Brita Addams

The Prose Speak: A Holiday Guest Post (and Gift) by Brita Addams

gift12Well, it’s that time of year again. For some it’s Christmas (me too,) but it’s also a time of reflection.

Every year has its share of sadness and joy, and 2015 was no exception. We had loss and health setbacks, but here it is nearly Christmas and we’re still here, slightly slump-shouldered, but standing. Here’s some of the highlights of our year.

In January, our grandson, Sebastian, turned sixteen and sprouted to over six feet tall. He towers over most of the family, except his dad (6’3”) and one of his two Uncle Chris’ (6’4”.) We’re super proud of our daughter and her husband, Michael, for raising him to be the thoughtful and kind young man he is. What a guy!

In February, I took my milestone birthday well, I think, when I forbade the family to mention it and insisted they let the day pass unacknowledged. They did, except for a couple of smartasses. I can always count on them to remind me why I have gray hair.

March brought brain surgery for our oldest daughter, Kim, due to some nerve webbing (simplified explanation.) She’s fine now and is free of the blinding headaches she’d suffered for three years. I won’t detail the heart-stopping hours of waiting for the news that she came out of surgery and all was well.

Sebastian zombie pic

T’was during his visit with us during his mama’s hospital stay that Sebastian introduced me to the Walking Dead. Hooked me like a fish. Ya know, you do things to please the kids. I’m told I’m his cool Grammie. The conversation went something like this:

“Grammie, I think you’d really like the Walking Dead.”

“I don’t know, baby. Zombies?”

“Yeah, but the characters are really good and you know how you like good characters.”

“True.”

“Come on. Let’s get some of your hazelnut coffee and I’ll watch the first few episodes again with you.”

“You want coffee?”

“Yeah. Whenever I think of coffee, I think of your hazelnut coffee creamer and it makes me smile.”

He had me hooked there, thrilled that he’d remember such an obscure thing. “Oh, baby! I had no idea you knew that.”

“I love ya. What can I say?” Big hug and lemming march to the guest room to watch the Walking Dead.

We watched five episodes that day. He went home the next and I watched the first five seasons in the next nine days. He’s still on season two. And the conversation did go like that!

Tina_and_ClintMay is always joyous for us because we celebrate two anniversaries, both on the same day, the ninth. We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary and the 39th anniversary of our first date. There will never be enough of these—ever.

The summer brought a turn my husband’s chronic health problems. He has Parkinson’s and he’s had his ups and downs, but from about June to now, he’s grown weaker. He takes everything in stride, God bless him. He’ll rally for a few days, and then not so much. He’s still him though, sense of humor and sharpness. He loves to cook and with me acting as sous chef, we get the job done. He still makes the best gumbo and potato salad in the South, bar none.

I don’t tell you all this for any other reason than to celebrate the life I have the privilege of living. The people I’ve lost this year made up a part of who I am. Those still with me nourish my soul and make getting up every morning something I look forward to. I’m more aware of what truly matters.

We each hold a figurative lifeline in our hands. These days, I’m holding on tighter than ever before. I want more of the good while I fend off the bad for as long as I can. I’ve also come to realize that we don’t have a lot to say about the latter. That makes the former all the more precious.

2f970d_2cefdd2cac18466c8cb19705c045b631Merry Christmas everyone! Thank you to everyone who has purchased one of my books this year. Your loyalty and support humbles me.

As my gift to you, here is a link for a free short story. Sometimes we need a little awakening to realize what matters most. Please enjoy An Evening at the Starlight, and after you read it, hug those you love a little tighter.

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Reviewed by Jules

Release Day Review: Piece of Cake by Mary Calmes

PieceofCakeTitle: Piece of Cake (A Matter of Time Story)

Author: Mary Calmes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 69 Pages

At a Glance: We’ve all met the hot mess that is Jory Harcourt. Smooth sailing isn’t usually on the menu, but the adventure is unforgettable.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: After years of domestic partnership, Jory Harcourt and Sam Kage are finally going to make it official in their home state of Illinois. It’s been a long and rocky road, and nothing—not disasters at work, not the weather, not a possible stalker, not even getting beat up and having to attend the ceremony looking like he just got mugged—will make Jory wait one more day to make an honest man of the love of his life.

Should be a piece of cake, right?

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Review: Man, I love these guys, all of Mary’s guys, but Sam and Jory? Yeah… *sigh*

It was so good to be back in Jory’s head for this little peek into the chaotic perfection that is their lives, and, of course, their wedding. The blurb killed me…Should be a piece of cake, right? Ha! We’ve all met the hot mess that is Jory Harcourt. Smooth sailing isn’t usually on the menu, but the adventure is unforgettable.

Mary Calmes has gifted us with a fabulous little wedding novella for our heroes. A Piece of Cake takes us from the wedding planning, through to the ceremony, with no shortage of shenanigans along the way. Jory, as usual, finds himself in the midst of some drama, and it takes Sam and a parade of our favorite characters from the series to get things sorted out. I loved all of the cameos in the story – Duncan and Aaron, Dane and Aja, etc. – but, my favorite was the hilarious little scene with Miro and Ian. I want the next Marshals book, like, now!

I was cracking up on page one:

“We’re still getting married, right?”

Swooning at the end:

“’You’re it,’ he whispered. ‘My love. You have my heart.’”

And, loved every page in between.

Now, I want to go back and start their story all over again!

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

You can download Piece of Cake FREE here:

Dreamspinner Press

Dreamspinner Press

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Nancy M. Griffis, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Short Story

Review: A Most Unusual Courtship by Nancy M. Griffis

Title: A Most Unusual Courtship

Author: Nancy M. Griffis

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 32 Pages

At a Glance: If the short prequel is any indication of the rest of the series, it’s going to be great.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Gerald Smithson, master leathersmith, has ample reason to distrust mages. He doesn’t take their commissions and steers clear of them wherever possible. When Lord Leo Harris tries to hire him, Gerald sends the mage packing. Unfortunately, the simple act of Leo entering his shop brings Gerald to the attention of a Dark mage who kidnaps him as a chance to get to Leo. Now Leo must not only rescue Gerald, but find a way to win his heart. It will be an unusual courtship, to say the least.

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Review: Set in an alternate-history, magic filled Victorian England, this prequel introduces Leo and Gerald, a mage and a leathersmith. Gerald creates works of art with leather, and he distrusts mages. So much so that whenever one comes to his workroom to commission a piece, he turns him down. That is, until he meets Leo. Of course, he says no the first time, but after he’s taken by dark mages and Leo saves him, he agrees to help him.

The world Griffis has created is well depicted even for a short thirty-two page short story. Readers discover not only is magic possible in this world, but same-sex relationships are as well, without any of the usual worry, and the author even briefly suggests that it’s something to do with the Greeks. Fascinating!

While Leo and Gerald are both fun characters to read, I really love Gerald’s grandfather. He’s funny and completely accepting of his grandson. It’s revealed that Gerald has two marriage offers from well-off men, and when Leo takes an interest in Gerald, his grandfather encourages that as well. He’s such a fun character, slightly cranky, but mostly cheerful.

Would I read the rest of this series? Absolutely. It’s hard to craft an entire world in such a short story, and Griffis pulls it off admirably.

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You can download A Most Unusual Courtship for FREE here:

Dreamspinner Press

Dreamspinner Press

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, John Goode, Short Story

Review: Save Yourself by John Goode

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SaveYourselfTitle: Save Yourself (A Tales From Foster High Story)

Author: John Goode

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 35 Pages

At a Glance: Along with emotionally charged storylines that often have more than their fair share of pathos and grit, a John Goode title is nearly always guaranteed to make you think.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Matt Wallace returns to Foster to be with his high school crush, Tyler. They’re finally together, but Tyler’s past is still a mystery to Matt. When the truth comes out, Matt is forced to decide if he can handle learning about what Tyler did, or if he’d be better off to cut ties and run.

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Review: Save Yourself is a sweet snippet for those who follow author John Goode’s Foster High Series. Veering away from the main characters of Kyle and Brad, Mr. Goode focuses this short story on two minor characters in that series, who have been further developed in a former novel, Taking Chances. One of them, Matt Wallace, played a rather significant role in the boys’ life over the course of the series.

A small town is a family in many ways. Some of those ways are life affirming, as when a community rallies around to protect one of its own, but some can be quite negative, especially when it includes grudges long held and secrets that carry such guilt that they threaten to destroy private lives. Matt Wallace carries such a burden and before long, his long-time crush turned new boyfriend will have to see the weight Matt carries and the very real fear that it will destroy their relationship before it ever has a chance to grow.

I have remarked time and again about the strength this author has when it comes to characterization and making his creations leap off the page with such clarity and realism that one could swear they have met those who people his novels in real life. Along with emotionally charged storylines that often have more than their fair share of pathos and grit, a John Goode title is nearly always guaranteed to make you think. His created world is one that pushes you to see just how messed up the real world is, but he also allows for it to be peopled with amazing characters. In allowing for both, this author gives us compelling stories that simply take our breath away and that always extend the hope that we, as a people, can be better than we truly may be.

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You can download Save Yourself for FREE here:

Dreamspinner Press

Dreamspinner Press

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Guest Post and Free Download (Thaw): Jordan Castillo Price and the PsyCop Audiobook Series

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Hello Lisa, hi TNA, I’m so grateful you found a spot for me to talk about my latest project, M/M audiobooks. I’ve only begun  producing audiobooks this year, but I’ve already had the first three books in the PsyCop made into audios.

While audiobooks have been around for a long time, they’re fairly new to this genre. I wasn’t sure what PsyCop fans would want to know about the process, so I asked readers on Facebook.

Rose asked, “Did you always want to get into audio books, or is it something you have only recently considered?”

At my last day-job, I worked at a public library. Having scads and scads of materials available to me, all of it free, changed the way I consumed media forever. With everything at my fingertips, I became both more selective, and more adventurous. I tried out lots of magazines, for instance, but eventually realized that it’s impossible to read every single magazine that interests me, plus they’re often fairly repetitive, so unless you’re merely killing time in the checkout line, it’s better to be choosy.

With books, I made the shift of not needing to own a physical every book I cared to read. If you’ve ever had to relocate, you know that moving boxes and boxes of books is just a world of hurt. Not only did I get out of the habit of buying books since I could read and return them, I donated many of my books since I could easily put my hands on them again if I absolutely had to. (And since ebooks soon came out, that became a much better way of having books. Not so dusty, and not nearly as heavy.)

With music, I started listening to random bands. And with movies, I no longer did that weird thing where I overthought my movie selection and ended up picking the most bizarre, inaccessible art film in all of Blockbuster. Because now I could bring home a bunch of movies and I didn’t have to finish any of the ones that were too bizarre!

The funny thing is, I have no idea when I listened to my first audio.

It’s possible I got started listening to non-fiction audios. Personal development titles really hook me in, so my early days of audiobooks might’ve been spent listening to Wayne Dyer or Louise Hay. But I do distinctly remember alternating audio and reading when I was devouring the Stephanie Plum series—and I remember being baffled that two different production houses did the audios with different narrators, and the later books sounded nothing at all like the earlier ones. I’m pretty sure I read that Janet Evanovich hated the early audios. What a shame. I thought the first voices were funnier—Stephanie had a distinct Jersey accent, and Grandma was pee-your-pants hilarious. The later versions were homogenized, obvious, and nowhere near as quirky and fun.

My first stories saw print over ten years ago, but if you’d asked me whether they’d go to audio, I would have thought that notion was pie in the sky. The likelihood of an audio version seemed as farfetched as landing a movie deal.

But things changed, as they do. Audible began offering a way for writers with stories to find producers looking for projects. Readers have been asking me for an audio for years, but I hung back for quite a while. My concern was that I didn’t want to ruin my series by getting a reading I didn’t care for. And I’d known plenty of authors who ended up with a reader who had the wrong accent, or who mispronounced the important names, or could barely bring themselves to say the word cock.

I saw my pal Jordan L. Hawk was making lots of audios, though, and she allowed me to pick her brain. She assured me that if I put my script up for audition, there was nothing forcing me to choose someone within a certain amount of time, if at all. It couldn’t hurt to try.

I’m so pleased I took her advice! The actor Gomez Pugh has brought a whole new dimension to the PsyCop characters. And believe me when I say, that man can really belt out a sex scene :D

Don’t take my word for it, come check out the PsyCop audiobooks!

Stream a sample from each book at the PsyCop site

Among the Living (PsyCop #1) on Audible, iTunes and Amazon

Criss Cross (PsyCop #2) on Audible, iTunes and Amazon

Coming soon! – Body and Soul (PsyCop #3) on Audible, iTunes and Amazon

And my gift to all of you, Thaw, PsyCop Short #1.1, free for download or streaming

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Friend Jordan Castillo Price on Facebook (general chitchat):

http://facebook.com/jordancastilloprice

Like the PsyCop Fanpage (reader chat and news about new releases):

http://facebook.com/JCP.PsyCop

Sign up for JCP News (monthly email newsletter):

http://psycop.com/newsletter.html

Jordan Castillo Price

www.jordancastilloprice.com

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Freebie, Perie Wolford, Self-Published

Interview and Free Download: Welcome Perie Wolford

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TNA: Hi, Perie, thanks so much for joining us here at The Novel Approach today. It’s great having you with us. Why don’t we start off by having you tell readers a little bit about yourself?

Perie: Thanks for having me :) Well, not to give out too much, I’m just gonna say that I’m a simple 29-year-old gay guy who is trying to pursue his dreams. Profession-wise I’m a computer science major and also a screenwriter/author with 10 years of writing experience behind my back. Continue reading

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Dreamspinner Press, Freebie, Shira Anthony

How About Some Free Fiction? Shira Anthony’s “Blue Notes” Fills The Bill

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In preparation of the release of her latest novel in the Blue Notes Series, Dissonance, Shira Anthony is offering book one, Blue Notes, FREE for Amazon Kindle, from August 7-11, 2014. CLICK HERE to download your e-copy of Blue Notes soon.

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Blurb:

Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.


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10494713_672607299491327_5799782232472262078_nAuthor Bio: In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “i Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Author Contact: Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter: @WriterShira | Website | E-mail

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Dissonance - Coming to Dreamspinner Press August 8, 2014.

Dissonance – Coming to Dreamspinner Press August 8, 2014.

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Garrett Leigh, Reviewed by Sammy

Garrett Leigh’s “Only Love” Shatters Your Heart, Then Slowly Mends It – Reviewed by Sammy


“Everyone breaks a little sometimes. That doesn’t make you weak. It makes you wounded. And I will always be there to help you heal.” – J. Kenner


Title: Only Love

Author: Garrett Leigh

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 275 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: The diagnosis of a chronic stomach condition leaves thirty-two-year-old Sergeant Jed Cooper with little choice but to call time on his Army career
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Amy Rae Durreson, Self-Published

“The Lodestar of Ys” Is Amy Rae Durreson’s Free Fantasy, And It’s Fabulous


“Unhappy the land that has no heroes? No. Unhappy the land that needs heroes.” – Bertolt Brecht



Title: The Lodestar of Ys

Author: Amy Rae Durreson

Publisher: The Goodreads M/M Romance Group

Pages/Word Count: 138

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Sjurd is convinced that Celyn of Ys is the most irritating man alive. It’s a good thing that Celyn is engaged to Sjurd’s brother, not him, because Sjurd loathes the brat, and it’s quite mutual. When an elopement and the threat of invasion force the two princes together, however, they have no choice but to marry and fake true love to keep their countries safe. Can warrior Sjurd and diplomat Celyn find any common ground?

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Madeleine Ribbon, Self-Published

Finding Love In A Surfers Paradise In “Shooting the Curl”



“Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance.” – Mark Batterson


Summary:

As a single parent, Caleb is trying his hardest to instil responsibility and values into his “Little Dude”, his adopted four year old son, Leo. Set in the rippling waves of a surfers paradise, Caleb and Leo are building their life together, forging Team One into something that will guide Leo into his formative years a kind and aspiring man. When Caleb’s neighbour, Trevor appears in the picture, their world collide as both men, straight in their proclivities, search for meaning in their burning attraction. As their courtship finds them Shooting the Curl, they find out that love can happen where you least expect it, adding an extra heart to Team One.
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Eli Easton, Self-Published

“The Lion and the Crow” Is A Light In The Darkest Hours



“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” ― Pablo Neruda


Summary:

In Medieval England, fearless knight, Sir William Corbit, the Lion, hears news of his sister’s abuse at the hand of her treacherous husband, a union facilitated by the cold scheming of their heartless father. In a desperate bid to liberate his sister from her husband’s tyrannical regime, William visits the castle Brandon to plea with the Lord of the house for assistance. Unwilling to spare the men for the mission, Lord Brandon entrusts his youngest son, Christian, a prized archer, to accompany the knight on his mission. As Christian escapes the abuse of his six half-brothers, he follows William across the land on a mission to save the endangered lady, but what transpires is not what either men expected. As their passion builds to a fever pitch, the Lion and the Crow come to realize that the salvation of the dame is not the only thing at stake. Can their love possibly save the men as well? Honour and valour will take the men to the edges of their darkest hours, and love and trust will light the way for the Lion and the Crow.
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Sammy Goode, Self-Published

It Takes Courage And Love To “Bring Him Home”



“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ― G.K. Chesterton


Summary:

Set against the backdrop of a war in progress, army medic Captain Michael Bradshaw is crushing on the cute and cocky Private Finn McCullan. Unsure if his subordinate feels the same, the two men set about their training, spending increasing time together socially as they await their future assignments. To both men’s surprise, they are deployed to the same destination together, a war-torn area of Iraq where the snipers are plentiful and the danger is high. Their love story unfolds as they fight the dangers of war in a desperate effort to being each other home, safe and sound. But when Finn’s reckless behaviour reaches a fever pitch, even Michael can’t promise their safe passage through the treacherous trials of war.
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2 Stars, Kevin Anthony, Self-Published, Smashwords

“Feast, Stray, Love” Is A Story With Potential That Missed The Mark



“But if you’re gonna dine with them cannibals
Sooner or later, darling, you’re gonna get eaten . . .” ― Nick Cave


The advent of E-publishing has given authors, and aspiring authors, a whole new world in which to experiment with their craft. From fan fiction to self-publishing original work, the means of delivering a story to potential readers has never been easier, and sometimes for readers, it’s even infinitely rewarding because the cost of feeding our voracious appetites for the written word has never been cheaper. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a losing side in the proposition. Sadly, however, as with anything good, there is always the potential for an equal amount of the opposite, and that’s where Feast, Stray, Love falls: solidly within the realms of a story that had some potential but fell woefully short in its execution.
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