to read it because second to shifters, vampires are my favorite! There is something primal and very sexual about vampires. For example, biting and marking. Need I say more?
Continue reading

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Kade Boehme, Self-Published

Kade Boehme May Be “A Little Complicated”, But His Contest Isn’t!



“Nothing worthwhile is ever without complications.” ― Nora Roberts



Ryan Borja is a freshman in college and the only real friend he has is his sister. One day he is asked for directions by the hottest man he has seen in ages. When Ryan talks to Brady he finds out he has a daughter, so he assumes Brady is straight. Well, this puts Brady in the “friends only” category, but Ryan makes the most of it. He starts hanging out with Brady. The two men do lunch, have movie night with Brady’s daughter Delilah, and simply become great friends.

The bottom drops out of Ryan’s world when Brady asks him to babysit because he has a date. Now, it’s not just any date, nooooooo it’s a date with Ellie….Borja, Ryan’s sister. So not only can he not have the man of his dreams as more than friends, but he has to watch the man date his sister. It is his own personal hell. Ryan knows it won’t last between them, but he doesn’t want that to affect his friendship with Brady. So, when Brady announces he has been offered a job in Phoenix and is leaving town, Ellie drops him like a hot potato. Ryan goes over to help Brady pack and make sure they can stay friends, except the two men end up doing a lot more than talking. Ryan is freaked out and leaves afterward. When he comes back the next day, he finds Brady is gone, no note, no phone call, just gone, and he took Ryan’s heart with him.

One thing Ryan never knew about Brady is that he is bisexual. He never told Ryan this because he has had so many bad experiences with “friends” that just didn’t get the whole “bisexual thing”. It turns out that Brady had a thing for Ryan the entire time they were friends and just didn’t know how to bring the subject up after he had dated Ryan’s sister. So when Ryan walked out after that one night they had together, he figured it just wasn’t meant to be.

Eight years later while tending bar, Ryan’s sister announces she has a date. Ryan is used to this since his sister goes through more men than most of us do underwear, but the name she squeals out is a total shock to his system. Brady. Not only does she announce that he is back in town, but he also lives in Ryan’s building. Ryan can’t believe it; once again Ellie has beaten him to the punch with Brady.

When Ryan and Brady finally come face to face again, all the old sparks are still there on both sides, but Ryan is not about to open himself up to that brand of heartache again. Brady has different ideas this time around. He tries his best to make it clear to Ellie that they will NEVER be more than friends, but Ryan keeps stumbling upon them at the worst possible moments. Watching these two men fall in love all over again while Ryan tries to keep his distance and Brady puts on the full court press, is one of the funniest things I have read in a while.

This book was a refreshingly funny read with just the right amount of angst to remind you that you are reading a Kade Boehme story. Ryan struggles against his own heart trying to be loyal to his sister, and Brady has a full cast of southern women fighting on his side. I don’t know who I felt sorrier for. I love the snarky humor in this book. I don’t think anyone pulls the snark off quite like Kade. Then he turns around and makes you just fall in love with the characters. If you have read any of Kade’s books before, you know these two are going to have to get out of their own way to find their HEA, but I love the assist they get at the end of this book. With friends like theirs they have no options but to succeed.

If you like a sweet friends to lovers, lovers reunited type of story, this one is a solid pick that I would highly recommend.

Reviewed by: Jackie

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

You can buy A Little Complicated here:

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Kol Anderson, Self-Published

Submit To Kol Anderson’s “Slave”



“Something unappeased, unappeasable, is within me; it longeth to find expression. A craving for love is within me, which speaketh itself the language of love.” – Friedrich Nietzsche



I’ve previously read two books from this author that I absolutely loved, so I knew what I was getting myself in for when I started reading this one.

Jesse is a sub let go by his cheating Dom, Matt, after a three year relationship. Jesse is at a loss on what to do. He’s been replaced in Matt’s life. He must find a way to get him back at any cost. He seeks out a Dom named Noah, who is known for his sadistic treatment of his subs. Jesse’s time with Noah is not for the faint of heart. It’s blatant torture and abuse, and at times, a little hard to read. Jesse wants this from Noah, craves it, needs to feel something other than his broken heart. I loved how the author put us in that room, made us feel Jesse’s desperation.

The bulk of the story is told from Jess’s POV, so at first I really didn’t like Matt. How could he leave Jesse all alone and lost? After seeing the way he took care of Jesse after a session with Noah, there was no doubt Matt still loved him. He showed such tenderness and concern for Jesse’s well being that it was hard for me to understand why he would leave him. I’m glad we got to see a bit of Matt’s perspective too, we finally know why he felt he couldn’t live up to Jesse’s expectations. Jesse sees him as more than a person, has put him on a pedestal, but he’s just a regular guy and feels as though Jesse will be better off with someone else.

Now Noah has a story to tell. We don’t get much from him in this story, but I would love to know why he needs to give out harsh punishments to subs. He seems so sad and lonely. He wants Jesse for his own, but knows it’s never going to happen. Is this why he was so hard on Jesse? I’m intrigued by the many layers this character must have.

This is a short story with some life lessons the characters learn the hard way. This isn’t a story for the person who wants sunshine and happy times. This is a story of someone in pain, who has been pushed aside and let go by the one person who is everything in his world.

This is a HEA story, despite the dark beginning. Highly recommend it!!!

Reviewed by: Lynn

You can buy Slave here:

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Kol Anderson, Self-Published

“Hell And Beyond (Broken, Book Two)” – The Clue’s The Thing That Draws The Truth That Much Closer

“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell. ” ― Edgar Allan Poe



I really liked the first installment of this series, so I was very eager to read the next one.

This is a continuation where The Prisoner left off. It opens up with Sebastian and Eric trying to rekindle their relationship. We know Aaron is still on Sebastian’s mind and he’s really concerned about what happened to him. I like the way the author is incorporating Sebastian and Eric’s life into this story. We’re seeing that life is moving on despite the hell Aaron is going through.

I’m not sure I like these two as a couple. At this point we really don’t know them, but part of me is really wanting Sebastian to find Aaron and forget about Eric. Eric is hoping Sebastian forgets about Aaron, and concentrates on them.

As for Aaron, it’s been ten weeks now that he’s been held captive, and it doesn’t look like it’s ending for him any time soon. At this point we are introduced to Vince’s boss, Carson. He seems to be the mastermind behind this whole operation and he’s not happy with the progress of Aaron’s training. He wants Aaron to be ready now. Vince now steps it up a notch and some of these scenes are very hard to read.

I think the author wants us to see how Aaron is coping mentally. He’s not completely broken, but I see cracks starting to come to the surface. We’re still seeing Aaron as he was before the kidnapping and there’s still fight left in him, but slowly he’s becoming exactly what they want, a slave. I believe the author does a great job in showing the progress of human reconditioning. Even though it’s tough to read what is happening to Aaron, I found the whole process fascinating.

As this installment is winding down, Sebastian finally finds a clue as to what may have happened to Aaron. It’s a strong enough clue that Vince’s boss knows someone is getting close. As things go from bad to worse for Aaron, help from an unlikely source flips the story on its head. I really like this because the reader never knows what’s going to happen next. There is nothing predictable about this book. For such a short story, so much happens.

Will Sebastian’s evidence be enough to find Aaron and bring him to safety? Will the plot twist take us in an entirely other direction? Or will it all just be too late? I am so eager for the next installment of this story!!

Reviewed by: Lynn

You can buy Hell and Beyond (Broken, Book Two) here:


You can also find the paperback version, which includes Books One and Two in a single volume, by clicking on the cover image:


Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Kol Anderson

Are You Brave Enough To Experience “The Prisoner”?

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca



Wow!!!

From reading the blurb for this story, I kinda knew what I was getting myself in to. What I didn’t expect was the way the author makes the reader actually feel as though they are right there in the room, feeling the pain and emotions of this character. This book hits the ground running and never stops.

When the story opens we find Aaron, who is a male escort, in a heated discussion with Sebastian, a former client. He has fallen for Aaron and wants him to stop seeing clients, but Aaron insists that Sebastian try to fix things with his lover, Eric. When Aaron meets his client for the night, Aaron thinks he’s hot and in for a night of fun. Unbeknownst to Aaron, Vince has bought him from his escort company and will be training Aaron to be a slave.

I was on an emotional roller coaster the whole time I was reading this book. This book made my heart race; it made me have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. At times it was even hard to read, but I never wanted to put this down and stop reading. Aaron is kidnapped and there’s no one to help him, and he knows it. He slowly comes to terms with what is happening to him, which in itself is heartbreaking to read. On the outside he’s submissive but his inner dialog is still fighting for release from the hell that is now his life. He’s becoming dependent on the drugs Vince is injecting him with. He’s being raped, caned, whipped, flogged, tortured with a cattle prod being dehumanized and humiliated. The author puts you right there in the middle of all this madness and forces you to feel, see and gasp in horror at what is happening to Aaron. I loved it.

I loved how the author incorporated other POV’s throughout the book without taking me out of the story. Vince’s POV is the most interesting to me. We know that he’s developing feelings for Aaron. He’s kind to him at times, he takes care of Aaron when he’s hurt real bad. But in his mind Aaron is just a job no matter what. Sebastian’s POV if great because it gives us a sense of hope that Aaron will be rescued. Sebastian knows Aaron is missing and is actively looking for him.

Aaron, for all he’s going through isn’t broken, he’s still the same Aaron that was meeting Vince for the first time that fateful night, he’s not the victim. On the inside he’s fighting Vince all the way. Outwardly, he’s doing what he can to survive and to keep Vince happy, to avoid punishment and for the drugs Vince had him hooked on. He knows the only way to escape his reality is to be stoned out of his mind and the drugs do that for him. Vince on the other hand, is cruel and unforgiving. He’s a little on the psychotic side too. One minute giving viscous training sessions to Aaron and then being kind and almost loving while attending Aaron’s wounds. He’s like a Jekyll and Hyde personality. I’m really curious to see what the author has in store for Vince. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

This story is not for the faint of heart. It’s a devastating story but it’s also a story about survival. This is a serial, so I’m real excited to see where it goes from here.

Reviewed by: Lynn

You can buy The Prisoner (Broken, Book One) here:


You can also find the paperback version, which includes Books One and Two in a single volume, by clicking on the cover image:


Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Edmond Manning, Self-Published

Edmond Manning’s “King Mai (Lost & Founds #2)” – In Which Mai Kearns Gets Curiouser and Curiouser…

Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart longs for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet. – W.B. Yeats



I have dubbed him the Storyteller King—the king of all things. The one who owns the power of words is the king who rules the world. But, he is more.

He is the manipulator and the instigator; he is the King of Evasion; he is the King of Subterfuge, the King of Truth and the King of Fabrication. He is pain and he is pleasure. He is the King of Destiny, the Director King. He is the algorithm and the fulcrum. He is the enigma. He is the Destroyer King and the Restorer King. He is the Weaver King who knits the threads of the Lost Kings into the intricate tapestry of the Found. He is the King of the Lost waiting to be discovered. He is the outsider. He is the Human Ghost who sacrifices for the sake of loving with all his love. He is the King of Provocation. He is the paradox.

He is so much. He is Vin Vanbly and I love him with all my love.

Edmond Manning takes us back in time, to 1996, three years before Perry Mangin was crowned the Forgiver King; to DeKalb, Illinois where Mai Kearns, an adopted son who has always been a unique presence in this small farming community, both for being Thai and for being gay, has forgotten how to love what he loves best.

Mai has built a life of bitter high school memories, of a failed relationship that not only broke his heart but broke his spirit as well. Brian’s rejection cast a pall over Mai’s legacy, over the dream of carrying on his family farm with someone who would stand by him and love him. But that was not meant to be. Brian is gone and the Kearns family, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and with no way to repay it, has lost their farm to a corporate entity. Mai is lost, mired in regret and denial and avoiding the pain in his heart by living in a world of statistical probabilities and random numerical samplings. Mai can quote facts and figures, but in all that accounting for the problem, he has missed the part of the equation where he works to find the solution. Mai cares dispassionately. Or perhaps he is passionately ignoring the reason why he cares. He is a paradox.

This is a story problem in which each solution is the sum of the previous parts, and Vin is there to guide and to misguide and to torture Mai through it, enduring the anger that sometimes feels like hate, embracing the love that sometimes feels like hurt, fanning the spark of fear and curiosity until it burns white-hot and so brightly that it blinds Mai to the fear and transforms the base metal of his resentment into the golden light of loving and embracing that which he’d come to resent. His curiosity is his courage, his courage founded in his fears. Mai’s journey will be one of discovery, in which he finds that what he wants and what he needs are one in the same.

Vin maneuvers Mai on his treasure hunt from Lost to Found, through a sensual landscape where silence has flavor and sound has color and the land is redolent with the scent of hope and despair. A paradox. It is a place where touch is a language all its own and a place where words can mean everything. Or nothing at all.

King Mai is a celebration of the contextual, a flow of poetic imagery and wordsmithing abundant with emotion. It is metaphorical and it is literal, it is more than romance and no less than the text of a master alchemist who has spun a love story that defies labeling. Edmond Manning has done it again, delivered an unequivocal reading experience that has knitted itself into King Perry, though the whole cloth of the Lost and Founds is a work-in-progress that is looping and stitching itself together, one Found King at a time, one Vin revelation at a time; its progress disproving some of my assumptions while proving that enemies snared in a web of memories can, through shared pain, evolve into brothers and friends.

If you’ve already read King Perry, then King Mai is a do-not-miss read. It is a darker book, more intense, and is a juxtaposition of the Vin Vanbly we first met in 1999.

If you haven’t read King Perry yet, my only question would be, then, what are you waiting for?

Let your curiosity be your guide.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy King Mai (The Lost and Founds, Book 2) here:

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Anyta Sunday, Self-Published

Anyta Sunday Finds The Value Of X In “Noticed Me Yet”

Games are the most elevated form of investigation. – Albert Einstein

Jacob is in a bind. His roommate Stephanie has moved out on him unexpectedly, leaving Jacob scrambling to find someone to replace her half of the rent. His best option for success on the university campus is to hang adverts on the community bulletin boards, soliciting for interest.

Being sure to include the caveat that any interested parties must be gay-friendly was a matter of practicality on Jacob’s part—full disclosure, you know—but when he returns to the message board in the cafeteria only to discover his ad has been taken down, and, in fact, discovers that all twenty of his flyers have disappeared, the one conclusion he jumps to is that someone is being a homophobic prick. That’s when Jacob decides to leave a reply of a personal nature on the board, addressed to the certain someone who’s trying to sabotage his efforts.

And that is when the fun begins.

Jacob starts a very public correspondence with Mr. X on that message board, at first in angry tones but then becoming exceedingly curious as to whom the man is that loves to play at these back-and-forth mind games. There are three parties interested in renting the room Jacob has to offer: Daniel, the philosopher; Zane, the hunk; and Jem, the shy guy. One of them is Mr. X, but he’s not leaving Jacob many clues to work with to discover his true identity.

Note after note, exchange after exchange with Mr. X not only increases Jacob’s curiosity about his mystery man but also sets off a desire in Jacob that feels a lot like he could fall in love with the person who is enjoying this cat-and-mouse affair. Three potential suspects, not to mention one ex who is holding on to a shred of hope that he might become a part of Jacob’s life again, develops all sorts of unexpected complications for the man who only wanted to find the right someone to share expenses with. Now it looks like he might be on the right track to finding someone to share so much more.

Now, I’m not one to assume but if I had to guess, I’d say Anyta Sunday might’ve had a little bit of fun herself, writing this story. It sure feels like it, at least. The Curiosity X-Games kept me guessing almost to the very end, although maybe the best part of it all was knowing who I wanted to win and then racing to the finish line to see if my man would come in first place. He did, by the way, so bonus for me. But, I’d also have to say that tied for the best part is the fact I got to play along. I imagine if I’d been a student at the university, I’d have been far more interested in those exchanges than would have been considered polite, but being the voyeuristic reader is half the fun of the reading, now, isn’t it?

There’s a tinge of the bitter blended into the sweetness of this story, just enough to give it a layered flavor, but not so much as to overpower the romance that slowly blossoms between Jacob and his secret admirer.

If you’re looking for something just a little bit different than your average boy-meets-boy/boy-loses-boy/boy-finds-boy happily ever after story, this is one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. It’s not particularly long, but it is particularly delightful.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Noticed Me Yet? here:

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Chris O'Guinn, Self-Published

Chris O’Guinn’s Fearless Gave Me A Raging Case Of The Ugly Cries

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. – Rabindranath Tagore

Chris O’Guinn’s Fearless is the story of fifteen-year-old Justin, a boy whose one and only aim is to be the unseen. He has decided that friends are not worth the risk because he is un-friendable and therefore, he would rather not try at all than to go through the time, trouble, and eventual heartache of the inevitable rejection. This story is told in Justin’s words and chronicles a brief few months of his freshman year of high school—through the awkward growing pains, through the pain of being on the outside looking in, through the pain of being seen as a freak.

Justin is not athletic nor is he a brainiac; in fact, the only distinguishing characteristic Justin can boast is that he’s the gawkiest and most uncoordinated boy in 9th grade. He lives with a single mother who’s struggling just to put food on their table, while his father tries to be the great weekend dad who sometimes withholds child support to spite his ex-wife. In short, Justin is not only confronting the start of those awkward and sometimes torturous high school years, but he’s also dealing with the fear of almost everything, including the fact that he’s gay.

Enter Liam, resident stoner and perpetual truant, the guy Justin knows only by his well-earned and much deserved reputation as the kind of guy who spells trouble. Justin has absolutely no desire to know Liam beyond all the conclusions he’s jumped to about the sort of guy Liam is. But Liam has other plans. Liam is a force of nature who sees something in Justin worth knowing: he is outspoken and he is fearless and he is cheeky as can be, and above all else, he disproves beyond a shadow of a doubt all of Justin’s misperceptions. Liam is the embodiment of the Plato adage “everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle,” and it’s not long before he and Justin are nearly inseparable. Liam becomes the best friend who teaches Justin that courage is not about being fearless but about facing your fears head on; he teaches Justin that life is about taking chances and about standing strong when the first instinct has always been to run away.

Justin learns through swimming the meaning of courage and leadership. He learns about camaraderie and, perhaps most important of all, he learns to own his sexuality in spite of his fear of rejection at best and a beating at worst. Coming out for Justin, while not easy, pales in comparison to some of the other challenges he will face in his life, as he learns about unrequited love but he also learns about unconditional friendship and about taking chances, about winning and about losing, not only in the pool but in ways far more significant, ways that will force a boy to grow up all too quickly but will also teach him a lesson in what it means to be truly courageous.

Let me tell you, I love to cry just about as much as I love a root canal and shoes that pinch my feet and people who drive slow in front of me…and maybe also an ice pick to the temple, which is to say, not that much.

But secretly—don’t tell anyone—I also have a huge amount of respect for books that don’t manufacture happy endings (even as I try to convince myself up to the bitter end that the author is just one deus ex machina away from saving my mascara), which is why I both loved Fearless and wished bad juju on Chris O’Guinn at the same time. Yes, I got a raging case of the uglies and needed many tissues to combat it.

The author takes a very purposeful aim at the heartstrings and tear ducts in this coming-of-age novel, but he also infuses the story with humor and heart and a sweet friendship to balance it all out. If you’re fearless in the face of uncontrollable weeping, I would definitely recommend giving Fearless a good seeing to, especially if you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction.

Though Mr. O’Guinn might not forgive me the use of the word, I have to say his book is pretty awesome.

Sometimes that’s the only word that fits.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Fearless here:

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Rhys Ford, Self-Published

The Life Of A SoCal Stalker Ain’t All Glitz And Glamor – Sometimes It’s The Blues

Whore or mercenary. That’s pretty much how life is. – Kai Gracen

I want to preface this by saying I am a dedicated Fangirl of Rhys Ford. I love her writing style and I always get her humor. Even with saying all of that, I was a bit leery of reading this book. I do like some fantasy, but it really isn’t my go-to genre. But, since it was Rhys Ford, I gave it a try. Boy, am I glad I did.

The universe Rhys Ford built for Kai’s story was not only magical and scary, but also much like our own. The elvin world, Underhill, has merged with our world; however, it wasn’t a smooth merge. While driving down a two lane highway in the desert you can suddenly find yourself in an ancient elven forest. Whole towns are turned into wastelands and some wastelands are turned into lush meadows.

Since the merge of the two worlds, Earth is also introduced to the creatures of Underhill. There are dragons, shadow dogs and many other out of this world things that go bump in the night. These creatures are what makes Stalkers a necessity.

Stalkers are the hunters of the things that go bump in the night. The Stalkers are government licensed hunters tasked to take out the creatures that have crossed over. They are paid basically by the yard for the pelts of the animals they hunt. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a living. Some of the jobs are optional, but some of them are not. If a Stalker turns down a government assigned job they can be stripped of their license and lose their source of income.

We first meet Kai Gracen hunting a small pack of the shadow dogs. Kai has been raised by Dempsey, a human Stalker who won Kai in a poker game. Kai is elven, an outcast, who was kept like an animal until Dempsey won him and trained him to be a Stalker. When Dempsey retires due to an injury Kai decides to keep up with the job and moves his home base to San Diego.

Kai has tried to distance himself from any other Elvin people. Actually other than a couple chosen Stalkers, his close friends are Dalia and Newt his cat; he tries to stay away from just about everyone. He wants nothing to do with the Elvin people which is very understandable after hearing his story. Kai would be happy to never have to deal with any of his kind again.

While Kai is turning in his pelts from the recent hunt for his pay he finds out that he has been tasked with one of those not so optional jobs. It seems while he has been keeping as much distance as possible from the Elvin world, a Sidhe lord has set up a new Dawn Court right under his nose in San Diego. The job is to pick up a pregnant human and bring her back to San Diego for sanctuary at the Dawn Court. Easy peasy, except for the fact they will have to drive through the dragon mating lands, which are also volcanic wastelands inhabited by the black dogs. The worst part for Kai is the fact that Ryder, the Sidhe Lord, will be riding with him. Ryder has awakened some needs in Kai that he has never felt before.

During the ride, Kai’s heritage is exposed, a dragon is killed, and some babies are born. All of this happens while Kai is being tracked down by his past, a past that follows him all the way to San Diego. Kai fights his feelings for Ryder as hard as he possibly can. Ryder is not going to give up easily and the chemistry between these two is amazing.

The final scenes of this book show so much of Kai’s strength, and it is astounding. Kai overcomes the abuse of his past long enough to save two innocents, he finally stands up to Dempsey and he realizes that he may care for the people around him more than he ever thought.

Now if you are in search of a happily ever after, this isn’t the book for you. There is very little if any true romance in this book. It is not a love story. This book is about Kai. We meet Kai, we get to know the ins and outs of his inner voice. We see his weaknesses and his strengths, and I for one loved him all the more for it. One thing that shone through clearly was Kai’s sense of right and wrong. There were many times that he could have collected his fee and left, but he stayed to help and did the right thing. I also got the feeling that beneath all the self loathing Kai is trying to redeem himself for things that happened in his past that were no fault of his own. In this book we truly get to know Kai, we see where he comes from and we see a possible future for him. There are a few avenues that Kai could travel; only time will tell where he ends up. I for one will definitely be along for the ride.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Black Dog Blues here:

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, Anyta Sunday, Self-Published

My Thoughts On Lenny And Lenny For Your Thoughts by Anyta Sunday

Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves. – Tabitha Suzuma

Leonard Krause is in the process of moving away from the past. Forward, after all, is the only direction he can move when the single reason he’d even think to cling to what once was has abandoned him. There’s no point really in trying to hang on to the years that were, or try to hang on to all the memories, when all they can possibly do, especially the good ones, is end in pain.

Lenny’s in the process of moving from the village of Waldau to the city of Berlin, but there are a few things he must factor into the equation before he can complete the transition from past to future, the most important being that he must make the move as uneventful for his oma as he possibly can, which means he must manufacture as much of the present for her as he’s able to within the walls of their new home. The move will also bring him closer to his best friend Ben and his sister Carolyn, not to mention it will keep him away from his cousin Julien, the cause of poor Lenny’s broken heart.

Lenny For Your Thoughts is the story of four childhood friends, told in chapters alternating between the present and the past and allowing the reader to live through all the events and secrets and dreams that led Lenny and Julien directly up to the point that Julien betrayed Lenny and broke his heart.

If I thought I was going to have a difficult time accepting a romantic relationship between these two men related by blood—which, if I’m being honest, I thought I might—Anyta Sunday quickly put my fears to rest by creating characters whose journeys forged bonds that went far beyond family and friendship and delved into a sole-baring kinship. (And yes, it’s spelled correctly. :) You’ll get that charming little detail of the story when you read the book. )

This is the story of the taboo relationship between two cousins who spent years falling in love with each other and moments falling apart, thanks in large part to Julien’s mother but made just as difficult by the fear of rejection from everyone they love. But, in the end, when all thoughts and feelings were accounted for, when things were done and said that couldn’t be undone or unsaid, it was Julien’s denial of Lenny that caused the greatest harm.

I adored this book and the attention the author gave to each moment that led to the culmination of Lenny and Julien’s love story. Oma was such a surprising treat, and Ben and Carolyn both got their own happy endings too, which was a nice compliment to the conflict in Lenny and Julien’s relationship. Before I knew it, I’d become nearly as invested in the supporting role players as I was in the story’s MCs.

Lenny For Your Thoughts is, at its heart, a story of rejection and redemption, a story of revelation and second chances, and ultimately, it is a story of the unstoppable force that is love, which is a concept I’ll gladly buy into, especially when it’s told by and for characters I’ve grown to love.

You can buy Lenny For Your Thoughts here:

Standard
Amazon Digital Services, J.C. Lillis

If You’d Love To Learn How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, J.C. Lillis Is Here To Give You A FREE Shot At It!

Look! It’s The Nifty Retro-Sci-Fi-Flavored Cover! Sweet!

Hi guys!

I’m very excited to offer a free copy of How to Repair a Mechanical Heart to the winner of this contest. It’s only available as a Kindle version for now, so the winner will just need to provide an email address that’s linked with an Amazon account so I can gift a copy. The giveaway winner will also receive a FREE POSTER of the nifty retro-sci-fi-flavored cover, created by Baltimore artists Mindy Dunn and Andrea Sabaliauskas. Good luck! And thanks again to Lisa for having me as a guest on the blog and organizing this giveaway. – J.C. Lillis

A free Kindle copy of the book AND a free poster of the cover sounds pretty great, right? Well, all you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment right here on this post between now and 11:59pm Pacific time on November 19, 2012. A random drawing will be held on November 20th and the winner will be contacted by J.C. for the distributing of the goodies. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment, as well, so she knows how to reach you. And good luck from me too! :-D

Standard