5 Stars, Christopher Koehler, Harmony Ink Press, Reviewed by Jackie, Young Adult

Review: Poz by Christopher Koehler

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Title: Poz

Author: Christopher Koehler

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Highly Recommended

Blurb: Remy Babcock and Mikey Castelreigh are stalwart members of the Capital City Rowing Club’s junior crew, pulling their hardest to earn scholarships to rowing powerhouses like California Pacific. Just a couple of all-American boys, they face the usual pressures of life in an academic hothouse and playing a varsity sport. Add to that the stifling confines of the closet, and sometimes life isn’t always easy, even in the golden bubble of their accepting community. Because Remy and Mikey have a secret: they’re both gay. While Mikey has never hidden it, Remy is a parka and a pair of mittens away from Narnia.

Mikey has always been open about wanting more than friendship, but Remy is as uncomfortable in his own skin as he is a demon on the water. After their signals cross, and a man mistakes Remy for a college student, Remy takes the plunge and hooks up with him. After a furious Mikey cuts Remy off, Remy falls to the pressure of teenage life, wanting to be more and needing it now. In his innocence and naiveté, Remy makes mistakes that have life-long consequences. When Remy falls in the midst of the most important regatta of his life, he can only hope Mikey will be there to catch him when he needs it most.

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Review: Since I first found Christopher Koehler’s books on Amazon, I have been totally and completely hooked on them. I think I literally did an enthusiastic happy dance each and every time a new CalPac Crew book came out. I found out this year at GRL that there would be a new book in the universe the rowing books were set in. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

The only thing that gave me any sort of pause on this book was the fact that it deals with sixteen to eighteen year olds. Some of the YA books seem to miss the mark with me, so I was a little torn. It turns out that I shouldn’t have worried, though, and I should have just trusted Mr. Koehler. This book was a winner from the first chapter all the way to the end.

This book truly does run the gamut of emotions, and I experienced every single one. I was happy, sad, mad, scared and even a little disbelieving at certain points. Jeremy “Remy” Babcock has what appears to be a good life. He has both parents, a twin brother who loves him, a best friend, and he is on a fast track for a full ride to college for rowing. The biggest problem, in his opinion, is the fact that he is gay and has no idea if his family will support him or not. Lucky for Remy, his best friend Mikey and his rowing crew support him, and for a while that was enough.

Mikey Castelreigh has never really been in the closet, but he also hasn’t taken out any ads in the local paper. Mikey is a year younger than Remy, but they have been friends for most of their lives. It was a relief for both boys when they realized they were gay. They were best friends who shared a difficult secret. How awesome is that? Well, it can be good and, as it turns out, it can be bad also.

Remy has kept Mikey firmly in the “friend zone”, but Mikey has been feeling much more than friendly towards him for a while. When Remy takes a closer look at his relationship with Mikey, he realizes that Mikey hasn’t really been in that friend zone for a while. Well, who knew? When Mikey and Remy try to discuss taking their relationship to the next level, the hotheadedness of youth leads to a severing of their friendship, which sends Remy on a downward spiral that results in him making life-altering mistakes.

Taking the journey of acceptance with Remy was not fun most of the time. When his parents are confronted with Remy’s mistakes, his sexuality and their role in his acting out, it makes for a very emotional time for everyone. From the beginning of the book I felt a connection with Remy. There was just something about this character that drew me in and begged for me to listen to his story. Throw in a bad relationship with some well-meaning but totally oblivious parents, a fraternal twin who is all you could hope for in a brother, and a best friend that will always be his most important person, and you end up with a book that will break your heart and have you laughing along at the same time.

As a parent, this book makes me realize that even as open and honest as I am with my kids, I could be inadvertently hurting more than helping at times. It seems at times that no matter how much we love and accept our children, we can do harm even while trying to protect them. Remy and his family both learned a hard lesson in this book, but I feel this is a topic that has to be covered with our youth.

I would highly recommend this book for any kid who feels like their parents just don’t understand them. I would hope they would get the message that when life pushes us, we don’t always have to push back harder. Sometimes we just bend so we can snap back and be stronger.






You can buy Poz here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Christopher Koehler, Giveaways, Harmony Ink Press

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: Poz by Christopher Koehler

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The Novel Approach is happy to be a stop on Christopher Koehler’s Poz Blog Tour. Enjoy this exclusive excerpt, then enter for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card by clicking on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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PozFSTitle: Poz

Series: The Lives of Remy and Michael: Book One

Author: Christopher Koehler

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Publication Date: 8 Jan 2015

Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Young Adult

Blurb: Remy Babcock and Mikey Castelreigh are stalwart members of the Capital City Rowing Club’s junior crew, pulling their hardest to earn scholarships to rowing powerhouses like California Pa-cific. Just a couple of all-American boys, they face the usual pressures of life in an academic hothouse and playing a varsity sport. Add to that the stifling confines of the closet, and sometimes life isn’t always easy, even in the golden bubble of their accepting community. Because Remy and Mikey have a secret: they’re both gay. While Mikey has never hidden it, Remy is a parka and a pair of mittens away from Narnia.

Mikey has always been open about wanting more than friendship, but Remy is as uncomfortable in his own skin as he is a demon on the water. After their signals cross, and a man mistakes Remy for a college student, Remy takes the plunge and hooks up with him. After a furious Mikey cuts Remy off, Remy falls to the pressure of teenage life, wanting to be more and needing it now. In his innocence and naiveté, Remy makes mistakes that have life-long consequences. When Remy falls in the midst of the most important regatta of his life, he can only hope Mikey will be there to catch him when he needs it most.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink | Amazon US | Amazon UK | All Romance eBooks

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Excerpt: In this excerpt, Remy and the rest of the Capital City Junior Crew are in San Diego for the Crew Classic. The Crew Classic (crewclassic.org), a real regatta, takes place every April on Mission Bay and is a lot fun…assuming the weather cooperates. I’ve seen it go both ways, and rumor has it one year the rain and chop were so bad the Coast Guard had to pull a racing shell out of the water because it had been swamped and was unrowable. The cox’n allegedly bowed to the referees’ stand before diving into the water…

(Edited for context)

I didn’t sleep during all of my down time. I watched races I wasn’t in, like those of colleges I wanted to attend. Coach Lodestone told me he had been in contact with coaches at those schools all year. My performance at the Youth Nationals later this summer would clinch any deals and possibly secure an early admission or two, but I knew there had been eyes on me during the heats. Since I had not known who, when, or where, I had managed not to freak out, but it had been added pressure. If any of those coaches had joined Lodestone to watch my races, they had disappeared by the time those races ended, saving me from mortification, but only temporarily. Lodestone took me around to meet all of them.

I also watched Mikey’s races. I had my eye on him, and not just because I was trying to figure out what we were to each other. I stood next to Lodestone while Mikey raced. I liked him as a person, but more important, I respected him as a coach. Then there was the undeniable hotness factor. Okay, I came into my height early, but Lodestone? He rowed at the University of Washington, and the Huskies grow them big up there or something. Lodestone was not only way over six feet tall, but my brother once told me Lodestone looked more like he was built for certain positions in football that took bulk and muscles than for crew, which needed lean strength. I mean, his shoulders were out to there. Also, he was hairy in all the right places, like beard shadow right after shaving hairy. It was awesome. He was also straight as a plank. The only thing that kept me from hating his girlfriend was that she was not only brilliant, but she was sweet as she was smart. I mean, she was deaf, and I’d started learning some basic sign language—she was that beautiful a person. Or I had that big a case of hero worship for my coach. It could’ve gone either way.

Lodestone watched the races and didn’t acknowledge my presence. I didn’t take it personally. This was his job, after all. “Do your prerace walk while you were waiting for the trailer?” he said eventually.

At least he knew I was there. I lived for these moments with my coach. It felt like he treated me as an equal, even if only for a little while. “Coach. Please.”

He laughed. “What was I thinking? Of course you did.”

“And dragged most of my boat along for the ride. Something new this year, though.”
“Oh?” He finally glanced down at me.

“Cisco dragged Mikey and some of the other junior varsity with us.”

Lodestone didn’t say anything for a moment. “Interesting. What do you think they got out of it?”

I glanced at my watch and then checked the schedule. I looked out at the water, squinting through the glare of the afternoon sun. There they were. There he was. “He’s varsity next year.”

“Oh, you think so, do you, Coach Babcock?” Lodestone said, laughing.

I flushed. “No, seriously. If you haven’t watched him on the ergs, you’re falling down on the job—”

“Strong words, oarsman.”

I stood my ground. “They’re true, sir. His numbers have dropped steadily this season. At the same time, his erg technique has improved. He’s a match for anyone on our squad.”

“Ergs don’t float.” Lodestone’s voice was quiet, almost too quiet, like he was getting angry or I’d just overstepped my bounds, but dammit, he was the one who’d encouraged me to watch and analyze other rowers. If he didn’t like the results, he had only himself to blame.

“No, they don’t, but boats do, and you’re watching his right now, same as me. Tell me you don’t see someone who’s better than most of his boat,” I said, “and he’s in the A boat.”

Lodestone stayed silent, watching the rest of the race through binoculars. I didn’t have any, so I could only follow Mikey until they passed beyond my ability to make out any useful detail.

“Perhaps I was too hasty in my dismissal,” Lodestone said, dropping his binoculars at last. “You’ve given this a lot of thought, and more importantly, you’ve been watching his form.” He eyed me appraisingly. “And here I thought you’d just been watching his body.”

I turned red, and not just red, scalded lobster red. Even as a kid, I had blushed hard. “Guess you heard?”

“You could say that.” Lodestone put his arm across my shoulder, laughing. He had a ready laugh, at least with me. “Remy, if you don’t want anyone to know, you shouldn’t cuddle on the team bus, to say nothing of the fact that one of the chaperones found you two asleep in each other’s arms this morning. If it’s any consolation, the entire girls’ team thinks it’s adorable. The boys’ team is a bit more divided. Varsity backs you, like it always has. Junior varsity? That’s another issue, but word on the street is there’s more than one rower who’s simply jealous.”

“Aww, jeez.” I had only thought I couldn’t be any more embarrassed. “Wait… of who, me or Mikey?”

Lodestone snickered. “Like I’d tell you. Just enjoy it, okay? That’s part of the fun of being young. Now, about your outspoken advocacy….”

“Hey, you taught me to watch other rowers and made me ride in launches to observe,” I said.

“Yes, but I never thought it’d come back to bite me in the ass this soon.”

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Author BioAbout Christopher: Christopher Koehler learned to read late (or so his teachers thought) but never looked back. It was not, however, until he was nearly done with grad school in the history of science that he realized that he needed to spend his life writing and not on the publish-or-perish treadmill. At risk of being thought frivolous, he found that academic writing sucked all the fun out of putting pen to paper.

Christopher is also something of a hothouse flower. Inside of almost unreal conditions he thrives to set the results of his imagination free, and for most of his life he has been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who encouraged both that tendency and the writing. Chief among them is his long-suffering husband of twenty-two years and counting.

When it comes to writing, Christopher follows Anne Lamott’s advice: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” So while he writes fiction, at times he ruthlessly mines his past for character traits and situations. Reality is far stranger than fiction.

Christopher loves many genres of fiction and nonfiction, but he’s especially fond of romances, because it is in them that human emotions and relations, at least most of the ones fit to be dis-cussed publicly, are laid bare.

Writing is his passion and his life, but when Christopher is not doing that, he’s an at-home dad and oarsman with a slightly disturbing interest in manners and other ways people behave badly.

Visit him at http://christopherkoehler.net/blog or follow him on Twitter @christopherink.

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The Giveaway:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Dates:

7 Jan – Prism Book Alliance

9 Jan – Cody Kennedy

10 Jan – The Novel Approach

14 Jan – JP Barnaby

15 Jan – Love Bytes

19 Jan – GGR Reviews

21 Jan – Hearts on Fire Reviews

22 Jan – MM Good Book Reviews

26 Jan – James Erich

28 Jan – Joyfully Jay

2 Feb – Rainbow Gold Reviews

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Welcome back, everyone, and many thanks to you for your warm wishes for a happy holiday and new year. Your continued support means the world to us, and we’re looking forward to a fun and busy 2015!

We’ve got some great guests lined up for you in the coming week, so here’s a look at what’s in store:

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Monday – Kicking off our week, we welcome BJ Sheppard on his Always Have, Always Will blog tour

And we’ll also be helping to welcome the new kid on the publishing block, CoolDudes Books

Tuesday M.A. Church drops by today on her The Harvest: Journey’s End blog tour

We also have the Brit Boys tour stopping by today

WednesdayRhys Ford’s Down and Dirty blog tour makes a stop at TNA today, with the next chapter in the progressive story she wrote just for the tour

ThursdayAlexis Hall’s Liberty and Other Stories spotlight tour stops by today

FridayWhitley Gray drops in on her Artistic Endeavor blog tour

We also welcome Cardeno C. on the Blue Mountain tour

Saturday – And to close out the week, we’ll have Christopher Koehler with us on his Poz blog tour

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

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Christopher Koehler, Deanna Wadsworth, Dreamspinner Press, EM Lynley, Ethan Stone, Jambrea Jo Jones, Jennifer Wright, Lynley Wayne, MLR Press, Rider Jacobs, Sloan Parker

Indy Pride 2014 – Thanks, Pics, And A Wrap Up Of Our Day


Pride Selfies: Me, Jambrea Jo Jones and Lynley Wayne

Pride Selfies: Me, Jambrea Jo Jones and Lynley Wayne


On Saturday, the 14th, I had the privilege of attending my first Pride event here in Indianapolis. It was such a positive and uplifting day, and I’m so glad Lynley Wayne and Jambrea Jo Jones let me tag along on their coattails as a reviewer representative of the genre we write, read and love. As days go, I’ll tell you it’s one I’m not likely ever to forget. Indiana is one of the remaining states in the union that’s not only stubbornly holding on to the man/woman/marriage definition but is a state that’s been working hard to make marriage unconstitutional for same gender couples. After attending Indy Pride and seeing the projected one-hundred-twenty-thousand men, women, and kids in attendance, Indiana is a state that seems poised to move forward and make equality a verb rather than a noun.

We have so many people to thank for their generosity, for without the donations we received, our booth wouldn’t have been such a huge success. The depth of our gratitude can’t be expressed in a few words, but suffice it to say it’s because of these donations that we helped to introduce and spread the word about the M/M romance community to Indianapolis.

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Many thanks go to:

Elizabeth North and Dreamspinner Press for your donation of books, pens, DSP discount coupons, and Chapstick.

MLR Press for your donation of Chapstick (Which, P.S. – people got a kick out of the fact we were giving away vanilla Chapstick in the booth next door to the Indianapolis Kink Society)

Ethan Stone for the donation of books and bookmarks

Jennifer Wright for your donation of books and discount coupons for the purchase of your books at Totally Bound

Sloan Parker for the donation of books

Rider Jacobs for the donation of magnets

Deanna Wadsworth for the donation of bookplates, bookmarks, stickers and discount coupons

EM Lynley for the donation of bookplates

Christopher Koehler for the donation of your books.

And finally, a special thank you to Lynley Wayne’s husband, Brian, for making the spinner wheel so we had a way for people to win all these great prizes.

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It was gratifying for us to introduce people who love to read to a genre of books some didn’t know existed, and it was even more gratifying when I found people here and there who’d read some of the authors I love, but celebrating books is nothing when compared to meeting people who’ve been marginalized, who’ve been made to feel less than because of who they love, who’ve ever had to hide a part of themselves because of fear of rejection by the people who are supposed to accept and love them unconditionally. When a pagan woman tells you their community is so often forced into hiding because of the misunderstanding of their beliefs, I think it proclaims in big bold letters that Pride events are necessary for anyone who has to put on a public face in order to avoid being judged and condemned. Pride is the day when people can shed the uniform of conformity and celebrate without fear of being ridiculed and harassed for it, and I think I can safely speak for the three of us when I say it was that atmosphere that made it such an amazing day.

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Indy Pride was twelve hours of chatting and pimping and people watching. It was a day filled with more than a few laughs and a lot of celebrating. And of Steve Grand, who is so beautiful and talented and I’m sorry I sucked so badly at videotaping him! But here, here’s a .gif of him that I was able to salvage from the wreckage of my Amishness. Enjoy!

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Christopher Koehler, Dreamspinner Press

Two Men Go About “Settling the Score” The Hard Way


“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” ― Groucho Marx


Title: Settling the Score

Author: Christopher Koehler

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 320

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Stuart Cochrane and Philip Sundstrom make an unlikely pair. Philip’s brother, Brad, can’t imagine his brother with another man, let alone with the coxswain he razzed throughout his college rowing career. But somehow they settle into a relationship that works as Philip helps Stuart navigate the pressures of deciding between medical school and competing for a spot on the national rowing team. In turn, Stuart helps Philip with his problems at work, where he’s faced with a rebellious board of directors.
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