3 Stars, Genre Romance, Holiday Romance, J.D. Walker, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Grateful for You by J.D. Walker

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Title: Grateful for You

Author: J.D. Walker

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 33 Pages

At a Glance: If you enjoy those feel good kinda short stories, then this one is for you.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jared Gillespie left the family farm five years ago because Walt Schneider cheated on him. With a woman. What he didn’t realize was that Walt, the man he still loves, was trying to tell him something, and it takes a trip home to figure it out.

After Jared’s mother convinces him to return for Thanksgiving, Jared discovers Walt is a daddy now, of all things. His daughter’s name is Casey — Jared’s middle name. When Jared and Walt confront each other, the resulting confrontation causes Jared to realize he may have pushed Walt to cheat because of his overbearing ways. But would Walt be interested in trying again, after all this time?

Because a man doesn’t name his daughter after his ex-lover if he’s over him, no matter what he pretends to the contrary. Maybe Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful: for second chances, and for love found, not lost.

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Review: Jared knows it’s time to go home. He’s been away for five years, ever since his childhood love, Walt, cheated on him.  Jared didn’t stick around after it happened, he just left, and he’s never been back. He doesn’t know why Walt did it, or what message he was trying to send, Jared just knew it hurt. But, now it is time to go home and put those ghosts to rest so he can move on and heal—finally.

This is a short story of forgiveness and an example of what love can overcome if we let it.  Being so short, we don’t get a lot of backstory here, but we do get a good sense of who these men are individually, and we get enough to know that the love they feel is real.  It takes forgiveness on both sides to heal, and both men to be willing to put themselves out there again for this HEA happen.

If you enjoy those feel good kinda short stories, then this one is for you.

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4 Stars, Holiday Romance, JMS Books LLC, John Amory, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife by John Amory

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Title: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife

Author: John Amory

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 25 Pages

At a Glance: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife is a short, sweet and to the point story with a magical twist that, brief though it is, packs an emotional punch.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Workaholic Logan rests only one day of the year: Christmas Day, and then only because when he tried to open his coffee shop on that day once and no one showed up. Ever since his parents died on Christmas Eve over ten years ago, Logan keeps busy to keep his feelings at bay and keep people at a distance, even going so far as to ignore his younger brother’s invitation to spend the holiday together.

But a car accident and a Christmas Eve encounter with a mysterious stranger named Michael, which may or may not be a dream, will change the way Logan sees his past, his present, and his future.

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Review: Logan doesn’t have a wonderful life. In fact, he doesn’t have much of a life at all. He works, he goes home, he sleeps, he wakes up, and repeats the cycle on a continual loop. He’d do it 365 days a year were it not for the fact that the one year he tried opening his café on Christmas Day, he had no customers.

Logan is alone by choice, estranged from his younger brother—avoiding him, more to the point, working his life away and existing in a state of perpetual grief. Christmas is not a great time of the year for Logan, to say the least, and when we meet him, he’s driving home from work, yet again, on a dismal Christmas Eve.

John Amory does a splendid job of painting a visual of Logan, the man who brushes up against the same people every day but never bothers to make personal connections. He’s the archetypical loaner—the man you know will one day look back on his life and see the trail of regrets he’s left behind, a man who’s in dire need of a chance to turn his life around before it’s too late. Logan is in the process of rejecting yet another invitation from his brother Dave to come spend the holiday with him and his girlfriend, Tia, when a sudden turn of events sets the course for this touching little story filled with the magic of Christmas.

In the film It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey makes a wish. He wishes he’d never been born, and when that wish is fulfilled, he gets to experience the fallout firsthand, and subsequently is able to understand how beautiful the world with him in it truly is. In this short story, Amory puts his own twist on the second chance trope by showing Logan a significant moment from his childhood through his adult eyes, a past event filled with all the pain and sadness that’s brought him to this point in his life. And eventually, with the help of something a little supernatural, Logan is gifted with the opportunity to see it is indeed a wonderful life—even if life isn’t always wonderful.

It’s a Wonderful Afterlife offers a poignant look at one man’s salvation. It’s a short, sweet and to the point story with a magical twist that, brief though it is, packs an emotional punch.

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4.5 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, W.S. Long

Review: Love and Pain by W.S. Long

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Title: Love and Pain

Author: WS Long

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 45000 Words

At a Glance: Overall, a well done mystery/romance!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Sequel to Love and Murder

After their too-thrilling courtship that included capturing his former lover’s killer, Jake Chandler has started a new life for himself with FBI agent Xavier. Living together is wonderful, but moving to Washington D.C. has resulted in temporary jobs that don’t last long. When Jake finally lucks out on a too-good-to-be-true position with a big law firm, Xavier suspects Jake’s new boss is crooked.

With some sleuthing, snooping, and close calls, Jake gets deeper into trouble at work, and conflicts with Xavier make his world start to crumble. When a key witness is shot to death in front of Jake, they both begin to realize how high the stakes are. Can Jake and Xavier get through these threats and find happiness with each other?

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Review: Love and Pain picks up a few months after Love and Murder, when the main characters, Jake and Xavier, are starting their new life together. You don’t have to read the first book, but it would help a great deal as this book is tied to it and can be a tad confusing in the beginning if you do not know the backstory from the first novel. This book takes a while to get going, but is highly enjoyable once it does.

Xavier is an FBI agent, taken out of the field because of his last case (Love and Murder), and he practically itches to return to field work. Jake is a lawyer, taking short term assignments while looking for a permanent job in Washington, DC. When a law firm hires Jake and the offer seems too good to be true, Xavier gets suspicious and soon discovers that old cases for the both of them are coming back to haunt them. Above it all, though, this is a romance, and the mystery surrounding these men is there as a complement to their love story. How far are you willing to go to keep someone you love safe? Jake and Xavier each answer that question in this book, and it’s amazing. The way the mystery plays out is totally believable, and I give credit for that to the fact that the author is a lawyer. The way the pivotal characters are all linked together is credible and makes the story a believable crime drama played out on the page.

Love and Pain can be a little flat in places, like the author’s writing style is a work in progress: things are stated baldly, almost stilted in places where you wish he would use a few more words and make the imagery flow instead of stating facts. However, this is not the case for the entire novel, and the places where he allows more nuance of these characters makes them come alive and become real, and it is these incredible places that make the rough spots seem not so significant.

I am always on the lookout for really good crime/mystery stories, and I really enjoyed this book and will look for more from this author, as I think he holds great promise in this genre. Overall, well done!

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Giveaways, Hayden Thorne, JMS Books LLC

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: The Golem Upstairs by Hayden Thorne

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Hayden Thorne today, with an excerpt and giveaway of her newest book The Golem Upstairs, sequel to Sheridan Diggins and the Dead Horde.

To enter for the chance to win an e-copy of the new book, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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The Golem UpstairsBLURB: Book 2 of the Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles

Sheridan Diggins hasn’t had much luck in love. In fact, he hasn’t had much luck in anything, period. So when the prince of the underworld takes a sudden fancy to him, the future should look promising.

Or shouldn’t it?

Unfortunately, dating the youngest prince of the dead comes with a few complications. Yuli Soulweaver’s presence “upstairs” stirs up long-dormant magic, which adds to the baffling day-to-day experiences of Cecilia’s colonists. There’s also the danger of aliens and colonists discovering the existence of a magical universe, which could blow the lid wide open between two worlds that aren’t meant to come together.

The worst part, of course, is the fact that someone from Yuli’s world appears to have discovered the lovers’ dirty little secret and has taken the step of sending a mindless monster to do away with Sheridan.

Suddenly, paying the bills takes a backseat to Sheridan’s bizarre love life.

Buy Links: JMS Books | Amazon | Smashwords

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EXCERPT – FROM CHAPTER 12:

It was with some relief he picked up a pregnant woman who looked about ready to pop out a baby at any moment. She was terribly friendly and sweet, the chatty type whom one wanted desperately to adopt on the spot. Sheridan helped her inside the astro-cab and readjusted the seatbelt for her.

“Thank you so much,” she said, smiling in clear relief and joy as she relaxed in her seat. She pointed at her giant belly. “God, I’m just dying to get this over with.”

Sheridan laughed as he took his place and buckled up. He pulled out his ship’s map and asked, “So where are you headed, ma’am?”

Grandma Janet, whose spirit is bound to Sheridan's astro-cab, becomes Sheridan's confidante despite the fact the two bicker pretty often. In the absence of Sheridan's parents, who both died in his teens, his caustic and blunt grandmother becomes their stand-in. Sheridan might not appreciate it at the moment, but he'll eventually realize just how much he really needs her. I say Grandma Janet does Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) proud.)

Grandma Janet, whose spirit is bound to Sheridan’s astro-cab, becomes Sheridan’s confidante despite the fact the two bicker pretty often. In the absence of Sheridan’s parents, who both died in his teens, his caustic and blunt grandmother becomes their stand-in. Sheridan might not appreciate it at the moment, but he’ll eventually realize just how much he really needs her. I say Grandma Janet does Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) proud.

When she didn’t answer right away, Sheridan glanced back and found her staring at him with a faint smile.

“Ma’am?”

“You aren’t much,” she said. Her voice had taken on a different quality, too. It had softened and lowered in tone as though she were speaking to herself. But there was something else to it.

Sheridan blinked, his brain fighting to follow two completely diverging paths. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you the first time,” he said.

“I look at you now, and I wonder. What does he see in – oh!” The woman gave a start, her eyes widening. “Did I just blank out? I’m so sorry.” She blushed now, laughing in embarrassment. “It’s hormones, I think. Anyway, I owe you an address, don’t I?”

In another moment they were on their way, with Sheridan staring ahead and feeling his skull expand. What had just happened? He couldn’t even be sure about what he’d witnessed.

It had happened so quickly, and it had come from out of the blue, completely taking him by surprise. It took some doing to wrestle himself back to the present.

The pregnant woman turned out to be his last passenger before lunch. He watched her slowly pick her way along a footpath with the help of a couple of friends, all three women chatting happily as they went.

The colonists' change in skin, eye, and hair colors are a spoof of the more elaborate and kickass diversity of more traditional sci-fi stories and films. Only the "friendly alien neighbors" exhibit distinct physical characteristics, but even their names are parodies of the more cosmic versions. Okay, the entire Cecilian Chronicles series is a sci-fi spoof. There you go.

The colonists’ change in skin, eye, and hair colors are a spoof of the more elaborate and kickass diversity of more traditional sci-fi stories and films. Only the “friendly alien neighbors” exhibit distinct physical characteristics, but even their names are parodies of the more cosmic versions. Okay, the entire Cecilian Chronicles series is a sci-fi spoof. There you go.

Sheridan watched them vanish inside an apartment building. “Hey, Grandma?” he asked.

“Yes, I heard. Lovely young lady, I must add. She really shouldn’t be traveling around so much with her being that big,” Grandma Janet said without a pause for breath. Then again, she was dead, so pausing to catch a breath seemed superfluous.

“You know what I mean.”

“I do. I was just dicking with you.”

Sheridan sighed. “What did she say? I’m not sure I heard her right.”

“She said something about you not being much, but I don’t know – maybe she meant you don’t look like much? She mumbled her words half the time, but that might be nothing more than the end result of talking with two voices. The other thing she said got cut off. I didn’t really catch that one. I think I was too busy worrying about her popping like a tick on a heat lamp and really ruining your day.”

“Hold on – did you say she spoke in two voices?”

“She sure sounded like it. One was her voice – I know that for sure. The other was lower, almost masculine.” Grandma Janet paused. “Good lord, is she a ventriloquist? I’ve never met one before. I’ve always thought they were nothing more than just relics from ancient Earth history, but if there are professional ventriloquists on Cecilia, I feel so goddamned cheated now.”

Sheridan’s hair stood on end. He’d heard the second thing the woman had said, but the nature of her voice had just been made clear to him. He’d thought she sounded downright bizarre, but never had he even entertained the notion that she’d be speaking in two different voices, literally. The unease returned, and Sheridan quickly flew Old Myrna away.

The golem is a creature from Jewish folklore, and part of its characteristics are used in this installment. I also made use of its modern definition, so the golem coming after Sheridan is also a lumbering idiot.

The golem is a creature from Jewish folklore, and part of its characteristics are used in this installment. I also made use of its modern definition, so the golem coming after Sheridan is also a lumbering idiot.

“Is there something wrong, kiddo?” Grandma Janet piped up, breaking the silence. “You’re speeding.”

“Oh – uh – I just wanted to get to the fish and chip stand before the lunchtime crowd shows up.”

“Oh. Okay. For a moment I thought you were freaking out over that pregnant ventriloquist. I wonder where she performs. I’m sure she’s pretty damned good in her work. I swear, I’ve never seen anyone give off such potent vibes the way she did.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, Grandma.”

“Oh – you know. I think it’s called emoting in the theater world. In her case, she talked with two voices and really gave me a strong feeling of wanting to destroy you if she weren’t hobbled so much by her gigantic belly. I’m calling it now – she’s going to have triplets.”

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2.5 Stars, Genre Romance, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sam Singer, Short Story

Review: Unspoken by Sam Singer

Title: Unspoken

Author:  Sam Singer

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 10 Pages

At a Glance: Super short story that felt a bit forced.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Kenneth and David from the best-selling stories Broken and Envy are back for another sensual glimpse into their D/s relationship.

Kenneth prides himself on being the best trained sub he can for his Dom. David returns home after a hard day of work and lavishes Kenneth with attention but does not allow Kenneth to serve him. Honored to receive his Dom’s attentions, he longs to speak the words of love overflowing within him, but without permission to speak, Kenneth must instead rely on a soundtrack of power ballads to say what he cannot as David brings him to the peak of sexual satisfaction.

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Review: I feel like I say this a lot, but full disclosure, I didn’t read the first two book with these characters, and while I think it may have been good to see the progression of Kenneth and David’s relationship, I understood what was happening just fine. Kenneth is a likeable sub, though he hardly talks during the story, and David seems like a good Dom. But given how short the story is—it’s pretty much a step above flash fiction—there isn’t too much development.

The story is told in the present tense, which for some readers might be jarring. I felt like I was in the scene with Kenneth and David, and it worked well enough for what the author was trying to portray. I’m not the biggest fan of third person present, but that’s just me.

That said, I did have one major issue with the story, aside from the perspective. Since it is so short, every single word should count, and it should be edited neatly for continuity. In longer novels, a change of clothing mid-scene might be missed by some readers, but when you’re only playing with 2,000 words, pointing out that David is wearing leather pants, and he only wears leather when he and Kenneth are about the play, sets the reader up. Then, in the next paragraph Kenneth fixates on how soft the denim feels against his bare skin…Well, it takes the reader out of the scene. I had to go back and check to see if he really had been wearing leather or not, and when I saw that he had been, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought I would see a heavier BDSM scene, but that wasn’t the case.

While the story wasn’t bad, these are characters I will not likely visit again.

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4 Stars, Edward Kendrick, Genre Romance, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Janet

Review: Wrong Side of the Law by Edward Kendrick

Title: Wrong Side of the Law

Author: Edward Kendrick

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 201 Pages

At a Glance: A very good read, indeed

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Undercover cop Dan Hudson is framed for blackmail and kicked off the NOPD force. Enraged about that, and the fact that his lover refuses to stand by him, Dan moves to Denver, where he becomes Dirk Steele. He finds a job working for the Powells, who are pawnbrokers … and fences.

When he proposes to them than he put together a team to steal on demand for the Powells’ less than legitimate clients, a deal is struck and the team is formed. The team consists of Maverick, a thief; Tripp, a street kid who shoplifts to survive; and Fey, another street kid who is an excellent pickpocket and petty thief.

Now the question becomes, will the team succeed? And, equally important, will the attraction between Dirk, who has sworn off love, and Maverick — whose credo is only down and dirty sex — grow into something more? Or will they remain just ‘friends with benefits’?

Time will tell as the team takes on increasingly difficult jobs and a man from Dirk’s past shows up who could possibly throw a monkey wrench into the works.

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Review: One of the facets of Edward Kendrick’s books that I enjoy immensely is his world building skills. In this story we meet dirk, a man was is disenchanted with his life and who wants to start all over. We watch as he moves across states and finds another city to live in, and watch him figure out how to make a living there. When that takes Dirk to the wrong side of the law, we are sympathetic towards him due to his past and his poor handling of the law prior. It is a very different take on starting over and is proof of Kendrick’s skill when he makes it so believable and draws us further into the story.

The characters that surround Dirk are selected with care. We see the possibilities as he does, and as they come together to form a crew, we can see that Dirk has built a family of sorts to grow with. The romance that develops between Dirk and Maverick does so slowly, allowing trust to be established between them, as they have both been betrayed before.

The first half of the book is Dirk reflecting back on the previous two years since he started over. The story moves to the present with the introduction of Al Galvez, a figure from Dirk’s past. The entire pace of the story increases with the shift in focus, and I found myself more engaged with the characters as a result. The threat that Al represents creates anxiety, and the response from the characters keeps the pages turning quickly. When they all decide to relocate it doesn’t feel like running, rather protecting their family and their future. This was a truly fascinating glimpse into the lives of a bunch of characters on the wrong side of the law that didn’t feel like the wrong side at all. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Dirk and Maverick grow into their HEA, and also seeing the hope they had for their future. The true strength of the book comes from the reality that Kendrick builds of the life of a thief. The tricks of the trade that he walks us through, how to research your target and how to use all the tools the characters will need, are described in such a realistic manner that you simply believe the world of the book. Dirk has the background as an undercover police officer to make this foray believable and that makes all the difference in this book. A very good read, indeed.






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4 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Rena, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Short Story, T.A. Creech

Review: Slither by T.A. Creech

Title: Slither

Author: T.A. Creech

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 17 Pages

At a Glance: A pretty classic sci-fi plot that can be traced back all the way to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Blurb: War awaits on Ilmare, between the humans and the constructs they created. Considered flawed designs by their creators, Selati and his other sentient comrades live the life of refugees on the run, hiding and fighting in Ilmare’s vast jungles. They want only the freedom to pursue their newly awakened sentience away from human interference.

Aleledai taught Selati all he knows of a life without chains and suffering. Neither can know what tomorrow will bring, rather all too well what it could take from them both. On the cusp of war, Selati returns to his lover to spend one last night in the peaceful world that only exists in Aleledai’s arms.

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Review: “Slither”, at a little over 5,000 words, is a short story that effectively makes use of two events – one very public and overarching, the other, an intimate moment between a married couple – in order to provide us with a story that’s not quite complete on the surface but leaves an emotional resonance at the end. By and large, it’s not much more than a vignette, and short stories can easily be botched up when an author attempts to cram too much into such a small word count. What works in this case is the fact that T.A. Creech has chosen to highlight the backstory as well as the sex scene as a way of establishing the emotional context of Selati and Aleledai’s night together before a great battle. And rather than spoonfeed readers one scene following another, we’re encouraged to connect the dots, stretch our imaginations further, and emotionally connect with not just the couple, but also their race.

The story has a pretty classic sci-fi plot that can be traced back all the way to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Here we have instead humans who defy Nature and create a race meant for nothing else but hard labor. Moral issues arise when the constructs slowly evolve and develop sentience, and like Frankenstein’s monster, they rebel against their creators and abusers. A lot of books and movies have been done along those lines. For “Slither”, things are scaled down further (no pun intended on the “scale” reference), and we’re shown something more like a microcosm that focuses strictly on Selati and Aleledai’s lives together as a married pair of “unnaturals”.

The backstory is told in a somewhat lengthy summary at the start, and it provides a backdrop against which the couple enjoy a night together before the battle. It’s a sharp and somewhat harsh contrast, and it’s because of that we’re made to see just how unfair it all is. The story doesn’t give us any answers, but with the melancholy fatalism that pervades every scene, it’s really not necessary in the end. We only need to see how awful it is for the constructs to live the way they do, and for the story to end the way it does allows us not only to feel deeply for them, but also hold on to the hope that good fortune can still go their way.






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5 Stars, Barbara Sheridan, Historical Romance, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Rena

Review: Most Wanted by Barbara Sheridan

Title: Most Wanted

Author: Barbara Sheridan

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 47 Pages

At a Glance: A prime example of a complete short piece

Blurb: Boston born and bred Tim Dwyer doesn’t relish the thought of giving up Eastern comforts for life in the rough-and-tumble West. But when he finds himself with no job, little money, and no place else to go, he accepts a position at his cousin’s weekly newspaper in the Indian Territory. When his cousin and new editor cook up a roving reporter assignment, Tim learns that spending a mere week in the life of U.S. Deputy Marshal Jon Sauvage won’t ever be enough to satisfy his needs.

Choctaw lawman “Savage Jon” Sauvage has spent his entire adult life content with chasing wanted men and taking his pleasures wherever and however he can. But once he’s roped into letting a big city reporter tag along with him on a manhunt, Jon soon suspects that Tim Dwyer might just capture his heart.

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Review: Barbara Sheridan’s Most Wanted is a prime example of a complete short piece without any cramming of unnecessary information or the sacrifice of a plot by a too-lengthy sex scene (or more). At 15,000 words, it’s a novelette that works like a mini-novel, providing us with a great backstory for both Tim and Jon, accidental meetings whose sexual tensions spiral, a first-hand view of the dangers of law enforcement in Indian Territory, and the eventual coming together of two men who risk a good deal for their happiness.

While I’ve referred to overly used tropes in previous reviews, I really don’t mind them so long as the author gives us a different spin on them. In this case, while Tim and Jon are classic yin and yang romance heroes, each man is at least given distinctive qualities that keep them from disappearing against hundreds of other yin and yang couples who’ve been written before. Tim perhaps hews the most closely to the familiar as the wide-eyed ingenue type (albeit male), the naïve city boy who finds himself in over his head when he ventures into uncharted territory. But while he’s uncertain and somewhat shy, he’s definitely no pushover, though at the same time gets his way without resorting to a sudden switch to hypermasculinity. One can’t help but feel both sympathetic and yet amused when he ultimately bows to the authority of the law because he really is a fish out of water and is practically flopping around despite his insistence at getting what he wants as a newbie reporter.

Jon, on the other hand, is the hardened lawman who barely manages to keep his secret safe while living off what he could in the exercise of his duties. It’s a harsh and lonely existence he faces day in and day out, the constant fear of discovery hanging over his head with his reputation as a perpetual bachelor. At the same time, he’s not the quintessential embittered alpha male who roughly pushes people away, particularly those he finds himself genuinely attracted to. There’s a softness in him that lets itself be shown whenever his guard’s down, and it’s so refreshing to see this kind of characterization for someone with very dominant traits like his. While hardened, he’s never unemotional, cold, or even cruel. He’s in every way a sympathetic character, which melds quite nicely with Tim’s whenever they find themselves alone together.

The ending’s quite beautiful as well – poignant without being overly sentimental and realistic without resorting to tragedy. It is a romance, so we know what to expect, and Sheridan gives us exactly that but with a nice, non-melodramatic reminder of the historical context and the unfair secrecy that gay lovers are forced to resort to. If I were to wax poetic about the final scenes, I’d say that I’d never before expected the coming together of love, art, and a simple campfire to be so mystical.






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Giveaways, Jeff Adams, JMS Books LLC

Guest Post and Giveaway: Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp by Jeff Adams

Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp

Summer Time Inspiration for Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp

Thanks, Lisa, for having me over to talk about the latest in the Hat Trick series. I hope everyone takes a moment to say hello in the comments. I’ll stop back over periodically during the next couple days to answer any questions that may come up.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

Since the Hat Trick series involves hockey players, it’s probably not a surprise the stories are primarily set in the fall and winter months. Periodically readers have heard mention of things Simon and Alex either planned to do over the summer, or actually did over the summer. But until Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp, readers haven’t gotten the first hand look at the boys during summer. This new short story installment of the series takes place at the start of summer between their junior and senior years in college.

The initial inspiration to place a story in the summer came as I caught a bit of High School Musical 2 on Disney Channel late last summer, shortly after Hat Trick 2 came out. HSM aficionados know that part two sends the East High gang off to work for the summer at a country club, while the other two movies take place during the school year. I decided it would be fun to get Simon and Alex out of school and send them off for some summer fun. Previously, there’s been mention of them going camping and so a summer camp seemed a great place for them to spend time. Of course, I didn’t let them get too far away from hockey.

This camp, which I’ll admit right off doesn’t exist, was an ideal place for them. They love hockey. They like working with teens, which of course is Simon’s field of study as he pursues his social work degree. The time at camp also gives them the chance to hang out with each a lot since they’re working together the entire time. For this summer trip, they even got to invite best friend Leo along, which was a great bonus since they don’t get to see him very much.

Summer Camp was a super fun story to write since it took the boys somewhere new. To have them coaching the team as well as stealing a few moments with each other was a blast. Frankly, the whole camp setting was cool and made me wish a place like it actually existed. I know of plenty of hockey camps, but not one nestled in the woods like this one (I figure it doesn’t exist for good reason since it would likely cost a small fortune to operate the rinks in the setting I used.)

Simon and Alex also realize this is likely the last summer that will be like this. With graduation on the horizon, they know that soon enough life will be about jobs and grad school and an increasing amount of adult things. So they live it up here, working in the sport they love, helping teens get better at it… oh, and they do celebrate Alex’s birthday with a bit of fun. I suppose I should’ve thrown in a musical number since HSM2 was my initial inspiration for the story, but that might be over the top.

Next up in the world of Hat Trick is Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot, which will arrive this summer with a focus on senior year and what lies beyond. In the meantime, I’ve got an excerpt here that showcases the fun Simon and Alex have at summer camp.

Dividers

HT_SummerCamp_400x600BLURB: Simon and Alex, now between their junior and senior years at The University of Michigan, decide to put their jobs on hold for a month and take the opportunity to coach hockey at a summer camp for teenagers.

They’ve got a cabin full of good players to work with and the focus is to get them ready to win the camp championship. One camper, sixteen-year-old Dylan, requests extra help because he needs to get a scholarship and the guys make it their mission to help him succeed.

With their best friend Leo along for the trip, Simon and Alex are setup for a great time at camp, until another coach tries to seduce them. How they respond to the unwanted advances, while  balancing commitments to their campers, will test them both.

BUY LINKS: JMS BOOKS | Amazon

Dividers

EXCERPT: Everyone had voted to hang out, swim, relax and take in some early evening sun. I was in the water with a number of our guys playing Frisbee. It was a beautiful afternoon. The clear water cooled provided a nice contrast to the warmth in the air. It would’ve been nice just to float on the surface, but it was fun playing something besides hockey with the guys too.

Alex relaxed on shore talking with some other coaches and campers.  As I admired the evening sun shimmering on his bare chest, the Frisbee sailed right past me. It was a good thing we didn’t play hockey with any skin exposed, I’d never do anything right.

“Sorry,” I said, scooping the disc out of the water and throwing it back into play.

“You know, you’re always telling us to focus,” said Roger, one of our goalies, as he made a catch. “That wasn’t a very good example.”

“You see him undressed all the time, you know,” Ty chimed in. “You don’t have to stare right now.”

“Don’t give him a hard time,” Dylan said. “If my girlfriend were sitting up there with a bikini on, I’d sure be staring at her rather than playing some silly game.”

Just as Dylan finished talking, I made a sneaky interception off of one of his teammates. “How’s that for focus?” I raised the Frisbee in the air triumphantly before sending it soaring over everyone to someone on my team.

“Show off,” Ty said.

We played until the guys were worn out, which was still a couple hours before lights out. I was surprised they lasted that long after playing three intense games. Alex and I hung out behind the group as we made our way back to the cabin.

“You know, you need to not look so hot all the time. I got called out for a lack of focus because I was paying to much attention too you.”

“Ha,” he said, with a wicked grin. “You should be able to ignore me when you need to.”

I laughed. “Not possible.”

Most of the guys hit the showers after being in the lake, while others, including Dylan, used a ball to work on passing in front of the cabin. Alex headed for the showers, too, so that one of us would here the cabin started its evening rituals. Someone played music inside, but not so loud as to bother anyone.

I sat on the stairs watching the passing game, coaching and offering tips as needed. I fought the urge to join them. Alex and I played with them sometimes in our end-of-day scrimmages but mostly we wanted them to work with each other, and just take tips from us. I allowed myself to stretch out on the stairs, watch the game and enjoy watching evening desend on the camp.

Dylan was looking good passing with his cabinmates. His face would occasionally cloud over when he did something he knew wasn’t quite right. I saw it in the game earlier, too. He wasn’t verbalizing as much when he was frustrated with himself. It seemed more internal now.

The line at the shower cabin got shorter as most of our guys returned. Alex came back from the staff facility as well. The boys passing out front took their cue from the returning traffic that they needed to get a move on if they wanted to wash the lake off. Alex sat on the stairs next to me, fully dressed in t-shirt, shorts and sandals, but still running a towel through his hair. We sat quiet for a while, watching the traffic go by, often waving at people.

Dividers

Jeff_headshot-400x600BIO: Jeff Adams caught the writing bug in middle school and finally became a novelist with the Hat Trick series. He’s currently working on the final novel in the series, Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot, which is due out this summer. He’s also written a number of m/m romance shorts, including the recent re-release of Rivals. Jeff and his husband, Will, live in the peaceful, coastal beauty of Humboldt County, California. He also covers the Detroit Red Wings, as well reviews books that feature LGBT hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com. To learn more about Jeff, visit jeffadamswrites.com and follow him on Twitter at @hockeyguynyc. You can also sign up to receive email updates from Jeff (no more than two per month) at http://eepurl.com/7TJC9.

Find Jeff at: Website | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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3 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Lynn Townsend, Reviewed by Rena, Steampunk

Review: London Steam by Lynn Townsend

Title: London Steam

Author: Lynn Townsend

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 99 Pages

At a Glance: Two loosely related novellas and a surprise M/F ending in the second, make for an overall uneven read

Blurb: In a reimagined 1890’s London, where steam-driven airships rule the skies and monsters roam the streets, the Galileo Observatory’s Club for Gentlemen welcomes all — gwr, shape-changers, vampires, and lords. A high-stakes game leads more than a few men astray.

Poindexter Fitzhughes, renowned hero and scientist, learns just how much trouble a full-blooded gwr can be when he attempts to cure his lover, Lord Seth Maitland, of the disease. But when their backs are against the wall, the two must learn to trust in each other, and more importantly, in their true natures, to prevail.

Meanwhile, Duncan Farnsworth discovers being a vampire has not improved his social life, his chances of finding love, continuing the family line, or getting a bite to eat. Maneuvering his way around a sarcastic butler, his spinster sister, a run-in with an amorous werewolf, and a confrontation with a dead soldier and a French airship captain, Duncan finally finds exactly what he is thirsting for.

Dividers

Review: London Steam is actually two lightly connected, short novellas in one book. I say lightly because the main couple in the first novella make a cameo appearance in the second, but the plots diverge completely. Moreover, the first novella is clearly M/M, while the second is M/F/M with the M/F elements pretty much overriding everything else. More on that in a bit.

The first novella focuses on Dex and Seth, both of whom have fantastic – albeit tragic – histories that define their lives in pretty unpleasant ways. Dex was attacked by a gwr he was trying to save and consequently walks around with one blind eye and horrible scars on half of his face. Since this is steampunk London, he’s able to make himself a half-mask with its own artificial eye in order to function in society. Seth, on the other hand, is turned into a gwr in a moment that’s uncomfortably non-con. In brief, both men are forever reminded of their pasts, and when they meet, it’s a blessing for both since they can at least find comfort in each other, as well as use what influence they have together to help bring about social changes where non-humans are concerned.

The plot moves at a pretty brisk pace. The coming together of the two – emotionally, that is – happens off-screen following their initial coupling. But that’s not the point of the story, and I’m glad we’re not forced through romantic tangents at the expense of the main conflict. That said, the briskness of the pacing also applies to the conflict in some places that left me wishing for more. The climax scene is more evenly paced, and we get to see a pretty bloody battle from start to finish. The denouement, however, is largely summarized, with events whizzing past that, to me, somewhat diminishes Dex and Seth’s predicament and even the gwr community’s. Considering the long, angst-and-danger-filled buildup leading to the climax, the conclusion felt like a bit of a letdown.

The second novella was a little more problematic to me on a technical and personal level. On the personal side, I was somewhat blindsided by the M/F/M, and I confess to not being a fan of ménage – of any stripe. When I read the book blurb initially, I didn’t see any indications of ménages anywhere and so didn’t expect it to be a part of the story, let alone a significant one. It is a personal bias, however, and anyone who shares it might need to keep this in mind. For those who enjoy both M/M and M/F/M, you’ll find a nice diverse spectrum of relationships from cover to cover with this book.

The technical problem is a curious one. While it’s part of the same book, the second novella is less polished than the first in the sense that I found a number of typos throughout the story, while the first one didn’t have any. A couple would’ve been fine, but seeing more than that can be a distraction after a while.

While the entire book ended up being a pretty uneven read for me, I was glad I took it on, and I loved the setting. There are a number of original touches in the way steampunk London was fleshed out, which really added to the dynamic quality of the plot and character relationships.






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Giveaways, Jeff Adams, JMS Books LLC

Guest Post and Giveaway: Rivals by Jeff Adams

Fate Making Up For Lost Time

Fate Making Up For Lost Time

Thanks to Lisa for letting me drop by to talk about the re-release of my short story Rivals. I’m excited to be here discussing a story that’s set in the holiday season, starting at Thanksgiving and ending for Christmas. In the spirit of the season I’d like to give away a free copy of the ebook to some lucky commenter on this post.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Logan Zachary, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Taz, Short Story

Review: Dead By Dawn by Logan Zachary

Title: Dead By Dawn

Author: Logan Zachary

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 20 pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Skip Helsing is on vacation celebrating his new sunscreen. Little does he know trouble is brewing with his new “Youth Forever” formula, which allows for a newly-found freedom to a dangerous race.

Dominick wants Skip’s new formula for himself, and isn’t willing to share it with the world. As Dominick searches for Skip, a few innocent people are hurt as Skip enjoys body surfing at the resort. Continue reading

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Hayden Thorne, JMS Books LLC

Excerpt and Giveaway: Henning: The Hunted Prince by Hayden Thorne

Being a prince in a past life and a different world guarantees nothing in 21st century Earth. One of the best things about writing YA fiction is the exploration of a teen’s relationship with the adults surrounding him. That ends up being great fun in comedy, and in my Masks series, we have Eric pretty much driving his family crazy with his attitude and his hundred and one misadventures. For my Henning series, I wanted to reverse things and explore a relationship between a boy and his guardians (one of whom is his uncle). In this case, Henning’s the normal one (or as normal as a reincarnated prince with powers can be normal), while his guardians – “chaperones” – are the ones driving him nuts. And it turned out to be just as fun writing it because in Henning’s case, none of his guardians are married or even parents. So while they’re utterly ignorant where raising a child’s concerned, they’re still as gung-ho as ever (turning to guide books for pointers), much to Henning’s horror. The fact that they’re also reincarnated officers with their own powers bodes nothing but ill for the boy’s teen years.

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4 Stars, Historical Romance, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Rena, T. Nielson

Review: The Glass-House Murder by T. Nielson

Title: The Glass-House Murder

Author: T. Nielson

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 156 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Meet Lord Henry Carlisle: gentleman, wastrel, and mystery-novel lover.

When his mother telephones him on a May evening to tell him they’ve just discovered a body in the glass-house, Hal does what he loves to do: he goes to investigate. As it happens, the local constabulary, headed by an unusually well-spoken, well-educated fellow named Sayers, is already on the case, and Sayers is a bit of a mystery all on his own. Continue reading

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JMS Books LLC, Videos

Interview and Giveaway: Welcome Scott Alexander Hess

ScottBW_WebSize_0348TNA: Hi, Scott, thanks so much for joining us here at The Novel Approach today. We’re happy to have you with us. Why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Scott: I hail from St. Louis, but after two decades in Manhattan I consider myself a New Yorker. I received my MFA from the (amazing!) New School in 2009, which is what led me to writing novels. Prior I had written some screenplays and worked as a journalist. In Grad School, I fell in love again with prose, and became a die hard fan of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy (my two idols).

TNA: When you sat down to write what eventually would become your first novel, did you write with the intention of submitting it to a publisher, or was it a less deliberate process for you? If you could go back to the time period during which you wrote it, what advice would you give yourself, in hindsight? Continue reading

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4 Stars, AR Moler, Genre Romance, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jackie

First Love Gets A Second Chance In AR Moler’s “Does the Feeling Go Both Ways?”

Title: Does the Feeling Go Both Ways?

Author: AR Moler

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 124 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Deep cover DEA agent Landon Cross can’t seem to escape his past. First, his cover is blown by a guy he’d busted in another operation. Then, his rescuer is medic Trey Jernigan, his best childhood friend, first love, and a person Landon betrayed as teenager. Continue reading

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Jeff Adams, JMS Books LLC

Hockey? Why Do I Write Books About Hockey Players? – Guest Post and Giveaway by Jeff Adams

HatTrickHeader_noMenu

Thanks, Lisa, for letting me stop by today! I’m thrilled to be here to talk about the Hat Trick series, including the just released Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound. I’ll check in periodically through the day, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. Plus, I’m offering up a free e-book of Hat Trick 2 to one lucky commenter.

One of the questions I often get about the Hat Trick series is “Why hockey?” Continue reading

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Hayden Thorne, JMS Books LLC, Queerteen Press

Excerpt And Giveaway – Masks: Evolution by Hayden Thorne

22457655Today we welcome Hayden Thorne on the Masks: Evolution Blog Tour. Evolution is the sequel to Rise of Heroes, and carries on the story of teenage Eric, his boyfriend Peter, their friend Althea, and all the superhero and supervillain action Vintage City can handle.

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4.5 Stars, AR Moler, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Lana

AR Moler’s “Personal Protection” Heats Things Up And Leaves You Wanting More – Reviewed by Lana


“That was my first instinct — to protect him.” – Graham Greene


Title: TITLE

Author: A.R. Moler

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 49 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Dr. Ryan Bergstrom has offended somebody, but he has no idea who is so upset with him. Ryan is a gifted medical researcher working on a drug that could slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Death threats and nasty pranks mean that the medical research firm has hired a bodyguard to make sure their golden boy is protected from his stalker.
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A.J. Corza, Chris T. Kat, Dreamspinner Press, GotYouCovrd, J.M. Snyder, JMS Books LLC, Paul Alan Fahey

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Topic – Different Types Of Art To Choose From



Book covers come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and textures. Book covers are a window into the author’s soul, a little glimpse of what is to come, and the artist who creates the cover is just the mouthpiece of the author.

Book covers can be paintings, drawings, photographs, collage, and most often these days, photo manipulated, or Photoshopped, for the laymen. It pretty much depends on what the author wants done, what their personal vision is. More often than not, the authors don’t tend to have a set vision for the cover because their mindset is more about the broad strokes of a full story. A cover artist certainly takes the entire story into consideration but tries to narrow that focus to one specific idea. Let me tell you, it’s really hard sometimes to do that. Trying to distill 300 plus pages of detail into one cover without overcrowding or muddying up the works takes talent and skill.

I feel for the authors out there, though. Thinking and eventually accomplishing your goal of writing a book, then actually moving on to publishing a book is a feat in itself, but then…gah, the cover? What sort of cover do you want? If you’re a lucky author going with a publishing company, generally you get assigned an artist. Tthey show you three or so mockups, you choose and bam, you can relax your brain. Freelance authors aren’t so lucky. Their choices are: ask a family member or friend (if they’re lucky enough), doing it themselves, or going out into the world and finding an artist.

If you choose to do the latter, that’s when the real fun begins. It’s a lot like finding a new dentist, painful in every way. First you go to Google, then you type in book cover artist, and then you get buried beneath the virtual onslaught of artists there are. As I said before all shapes and all sizes.

One such type is Collage:

It’s the same exact setup as your everyday craft store collage. Find pics that fit and slap them together. Well, you’d think that, wouldn’t you? But any person that does collage knows that you can’t do that at all. You have to have an eye for color, for shape, and mainly for form, otherwise you just get a huge ol’ mess that turns people off rather than encouraging them to buy. Both of these covers for Paul Alan Fahey were done by J.M.Snyder and are great examples of the collage feel. Both covers are clean, concise, and a unique melding of pictures. Especially Bomber’s Moon, which definitely has more of a cut out quality to it but manages to be interesting without looking like a 7th grader cut out a photo that they liked and stuck it on a cover. Even the lighting that hits each picture in a different way still manages to look cool and to convey a really different, distinctive feel. It somehow, to me anyways, makes it almost feel three dimensional, especially with the black sky.

3D Modeling is another route an author can go, and this cover done by Zathyn Priest is a perfect example of 3-dimensional artwork. Lots of color and motion fill the entire cover. You can practically feel the warmth that must be coming off the dragon’s skin. Did I mention I’m a huge fan of the dragon? 3D really gives the impression that both the man and beast are going to wander off the cover and nip you right in the tender regions, doesn’t it? I’m pretty much digging it myself. Especially since I can’t even begin to tell you how much time goes into creating 3D art. I took a class in it when I was getting my A.A., and it was not what I would call even in the realm of easy. Hell, I had a bitch of a time getting a ball to look right, let alone a dragon and a man. I honestly can’t recall if I’ve seen any other artists out there doing 3D work on book covers, but if this is the sort of art that gets you excited, we know of at least one artist now, don’t we?

Then of course there is photography. The saying that a picture can speak a thousand words is too true, even if it’s only the opening gambit on a 1000 page treatise about the mating cycle of a cricket. You can learn so much from one photograph if you just take the time to look. Especially if they are used such as they have been on this cover. Look at the subject closely: doesn’t his face speak to you of a life fully lived? He wears his time on this earth in the creases on his cheeks and the pinched line of his mouth. Don’t his eyes convey a certain curiosity mixed with inherent knowledge that brings about a clarity of view from living that life? (And yep I just used up all my 20 dollar words for the day) Doesn’t that make you curious also?

Painting is another way to go. Whether it’s a full line sketch, airbrushed into full blooming beauty such as The Wolf and His Diva written by Chris T. Kat artwork by Paul Richmond, or a combination of photography plus airbrushing, such as the cover done by Ravven for Born in Flames by Candace Knoebel. Painted covers can be stunning and beautiful and can make you just want to jump into that cover and travel to that world. They can make you yearn to meet the man looking so sweetly at the squirrel, or the fiery redhead half covered in dragon scales. The beauty of an artist that can paint/sketch/or combine either element with photography? They can pretty much make anything your little heart could desire.

The question is, though, as an author, how do you choose? And there’s no easy answer for that. You have to go with what your gut tells you, but always, always remember that what you love may not be what the masses will respond to. Your covers are the first introduction to your buying public, and it is absolutely imperative that you take them into consideration. If you have a cover that no one cares for, who’s going to buy the book? So be wary, gentle authors, and don’t skimp on quality. The only one that you will hurt in the end is yourself.

Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

Check me out on Facebook @: https://www.facebook.com/ajcorza

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Hayden Thorne, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Lisa

Hayden Thorne’s “Icarus in Flight” Is A Beautiful Historical Romance


“Love for sale walked comfortably before the world—rouged and vulgar, stained and pitiful, deemed immoral and yet more welcome than the briefest kiss exchanged between two men.” – Hayden Thorne


Title: Icarus in Flight

Author: Hayden Thorne

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 252 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: James Ellsworth is a bit jaded, especially for his young age. He hates school and longs for his parents’ estate, where life is far more pleasant. Meeting new schoolmate Daniel Courtney is a much-needed distraction, one that will prove more and more engrossing as James and Daniel grow older.
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Hayden Thorne, JMS Books LLC

“Icarus in Flight” – An Exclusive Excerpt And Giveaway From Hayden Thorne


The Giveaway:

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Blurb: James Ellsworth is a bit jaded, especially for his young age. He hates school and longs for his parents’ estate, where life is far more pleasant. Meeting new schoolmate Daniel Courtney is a much-needed distraction, one that will prove more and more engrossing as James and Daniel grow older.

When his father dies, James is thrust into a position of responsibility, not just to his estate, but to his mother and sister as well. He leans as much as he can on his friendship with Daniel, but young Courtney has his own problems. His brother, George, is all Daniel has left in the world, and when he loses his brother to a freak accident, Daniel is left alone and without prospects.

All the while, the two young men are discovering a relationship that their Victorian world will never approve of. Trying to deal with their loss and their love drives them apart — James to a life of debauchery, Daniel to a life of study and work.

As they grow older, James and Daniel discover that life is not what they thought it would be when they were schoolboys together, and that, even as they try to make their own way, they always come back to one another.

Excerpt:

Icarus in Flight (from Chapter 24)

James managed to learn more about Rafaele. It took a series of private parties and furtive exchanges between him and two fellow exiles whom he’d long known.

They were young Oxford men “of his sort” who skulked in the shadows as he did, fumbling in the dark for a happier turn of fortune for themselves in their intimate lives.

To one friend, Charles Brandon, he usually repaired for more open conversation.

Charles had taken up residence near the Campo del Traghetto, opting for San Marco and the Dorsoduro’s “religious orgy of churches dedicated to saints of every persuasion, all outbidding each other for a chance to raise their voices the loudest heavenward,” as he so dryly described it. James found his friend’s situation a source of endless amusement—a condemned soul living comfortably within the shadows of all these churches. Charles also took perverse delight in throwing his windows wide open against the night air and standing a few feet within, arms spread. He’d be naked and brazenly challenging La Salute’s silhouette across the Grand Canal, her volutes breaking the night sky with their exaggerated scalloping. He often called these exhibitions “sensual cleansing.”

James himself opted to stay where he’d hoped to find permanent settlement, temporarily taking up lodgings with a Signora Turrini in Castello. He made frequent visits to Charles. The two young men often wandered off to various parts of Venice.

“Still pining after Ganymede, are we?” Charles noted with a sidelong glance. James sat across from him, slouching on a satin and lacquer armchair with stiff cushions.

“Curious is more accurate,” James replied, unfazed. “I was his, uh—”

“Tutor?”

“Protector.”

Charles threw his head back as he laughed. “Protector!” he echoed. “Yes, of course! Protector.”

James watched him, a touch irritated. “Have you any news of him? It’s been a year at least.”

Indeed, Charles had news of the boy. Rafaele, he claimed, was set to marry a young lady on whose moneyed shoulders hopes for his family’s advancement were placed.

James listened to all these in some surprise. “Are you certain?” he asked.

“His story’s known around here. Well—save for his old habits, thank God.” Charles smirked over his wineglass. “One can’t help but spread the word, I suppose, with his story being the stuff of vapid romances—abandoned mother and son, poverty, beautiful girl and charming boy, love amid the lire—”

“He never said anything about the lady.”

“I don’t believe he even considered an attachment to her when you were here. One can only presume that his schedule since you left was quite—filled.”

“An attachment! What, in a year’s time?”

Charles nodded, refilling his glass with an air of tired detachment. “I’ve seen shorter engagements. This is nothing.”

“How long have they known each other before this?”

“About half a year, I think. No, wait. I believe it would be closer to three months. That is, if one were to believe wrinkled old gossips with far too much time on their hands.”

“This is absurd!”

Charles emptied his glass in two massive gulps. “Let him be, James. He was a whore once. He seems happy being where he is now.”

“I’ve no intention of chasing after him, knowing his plans. I find the mere suggestion offensive.”

“All the better for everyone, I daresay, blunted hopes and all.”

“You think me desperate.”

Charles eyed him, his gaze steady and probing. “I think you naïve, actually, which can be exasperatingly charming at times.”

James stared at the wine in his glass. What a preposterous situation, he noted, for Rafaele to mimic Daniel even to this point—a marriage of convenience. A perfect doppelganger, indeed.

About Hayden Thorne: I’ve lived most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area though I wasn’t born there (or, indeed, the USA). I’m married with no kids and three cats, am a cycling nut (go Garmin!), and my day job involves artwork, great coworkers who specialize in all kinds of media, and the occasional strange customer requests involving papier mache fish with sparkly scales.

I’m a writer of young adult fiction, specializing in contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, and historical genres. My books range from a superhero fantasy series to reworked folktales to Victorian ghost fiction. My themes are coming-of-age with very little focus on romance (most of the time) and more on individual growth with some adventure thrown in.

ON GENRE FICTION FOR LGBT TEENS:

LGBT teens have all sorts of stories to tell. They’re heroes not only of contemporary adventures or of fantasy and magic, but also of history. The rules might be different – stricter, a bit more frightening given 19th century laws, for instance – but there are still dreams to be shaped, character to be developed, and all of these done within the parameters set by the genre. It’s going to be a challenge, sure, but if it means allowing LGBT kids their own time in the “limelight” of, say, the Victorian stage, I’m game.

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JMS Books LLC, Paul Alan Fahey

There Are Mixed Blessings To Be Found In “A Christmas In Kent” by Paul Alan Fahey



“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” – Agnes M. Pharo


Paul Alan Fahey has followed up his latest novella in the Lovers and Liars Wartime series with Christmas in Kent, a delightful little holiday coda that’s as cozy as a fire in the hearth and as merry as the holidays could possibly be in World War II England.

Glad tidings of great joy have befallen the little family that will continue to grow through the loving ties that bind them all together, not only by biology but by the unconditional acceptance of Leslie and Edward and the love they must hide from the rest of the world.
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JMS Books LLC, Liam Livings

Liam Livings Finds A Little “Christmas Serendipity” This Holiday Season



“Of course, that’s how life is. A turn of events may seem very small at the time it’s happening, but you never really know, do you? How can you?” ― Tom Xavier


Blurb: In a snowy small town in England just before Christmas, handyman Christian thinks the world has ended — his parents are still getting used to his being gay and have disinvited him to their Christmas. Former waiter David has just been fired and is still getting used to the fact that his useless, cheating, money-grabbing, waste-of-space boyfriend has just dumped him. Their mutual friend Cathy steps in and invites the two strangers to a non-family Christmas at the flat she shares with Tony.

With Cathy’s organizational skills and enthusiasm, these four spend Christmas together, making the best of it and getting to know each other. A spark of attraction clearly brings David and Christian closer, and spending the festive season together may be just what these two refugees need to calm their troubled souls.

But the past still haunts them both and threatens to be their undoing. Is love enough to overcome the burdens they bear? Can they find a happy Christmas together after all?
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