4 Stars, Alice Griffiths, Genre Romance, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review and Giveaway: Will and Patrick Do the Holidays by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

Will & Patrick Do the Holidays Banner

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Will and Patrick Do the Holidays (Wake Up Married: Episode Three)

Author: Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 117 Pages

At a Glance: The soap opera fun continues for our bold, beautiful, young, and restless duo.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: A couple’s first holiday season is always a special time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are magical when you’re in love. Too bad Will and Patrick’s marriage is a sham and they’re only faking their affection for each other. Or are they?

Sparks fly in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial. Will the sexual tension between Will and Patrick finally explode in a needy night of passion? Or will they continue to deny their feelings?

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Review: Do you ever wish you could put your own words into characters’ mouths? Words like, “I’m a big boy and you’re a big buttinski, so I would enjoy it if you’d just butt your buttinski face right out of my adult beeswax.” And, “God, Ryan, you’re such a ginormous friggin’ douchenozzle assface, so I would love if you would just bugger off right now, thank you.” Yeah, me too. I want to write Will Patterson’s dialogue. No, not really. But those are an approximation of words I wish Will would say. He’s too busy being a nice guy, though, and is also too busy feeling like shoe poop because of stupid Ryan the assface boy. I love Will. I don’t love Ryan.

But, let’s move on before this gets any more immature, shall we?

What is it about the holidays that make occurrences occur? Especially occurrences of the warm and fuzzy variety. Whatever it is, Will and Patrick do the holidays. But, do they do each other? It’s what we’ve all been waiting for since their drunken marriage and raucous sexcapades in Vegas, yes? Well, I won’t tell, but what I will say is that I love where Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths have gone in this episode of the further adventures of Will and Patrick, fauxlyweds and pseudo-husbands who, hey, I think are becoming rather fondish of each other.

I also think Patrick’s heart grew three sizes in this special holiday episode, and even though we’re still learning bits and pieces about his past, he’s showing an incredible depth of regard for Will and his health, both his mental and physical health, in spite of Patrick acting somewhat like a feral human at times. Now, for a guy who’s supposed to be an arrogant jerk, he’s behaving uncharacteristically solicitous toward the man he’s also supposed to be trying to divorce. He also kisses babies, or baby, at least, so I think Patrick’s fronting. He’s just a marshmallow playing at sauerkraut. One might also observe that Dr. Patrick McCloud seems to be getting entrenched in the day to day operations of Healing’s hospital. One might also think the place is subconsciously growing on him. Just like Will is. If you ask me, I think he’s starting to like some of the Whos down in Whoville.

As has been the case since Episode the First, Blake and Griffiths have blended their voices seamlessly to create a sometimes funny, sometimes warm, sometimes touching and even a little bit angsty story. I’ve grown to love these guys, have a full on loathe-fest with Ryan, love Will’s grandmas, think his little brother and sisters seem pretty cool. And wish his mom and uncle would quit with their opinionated opinionating (see: adult beeswax buttinski faces). But they mean well, and Will is showing some signs of learning to quit letting other people tell him how he should think and feel. That Ryan… oh, he just has everyone so snowed. Everyone except for Patrick, that is. Patrick has had Ryan’s number since day one. Now Will just needs to accept that maybe he doesn’t love Ryan as much as he’s addicted to the idea of needing him in order to stay sober. You know, replacing one unhealthy addiction for another. Patrick would hate that bit of psychobabble.

Will and Patrick have already rung in the New Year in this episode, in a wonderful way, I might add, so we won’t be seeing them again until after our holidays. Will 2016 find our lawfully wedded duo undone? Or will the clean slate of a new year see them turning over a new leaf? Is the L-dash-dash-dash word anywhere in their future? And, more importantly, when the hell is someone going to give Ryan a good old fashioned roundhouse to the nuggets for me?

Stay tuned, readers. I don’t think we’re going to want to miss any of the action and suspense and drama yet to come as this world turns.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy Will and Patrick Do the Holidays here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

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Author Bios

Leta BlakeLeta Blake

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

On the web || On Facebook || On Twitter

Author BioAlice Griffiths

A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the ‘Woke up Married’ serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

On Twitter || On Facebook

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THE GIVEAWAY

Click on the Rafflecopter widget to enter for the chance to win one of two e-copies of Will and Patrick Do the Holidays.

Good luck!

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Stops:

23-Nov 3 Chicks After Dark  http://3chicksafterdark.com/
23-Nov Inked Rainbow Reads  www.inkedrainbowreads.com
23-Nov Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com
23-Nov Bike Book Reviews    http://bikebookreviews.blogspot.com
23-Nov Unrandom Randomness http://bronwynheeley.blogspot.com.au
23-Nov Gay Book Reviews     http://gaybook.reviews
23-Nov World of Diversity Fiction  http://wodfreview.com
23-Nov V’s Reads   http://vsreads.com
23-Nov The Novel Approach   http://thenovelapproachreviews.com
23-Nov Joyfully Jay  http://joyfullyjay.com
24-Nov BookWinked www.bookwinked.com
24-Nov Literary Nymphs Hot List http://literarynymphshotlist.blogspot.com
24-Nov two chicks obsessed with books and eye candy  http://twochicksobsessed.com
24-Nov Sinfully  http://sinfullymmbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk
24-Nov Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  http://ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.com
25-Nov Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends  http://ggr-review.com
26-Nov JB’s Book Obsession  http://jbsbookobsession.blogspot.com
26-Nov QUEERcentric Books www.blog.queercentricbooks.com
26-Nov Mikky’s World Of Books http://mikkysworldofbooks.blogspot.fr
27-Nov Abbey’s 1-Click Book Blog  http://www.abbeys1clickblog.com
27-Nov Bayou Book Junkie http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com
27-Nov Teatime and Books  http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com
27-Nov MM Good Book Reviews  https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com
27-Nov Alpha Book Club  http://alphabookclub.org

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Hi, fellow fiction fans, welcome back for a look at what we have coming in the week ahead. Many of us here in the US will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family this week, and I have to say that I couldn’t be more thankful for this community, the books, and the opportunity to share it all with friends and fellow readers.

Thanks so much for stopping in. Here’s a peek at what awaits!

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Monday – Authors Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths kick off a busy holiday week here at TNA, on the tour for the third installment in their Wake Up Married serial, Will and Patrick Do the Holidays

We’ll also welcome another duo of dynamic authors, Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade, on the tour for their newest collaboration Prickly By Nature

Tuesday – Author RJ Scott returns today, making us a stop on the tour for her new release, Accidental Hero, book eight in the Sanctuary series

We’re also pleased to have author Rodion Rebenyar stopping by today to introduce himself and tell us a bit about his books

Wednesday – Today we have author Sue Brown on the tour for her new book The Rogue Wolf

Thursday – While Thanksgiving is being celebrated here in the US today, we’ll be thankful to have Cardeno C. visiting with us on the tours for her books Jesse’s Diner and the Home Collection. I’m pretty sure there’ll be giveaways too ;-)

Friday – Author Liam Livings begins our day on the tour for his new novel The Guardian Angel

We’ll also be featuring another giveaway from Cardeno C. today on the Family Series book blast tour

SaturdayA.T. Weaver joins us for a visit today, on the tour for her new book Old Spark

Sunday – And closing out a busy week, we welcome author Elizabeth Wilde on the Defiant Loyalties blog tour

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And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

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4 Stars, Alice Griffiths, Genre Romance, Giveaways, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review and Giveaway: Will and Patrick Meet the Family by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

Meet The Family Banner

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Will and Patrick Meet the Family (Wake Up Married: Episode Two)

Author: Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 117 Pages

At a Glance: Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of their lives… and woot! it’s fun.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Meeting the family is challenging for every new couple. But for Will and Patrick, the awkward family moments only grow more hilarious—and painful—when they must hide the truth of their predicament from the people they care about most.

Throw in the sexual tension flaring between them, uncomfortable run ins with Will’s all-too-recent ex-boyfriend, an overprotective mobster father, and a mafia spy tailing them around Healing, South Dakota, and you’ve got a recipe for madcap laughs and surprisingly heartwarming feels.

Episode 2 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.

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Review: You know how sometimes you just want to nut-punch a character right through your Kindle? Yeah…

Episode Two of Leta Blake and Alice Griffith’s “Wake Up Married” serial finds our wayward spouses in Healing, South Dakota, trying to pass themselves off as a pair of loved up newlyweds…because to do otherwise would be bad for Dr. Patrick McCloud’s health. Will’s family is family, a.k.a. mafia, and a caveat his grandfather placed upon Will’s inheritance is making it impossible for Patrick and Will to divorce. So, what do you do when you’re married but don’t want to be; are suffering from a case of unresolved sexual tension; have an ex you think you’re still in love with (but he treats you like sh*t on his shoe); and you maybe just might be starting to feel pangs of the warm-fuzzies for the hubby you’re simultaneously trying to unload? I. Don’t. Know. Blake and Griffiths haven’t directed this romantic little saga there yet, but I sure am enjoying the bumpy ride to get there.

Building upon what we learned about Patrick and Will in the first episode, we see how sincere Will is about the work he puts into the foundation that benefits the hospital. We also see what an incredible butt-munch his ex, Ryan, is (see: the exuberant nut punching). I have to say, kudos to these two authors for engaging so many of my emotions in this installment of the series. I have much love and empathy for Will because he’s so committed to being a recovering alcoholic that he can’t see how much the continual reminder of his past failures are sabotaging his future successes. And then, there was that one time I just wanted to hug the ever-loving crap out of Patrick in this story, so yay! for that.

Patrick, as it turns out, really is arrogant as all get out, but Meet the Family begins to peel back some of his pricklier layers to expose how and why he’s so maddeningly irritating, and then it goes and shows glimpses of a kind thoughtfulness toward his hubby. Revelations of bits of Patrick’s past make him more human and relatable, and the slow melt in the growing burn these two men are feeling for each other is so sweet to anticipate. How long can they resist it? Hopefully not too, because it’s becoming obvious they could be so good for each other with just a little time to get to know each other better.

Will’s family—heck, a lot of the townsfolk too—are skeptical of this love-at-first-sight Vegas act. Only Will’s Nonna knows the truth, and she’s pretty awesome from what we’ve seen of her so far. So, in trying to prove to everyone else how in love they are, will Patrick and Will themselves begin to believe it too? Will Patrick take a permanent position at Healing’s hospital? How long will our dear Will be able to resist Patrick’s downward dog?

And, most important of all, who’s going to sucker punch Ryan for me???

For the answers to those questions and more, stay tuned for the further episodes in this fun and engaging little serial. (*Episode 3, Will and Patrick Do the Holidays, drops November 23rd to a Kindle near you. :-D)

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy Will and Patrick Meet the Family here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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About the Authors:

Leta BlakeLeta Blake: Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more about her by following her onlineOn the web || On Facebook || On Twitter

Alice GriffithsAlice Griffiths: A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the ‘Woke up Married’ serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

You can find out more about her by following her onlineOn Twitter || On Facebook

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Excerpt:

Keying open the door to their hotel room, Will tries to fake some cheer. “Honey, I’m home! And I brought dinner!” He stops and grips the bags more firmly as his cock rushes with a sudden influx of blood.

“Just put it over there.” Patrick’s ass is in the air, his hands flat on the floor, and he’s wearing nothing but his black boxer-brief underwear. “I’ll eat it when I’m done.”

Will stares as Patrick swivels, his body moving fluidly and his legs flexing in strong, limber movements.

“What are you doing?”

“This is downward dog. And this—” Patrick moves down with careful, slow strength. “Is plank position.” The muscles in his arms, back, and thighs are like bundles of wires, and Will’s mouth goes dry, remembering clearly how they felt under his hands.

“Looks hard.”

Patrick doesn’t answer. Will turns to put the food on the table, because if he keeps watching, something else is going to be hard too.

He clears his throat, glancing over his shoulder at the flexing muscles in Patrick’s back. “When we met, I wouldn’t have pegged you as a yoga kind of guy.”

Patrick grunts. He’s in a position now that Will can’t even imagine twisting himself into.

“I mean, you don’t seem like an ‘om’ type.”

“Yoga, and meditation for that matter, are legitimate, effective, and scientifically proven means to an end: physical health and reduction of mental stress. In other words, it helps keep me sane.” Patrick moves into an upright position, sweeps his arms over his head, and brings them back to a prayerful place at his chest. “Sanity is something you could stand to try. And none of that spiritual mumbo jumbo has anything to do with it.”

“So says the guy who believes in astrology.”

“Sure, be a Libra about it.”

Will feels heat in his cheeks. “The yoga doesn’t seem to hurt as far as keeping the rest of you in shape either.”

Patrick’s lips turn up into a smirk.

Will clears his throat, turning to the bags of food. He keeps his back to Patrick as he unpacks the takeout packages onto the small dining table. “So, do you want the gyros or the mac ‘n’ joes, because I can go either way.”

Patrick’s breath is tingly in Will’s ear and his body heat warm along Will’s back. “I go both ways too. It’s your call.” He reaches around and plucks up one of the Styrofoam boxes without looking inside.

Will swallows and gestures at the box still on the table. “This will be fine.”

He doesn’t know for sure which it is, but it will be fine, so long as his dick stops acting like a traitor and his mind stops supplying him with images of Patrick bent over, taking Will’s fingers into his tight, hot—God!

He shakes himself.

“Mmm, gyros,” Patrick murmurs from his perch on the bed. “So good.”

Will’s eyes flutter closed as he sits at the table and spreads a napkin over his crotch. No matter how good Patrick looks almost naked, they aren’t doing that again. It would be wrong. Because Will loves Ryan.

Who are you trying to convince?

He sighs and begins to eat. Mac ‘n’ joe is always tasty. Though at the moment it seems hard to choke down.

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Click on the Rafflecopter widget to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of Will and Patrick Meet the Family.

Good luck!

THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Schedule:

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, fellow book-a-holics, and welcome back to a sneak peek at who and what we have in store for you in the next five days. We have a busy week lined up, so I hope you’ll all join us in the fun.

Here’s what’s coming up:

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Monday – Kicking off our week this week, we’ll be hosting authors Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths and their tour for Episode Two of Woke Up Married, Meet the Family

Tuesday – We’ll welcome author Bru Baker today on the tour for her new novel King of the Kitchen

And we’ll also have author Cecilia Tan dropping by on the tour for the next installment in her web-serial-turned-novels, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles

WednesdaySandrine Gasq-Dion stops in today on the tour for her newest release, Jinxed

We’ll also be bringing you another installment in DSP Publications Genre Talk with Carole Cummings and T.A. Venedicktov

Thursday – Author Jessie Gin stops by today on the tour for her new novel Strength in Numbers

We’ll also be bringing you a look at the cover art Paul Richmond worked up for author Rebecca Cohen‘s new book, He’s Behind You

Friday – And to close out the week, we have a busy day today. First up is author Charlie Cochet with a cover reveal of her new holiday novella Loving Blitz

We’ll also have author Christine d’Abo joining us on the Rebound Remedy blog tour

Cardeno C. is on tour for the audiobook of her novel Until Forever Comes, which will be stopping by today

And finally, we’ll be bringing you another Flashback Friday. This week’s edition will highlight the Bad Boys of Romance—the rule breakers and risk takers and heartbreakers

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And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

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4 Stars, Alice Griffiths, Leta Blake, Self-Published

Review: Will and Patrick Wake Up Married by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Will and Patrick Wake Up Married

Author: Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 112 Pages

At a Glance: Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths are casting, scripting and directing our way through a funny, angsty, and what I think will end up being a touching little romance.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Will and Patrick don’t like it, or each other, but they have to make the best of it until they can find another way out of their marriage. To ensure the trust fund Will’s charitable foundation relies on isn’t revoked by his mobster grandfather, he and Patrick travel to Will’s hometown of Healing, South Dakota, posing as a newlywed couple in the throes of true love at first sight.

Complicating their scheme are Will’s unresolved feelings for his all-too-recent ex-boyfriend Ryan, and Patrick’s desire to get back to the only thing that really matters to him in life: neurosurgery. Will they fool everyone? Or will the mafia get wind that their marriage is a fake? Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

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Review: Doh! Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths, what have you done? You’ve created two characters who drew me into their story and then left me hanging, that’s what. Ah, the perils of episodic fiction. Well played, authors, well played!

Will and Patrick Wake Up Married is the first installment in the new “Wake Up Married” serial, and I for one can’t wait to see where the team of Blake and Griffiths take these men next. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas in this series, where, as the title reveals, Will and Patrick wake up married after a night of steamy-horny-drunken-rebound monkey sex, to the hungover realization that not only do they not want to be bound in this state of unholy matrimony, but now they can’t get divorced because Will’s gangster gramps left very specific stipulations on the money Will inherited. Now, let’s be clear: Will does good works (Seriously. Good Works is the name of his foundation) with this dirty money, so it’s crucial he abide by the caveat his grandsire has placed upon it. Namely, that marriage is a sacred bond and divorce is absolutely out of the question. So, there’s a wee glimpse at this delightfully twisted picture.

What Blake and Griffiths have done in order to make this scenario work is create some great friction between Will and Patrick. Sexual chemistry—check. That’s there in spades, but these two men couldn’t be more different if they tried. Will wakes up like he’s been rode hard and put away wet—which he was, and which Patrick gleefully reminds him of whenever he can—and his bashful realization that he’s bedded and wedded a complete stranger plays so well against Dr. Patrick McHotbutt McCloud—who’s a bit of a dick. More than a bit, actually. He’s a brilliant neurosurgeon with a bit of a God Complex. He knows he’s the best in his field, and doesn’t hesitate to remind anyone who needs reminding of it. But…reasons for his douchey-ness are also coyly doled out in wee pieces, which I’m sure will be explained further in later episodes.

Patrick wants to drop Will like a bad habit, NOW, but he’d also kind of like to sex him up a little bit (a lot) too, before the divorce, or annulment, or whatever loophole they can find in Will’s mob connected purse strings; and this is where their journey begins, with help from a little synchronicity. It’s also where the authors begin to layer the characters, intertwine their lives, and set the foundation for their relationship. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon ::winkwinknudgenudge:: to see where their story’s going, but all the fun will be in watching these two men catch on to their own story arc.

Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths are building a town and its residents from the ground up, as Will bundles Patrick up and takes him home to South Dakota with him, with more than a little hope that Dr. McCloud will take one gander at the neurological facilities at Healing’s hospital and want to join its staff. What are the odds of that happening? Well, first they have to convince the entire town, including Will’s Mafioso family (the South Dakota Mafia ::snickers::), that they’re truly, madly, and deeply in love with each other. Otherwise, it could be bad for Patrick’s health.

Fun, no?

Yes, it most definitely promises to be! And with all the conflict and witty banter, and these two guys who are quite honestly both a little bit broken, the next episode can’t be delivered to my Kindle quickly enough.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy Will and Patrick Wake Up Married here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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Giveaways, Indra Vaughn, Leta Blake

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: The Vespertine Blog Tour with Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

Vespertine Banner

Please join us in welcoming authors Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn today on their Vespertine blog tour. They’ve brought along a little tease from the book for your reading pleasure, and are also giving one lucky reader the chance to win an e-copy of a book from either of their backlists (**EXCLUDES Vespertine**). Just click on the Rafflecopter widget to enter.

Good luck!

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So, an out gay priest, huh? Isn’t that impossible? While it isn’t common, it definitely happens and the Pope himself has said “Who am I to judge?” For example, a Catholic priest in Ireland came out to his congregation to a standing ovation (Source: Huffington Post), and others are following his example. The key, apparently, to remaining a priest is, as with a heterosexual priest, celibacy.

Researching the limits of priestly celibacy for this book was interesting. We discovered that, due to the correlation between good prostate health and the male orgasm, some priests are prescribed masturbation by their physicians (up to three times a week), and thus by-pass the edicts against so-called self-abuse. They are able to orgasm in the name of health and not have to confess it as a sin.

This discovery inspired the following excerpt. We believed that our Catholic priest, Jasper, would not ascribe to ‘orgasms by prescription’ mainly because he would see it as a box of worms that, once opened, would be hard for him to close again. He’s maintained his celibacy mainly by cutting off his desire at the source. But the return of a certain Nicholas Blumfeld, childhood best friend and first love, has awakened parts of Jasper (*cough*) that have been asleep for a long time. 

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Excerpt: “Jazz? You okay?” Nicky’s voice came from the other side of the guest bedroom door.

“Yes. No. I’m…I don’t know.”

He heard the rustle of fabric and he wondered what Nicky was wearing. Just boxer shorts? Or did he cover up his tattoos even when alone in bed? Jasper closed his eyes and breathed.

“Come on,” Nicky said softly. “Talk to me, Jazz.”

“Nicky, it’s…” He covered his eyes. “We’re friends, right? I can talk to you about this? I don’t know who else—”

“Of course you can. What’s going on? You’re freaking me out, man.”

“I’m having—ever since you showed up—I’m having trouble sleeping.”

A gentle swishy noise filled the silence and Jasper imagined Nicky rubbing at the door between them. When Nicky spoke his voice sounded different, more intimate. “I think that’s totally normal, Jazz. It’s like we were talking about earlier tonight. Being around me makes you think of things you haven’t had to think about in a long time. What we did back then, it’s not…I could never say it was wrong from my point of view, but I understand if you’re having trouble dealing with it. I’d like to help you. Even if it means keeping my distance. I’m…I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I know that, it’s not…that’s not the issue. I never felt what we did was wrong, Nicky. Not then and not now. But it’s like something woke up and it won’t go back to sleep.”

“Oh.” Nicky fell silent for a moment. “Oh!” He laughed softly and Jasper cringed, shoulders rounding as he hid his face in the cup of his hands.

“Don’t laugh at me.”

“I’m not. I’m not. I’m sorry. So what are we talking about here? Are you getting, you know, boners? That won’t go down?”

Jasper appreciated Nicky trying to keep the amusement out of his voice, but he could imagine all too easily how wide Nicky’s grin would be. “That,” he whispered. “And I woke up half an hour ago, and I’d…” He trailed off.

“Shit, man. Are you having wet dreams? About me?” Nicky’s grin was so smug that Jasper could hear it through the door. “I’m not laughing, I promise. Because that’s not funny.” He let out a strangled laugh. “I’m not laughing. Okay listen, hold on. There’s this article I remember reading. I mean it could be a drug-infused hallucination but lemme look.”

Jasper listened to Nicky walk away, and his shoulders relaxed a little. He glanced down. His cock had abated a little, but not enough.  He made a frustrated noise and pressed the towel down hard into his groin. Not that it helped. Quick footsteps approached, and part of Jasper wanted to throw open the door and just get it over with.

“Found it on my phone! See? I knew I’d read it. Okay, you listening?”

“Apprehensively,” Jasper said, and Nicky laughed.

“No, man, this is super-important and it will change your life. So, it says that men, especially as they get older, should orgasm one to three times a week as a preventative measure toward avoiding prostate cancer. So there you go. You and your hand should get seriously reacquainted, because otherwise you might die, and I’m sure that’s not what God intended.”

Jasper laughed even though he tried not to. “I don’t think that’s how that works, Nicky.” He sighed and softly said, “Why is this happening to me?”

Nicky was quiet for a minute. He moved around a little, the fabric of whatever he was wearing shifting against the door. “You horny right now, Jazz?”

Pure hot want zinged up Jasper’s spine, and he pressed his fingertips to the door until they went white. “Don’t, Nicky.”

Again, silence but for Nicky’s breath. “You are, aren’t you? I bet you’ve been standing there talking to me with a boner that won’t go down. How long?”

“I’m not talking about this.”

“Just tell me. How long have you been hard?”

“The cold shower didn’t help.”

“Shit, man. This won’t take you any time at all. Just do it, okay? Why are you standing there suffering? For what? Just get it over with. You heard what the article said. You can do it in the name of medical necessity.”

Jasper laughed again but his eyes stung. “I don’t think I can.”

“You want me to come in?” Nicky whispered. His voice trembled a little and Jasper swallowed hard.

“I’m not…It’d be too much. I can’t.”

“Okay. I understand. I’m gonna go, and you do what you need to do. But let me tell you, talking to you has given me the biggest fucking hard-on. And I’m going to go back to my room, stick my hands down my pants, and think of you.”

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vespertine high res-2Blurb: Can a priest and a rock star obey love’s call?

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld’s childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper’s calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He’s determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.

Jasper and Nicky’s careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past’s lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

Available at Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited

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About the Authors:

LETA BLAKE

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

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INDRA VAUGHN

In 2008 Indra Vaughn packed up everything but the kitchen sink… no, that’s a lie. She left everything behind apart from her books and moved from Belgium to Michigan. Then in 2015 she packed up nothing but a toddler and left far too many of her books behind to move from Michigan back to Belgium. Indra’s professional background is in Nursing and Chinese Medicine, but in the midst of the madness, she prefers to spend time making up stories about mysterious men and their unrequited love.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

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THE GIVEAWAY

Leta Blake’s Backlist || Indra Vaughn’s Backlist

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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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Indra Vaughn, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Review: Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

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Title: Verspertine

Authors: Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 396 Pages

At a Glance: This book blew me away.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Can a priest and a rock star obey love’s call?

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld’s childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper’s calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He’s determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.

Jasper and Nicky’s careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past’s lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

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Review:

“In the end, forgiveness was easy like a flowing river, like the tides in the cove. It came in and covered the worst sins and carried them away to the depths of the sea.” – Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

This book blew me away. Blew. Me. Away. It was surprising in the best way. I don’t know why I was surprised, really…I’m a big fan of Leta Blake’s books; and Indra Vaughn, though I hadn’t read her work previously, definitely has some popular titles, but I had no idea this one would be this good. The blurb intrigued me; I just didn’t know how the authors were going to pull it off. I mean, he’s a priest, you guys. Ha! But, pull it off they did. Vespertine is beautiful, emotional, raw at times, funny at times, definitely sexy, and just a gorgeous, gorgeous love story.

I fell in love with Jasper immediately. He’s such a gentle soul, so good-natured. It was also obvious that God truly did shine through him. He was so at ease in the priesthood that I couldn’t imagine him NOT being a priest – furthering my concern over how the authors were going to make this work! Jazz and Nicky’s relationship felt so organic, though, so meant-to-be, that when they fell back in love – not that they ever truly fell out of love – it was completely natural.

There were many, many beautiful moments in this book. Chapter one, when Jasper is getting dressed and preparing for Mass, the imagery is so vivid and breathtaking…chapter twelve, the scene where Jazz discovers and reverently touches each of Nicky’s tattoos, is unforgettable…the epilogue is fabulous…but chapter sixteen is one of the most beautifully perfect chapters I can remember reading. A couple of snippets…

“The rock under Jasper’s shoulders was hot, his skin dry, and deep inside his chest a warm comfort bloomed, a feeling of such safety and pure perfection it made the hairs on his arms stand on end. How could anyone not believe in God when moments like these existed? The bright light made his eyes moist. Love, he thought. Still. Always.”

“In reality the fort was nothing but a wooden square with a roof on it, a door, and a few windows. But I can still feel the magic. Like their happiness had permeated the sand and the rough grass and the trees, like their love and laughter had been life’s blood, soaked up into the roots of the island so that coming back here would be a step back in time. Lying in wait for them, no matter when they came.”

So, yeah…this is a fantastic read. There are too many kickass bits and characters to mention them all. Nicky’s story is hard to read at times – addiction is such an ugly thing, and a tough topic to tackle, but these guys did an amazing job. I wanted to squeeze him throughout the entire book. Jazz reminds him about all the best parts of himself, though, and together they are wonderful. The authors did an unbelievably brilliant job at making the story flow seamlessly and bringing all of the elements together. I wholeheartedly recommend this one! I will definitely be reading it again.

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

You can buy Verspertine here:

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon AU

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Giveaways, Leta Blake, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Training Complex Blog Tour With Leta Blake

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The Novel Approach welcomes Leta Blake today as she tours the web to chat about Matty Marcus, Rob Lovely, and the newest chapter in their romance, Training Complex.

Enjoy Leta’s guest post and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win any e-title from her backlist (**excl. Training Complex**), reader’s choice.

Good luck!

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KEEP THE DRAMA ON THE PAGE: Leta Blake’s Favorite Writing Tip

About ten years ago, an author friend mentioned to me that her favorite piece of writing advice was to keep the drama on the page. Now, I have no idea where she got that advice, but it stuck with me. Keep the drama on the page.

What does that mean exactly? It means making day-to-day choices to avoid, ignore, or walk away from situations that will distract you emotionally and mentally from putting words on paper. For example, if you see a person being wrong on the internet, instead of letting your itchy little fingers write a scathing reply explaining exactly what a dumbass they are, you say, “Well, let’s keep the drama on the page.” You don’t post the comment and instead open up your document and write. (Though feel free to vent it out with a friend who is going to agree with you! That’s always good, too!)

I used an internet example because I’m an introvert, but this advice applies to people who like to leave their house, too. So, you know, if you’re at a club and you get the chance to make out with your best friend’s ex-lover…well, you maybe shouldn’t do that. Especially if you want to get your writing done the next day instead of spending hours on the phone/in person dealing with screaming and crying.

I think this “keeping the drama on the page” task is more easily accomplished by some than others. My friend who originally mentioned it to me, for example, was single and constantly in a mess of drama-rama with men, men, men. And a few ladies. And more men. And occasionally an illegal substance or two. And possibly an unplanned pregnancy. And men. And more men. And some ladies. She was a very dramatic sort of person. I admit, I watched with avid interest and took notes. She might end up in one of my books one day. Or at least a piece of her.

Anyway, I remember my friend would tell me, “What am I doing in the middle of all this drama? I need to be writing! I’m losing so much time dealing with all this crap! I need to keep the drama on the page!” But she was drawn to drama like a moth to a flame, and, sadly, despite being very talented, she’s never published anything. Because she’s never finished anything. Because of all the drama not on the page.

I honestly don’t blame her. It’s really just her nature and it was almost impossible for her to not live a very dramatic existence. It’s much easier for people like me: middle-aged, married, monogamous, not into doing any illegal substances, and who had a hysterectomy for important health reasons and will, therefore, definitely have no unplanned pregnancies. It also helps that I’m not really into leaving the house much, or snorting coke, or going clubbing, or whatever. (Not that you should be like me! Be like yourself! It’d be a boring world if everyone was like me!) But, I admit, it’s pretty easy for the most part to keep the drama on the page.

Now, drama isn’t something you can always control. Sometimes drama finds you. And, believe me, plenty of drama will find you in your lifetime. Your parents will get sick and die. You will get sick and die. Your friend will miscarry a baby. You might miscarry a baby. You’ll be mugged or rear-ended at a stoplight. You could suffer worse. You don’t have to go out looking for drama, and if you’re a writer, it’s best if you don’t. Because you really don’t have time for it.

So for those of you looking for just one piece of writing advice today, the one I’m handing out is KEEP THE DRAMA ON THE PAGE. When you’re tempted to bring the drama into your actual life and not just dump it into your character’s life? Walk away. Don’t look back. Open your work in progress and put all the drama you can summon into it. Create something. Finish it. Publish it. Do it again.

Don’t get distracted.

Drama? On the page.

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Leta Blake’s book, Training Complex, is the sequel to 2013’s fan favorite, Training Season.

Blurb: Buckle up – Matty’s back!

Figure skater Matty Marcus didn’t capture Olympic gold, but he won rancher Rob Lovely’s heart.

After Rob sold his ranch and Matty hung up his skates, they started a new life together in New York City. Now Matty has taken on a fresh challenge as a figure skating coach, and Rob’s second career as a physical therapist should be everything he’s dreamed of. But in the brutal heat of their third summer in the city, Rob yearns for the wide-open country, and the intensity of city life awakens Matty’s demons.

Matty asks for increasingly intense BDSM scenes, and his disordered eating and erratic behavior ramp up the stakes. Rob struggles to stay in control, and after a well-intentioned anniversary gift goes awry, he still thinks he can handle the fallout. But the concrete jungle is closing in and his coping skills are unraveling.

Their love is deep, but Rob will have to admit the truth about what he really wants before they both tumble into chaos.

Buy link: Amazon

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Leta BlakeAbout the Author: Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

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THE GIVEAWAY:

 
Rafflecopter Giveaway

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have coming up at The Novel Approach in the coming week. The bottom line is: LOTS. We’ve got a really great roster of guests to bring you in the next six days, so here’s a look at what’s on tap.

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Monday – Author KJ Charles kicks off our week with a guest post and giveaway on the tour for her latest novel The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal

We’ll also have Amy Lane with us today as she tours the interwebs to chat about her new book in Riptide’s Bluewater Bay series, The Deep of the Sound

Tuesday – Dropping in today, we have author Devon McCormack joining us with a blog post I’m looking so forward to sharing with you, as he shares a bit about the beginning of his writing career

We’ll also have your favorite drakul and mine joining us today—yes, Gray—and his creator, Jordan L. Hawk, with a special interview to celebrate the new book in Series 2 of the SPECTR-verse, Mocker of Ravens

Wednesday – Author Leta Blake is our guest today on the Training Complex blog tour, to talk about keeping the drama on the page

Indra Vaughn also joins us with a special and quite personal blog post on her Fragmented blog tour

And, as if that weren’t fantastic enough company, we’ll also have authors Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin with us to chat about their new collaboration In the Distance

Thursday – Today we’ll be hosting Shira Anthony as she tours in promotion of her new book in the Mermen of Ea series, Running with the Wind

Author Perie Wolford also joins us with a giveaway of his new audiobook Encounter

FridayParker Williams will be our guest today to chat about the paranormal on the tour for his new novel Scent of the Heart

We’ll also welcome the organizers of next month’s Rainbow Con to tell you all a bit about the event

Saturday – And finally, to close out our week, we’ll have author Iyana Jenna joining us on the Just Desserts book blast tour

As well as author S. Joy P. to talk about her controversial new historical novel We, King Henry VIII

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And that puts an end to a busy week. Until next time, happy reading!

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4.5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Genre Romance, Leta Blake, Self-Published

Review: Training Complex by Leta Blake

Title: Training Complex (Training Season: Book Two)

Author: Leta Blake

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 345 Pages

At a Glance: Training Complex is a beautiful continuation to a story and characters I love.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Buckle up – Matty’s back!

Figure skater Matty Marcus didn’t capture Olympic gold, but he won rancher Rob Lovely’s heart.

After Rob sold his ranch and Matty hung up his skates, they started a new life together in New York City. Now Matty has taken on a fresh challenge as a figure skating coach, and Rob’s second career as a physical therapist should be everything he’s dreamed of. But in the brutal heat of their third summer in the city, Rob yearns for the wide-open country, and the intensity of city life awakens Matty’s demons.

Matty asks for increasingly intense BDSM scenes, and his disordered eating and erratic behavior ramp up the stakes. Rob struggles to stay in control, and after a well-intentioned anniversary gift goes awry, he still thinks he can handle the fallout. But the concrete jungle is closing in and his coping skills are unraveling.

Their love is deep, but Rob will have to admit the truth about what he really wants before they both tumble into chaos.

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Review: Three years have passed since we left Matty Marcus and Rob Lovely in New York City at the end of Training Season, three years of adjusting to their new lives individually, as well as their new life together as a couple. Matty has taken on the job of coaching, while Rob has fulfilled his desire to become a physical therapist, and it’s against the backdrop of what should be a seemingly unremarkable day-to-day existence that we watch the warp and weft of the life Rob and Matty have woven together begin to fray at the edges and unravel, all while Rob alone tries desperately to keep each of those loose threads tied together.

Training Complex can be summed up on two fronts, one being that a relationship is only at its strongest at the broken places. The other being that it’s not the willingness to sacrifice for the one you love that matters but the sacrifices you’re willing to make in order to save that love that counts. And this is where we find Matty and Rob in this story, at the hair-thin line between suffering and salvation.

Leta Blake introduces a host of demons into this story: the demon of disordered eating, of doubt and self-sabotage, and it’s these figurative demons that begin to eat away at the bond Matty and Rob share—Matty’s bitter and unrelenting inner voice controlling his anorexic compulsion, and Rob’s impulse to be Matty’s everything, even if it means giving up his own happiness to keep Matty from breaking, delivering Rob to his own breaking point.

One of the most beautiful parts of Matty and Rob’s relationship has always been Rob’s Dominance and Matty’s complete sexual submission. There’s no shortage of sex in these books, not at all, but each scene in Training Complex serves to do more than provide a gratuitous moment of titillation. Through BDSM, Rob has been able to help Matty regain control over his own self-destructive impulses, but we see these two men at a crossroads in this book as well, at a point where Matty’s need for pain grows to a level that becomes too much for Rob to fulfill and begins to corrupt the nature of Rob’s Dominance and the complexion of their relationship.

There are some truly gorgeous scenes in this book which not only emphasize the depth of love between these two men but also underscores how deeply they trust each other, and I loved every one of them, even while watching them nearly ruin Rob in the process. It’s the metaphor of bondage that’s so cleverly juxtaposed—Rob ties Matty up and Matty ties Rob down in a place (both literal and figurative) he doesn’t want to be, and I believe the emotional equation between the characters and readers truly pays off in each of those scenes.

Both familiar and new characters play a role in bringing Matty and Rob around to their resolution, but it’s Matty and Rob together who, ultimately, will begin to fill in the cracks and become stronger at the places where their relationship had become so fragile. This story is exactly what the title suggests: not only is Matty a Gordian knot of psychological issues, but the story itself is a series of complications that, through trial and no small amount of error, nor lacking in humor or heartache, gives these characters resolution and brings them home—not to a place but in the comfort and strength they find within each other. Training Complex is a lovely and highly recommended follow-up to a book and characters I love.

TNA_Signature_Lisa







 

You can buy Training Complex here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Keira Andrews, Leta Blake, Self-Published

Guest Post: Once Upon a Time — Reimagined Fairy Tales with Keira Andrews & Leta Blake

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When we first began writing our sexy, gay twists on classic fairy tales, we deeply offended someone on the internet, who ranted that the children’s stories we all grew up reading should remain unsullied. We thought it rather amusing that this person was crusading to retain the purity of fairy tales when the original stories and folklore could aptly be renamed:

Photo credit: monica hamburg / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: monica hamburg / Foter / CC BY-NC

Fairy tales: “outside the box” pioneers

While most of us grew up on the sanitized Disney versions of fairy tales, the originals are pretty darn brutal. For example, Snow White’s nemesis was originally her mother, but the Grimms made her a stepmother in the second edition of their tales. Apparently a jealous mom having her daughter murdered and wanting to eat the child’s internal organs was a little much even for them.

But not to worry! Whether mother or stepmother, the evil queen is punished for her transgressions by dancing herself to death in red-hot iron shoes. Now there’s a visual of vengeance that’ll undoubtedly lead to peaceful slumber for young minds.

Meanwhile, the Brothers Grimm decided to make up for slightly softening Snow White by adding a jaunty dash of dismemberment to Rumpelstiltskin. In the original, the angry imp takes his ball and goes home, simply running away never to be seen again. But let’s face it — running away is for losers. No, better that he “in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two.” Sweet dreams, kids!

Let’s talk about sex, baby

In original versions of Little Red Riding Hood, our plucky heroine realizes that grandma’s big eyes are actually those of the Big, Bad Wolf, and performs a striptease to distract the wolf so she can escape. This is just one example of how surprisingly sexual early fairy tales were. In fact, the end of some early versions of the tale read as, “sweet and sound she sleeps in granny’s bed, between the paws of the tender wolf.” Bestiality and pedophilia has never sounded so romantic!

In the Rapunzel we heard as children, we don’t recall the prince knocking up our heroine with premarital sex. Forget happily ever after — more like wocka chicka bam bam! Meanwhile, in Giambattista Basile’s version of Sleeping Beauty, it’s a dashing king who comes across the titular heroine. Naturally he has sex with her while she’s unconscious (as you do), and carries on his merry casual-rapist way, having gotten her pregnant with twins. Oh, and he’s totally already married! The queen tries to serve him the babies for dinner (because cannibalism is always a welcome addition to fairy tales), but in the end she gets burned alive and the king marries Sleeping Beauty. He’s a keeper!

A gay twist on Jack and the Beanstalk

We’ve expanded and revised one of our novellas and are republishing it. Here’s a little more about Rise.

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What happens when Jack meets a sexy man atop that beanstalk?

Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold and glittering jewels with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.

Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world is turned upside down. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. But do they have the courage to let go of the past and follow their dreams?

Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.

This is a retold fairy tale with a twist. Previously published as Ascending Hearts; this version has been revised and expanded.

Buy or borrow Rise today from Amazon!

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So, you can see why we don’t really consider our reimagined erotica fairy tales to be particularly offensive to the proud legacy of fairy tales. We love using the original tales as inspiration and a jumping-off point to create new fantastical worlds and erotic romances between two men.

What’s your favorite fairy tale? Did you ever read the original, darker versions as a kid? Let us know!

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About the authors:

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter for news, giveaways and more.

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Leta’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively, but her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting the romance stories that she would most like to read. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family. You can find Leta online at her websiteFacebook and Twitter. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter for news, giveaways and more.

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4.5 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, Keira Andrews, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Rise by Keira Andrews and Leta Blake

Title: Rise: A Gay Fairy Tale

Author: Keira Andrews and Leta Blake

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 106 Pages

At a Glance: Rise is everything you’d expect a fairy tale to be: magical, mystical, romantic, and it’s well written to boot.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: What happens when Jack meets a sexy man atop that beanstalk?

Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold and glittering jewels with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.

Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world is turned upside down. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. But do they have the courage to let go of the past and follow their dreams?

Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.

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Review: I love fairy tales, not the happily-ever-after (though that’s lovely) but the fact they’re so much more than they appear on the surface—the symbolism, the alchemy, the moral lessons they originated as—and re-imagined fairy tales, whether fractured or mostly true to their archetypes, are a time-honored favorite in fiction, particularly in romantic fiction. Authors Keira Andrews and Leta Blake have put their own personal stamp on the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk in Rise, and have not only given the tale a gay twist but an erotic one as well.

Rise is the revised and re-released version of their story Ascending Hearts, a novella I read a couple of years ago and loved enough that I happily agreed to visit it again in its latest incarnation. The story structure hasn’t changed at all; it’s still the same love-conquers-all romance, still just as heart-tugging in its telling, still just as uplifting as the healing power of love which is the heart of this tale, and though different in scope from the original, still symbolizes the rise of a poor man from his lowly state. This time, however, Jack and his “giant” become all the richer for having found the love of a lifetime.

The fracturing of the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale is the necessary cog to introduce Jack and the plight he faces, being an outcast in his village. Not because he’s gay but because he’s stigmatized as the Devil’s spawn by virtue of his red hair, a canon with a long and storied history and the impetus for his being friendless, spurned by his family, used and then cast aside. Jack is rejected and dejected, and the final crack in his already burdened soul comes at the hands of his own mother’s betrayal; though it’s this betrayal which is the catalyst for Jack’s ascension, leading him to his destiny.

Meeting Rion, the greedy giant who hoards his riches while the Outsiders below starve and suffer, begins with misperceptions and mirrored prejudices between him and Jack. It’s not until they begin to question everything they’ve been told about each other, and begin listening to their hearts’ and carnal desires rather than leaning on the long-held beliefs passed in stories from generation to generation, that this fairy tale love story begins, that the authors pull out all the stops in the romance, playing on our emotions and our hopes for that aforementioned happy ending despite what seems to be poor odds.

Rise is everything you’d expect a fairy tale to be: magical, mystical, romantic, and it’s well written to boot. I was enchanted, start to finish, and it was entirely worth the revisit.






You can buy Rise: A Gay Fairy Tale here:

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon AU

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Giveaways

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and welcome back for another look at what we have coming up in the week ahead. Great guests, giveaways, and chats about books complement a full week of reviews.

Here’s what’s on tap just for you!

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Monday – To kick off the week, Riptide Publishing brings you the Misfits blog tour with Garrett Leigh

TuesdayApril Kelley stops by on her Whispers of Home blog tour

Torquere Press is also with us today, with an interview about where the publisher has been and where it’s going in the future

And guest contributor Brita Addams drops in to chat a bit about promotion

WednesdayJL Merrow is our guest today on her Heat Trap blog tour, Book Three in The Plumber’s Mate series

Thursday – We welcome Lou Sylvre on the A Shot of J&B blog tour

Keira Andrews and Leta Blake have also revised and rereleased their Jack and the Beanstalk Fairy Tale Rise. They’ll be here to talk a bit about the book today

FridayKD Worth (aka Deanna Wadsworth) stops by to talk a bit about her new Young Adult novel The Grim Life

Saturday – Finally, author T.A. Moore closes out the week on the Labyrinth of Stone blog tour

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And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

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Giveaways, The Year In Reviews

Simply The Best 2014 – Round Two: The Year In Reviews And A Giveaway

2014

Hi, everyone, we’re back again with the second round of our Best of the Best (be sure to check out Sammy’s and Tina’s lists HERE), and another chance for you to win e-copies of THREE of the titles selected by Jackie, Lana, and Jules, winner’s choice! THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Review: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

Title: Smoky Mountain Dreams

Author: Leta Blake

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 425 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Sometimes holding on means letting go.

After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him. Continue reading

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Leta Blake, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

Smoky Mountain Dreams Tour

Jagdschmuck. To my American ears, that word sounds like an awful insult. Can’t you just hear it? “Ugh, she’s such a Jagdschmuck!” But the word in German describes the long tradition of setting small hunting trophies such as the teeth, antler, or tusk of certain legally hunted animals into jewelry which is then worn by the hunter or her/his loved ones as a talisman for good luck.
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Leta Blake, Self-Published

Please Welcome Leta Blake on “The River Leith” Blog Tour And Giveaway


The opening paragraphs of The River Leith came to me in a rush one afternoon, the voice so sure and confident, the words flowing through my brain like a river, and I hurried to get them down. Some characters and books are like that. They show up and they have a voice and a presence, they know what they want to tell you, and they spill their beans with such ease that it’s really just up to you to capture what they want to say. That’s how Leith was for the most part, and the book was a fairly easy one to write, in the scheme of books, anyway.
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5 Stars, All Romance Ebooks, Leta Blake, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Love For Leta Blake’s “The River Leith” Runs Deep – Reviewed by Jules


“I don’t know you. I don’t even know why we’re friends, and I still like you. I like you…” Leith swallowed hard and exhaled a shaky breath, searching for the right word. “Desperately.” – Leta Blake


Title: The River Leith

Author: Leta Blake

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 173 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Memory is everything.
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Aleksandr Voinov, Brita Addams, Cara Dee, Con Riley, GayRomLit, HAHAT Blog Tour, Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Jaime Samms, Jeremy Scott Blaustein, Kade Boehme, L. Dean Pace-Frech, L.A. Witt, Leta Blake, Rhys Ford, Rick R. Reed, Sarah Granger, Sneak Peek, Suki Fleet, Susan Mac Nicol

Here’s A Sneak Peek At A Busy Week!


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week. We’ve got loads of good stuff coming up in the week ahead, including a couple more guest posts to celebrate the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia and another Countdown to GayRomLit guest visit. Watch for some great articles, interviews, giveaways, and reviews.

But first, I have an introduction to make. As all of you know by now, the LGBT reviewing community is about to lose one of its staunchest supporters, Becky Condit. Mrs. Condit Reads Books will be closing its virtual doors on May 31, 2014, and though it will be a great loss, The Novel Approach is making an equally great gain. Jules Lovestoread will be joining our crew, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her with us, so, without further ado, here’s a little intro to our very own Jules:

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Leta Blake, Self-Published

It’s Officially “Training Season”, And Leta Blake Wants To Give Away A Book!


TNA: Hi, Leta, welcome to The Novel Approach. We’re thrilled to have you here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself: hobbies, interests, things that make you, you.

Leta: Thanks for having me, Lisa!

As for what makes me, me, I think the motto I have on my website sums me up well: author, human, and working hard to become stellar at life. I’m a mother, a wife, and I work a day job in addition to writing books. I try to do my best at all of my endeavors, but, as my motto says, I’m only a human being, so I fail and triumph and fail again. The last part of my motto—working hard to become stellar at life—is where the beauty’s at for me. It’s in the effort and the striving. I want to be a better writer, a better friend, a better mother, and a better person altogether. That’s me at the core, I think. Of course, I fail at that a lot, but it’s all about working for it, right?

As for hobbies, I’m a fannish person and become obsessed with characters from books or tv shows quite easily. In the past I’ve hosted Fanwork Friday on my blog where I celebrate something about fandom. I’ll get back to that eventually when things settle down with regards to Training Season.  I’m also passionate about music—the listening to it, not the making of it.

TNA: Have you always written M/M fiction? What compelled you to begin writing gay romance?

Leta: No, I haven’t. When I was a child, I wrote books a la L.M. Montgomery, then as a teen I indulged in that rite of passage known as emo poetry, and then as a young adult I gave up writing altogether, considering it a hopeless pursuit.

I started writing again about fourteen years ago due to stumbling onto slash fandom online. I think my books still retain certain notes that mark them as having graduated from the playground of slash fandom. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Personally, I think it can sometimes be a good thing because there’s generally something universal in the way romances are explored in fandoms.

I’ve given a great deal of thought as to why I write gay romance and my answers are pretty complicated and not nearly as simple as some media likes to paint the issue. It’s definitely not just because two guys are hotter than one, and it’s absolutely not because I think women are icky, and it’s not because I fetishize gay men. I think the full answer could make up a PhD thesis, but I do think my motivation has to do with writing stories that feel compelling and interesting to me, and which stories also tap into parts of my own psyche or our social constructs that beg to be explored. Not to mention, these are the characters who appear to me. I can’t bring myself to say to them, “Please go away and come back as a straight girl, okay?” LOL! I think they’d just never return!

TNA: What was your first published M/M title?

Leta: I co-wrote a short series of re-imagined fairy tales with Keira Andrews. The first was Earthly Desires, a m/m take on The Light Princess by George McDonald.

TNA: If you could go back in time to the moment you sat down to begin writing that book, what’s one piece of advice you’d give yourself now that you have the benefit of hindsight and experience?

Leta: I’d tell myself, “You don’t have to make it a novella, even though that was the plan. It can be as long as it needs to be.” I did learn that lesson with Love’s Nest, though, the last of the series. It is twice as long, nearly, as the first two books, and I think it needed to be.

I’d also tell myself to use the words “light, charming, whimsical” on the cover request page so that the cover might actually fit with the tone of the book. Alas, we put the word “warm” on the cover request sheet and that changed everything. The book cover looks very brutal but the book itself is light-hearted for the most part. This is what I would most go back in time and tell myself, actually. Though it is a lovely cover if the book had a different vibe, as it is, the cover haunts me.

TNA: Let’s talk a little bit about your latest novel Training Season. Do you remember the moment you came up with the idea for the book and what inspired it?

Leta: I do. I was watching this Johnny Weir fanvideo. It was fairly soon after the last Winter Olympics and I was following a great deal of figure skating talk via the usual fannish outlets. The story of Johnny Weir’s rise and fall from figure skating grace was being rehashed quite a lot in those circles. Watching the video, I found myself asking all kind of questions about what drives athletes to compete, what leads them to self-sabotage, and what can turn a person prone to that kind of behavior around. The character in Training Season was born in the moment of the fall at 1:41 in this video. I believe the lyrics definitely impacted the character’s birth, as well, especially. The questions asked by the song and the line “in any other world you could let it all unfurl” definitely made me wonder what kind of world would allow a person to overcome a tendency toward self-sabotage?

Now, Rob Lovely came along later when I was listening to some country music with my grandmother when she was still alive. The song “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” came on and I was still obsessing over the figure skating character. Suddenly, I was like, “What if the ‘any other world’ was actually somewhere in the country, like, say, Oklahoma or Idaho, and the romantic interest was a rancher?”

Music inspires me a lot, often in weird ways!

The choice to set the book in Montana, though, was not immediate. I originally set it elsewhere and wrote the entire first draft that way. I did a ton of research on the location, adding in references to scenery and area landmarks. It was only in the second round of hard edits that it became clear that there was no way I could possibly have the book set in the original location. It would entail changing the entire timeline of the book or scrapping about one third of the scenes. So, I started hunting again, and when I found Whitefish, I knew. It was a perfect match. And also lead to me writing about 20,000 more words that wouldn’t have been in the book at all.

TNA: How much research did you do to make sure you got the world of competitive skating and all the technical terms just right?

Leta: Well, I’d always loved figure skating, but I’d been a mostly casual fan until 2010. It’s amazing how educational fandom be! I spent about six months during the writing of the first draft reading/watching/following all that fandom had to offer on the subject and I keep that up to an extent even today. I have new favorites (like Denis Ten and Adam Rippon) and new not-favorites (like Max Aaron, though he seems like a lovely person). All of that definitely helped in writing the book.

In addition, Keira Andrews, my sometime co-writer and all-the-time friend, is a massive, huge, wildly big figure skating fan, and as the editor of my book, she helped to make sure the timing of competitions were correct, as well as the judging system, and to nail down the little ins and outs of the sport. There’s basically nothing the woman doesn’t know about figure skating!

TNA: Matty Marcus and Rob Lovely are the MCs of the book. If you were to give readers a thumbnail sketch of who they are, what are some things you’d tell us about each of them that would best reveal their characters?

Leta: Matty – dedicated, flawed, loving, loyal, competitive, self-sabotaging, stubborn, kinky

Rob – loyal, lost, stuck-in-a-rut, loving, generous, patient, supportive, insightful, kinky

TNA: Or, if I asked Matty and Rob, what are some things you think they might say about each other?

Leta: I think they’d probably say the same things! Though they’d probably both add words like: amazing, smart, funny, beautiful, sexy, frustrating, and lovable. Those words are possibly all true, too, depending on your view of the characters! :)

TNA: Rob and Matty explore dominance and submission in a variety of ways in the telling of their story. What prompted you to explore that component of their sexual relationship, and how was it important to the overall development of their romance and of them as characters?

Leta: Well, it all came down to the character of Matty for the most part. He was so self-sabotaging that I started asking myself, “What does he really need? What would a partner have to bring to the table in order to give Matty the courage he needs to succeed—or fail—on the ice?” Then Rob stepped up and said, “I’ve got this.” So, I let him do what he wanted and saw that, yes, Matty did respond well to the various lessons implicit in dominance and submission, such as giving up control and facing fear.

TNA: Which character, Matty or Rob, was most difficult to write and why?

Leta: Rob, definitely. Because the book was in Matty’s POV, he didn’t always know what was going on with Rob. The final scenes with the confrontation and resolution were especially hard. Rob was fairly resistant to revealing his feelings and motivations to me. I’d say it was only on draft twelve or so that Rob finally, finally gave me what we needed for the scenes to really work. Also, he didn’t come to me fully formed the way Matty mostly did. I had to go back in through multiple drafts and strengthen his motivations so that there were hurdles for him to overcome and a nice growth arc for him, too.

TNA: There are some pretty great supporting characters in this novel. Do you foresee a scenario in which you might consider writing a spin-off or two of Training Season?

Leta: Aw, thank you! I’ve heard from a number of people that they’d like to see Angus and Bill’s story, and I’d love to write that. It is absolutely on my radar and I’d really like to have it by next winter, but I have my doubts given my other ambitions for 2014.

I’ve also heard that some people would like to see Kevin’s story, and I’ve even had a bid for Elliot’s story. (Though no one has asked for Julien’s story. Poor Julien! He’s really an okay guy. For real!) I’m less sure about writing Kevin or Elliot (or Julien), but perhaps. If I suddenly find myself inspired, I’ll go for it.

Strangely, the spin-off book that keeps harassing me to the point that I’ve already jotted down a very rough bit of a scene from it is Ben’s future story. Thing is, Ben’s straight, so I’m not sure how many people will care to read about him. I want to make his story one of two romances in the book, with the other being Ben’s gay best friend’s romance with a hockey player. Ben, on the other hand, is in love with Cardew’s older sister who thinks that Ben is Cardew’s closeted boyfriend. Oh, the ridiculous drama! ;)

*********

“Ben, is this your way of coming out?”

He smiled widely at the asshole with the microphone pointed at his face. He hoped Cardew was enjoying this press conference, because he sure as hell was having plenty of fun screwing with the reporters.

“I am out.”

“You are?” The buzz from the media grew louder.

“Yes, I’m out as a straight man who has no fear that his masculinity will be threatened by skating pairs at the Gay Games with the prettiest, most artistic, and most brilliant male skater on the ice today.”

Cardew gave a dainty wave. “That’s me.”

No one seemed to give a damn about Cardew, though, which irritated Ben. This was supposed to be Cardew’s big moment not his. He’d had plenty of his own. That was the entire reason he was doing this. He wanted to help his best friend have his time to shine.

“Did your step-father put you up to this?”

“Matty?” Ben laughed. “I’m my own man. Matty may do some choreography work for Cardew and me, but otherwise he sticks to the applause portion of the program when it comes to my skating career.”

*********

And that’s all she wrote on that front! Who knows? Maybe I’ll go there with this idea, but the Angus and Bill story is definitely on my radar. I just need a dozen more hours in a week and to only require two hours of sleep a night. Then we’d be good to go! That’s doable, right?

TNA: If you were to choose a favorite scene from the book, what would that scene be and why?

Leta: I’m pretty fond of this one—

“And Elliot is going to be in New York City, and I swore I’d never miss a New Year’s Eve in New York,” Matty whined, stretched out across Rob on the sofa.

Rob held the agricultural journal he was reading a bit higher, trying to see it over Matty’s body. “I’m devastated on your behalf.”

Matty narrowed his eyes. “I thought you liked my family.”

“I do. I’m sorry they can’t come for Christmas. I was ridiculing your vow to always be in New York for New Year’s Eve.”

“You’re heartless.”

“Uh-huh.” Rob flipped a page and yawned widely.

The day before Rob had helped Terry, Dino, and Bing wrangle some cattle that had trampled a fence and gotten into the woods near the national park. It’d been exhausting since three of the cows had decided they were not going to budge from the apparently delicious patch of dry, brown winter grass they’d discovered under a tree. To make it worse, once they’d driven the adventurers back onto Rob’s land, a bunch of snow had dumped on them as they’d mended the fence.

Rob had dawdled over breakfast, and was lazing around with Matty. He’d mentioned something about getting caught up on the books, but he hadn’t moved from the sofa yet, and it was verging on nine o’clock. Matty shifted on Rob’s body and made himself more comfortable.

“I’m trying to read about the possible advantages of adding a milk goat operation to the ranch, sweetheart. You’re kind of in my way.”

“The advantages of a milk goat operation. Did I truly just hear those words?”

“Goat milk soap is all Bing talks about.”

“I feel like I’m in some kind of insane alternate universe where if I look out the window I’ll find Amish buggies. I will, won’t I?”

“If you’re lucky. Otherwise it means you’re stuck in Montana getting fucked by some crazy sadist rancher.”

“God, that sounds like a really bad sex book you’d pick up to read on an airplane.” Matty scooted a bit on Rob’s body, making him grunt. Matty spread out his hands to demonstrate the title of the book, knocking the journal away. “‘Big Sky of Desire’ by M. O. Lester. The story of young, lithe figure skater, Bobby Barker, trapped for the winter in a small Montana town and robbed of his innocence by the lecherous attentions of his sadistic neighbor, Mark Beauty. Tied down against his will and struck with leather horse whips, Bobby realizes his own inner strength and love for rough sex — ”

“I have leather horse whips, actually,” Rob said.

“You do?” Matty sat up, nearly smacking his forehead against Rob’s chin.

“Of course. Have you seen my ranch?”

“Oh my God, go get them!”

Rob laughed, pushed Matty off, and stood up slowly, stretching. “Actually, I was thinking we should head into Missoula to do some shopping. Most of the shops stay open late this time of year. I have some things I need to get for Ben. Last I checked, you need to pick up a few things for your folks.”

Matty blinked. “You’re passing up whips for shopping?”

“You’re bitching about shopping?” Rob countered.

“I feel so torn!” Matty pulled at his hair. “Oh my God. You suck.”

“Go on, take care of the horses and get ready. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”

“Two. I have to look my best if we’re going into the city. Someone might actually see me in the city.”

“People see you here.”

“Yeah, but they don’t even look twice now. My fashion goes to waste. It’s like I’ve become boring to them or something.”

Rob kissed him and rubbed his thumb over Matty’s lower lip. “Never. Impossible. And I’ll pick you up in one hour.”

“If I say yes, can I have whips later?” Matty asked a little breathlessly.

Rob frowned. “I’ll think about it. I don’t like the idea of marking your skin.”

“Don’t turn into a prude on me now,” Matty whined.

Rob kissed him again. “Don’t push me. Or you might find there’s a price.”

Matty clasped his hands together over his heart and called out as Rob left the room, “Would that price be leather horse whips?”

“Go home!” Rob yelled back.

Matty flopped on Rob’s sofa and stared up at the ceiling. “Oh my God, horse whips,” he whispered to himself, trying to figure out how he was going to lose his erection.

TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from Training Season with us?

Leta: Certainly!

A week later, Matty opened the six boxes of his belongings his mother had mailed, trying to find where she’d packed the fur coats, his make-up, and his underwear. It was as though she’d run from one corner of his room to another, randomly adding things to the boxes, with little rhyme or reason. They’d all been marked Matty’s room as though that described the contents in any helpful way.

He found his make-up in a small cardboard box beneath his gym socks and a gold, sequined vest he’d worn for a competition when he was fifteen. He had no idea why his mother had included it, but he put it on, because, aside from Flathead Lake and the glint of the sun on the mountains, it was the sparkliest thing he’d seen since arriving in Montana. It lifted his spirits in an unexpected and very necessary way.

Matty sighed as he took his make-up into the bathroom and began organizing it on the vanity. Looking through the products, he opened one of the small jars of blue, glittery eye shadow, and applied a little to his eyelids absentmindedly. He thought about how he was going to survive the next six months, and wondered if he’d be able to train himself enough to lure in a renowned coach.

His heart was set on Valentina Chapayeva from the Ukraine, and he swallowed hard and sent up a small prayer that by April he’d have what it took to gain her interest and join her rink in New York. Even though he was a national champion, he was afraid he’d been out of sight so long that he’d be out of mind in the skating world.

He sorted through the body glitter, lipsticks, and rouge, finding a few things that he’d nearly forgotten about. He looked in the mirror, puckered his lips, and ran his hands through his hair.

Music. Yes, he needed some music — something fast to get his body moving. He fiddled with the stereo in the living room and figured out how to dock his iPod.

Eight songs later, he had glitter body paint smeared on his chest, his eyes done up in brilliant blues and greens, and bright, cotton-candy pink lipstick on his lips. Wearing only his track pants and the gold sequined vest, he was far from fierce, but still shiny, and that made him feel almost as good. He danced across the room, easily keeping the rhythm with no one’s judging gaze to throw him off. He gave his body over to it, and spun around madly, jumping, kicking, and leaping.

He paused in the middle of the room, feeling a little flushed, but not winded. He was glad his workouts back home had increased his stamina. His current plan was to get up every day, have a small breakfast, get the horses settled and then work out, either in a gym, on the ice, or both.

Matty recognized how bratty it was to complain about the ranch house. After all, it had amazing amenities. Margaret’s exercise room beside his bedroom had a treadmill and Bowflex. He supposed on days he couldn’t get into Kalispell for a proper workout in the Athletic Club (something else arranged for him by Margaret) it would do to help keep him strong. He also had a plan for skating when he couldn’t get into Whitefish’s rink.

He’d discovered his plan B when George had walked him around the ranch, pointing out various areas that the horses sometimes lingered. As they’d walked, Matty had noticed two men on horses, riding among the cattle on the hill below.

“Rob’s ranch hands,” George explained. “He’s got four employees over there now. Rob’s expanding his operation. He’s finally making a bit of a profit, I reckon. First time since his old man died, I think.”

Matty nodded absently, his eyes fixed on something else entirely. To the left of where George pointed, there was a very large, seemingly shallow, mostly circular pond. It was situated in the shadow of the mountain on one side and sheltered on the other by a large, fat pine. Though the temperature had climbed to almost forty that morning, Matty could see the glitter of ice over the shaded top of the pond.

He’d studied it carefully as George talked on and on about horses and the neighbor’s cattle, and ranch hands and profits, finally interrupting him to ask, “Does that ever freeze over?”

“Sure. It’s halfway to frozen over now. Give it two more days of temperatures like this and it’ll be frozen half through.”

“How deep is it?”

“Not that deep.” George had smirked like he was amused by something private. “That’s Margaret’s little personal Flathead Pond. Built it for her when I bought the place from Rob. She wasn’t too happy because she wanted land on the lake. I couldn’t pass up the good deal Rob offered me, so I told her I’d build her a damn lake.” George chuckled, a sound Matty hadn’t heard him make before. “Oh yes, she was fit to be tied over this here pond. First she was mad and then she laughed until she cried.” He grinned. “Yep, Rob’s ranch manager, Bing Lozar, dug this out for her and had it lined.”

“Has anyone ever skated on it?” Matty had asked.

“The boys do it all the time. Used to pretend to be Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier out there.”

Matty had smiled, thinking that George might not have liked it if his grandsons had pretended to be Matty Marcus out there. “Mind if I skate on it, sir?”

“Fine by me. Just don’t bust your head.” George had pointed his finger at him. “If you do, don’t even think about suing me.”

With that in mind, Matty had gone out to the pond already that morning and found it was definitely frozen several inches down. It wasn’t the best surface, but in an emergency it would do.

Another song came on, and Matty ran a hand through his hair. He twirled a bit more, the room flashing by, and he allowed himself to sink into the spin, the dizzy familiar feeling of the world going into a precarious balance.

A loud crash brought him front and center.

He stood panting, listening for something more. A rolling crunch rattled through the room. Clutching his chest, he jumped. The noise seemed to come from the front porch.

Matty grabbed a coat from the box next to him — his mink from his last trip to Russia — and slipped it on. His heart raced as he tiptoed toward the living room window.

Was it a bear? Did bears live in Montana? And why had he never thought to investigate that possibility before now? What if it was an elk? Were they dangerous? Maybe it was a coyote, or a wolf, or just a really big, scary person.

He peered out the front window. He squinted into the sun and saw nothing but pine trees and cows like always. The knock on the door, a heavy, hard thudding, made his heart race like he was sitting in the Kiss and Cry waiting for scores to come in.

Matty glanced in the mirror by the front door, smoothed his hair, wiped a stray bit of eyeliner away, and threw his chest out and his chin up. Matty Marcus was rocking the glittery glory on a ranch in Montana. Never let it be said that rural locales took any shine away from this bitch. He opened the door.

The man on the front porch, with his hand raised to knock again, was blond, and he might as well have been Montana personified — tall, strong, and heart-stoppingly handsome. He was also probably not a day over thirty.

“Uh…” The man cleared his throat and flung his thumb over his shoulder toward the hill. “Hi. I’m the neighbor. Thought I’d bring some… ah…”

He didn’t seem to know where to look. His eyes slid down to Matty’s bare chest peeking out from the fur coat and gold sequined vest, and then down over Matty’s track pants to his bare feet. The man swallowed and looked away. He kept talking, though.

“I brought some firewood up from the barn. Thought you might need it…or want it. It’s supposed to get pretty cold tonight. I figured you didn’t have any close to the house yet. George doesn’t bring it up unless he needs it. So I brought some. Up. For you.”

Matty felt his practiced “now we’re talking to the media” smile settle on his face. He stuck out his hand. “Thank you. That’s very kind of you. I appreciate you thinking of me.”

The man shook firmly. “Rob Lovely,” he said. “I live over the hill and a few acres over.”

The name was definitely fitting, Matty thought.

He supposed since he was dressed up in glitter and blue eye shadow, he should be glad the guy wasn’t running away to alert any local homophobic hicks with baseball bats that the Pages had a flamer living in their house for the winter.

Matty pulled his coat around himself a little tighter when Rob released his hand. “Matty Marcus. Nice to meet you.”

“So, are you from Missoula?” Rob said, his face revealed how much he doubted that.

“What makes you think I’m not from Polebridge?” Matty asked a little coyly, bringing up a town Margaret had mentioned was located almost due north of Whitefish and had less than 30 residents.

He waited for the guy to stammer through an answer that could be summed up as Matty failing the good ol’, pussy-loving, ranch-raised country boy looks test.

“Margaret said she was bringing in a friend’s kid from the city,” Rob said, rubbing his hands together, and keeping his eyes focused out toward the pastures.

“Oh,” Matty said, amazed at how sweetly the guy had side-stepped an awkward moment. He even felt a little guilty for trying to set him up to begin with. “Well, I think by ‘the city’, she actually meant The City, as in New York. She seems to think I’ve lived there, even though I haven’t. I’d like to, though. I will one day.” His nipples ached from the cold, so he pulled the fur completely around his torso.

“I’ve never been, but I’m sure it’s exciting,” Rob said, his eyes moving to where Matty had covered up his exposed skin. “Is that a mink?”

“As a matter of fact, it is,” Matty said, running a hand down its softness.

“My ex-wife’s mother had one of a similar style, but it didn’t look nearly so…” Rob flushed. “I mean…uh, it looks better on you. Well, um, I mean…”

“Thank you,” Matty said, putting him out of his misery.

“You’re welcome.” Rob said, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his coat. “It’s been a strangely cold October. Probably not the best of weather. Have you been able to get out and explore at all?”

“I’m still settling in,” Matty said.

“Right.” There was a silence as Rob swallowed hard and rubbed a hand over his forehead like he had a sudden headache. “Well, I piled the logs over there.” He nodded toward the side of the porch. “I, uh, should let you get back to…” He smiled and used his head to indicate Matty’s state of dress and state of being. “That. Or whatever.”

“Thank you. I’d invite you in, but I’m sort of in the middle of this, so…” Matty paused and Rob flushed again, looked away and cleared his throat.

Matty retreated into the house, closing the door partway as he spoke. “Thanks again for the firewood. It was very thoughtful of you.”

“Anytime,” Rob said, backing away a few steps. “Just give me a call if you need anything. Help with the horses. Or whatever you need help with.” He looked embarrassed for a moment, but then he offered Matty a fantastic smile. His teeth were white and straight and his eyes glowed. Matty noticed that they were green and very kind.

“I might take you up on that,” Matty said, putting one bare foot on top of the other.

The movement seemed to catch Rob’s eye. He looked at Matty’s feet again before clearing his throat again. “Please do. I’m the neighborly sort and I’m happy to help.”

Rob lifted his eyes again and a small wave of attraction washed over Matty. God, he needed to get laid if he was getting turned on by stammering Montana ranchers.

Rob nodded and lifted his hand and let it drop. Then he turned and trudged back through the front yard. Matty watched him walk, noting the sure, easy swing of his step as he crossed the lawn and then mounted the foot of the hill.

When Rob was a dark smudge against the sky, Matty shut the door and leaned against it. He glanced at himself again in the mirror and imagined being Rob Lovely from Montana. What had it been like to find this fabulous creature on the other side of a neighbor’s door? It must have been like stumbling across The Man Who Fell to Montana. He laughed softly at the thought, threw off his coat, and sashayed to the kitchen for a mid-morning cup of piping hot water with bitters to trick his still-hungry stomach.

TNA: Do you have any works-in-progress you’d like to talk a little bit about?

Leta: I have far too many works in progress! I need an intervention!

Let’s see, I currently have two novellas submitted to different presses. I have a trans* novella that I’d like to complete this year. Marie Sexton and I have bandied about an idea for a fun short novel. I definitely have to finish at least the first full-length novel in the Stalker Series. I started it for the LHNB event at Goodreads, but realized when the book topped 40,000 words and wasn’t even halfway complete that there was no way I’d be able to finish it before the deadline, so I had to do a fast short story set in the same universe to fulfill that obligation. I feel guilty that I haven’t been able to get the reader’s requested full-length book out yet, though, so that’s definitely on the top of my to-do list. Not to mention, I love the characters and think it will be a fun book for readers!

In addition, I’m working on a m/m coming of age novel that I hope to release as a serial. I’m not sure how that will play out and I reserve the right to change my mind, of course, LOL, but I’m leaning that direction right now. It would be an eight part serial featuring plenty of sex, hooray, and some angst, and drama.

I’m modeling it a bit after soap operas, though my best friend says that’s an unfair description, since there are no evil twins, no characters that are declared dead and come back to life, and no storylines that depend on major misunderstandings. I suppose it might be more accurate to say I’m inspired by the WIP phenomenon in fandom. I like the idea of writing something that people will follow along because they love the characters and want to see where they end up, but it wouldn’t be a work in progress, because I have no intention to release any part of it until the entire work is finished.

There are more. I’ll stop there. ;)

TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?

Leta:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Blog

Training Season Buy Links:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks
Smashwords

The Blurb:

Figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream. Despite his unquestionable talent, Matty’s lack of discipline cost him Olympic gold once before. Now the pressure’s on to do whatever it takes to make the team again. Still recovering from an injury that nearly ended his career, he needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap. Without the backing of his federation, Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a wealthy fan’s whim brings him to rural Montana for a lucrative house-sitting gig over the winter, Matty does his best to maintain an elite-level training regimen. Despite fears that his flamboyant style might not be well-received in these rugged surroundings, the residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant and welcoming. Even more surprising, Rob Lovely, the handsome young rancher next door, proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. Taking his new-found courage back into the rink, Matty drives himself harder to find the inner fire he needs to go for gold.

But a powerful new love and the best sex Matty has ever had aren’t going to win him a medal. Competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, he’ll have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob and his life in Montana behind. As he faces the ultimate test of his spirit, has Matty truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

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TNA: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Leta Blake, Reesa Herberth, Rhys Ford, Riptide Publishing, Storm Moon Press, VJ Summers

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


It’s hard to imagine in just a couple of days, we’ll be ringing out the old year and welcoming in the new. It’s a clean slate we get every 365 days, a chance to start over and anticipate new possibilities, so here’s hoping your 2014 is filled with lots of joy and the gift of peace.

We’ve got a great week ahead of us as we play catch up on reviews, welcome some great authors, and usher in the New Year with a few giveaways!



MondayRhys Ford is with us today with her latest novel Fish and Ghosts, and there’s a one-of-a-kind giveaway you won’t want to miss.

Tuesday – Happy New Year! The TNA Team has selected our Top Books of 2013, so we’ll not only be listing those, but we’ll also be offering a giveaway to one lucky reader.

WednesdayRiptide Publishing presents the Reesa Herberth In Discretion Blog Tour, so you’ll want to stay tuned for what they have in store.

ThursdayStorm Moon Press is here today to kick off the first of its three 4th Anniversary Blog Tour guest spots.

FridayVJ Summers is our guest today with something that’s sure to be a little entertaining and a lot smexy.

SaturdayLeta Blake visits today with her latest novel Training Season, and she’s also offering a giveaway of the book, so be sure to stop in and say hi.

SundayPhillip MacKenzie Jr. is with us today with an interview and excerpt from his new anthology Bite the Pillow: Six on Sex.



And that’s it for another week. Until next Sunday, happy reading!

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All Romance Ebooks, Leta Blake, Self-Published

Leta Blake’s “Training Season” Is A Story Of Discipline And Sacrifice



“Every day we walk away from once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, chasing after other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. We just have to hope we’re choosing the right thing to chase.” – Leta Blake


You know, sometimes this review business boils down to nothing more than read this book. But while that tells you what to do, it doesn’t say anything at all about why you should read it, which is really the most important part about sharing the love of the books we read.

Leta Blake’s Training Season is a just-read-it kind of book for me. First of all it’s a “ripped right out of the headlines” story, considering what gay athletes are facing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, and Matty Marcus is just that—a gay athlete—but not only is he a gay athlete, he’s a flamboyantly and unapologetically gay athlete, which, in the world of figure skating may not be unheard of but doesn’t seem to do him any favors when it comes down to win or lose on the ice.

Continue reading

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Ellora's Cave, Keira Andrews, Leta Blake

Ascending Hearts by Keira Andrews and Leta Blake – This Isn’t Your Childhood Version of “Jack and the Beanstalk”

It isn’t possible to love and part … I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal. – E.M. Forster

There’s nothing you might expect and everything you might imagine in Keira Andrews and Leta Blake’s Ascending Hearts, the story of a man named Jack who, by virtue of his red hair and his unnatural desires, is an outcast in his village and believed to be the spawn of the Devil. Jack’s mother even buys into the superstition, blaming him for his father leaving them when Jack was but an infant. Now Maura has sold their only cow Inga to the local butcher because it’s the only way she was going to see any financial benefit from the aging animal, not to mention Maura has manipulated her way into greener pastures and is leaving Jack to fend for himself in a world that doesn’t want him.

But there is a beanstalk in the village that withers each winter and resurrects each spring with the temptation to climb its heights and attempt to steal what the giant in the clouds so greedily hoards. It is in desperation to pay a debt that Jack risks the climb to gain the gold that waits at the top, but he ends up losing his heart instead and discovers a treasure far more precious than anything material riches could bring him.

Rion is the guardian of his family legacy, destined to live alone in his ancestral castle as he guards the gold he made a deathbed promise to his father never to leave. Jack’s intrusion upon Rion’s sedate and solitary existence delivers an unwelcome discord to Rion’s orderly life, though it’s not too long before the two men discover that they are each the completion of the other’s soul. That does not, however, in any way guarantee their happily-ever-after.

Mirroring prejudice and overcoming misperceptions, not to mention a case of serious mutual attraction brings Rion and Jack together, but it’s duty and a bargain that must be honored that tears them apart. There is betrayal in the end, a deadly enemy who must be vanquished, which leads to the abiding of the true love that will help these two men to overcome.

Once again, Keira Andrews and Leta Blake have teamed up to make a fairy tale their very own, with the slightest of fractures in the familiar to make the story new and altogether too exciting to resist. Ascending Hearts isn’t the first retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” I’ve ever read, but I can almost guarantee it’s the most erotic. And, if I’m being entirely honest, I would pretty much also guarantee it’s the most romantic version of the story I’ve ever got my hands on. At least, I think it is.

If you like a really good love-conquers-all story that will give you a bit of a tug at the heartstrings for a minimal investment, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a go.

You can buy Ascending Hearts here:

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Ellora's Cave, Leta Blake

Leta Blake And Keira Andrews Give Gravity To Their Earthly Desires (Tempting Tales, Book One)

One’s not half of two; two are halves of one. – E.E. Cummings

I’m such a sucker for Once Upon A Times that lead to Happily Ever Afters. You know, there’s a school of thought out there that says fairy tales can be harmful to impressionable young minds, especially for girls who may begin to believe that their worth as a person exists solely within how beautiful the image in the mirror, and that the pursuit of Prince Charming is the one thing in life worth aspiring to. Well, pooh on that, I say. Somebody’s just reading them the wrong fairy tales; either that, or they’re forgetting to teach these girls the moral of the stories because, yes, every fairy tale is a cautionary tale with a message, and Earthly Desires is no different. Okay, maybe a little bit different. There wasn’t so much of the sexy bits in the fairy tales I read as a kid, that’s for sure.

“And the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son.”—that’s the conflict within this story of a young prince cursed with levity, who meets a handsome young woodsman cursed with gravity when the prince floats away on a breeze and becomes stuck in a tree on the woodsman’s land. Earthly Desires is a story of the sky and the earth meeting at the horizon of a new beginning, a story of witches and curses, of revenge and elemental magic that happens between the opening and the closing of this opposites attract story. It is a Yin-Yang, full-circle completion of vengeance and redemption, one in which heroes arise through sacrifice and salvation.

This is a story of a name, a name so significant that on the tongue it gives a soul weight. It is the story of Prince Efrosin and Dmitri and the way they discover their curses are their cures, that love endures, and that tears offered in grief are a powerful magic in their own right.

Authors Leta Blake and Keira Andrews have retold the fairy tale “The Light Princess” with some added twists to make it decidedly more adult for those of us who enjoy a grownup fairy tale every now and then. If that reader just so happens to be you, then I’d definitely recommend giving this endearing and enchanting and altogether uplifting story a try.

You can buy Earthly Desires (Tempting Tales, Book One) here:

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