4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Blaine D. Arden, Cayendi Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Oren’s Right by Blaine D. Arden

Title: Oren’s Right (Tales of the Forest)

Author: Blaine D. Arden

Publisher: Cayendi Press

Pages/Word Count: 65 Pages

At a Glance: A beautiful tale of longing and need set in the world of Blaine D. Arden’s Forester series.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Following his principles will break two hearts.

Forester Veld loses a piece of himself to mute baker Oren when they first meet, but Oren is vowed to Haram. When Haram is killed, Veld denies his heart to respect the mourning period. It’s the right thing to do.

During Haram’s funeral, Oren proudly bares the brands that show the nature of their love; Haram owned him, heart and body. The elves pity Oren and think he’s broken.

Veld has no intention of dishonouring Haram’s memory, but his death may not have been an accident. Only a forester can learn what the trees have seen. However, Oren’s independence is threatened, and if Veld does not offer what Oren needs, Oren may never be his to claim.

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Review: Although it’s noted that the Tales of the Forest series can be read in any order, I have to say I feel you’d get the most out of reading Oren’s Right if, at the minimum, The Forester: Book One is read first. I can say that without any qualms, too, because I’ve now enjoyed all three books set in this elven world Blaine D. Arden has created, but must say I think a certain level of familiarity with the tribe and its politics, positions and the hierarchy of those positions within the tribe, as well as the magic, customs and beliefs in this fantasy setting, is needed to get the fullest understanding of and meaning from Veld and Oren’s story.

The plot of Oren’s Right is twofold, the first being a murder mystery; the other is the story of the man whose world crumbled when the one who owned him body, heart, and soul was suddenly no longer there for him to take care of. For a man such as Oren, a man who finds fulfillment in submission and service to another, this left him at loose ends, as well as ripe for not only gossip but to be picked at by the busybodies who feel Oren needs a woman to care for him.

Veld’s want of Oren causes the Forester no small amount of guilt, when Haram has been so recently murdered, but the feelings Veld harbors for Oren are far from new. Veld has always wanted what Haram had with Oren, but Haram wasn’t the sort of man to share, nor was Veld the sort of man who wouldn’t honor, to its fullest extent, Haram and Oren’s bond.

The building of the relationship between Veld and Oren is incredibly touching; the need for these two men to be together—one to master, the other to serve—is portrayed well through their connection and communication, as we observe Veld’s increased longing to mark Oren and make the mute baker his own. This, played out against the investigation of Haram’s death—which, as it turns out, was no accident—layers well with the anticipation of a relationship, and offers this novella a fuller, richer emotional payoff than I’d expected from the word count.

Arden brings this story to a satisfying and poignant conclusion, as we witness Haram’s final act, perhaps his most selfless and greatest act, to ensure Oren continues to get what he needs to be whole and happy and healthy. This ending, complemented by the bonus scenes that have been added since the novella’s original publication, transforms what might have been a happy for now tale into something with a more permanent and fulfilling note to it.

TNA_Signature_Lisa







 

You can buy Oren’s Right here:

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Blaine D. Arden, Self-Published

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Fifth Son by Blaine D. Arden

The Flower Courting Ritual

5thsonflowerritual

When I wrote The Fifth Son, I wanted to include a courting ritual, but I had no idea what shape that would take. I wanted something different from our traditional exchange of rings. Something different meant Googling… for hours, because it’s so easy to sink into the quick sand that’s Google. And I found many alternatives, from knotted bracelets to shared tattoos. Most of which were interesting, but didn’t call out to me… or Llyskel and Ariv. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Blaine D. Arden, Reviewed by Lisa, Storm Moon Press

Blaine D. Arden’s “The Forester II: Lost and Found” Is The Long Awaited Follow Up To A Great Beginning


“It was more and more difficult to hold on to hope, and yet, all I needed to survive another day was to gaze into Taruif’s eyes and have Ianys’ arms around me.” – Blaine D. Arden


Title: The Forester II: Lost and Found

Author: Blaine D. Arden

Publisher: Storm Moon Press

Pages/Word Count: 88 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: “The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.”
Continue reading

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Blaine D. Arden, Storm Moon Press

Going Commando In The Forest – By Blaine D. Arden



Whether reader or writer, we all know that moment when one of the characters is about to strip. And I’m not talking about his t-shirt. This post is not about whether or not he has chest hair. No. I’m talking below the belt.

We sit on the edge of our seats in anticipation. A belt is removed. The first button pops. Or a zipper is teased open. Maybe, he pushes the waistband down a little. Or loosens his drawstrings…

And that is that moment. Whether contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, or historical, we’re all thinking the same thing: “What is he wearing underneath?”

I definitely remember the scene in “The Forester” when Kelnaht spies on Taruif and Ianys while they’re undressing… and it suddenly hit me. What were they wearing underneath? What did I want my Forest men to wear?

These days, the question is mostly about boxers, briefs, or going commando. But what would men wear in a fantasy setting like mine? A simple, mostly harmonious, community, where the people take care of each other. And might even be sewing each other’s clothes. Would underwear even be practical in such a setting? Would it be necessary?

With the internet only a click away, I ventured on a short but interesting journey that led me past loincloths, braies, and codpieces to Greeks and Scots not wearing any of these items. And my decision was made. My Forest men would wear simple trousers, tied at the waist with drawstrings, made of fabric to suit the weather, but no underwear.

Of course, when I went back to finishing that scene, I had Kelnaht close his eyes for a moment, so he ended up missing the part where Taruif and Ianys took their trousers off… Poor Kelnaht. Still, the research was fun, nevertheless.

So, what do you like to see men in the fantasy genre wear beneath their clothes? And what do you least like to see them wear?

The Forester II: Lost and Found

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“The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.”

One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers-smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif-is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht. If it isn’t sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it’s heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free. And if that’s not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.

Excerpt:

“Ustion!”

I was glad I wore my trousers tucked into my high boots, as the mud sucked at them with every step. It had been raining off and on for the past two weeks. The leaves of the few evergreen oaks and parulm trees scattered throughout the forest dripped water, and twilight threw the woodland into a cold and eerie darkness. Cloak wrapped tightly around me and wings folded, I tried to ignore the drizzling chill brushing my fingers as I held my hands out in front of me, energy flowing freely as I scanned for Ustion’s footsteps.

“Ustion!”

Step by step, I circled the area at the foot of Moors Mountain surrounding the mouth of the hunters’ cave, while my apprentice, Brem, did the same on the other side of the cave’s entrance. Even with the floating lanterns hovering above us, I could find little trace of Ustion. There had been plenty in the cave. Just outside, same thing, but the farther I moved away from the cave, the less I found. At this point, I’d be thrilled to find even the tiniest trace that would tell me where Ustion had walked off to. I muttered a prayer to Ma’terra, hoping something would turn up soon. Deeper into the forest, the search party bellowed out for Ustion every couple of paces.

“Ustion!”

Ustion, son of Ashyu and soon-to-be carpenter’s apprentice, had been staying with Ashyu’s hunting group when he disappeared. It was tradition to take their older children with them once a turn for a break in routine. According to the hunters, Ustion had been doing fine—couldn’t shoot a rabbit even if it stood still, but made the best arrows—until three nights ago, when Ustion and Ashyu had argued, and Ustion had walked off to blow off some steam. When he hadn’t returned that evening, Ashyu had assumed he’d gone home to sulk. At sixteen turns, Ustion was old enough to find his way back, but when the hunting group returned to the village earlier today, Ustion hadn’t been home. He hadn’t been anywhere in the village.

“Ustion!”

Three nights was a long time for a stripling like him to be missing.

“Do you think we’ll find him soon, Master Kelnaht?”

Ashyu, a tall tree elf built like an oak, looked old in the flickering light of the lanterns. Lines were etched into his face, lines of worry, lines of regret. He’d been mumbling prayers since we started our search, staying close to Brem and me as we searched for traces. Every time we paused or bent down, he held his breath. His sighs when we found nothing sounded heartbreaking.

“I hope so,” was all I could answer to that. Truth was, I had no idea. The lack of traces was alarming, the nearing darkness even more so. I hadn’t expected the absence of traces, hadn’t expected the search to take this long. We weren’t prepared to spend the night in the forest, and once the night creatures stirred, the fire would be needed for protection more than light. The sooner we found Ustion, the sooner we could all go home. I hoped Taruif wasn’t waiting up for me.

“Ustion!”

Grabbing some herbs from my pouch, I sprinkled them over my cold hands and rubbed them together to cleanse them and protect them from the worst of the cold. When my hands started tingling, I took a deep breath, muttered a prayer to Ma’terra to guide us in our search, and renewed my focus. Hands extended, I felt my way through the rubble and the mud, moving farther and farther away from the cave. Every now and then, Brem and I met up in the middle, but we had nothing new to tell each other. Neither of us could find anything, and we were both reaching the limit of our powers.

“Ustion!”

In the end, I had no choice but to call it a night. We could barely see our hands in front of us, the wind had become fierce and close to freezing, and Brem and I needed to stop before we ran out of energy. Standing amidst his hunting group, Ashyu begged and screamed for us to give it another hour, stamping his feet into the mud and swinging his fists to punctuate his words.

I shook my head. “Look at your friends, Ashyu,” I told him. “You’ve all just returned from a week long hunting trip. They need a good night’s rest.” I gestured at Brem and I. “We need a good night’s rest to replenish our energy. We’ll restart our search in the morning and gather as many elves as we can to combine our energies. We will find your son.”

Ashyu sagged against a tree, disappointment and pain clear in his expression. Two of his group had to help him back on his feet before they could lead him back to the village. We walked in silence. I couldn’t stop myself from scanning the ground every couple of paces with what little energy I had left. Next to me, Brem did the same. A desperate act, or idle hope, maybe, but we’d never lost anyone in the forest before, and we weren’t planning on doing so now.

When I entered the village, Ianys stood waiting in the shadow of my dwelling, keeping out of sight until the last door in the village had closed. As soon as I reached him, his strong arms enveloped me, and I sagged against him. His warm mouth claiming mine brought a relief I couldn’t express in words. Ianys knew me well. He wrapped his cloak around me, took my cold and wet hands in his, and led me to Taruif’s dwelling.

Blaine D. Arden is a purple haired, forty-something writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes, and a penchant for wearing mostly black and purple, who sings her way through life.

You can find Blaine at blainedarden.com, twitter,facebook, and goodreads.

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Blaine D. Arden, Storm Moon Press

Blaine D. Arden Wants To Know, What Elf Would You Be?


TheForester_BSBlaine D. Arden here with the opening post for my The Forester II: Lost and Found blog tour! Join me in celebrating and be sure to read to the bottom. There’s a mini-competition I’d love for you all to participate in!

When I was a wee one, I spent a lot of my time daydreaming, and I don’t think I ever stopped doing that. Only, now, my daydreaming mostly consists of me making up worlds for my characters to play in and for others to enjoy. Sometimes I’m not even sure I’m from this world.

This world is fast, full of technology, and we always seem to be on our way to one thing or another. Of course, there are times I have to be surgically removed from my laptop, desktop, and smart phone, but they are more or less necessities of my writing. That said, should I ever survive an apocalypse, I’m sure I’d adjust to writing on cave walls or paper again. Us humans are an adaptable lot, after all.

One of the worlds I like to spend my days in is my forest world. There are no cell phones in the Forest, no cars, planes, or electricity. No money, either. The forest tribes are self-sufficient and provide for all their elves. The harvest is evenly divided, as are the hunters’ catches. A carpenter will make a cabinet for a new tunic or a nice dress for his vowed. I can’t help it, I love the idea of bartering, of helping each other out, and I can just imagine Taruif, one of the main characters in The Forester Trilogy, making me a lovely attic room in my favorite tree where I can write.

Now, I can’t promise that life in the forest is more evenly paced, easier, or quieter, and I’m not saying the small forest communities are perfect. Every tribe has its own problems, from strife between neighbors to common thieves, and even the occasional murder. Not to mention the chance of a ruined harvest or disease among the villagers or the animals they hunt. The tribes can also be quite isolated, other villages are often at least a week’s walk away.

But… it’s certainly a change of pace, and sometimes all we want is a change of environment.

Today, you can all be whoever you want to be, from winged hunter to a wingless baker. You can experience living in the forest’s gorgeous tree-houses and sit in the center, chatting, eating, and drinking with the rest of the tribe. So… who would you want to be?

Feel free to choose from the lists below by picking whatever catches your eye, or if you’re more of a gambling person, throw some dice and see what that brings you.

Because I still need to sort out some of the characters within my current work in progress, I’ll randomly choose one commenter’s Elf for a (small) role in Part Three of The Forester Trilogy, after the blog tour has finished.

1: wings or no wings:
In the forest, there are two species: the winged cloud elves (dice: 1,3,5), or the grounded tree elves (dice: 2,4,6). Choose one, or throw your dice.

2: How to earn our keep in the village:
For that, we obviously need a job, don’t we? Now, since this tribe already has a Guide, a Truth Seeker, and a Forester, those jobs are unavailable at this point. Furthermore, while there can be a little overlap, some jobs are mostly performed by one species of elf. Something to do with different species having different abilities.

Choices for a Tree Elf Choices for a Cloud Elf
1. Smith 2. Healer 3. Farmer 4. Bone Carver 5. Hunter 6. Baker
1. Herder 2. Messenger 3. Hunter 4. Healer 5. Baker 6. Bone Carver

3: We also need fitting Forest names, of course:
1. Kore
2. Roan
3. Vide
4. Guur
5. Ocer
6. Remza

4: Last, but certainly not least, feel free to choose gender and sexuality. No dice, this time. Choose any combination you like:

Male, Female, Trans*, Gender Queer, Asexual, Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Pansexual, Bisexual, and any term I’ve not mentioned. It’s really whatever you feel fits best.

One final note: You can of course make up your own name or profession… but I’ll have to check it against my list of Forest characters to see if I can use it.

Enjoy the game and remember to comment with your results!

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The Forester II: Lost and Found – Now Available for just $3.99!

“The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.”

One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers—smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif—is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht.

If it isn’t sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it’s heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free.

And if that’s not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.

Blaine D. Arden is a purple haired, forty-something writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes, and the colours black, purple and red, who sings her way through life.

You can find Blaine at blainedarden.com, twitter,facebook, and goodreads.

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Blaine D. Arden, Charley Descoteaux, Eric Arvin, Hayden Thorne, John Goode, Kate Lowell, Sneak Peek, Susan Mac Nicol, Thianna D, Tom Mendicino

And Now, Here’s Our Sneak Peek At The Coming Week!



Boy, have we got a week full of great stuff ahead, even with us taking the day off on Wednesday to spend with our loved ones. We’ve got guests and giveaways galore on tap; plus, as we head into the New Year, we’ve got our lists of Top Reads of 2013 compiled and ready to roll out on December 31st, so be on the lookout for that because there may be prizes involved. :-D

Now, here’s what we’ve got coming up in the week ahead!





Monday – We’ve got a big day today, as we play host not only to Eric Arvin and TJ Klune’s Ghoul’s Gym Blog Tour (with a whole slew of great giveaways), but we also will have author Thianna D with us on her Took My Breath Away Blog Tour and a huge Rafflecopter giveaway.

TuesdayKate Lowell comes calling on her Christmas Goes Analog Blog Tour, and she’s offering a free E-copy of the book to one lucky reader.

WednesdayMerry Christmas! We’re taking today off to spend with family and friends.

ThursdayBlaine D. Arden will be popping in on The Forester II Blog Tour with Storm Moon Press.

FridayHayden Thorne comes back for a visit today with Masks: Rise of the Heroes and a giveaway

John Goode is also popping in for a visit with Part 5 of his writing series: “You Said What Now?”

SaturdayCharley Descoteaux makes a Toy Run and stops in to chat about her Dreamspinner Advent story and the characters who make this Christmas tale so heartwarming.

SundaySusan Mac Nicol is here today on her Worth Keeping Blog Tour, so be sure to stay tuned to find out what she has in store for you.





And that wraps things up for now. Until next time, Merry Christmas and happy reading!

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Storm Moon Press

The Forester by Blaine D. Arden

The ForesterThe Forester by Blaine D. Arden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5/5 Stars

I so wish this novella had been titled The Forester: BOOK #1 because, let me tell you, there’d better be a BOOK #2 in the works or else. Or else I just might cry.

Blaine D. Arden knocks this one right out of the ballpark on her first swing, in a CSI meets Law & Order meets J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy/mystery; then, to top it all off, she throws in a little tickle-your-fancy with a sweet ménage à trois, which comes together in a world where elves and magic rule. It all adds up to one wonderful read, as far as I’m concerned, evidenced by the fact that I was cursing myself the whole way through for not being able to read faster so I could see what would happen next.

There’s been a murder committed in the forest community, and as the Truth Seeker, it’s up to Kelnaht to investigate the crime and find the perp. His abilities exceed simple forensics, however, as he is also able to reach out with his mystical abilities and senses for guidance, which gives the story its police procedural meets the otherworldly atmosphere. But while the mystery was entertaining, it came in second for me when compared to the intrigue presented in the relationship between Kelnaht, his ex-lover Ianys, and the Forester, an elf who has been shunned for reasons I won’t divulge, and whose name is forbidden to be spoken aloud.

The Forester, Taruif, is a bit like the proverbial elephant in the room. He lives on the outskirts of the community, is seen but not heard, is noticed but ignored by all but The Guide. So, what’s a Truth Seeker to do when the one and only person who may be an eye witness to a crime is the one and only person he is forbidden to speak with? It’s a conundrum, especially when the investigator is also incredibly attracted to the forbidden. And especially when the man who betrayed Kelnaht, the man he still loves, is discovered to be the Forester’s secret lover. Whew! Got all that?

Now, the crime is resolved before the end, but the relationship between Kelnaht, Ianys, and Taruif? No, that’s only just beginning, which is why I must have a sequel to this story. There are hurdles crossed, but there are still more in the way, and the navigating of them must be done carefully or else all might be lost, and that must be avoided at all costs because these three men, well, they just fit together so perfectly.

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