Giveaways, Hayden Thorne

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Porcelain Carnival by Hayden Thorne

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Join us in welcoming author Hayden Thorne today, as she shares a bit about her newest book The Porcelain Carnival, the seventh and final book in the Masks series. Enjoy the excerpt Hayden’s brought along to share with you, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win One of Two e-copies of the book.

Good luck!

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: As with the sequels to the main trilogy, this installment is episodic in nature, but it does play a significant role in conveying something about Eric’s adventures. I mentioned a long time ago (over at my blog) that when I end the series, I’ll do so without a firm closure because, given the nature of the superheroes and the supervillains, the insanity continues well beyond the seven books. There’s closure, yes, but not in the sense of the genetically modified characters finding a cure or a fix – because there isn’t.

Deena’s role is also significant on a number of levels, and her story supplements Eric’s in that sense. The same can be said about the missing kids as well as the Shadow Puppet (and, consequently, other supervillains).

At any rate, there you have it. This is Eric’s swan song, and I bid my fictional therapy (he is very therapeutic to write) a fond farewell. If you’ve stuck with the entire series from Rise of Heroes all the way to Dr. Morbid’s Castle of Blood, bless you. Even if the original trilogy was your only foray into Eric’s crazy world, thank you for taking a chance. As with every other book I’ve written and published, I hope you enjoy / enjoyed / continue to enjoy Eric Plath’s adventures as a normal kid caught up in beyond normal situations.

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The Porcelain CarnivalBLURB: In the seventh and final installment of the Masks series, nothing comes easy to sixteen-year-old Eric Plath – and the Shadow Puppet. On one hand, Eric suffers through the tedium of more homework, more groundings from irate parents, and sudden and inexplicable attention from mutated killer mannequins from the Shadow Puppet’s cabal. On the other hand, those evolving mannequins appear to have rattled a supervillain’s schemes of terrorizing Vintage City, and no one — not even the superheroes and the Sentries – can figure out what’s happening.

In the middle of this spiraling supervillain craziness are the growing numbers of disappearing teenagers, including Deena Alvarez, Eric’s good friend who’s in the process of transitioning behind the backs of her disapproving parents and grandparents. And the only clue dropped into Eric’s lap makes him an even bigger target to a supervillain who desperately needs it back.

Buy Links: JMS Books || Amazon || Smashwords

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EXCERPT:
(from Chapter 12)

“ERIC, YOU’RE NOT going to die.”

I glanced up, shooting Peter a withering look. “That’s easy for you to say. You weren’t neck-deep in seething, broiling garbage. I’ve got half a mind to demand a full cavity search.”

Peter froze. He didn’t even blink; I think he couldn’t find it in himself to blink. “This isn’t a good time to be kinky.”

“I’m not being kinky. I’m serious. I want to make sure no bacteria or viruses or mutated parasites and worms found their way under my jeans and underwear and up my ass.” I snorted. “Can you believe it? Parasites would get in there even way before you would, Peter Barlow. I don’t even want to think of the damage those bastards would cause. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if this means no gay butt sex till the day I die.”

Fan-made poster of Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange. If I were to fan cast Eric as a superhero, I'd kill to see him as the Sorcerer Supreme. He has to be an adult, though; otherwise, he'd destroy the whole planet with his still-raging teen hormones ruling his head.

Fan-made poster of Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange. If I were to fan cast Eric as a superhero, I’d kill to see him as the Sorcerer Supreme. He has to be an adult, though; otherwise, he’d destroy the whole planet with his still-raging teen hormones ruling his head.

I took a deep, calming breath because I was beyond furious. Was this what people called “incensed”? I think so, but I’d have to double-check my thesaurus. At any rate, I was fuming. It’d been an hour since I was rescued from the dumpster (and interrogated while squirming and practically sobbing in my killer
disease-soaked clothes), and I refused to leave the bathtub. I’d been sitting in warm, sudsy water for an eternity now, alternately scrubbing every inch of my skin with a loofa and dunking my head again and again in the water. Oh, and the soap used was one of those anti-bacterial types, by the way, because I damned well demanded it. In that really incensed way I could only demand , when I was dripping with filth from head to toe, with my messenger bag just as messed up as I was.

Since the Sentries were involved in my rescue, they dragged my sorry ass away from the crowd for some kind of shot – don’t know what the hell was in that syringe, but my guess was something like the love child of the flu shot and a tetanus shot. Plus maybe something for malaria, the Black Plague, and Ebola. Whatever formula they’d used on me must’ve been totally epic and badass, considering how crazy big the needle was. I wasn’t sure if I should faint again or just plain lose all control of my bowels and shit inside my jeans.

Another fan cast moment - maybe if he were a street-level superhero, Eric can be Iron Fist. Then he can team up with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage as The Defenders and protect Vintage City that way. Then again, maybe not.

Another fan cast moment – maybe if he were a street-level superhero, Eric can be Iron Fist. Then he can team up with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage as The Defenders and protect Vintage City that way. Then again, maybe not.

“There you go,” Brenda had said after sticking me. She actually tried to cheer me up by gurgling and doing all kinds of baby talk the whole time. I just gaped at her, my lower lip wobbling. “You don’t have to worry about infections and stuff.”

Easy for her to say, I thought, but I didn’t get all honest and truthy then because all I wanted was to go home, scrub myself down to a molecule, and spend the rest of the day in self-pity mode.

I’d also demanded to have all of my clothes burned as well as my bag, and I didn’t care how much it’d cost Mom and Dad to help me replace those things because I knew twenty billion cycles in the washing machine wouldn’t ease my mind. I might as well start over.

Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) gives us a great superhero series for teens. I can see Eric chilling with her. Embiggen!

Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) gives us a great superhero series for teens. I can see Eric chilling with her. Embiggen!

Oh, and if I crossed paths with one of those dumbass mutated mannequins, I’m going to fucking murder it dead twenty times over.

That bathtub, by the way, was in my parents’ bathroom because mine only had a shower stall. Peter was in there with me – without parental permission, by the way, because everyone was still at work. I was naked and helpless, my boyfriend was there, taking care of me, and I couldn’t have sex with him even if he begged. Why? Parasites up the ass, that was why.

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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Giveaways, Hayden Thorne

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: The Romeo and Julian Effect (The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles) by Hayden Thorne

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Today we’re so please to welcome author Hayden Thorne back for a special release day feature of book three in The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles series, The Romeo and Julian Effect. Enjoy the excerpt Hayden’s selected to share with you, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of Books One thru Three of the series: Sheridan Diggins and the Dead Horde, The Golem Upstairs, and The Romeo and Julian Effect.

Good luck!

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The Romeo and Julian EffectBlurb: Intimidation from the underworld is escalating, this time involving a person from Sheridan’s past who really shouldn’t be hanging around Sheridan if he knew what’s best for him. Shapeshifting demons come out to harass Sheridan in the most hilariously bizarre ways imaginable, and with the help of defensive-wish-granting knight, Clonia, and some space-age technology, Sheridan proves himself a worthy opponent.

In the meantime, Yuli Soulweaver’s beginning to display alarming symptoms of fatigue, possibly from the prince’s constant crossing over between two worlds in order to court Sheridan — unless a more ominous reason lies behind Yuli’s spiraling weakness.

Nobody messes with a Diggins, however, and the more Sheridan meets resistance from antagonistic entities from the underworld, the harder he fights back. Disgruntled immortals might very well be in for a huge surprise in their campaign of terror against a young colonist with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Buy Links: JMS Books || Amazon || Smashwords

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Author’s Note: I wrote The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles as a spoof of sci-fi conventions. I’m a big fan of science fiction, and I’ve always been tickled by not only the way aliens tended to be humanoid in form but varying greatly in skin, hair, and eye color/markings, but also by the fact that when different species come together, they can speak one language (mostly due to a translator they either carry around or are wearing). I’ve loved those conventions in addition to dietary stuff and especially the names of individual characters including aliens, alien species, and planets.

This sci-fi four-novella series is meant to be a loving comic tribute to science fiction clichés we’ve grown familiar with, and I wanted to add the element of fantasy (magic and immortality) into the mix to liven things up. Sheridan Diggins isn’t a kickass space-age hero a la Star-Lord or Han Solo or Mr. Spock. He’s just an everyman who, like us, works hard to pay the bills and look after a kid brother after they’ve been orphaned at a very young age. There are no mind-boggling adventures somewhere in a distant galaxy. There’s no epic space opera unfolding in a massive ship carrying exiles or scientists or criminals. There’s only an overworked astro-cab driver-captain who’s gotten the attention of the youngest prince of the dead.

And someone from the underworld doesn’t like that very much.

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From Chapter 10

At first Sheridan thought it was cute how Adley’s simmering-just-below-the-whiny-surface bloodlust enjoyed a sudden intravenous jolt of caffeine, when the boy started to bug Sheridan about his use – or non-use – of his Quantum Pistol Mini. Unfortunately the charm wore off pretty damned quickly.

“I never got a chance to use this,” Sheridan replied, and turned the weapon off. “That damned thing attacked me inside the ship. I almost had my throat ripped out.”

Of course, he took care not to admit his complete failure in being sharp on his feet, of charging right into the waiting arms of death and destruction without a moment’s critical thought because he desperately needed to protect his brother.

They’d just reached Old Myrna and were hanging around, waiting for Clonia to return with the necessary rundown of her epic fight with Ian-wannabe. With any luck, she’d show up carrying the severed head of the monster, and Sheridan would use that gruesome sight as a means of projecting himself into Clonia’s shoes. He decided then there were unexpected benefits to having a knight hanging around for protection.

Romeo and Juliet. There's nothing like star-crossed (gay) lovers, one being a mortal living paycheck-to-paycheck in technologically advanced Cecilia, the other an immortal prince of the dead and who's also a magic wielder. Opposite traits piled upon opposite traits make for some pretty pissed off immortal guardians and questionably fun times in the colony.

Romeo and Juliet. There’s nothing like star-crossed (gay) lovers, one being a mortal living paycheck-to-paycheck in technologically advanced Cecilia, the other an immortal prince of the dead and who’s also a magic wielder. Opposite traits piled upon opposite traits make for some pretty pissed off immortal guardians and questionably fun times in the colony.

Adley’s face scrunched up tightly in a very adolescent show of confusion. “Huh? You didn’t kill it? Why not?”

Sheridan stared at him. “Let me repeat: I almost had my throat ripped out.”

“So Clonia got it instead? Like from the get-go? You never even fired a single shot?”

“Apparently I have to stand in front of you with my body torn to pieces in order for you to horf a single word of – oh, I don’t know – sympathy or horror or concern for my well-being,” Sheridan replied in a dull monotone. “Like a hairball.”

“Oh, please. If you showed yourself to me all torn up and stuff, it’d be a little too late for me to be concerned for your wellbeing since you’d already be dead. Right?”

Adley beamed, apparently quite impressed with his deductive powers. Sheridan continued to regard his brother dully, wondering if it was already too late for him to sit the boy down and go over the basics of simple empathy. Something told him, however, the teenage brain was still too busy skittering about its bony container, drawn to the magnetic forces of all things shiny and beneficial only to its owner. It was going to be an absolute nightmarish romp through the cesspit of Hell, digging around for a non-self-absorbed kernel floating forlornly through all those narcissistic gray cells.

Surrender and resignation were inevitable.

When the intended victim of a "hit" from the underworld actually yearns for a terrifying (not to mention competent) monster to be sent to off him, life has gone just a wee bit cockeyed.

When the intended victim of a “hit” from the underworld actually yearns for a terrifying (not to mention competent) monster to be sent to off him, life has gone just a wee bit cockeyed.

“Good evening, mortals,” a voice piped up from the direction of the trees, making both brothers jump. “The creature has been dispatched and sent back to the world of the dead. Nothing more to see here.”

Clonia emerged from the shadows and stopped next to Sheridan, giving him a sharp nod in greeting. While she hadn’t changed uniforms or loosened her hair for the night, she did carry two wildly diverging weapons. One hand held what Sheridan now recognized as a crossbow – a rather large one at that. Then again, he’d never seen one in person before and had no context for comparison. He was, however, amazed and impressed at the weapon’s non-technologically advanced badassery. Clonia’s other hand held a Nova Blaster.

“I didn’t know immortals were allowed to use space-age weapons,” Sheridan said.

Clonia regarded him in her usual blank way. “You’re welcome,” she said.

“Sorry – thanks for rescuing me. I wouldn’t have bothered you if I weren’t so stupidly underprepared.” Sheridan paused when he realized he still held his Quantum Pistol Mini. He sheepishly held it up. “I, uh, suppose this wouldn’t have made a lick of difference.”

“No, it wouldn’t have. It looks like a plastic toy.”

And poor Sheridan, though armed with space-age weapons, still can't catch a break, protecting himself from threats effectively. When magic and science collide, one can't realistically be as badass as, say, Star-Lord.

And poor Sheridan, though armed with space-age weapons, still can’t catch a break, protecting himself from threats effectively. When magic and science collide, one can’t realistically be as badass as, say, Star-Lord.

“Okay. So – where’d you get your Nova Blaster?”

“It’s a long story.”

“Try me.”

“I found it on sale in the downtown area while out looking for shops for His Royal Highness. I was under the impression you’d need this and so purchased it. Unfortunately I couldn’t hang around too long up here to give you this as the transaction happened in a dark alley, and the man who sold it was pretty adamant that I lie low for twenty-four hours. Why? I don’t know. He did mention something about disappearing and new identities and filed off serial numbers. He was an odd, odd sort, and he smelled bad.”

Sheridan had to admit, he was pretty impressed. “This would have to be the longest response you’ve made.”

“It is, and I’m winded. Try to avoid subjecting me to it again, please. One thing you must know, when dealing with creatures from my world, your technological weapons can’t kill them.”

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A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*No residency restrictions apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

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Giveaways, Jeff Adams

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot by Jeff Adams

HT3-Tour

Today we’re so please to welcome author Jeff Adams back to The Novel Approach for a visit on his HT3: Penalty Shot Blog Tour. Enjoy Jeff’s guest post, the excerpt he brought along to share with you, and then be sure to leave a comment right here for the chance to win an e-book in the Hat Trick series.

Read on for all the details, and good luck!

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It’s great to be back at The Novel Approach today! Many thanks to Lisa for hosting me so I can talk about my latest novel, Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot.

Hat Trick 3 is the final novel in the Hat Trick trilogy. Simon and Alex are in the senior year at the University of Michigan, playing hockey and planning their future. They also pay it forward in this installment as they take on coaching a youth hockey team so that a talented goalie, along with some other players, can play on an LGBT friendly team.

What surprises them as they start working with the youth team is the level of harassment that’s still out there four years after they came out, even in the era of You Can Play and more athletes coming out all the time. In fact, the way they end up working with the team is because the goalie, a young man who is on the flamboyant side, isn’t picked up for a team. Scottie, therefore, decides to form his own team and recruits Simon and Alex to coach it. As Simon and Alex see how good Scottie is, they can’t believe a coach would pass up his talent.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing they come up against. Once they’re a team, the other teams that are already in their division aren’t very welcoming. Even having two Michigan players as coaches doesn’t shield them from a couple incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct.

This theme of homophobia and harassment has cropped up in each of the three Hat Trick novels in different ways. I’m hopeful that this theme one day makes the trilogy a bit dated and people will read in disbelief that such a thing could happen. Sadly, it doesn’t look like that will be the case any day soon. You Can Play came about as I was putting the finishing touches on the first novel back in 2012-13. Yet, even now you hear too many stories about student athletes getting harassed for their sexual orientation. In Hat Trick 3, Simon and Alex have to approach it differently because they aren’t the ones being harassed, instead they’ve got to help their team deal with it.

It’s not all confrontation for the youth team though, there’s a lot of fun times there too as the team goes from a bunch of teens brought together at the last minute to a team that finds its groove. There’s even a bit of deja vu for Simon and Alex as a romance starts to blossom on the team, too.

If you’ve read other books in the Hat Trick series, I hope you’ll pick this one up to see how things go for the team as well as checking out everything else going on with Simon and Alex as they work towards their happily ever after.

I do have a giveaway to celebrate this release. One lucky commenter will receive their choice of one ebook from the Hat Trick series. So leave a comment or a question by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 21, 2015. I’ll definitely come by to see what you’re saying and one of you will walk away with a free ebook.

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For this excerpt I’m offering up a little taste of what the youth team faces as they begin their season. I love how Scottie stands up to it, and how help comes in from an ally, too.

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Excerpt: The first Rainbow High game arrived way too fast. The team seemed ready, at least in spirit. There wasn’t nearly enough practice, but everyone said they were excited following yesterday’s session. Scottie looked great, and I looked forward to seeing him in a real game. We had some good shooters, especially Walt and Bryan. Based on the competition Walt told us to expect, we still needed work. The best practice in the world though was playing a real game.

Considering everything, Alex and I couldn’t have been happier with how the team had gelled in the past two weeks. They had a good time on ice and seemed to be bonding off ice, too, as much as their individual schedules would allow.

The parking lot of the rink was jammed as Alex, Hillary, Danny, Trent and I arrived, nearly an hour early. We wanted to recon some of the other teams in our division, and be here as our guys arrived. At least for this first game, all the coaches were present.

Two of our division’s games were already in progress, so Trent and Danny went to check those out as Hillary, Alex, and I took over a table to watch for our team to start trickling in.

“Excuse me,” said a guy in a Chargers jersey, as he came up to our group. I recognized the team name as one in our division. “I was wondering if I could get you guys’ autograph. It’s not every day you see the Wolverines’ captains just hanging out here.”

“Sure,” I said. Behind the autograph seeker I saw Scottie come in, rolling his huge gear bag behind him. “We’d be happy to.” The guy gave me a piece of paper, which looked torn from a spiral notebook, and a pen. “What’s your name?”

“Griffin,” he said. “What’s got you guys out here?”

“Hey, Simon, Alex, Hillary,” Scottie said, bumping fists with everyone. He sorta bounced between the three of us. “Great to see you.”

“Scottie, you’re here early,” Alex said.

“Yeah, I wanted to be here when the rest of the team showed. Be a good captain and all.”

“You guys know this sissy boy?” Griffin asked, his mouth hanging open.

I stood, and had a couple inches on the guy, even though he was in skates. Alex and Hillary circled around.

“We coach Scottie’s team,” I said. “That kind of talk isn’t very sportsmanlike. Not only have you insulted him, you’re not exactly making friends with us either.” I took Alex’s hand for extra emphasis. “Since you asked for our autograph, I assume you know that we’re a couple, right?”

“Well, yeah,” Griffin stumbled over his words, “but you guys don’t prance around. How’s he supposed to stop a puck? He’ll probably hide in the net when he sees what’s coming towards him.”

Scottie spoke up while remaining all smiles. “Do we get to play you today?”

“No. Unfortunately we don’t get the honor of wiping the rink with your…” Griffin stopped, considering his words further. Danny and Trent joined us as well. “…team. We see you in two weeks.”

“I can assure you I won’t be hiding in the net. I’ll be out front, waiting to knock down anything you send my way.”

“And I suggest your team take a good look at league rules,” I said, “which covers in detail that there’s no unsportsmanlike conduct tolerated.”

The guy looked dumbfounded. He searched the rink, maybe looking for some of his teammates to back him up, or for a way to get himself out of this situation. “You can’t tell me,” he said, finding a defiant streak, “that if you two acted like fairies that the Wolverines would’ve given you a look.”

“Given how good they play, I wouldn’t hesitate to recruit them.”

Whoa. Coach Rapp, decked out in his Wolverines jacket that clearly said who he was, managed to come in from nowhere. Griffin turned, seemingly ready to say something, but stopped when he saw who it was.

“And I’ve seen Scottie between the pipes,” Coach continued. “He’s good. Someone I’ll be keeping tabs on. Now, young man, who’s your coach?”

The guy turned white as a ghost. I thought he might pass out.

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Penalty_Shot_400x600Blurb: Life has a sneaky way of checking you into the boards.

The relationship that began when Simon Roberts and Alex Miller were in high school is about to cross another milestone as they begin their final year at the University of Michigan. It’s been four amazing years of love, friends and hockey.

Now it’s time to help pay it forward.

When a talented sixteen-year-old goalie is denied placement on a youth league roster, he asks Simon and Alex to coach a team of LGBT youth and allies. With the determination, hard work, and help of an amazing group of friends, they rally the team towards a winning season.

In the final installment of the best selling Hat Trick trilogy, Simon and Alex find everything they’ve worked so hard for is in jeopardy. When they’re thrown a devastating curve ball, the far-reaching implications put their entire future together on the line.

Buy Links: JMS Books || Amazon || Smashwords

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Jeff_headshot-400x600Author Bio: Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Since then he’s written several more shorts and novels, including some in the young adult genre, and he plans to keep writing as long as wonderful readers keeping picking up his books.

Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

Learn more at jeffadamswrites.com

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify

*No residency restrictions apply

*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)

*Comments posted after the contest deadline will not be eligible in the draw

*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified

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Giveaways, Hayden Thorne

Excerpt and Giveaway: Desmond and Garrick (Book Two) by Hayden Thorne

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We’re so pleased to have author Hayden Thorne back today with an excerpt and giveaway of her Young Adult Historical Fantasy Desmond and Garrick (Books One and Two). To enter for the chance to win an e-copy of BOTH books, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below after reading this little teaser.

Good luck!

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from Chapter 11

He’d walked a short distance, pausing under the shadows of a small cluster of trees, when movement from the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he turned to find Desmond scrambling up the hill – appearing desperate to get back to the picnic area. Garrick narrowed his eyes as he watched the boy. The way Desmond practically flailed his arms in order to keep his balance, the way he almost stumbled a few times in his haste to get up the hill, the way his clothes looked suspiciously crumpled and his hair windblown and wild and his face taking on a decidedly unhealthy red hue for a vampire…

Garrick sighed, shaking his head, his gaze still fixed on the frantic figure. “Good heavens, Master Desmond,” he muttered, that familiar feeling of helplessness creeping up his spine. “What have you done this time?”

He shrugged things off and carried on, awash in contentment for another pleasant moment, this time humming to himself.

More movement caught his attention and, and this time he saw Phillip Priestley making his way up the hill as well, his appearance no less wild than Desmond’s. But while Desmond appeared to be fleeing the area and half-killing himself to reach the hill’s crest in the shortest time possible, Mr. Priestley appeared to march stiffly uphill, his disheveled appearance highlighting the anger that set his face in a rigid mask. Arms swinging stiffly at his sides, eyes fixed directly ahead, mouth pressed into a tight line, the young fellow was in grave danger of swelling up with all that collected rage before exploding in a dreadfully untidy way that only vampires could appreciate. The sinking feeling gave way to another familiar sensation: a dreadful chill that could only mean one thing…

Any mortal tutor who takes on Desmond and Lavinia for his pupil will need all the luck in the world.

Any mortal tutor who takes on Desmond and Lavinia for his pupil will need all the luck in the world.

“Ah, Mr. Mortimer,” a voice hailed him.

Garrick turned and found Mr. Sherbourne approaching, his hands clasped behind him, his hat still on his head, his clothes still pristine. He inclined his head at Garrick once he was near enough.

“Mr. Sherbourne,” Garrick said after a moment’s hesitation.

The gentleman flashed an engaging smile, his manner calm and casual. “Sir, I apologize for pressing you with such a remarkable request, but I’d be honored if you would come with me tomorrow morning and be my second.”

Garrick stared at him. “I beg your pardon?”

“I’ve been challenged to a duel, you see, and I’m afraid it’s simply beyond my control to walk away from it. Honor is honor, after all.” When Garrick remained mute, he added, “Pistols at dawn. You know what that’s about.”

Garrick continued to stare at him. “I beg your pardon?”

Mr. Sherbourne sighed, though his manner stayed calm. Almost indifferent. “I’m compelled to defend Desmond Hathaway’s honor, sir. While in the course of dispensing a duty that was entrusted to me by the good Mr. and Mrs. Hathaway, I chanced upon a scene of a – well – rather sensitive nature, and I took umbrage at the gentleman’s treatment at the hands of a scoundrel. I certainly would have challenged Mr. Priestley to a duel myself, had he not leapt upon the chance first and challenged me. Can you imagine the cheek, sir? He’s the villain, and he thought to challenge me.”

Garrick stared. Still. Somehow, some time ago, his brain had ceased its functions, and he felt as though he were standing before its sad remains, watching it slowly dissolve with every word Mr. Sherbourne uttered.

Pistols at dawn - not exactly an ideal thing for mortal and vampire teenagers caught in a love triangle.

Pistols at dawn – not exactly an ideal thing for mortal and vampire teenagers caught in a love triangle.

“Would you mind explaining yourself, sir?” he said after about twenty attempts at speaking something that sounded halfway coherent.

“My dear Mr. Mortimer, I don’t see how I can make myself any clearer,” Mr. Sherbourne said, looking tired and faintly irritated. Yet he stood before Garrick, hands still clasped at his back, posture straight, appearance very striking and handsome as only vampires could be striking and handsome. “I need you to be my second, sir, for dawn tomorrow. While I’d be quite happy simply giving Mr. Priestley a damned good thrashing, I’m afraid I’m rather stuck resorting to a duel and perhaps bloody murder to set things right.”

“Mr. Sherbourne, you do realize your challenger is sixteen years old and is quite incapable of sound thought – especially if he’s been sent down from Wyndham.”

“Seventeen and four months.” Mr. Sherbourne paused, looking sincerely surprised. “I took care to ask, Mr. Mortimer. Not that it made much of a difference, anyway, since a scoundrel is a scoundrel at any age, and if Mr. Priestley forced my hand into a duel, I’m not one to back away from it. If his age worries you, perhaps you ought to raise the matter with him, not me.”

“Are you drunk, sir?”

“Indeed, no. But I’ve never been to a duel before, let alone been challenged to one. I’m afraid my ignorance shows, though I do hope I’m still capable of defending Desmond’s honor when required.”

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Desmond and Garrick Book TwoBlurb: As the vain and self-absorbed poets continue their campaign of destruction in Dryden Abbey, Garrick finds himself struggling in the classroom, with increasingly distracted pupils eroding all of his hard work and reducing him to using all things dead and decaying in order to keep Desmond and Lavinia’s minds on their lessons.

Meanwhile, with Phillip Priestley’s unexpected appearance, Desmond’s world unravels as infatuation, lust, confusion, and revulsion drive him into wilder mood swings. Mr. Sherbourne’s coldly distant yet attractive presence in Dryden Abbey further complicates things, prompting Desmond to do something he never thought he’d ever do: reach out to unlikely allies for help.

In the midst of the wild goings on around them, Garrick and Desmond will realize that the chasm separating them as distinct species will not only teach them important lessons of understanding and acceptance, but also forge a stronger bond of friendship than they expected.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jeff Adams, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Taz

Review: Heat Wave: Tuscaloosa by Jeff Adams

Title: Heat Wave – Tuscaloosa

Author: Jeff Adams

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count:  51 Pages

At a Glance: As a heart-warming love story, Heat Wave: Tuscaloosa hits the spot.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: Ethan is a grad student stuck in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the summer. Though he’s thrilled about his teaching assistant position at the university, he’s not at all excited about the record-breaking heat wave plaguing the area.

In the midst of an oppressively hot summer night, Ethan meets fellow grad student Marcus. While their initial encounters are scorching, can two busy students have more than a heated seasonal fling? Or could it be the beginning of something that will last beyond the stormy southern nights?

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Review: Heat Wave: Tuscaloosa definitely lived up to its name. Set in Alabama in the summer, we meet Ethan, a grad student who is teaching during the summer. Since he couldn’t cool down his apartment enough, he spent a few nights sleeping on his patio. On the first night, he spots a man he names Shadow Man (since that’s all he can make of the stranger) beating off on a neighboring balcony across from his own. Ethan joins in and this becomes a nightly event…until one night the power goes out, and all the people in the community of buildings are hanging around outside. That’s when he meets Marcus, aka Shadow Man, and the heatwave moves from the actual weather into the bedroom, a farm, a bathroom, and several other places as well.

As a light summer read, this hit the spot. There wasn’t a whole bunch of drama, misunderstandings, or obstacles to overcome. Like any exciting new relationship, this was fun and exciting and new. Along with hot sex, the two characters learn they have an easy time getting to know one another, and that there’s a real connection that runs deeper than the hormones rushing through their veins whenever they are together.

That said, I’d recommend this book when you want something that reads quick and is completely free of any angst or worry. There isn’t much of a plotline, other than the two characters getting to know one another and learning that they make a great pair. This book is free or internal and external pressures that can stand in the way of a developing relationship.

As a heart-warming love story, Heat Wave: Tuscaloosa hits the spot.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed By Carrie, Short Story

Review: Love Found on Lindisfarne by JL Merrow

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Title: Love Found on Lindisfarne

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 35 Pages

At a Glance: Who wouldn’t like a lovable dad, a precocious almost-teen, and a Viking?

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: When single father Chris meets a Viking re-enactor on Lindisfarne, he thinks it’s the perfect recipe for a holiday fling — and nothing more. Ian, or Ulf, as he’s known when in character as a Viking berserker, is a dreadlocked nomad who never stays in one place for long.

Chris had a relationship with a free spirit like Ian before, and it didn’t end well for him or for his bright but troubled daughter Kelis. He’s determined not to risk the stability of her home environment for Ian, no matter how well she gets on with him — and no matter how much Chris is drawn to the man.

But Chris hasn’t reckoned with the Viking way of taking all you’re willing to give — and coming back for more.

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Review: Love Found on Lindisfarne is a short story that hooks you in from the first paragraph.

“It was a hot summer’s day on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The lanes were dusty underfoot, the languid breeze heavy with the scent of the North Sea, and a Viking had just offered to buy my daughter.”

Chris is a single father with regrets, and Kelis is his twelve year old daughter. Together they travel to Lindisfarne on holiday, in their quest to accomplish a castle a day – and meet Ulf, or Ian. Ian is a Viking reenactor who is really too great a guy to be a berserker.

This is a feel good story. If you have an extra hour and want a little pick me up, then grab this book. You will read it with a smile on your face that won’t fade once the last page is read. It will leave you with a little warmth in your heart. The story is also well written for being so short, something that is not that easy to accomplish. Sometimes you just want a lovely romantic short, and this fits the bill nicely.

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, J.D. Walker, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Lana, Short Story

Review: Heavy Metal Cowboy Blues by J.D. Walker

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Title: Heavy Metal Cowboy Blues

Author: J.D. Walker

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 25 Pages

At a Glance: I absolutely loved Heavy Metal Cowboy Blues!

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Lester “Les” McCoy is a retired cowboy who now lives in the city, working days at the Ranch and Feed. He loves his country music. Not so his tenant, Damien Ridley, who lives downstairs in his duplex and works evenings at the gym.

”Metal boy,” as Les likes to call him, prefers to listen to all things rock and metal at decibels that make his ears bleed. Damien is attracted to Les, which he makes abundantly clear with those translucent gray eyes and his hot, kissable mouth. Problem is, although Les is in lust with Damien, he’s an old prairie bachelor and sees his metal boy as too young for a roll in the hay. He’d rather be put out to pasture.

Enter a friend who’s gay-bashed and a co-worker who kicks his head out of his ass, and Les reconsiders whether a heavy metal dude can help an old cowboy with the blues.

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Review: I absolutely loved Heavy Metal Cowboy Blues! It had just the right amount of cuteness, snark and hotness, a perfect mix that entertained and satisfied. But, as always, when I get into a story and it’s too short I get mad! LOL. This is my only negative here. The story was just too short and should have been a part an anthology or a full length novel.

The story is about Les, a thirty-something cowboy who likes country music. He’s sort of content in his life but lusts after his tenant, Damien. Damien works at the local gym, is also in lust with his landlord, Les, and likes to play heavy metal music at top volume. They bond over their hatred of each other’s music and a need to help out a friend. Les finally gives in to Damien’s relentless pursuit of him, and the result is perfect! I loved them together because they were total opposites that complemented each other. Okay, the opposites attract storylines tend to me my favorites. Their initial lust gives way to genuine feelings, and I wanted to know what happened after the story ended. It’s told from Les’ POV, and it was fun being in his funny, sarcastic head. This story needed to be longer!!

Heavy Metal Cowboy Blues is a sweet little tale that shows opposites do attract and can make beautiful music together!

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3 Stars, AR Moler, JMS Books LLC, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: What’s in Your Box by A.R. Moler

Title: What’s In Your Box? (Djinn: Book One)

Author: A.R. Moler

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 46 Pages

At a Glance: Short story with a djinn, a vet with PTSD, and some cute moments.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Dale Edinger has just inherited a house from his aunt. It’s a good thing too because traumatic shoulder damage and PTSD has forced the Marine lieutenant to retire. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Aunt Mildred’s inheritance is more than an overfull and chaotic house. All kinds of surprises await Dale as he sorts through his aunt’s hoard.
Riadh is one of those surprises. He’s a djinn, a being of magic from another culture — and Dale is his new owner–much to Dale’s dismay. Riadh has his own history and a set of rules that make it impossible for him to be freed. It’s not only Riadh that Dale has to contend with either. In fact, just finding the magickal objects that his aunt had squirreled away in her house will be a trick. When he finds them, what does he do with them? And what about Riadh?

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Review: I’m not sure what I was expecting from this short story, but I was pleasantly surprised. While it started off a bit rough and could use some editing, it evens out as the story progresses, and the author gets into a rhythm. I enjoyed reading about Dale and Riadh, and honestly, I wish the book was longer. That this seems to be the first in a series gives me hope.

Dale is a vet suffering from PTSD. After his aunt dies, he inherits her estate and moves in to start cleaning it out. She appears to be a bit of a hoarder, and he is in for quite the job. When he finds a shoebox in the closet and opens it, a Djinn pops out. Riadh was his aunt’s helper, and he belongs to Dale now.

What follows is their attempt to get to know each other, get comfortable with their new situations in life, and move on from there. I enjoyed watching their relationship blossom, even if it was a short story. And it ends on a note where there could be more, and I would enjoy that. Since this does seem to be the start of a series, I hope it doesn’t pick up with a different Djinn. As a reader I would like to explore Dale and Riadh’s relationship more.

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Excerpt and Giveaway: Desmond and Garrick by Hayden Thorne

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Hayden Thorne today, with an excerpt and giveaway of her latest re-release Desmond and Garrick: Book One, a young adult Regency vampire coming-of-age novel, infused with more than a little humor.

Be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of Desmond and Garrick Books One and Two (upon its release).

Good luck!

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Author BioAuthor’s notes: I wrote Desmond and Garrick 1-2 because I love Romanticism and the Regency, and I wanted desperately to write a pastiche using this period. I also wanted to explore not just one subject – that of a developing romance between two young people – but also to show prejudices between a human tutor and a vampire teenager being torn down while a very unlikely friendship grows as each finds in the other a sympathetic mirror to his own misunderstood qualities. To top it all off, I wanted to write a quirky, humorous take on Regency romance tropes as well as tropes commonly used in paranormal YA romances. These two books were a real blast to write, and I hope readers find them entertaining and fun.

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from Chapter 13: a scene in which a very confused mortal tutor bears witness to a blossoming romance

When Garrick also realized Desmond didn’t answer, he turned and found, to his greater amazement, that the boy was scrubbing his eyes with his sleeve. He stopped in his tracks, reaching out and pressing a hand on Desmond’s shoulder.

“Why – are you ill, Master Desmond?” he asked. “You should have told me if you were! I wouldn’t have led you this far from Dryden Abbey, and – ”

Desmond shook his head. “No, I’m not ill,” he said, his voice breaking. Garrick was stunned. “I’m just – what you’re saying caught me off guard, I suppose.”

For the romantics out there, especially Desmond, who’s yet to figure things out at sixteen.

“What I’m saying,” Garrick echoed, frowning more deeply. “What was I saying? Heavens, did I just offend you, sir?”

“No. You made me think about Phillip, and you got me thinking about – but that’s hopeless. Yes, he wrote once if only to tell me to stop sending him letters. He’s not in love with me anymore.” Desmond’s shoulders shook as he struggled with his tears, and it seemed that it was all he could do to keep his head bowed the whole time. “No, that’s not true. He never did love me, the way I loved him.” He felt around his pockets and pulled out a handkerchief.

Garrick waited. Desmond’s words seemed to hang in the air for several moments, frozen in time. Then he felt their weight slowly press down on him. Garrick blinked and watched the boy wipe his face with his handkerchief as he slowly regained control of himself.

“What…do you mind repeating that?” Garrick asked, and Desmond looked up, pale and drawn.

True, dat. True, true, true, dat.

True, dat. True, true, true, dat.

Garrick waited, but Desmond didn’t answer. In fact, the boy seemed to have turned into marble all of a sudden, his gaze wide-eyed and horror-struck as he stared out, just above Garrick’s shoulder and fixed at something behind him.

“Oh, balls,” Desmond muttered. Whatever grief that was there but a moment ago had been replaced by speechless shock and dismay. Garrick blinked and turned around.

Leigh Blaise Sherbourne was approaching them on horseback. Covered and rendered quite interesting by his own gray cloud and fog cover, the vampire gentleman closed the distance, his horse steady in its light cantering.

“It’s only Mr. Sherbourne, Master Desmond,” Garrick presently said, touching his hat at the gentleman, “and not one of those confounded mortal artists who curse my waking hours.”

“Well, he curses my waking hours,” Desmond said, his words coming out like a low growl. For a moment, Garrick wondered if the boy had just bared his fangs, but Desmond didn’t despite his clear irritation. Baring one’s fangs, Garrick had learned, was a show of impudence. He was charged by Mr. and Mrs. Hathaway to make sure their youngest son curbed his tendencies as much as possible.

How I envision Leigh Blaise Sherbourne - only with darker hair

How I envision Leigh Blaise Sherbourne – only with darker hair

“It’s a surprise to see you both out here, enjoying the countryside and not imprisoned somewhere in Dryden Abbey,” Mr. Sherbourne said, his voice dull and dry – as it always was, Garrick thought. Garrick saw that Mr. Sherbourne regarded them both with an expression he could only describe as mask-like since it seemed the vampire looked as though he’d been carved out of cold marble.

“My pupil desired it, and I must confess, sir, so did I.”

Mr. Sherbourne didn’t appear to listen to Garrick as he spoke. In fact, he was clearly looking at Desmond, who remained behind Garrick, most likely trying everything in his power to stay put behind Garrick without turning into a bat in another angry fit. “If your school time has already finished,” Mr. Sherbourne said, “perhaps you’d oblige me with the pleasure of your company, Desmond.” Then he appeared to realize Desmond wasn’t alone, and he glanced at Garrick. “That is, if Mr. Mortimer doesn’t mind.”

Garrick looked at Mr. Sherbourne and then at Desmond before looking back at the vampire gentleman. Did Mr. Sherbourne just call his pupil by what mortals would refer to as his Christian name? He reminded himself to ask for more particulars from his employers regarding their religion, if they had any, because it appeared to be one more thing he’d yet to familiarize himself with regarding vampires.

“Whatever on earth for?” Desmond stammered, frowning.

Garrick nearly chided the boy right then, but the matter of Mr. Sherbourne’s odd familiarity kept his mind frozen and dull for a few moments.

Mr. Sherbourne merely raised a brow. “Because as your guest, there are several things in your small patch of countryside that I desire to know more about, and as Harper’s spending his time showing the others the cloistered charms of Ramsgill, I’m left alone to fend for myself.”

<bThe Romantic Period is my favorite era in history, largely because of the amazing works of art - written, musical, and visual - that came out of this era.

The Romantic Period is my favorite era in history, largely because of the amazing works of art – written, musical, and visual – that came out of this era.

“School’s not over, I’m afraid,” Desmond said quickly. “I suppose I wouldn’t be able to oblige you till tea, sir – and in the company of my parents, sisters, and guests. If you mean to explore the countryside on horseback, I assure you, it will take you a mere ten minutes to see everything because there’s really nothing to see. Good day.”

Garrick watched Mr. Sherbourne, his thoughts flying all over the place as pieces of another puzzle fell suddenly into place, leaving him with a most unsettling feeling. Mr. Sherbourne touched his hat, his face still cold and impassive, and then turned his horse around. Before long, horse and rider were sailing down the low hill, leaving Garrick alone with Desmond.

“My word,” Garrick breathed as he turned to stare at Desmond, who was grimacing after Mr. Sherbourne but didn’t seem to be keen on taking his eyes off the retreating figure. The sketches that Desmond made in his recent notes weren’t just of any vampire gentleman, Garrick now realized. They were of Leigh Blaise Sherbourne.

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Desmond and GarrickBlurb: It’s 1815. Garrick Mortimer is a scholar extraordinaire, an underemployed and starving genius, who agrees to sign on as tutor to Desmond Hathaway, the youngest son of a vampire family living in Yorkshire. Desmond, heartbroken by another boy’s callous treatment of him in school, rebels against Garrick’s attempts at educating him and does everything he could to chase Garrick away, which proves to be a greater challenge than he first thought.

When Desmond’s older brother returns from Italy for a visit and brings with him a small group of talentless and self-absorbed poets, life in Dryden Abbey turns upside-down, mainly when Desmond meets Leigh Blaise Sherbourne, a sullen vampire poet.

Throw into the mix a desperate mother’s plea for grandchildren, a family-owned torture chamber, a cottage-abbey-and-quarter-castle, and a grumpy family magician, and Garrick finds life in the Hathaway household to be a great deal more than he bargained for.

Buy Links: JMS Books | Amazon | Smashwords

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2 Stars, Erotica, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Taz, Short Story, Wayne Mansfield

Review: An Island, Lost by Wayne Mansfield

Title: An Island, Lost

Author: Wayne Mansfield

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 42 Pages

At a Glance: I feel this author tried to accomplish too much in the short amount of space he used for the story.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: Clint is travelling on a small Cessna Citation over the Pacific. When the plane hits a pocket of turbulence, he is wrenched from his nap and plunged into a nightmare. The plane plummets into the ocean.

Clint and one other passenger, a man named Carlos, survive. The hulk of the plane sinks, leaving them adrift with no land in sight. They fight to stay alive, but thirst and exhaustion overtake them.

Purely by luck Clint finds himself washed ashore on a mysterious island. But where is Carlos? Did sharks get him? Did he drown? With survival foremost in his mind Clint finds clean water and fruit and a safe place to rest.

Then Clint discovers the island is inhabited by other castaways, men who have been washed ashore on this unknown island over the years. One of the men is Andy, with whom Clint falls in love.

Only much later does he discover Carlos’s fate, along with the fact that the island has more secrets to reveal. One that could cost him his life.

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Review: Every once in a while I choose a short story, somewhere between 10K – 20K words, mostly during the summer, as an enjoyable and quick read. An Island, Lost is one such book and was a first for me from author Wayne Mansfield.

This story opens with one of the best hooks you can imagine. A plane crash and the protagonist is one of only two survivors. I had high hopes for the story, but it quickly fell short of my expectations once it got going. The relationship with Alan was hot, and I enjoyed it, but when confessions of love were made, I had a hard time connecting to the strength of their emotions.

The lone woman on the island, who’d been banned from the male village because of her vampiric tendencies (although she’s never called a vampire) seemed a contrived conflict, placing Clint, our main character, in harm’s way. As quickly as the conflict arises, it is resolved (which makes sense in a story of just over 10,000 words).

In short, I feel this author tried to accomplish too much in the short amount of space he used for the story. Had this been about a man who crashed, landed on an island, and found love (with lots of smexy scenes woven in) I would have enjoyed it more. Or, if the conflict had been more about Clint struggling with his fate and then accepting it in the end, I might have found the story a bit easier to digest.

As it is, this story was not for me. Although I did have to cover myself when reading the sex scenes so as not to embarrass myself or anyone around me.

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3 Stars, Historical Romance, JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Jack in the Green by JL Merrow

Title: Jack in the Green

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 24 Pages

At a Glance: While slightly confusing at times, this is an interesting story with a couple of surprising twists.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: In 1920s England, class distinctions still hold sway, and the old pagan traditions are far from forgotten. Can shy young Arthur, stranded in a country village, come to terms with his attraction to the handsome mechanic fixing his car? And are the May Day celebrations more than just a simple country fete?

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Review: Jack in the Green is a very short historical story (1920s) about a young man who has been on a journey home, and his car has broken down in a rural village in the English countryside. Luckily there is a mechanic, appropriately named Goodman, who will be able to fix his car, but he won’t be able to travel on until the part arrives and the work is done. He is able to fine accommodation at the local inn, and it just so happens that he that he will be there for the May Day fete. It seems that the mechanic is to portray Jack in the Green, and the daughter of the owners of the inn/pub, the May Day Queen. However, it’s not the queen that the mechanic would be interested in, and this is apparently common knowledge, but nobody seems bothered by it. There seems to be some sort of supernatural element to this village, and its residents as well – it’s like they know more about Arthur than they should – including the rector – and it’s a bit unsettling. But when the May Day celebration night and the second procession begins, Arthur is in for quite a surprise, and maybe his car has given out in this place for a reason.

I’ll admit, I was a little bit lost at times during this story. I think maybe because we don’t really have anything like a traditional May Day celebration in the US, I was unaware of the UK tradition of the Jack in the Green and May Day celebrations. I actually did a bit of looking up of the traditions after I read the story, so I got a better handle on what was going on in the story. :) It was interesting and I’m always happy to learn something new.







 

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3.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Hunter Frost, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Jules

Review: The Courage to Heal by Hunter Frost

Title: The Courage to Heal

Author: Hunter Frost

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count:

At a Glance: The Courage to Heal piqued my interest in the characters and the story, and kept me entertained.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Former U.S. Army Sergeant Wade Carter returned from Afghanistan a broken man. Permanently injured and weighed down with PTSD, his scars run deeper than flesh and bone. When his regular physical therapist is taken ill, the sexy replacement doctor has Wade wishing he’d touch much more of his body than his busted leg.

Dr. Jesse Okenah isn’t a beginner when it comes to working with veterans, but his new patient stirs up feelings that go beyond professional. It’s Wade’s wounded soul, more than his mangled leg, that needs TLC in order for him to live a healthy, fulfilling life again. Jesse just needs to figure out how to deliver that care to the stubborn vet without crossing a line — and losing his heart.

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Review: Hunter Frost’s new short story, The Courage to Heal, was a nice little Sunday read. It wasn’t perfect – I think it’s extremely difficult to write a perfect short story or novella – but it piqued my interest in the characters and the story, and kept me entertained. I mean, what’s not to like about a sexy doctor and a feisty, sexy vet?! (Disclaimer: Not trying to be glib. Our veteran has very real issues, which I’ll discuss more – but he was sexy. So there.)

Speaking of sexy…Dr. Jesse Okenah was suuuuper sexy. I loved the descriptions of him in the book; it was so easy to picture his striking Native American features and powerful build. He was also beautiful on the inside. Just a good, sweet soul. I loved how he instantly wanted to help Wade. He was clearly attracted to him, but attraction aside, Jesse was even more interested in getting Wade to see that he could get better, and encouraging some healthy changes in his life. Jesse also has experience working with vets, as well as his father having been a veteran, so he is the perfect person to have fallen into Wade’s life, at the perfect time.

Wade is in a very bad way when he meets Dr. Okenah. He is just going through the motions in his physical therapy, has completely given up on psychiatric therapy, hasn’t spoken to his parents in ages, and some days honestly wonders the point of going on. Jesse entering his life gives him the spark he needs to begin to fight again. Their chemistry is fantastic. They are very real together, and I love how completely at ease they seem with each other. They have some wonderfully fun moments that make believing in them and rooting for them easy.

I was introduced to Hunter Frost’s writing last year through her short Christmas story, An Angel in Eyeliner, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I still want more of those guys! It would be interesting to see what she could do with a longer format, but I will be looking forward to more of her work either way.

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Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: Ansel of Pryor House by Hayden Thorne

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The Novel Approach welcomes Hayden Thorne today with an excerpt from her new Young Adult novel Ansel of Pryor House. Hayden’s also giving one reader the chance to win an e-copy of the book, so be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

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Ansel_of_Pryor_House_400x600Blurb: Fifteen-year-old Ansel Tunnicliffe has lived a harsh life. Abandoned by his mother and his siblings to a drunk and abusive father, Ansel knows nothing more than hunger, fear, pain, and loneliness in his short life.

One evening, a wealthy stranger appears, challenges Mr. Tunnicliffe to a game of cards, and easily wins. The prize? Ansel. The terrified boy is whisked away to a remote and mysterious house, whose stern and aristocratic mistress takes Ansel in for a purpose that remains elusive to him.

Little by little, however, Ansel discovers additional secrets in every magical room of Pryor House — secrets that are somehow linked to him and Miss Peveler’s strange interest in his welfare. One of those secrets also turns out to be a young boy who haunts Ansel’s lonely hours and who may very well hold the key to Ansel’s future and the shadowy history of Pryor House.

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Excerpt – From Chapter 4: Ansel was safely hidden in his assigned room, and he spent the next moment or so after being abandoned by Mrs. Finn crumbling under the aching mix of exhilaration and anxiety.

Mrs. Finn was nothing if not efficient as well as gruff in her displays of concern toward Ansel. After ushering him into his room, she proceeded to point out his bed, his wardrobe, his washstand, and even his windows. In his wardrobe a small collection of clean castoffs in excellent condition were neatly kept, and Ansel was nearly overcome with emotion at the thought that complete strangers had thought to spend money on him – a scruffy, half-starved, and illiterate nobody – with about a week’s worth of clothes. It was all he could do to nod, blink away the tears, and run a sleeve against his nose while avoiding Mrs. Finn’s grim, inquiring stare.

As per Mr. Farnham’s orders, he wasn’t expected to do much for the next two days beyond clean himself and appear before Miss Peveler if she demanded his presence.

One of my obsessions in writing revolves around houses. I enjoy exploring mysteries behind them through their physicality, their history, and architectural details. When a house becomes a focal point in a story, I want everything about it to matter, as though the structure itself were alive.

One of my obsessions in writing revolves around houses. I enjoy exploring mysteries behind them through their physicality, their history, and architectural details. When a house becomes a focal point in a story, I want everything about it to matter, as though the structure itself were alive.

“You’re free to explore the house, though you really shouldn’t expect to find much,” Mrs. Finn had said as she turned to march toward the door, her plump figure straight and stiff like a soldier, her steps measured and almost theatrical. She opened the door and stepped across the threshold, turning to face Ansel with her hand on the knob. “Mind that you don’t get lost, though. Most of the rooms aren’t used, but none of them are locked.”

Ansel thought he noted an air of melancholy regret in the housekeeper’s tone and expression. Perhaps in the distant past, Pryor House was a hive of activity, sound, and light. He could imagine it, anyway, as despite the great house’s somber, simple elegance, there was still that curious atmosphere of whimsy he’d felt upon entering the house earlier.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said. “I’ll keep to the main rooms downstairs.”

Mrs. Finn nodded, a shadow of a smile briefly lighting her face before her usual stern mask returned. Once he was finally alone, Ansel’s brain went blank, and he sank onto his bed, gazing helplessly around the room – his room. It was a small one, but it was very cozy and a far, far cry from what he’d long been used to, living with his father. Even the furniture for servants was well made yet functional and worked beautifully with the house’s color scheme. Ansel almost felt filthy and was convinced he reeked of the gutter when his gaze swept down to rest on his soiled and threadbare rags. His shoes were a disgrace, even for someone as poor as he.

The library of Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill gothic house. I love exploring unique interiors of homes and make them more alive to the point of being integral characters to the plot.

The library of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill gothic house. I love exploring unique interiors of homes and make them more alive to the point of being integral characters to the plot.

He noticed his sack of clothes on the floor near the foot of the bed, and so many reminders, so many memories, and so many feelings associated with them surged to the forefront of his mind, and with a shaky breath, Ansel stood up and walked to one of the windows flanking his bed. Fumbling with the latches, he managed to open the window, pushing the two narrow casements outward and inviting a blast of chill air inside. He tried to breathe it in, hoping the fresh air and the cold would purge the wild swirl of emotions that now wrapped around him like a bitter shroud. But as it turned out, confusion, shame, terror, and, yes, loneliness all coalesced into one awful, dark cloud that swallowed him. Ansel had no choice but to give in to grief he’d been suppressing for a few days now while in Mr. Farnham’s company.

For several minutes he stood by the open window, crying, using his faded shirt as a handkerchief, barely noticing the winter scenery stretching out before him. For the briefest moment, he wished he were back home, enduring his father’s abuses, because that offered him familiarity and predictability despite the terrible pain. At least he knew what to expect day in and day out, and he was surrounded by things and people – neighbors, that is – he’d always known. He almost convinced himself that curling up on the floor, begging for his father to stop hitting him with a stick or a belt, was worth it as a price for the sight and the feel of his old bed and pillow, even if both were practically rotting to pieces under him.

Nature is a force meant to have a terrifying function in the story. She metes out dark justice to both living and dead. As noted in the book, she neither forgets nor forgives.

Nature is a force meant to have a terrifying function in the story. She metes out dark justice to both living and dead. As noted in the book, she neither forgets nor forgives.

Now? He’d “changed hands” over cards – like property, livestock, or chattel – and had no idea what his future held for him. There’d been kindness and generosity, to be sure, and a great deal of pity. He needed to give himself and everyone else more time to get to know each other, but it didn’t change how he was now alone in so many ways, much more than before. He felt so helpless, so powerless.

The tears ran out in time, and after calming himself down till his hiccoughs had been reduced to shuddering gasps, Ansel pulled the casements and turned the latches. His room now felt too cold, but he didn’t care. Sniffling, he shuffled over to his bed, where he undid his shoelaces, kicked off his shoes, and crawled under the covers. He turned to his side, burrowing further under the thick, comfortable blankets, but not before muttering an apology to the nice, clean sheets and pillows for being subjected to his filth. He fell asleep before long.

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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3 Stars, Genre Romance, Iyana Jenna, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Angel

Review: The Recording Room by Iyana Jenna

Title: The Recording Room

Author: Iyana Jenna

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 61 Pages

At a Glance: The Recording Room is a short story that had promise, but it needed cleaned up a bit.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Lucian Salvatore returns to Clover East after his grandmother calls him home to take care of the family’s recording studio. This is a welcome trip after the tragic loss of his boyfriend.

Nate Lockwood is the man who practically runs the Salvatore studio. He suspects he’s going to be replaced once Lucian comes home to take over the business. But Nate doesn’t plan on leaving Clover East so soon, at least not before he solves the mystery that’s the real reason he came to the small town in the first place.

Will Nate be able to discover what happened to his aunt who disappeared in Clover East so many years ago? What does her disappearance have to do with Lucian’s family … and the haunted recording room in the studio where they both work?

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Review: Iyana Jenna’s The Recording Room is a short story that had promise, and I did enjoy it, but I think it needs some cleaning up from an editing perspective. The writing was choppy and confusing in places, and it seemed to jump around quite a bit, but for all that, it was a complete story for the length, and despite these issues, the premise is interesting.

This story revolves around a kind of boss/subordinate insta-love affair, with several mysteries going on the background. I really enjoyed seeing how the author brought the clues of the mystery together. The ghost story was both chilling and sad. But, I felt some things were left out of the romance aspect of the book. Nate and Lucian were almost combative, then suddenly they were in love. They were there for one another at the end, though, and I liked that.

TNA_Signature_Angel






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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Feral Sephrian, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: The Silk Dungeon by Feral Sephrian

Title: The Silk Dungeon

Author: Feral Sephrian

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 44 Pages

At a Glance: Short story with fun characters, silly dialogue, and hot sex.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: With the exception of a few wild nights at the club, Nick Loredon’s life is nothing but one boring day after another. When his friends finally convince him to try speed-dating to shake things up, he meets Victor, a film critic who brings some much-needed action into the mix.
However, as their relationship grows stronger, Victor reveals a secret hidden in the basement Nick didn’t even know was there: a BDSM sex dungeon. On top of that, the dungeon is where Victor used to host all-male orgies with his friends. At first Nick is horrified, then curious, then hooked as Victor shows him all the opportunities waiting down in the dungeon.

What begins as a shock quickly becomes routine, albeit one more exciting than Nick ever had. There is a frontier he has yet to cross, though, and asks Victor if his friends would come over for another orgy. Will their relationship survive the hedonistic afternoon, or will Nick discover he isn’t quite ready to be tied down?

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Review: Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story, and in the end I was pleasantly surprised. While some of the initial dialogue felt forced, the story quickly found its pace, and I was thoroughly engaged. Nick and Victor are fun. They’ve been dating for a few months and read one of those love articles in a magazine for their relationship. One of the suggestions was to reveal desires to keep things interesting. Nick wants to be “interrogated” like in an action movie, and Victor…well, he has all the equipment for that in his hidden “dungeon.”

The book is divided into distinct parts. The first half of the story deals with Nick learning about Victor’s secret dungeon and coming to terms with what it means, and then exploring all of the possibilities it contains for the two of them. My favorite line occurs during this section, actually, and I laughed pretty hard. It’s right after Victor brings Nick down to the dungeon, and Nick is getting his first good look: “He had been looking for fun and excitement, but this was like wanting to curl up by a warm fire and accidentally falling into the sun.”

After time passes and they’ve tried just about everything, Nick wants to take it to the next level. He wants to experience an orgy like the ones Victor used to have in the dungeon. I wasn’t sure what to think about that part, but I ended up really enjoying it. The author made all of the characters distinct enough with their own personalities, and no one blended together. I really liked Peter and William the most, I think. And despite how sexy the scene was, there were funny moments, great dialogue, and some minor insecurities that briefly rose up, but are pushed away as their feelings are revealed. My second favorite line of the story came from Mike, after Victor and Nick declare their love for each other. They’re in the middle of this massive bed with all the other guys, and Mike says, “Victor, if you’re not kissing him right now, you’re doing it wrong.” Maybe it was just the situation, but it struck me as hysterical.

Overall, this was a good short story with some funny and sweet moments. There is BDSM in it; however, it’s fairly light compared to other stories I have read. If you’re looking for a short story to test the BDSM waters for the first time, like Nick, I don’t think you’d go wrong with this one!

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

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Giveaways, Hayden Thorne, JMS Books LLC

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: Sheridan Diggins and the Dead Horde by Hayden Thorne

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The Novel Approach welcomes Hayden Thorne today with an exclusive excerpt and giveaway of her new novella Sheridan Diggins and the Dead Horde, book one in an Adult Sci-Fi Romance Series from JMS Books.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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A1RdOx0RUFL._SL1500_Blurb: Book 1 of the Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles

The year is 8016, the planet, Cecilia, where questionable science and odd random events shape the daily lives of the descendants of colonists from Earth.

Twenty-one-year-old Sheridan Diggins flies a pre-owned clunker of an astro-cab for a living, struggling to survive. When his brother reminds him of a drunken promise he’s made to take him along in his astro-cab for a writing project, Sheridan doesn’t expect a humdrum day to turn into a nightmare involving a cursed space ship and corpses rising for a bit of mischief above ground.

Moreover, those undead creatures seem to be interested in no one else but Sheridan and Adley. Hungry and broke, Sheridan works to solve the bizarre mystery with the help of a trigger-happy teenage brother and a hapless tow ship owner. And what he uncovers is something neither questionable science nor bottomless pints of Owen’s Galactic Beer can prepare him for.

Buy Links: JMS Books | Amazon US

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Five more creatures were vaporized under the relentless spray of deadly purple lasers in the shape of hard-boiled breakfast. Sheridan turned around, grabbing hold of Adley’s arm, and dragged the boy along with him.

“Run!”

The two of them raced each other across the meadow. Of course, neither also knew where they were headed. As long as they got away from their rotting pursuers, they were good. Unfortunately it proved to be a damned sight more difficult than expected.

One of my inspiration sources for this novella series. I had loads of fun reading Adams' book and decided then to try my hand at writing a sci-fi comedy.

One of my inspiration sources for this novella series. I had loads of fun reading Adams’ book and decided then to try my hand at writing a sci-fi comedy.

Bodies kept popping out of the ground directly in their path, and Sheridan and Adley were forced to swerve or change directions completely. For those buggers that popped up from the ground at the last minute, Sheridan and Adley were compelled to leap over them, shrieking in horror and disgust because once liberated from the ground, those monstrosities reeked like no other, their fumes rising in thick pillars of utter vileness. Leaping over them forced one to breathe in the noxious cloud of rot. And for the first time ever, Sheridan was tearfully grateful for going about his day deprived of lunch.

“What the hell’s going on here?” he panted, glancing back over his shoulder a couple of times. Dead-undead things, having just liberated themselves from their burial sites, staggered to their feet and followed the two of them. None could run, thank the skies, but they were practically oozing out of every scrap of uninhabited land within twenty feet of him and Adley. “What? Do we smell or something? Pheromones? What?”

Adley just gasped beside him, his breathing loud and ragged. They eventually reached one end of the meadow, which was not much more than loose, dry soil and large, scattered stones. The ground rose, though, at a gradual incline, and the loose soil gave way to solid rock that offered a lot of hand and footholds. The two practically launched themselves against the rock and proceeded to race each other up the rough, difficult surface like colorful, oversized lizards.

I loved this sci-fi comedy series as a kid. This was probably the first sci-fi show or movie I watched that made fun of its genre. I realized then that sci-fi ain't all philosophically serious Star Trek.

I loved this sci-fi comedy series as a kid. This was probably the first sci-fi show or movie I watched that made fun of its genre. I realized then that sci-fi ain’t all philosophically serious Star Trek.

About a third of the way up, Sheridan was ready to roll over and die. He’d never been an active sort, and all this running surely would’ve taken care of his fitness for the rest of his life. He was drenched in sweat, and he could swear he was coming down with asthma. And his muscles were threatening to lock up from the extreme shock of moving them so much in such a short amount of time.

Once he felt they were relatively safe – because how many freshly risen corpses could realistically scale the rocky hillside like veteran mountaineers? – he found a good, secure foothold on a small ledge. Gingerly turning around and making sure to keep a firm hold of the rock face with one hand, he pulled out his pistol from his jacket, fired it up, and looked down.

Yes, those corpses were trying to follow them up the hillside to varying degrees of success, comical and otherwise. Since none of them were fully intact the way a live human or humanoid was intact, body parts – particularly fingers – kept tearing off, leaving them quite helpless. Sheridan sighed, shutting off his weapon. Finally, some good luck.

Despite its flaws, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' was great entertainment. I saw this film a few months after reading Adams' novel, and the inspiration to write a sci-fi comedy surged to crazy heights.

Despite its flaws, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was great entertainment. I saw this film a few months after reading Adams’ novel, and the inspiration to write a sci-fi comedy surged to crazy heights.

From the looks of things, those monsters were mindlessly determined to climb, which meant wearing down what was left of their extremities till dusty stumps were all they had. Even then, Sheridan suspected they’d continue to fight against overwhelming odds so they’d have nothing more than heads and torsos to go by after half an hour of this. A couple had reached the point of no return, in fact, and had no other choice but to look up and regard Sheridan with looks of dull-witted confusion. There were others that managed to get a little farther ahead but eventually had their overworked appendages shred and tumble down the slope in disgusting little avalanches. For those, there’d be a half-second of what passed for amazement before they’d either slide back down the hill or tumble down, sometimes bumping into less fortunate comrades and taking those along with them. Here and there, what appeared to be dust clouds made of dried skin, fabric, and tissue rose up as hurtling dead undead things landed at the bottom of the hill. Sheridan could even hear an occasional “whump!” from where he was, still clinging to the rock.

And for the briefest, maddest moment, Sheridan actually felt a certain melancholy connection with his pursuers. There was something rather heartbreaking at the sight of a determined yet ultimately doomed attempt at reaching a goal. Talk about the most bizarre kind of metaphor, he noted, shaking his head sadly.

This is movie I never got to see, but I'm about to fix that oversight. Thank you, Netflix.

This is movie I never got to see, but I’m about to fix that oversight. Thank you, Netflix.

“I feel for you, guys,” he muttered. “I do, really.”

Of course, these mini-tragedies meant being left with the fresher corpses, but at least those were only a small portion of a pretty diverse group of shamblers. Sheridan spotted at least two that managed to avoid getting pinged by their rotting counterparts, and those were steadily making their way up the hill. True, they were slow and rather clumsy, barely holding on to the rock because their dead brains and non-functioning senses failed to direct them accordingly, but it’d be a mistake underestimating them. At least they’d be easy to vaporize when the time came, and that was some comfort. With a tired sigh, Sheridan turned around and continued to climb, following Adley as the boy all but clawed his way frantically to the top, still whimpering in terror.

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Excerpt and Giveaway: The Twilight Gods by Hayden Thorne

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The Twilight Gods is a retelling of the Native American folktale, “The Girl Who Married a Ghost.” Set in Victorian England, it’s an alternative perspective on a gay teen’s coming-out process, with Norris’ journey of self-discovery couched in magical and supernatural terms and imagery.

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thetwilightgodsBLURB: London during the Great Exhibition of 1851 is a new world of technological advances, eye-popping inventions, and glimpses of exotic treasures from the East. For fifteen-year-old Norris Woodhead, it’s a time of spectral figures mingling with London’s daily crowds and an old rectory in a far corner of the English countryside — a great house literally caught in time, where answers to curious little mysteries await him.

Confined by his family’s financial woes, Norris suffers a lonely and unsatisfying time till the day he (and only he) notices “shadow-people” in the streets. Then a strange widow appears, rents a vacant room in the house, and takes him under her wing. She becomes his guardian, slowly revealing those shadows’ secrets, Norris’ connection with them, and the life-altering choices he has to face in the end.

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Excerpt: “My dear Master Norris,” Mrs. Cavendish said, momentarily pausing in her work and regarding him with those pale, mysterious eyes, “if your mother is behaving in ways that don’t seem like her, it’s because she’s undergoing changes as well.”

“Changes!” Norris echoed, his eyes widening. “Do you mean to say that she’s also one of the shadow-people?”

Mrs. Cavendish laughed heartily, reaching out and tousling Norris’ hair with a certain motherly affection. “Oh, heavens, no!” she said once she’d regained mastery of herself. “Your mother is just like most of the world, my dear boy. Whatever changes she undergoes are in some way or another affected by your own changes and the decisions you make. Remember that she’ll always be touched by the path you take in the end. Mothers are like that, you know. They can’t bear to let go of their children, even when it’s warranted.”

“Changes,” Norris echoed again, shaking his head and frowning. “I suppose I am going through changes right now. I can’t say what they are, but I feel them – or at the very least, I’m growing more and more aware of certain things that I’ve never even considered before.”

Mrs. Cavendish’s smile remained as she listened to her young charge. Yes, Norris couldn’t help but think, he was her charge now, the way he was never Mr. Garland’s.

Penelope from 'The Odyssey' was my inspiration for Mrs. Cavendish, who's forever sewing her tapestry.

Penelope from ‘The Odyssey’ was my inspiration for Mrs. Cavendish, who’s forever sewing her tapestry. In the original fairy tale, Mrs. Cavendish’s character is Screech Owl, who guides a terrified bride through the island of the dead.

“It’s most certainly the latter point,” she said. “If you’re growing more and more aware of things, unusual ones, about yourself, don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be afraid of knowledge. Learn what you can, my dear. Take advantage of the opportunities that are opening before you. Believe me when I say that there are others out there like you who aren’t as fortunate in the way they perceive their hearts and their souls.”

“What do you mean?”

“They fear change, you see. They fear being different. They were simply not taught to open their minds to things that challenge what we’ve all long held to be true, but I really don’t think we should blame them or their families. It simply is the nature of our time. Things will get better, I assure you. They will.”

Norris stared at her. “You speak as though you’ve seen the future,” he stammered.

“Time, my dear. I see both directions of Time’s road. If I make strange references to what’s yet to come, it’s because I see the need to reassure you, if not enlighten you to a point.”

Mrs. Cavendish spoke with such calm and clarity, her manner a mixture of lightness and gravity. As she talked, the shadows cast by the parlor’s interior shifted on her face, lending her complexion an otherworldly translucence in brief periods. Her pale, pale eyes alternated shades as well, from the usual spectral blue to a deeper and stormier gray. Through all this, she kept her gaze on him, watching him watch her. Norris tried not to pull away in a reflexive effort at hiding his warring thoughts and senses. Instead, he readily opened himself up to her, as though sensing this was the next step that was expected of him in their relationship.

I couldn't find any good representations of the twilight rectory, but Tintern Abbey comes fairly close to the physical embodiment of infinity.

I couldn’t find any good representations of the twilight rectory, but Tintern Abbey comes fairly close to the physical embodiment of infinity.

Prove to me that you aren’t afraid, she challenged with her fixed gaze and shifting colors.

I’m not afraid. Not yet.

You’ll soon find your choices stretching out before you, Norris Woodhead. Will you be strong enough to take one path over the other?

I will. I know I will.

Don’t be so sure. Stronger men have decided self-denial and sacrifice, and while many of them prove their choices to be good ones, there are some who suffer so many regrets for the rest of their lives.

Either way, I’m bound to lose something, aren’t I? Choices always come with sacrifices.

Either way, you’ll have to bear the burden of some loss. It’s your fortune to be born into this age, young man. You’ll have to make do with what human laws in this century define to be the limits of your lot.

Norris felt a faint chill sweep up his spine as he listened. There was something ominous in what Mrs. Cavendish just said.

“Then I’m destined to be an outlaw, aren’t I?” he asked. “I must confess that I don’t even know what it is I’m supposed to do wrong for me to be thought of as different from almost everyone else, but I’m guessing that what I am, I can’t help.”

The Great Exhibition, where modern inventions are highlighted. I wanted to use this as a backdrop against Norris' coming-of-age as I thought it a great contrast of advancement and backward laws regarding homosexuality.

The Great Exhibition, where modern inventions are highlighted. I wanted to use this as a backdrop against Norris’ coming-of-age as I thought it a great contrast of advancement and backward laws regarding homosexuality.

The widow’s smile broadened, but it also took on a sad quality, and Mrs. Cavendish said nothing in return – merely reached out to him and stroked his cheek, a touch that was most definitely very comforting.

When she withdrew her hand, she indicated her embroidery with it. “This tapestry, Master Norris,” she said as she gently pulled at the fabric so as to spread it on her lap, and every embroidered detail could be observed. “This will never be done.”

Norris frowned as he looked at it. “It’s a strange piece,” he muttered, leaning closer. “The colors of your thread are different from what I’ve seen. Mama and my sisters use bright and colorful spools for their work.”

The piece itself seemed a fairly large one to Norris. Against a slightly discolored white cloth a pastoral landscape sprawled. He could see very faint outlines of graphite where he believed Mrs. Cavendish had sketched the details, but around half of the entire tapestry was already embroidered.

Norris took careful note of the sewn parts. He found them to be intricate in design and rich in hues though Mrs. Cavendish, it seemed, preferred to use a fairly limited palette of colors. He could make out various shades of brown, red, gold, and black mingling as stitches formed an autumn landscape of shepherds, nymphs, and gods. He wanted to see what was kept inside her sewing box, but he felt too embarrassed to ask.

“This is lovely,” he breathed, finally, reaching out a tentative hand and gently touching a few places. The thread Mrs. Cavendish used was of a strange quality, he found, with the textures varying distinctly even under a light brush of his fingers. Some were coarser than others, but none appeared to have its exact match. The same could be said of the colors, all of which varied very slightly in hue and tone. Every single thread used for the tapestry was unique in its own way, which amazed Norris
because he’d never seen or heard of such a thing before.

It's really difficult trying to imagine how gay teens from previous centuries dealt with their sexuality. There are romantic friendships formed in school, but not much else is available unless we're looking at adults.

It’s really difficult trying to imagine how gay teens from previous centuries dealt with their sexuality. There are romantic friendships formed in school, but not much else is available unless we’re looking at adults.

He glanced back up at Mrs. Cavendish and smiled. “This is a strange tapestry,” he said, “but I like it.”

“Thank you, dear. As you know, I’ve been hard at work on it since…” Mrs. Cavendish’s words faded, and she chose not to pursue the matter, allowing any thoughts that might arise from her cryptic response to be devoured by Norris’ hungry mind.

“I’d like to know, though, why won’t it be finished?”

“Infinity is its nature,” Mrs. Cavendish replied. “As long as people are born into this world, and the twilight gods emerge from their ranks, my work will remain unfinished.” Her manner was so light and dismissive that a second after she spoke, Norris wasn’t sure what it was he’d heard, but something assured him it wasn’t relevant, at least for that moment.

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presentThe Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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3.5 Stars, JL Merrow, JMS Books LLC, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kim, Short Story

Review: Trick or Treat by JL Merrow

Title: Trick or Treat

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 22 Pages

At a Glance: A good read if your into quickies (no pun intended)

Blurb: The memory of this party could haunt him forever …

Dragged along to a haunted house by his mates, Sam’s at the Halloween party from hell — the guy he fancied has turned out to be a bigot, and Sam has just outed himself to his whole football team.

Escaping to the garden, he meets James, an enigmatic stranger with a mischievous smile, and the evening soon takes a turn for the better. The night may be chilly but the heat between Sam and James is hotter than Hades.

But James has a role to play in the evening’s ghostly entertainment, and it’s a story with a deadly ending. Unless Sam can change the script and stop history repeating itself, “till death do us part” will come sooner than he thinks.

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Review: JL Merrow’s Trick or Treat starts off, interestingly enough, with Sam talking to a certain body part as he’s outside watering the vegetation. As Sam is zipping up his pants, an unexpected voice speaks to him from out of nowhere and scares the bejeezus out of him. Turns out it’s another young man, James, who’s out and about before the big ghostly show that’s suppose to happen at this particular haunted house.

Sam and James get to talking as they share a bottle of vodka, and before you know it… they’re bumping against each other. After they’ve finished having their fun, Sam is about to ask James if he’d care to see him again, when James suddenly turns to run off into the trees…

Now, at this point, Trick or Treat starts to pick up when Sam goes back into the house to meet up with the friends he showed up with, hoping that James is among the group of people that have gathered to watch the spook show. And… I have to stop right here so as to not spoil Trick or Treat’s surprising ending.

It’s a very short story, about 22 pages, and it did hold my interest throughout the reading, but I really would have liked to have found out more about Sam and James. Especially James and the situation he found himself in!

It’s a good read if your into quickies (no pun intended). Not particularly scary, but still a good Halloween read, or any other time, for that matter, when one feels in the mood for a paranormal story. Would I reread it again? That would depend on if JL Merrow wrote a sequel, because the ending was interesting.






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JMS Books LLC, Paul Alan Fahey

Paul Alan Fahey Is Among The Living Today To Discuss “Too Long Among The Dead”, And There’s A Giveaway


Too_Long_Among_the_Dead_400x600[1]Thank you, Lisa, for having me here today. Really do appreciate this opportunity to talk about my new release, Too Long Among the Dead, a gay, contemporary, paranormal romance.

Too Long Among the Dead is a departure from my Lovers and Liars novella series. For one, it’s novel length by E-Age standards, and two, it explores the realm of the paranormal—a totally uncharted territory for me, but a story I’d been thinking of writing for some time.

Before attempting this book, I’d never written anything long enough to be considered a novel—unless you counted my dissertation. (Please don’t count that. :)) And, to be honest, writing a novel absolutely terrified me. Here’s why.
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4 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Nico Jaye, Reviewed by Lisa

Nico Jaye Offers Up A Little Taste Of “Sex and Candy”


“Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it appears to be.” ― Jeffrey Fry


Title: Sex and Candy

Author: Nico Jaye

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 19 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Lee may be in a relationship with Tony, but that little fact doesn’t stop Lee when Tony agrees to allow him one wild night of no inhibitions. With excitement thrumming through his veins, Lee finds himself letting loose at Hard Candy, a popular cruise-worthy dance club known for its sweet Candymen and even sweeter one night stands. Under the club’s pulsing lights, he meets a mysterious man in leather, and things soon get hot and heavy as Lee rediscovers his submissive side under the Dom’s firm yet loving guidance.
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Iyana Jenna, JMS Books LLC

Iyana Jenna’s “A Single Black Rose” Means Danger


“Lust is a dangerous thing. It can make you believe things that are not real. It can seduce your mind and lead it blindfolded to the cliff that will be its demise.” ― Alessandra Torre



Title: A Single Black Rose

Author: Iyana Jenna

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 16,604

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: When actor Sean O’Reilly receives a flower bouquet containing a single black rose on set, he assumes they’re from his boyfriend Nate. But they aren’t. Flowers keep arriving for him after that, each with a black rose in the arrangement. Soon other things arrive as well, such as photos and a recording of Sean’s voice. As the number of flowers dwindle with each bouquet, Sean begins to worry they’re supposed to be some kind of a countdown … but to what?
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