4.5 Stars, Alex Carreras, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Wilde City Press

Review: The Sangre Series by Alex Carreras

Title: The Sangre Series

Author: Alex Carreras

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 201 Pages

At a Glance: Read this book, enjoy this book, but don’t take this book too seriously – enjoy it with a smile.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: THREE STORIES – ONE BOOK

In the city of Sangre, Florida, vampires and humans coexist happily until one ancient and powerful vampire decides to mess up the entire thing. The hairdressers at Everlasting Salon who service vampires and humans alike decide to face the threat that lands on their doorstep enlisting the barbers across the street for a fight to the finish. Chaos ensues when fists fly, but it’s not all bad when old flames reunite and new relationships take root and grow. Between the clandestine meetings and vigilante justice, the vampires find love in unexpected companions, hoping to get some TLC along the way.

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Review: Sangre Series: Buzz and Blow, Shave and Shimmer, Fade and Fluff

Welcome to Everlasting, the happening beauty salon for the undead, located in the seaside town of Sangre, Florida. Sangre is a sanctuary city for vampires, the city opening its proverbial doors to peaceful coexistence with the immortals. Everlasting is located right across the street from Killer Kuts, a barbershop full of oh-so-bad good guys. The shop is owned by Jerrod, and he and his two employees, Asher and Tory, work on giving their clients looks to die for. The three short stories in this book are about them.

Buzz and Blow: Asher Riots has been at Everlasting for years. “Have you always been a hairdresser? Niko asked. “As long as I can remember,” Asher answered honestly. “My parents were hairdressers and they apprenticed me. Beauty is in my blood, warm or cold.”

Not as ancient as Jerrod, he still worked on the hair of Marie Antoinette, so his age is nothing to scoff at. Men have come and gone for Asher, but he has never found his one true love. Niko is the owner of Killer Kuts and is longing for peace, finally, in his life, and a good man to share it with. His search for a quiet life has led him to Sangre.

Asher and Niko’s story is the first in the book and sets the stage for the others that follow. These are lighthearted stories at the core and even though they have to defeat ancient evil to get a HEA, it happens and all is well for a time.

Shave and Shimmer is about Tory and Ray. Tory is your quintessential vampire twink, and Ray is a haunted soul trying to recover from the loss of his last boyfriend. Tory and Ray, on the surface, don’t have much in common except that “Ray had always preferred the opposite of his stature. He preferred someone he could curl tightly into his chest and kiss the top of his head, a pint sized hunk.”

This is a story about fighting your own demons and coming out on top, with the help of a really good man who’s not afraid of hair gel or a little—maybe a lot—of shimmer.

Fade and Fluff is about Jerrod and Kairon. First loves for centuries after they were turned, they have gone their separate ways, coming back together intermittently through the course of time to reconnect and remind each other why they can’t seem to live without each other. They have a can’t-live-with-him/can’t-live-without-him kind of history. The ancient evil rears his ugly head in this story also, because, yeah, the really bad guy is never dead the first time around, and Jerrod and Kairon are forced to put aside all the petty differences and work together and defeat the evil. The moral of Fade and Fluff is that love can truly last forever.

These are lighthearted books created with humor and not much angst. Yeah, these couples have to overcome obstacles, but that is not the story. The story is the men and their HEA. Read this book, enjoy this book, but don’t take this book too seriously – enjoy it with a smile.

TNA_Signature_Carrie







 

You can buy The Sangre Series here:

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Joe Cosentino

Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway: An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino

An Infatuation

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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Q: What inspired you to start writing, especially your novella AN INFATUATION?

Joe: As a kid I played make believe constantly. “Let’s put on a show!” was my motto. I played all the characters—male and female. Hm, that explains a lot. Thankfully my parents and teachers indulged me rather than committed me. I always enjoyed improvisation as an actor, and I see writing as an extension of that. It also keeps the mind sharp, which is much appreciated as I get older.

When I told my mother I wanted to be an actor, she said, “Take this knife and stick it through my heart.” I did it anyway, and acted on stage and screen with stars like Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Jason Robards, and Nathan Lane. As my students say, “You were cute when you were young!” Anyway, it occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give playwriting a try. When I told my mother I wanted to write fiction, she said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother said that?

I knew my first novella would be a bit autobiographical, but have a universal theme. Hasn’t everyone been infatuated with someone? I was thinking back to my high school days, and how difficult it was back then for a gay teen before GLSEN, PFLAG, and Will and Grace. Lab partners, gym locker rooms, and club meetings where super important. At my high school reunion, I realized things weren’t what they seemed back then. A story was born. It began as a one-act play, which I expanded and morphed into a novella.

Q: Tell us about the characters in AN INFATUATION.

Joe: Harold is based on me. Actually, I really admire Harold’s resilience, honesty, intelligence, wit, and ability to keep going in trying situations. His heart may be broken, but his spirit always stays intact. Harold’s devotion to his spouse, Stuart, is admirable, as is his honesty about his teenage infatuation with Mario. I love that the story spans twenty years so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature.

Stuart was great fun to write, because he is based on my spouse who is totally organized and a real list maker, but also sweet, creative, and caring. He creates an itinerary for our trips in ten minute time blocks!

Mario is a combination of many supposedly straight, perfect guys who gay guys so easily become infatuated with every day. I love that Harold and Mario come full circle at their high school reunion.

It is always hard for me to write homophobic characters. How nonsensical is it for someone to spend his/her time, money, and energy trying to hurt, belittle, or take away the rights of someone else? In most cases, the homophobic person is gay him/herself, and due to internalized homophobia, is battling with him/herself via the gay target. That is the case with the two homophobic characters in my novel.

Q: How do you imagine the ideal reader of your book?

Joe: My ideal reader is a lover of a good story, someone who craves being swept away and becoming part of the novel. My reader enjoys humor, and being taken on a roller coaster ride. Finally, my reader relishes in captivating characters and earth-shattering romance, as she/he willingly enters the portal of my book. That’s why I love hearing from my readers!

Q: What tips would you give other writers, when creating comedy in their own writing?

Joe: When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole, rather than the author pulling an ending out of the hat. I recommend not writing jokes to try to be funny. Let the humor come out of the situations and the characters naturally. People are funny, but only in real life, believable situations. And don’t forget the yang side of comedy is tragedy, and find the emotional core of your characters and story. As the old expression goes, “Make ‘em laugh then make ‘em cry.” That’s why I love Bittersweet Dreams books.

Q: What other books have you written? And what are you working on now?

Joe: My MF mystery/romance series, the Jana Lane mysteries, premieres March 18 with PAPER DOLL from Whiskey Creek Press. PORCELAIN DOLL will follow shortly. My MM mystery/romance/comedy series, the Nicky and Noah mysteries, premieres this summer with DRAMA QUEEN from Lethe Press. DRAMA MUSCLE will follow shortly. I just finished a new MM romance Bittersweet Dreams novella, A SHOOTING STAR, and am currently working on a new MM romance novella, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. I am also working on the third Nicky and Noah mystery book (DRAMA CRUISE), and the third Jana Lane mystery book (SATIN DOLL).

Q: Which roles do you want to play in the movie versions of your books?

Joe: I think my books would make terrific films! Here are the roles I would play:

AN INFATUATION: Mr. Ringwood, high school principal
PAPER DOLL: Simon Huckby, movie agent
DRAMA QUEEN: Martin Anderson, college professor/department head
A SHOOTING STAR: Professor Katzer, college professor
A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: walk by in a cameo a la Alfred Hitchcock

So come on movie producers!

Q: What advice would you give to other writers in the M/M genre?

Joe: I love reading and writing stories with engaging characters who I want to spend time with. I recommend letting your characters talk to one another and seeing what happens. An outline is simply an outline. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it. Also, a romance story needs much more than romance. Don’t forget the humor, and the twists and turns in the story. Finally, until gays have equal civil rights, a little politicking never hurt.

Q: What would you like to say to your readers?

Joe: I know this story will touch your heart, because it’s everyone’s story. We’ve all had an infatuation, and this novel is a testament to that. Please email me via my web site and tell me about your experience with the book. I also love answering questions about the novella, so let them fly. My web site is: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

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infat-coverphotoBlurb: With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US

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Excerpt: “Mario, we have a literature quiz tomorrow. You should stay and cram with me?” We can be Anne Frank and Peter Van Daan or Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

He turned around to face me. “It’s just a quiz. No sweat off my ass.”

What a way with words. “Mario, I can’t believe you don’t like books. I’d read all day if I could.” Next to you.

Putting his jacket and the football on my desk, he sat on the floor next to my bookcase. “Books don’t make sense to me, Harold.” He pulled out a book. “Like Romeo and Juliet. If I ever dated a girl whose old man hated my guts, I’d kick his ass. And another thing I don’t get about that book is if Romeo and Juliet were so head over heels in love, how come they don’t end up happily ever after?”

I rested my elbows on the desk. “I guess because sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned. That’s why if we love someone, we need to stay close to him, and commit ourselves to him, whether our family and friends like him or not. And we should never, ever let him go.”

“Will that be on the quiz, Harold?”

Yeah, the test of life. I nodded and hid my erection behind my desk. New tactic. “Mario, did you know that… originally… during Shakespeare’s time, all the roles on stage were played by male actors?”

“So?”

“So a male… a young male… played Juliet… in love with Romeo.”

“So how come Shakespeare didn’t call it, Romeo and Julio?”

With a book covering my lap, I sat next to Mario on the floor. “Let’s move on to Our Town.”

Mario grimaced like a kid facing a bowl of pea soup. “I hate Our Town. Who is that Stage Manager character anyway? If any guy came into my kitchen and started making comments and rearranging things, my mother would cut his balls off with a steak knife.”

I covered my lap with a second book. “It’s an amazing story, Mario. George and Emily were only… our age… but they were totally in love.

“I don’t get it.”

“That’s because you won’t give it a chance.” I looked into his dark, questioning eyes. Please give it a chance, Mario.

“Okay. Read it to me.” He leaned his back against my bed.

“Now?”

“No, when we’re forty years old in an old people’s home.”

I opened the book. Mario closed his eyes and rested his forearm against mine. Despite my cracking voice, I somehow read the section where George asks Emily if she will write to him if George goes away to agriculture college. After I finished, I asked, “Do you understand?”

Mario looked at me like a Rhodes Scholar. “What do you think I am, stupid?”

How did I not notice that cleft in your chin before this? “What does it mean?”

Mario cleared his throat like an orator. “George wants to keep Emily busy writing letters, so she won’t visit him at college and catch him rolling in the hay with the college babes.

His mouth was inches from mine. “No, Mario, George is testing Emily to see if she loves him.”

“Well, does she?”

“What do you think, Mario?”

“How the hell do I know what’s in some crazy broad’s head in some stupid book?”

I gave him a hint. “Emily marries George, doesn’t she?’

“My old lady married my old man, and no way they’re in love.”

“Trust me, Mario. George and Emily, like Romeo and Juliet, were star-crossed lovers. You should remember that for tomorrow’s literature quiz.” And make sure that we don’t share their fate. I reached over Mario’s muscular arms to take another book. “Let’s move on to A Separate Peace.”

“Another book I hate. Why do the two guys want to hurt each other?”

Here’s my chance. “Maybe because they don’t understand their feelings toward one another.” Our lips were so close they were nearly touching. “Maybe because of pressures from society, the two boys can’t express their… mutual admiration and… caring for one another, so their frustration turned into violence and tragedy.”

“What a bunch of bull. I’d never hurt someone I cared about.”

“You wouldn’t intentionally.”

He grabbed my arm. “I wouldn’t any way at all.”

Somehow, even at my tender young age, I knew that wasn’t true.

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Author BioAbout the Author: Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press-releasing this summer), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Porcelain Doll (the second Jana Lane mystery) and Drama Muscle (the second Nicky and Noah mystery).

Find Joe at his Website and on Goodreads

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GiveawaysThink back to your infatuation. When was it? Where were you? How did you feel? How did you react? How did it begin? How did it end? Write a paragraph about it and post it with your email address and preferred electronic reading format by Midnight Pacific time on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. The staff at The Novel Approach will select the one that tickles their libido the most and email the information to the author who will email the prize to the winner, on Wednesday, the 18th. Happy Infatuations!

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Joel Derfner, University of Wisconsin Press

“Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family” – Joel Derfner Has It Covered



“Mawidge is a dweam wiffin a dweam. The dweam of wuv wapped wiffin the gweater dweam of everwasting west. Eternity is our fwiend, wemember that, and wuv wiw fowwow you fowever.” ― William Goldman


Blurb: When Joel Derfner’s boyfriend proposed to him, there was nowhere in America the two could legally marry. That changed quickly, however, and before long the two were on what they expected to be a rollicking journey to married bliss. What they didn’t realize was that, along the way, they would confront not just the dilemmas every couple faces on the way to the altar—what kind of ceremony would they have? what would they wear? did they have to invite Great Aunt Sophie?—but also questions about what a relationship can and can’t do, the definition of marriage, and, ultimately, what makes a family. Add to the mix a reality show whose director forces them to keep signing and notarizing applications for a wedding license until the cameraman gets a shot she likes; a family marriage history that includes adulterers, arms smugglers, and poisoners; and discussions of civil rights, Sophocles, racism, grammar, and homemade Ouija boards—coupled with Derfner’s gift for getting in his own way—and what results is a story not just of gay marriage and the American family but of what it means to be human.
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Mark Zubro, MLR Press

How About Some Sci-Fi With A Little Humor On The Side?



“’Tis said of love that it sometimes goes, sometimes flies; runs with one, walks gravely with another; turns a third into ice, and sets a fourth in a flame: it wounds one, another it kills: like lightning it begins and ends in the same moment: it makes that fort yield at night which it besieged but in the morning; for there is no force able to resist it.” – Miguel de Cervantes


Science Fiction really isn’t my favorite genre. When I was younger, it was all I read. Then all I read was horror for awhile. Like most people, I go through phases where I read more of one genre than another. Although I must admit that my M/M binge has lasted a few years and shows no signs of waning! Alien Quest is the first sci-fi that I have read in a long time. It is the first M/M sci-fi I have ever read.
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Beau Schemery, Harmony Ink Press

Sometimes Half The Battle Is Believing You Can – The Unlikely Hero by Beau Schemery

Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with. – Brodi Ashton

Renwald Mallorian wants nothing more than to be a Hero. He’s read all the books, after all, so what more could he need? Oh, right. He needs someone to hire him so he can get practical experience; he needs to get himself hired for a Hero’s Quest and prove that all his reading hasn’t been for naught. He even has magic-infused weapons to call upon in battle, elemental weapons of fire and ice that practically guarantee his Hero status. I mean, come on, swords forged of Elven silver? What could be more hero-making than that? The only problem is that the vampire he copped them from wants to be paid for them or to get them back from Ren, and being a little low on funds, with no prospects for Hero-ing on the horizon, Ren has no choice but to surrender his swords and concede the fact that nobody is going to hire a Hero who doesn’t even have his own weapons.

Well, you know the old saying: When a door closes, a window opens? In Ren’s case, it was another door that opened, but it wasn’t the open door as much as it was who walked through it that put Ren on the path to greatness.

Celestrian is a Unicorn, but not just any Unicorn. He’s the Lost Unicorn, and he was taken in as an infant by Mother Dragon, who taught Celestrian many things about life, including how to transform into a man. But now that Mother Dragon has gone, Celestrian must travel far and wide to find what few Unicorns may remain following a war that decimated their population. When he ambles into the Rusty Cutter with plenty of need and more than enough money to procure exactly what—or whom—he’s looking for, Renwald Mallorian transforms into Ren the Resilient, and it’s then and there that an unlikely hero is born.

With a magical emporium of imagination and a menagerie of fantastical creatures, Beau Schemery has created a world that pays homage to fairy tales and folklore and high fantasy, from The Wizard of Oz to Harry Potter to a little Dr. Moreau, and everything in between. It is a battle of good vs. evil, an epic score of danger, intrigue, misplaced loyalty, zealotry, and radical allegiances that also happens to weave together a lot of humor and a sweet—but incomplete—romance in its pages. There’s much more that needs doing here to get Ren and Trian to their happily-ever-after, so don’t expect this episode of their saga to be tidily wrapped up at the end, but do expect to find a story that’s clever and creative, in which both young men become Heroes and prove that fantasy is reality and their reality is the stuff of legends.

There isn’t a single thing about this story that didn’t make me ooh and ah and cheer, and I’m so looking forward to the next book in the series.

You can buy The Unlikely Hero here:

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