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 in store for you here at The Novel Approach in the coming week. There’s lots coming up to be excited about–great guests, interesting content, a few giveaways, and, of course, we’ll be sharing more reviews with you as well.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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MondayK. Vale is here to kick off our week on her Crossed Hearts blog tour

Michele Michael Rakes also joins us today with a guest stop in the Fourth and Long blog tour

TuesdayCharlie Cochet makes us a stop today on the Healing Hunter’s Heart tour

We’ll also have Morticia Knight with us on the Justice Prevails blog tour

WednesdayJordan Castillo Price drops by today with an interview and giveaway for her newest audiobook release Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary

And we’ll also be hosting author Tina Blenke on her Shifting Cargo blog tour

ThursdayLexi Ander is our guest today on her Dreams of the Forgotten blog tour

Brita Addams to chat a bit up her upcoming Dreamspinner Press release Beloved Unmasked

FridayJacob Z. Flores drops by with a video chat on his Spellbound blog tour

Sam Standish is also our guest to discuss his newest novel Making Men

Saturday – Finally, to close out the week, author K. Lynn will join us on the Coffee Date blog tour

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

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

An Introduction And A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. Thanks for stopping by to see what we have coming up in the week ahead. In addition to our guests and some great giveaways, we’ll also be bringing you lots more reviews, and I’d also like to introduce you to the newest member of The Novel Approach’s staff.

Meet Carrie!

TNA_Signature_CarrieHello, everyone, my name is Carrie!  I am a mom to three wonderful college boys – 2 already there and one beginning in the fall. We are a bicoastal family with 2 kids on the east coast and home central being in Seattle. Don’t get me wrong – I am a southern girl. I grew up with formal dinners every Sunday after church, and sweet tea. I learned good posture with Emily Post’s Book of Etiquette on my head, quite literally. So what am I doing in Seattle? No clue. I can say that I love books like my grandmother loved her gardening club. I read. A lot. I tend to have a voracious appetite for books, which can get expensive since I was taught to speed read in third grade and I have never looked back. As such, I love it when a book makes me pause – slaps me mid sentence, and says slow down and enjoy me – let me tell you a story…

 I want to start writing about and sharing those books with you. I will read just about anything but gravitate towards romance and mystery, with a little erotic sci-fi thrown in for good measure. If you come by my house, I will make you a mimosa and we can talk books – I can’t wait!

Welcome, Carrie! And now here’s what’s on tap:

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MondayAnnabelle Jacobs kicks off the week with a guest post about her new book The Altered

TuesdayRebecca Cohen joins us today on her Under Glass blog tour

Wednesday – Coming to you today are Alex Beecroft, on the Blue Eyed Stranger blog tour

And Andrew Q. Gordon, here with Carole Cummings for another edition of Genre Talk

ThursdayEthan Stone stops in today on the tour for the re-release of In the Flesh

FridayR.P. Andrews is our guest today on The Czar of Wilton Drive tour

Saturday – And to close out our week, author A.E. Via will be stopping by on the Defined by Deceit tour

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

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Andrew Q. Gordon, Carole Cummings, DSP Publications, DSPP's Genre Talk

Guest Post: Genre Talk With Carole Cummings and Andrew Q. Gordon

DSP Publications

Ha, a weekend invasion from a couple of DSP Publications’ misfit toys! Hello, everyone! I’ve got Andrew Q. Gordon with me today, and because he’s awesome and generous, he comes bearing a gift. We’ve got a special price for The Novel Approach readers! So stay tuned ’til the end of the post.

For now, let’s jump right in and let Andrew tell us about his high fantasy novel, Book 1 of the Champion of the Gods series—The Last Grand Master:

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tna-dspp--andrew q gordon for 03-08In a war that shook the earth, the six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For three thousand years, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity and Neldin’s evil was nearly forgotten.

But then Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, unleashes the dark magic of the underworld and creates an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will. One by one, the sovereign realms fall as a new war between the gods threatens to engulf Nendor.

Leading the opposition to Meglar is Grand Master Farrell. Young and untried, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.

Farrell is joined by Nerti, queen of the unicorns and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen as Farrell’s mate. As Farrell and his new allies make plans to counter Neldin’s evil, Meglar forces their hand when he invades a neighboring kingdom. Rushing to help their ally, Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Cut off from help, Farrell attempts an untried spell that will either turn the tide or cost he and Miceral their lives.

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Carole: Thanks for being here with us today, Andrew. How about we start off with genre, since that’s why we’re here. Tell us about yours.

Andrew: I write in many genres: High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and some Contemporary. I’ve got a definite Sci-fi story in my head that I want to write, but that’s so far down the future work in progress (FWIP) list that it’s hard to really say I write in that genre. But if I had to pick one genre as my primary one, it would be high fantasy. I’ve been a Tolkien fan for almost forty years and after his books, I read almost any fantasy book I could find. After reading Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series, a story with a positive gay character, that sealed my love of the genre.

Carole: *high five* on the Tolkien! ;) So, was the Lackey revelation part of why you chose to write M/M?

Andrew: For me M/M is not so much a choice as part of who I am. The lack of positive images—and in many cases, no images—of gay protagonists, made me want to write about people like me as the ‘good guy.’ To me it’s personal. It’s who I am. I’ve spoken to other authors—men and women, straight and gay—and it’s the same for them. Either they are gay, or they have a child, sibling, best mate, whomever is important in their lives, etc., who is gay. We—and I include all the other authors in the MM genres—write as much to educate as to entertain.

Carole: Wow, I love that answer. Okay, so tell us about the Champion of the Gods series.

Andrew: The Champion of the Gods is a High Fantasy story that will be spread over 5 books. Book 1: The Last Grand Master was re-released February 10, 2015, and Book 2: The Eye and The Arm is due April 14, 2015. The series is going to follow Farrell, the last good grand master wizard on the continent of Ardus as he tries to stop Meglar from conquering the Seven Kingdoms of Ardus and ultimately the world.

Book 1 introduces us to Farrell, his life partner Miceral. We see them meet, fall in love, and ultimately experience how the war is going to test their relationship. There is a better than average chance Farrell won’t survive the final conflict, and that affects how he approaches his time with Miceral. We also meet his companions, Nerti, a unicorn, the giant peregrine brothers Grohl and Takala, and some of the lesser wizards who are helping Farrell prepare.

Book 2 begins the journey to the other continents of the world as Farrell and Miceral search for weapons to use in the fight. They are also searching for Farrell’s distant ancestor, the legendary wizard Grand Master Kel who disappeared two thousand years ago. Farrell is convinced Kel holds the key to many of the tasks he must complete before the final battle.

Carole: So definitely the highest of high fantasy. Awesome. Now, the Champion of the Gods is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for nonromance genre novels. Tell us about the relationship in The Champion of the Gods and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.

Andrew: A M/M Romance book means the romance is the primary plot device. Getting the two main characters together and keeping them together is the resolution to the story. That isn’t the case with the Champions series. In Champions, getting Miceral and Farrell together is just the start. Together they are going to take on the enemy who is trying to turn the world into an extension of Neblor (their world’s equivalent of Hell.)

In this, Champions is similar to stories like David Edding’s Belgaraid, or Tolkiens Lord of the Rings. There is an ultimate evil to be fought, and the main character is the one to do the fighting. Unlike those stories, however, Farrell isn’t a normal hobbit taking on the all-powerful Sauron, or Garion, a young but really powerful wizard about to take on a God. Farrell is a powerful wizard chosen by his gods to fight another powerful wizard, Meglar, who was chosen by his god.

So the romance is there, but it’s a small part of the story instead of the main conflict and source of tension.

Carole: Mm, sounds like one of those meaty plots a reader can really sink their teeth into. So tell us about the evolution of this story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of Champion of the Gods?

Andrew: Like most stories, Champions didn’t pop out like Athena from Zeus’ head. It took years to fully form. The initial version was a scene that will never make it into the book/series. That was a battle scene where the two sides have been fighting and Farrell activated a defensive spell to bar Meglar’s army from pursuing his forces. Only several of Meglar’s warped creatures scurried through before the wall was dropped. As the enemy pursues the tired rear guard, Farrell sends magical help. In the end, it looked very pretty and what not, but in practice it was completely silly in the context of the story that evolved.

Since then I’ve tweaked and changed and fixed and altered and…you get the idea. One thing I did that I’m glad for, is I wrote almost all five books before I submitted the first one. The end and epilogue are written and all that remains is to weave the final strands into the story and all five will be done. The benefit, I found, was to find ‘problems’ in the earlier books that would have boxed me into a corner. For instance, in book three I wanted to do something, but it was in total conflict with something earlier, but the new twisted needed to remain to keep the story from turning contrived. So, during the rewrite of book 1, I made changes that helped keep the story on track. I’ve also been incorporating those changes as I go over the rough draft and clean it up before submission.

That is when the story started to resemble what you see now.

Carole: Which begs the question: do you have a file of scrapped scenes on your hard drive somewhere, and how often do you use it?

Andrew: I have a fairly large file of ‘unused’ scenes. Pretty much because I wrote the entire series before I started to publish it, I have been pulling scenes out and saving them for future use. Not so much in Book 1, but quite a bit in books 2 & 3. In Book 3 that I’m finishing up the third draft right now, there was a major shift in how I presented a situation. It was more than just a tweak or a change of scene. I ended up fundamentally changing the cause/effect of a fairly key element of the story. It kept the element intake, but it made it more ‘believable’ in my mind. That said, there was a lot of information that I need to work into the overall story in order to get the end to stay on track. Enter the file of misfit scenes.

I’ve cut those sections, titled and put markers in the rest of the text to ensure I know where to find the scenes and more importantly, where to put them. I’ve used a fair number of misfit scenes so far, but I expect several will end up on the cutting room floor.

One last thought on this, there are some scenes that won’t make it into the books but they are nice background stories for the universe. At some point I might go back and use them either as blog posts or short stories to give a bit more depth to the to the overall world.

Carole: And I’m sure you’ve got fans who would just love to get their hands on those scrap files, Andrew. ;) One more question before you go: Why did you feel this story needed to be told with the M/M dynamic?

Andrew: I really can’t say why it was important for the story, but it is necessary for more than just – I wanted a gay character in my epic fantasy story. Suffice it to say, there is a reason why the gods made sure Farrell was attracted to men, and a reason why they sent him Miceral. Anymore and I’d give away something I want to hold onto until book four.

Carole: Perfect, Andrew, and thanks so much for being here with us today.

Readers, as promised, Andrew has generously arranged for a special sale price for you, and we’ll tell you more about in a moment. For now, please enjoy this intriguing excerpt from The Last Grand Master:

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Excerpt: “Prince Jursten.” Farrell’s voice drew all eyes to him. “I’d be remiss in my friendship if I didn’t warn you about your dinner companion.”

Alicia’s jaw tightened so much her lips almost disappeared. Ignoring the daggers she shot him with her eyes, he plastered his best court smile on his face. “She’s an expert conversationalist who will surprise you with her wit. Don’t let the pretty face fool you; she’s even smarter than she is lovely.”

For the first time since Farrell met her, Alicia blushed.

“And how is that a warning?” Jursten turned back to Alicia. “A compliment such as that is hard to disagree with.”

The color deepened in Alicia’s cheeks, prompting her to glare at him. “It would appear….”

“Princess, did you tell Jursten we might go riding tomorrow?” Farrell arched an eyebrow, daring her to risk her invitation.

Peter sniggered next to him, then busied himself arranging his silverware when his sister looked his way. Jursten looked from Farrell to Alicia, then back.

He grinned at Farrell before turning to his new companion. “How badly did you make him blush?

“He was almost as red as Prince Kerstand’s shirt.” She pointed to the scarlet tunic signifying Honal’s royal colors. “But it was an innocent mistake. Twice he answered the door shirtless and sweating. What else was I to think other than my virtue was at stake?”

Miceral roared, but Farrell kept his smile without turning red. “Help me out here. Miceral, what was that comment she made about us being—”

“That was an honest mistake too.” Alicia looked fit to burst as she spoke through clenched teeth.

“Payback?” Kerstand asked.

“Of course.” Farrell nodded seriously. “She delighted in making me squirm. I thought she enjoyed the feeling. I guess I was wrong.”

Jursten took Alicia’s hand and patted it fondly. “Maybe later I can tell you some of the things I said to embarrass him. For instance, the time he met the Count of Durtress’s youngest son. Poor Farrell’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull when he heard the young man was interested in him.”

Farrell rolled his eyes but stopped when he saw Miceral staring at him.

“Son of a count?” He smirked. “How come I never heard this one?”

“Because the oaf had cabbage between his ears and couldn’t speak in complete sentences.” Farrell tried to frown but couldn’t keep it from turning into a smile. “But he was nice to look at and—”

“Oh my.” Alicia giggled. “You can make yourself blush. I’m impressed.”

“To be fair to Farrell,” Jursten said, drawing attention back to him, “Fentar was quite handsome and athletic. If he understood politics a bit better, he might have gone far.”

“What happened to the strapping young Fentar?” Alicia turned her head slowly toward Farrell, eyebrow raised.

Farrell cocked his head to the right, looking toward Jursten. “He did join with the son of that Arvendian clan chief, Gelg, didn’t he?”

“Sub-clan chief,” Jursten corrected. “They counted his strength and athleticism more highly than having an advanced degree.”

“Poor Fentar.” Farrell sighed.

“Why?” Alicia looked confused. “Sounds like he found his perfect mate.”

“Oh, he did.” Jursten laughed. “It’s just, well, Endor is one of the few kingdoms devoted to the God of Wisdom. Fentar wasn’t an especially adept follower and never really fit in at court.”

“If I recall correctly”—Farrell smiled at his friend—“you arranged for Gelg to bring his son to court when you knew Fentar would be there.”

“Your memory is somewhat selective.” Jursten turned to Alicia. “Fentar was very taken with Farrell. I mean, he swooned whenever Farrell came near. It was… embarrassing to his father and my father. Farrell heard that Gelg’s son was attracted to men and was looking for a mate. He let drop that bit of information in a most suggestive way.”

He glanced at Farrell, who shrugged. “What? Your father was about to exile Fentar. All I did was mention how it might be a good match.”

“Wait.” Alicia put her free hand up, leaving the one under Jursten’s. “How did you know Gelg’s son was looking for a mate?”

Jursten smirked. “Gelg wanted to match him with Farrell, who of course had enough of the handsome but dumb-as-a-stone type.”

“So why did you get involved?” Miceral’s expression told Farrell he’d have to give more details up when they were alone.

“Um… well….” Jursten suddenly looked uncomfortable.

“Jursten owed me a favor.” Farrell earned a look of gratitude from his friend. “I ran interference when a particularly obnoxious mother wanted to pair her equally obnoxious daughter with Jursten at a state dinner. I made sure she sat next to me instead.”

“And that helped how?” Alicia seemed amused and kept stealing glances at Jursten.

“Sitting next to the Prince of Haven is an honor every mother dreams of for her unmarried daughter.” Jursten’s chuckle became a full laugh.

“Unless the prince isn’t interested in women.” Farrell tried to look innocent. “Then it becomes a wasted social opportunity.”

“It sounds like you two have quite an interesting history together.” Alicia smiled coyly at Jursten.

“Jursten was my first real friend.” Farrell turned serious but still smiled. “He wasn’t a teacher, mentor, vassal, subject, court dandy looking for something, or any of the other people I dealt with on a daily basis. We were both young, and aside from him trying to fix me up with all sorts of hideous men—”

“Please, you told Duchess Helena I mentioned her daughter to you fondly.” Jursten rolled his eyes. “Do you remember how much trouble we both got in when Father had to deal with the old battle-ax?”

“Not attractive?” Kerstand asked.

“She was forty-three and I was twenty-four!” Jursten pointed at Farrell. “He knew the Duchess was desperate to find a suitable husband for Jonice, and his little comment had the old woman practically sprinting for my father’s chambers.”

“That was the closest Clement ever came to yelling at me.” Farrell nodded at the memory. “But the two-hour lecture on the finer points of marriage diplomacy was enough that I never did that again.”

Alicia turned to Jursten. “You will have to tell me more about your adventures.”

Peter rolled his eyes, but his sister kept flirting with Jursten and didn’t notice.

“After dinner,” Jursten said, smiling back, “it would be my pleasure to regale you with some of our more amusing adventures.”

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Author BioAndrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common, and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.

He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of nineteen years, their daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.

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Get your copy of The Last Grandmaster for only $.99 (this week only!) at DSP Publications and Amazon.

Want to make sure you don’t miss Book 2 of the Champions series? Follow Andrew via his website, or like his Author Page on Facebook.

You can also follow Andrew on Twitter, Google+, or his personal Facebook page.

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5 Stars, James Oliver French, Kaituhi Press, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lynn, Tragic Romance

Review: Return to Me by James Oliver French

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Title: Return to Me

Author: James Oliver French

Publisher: Kaituhi Press

Pages/Word Count: 326 Pages

At a Glance: A powerful, off the grid and fascinating read

Blurb: What would you do if the man you loved vanished without a trace?

Kyle and Todd meet at a party in their freshman year at college. They fall in lust at first sight, then deep in love. In spite of Kyle’s melancholy past, their future together looks bright. Then Kyle disappears, leaving Todd heartbroken and alone, and their dreams in ruins. Fifteen years later, Todd is a successful but lonely psychiatrist. He still hasn’t come to terms with the loss of his first love. When a dangerous amnesiac arrives at the hospital, Todd is forced to confront the past, and is driven to find answers to the questions that have haunted him all these years.

Return to Me is a tragic love story that stands out in a genre dominated by M/M romance. It’s a story about love, loss, heartache, acceptance, and hope that will stay with you long after you’ve reached the end.

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Review: Wow, this story was an amazing read. I had expectations when I started the book but set them aside, one by one, the deeper I read. The complex inner workings of Todd, the main character, is the true focus of the story and kept me fascinated. We see him meet a man while they are both in college, and their relationship blossoms quickly. Still, this is not your typical romance. The author goes places I did not expect, which I appreciate. And there is neither a HEA, nor does it have a HFN. Just putting that out there. You’ve been warned.

I’m not one for insta-love, but when Todd and Kyle meet as freshman, it just felt right. All the pieces fell into place and they just clicked. This could have been cheesy or rushed, yet it was smooth, sweet and hopeful. The author’s portrayal of first time love was spot on. As a reader I was definitely feeling the deep connection with these two. I wanted nothing but the best for Kyle and Todd. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

As quick as it starts, everything stops. We know from the blurb that Kyle vanishes. He’s nowhere to be found, and his estranged family is no help either. Todd’s pain is palpable. I felt the anguish, the desperation, the feeling of helplessness, and it was heartbreaking to read. The author did a great job bringing these emotions from the page right to your gut. The same attention to detail, the same finesse seen when the pair fell in love is now used here, making everything so real and believable. Todd’s frame of mind while torturing himself by rehashing his last moments with Kyle, and how none of it makes any sense, will stay with me for a while.

I loved how the author broke this story up into two parts. He could have easily started the book years after Kyle’s disappearance, and had Todd having flashbacks of his time with Kyle. The problem with flashbacks is that they can sometimes dull events because the characters are removed from the situation, everything has already happened, so there is no knee-jerk, spontaneous reaction. I feel the author wanted us to really connect with these characters in a way that can only be done “in real time”, along with setting up for the second part of the story. He does it splendidly well.

So, now the story jumps fifteen years, and Todd has moved on with his life. He’s recently met a new man but is still affected by the loss of Kyle, has never stopped wondering what happened. Some answers finally come from an unlikely place, with an impossible patient and unexpected events. The change in Todd as he helps the patient is subtle at first. He is older now and less innocent than he was in the beginning of the story. I was immediately curious how the author was going to connect all the dots. The method seems to have confused or disappointed some reviewers, but I thought it was amazing. A little advanced medicine with a bit of a sci-fi element thrown into the mix. It allows Todd to go on a fact finding mission and finally get some inkling as to what happened to his first love. The truth is very shocking. There is only one piece of the puzzle that I shook my head at, even though something had to happen. I will warn readers, it’s not a walk in the park. It’s another massive punch in the gut.

I personally don’t need a story with a HEA, but I wanted it with this one. I really fell in love with both characters. I had hope and then nothing. What this author does is build up that hope, gives the reader a light at the end of the tunnel and then abruptly snuffs it out. I loved it. I never wanted to get off the emotional roller coaster the author had me going on.

This is a very strong debut book from an author I will definitely read again. The story is fresh and real, the writing is precise and flowed smoothly. From Todd to Felix, who is Todd’s best friend, his rock, and biggest supporter from the very beginning, to Simon, a hopeful candidate for Todd’s future happiness, the characters, even those we meet for only brief moments, really moved this story along. If you want butterflies and buttercups, look elsewhere. If you want a powerful, off the grid and fascinating read, try this. You won’t be disappointed.






You can buy Return to Me here:

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5 Stars, Cecilia Tan, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Volume Six by Cecilia Tan

Title: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Volume Six

Author: Cecilia Tan

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 547 Pages

At a Glance: Cecilia Tan continues to deliver

Blurb: The latest installment of the award-winning web serial about coming out and coming of age in the 1980s.

After the tumultuous events at the end of the tour in 1989 leave Daron and the band reeling, it’s time to get off the road for a while. When an opportunity to stay in Los Angeles comes up, Daron takes it. There’s session work and music industry schmoozing galore to be done in LA, but Daron’s true reason for wanting to be on the West Coast temporarily is simple: Ziggy is in isolation drug rehab in Cailfornia. Daron wants to be nearby, even if Ziggy can’t communicate with the outside world. Is Daron prepared to deal with Digger, record company politics, and creative challenges alone?

Bonus Content: Ziggy’s Diary

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Review: The first person narrative has rarely been used to greater effect than in Cecilia Tan’s online serial Daron’s Guitar Chronicles. The relationship between Daron and the reader is something I’ve never experienced before, and I don’t believe could have been achieved in the third person, limited or omniscient, as brilliantly as it’s been done here. Daron’s narrative is intimate, personal, and it’s, of all the oddest things, interactive. Or maybe it’s reactive. Whatever one wishes to call it, there are times during the reading of this, and the previous books, that I wanted to hug him, shake him by the shoulders, give him an earful, and then go right back to hugging him through his pain and torment. I’ve rarely ever connected to a character this way, maybe never on this level, and it’s a testament to Cecilia Tan’s storytelling that Daron exists as something more than merely a character on the page but as a person who feels real and alive, if only somewhere in the realms of pure imagination.

Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is a fictional autobiography, which is an oxymoron, true, but fits, as Daron himself is chronicling his life from a point in the future that’s unknown to readers. We can assume he’s settled but with whom we can only guess, nor do we know yet what it’s taken to get him to the point of sharing his memories with us, but these are variables with which the author can, and I’m sure will, still mine a wealth of storyline from this man’s life.

There is a Ziggy shaped hole in this installment of the Chronicles, and never has the presence of a character been felt so keenly than in his absence. For those who are unfamiliar, Ziggy is (or was) the lead singer of Moondog Three. The band was on the cusp of superstardom when Ziggy had a meltdown for the ages that landed him in the Betty Ford clinic and left Daron in the arms of Jonathan, the man Daron tries, almost desperately at times, to allow to fill the Ziggy shaped hole in his heart.

Volume Six reads like an interlude of sorts. Where Volumes One through Five are a sumptuous overture, this installment offers the chance for readers to pause and reflect along with Daron on everything that has happened to this point in his short life: the successes, the failures, the joy and the heartbreak. Moondog Three appears to be crashing just as quickly as they rose, and Daron Moondog, under threat of lawsuit, is no longer permitted to exist, forcing Daron to reclaim his surname, if not his identity, as his estranged father Digger Marks’ son. One of the loveliest juxtapositions in this book, from the view of the first person, is the role reversal–Daron is at loose ends without Ziggy, while Ziggy, who has always been the loose cannon and free spirit, is pulling his life together after rehab, jetting off to India, where he’s gone for a little spiritual reflection. It’s not until the bonus chapters at the end of the book that the reader gets a glimpse into Ziggy’s world, which is saddening and maddening at the same time, but sets up what will be the inevitable reunion with Daron. Daron and Ziggy have both learned some things about themselves in their time apart. What remains to be seen, though, is if what they’ve learned will help or further damage their relationship (at least for those of us who don’t follow the serial online).

With everything in limbo for Daron, including Ziggy’s exact whereabouts once he leaves rehab, we watch Daron take a crack at domesticity with Jonathan, an experiment that on the surface may seem a failure but did, in truth, serve a purpose other than to cause me to shout at my e-reader that Daron is with the wrong man. And then, eventually, didn’t I tell you so, Daron?, when the inevitable happens. But, as difficult and frustrating as it was to watch Daron going through the motions of playing house, this act is a necessary part of Daron’s evolution, and it allows the reader to get to know and love Jonathan a bit better. It would have been an insult to Daron, Ziggy, Jonathan, and to readers if Cecilia Tan hadn’t given thorough examination to this time in Daron’s life. No deus ex machinas, no pat answers and simple resolutions could have happened at this juncture. Everything that happens in this book, Daron’s growing and growing up, his cutting off ties with his father while strengthening his bond with Remo Cutler—Daron’s best friend and surrogate father figure—as well as his friendship with Jonathan and separation from Ziggy, is necessary to the whole of this saga.

As always, the author’s attention to detail is meticulous, not to mention impressive, never once weighing down the pace of the narrative. Reading this serial has been like getting an insider’s view of the music business, told to us by a young man who is charming, vulnerable, tenacious, and so easy to love. Daron’s relationship with his guitars and music transcends and informs his relationships with people, and serves as the foundation for his coming to terms with being gay, finding the courage to come out to his closest friends, and learning how to say what he feels and ask for what he wants. How this will play out in Volume Seven, when Daron and Ziggy reunite, promises to be epic.

The first five books in this serial made it onto my Best Books of 2014 list. There is no question Volume Six, and if I’m lucky this year, maybe even Volume Seven too, will make it onto the list for 2015.






You can buy Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Volume Six here:

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BJ Sheppard, Giveaways, Videos, Wilde City Press

Video Excerpt and Giveaway: Always Have, Always Will by BJ Sheppard

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The Novel Approach is so honored to be kicking off BJ Sheppard’s Always Have, Always Will Blog Tour today, and to be bringing you some very exclusive content to celebrate the book’s release at Wilde City Press.

Not only did this very dapper man do a video reading from the book for us, but he has also revealed that his well of talent runs deep. The song he’s shared with us today? Yes, he not only composed it, but that’s him performing it as well.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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Title: Always Have, Always Will

Author: BJ Sheppard

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Length: 64 Pages

Genre: Gay Fiction, Contemporary 

Blurb: Imagine losing everything you ever loved in the blink of an eye. For Clayton Palmer, that terrible fate has just become a reality as he buries his lover, Gregg, after a brief and futile battle with cancer. Now, in the house in which they shared their love for all those years, Clay’s own life is slowly fading. In a war with his ailing body, Clay reminisces over the life they shared. Knowing time is running out, memories of their joy and sadness come to him; vignettes forming a road map back to the man he always loved; always has and always will.

Buy Links: Wilde City Press, Amazon, ARe

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Bj SheppardAuthor Bio: My name is BJ Sheppard and all at once I found myself an author. Such a strange sensation to actually feel you deserve the thing you had aspired to for many years. After all, all it took was computer access and an inner world that reads like a Sheryl Crow song to pound the keys and translate my crazy ideas onto the page. I feel like I could have business cards printed. Maybe wear a black roll neck and perch my glasses on the tip of my nose. I could drink whisky and smoke a cigar and do all those really stereotypical things I imagine all writers do. Perhaps I could get laid a little more? This is not the end. Nor the beginning. Hell, it isn’t even about me. My boys write themselves; I really don’t have that much say in the matter. As long as my characters need a voice, I have two chubby typing fingers and a need to please— watch this space: there is more to come.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter

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Follow BJ’s Tour For More Exclusive Content And More Chances To Win An E-copy Of Always Have, Always Will:

January 5The Novel Approach

January 6Rhys Ford

January 7GGR-Review

January 8Joyfully Jay

January 9Love Bytes

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CoolDudes Publishing, Giveaways

Introducing a New Name In Publishing: CoolDudes and a Giveaway

COOLDUDES PUBLISHING LOGO (Main)

The Novel Approach is pleased to be a part of the unveiling of CoolDudes Publishing, the newest press in the gay fiction genre. To celebrate their launch, CoolDudes is offering the chance for readers to win some great prizes, including an Amazon Gift Card and free e-books!

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

To enter for the chance to win the $20 gift card, just go to cooldudesbooks.org and subscribe to the site by signing up for updates. CoolDudes Publishing will select a winner from their new subscribers.

To enter for the chance to win some books (blurbs below), just leave a comment here and you’re automatically entered in the competition. One winner will be selected from all commenters and notified by email for prize delivery.

The deadline for both giveaways is Midnight on January 15, 2014.

Good luck!

Authors, if you’re interested in learning more about the CoolDudes Publishing Program, click HERE. For Submission Calls and Guidelines, click HERE and HERE.

And now here’s some information on the books you could win. One winner will be awarded each of the e-titles below!

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Draven's Gate Cover-02Blurb – Draven’s Gate by Cheryl Hedford: All Keiron wants is a quiet life. Fat chance with a boyfriend like Bren. But if he thought Bren complicated his life, it was nothing to the complications that begin when he opens the door to a naked boy who claims to be his slave.

Draven is a fairy with his sights set on the handsome human who keeps a wild place in the garden for fairies. When Draven slips though a fairy gate into the city, and Keiron’s world, he sets in motion a series of events that binds him to Keiron forever, and just might be the end of him.

While Draven explores Keiron’s world with wide eyed wonder, Keiron does everything he can to keep Draven’s at bay, until the only way to save Draven and bring him home is to step into a world that exists only in children stories and animated movies – doesn’t it.

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Italy Athletics Worlds PistoriusBlurb – Stars Fall by Louis J. Harris: Keegan Mansfield is a loner.

A bilateral amputee athlete.

With only one goal; to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games. Every move he makes is towards this dream, and even though there are forces trying to stop him, he moves forward because there’s too much at stake. Although he has the determination and the will to succeed, he is dependent on others and there are ingredients missing from his life that he so desperately needs.

Truth, love and happiness.

When team mate Conrad Smith saves him from a violent incident, both embark on a journey of love that would lead to the truth about Keegan’s past and a happiness that will last for only a moment, and a tragedy that will bring them closer, as one, for neither can live without the other. And, just as things seemed as bad as they could get, Keegan learns an important lesson, that trust is not a game, trust is as real as day and night, as real as the wind. He learns, through tragedy, that Rio comes with the sacrifice of his dependency on others. He learns that true love thrives on togetherness.

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The IslandBlurb – The Island by Kristopher Quentin (e-book will be delivered upon its release in February 2015): When Wyatt and David volunteer their services to mind Puffin Island for a month, their lives change forever. Wyatt is an easy going, lonely artist. He’s also in love with David, who, at twenty-one, is still a virgin. David is everything that Wyatt is not. But Wyatt is also smitten by Thayne, an uneducated, eighteen-year old carpenter who comes into their lives when fate throws the two men a curve-ball intended to destroy Wyatt.

Set on an island with a lighthouse and thousands of puffins, The Island is a strikingly original first novel. The world of Wyatt and David and Thayne is a rollercoaster of emotion, fun, and joy. It is totally plausible and honest in its rich prose, compelling detail, and dialogue.

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We’re excited about this venture because, well, it is exciting. It’s a huge challenge for us, after all, every one of the team is a writer, or a beta reader, or an editor in his/her own right. We are excited because our imprint is a baby and we want to nurture it and see it grow. We are excited because we want our writers and readers to feel at home with us.

We’re not an answering machine.
We are not form letters.
We are not a call centre.

Every step of the process goes through a human being, some are parents with families, some are lovers who live together, some are happily married in a mutual gay relationship. In all this, we are all supporters of LGBT and this is our way of giving back to our amazing society.

CoolDudes Publishing

Website | Twitter : @lgbtpublisher | Google+ : CooldudesPublishing MM Romance | Pinterest | Our Newspaper: Paper Li – Cooldudes Publishing | You Tube : CooldudesPublishing MM Romance | Email Louis J. Harris at louisjharris@cooldudespublishing.com

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5 Stars, Carter Quinn, Drama, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lynn, Self-Published

Review: Vanished by Carter Quinn

Title: Vanished

Author: Carter Quinn

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 98 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Henry Cooley has good friends and a good life. He’s secure in his job and his relationship. He and Tom, the love of his life, are about to celebrate their twenty-first anniversary as a couple. Their son, CJ, is in his second year at Cal Arts. Henry’s only problems are his growing dissatisfaction with his job and the fact that Tom’s parents still hate him, even after all these years. At least those are his only problems until the morning he wakes up to discover Tom has vanished. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Literary Fiction, Michael Kudo, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jackie, Wilde City Press

Review: Red Rose (Blood) by Michael Kudo

Title: Red Rose (Blood)

Author: Michael Kudo

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: “I don’t like to be called an Assassin, I prefer the term problem solver.”

My name’s Alex. I’m an average guy. I kill people for a living. But don’t judge me.

I don’t take jobs on just anybody though. I only kill the really annoying people, like cheaters or abusers. So if you think about it, I’m actually doing God’s work—okay, maybe that’s stretching things a bit. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Daniel A. Kaine, Reviewed by Lynn, Wilde City Press

Daniel A. Kaine’s “Slasherazzi” Takes You Inside The Mind Of A Serial Killer


It’s no wonder the Zodiac Killer flirted so relentlessly with the police. Or that Jack the Ripper courted and baited detectives with his – or her – coy letters. We all wish to be pursued. We all long to be desired.” ― Chuck Palahniuk


Title: Slasherazzi

Author: Daniel A. Kaine

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 192 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Recently promoted to Detective, Alex is out to prove himself and the Slasherazzi case is the perfect opportunity. Mutilated corpses are showing up across Tampa, and when the team discovers the newest victim was tortured alive, Alex becomes more determined than ever to stop the crazed serial killer before the horrific stabbings escalate further.
Continue reading

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Daniel A. Kaine, Wilde City Press

Daniel A. Kaine Leaves No Question Unanswered On The Slasherazzi Blog Tour – And There’s A Giveaway


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Hi everyone, and thanks for stopping by as we kick off the second week of the Slasherazzi blog tour. And thank you to The Novel Approach for having me.

Just a quick note about the giveaway: you may notice the giveaway has reset this week. Don’t worry, because it hasn’t. There are actually two giveaways. This second one will be running until the 27th, giving you a second chance to win if you’re unlucky in last week’s draw, which will conclude on the 20th. If you’d like to check out last week’s stops, you can view the schedule at the bottom of my home page.
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David Pratt, Wilde City Press

Welcome To David Pratt And The “Looking After Joey” Blog Tour And Giveaway


(c) 2014 Eva Mueller

(c) 2014 Eva Mueller


The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome David Pratt on the Looking After Joey Blog Tour.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Continue reading

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