5 Stars, Edmond Manning, Literary Fiction, Pickwick Ink Publishing, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: King John by Edmond Manning

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Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: King John (The Lost And Founds: Book Four)

Author: Edmond Manning

Publisher: Pickwick Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 245 Pages

At a Glance: Every second with this story is a second well spent.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: English attorney Alistair Robertson can’t quite believe an astonishing tale of kingship and transformation he hears at Burning Man, the annual counter-culture art festival in the Black Rock.

Who are the Found Kings? Is “being kinged” as magical as it sounds?

Determined to find the mysterious garage mechanic named Vin who helps men “remember who they were always meant to be,” Alistair catches his quarry amid the extravagant sculptures, fire worshipers, mutant cars, and lavish costumes. After searching for three years, he’ll finally get to ask the question burning inside him: “Will you king me?”

Wandering together through the desert, Vin Vanbly and Alistair explore Burning Man’s gifting culture and exotic traditions, where they meet the best and worst of their fellow burners. Alistair’s overconfidence in Vin’s manipulative power collides with Vin’s obsessive need to save a sixteen-year-old runaway from a nightmarish fate, and the two men spiral into uncontrollable, explosive directions.

In this fourth adventure of The Lost and Founds, beneath the sweltering summer sun and the six billion midnight stars, one truth emerges, searing itself on their hearts: in the desert, everything burns.

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Review: I must admit–I am not very clever, not when it comes to riddles or subtle clues. For some reason, while I can often suss out who the bad guy is in a mystery novel, I really do very poorly at picking up clues in any other form of writing. For this reason, I hesitated to review the latest novel in Edmond Manning’s Lost and Founds series, King John. I was afraid I could not do it justice–not give it the credit it deserved as being a clever and multi-layered work of fiction. With these thoughts in the back of my mind I moved on, knowing full well I would read this lyrically beautiful piece of fiction–whether for the purposes of reviewing it or not. There is a good reason for this. You see, I am a “kingite”, a hardcore fan of this series and this author. And, yes, I just made that title “kingite” up, and I rather like it!

So, here would be the place I attempt to provide a succinct synopsis of this incredible tome that spans a mere few days but feels as though it has exposed more raw emotional material than ever before. Returning to the place where he has truly felt at home for the only time in his life, Vin partakes of the Burning Man festival held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, a seven day exploration of self expression that has few boundaries and is geared toward inclusion, self-reliance, and the idea that they will leave no trace of themselves after the end of their time in the desert. Everything that can burns in the end, including the gigantic man who is built to herald in the event and mark its closing.

Vin meets all manner of people, but as in the past with this man, there is always an edge of worry—for you see, this is not his first year, and he has a reputation that precedes him—he has made an enemy. A ranger discovered Vin many years before when he broke the law and jumped the barrier that keeps the burning man participants safe from wandering off and getting lost in the desert. The fence is also a way to contain those who attend the festival so that there can be some stability in what appears to be well established chaos. The rangers do not like rule breakers, and poor Vin is a veteran rule breaker

So he moves about the festival, happy in many ways and yet cautious, for this is the Vin we know from previous novels: controlled, careful, self-critical and condemning, lost while still being the near perfect guide for men in need of rediscovering their kingship. While this was not meant to be a king weekend, Vin will be approached by a man desperate to become just that—a found king. Alistair is an enigma, a British lawyer on American soil, who has met one of Vin’s success stories, another Found King, Liam.

Alistair is positive he knows it all—has got a fix on Vin and his many bags of tricks—his “magic”. Alistair pursues Vin, who almost grudgingly gives in and sets the wheels in motion for this Lost King to find his way to cross over and return to his destiny. But Alistair is full of questions and resists Vin’s best attempts to guide him on the right path. In fact, Alistair will be the linchpin to cracking wide open a time in Vin’s past that he has kept hidden for so long. Vin will be forced to share a memory that, to this day, still has the power to gut his soul and remind him of the failure he is so certain he is—a Lost King who will never be found.

King John begins slowly, unwrapping the festival and establishing its background, setting the scene for us. Even when Alistair arrives to make Vin’s final days at Burning Man a frantic scramble for setting up a king weekend, the story almost lazily takes on the challenge set before Vin. Then something happens. I am not sure at what point this story became so intense, but the moment it did, I could not put this book down. So much was at stake, suddenly, lives in peril, a dredged up past threatening to destroy the fragile equilibrium that Vin clings to in order to not see how horribly he does not belong. All of a sudden this is not about Alistair, but rather, about survival…and not only Vin’s.

This was perhaps the most gut wrenching King novel to date. In previous books, we had been privy to Vin’s great moments of self-doubt and frantic worry that he was not going to do right by his Lost King—that he would be the thing to prevent a king from crossing over due to his fumbling, heavy handed acts that were meant to aid his king rather than hinder. This was the Vin we had grown used to—the one that we would shout at again and again to stop berating himself, stop worrying, stop running away from his own destiny. In this novel, author Edmond Manning has done the unthinkable—he has lulled us into this false sense of security. He’s come along side us and, with a nudge and a wink, assured us that Vin was just doing that “Vin stuff” he does and all would work out in the end. Till now. Till King John. Till an ending so shocking that I actually dropped my Kindle. No, say it is not so, Mr. Manning—say it is all just another elaborate clue that will lead to a happy-ever-after for our Vin–our Lost King who surely will get found.

Instead, we got… I am afraid you will have to read this novel to complete that sentence for yourself. Is this long trek into madness and mayhem in the desert worth the emotional wreckage it might leave you with? I must say, dear reader, it is. There are such wonderful moments in this story, and there are such heart breaking times as well. However, it is the journey—as always it is the journey that will make you race through this novel and, once again, recognize a piece of your own humanity within its pages. I bid you calm winds and cooler days as you traverse this desert with Vin. Every second with this story is a second well spent.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

You can buy King John here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Edmond Manning, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The King John Blog Tour with Edmond Manning

King John Blog Tour Banner

Please help us welcome author Edmond Manning today, on his tour for the latest book in the Lost and Founds series, King John.

Enjoy Edmond’s guest post, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of the book.

Good luck!

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What Is Burning Man?

When readers ask about the recently-published fourth book in my series, The Lost and Founds, one of the very first questions anyone ever asks is, “What’s the setting?” Readers who have explored the previous three books know the setting is a significant character. Quite intentionally, the setting is a mirror to the man being kinged. He in turn, represents what is beautiful and unique about that particular location.

“What’s the setting?” is a good question to ask.

When asked about King John, the fourth book, my reply is, “Burning Man.”

The next question I’m asked is, “What’s Burning Man?”

Another good question.

What the hell is Burning Man?

The eye-rolling, New-Age-Hippie bullshit answer is, “It’s anything you want it to be.”

Perhaps the best place to begin answering the question is with logistics.

Burning Man is an annual festival held on public lands in the Nevada desert—specifically, the Black Rock Desert, which is roughly 150 miles outside Reno. Physically, the nearest town is sixteen miles away. No town. No hotels. No drinking fountains. The festival takes place on a playa, which is a desert basin for runoff water during flash floods. It’s essentially a lake bed with no water. There’s no cactuses, no rock formations, no wildlife.

Although the roots of Burning Man stretch back earlier than 1990, that year was pivotal, because that’s the first year the small group sponsoring the festival decided to bring the strange adventure to this Nevada playa. They camped in the desert, wore formal costumes during Happy Hour, sipped cocktails, and constructed a forty-foot effigy of a wooden man. After a long weekend of partying and turning themselves into Living Art, they burned The Man to the ground.

Burning Man is a party in the desert.

Burning Man is an exercise in radical self-reliance.

Burning Man is about pushing artistic limits, and creating a dialog about humanity, the stars, this precious life we waste in cubicles or in front of the television.

Also, it’s an opportunity to get completely wasted and blow shit up.

The first few times Burning Man was explained to me, I didn’t get it. I kept asking, “Yes, but why? Why would anyone go there and do this?”

The answer was a crazy grin and the words, “Why not?”

My narrator, Vin Vanbly, attempted to answer the question “What is Burning Man.” In the passage below, he describes what he sees looking over the vast city that now forms on the playa for one week each year. The action takes place in 2002, when 33,000 people showed up to answer the question, what is Burning Man?

I observe a thousand dusty campsites and two thousand more behind them, all impacted by the same swirling singular wind, sweeping in from the barren playa far behind me. I watch it crash against the nearest tents, unstoppable as it curls into open nylon flaps and RV doors. Dust settles on food and drinks, shoulders and shoes. From this vantage point, I inspect Black Rock City, the temporary metropolis rising from the dead earth each year—a city erected with engineering precision for a festival idealizing chaos.

That’s Burning Man for you, the unlikely attraction of polar opposites. Abundance amidst the scarcest, deadliest landscape known to man. Chaos brings life. Burning equals renewal. And naked, joyful hope arises every year from people who have almost given up on the outside world.

These are my people, those who live on the fringe. Those who don’t always have a home, a job, a place in the world. Of course these days, the Burning Man tribe includes wealthy trust-fund partiers, middle-class adventurers, and bored tech guys trying to get laid. Everything changed mid-90s, when the Silicon Valley dot-commer adopted Burning Man as a networking opportunity. But, shalom, they must be made to feel welcome. Radical acceptance. This makeshift city—its rich kids, freaks and paupers—is still the closest thing I know to a home.

After spending months researching Burning Man in books, first-hand accounts, pictures, and documentaries, I think the best answer to the question—what is Burning Man?—is, it depends. For some, the torture of a week in the desert makes Burning Man a hell-on-earth to which they’d never return. For others, it’s a break from all things civilized, an exploration of art and meaning, a temporary city of like-minded thinkers. For others, it’s drug and party central.

Again, Vin tries to capture the rawness of the experience, the duality of powerful light and darkness. He describes one of the last nights at Burning Man, witnessing the forty-foot effigy about to burn and the fire dancers who worship at its base.

The firebugs rush into the center, a furious mob, occupying the giant semi-circle before The Man. Fifty of them I’d guess, maybe sixty, all swinging poles with fire dancing on both ends. These spinners move in synchronicity, shoving their poles out, then spinning them over their heads, and for the few seconds their hands are out of contact with the circles of fire, I remember how dangerous all of this is, the fire, the desert, the thousands gathered here, singing, howling, dancing, and grinding.

Looking around, I am surrounded by thousands, in glitter, feathers, and transparent silks, people in various stages of nudity and neon, costumes and non-costumes, and what they all share—what we all share—is the dust. We’ve slept, eaten, and played here for a week, and we are all acutely layered in dust, in grit, in grunginess. We sweat together. We wear the planet’s dust together. This is what binds us, not our uniqueness, or our giftedness. No one can escape our commonality—dust. It’s who we are. Where we’re going. If we’re lucky, we get enough dust on us to feel as though we’ve truly lived.

I am always grateful no one gives speeches or offers explanation for what Burning Man means, or what it should mean, or what it means to the organizers, and so forth. So much better to apply our own meaning, our own experience. To stop filtering through someone else’s reality and find our own.

This is Burning Man’s gift, really. This geographic space outside reality, this moment in time, where raw ideas get birthed into existence. With radical self-reliance and radical acceptance, anything we imagine can be true. Some fashion the world through metal sculpture. Some create a pirate ship on the back of a school bus. The serpent men imagined a hell where people are used, use each other, and the only victor is the least manipulated. They created that reality.

Who are the serpent men referenced in the final paragraph? Well…you’ll just have to find out, won’t you? Not everyone at Burning Man is full of the milk of human kindness. In fact, during King John, a small cabal of unsavory characters are determined to make trouble. They succeed.

Which is why Burning Man—with its hint of real danger, and the promise of radical acceptance and radical authenticity—is like no other place on earth.

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Cover - King John - Medium 300 x 450 JPGBlurb: English attorney Alistair Robertson can’t quite believe an astonishing tale of kingship and transformation he hears at Burning Man, the annual counter-culture art festival in the Black Rock desert. Who are the Found Kings? Is “being kinged” as magical as it sounds?

Determined to find the mysterious garage mechanic named Vin who helps men “remember who they were always meant to be,” Alistair catches his quarry amid the extravagant sculptures, fire worshipers, mutant cars, and lavish costumes. After searching for three years, he’ll finally get to ask the question burning inside him: “Will you king me?”

Wandering together through the desert, Vin Vanbly and Alistair explore Burning Man’s gifting culture and exotic traditions, where they meet the best and worst of their fellow burners. Alistair’s overconfidence in Vin’s manipulative power collides with Vin’s obsessive need to save a sixteen-year-old runaway from a nightmarish fate, and the two men spiral in uncontrollable, explosive directions.
In this fourth adventure of The Lost and Founds, beneath the sweltering summer sun and the six billion midnight stars, one truth emerges, searing itself on their hearts: in the desert, everything burns.

Where to Get Your Copy of King John: King John Kindle edition || King John paperback || King John on Goodreads

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Edmond ManningAbout the Author: Edmond Manning is the author of the romance series, The Lost and Founds. The books in this series include King Perry, King Mai (a 2014 Lambda Literary finalist), The Butterfly King, and King John. King John takes place at Burning Man.

Find Edmond At: Facebook || Website || Email

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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King John Blog Tour:

Mon, Sept 7 My Fiction Nook

Mon, Sept 7 AJ Rose Books

Tues, Sept 8 Thorny, Not Prickly

Wed, Sept 9 Love Out Loud

Thurs, Sept 10 Facebook Release Party, 7p-9p Central, hosted by Bike Book Reviews

Fri, Sept 11 Reviews by Amos Lassen

Sat, Sept 12 Vanessa North.com

Tues, Sept 15 MM Good Book Reviews

Wed, Sept 16 The Novel Approach

Thurs, Sept 17 Purple Rose Tea House

Fri, Sept 18 Posy Roberts.com

Sat, Sept 19 Zipper Rippers

Tues, Sept 22 Joyfully Jay

Wed, Sept 23 Boys In Our Books

Thurs, Sept 24 It’s About the Book

Fri, Sept 25 Lou Harper.com

Sat, Sept 26 Love Bytes Reviews

Sun, Sept 27 Sinfully Addicted to Male Romance

Mon, Sept 28 Josephine Myles.com

Tues, Sept 29 Molly Lolly

Wed, Sept 30 Coffee and Porn in the Morning

Wed, Sept 30 Stumbling Over Chaos

Thurs, Oct 1 The Blogger Girls Reviews

Sat, Oct 3 Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Sun, Oct 4 The Hat Party!

Fri, Oct 2 Jessewave

Mon, Oct 5 Prism Book Alliance

Tues, Oct 6 Jaycee Edward.com

Wed, Oct 7 Hearts on Fire Book Reviews

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week!

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and welcome back for a preview of what we have coming up for you in the week ahead. There’s lots of activity to come as we welcome some very special guests and have lots of giveaways to offer along with our reviews and another Flashback Friday feature.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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MondayNaomi MacKenzie kicks off our week as she makes the rounds on the Lodestones blog tour

We’ll also welcome author Larissa Ione to TNA today, on the tour for the newest addition to the popular Demonica series, Base Instincts

TuesdayDH Starr joins us as we continue the Countdown Celebration to GayRomLit 2015

Keira Andrews also stops by as she tours the interwebs to introduce readers to her newest novel Valor on the Move

Wednesday – Author Maggie Kavanagh joins us today to talk sequels and romance on her Inner Sanctum blog tour

Edmond Manning also drops by on his King John tour, the newest addition to the Lost and Founds series, so you won’t want to miss that as Mr. Manning always has something interesting to say

Thursday – Today we’ll look forward to having you help us welcome Brad Vance on his Werewolves of Brooklyn tour

Along with Jeff Adams, and he tours to chat about his latest release Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot

Friday – We’ll have author Nico Jaye with us in our next Countdown to GayRomLit guest spot

N.R. Walker will also be with us, as she tours the web in support of her newest novel, Cronin’s Key III

We’ll also be bringing you another edition of Flashback Friday today, and the chance to win an e-copy of one of the featured titles. This week’s category is Speculative Fiction, so stay tuned

Sunday – Finally, to close out the week, we’ll have author Hayden Thorne here with us to introduce The Romeo and Julian Effect

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And that puts an end to this sneak peek. Until next time, happy reading!

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Deanna Wadsworth, DH Starr, Edmond Manning, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, Jamie Lynn Miller, Rhys Ford, RJ Scott, Z.A. Maxfield

GayRomLit Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway: Basket Four

1237Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome back to day four of the GRL Virtual Gift Basket Giveaways! We have more great goodies on offer for you today, so have a look at what’s up for grabs:

Rhys Ford: A $25 Gift Card to the e-tailer of the winner’s choice
DH Starr: An e-copy of Meant for Each Other
RJ Scott: An e-book of choice from her backlist
Ethan Day: An e-copy of To Catch a Fox Continue reading

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Edmond Manning, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, J.K. Hogan, Lex Chase, Rhys Ford, Sophie Bonaste, Z.A. Maxfield

GayRomLit Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway: Basket Two

1237Greetings, everyone! Day One of our Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway went so well, how about Round Two?

We’ve got another great selection of prizes in Virtual Gift Basket Two today. Here’s the list of what’s up for grabs:

Lex Chase: A $25 Gift Card to an e-tailer of the winner’s choice
Rhys Ford: An e-book choice from her backlist
Edmond Manning: An e-copy of The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds: Book 3)
Continue reading

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5 Stars, Edmond Manning, Literary Fiction, Pickwick Ink Publishing, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: The Butterfly King by Edmond Manning

“Whereof what’s past is prologue.” — William Shakespeare


Title: The Butterfly King (The Lost and Founds: Book Three

Author: Edmond Manning

Publisher: Pickwick Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 301 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Terrance Altham doesn’t know why he’s been arrested. He’s committed no crime and the cops aren’t talking. Sadly, the man sharing his holding cell talks too much. Known only as Ghost, he is a young grifter, apparently familiar enough with this police station to convince Terrance a break out is possible, and pushy enough to leave Terrance no choice but to follow Ghost into the underbelly of New York City. Continue reading

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Edmond Manning, Self-Published

Guest Post: Butterfly King by Edmond Manning

I (Thunderstorm) New York.

IMG_4404I know, I know. You’re supposed to <3 New York.

Screw that.

New York has never been my favorite city. It’s crowded and busy and people coming at you in every direction and, yes, I’m the guy standing still blinking while four hundred New Yorkers stream around me trying to get to work, thinking to themselves that the city would be so much better if the tourists were assigned their own sidewalks.

Deep breath.

I’d been to New York on any number of business trips. I stayed in Midtown, the Upper West Side, and Times Square. Ate some nice dinners, endured a few crazy cab rides, and took the subway. I went to New York City Gay Pride one year, so it’s not like I had never seen the city alive and full of joyful play. I get it. It’s an amazing playground. I’ve been to the New York Eagle on a crowded Saturday night. Enough said about that night. Continue reading

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Aleksandr Voinov, Brita Addams, Chris T. Kat, Cover Reveal, Edmond Manning, EM Lynley, Ethan Day, GayRomLit, Heidi Cullinan, K.C. Burn, L. Dean Pace-Frech, Lex Chase, Lillian McKinnon, Margie Church, Rachel Sparks, SJD Peterson, Tere Michaels

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone , and welcome back. Thanks so much for stopping by to see what we have in store for the week ahead.

We have the pleasure of not only bringing you more reviews, but we’ve also got cover reveals, blog tours, interviews, and giveaways coming up just for you.

Here’s what’s coming up!


MondayChris T. Kat kicks off the week on her Tidal Change Blog Tour and Backlist Title Giveaway

Lex Chase also drops by on the Americana Fairy Tale Release Day Blitz

Tuesday – Young adult author Lillian McKinnon will be by to do a cover reveal for her upcoming novel A Life In Frames

SJD Peterson brings the Splintered Blog Tour to The Novel Approach, with a Giveaway

Brita Addams also stops by with her monthly guest post today

Wednesday – Today we have the privilege of hosting an Exclusive Cover Reveal for Tere MichaelsWho Knows the Storm

Then Heidi Cullinan makes a stop at TNA on the Fever Pitch Blog Tour, with a Giveaway

Finally, we have the honor of bringing you the Edmond Manning Butterfly King Blog Tour

ThursdayK.C. Burn is our guest today on the Countdown to Coastal Magic Blog Tour

FridayEthan Day drops back by today on the Countdown to GayRomLit Blog Tour

And EM Lynley also stops in today on the Spaghetti Western Blog Tour

SaturdayRachel Sparks is our guest today on the To Be Whole Blog Tour, with a Giveaway

Aleksandr Voinov is also with us today on the Counterpunch Blog Tour

Sunday – And closing out the week, we’ve got Margie Church with us on her The Camera Never Lies Blog Tour, with a Giveaway

And Dean Pace-Frech also stops in with a Guest Post and Giveaway

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

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5 Stars, Edmond Manning, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sammy, Wilde City Press

Edmond Manning’s “Filthy Acquisitions” Sheds Light On The Buried Treasure In All Of Us

“The core of your true self is never lost. Let go of all the pretending and the becoming you’ve done just to belong. Curl up with your rawness and come home. You don’t have to find yourself; you just have tolet yourself in.” – D. Antoinette Foy


Title: Filthy Acquisitions

Author: Edmond Manning

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 150 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Keldon Thurman hates his job, purchasing serial killer art for a private investor.

He would quit if he weren’t completely impoverished, but with no life skills and no ways to generate income, Keldon has no options. Continue reading

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Edmond Manning, GayRomLit, Wilde City Press

What Would You Do For Money? – A GayRomLit Guest Post And Giveaway by Edmond Manning

2014GRL_BlogTour_sq200x200In the summer before my second senior year of college (yes, I was on the five-year plan), I needed money. I was broke. Desperate for a second job, I took a better-than-minimum-wage gig working for a local company, updating the city directory. Our job was to wander the city of DeKalb, knocking on doors, asking personal questions of residents: what’s your income bracket? How many people are in your household? Do you own your own home?

The questions were a combination or dull demographics and invasive questions about money. See, the “city directory” wasn’t actually sponsored by the city. A scuzzy marketing company used college students to collect these intrusive answers, selling the results to telemarketers so they could better target calls. Using the words “city directory” made their questions seem legitimate. Continue reading

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BJ Sheppard, Brita Addams, Edmond Manning, GayRomLit, Lloyd Meeker, Morticia Knight, Rain Carrington, Rick R. Reed, Rory Ni Coileain, Silvia Violet, Sneak Peek, Z.A. Maxfield

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, thanks so much for stopping by to see what we have in store for you in the coming week. Besides more reviews, that is.

We’ve got some great guests and giveaways on tap for you, so have a look at what to watch for.


MondayZA Maxfield kicks off our week with a Countdown to GRL Celebration and giveaway for her latest novel Home the Hard Way

TuesdayRory Ni Coileain drops by on the SoulShares Blog Tour, with a giveaway

Brita Addams will also be here today with another guest article to share

WednesdaySilvia Violet is our guest, with a giveaway on the Unexpected Trust Blog Tour

Rain Carrington is also here today with an excerpt and giveaway of Pappy Don’t Preach (Apishipa Creek Chronicles: Book Three)

ThursdayRick R. Reed is our guest today on the Bashed Blog Tour, with a giveaway

FridayEdmond Manning stops by with another Countdown to GRL Celebration and his new book Filthy Acquisitions

SaturdayLloyd A. Meeker is our guest today on The Companion Blog Tour, with a giveaway

Morticia Knight does a little Rocking the Alternative with us as well, with a giveaway

Sunday – To close out the week, our very own BJ Sheppard is our guest today on the Rainbow Connection series Blog Tour, with a giveaway

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

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Edmond Manning, Self-Published

The Lost and The Founds: The Origins by Edmond Manning

We couldn’t be happier to welcome Edmond as our guest today to help celebrate the release of his latest novel King Mai.

In honor of Mai’s coronation, Edmond is offering one lucky reader the chance to win an Ecopy of the book! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment right here, and you’ll automatically be eligible to win.

All entries must be received by by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Friday, July 19, 2013. The drawing will be held on July 20 and the winner notified via email.

Good luck!

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Once there was a tribe of men, a tribe populated entirely of kings. Odd, you may think, and wonder how any work got done in such a society with everyone making rules. But these were not those kinds of kings.

While corresponding via email, Lisa recently asked me, ‘Where did all this come from? Every man is the one true king? Every woman is the one true queen?’ She wanted to know the inspiration, the true origins.

Gosh, I wish I knew.

Oh sure, I know some details. I know how the story came into my life through a tangle of interests that converged on my modern-day narrator, Vin Vanbly, and his sexually manipulative King Weekends. But the origin of The Lost and Founds is older, so much older than my most recent fictional invention.

Think Greek, but older.

Think Egyptian but older.

Ancient stories tell of warriors striding into a troubled world to overcome impossibilities. These warriors rise into legend. They destroy nine-headed beasts. Drink entire lakes dry. They rescue villages from impossible evils. Yes, their achievements were insane and worthy of song, but beyond the epic adventure itself, the stories articulated what happens to men, who they become, when they are pushed to their limits…and win.

Look at the stories of Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and any number of Old Testament tales. These men are men on king weekends (metaphorically at least), mired in grief and human limitations while trying to uncover a greater truth: I might be something more, maybe even a king.

Hell, cave drawings were trying to tell these stories, who we are as men.

As people.

Although the ancient stories name kingship pretty literally – the hero gets a gold crown and a fancy scepter to, you know, take to parties and such—modern interpreters (Joseph Campbell and five hundred Jungian doctoral students) suggest kingship, even in those days, was an attempt to express the inner nature of four major masculine archetypes: warrior, lover, magician, and king.

They would argue that all men are kings, all women are queens, all of us ready for our majesty to awaken. Unfortunately, queenship tales have not traditionally been valued historically as they should have been, so we’re left with mostly the male kings. This is a serious omission, this disservice. But it does not change that we are all – men and women – powerful warriors, waiting for someone to call us into service. Fallen Leaf was a powerful Crow warrior who served her people. We need her. We need Gilgamesh to remind us to grieve death with a lover’s heart. We need the story of the Greek Odysseus to remind us that we are all lost kings, far from home while strangers feast in our living rooms, enjoying roasted mutton, drinking our wine.

Well, maybe not that last part.

I hope there aren’t guys eating mutton in my living room right now. If there are, I hope they’re using napkins and plates. And quit drinking my wine.

Point being, we tell ourselves heroic stories to remember what our forbearers thought we should remember: we are powerful. Don’t forget that. We achieve greatness. Don’t forget that also. We make dumb-ass mistakes often stemming from pride. Seriously, don’t forget that either.

Past generations had books. Before that, ornate, gold two-dimensional hieroglyphics. But ancient people could not predict which creations would survive thousands of years, no better than we can know how much of the internet will exist in eight hundred years. Will YouTube exist 1,000 years from now, telling the stories of who we were and what we valued? Maybe but probably not.

Ancient peoples attempted time travel by encoding their wisdom inside stories they hoped would reach us in the future. It worked.

I’ve received emails from people who have said things like, “I don’t understand what happened to me when I read King Perry. Things were stirred up in me I can’t put into words.”

Stories do that –the ones that touch who we are as a people.

I love there are feelings and experiences too deep to name. Too raw and beautiful to tame with adjectives, and rope into submission with clever verbs. As much as I do not love grief, I love that an ancient Egyptian man the same age as I was, once wept for his father’s death the same way I wept for mine. Thousands of ancient Egyptians probably loved their parents the way I love mine. Perhaps they tried to send comfort to me in the form of tales of Ra, the Father God.

My fascination with mythology and masculine archetypes swirl together in my series, The Lost and Founds. I find myself inventing new mythology as much as drawing on the ancients. I try to add my own twists (I am a storyteller, after all) but I also honor the ancients by following some conventional guidelines for masculine mythology.

The north is wisdom, the king.

The east is new beginnings, the lover.

The west is death and transformation, the magician.

The south is service to the realm, the warrior.

When narrator Vin Vanbly describes the mythical kingdom’s southern gates, he channels ancient ideas about the energetic world beyond our own while describing modern-day warriors. Kings who leave the kingdom on quests always leave by the southern gates. They are beautiful but hint at danger.

“The southern gates had been crafted into existence by metalworking kings, twisted gold, fashioned into tangled vines and flat, broad leaves reflecting every gleam of sunlight. Intertwining the gold, flowed brown copper vines, alive with barbaric intention. As the dawn re-painted the black grass to spring green and the gold metal leaves began to shine, two questions were always asked of the departing brother. The first was this: ‘What would you risk to find a lost king?’ Each king answered with what he was willing to sacrifice, and it was always worth more than anyone knew.”

In the newest book, King Mai, the narrator, Vin, describes the western gates and true to the power of the magician, these gates are murky and cryptic.

“Nobody arrives (in the kingdom) through the western gates, not ever. In the west, the actual gates themselves are completely submerged under water, a glowing maze of sculpted, pink coral. Men leave the kingdom through the western gates only to lunch with Death or to discover secrets guaranteed to stripe them with grief for their remaining lives. An impenetrable fog smothers the water’s surface and only a pinkish hue occasionally leaks through. Creatures swim in that pink, foggy water and hunt at the surface. Big things. Dangerous things.”

The west offers transformational knowledge, but there is always a price — your vulnerability or perhaps to be striped with grief. In other words, you don’t fuck with the western gates unless you’re ready to get fucked with yourself.

On each King Weekend, the main character greets his kingship in the east, the direction of the lover. You would think that a new king would greet the north, the direction of kingship itself. But the east represents new beginnings, the return of the sun, opening the heart to the fullest love, the fullest grief. As Vin’s new kings face a new way of existing in the world, become a new man, they must come home through the east.

The function of those northern gates will reveal themselves, perhaps in the next book or the one after that.

Women have their own parallel archetypes, the lover, mother, amazon, and Wise Woman (or sometimes Crone). A few readers have emailed me ‘when are we going to see a woman get queened?’

I am lucky enough to love women in my life, very lucky, but as a man who doesn’t physically make love to women, my vantage point has a serious limitation. As a writer, I must somehow figure out how to honor—in a realistic way—a woman’s sexual power. When I can do that, I can write that Queen book. Maybe I’m not supposed to create Queen Weekends. Maybe a straight man should write those books. I dunno.

I will keep asking for wisdom on that topic. And I trust the Sparkling Spirit to provide me confirmation some day when I am shopping for milk or giggling with my best friend, Ann, or perhaps staring into space and the quiet voice whispers to me, “Queen her.”

But in the meantime, I hope to tap into such universal stories, stories of grief and forgiveness, that readers temporarily forget gender identities and instead remember all we have in common, men, women, and everything in between.

The world of The Lost and Founds is ancient and modern, lusty and agape, grief and joy. It’s the story of people who have lost and then somehow won. It’s the story of why it’s hard and amazing to be a man. Our goofy stupidity, our loveable quirks, and how any of us in the world, men and women, might possibly be spectacular if someone believed, just for one weekend, that I was the one true king. The one true queen.

What if some folks from long-gone Mesopotamia wanted us to know they knew us, they knew us, so they encoded their findings in myth and legend, a thousand myths, a thousand stories from every African nation and dared us to meet them on the ancestral field? Their stories say, come meet us. And remember.

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Edmond Manning is the author of King Perry and most recently (July 15, 2013), King Mai. You need not have read that first book to enjoy King Mai. Feel free to email Edmond:

remembertheking@comcast.net

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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:

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Edmond Manning

King Perry (The Lost & Founds, Book #1) by Edmond Manning

How is one supposed to find the words to review a book in which the author has already exhausted (Vin might love the irony of that x in such a lethargic word) all the most brilliant words in the English language to tell his story? Come to think of it, Vin might like the word lethargic. Maybe he’d think it’s a word that has rocked itself to sleep on the letter c. But I digress…

You just take a deep breath and hope to do your best, I suppose.

King Perry is, simply put, a spectacle of storytelling. It is a forty-hour-long journey narrated by a man the likes of which I’ve never encountered in all my years of reading. Vin Vanbly says, at one point, “Found Kings love paradox. Lost Kings love irony, the shadow of paradox.” If that’s true, then Vin is both the Lost and the Found, and though he calls himself the Human Ghost, if I were to try to find a way to describe him, I’d say he is the King of kings because he is the Storyteller King, and he who holds the power of words, sits upon the throne that rules the world.

Honestly, I just want to pour all the words out of this book and into my brain so I can keep reading it over and over again in my memory. I want to stand in the middle of its pages and shake it like a snowglobe until all the words skitter around me in an exhilarating (x!) swirl of luminosity. I want to bathe in these words until I exude exuberance (x, x!) in such vigorous doses that people can smell the ink seeping from my pores. That’s how much I loved this book. (Vin would probably be a little miffed at me right now for getting the word vigorous stuck on a continuous loop in his brain. For that, I’d apologize, but he’s right. It’s a wondrous word.)

Imagine if we all, Kings and Queens alike, were born into a Neverland where we become the tourists on the journey of life. We, the potential Peter Pans, incorporate all of life’s experiences in different ways, some of us holding on to the miracle and wonder of a mish-mashed childlike grownup innocence, while others of us have forgotten, or rather, lost the ability to remember what it once meant to feel warm, safe, oblivious to all the aches and disappointments life has to offer—the Lost ones. Now, imagine Vin Vanbly is the navigation system and the mechanic, the man who uses the cardinal points on the metaphysical compass of being to redirect the lives of those who need rescuing from the break-down lane of life’s highway. He is the tour guide and the technician who helps the Lost find their inner Kings and Queens again, and he does so by making himself the magnetic North toward which his Lost ones gravitate, even when they sometimes fight against the pull he has on them.

This is Vin Vanbly—the man whose own innocence was stolen from him as a child, but who loves so deeply and lives so passionately that he can’t bear to witness a fellow human being wandering aimlessly on his own journey. Vin is the alchemist and his love and his words are the quicksilver he uses to transmute the base metal of a Lost King into the Golden Found. His methods are more than a little unorthodox (how’s that one, Vin? Unorthodox?), and it’s difficult to predict where he’s going from one moment to the next, but the end result is all that matters, and the end result for Perry Mangin is that in a world that honors sameness, he dared to be different when it mattered.

There is a recurring theme in Perry’s life before he meets Vin: ”I always said I would, though.” Perry lives in a world of could’ve/would’ve/should’ve/haven’t, so Vin guides him through a series of adventures that will end with, no matter how outrageous and impossible to believe, the been-there-done-that marvel of flicking an emotional spinner and watching the needle land somewhere between crippling fear and liberating joy (hey, Vin, maybe that’s the definition of vigor), which results in Vin honoring Perry with the gift of healing his inner child and giving rise to his King.

Imagine standing in front of a painting and staring at it for hours, studying it, admiring it, absorbing it to the point that it imprints upon you so completely that when you close your eyes, it’s all you see on the backs of your eyelids. That’s kind of the way this book resonated with me, but I also get the feeling this is the way Vin has imprinted upon Perry, and vice versa. When they each close their eyes at night, they will see the other as shape and form and substance but also as color and sparkles and light and feelings and scent and the sounds of the love that evolved over their forty hours together, as Perry is destroyed and rebuilt into, not a new Perry, but certainly an improved Perry. Oscar Wilde once said that “every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” Maybe the Forgiver King and the Human Ghost are reflections of the personal brushstrokes Edmond Manning used to give these men substance.

King Perry is not a romance yet it is exceedingly romantic. There is not a traditional happy ending yet it ends happily. It’s part of Dreamspinner Press’s Bittersweet Dreams collection, yet I found it to be far less bitter than sweet. And finally, it is a journey of self-discovery and the pursuit of forgiveness of the Fates that cheated a boy of his father and made him afraid to open his heart.

I don’t want to diminish the brilliance behind this book, but Edmond Manning makes this storytelling business look effortless. There are words that thread together to tell a passable story; then there are words that layer, one on top of the other, like the bricks of a fairy tale castle with secret passageways and peaked turrets and even dungeons where dragons lurk in the shadows. Each and every sentence of this story builds upon the next to create an extraordinary and magical adventure. It is subtle yet overt, textured with humor and passion and compassion and eroticism. It is seductive and enchanting and I was completely charmed by the writing, the characters, and the story this author told so impeccably.

If you said to me, “Wow, you really loved this book,” there’s only one reply I could give, to quote Vin Vanbly:

”You’re probably right.”

Buy King Perry HERE.

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