Giveaways, Perie Wolford

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: Jimmy’s Erotic Adventure in Time and Space Continuum

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Please join us in welcoming author Perie Wolford back to The Novel Approach with an exclusive excerpt and giveaway of his upcoming erotic novella Jimmy’s Erotic Adventure in Time and Space Continuum. As an added bonus, Perie’s also offering the chance for SEVEN lucky readers to win an e-copy of the book. This short novel will be available only via Amazon, so entrants must have an Amazon account and a Kindle reading device or app in order to collect on the prize. E-book will be delivered to the winners on release day. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

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Jimmy_CoverBlurb: Jimmy the time-traveler, while trying to solve a time-riddle his late father left for him, gets accidentally flung back in time, to the year 1871, the days of the Wild West, landing squarely in the middle of a valley of death. He stumbles into a pack of gun-toting rustlers, who capture him. To Jimmy’s luck though, the youngest of the rustlers, Kit Fisher, is not like the rest of his folks.

Length: 100 pages
Genre: Gay/SciFi/Romance/Erotica
Links: Goodreads || Amazon || Author Website

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EXCERPT:

Episode 1
A SPECIAL KIND OF COWBOY

Jimmy landed on his butt, smack-dab in the middle of a barren desert, hissing and cursing under his breath.

He got up, shaking dust off his ass, a bulky Time-Elapsing device slack around his scrawny forearm, dangling, like a hypertrophied version of a wristwatch, circa 20th century. And it almost burned his skin again, bitch! Its circuits overheating every freaking time when Jimmy time-traveled. Once back home, the thing was so ending up in a trash can.

Jimmy looked around, his eyes darting over an unfamiliar terrain: Mounts of red rock all around. Downhill slopes wedged into one another. Pulverized rock dust fringing the souls of his boots. Tumbleweed. Towering green cactuses, six feet tall and higher, their thorns spiked in every direction, threateningly. And not a Goddamn soul in that Godforsaken desert.

“Where are we?” Jimmy demanded, scratching the back of his head, his dark brown hair hanging in curls, in desperate need of a haircut.

“South-West region of the continent of North America–Utah, year 1871,” the machine on his wrist drawled, its manufactured gender-neutral voice stumbling over the letter E, mispronouncing it.

“Awesome,” Jimmy sighed, looking around.

“How far away is the beach?” he wondered. The point of destination was supposed to be a Californian beach, circa 2235. But there was apparently a malfunction during the shift. So Jimmy ended up here, in the year 1871, instead. In the middle of Utah. The machine beeped, in no hurry to formulate an answer. Then it beeped again. Jimmy shook it. “Answer already!”

“618 miles,” the machine intoned limply.

“618 miles?” Jimmy growled. Then sighed. Then looked around again. “Is there a beacon in this valley? There isn’t any beacons in this valley, is there?”

“Distance to the closest beacon–72 miles,” the machine responded.

“Shit! Damn it! Shit!” Jimmy cursed and kicked the dust with a nose of his boot. An orange cloud drifted from under his shoe out over the brittlebush. “That’s great! That’s just perfect!”

He swiveled around, looking over the rigorous terrain, weighing his scanty options in his head.

“Okay–Give me coordinates,” he commanded, beginning to pull his clothes off at the same time. He needed a change of clothing.

“Calculating–” the machine drawled.

Jimmy untied the acid-green laces on his pristine white boots. Shook them off his feet. Off went his white unblemished socks too. Then he unzipped his jeans and pulled them down, clumsily, his underwear (black cotton sleeping shorts with two azure buttons on the fly and a matching azure elastic band) stuck together with the inner flaps of his side pockets. He tugged on the leg of his jeans, almost tumbling over, and the whole thing slid down. His flaccid dick popped out, dangling between his legs, loose at last (just the way Jimmy liked it). The dick’s owner then slipped out of his T-shirt and huddled all items of his clothing together. He threw the resulting clod of fabric on the ground, unconcerned.

He straightened his spine and stretched his arms apart, catching wind–oh, the blissful coolness.

“Now that’s more like it,” he murmured. His naked buttocks bore a sign of his unpurified birth–a birthmark in the shape of a wild bird, on the left cheek. He had a really beautiful butt too.

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91TuVDYKHAL._UX250_About the Author: Perie Wolford is an optioned and produced screenwriter and published LGBT author. His publications include YA/GAY series SAM DORSEY AND GAY POPCORN (formerly known as TURNING 16), a tribute to ’80s classic movies such as Sixteen Candles and Dirty Dancing.

Find more about the author on his official website periewolford.comTwitter: @periewolford, and Facebook

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

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

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Lynn, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Tere Michaels

Review: Who Knows the Dark by Tere Michaels

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Amazon

Title: Who Knows the Dark (The Vigilante: Book Two)

Author: Tere Michaels

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 230 Pages

At a Glance: For those wanting excitement and non-stop action with a little mystery thrown in, Who Knows the Dark is definitely for you.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: A wanted man after the destruction of the Iron Butterfly Casino, Nox Boyet must flee the island of Manhattan—the only home he’s ever known. Together with Cade, Sam, and the rest of their ragtag group, Nox must find a place to hide from the District Police and the violent group of unknown drug dealers on his tail.

The solution—the Creel family farm in South Carolina.

But home isn’t quite sweet for Cade, the prodigal son. As Cade struggles with his own secrets, shadows of the past threaten not only Nox’s life, but his relationship with his son, Sam.

Nox knows there will never be peace unless he finds the answers to all his questions—and the answers lie back on the island. Cade and the others must choose their paths—find safety or follow the Vigilante into the darkness of the city? The city where Nox will come face-to-face with the past.

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Review: I’m quite familiar with Tere Micheals, having read almost everything she’s written. While this story is far removed from what I’m used to reading from her, I must say, I’m in love.

First and foremost, you must read these books in order, starting with Who Knows the Storm (Vigilante #1)Who Knows the Dark picks up right where the first one ended. Escaping the city and running for their lives, this colorful group of characters keep you on the edge of your seat and the pages turning.

I love the world the author created in this series. We get the familiarity of places we know well, like New York City. Everything is so vastly different, but still recognizable. The dystopian setting is amazing to read. The author’s descriptions of the destruction caused by the storms are so clear you can actually see ruins in your head.

Now, there’s a lot going on in this story. We’re in so many heads that it’s hard to keep up at times. This isn’t one of those books you can casually set down and come back to. (Though, why you would want to put it down is beyond me.) Anyways, this story moves, and it moves fast. I loved the quick pace and the ‘I wanna know what’s going to happen next’ feeling this book gave me. A very exciting read.

We know most of the characters from the first book. Nox is still trying to protect Sam at all costs, which includes struggling with telling Sam the truth. Part of me wanted Nox to get over it and just tell Sam already. Another part knows the sacrifice and commitment Nox has made to keep up his facade, so I get his situation. Even after this second book, I’m still not sure how I feel about this character. He’s just so serious all the time. I know he’s been through a lot and feels it’s his responsibility to keep everyone safe, I get it. But geesh dude, get some humor, will ya? Lighten up.

Cade, with his on again/off again feelings for Nox, has become quite helpful. Bringing a group of people on the run to his childhood home may not be really smart, but it’s the only choice they have. I wasn’t too sure when I first met him, but he’s proven himself loyal to Nox. He’s a survivor and is quick to abandon his own safety to help Nox. He’s a keeper.

And while we really don’t get a lot of time in Sam’s head, I feel as though I have to mention him. In the first story he was sheltered from the real ugliness of the city. Here, we see him in a budding relationship, coming of age in an unsettled world, and having to deal with Nox’s secret. That’s a lot to take on all at once. I’m hoping we see how he’s handling everything all in the next book.

For me, I didn’t connect with the main characters – I liked some okay, and others I could take or leave – but I’m enthralled by this story. Usually if I don’t have that bond with the characters, I don’t enjoy the book. Not so with this one. Ms. Michaels’ writing and storytelling expertise keeps me coming back for more. I’m loving each story, and the series as a whole, so I guess I don’t have to really dig the characters individually. I’m okay with that.

As for the other characters, they were great. Like I said before, we get POVs from many. Some backstories – which I loved – really helped explain why they were the way they were. We meet Cade’s parents and brother, whose computer hacking skills are a major asset to them. Mason and Jenny from the first story are back, along with many others. They all contributed to the story and made it that much more exciting.

Overall, I’m really enjoying this journey. For those wanting excitement and non-stop action with a little mystery thrown in, Who Knows the Dark is definitely for you.

TNA_Signature_Lynn

 

 

 

You can buy Who Knows the Dark here:

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5 Stars, Anna Butler, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Wilde City Press

Review: Heart Scarab by Anna Butler

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Title: Heart Scarab (Taking Shield: Book Two)

Author: Anna Butler

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 300 Pages

At a Glance: Fast-paced, thrilling sequel to the first book in the series.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: In Heart Scarab, set more than a year and a half after Gyrfalcon, Shield Captain Bennet’s company is on a planet in imminent danger of being overrun by the Maess. Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Bennet’s job is to get out as many civilians as he can. The enemy arrives before the evacuation is complete. Caught in a vicious fire fight, Bennet is left behind, presumed dead.

His family is grieving. Joss, his long-term partner, grieves with them; lost, unhappy, remorseful. First Lieutenant Flynn has no official ‘rights’ here. He isn’t family. He isn’t partner or lover.

All he is, is broken.

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Review: God, what a ride this book was. As a fan of the first book, I was thrilled to read this one. It gripped me from the beginning and took me for a ride until the very end. And I cannot wait for the third book.

After a failed attempt to evacuate the religious fanatics from Telnos before the Maess invade, Bennet is presumed dead; his signal is gone and Rosie has watched him fall after a strafing run. Left to pick up the pieces and move on are the people who loved him the most: his family, his lover Joss, his lieutenant Rosie, and Flynn.

Anna Butler is spectacular at characterization. While I had hated Joss in the first book, for the first half of this one I felt for him. She not only shows things from his perspective, but also switches to second person POV sometimes to show the depth of his thoughts and connect readers to Joss. The second half of the book I wanted to punch him. The same goes for Rosie. I felt for her and her unrequited love for Bennet, but I also hated how she couldn’t accept that he was in love with men. And Flynn. Oh, my poor Flynn. How can you not love him? The cocky flyboy who finds himself in love for the first time in his life only to discover his lover dead…and he’s unable to do anything about it.

While the first book deals a lot with the action part of science fiction, and the first half of this one does as well, the second half is more about the recovery process of loss, grief, and acceptance. How does one cope in a situation like this, where loved ones are gone for so long and placed in dangerous situations? I suppose it’s much like today’s military.

I highly recommend this book, though not without a few words of warning. First, you should definitely read the first book. The relationship between Bennet and Flynn is established in that book, and while T18 isn’t discussed much, it’s still integral to how their relationship began. And why would you want to miss out on Flynn finally falling in love? Second, though I do talk about romance, this book is not a romance. Yes, there are some romantic subplots, but as a whole, the book is science fiction and the relationships, while important, are not the main part of the book.

So, if you haven’t, go back and read the first book, and then come back for round two.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

You can buy Heart Scarab here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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Anna Butler, Giveaways

Interview and Giveaway: The Heart Scarab Blog Tour with Anna Butler

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Today we’re please to welcome author Anna Butler to TNA on the Heart Scarab blog tour. Enjoy Anna’s interview and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win one of the following prizes:

*a copy of my novella, FlashWired (epub, mobi or pdf) on every stop to one random commenter

Chance to enter a Rafflecopter for:
*top prize of a $50 Amazon gift voucher 
*second prize, winner’s choice of a Heart Scarab iPad cover or Kindle cover
 *third prize, a Gyrfalcon iPad cover

Good luck!

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WP: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Anna Butler,  author of Heart Scarab.

Hi Anna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

AB: Hi! And thank you for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here.

Heart Scarab is the second of the Taking Shield series, which charts the life and loves of Shield Captain Bennet. Taking Shield is both a sweeping sci-fi story (old school sci-fi with spaceships and lasers, aliens and handsome heroes) and an equally sweeping love story. I should warn you, though, that it isn’t a romance in the sense that it won’t be what most m/m romance readers would expect.

Thousands of years after an alternate-universe Earth went dark, the people of one of her colonies, Albion, are struggling in a war that’s probably unwinnable, against aliens called the Maess. Although humans have been fighting the aliens’ cyborg drones for over a century, they haven’t seen a real, organic Maess. Set against the war, is the love story between Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. They meet in the first book, Gyrfalcon, but for various reasons theirs isn’t going to be an easy love. They meet and part several times before the end. In Heart Scarab, Bennet’s return after being declared missing in action, presumed dead, puts intolerable strain on his relationship with his long term partner, Joss, but paves the way for a reunion with Flynn.

As for me, I worked for the UK civil service for many years as a communications specialist, working on everything from marketing employment programmes to running an internal TV service. These days I’m concentrating on trying to make it as a writer, combining my love of old school science fiction and m/m themes. I live in London with my husband and our cockapoo, Molly. We’re currently house hunting, looking for a country retreat.

WP: Where do you find your inspiration?

AB: Telling you that Star Trek first whetted my appetite for science fiction probably gives my age away, but it’s true that the ground-breaking nature of Trek—the way it casually mixed the nations and races of Earth, for example—is a primary influence on me. I started watching and reading sci-fi avidly. Taking Shield is rooted in all the old school science fiction stories and series : Star Trek, Star Wars, BSG, Independence Day, Doctor Who. I grew up with those, with Heinlein’s and Clarke’s novels. So mostly I’m inspired by the idea of humanity coming up against an enemy they can’t fathom, and having to dig deep within themselves to find the skills and fortitude to survive.

But I think the series that influenced me most in terms of structuring the Taking Shield series is Babylon Five. I loved how so many small, seemingly random events and images came back, much later in the story arc, to show their significance. What B5 proved was that you don’t have to give everything away in the first book/episode/film. You can take time to build a world and its characters slowly and not hurry to wrap up everything neatly until the story itself is fully told. I’ve tried to use this method in the Shield series.

WP: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

AB: I can’t remember not being a storyteller, although writing them down came later. I’ve told/written stories since childhood, starting with the adventures of Jimpy, the soft-toy chimpanzee I took everywhere with me. I moved on to write fanfiction for many years, and although some people decry it, I found it a wonderful, safe place to hone the craft of writing.

I think I first considered myself a writer when I wrote my first long fanfiction that didn’t pander to the tropes and expectations of the fandom, and where I abandoned the usual hurt/comfort storyline for something that was more about exploring the characters and making them, and their motivations, the pivot for the plot. It was certainly a pivotal moment for me.

WP: Do your characters become like real people to you?

AB: Gosh, yes.

It starts early, when I’m first thinking about the character and who he is, where he came from and what he looked like. For the main characters I use a Character Analysis table, answering questions as diverse as how tall he is, what his favourite colour is, and how he deals with disappointment or setbacks—it takes time to complete, so I tend to use this only for the two main characters. By the end of that, the picture of the characters is pretty clear, and I supplement that on Pinterest by searching out images that match the picture in my head.

The important thing is to think about what the character’s faults are. I want them to be rounded human beings, not cardboard cutouts with a few personality traits attached to them. So Bennet, for example, doesn’t always realise how selfish he is, how much he expects things to go the way he’s decreed them to be, because he grew up with wealth and privilege and he doesn’t even think twice about being in command. Flynn’s selfish too, but he’s far more self aware about the devil-may-care attitude he has and how he uses it to keep people at a distance. Frankly, both of them can be jerks, even if the reason for it comes from different backgrounds and experiences.

By the time I start writing, I am usually be pretty clear about why he does (or doesn’t do) something. And I know a lot about them that won’t ever appear in the books, but are part of what’s made them who they are.

WP: If you weren’t a writer, what else would you like to have done?

AB: I’d have loved to have been an opera singer. I took singing lessons for years, but although I had a reasonable soprano voice, it had limited range and power. I’d never be able to hold the stage at Covent Garden! I still regret giving up lessons and concentrating on my career instead, but you can’t go back on things like that for a do-over. Unless you use your voice and practice constantly, it will fade away. Sadly, mine isn’t even the ghost of what it once was, so that door is closed for ever.

WP: What do you want your tombstone to say?

AB: “She had a lot of fun.”

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Heart ScarabBlurb: Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Shield Captain Bennet’s job is to get out as many civilians as he can—a task that leaves him lying on Telnos while the last cutter of evacuees escapes in the teeth of the Maess invasion.

Bennet is listed missing in action, believed dead on a planet now overrun by Maess drones. His family is grieving. His long-term partner, Joss, is both mourning and guilt-ridden.

And Fleet Lieutenant Flynn? Flynn is desolate. Flynn is heart-broken… no. Flynn is just broken.

Buy Links: Wilde City Press || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Amazon CA || Kobo

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Author BioAbout the author: Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to running an internal TV service. She now spends her time indulging her love of old-school science fiction. She lives in the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo.

Where to find the author: annabutlerfiction@gmail.com || Website and Blog || Facebook || The Butler’s Pantry (Facebook Group) || Pinterest || Twitter

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Dates & Stops: Wednesdays July 22 – November 4, 2015

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The Fine Print:

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

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3.5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Loose Id, Lyn Gala, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Without a Net by Lyn Gala

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Title: Without a Net

Author: Lyn Gala

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 266 Pages

At a Glance: Without a Net just needed a bit more attention to details in order to work out a few inconsistencies in the story.

Blurb: Oliver Robertson has been assigned to go undercover in one of the shade clubs that litter the seedier parts of town. He has never engaged in the sort of edge play found in those places, preferring the BDSM in the more mainstream control clubs. However, to find the criminals behind a series of kidnappings, he must go in undercover as a shade sub. The mission becomes more complicated when his captain asks him to collect evidence against a lieutenant who might be a dirty cop.

The case quickly gets out of hand, and Ollie finds himself caught between wanting to do his job and not knowing who to trust. That confusion grows worse when a number of sexy and dominant men challenge his assumption that he prefers safe, contractually negotiated sex. It turns out he has more of a wild side than he expected, and given that he’s surrounded by dangerous men, and he can’t distinguish the good guys from the bad, that’s terrifying.

When Ollie gives his trust to Travis Goode, a dominant who appears to be a federal agent, he might be making the connection of a lifetime or dooming himself forever.

Publisher’s Note: Contains dark BDSM elements.

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Review: This is my first Lyn Gala novel, and I will say that I knew in advance that she writes about BDSM—her work being edgier and often allowing for a good deal of introspection on the part of her characters. In Without a Net, the author uses the vehicle of a mystery/police sting operation to explore a cop’s awakening realization that he likes to walk the edge of consensual D/s experience. In fact, Ollie Robertson will discover that he has a much darker side to him then he has ever fully explored before, while trying to remain an active participant in the center of a sting operation to bring down corrupt law enforcement officials–namely his own captain.

Ollie is supposed to pose as a submissive seeking employment in one of the rougher shade BDSM clubs in the city. Along with a whole heap of scenarios where submissives are losing themselves in dangerous and dubious consent relationships with abusive Doms, the shade club in question also has been noted for a series of disturbing kidnappings. When the game shifts and Ollie is asked by his captain to continue his undercover work in the club, but also to expand it by allowing himself to be backed up by fellow officers who may indeed be dirty cops on the take, he reluctantly agrees to continue. Then, Ollie falls into the hands of a man who has decided to break him and remold him into a shade submissive, all in order to achieve his own revenge against the captain.

Suddenly, Ollie finds himself bound and being brutally trained, his entire fix on who he is sexually and professionally is thrown into a tailspin, and whom he can trust is murky at best. When a former neighbor visits the compound where Ollie is being held, it is hard for our hero to decide if Travis is one of the good guys or another corrupt agent. Not knowing whom to trust, and rapidly realizing he is not the controlled sub he supposed himself to be, Ollie’s life is spinning out of control…and Agent Travis Goode may be the only true anchor Ollie can trust.

There were many layers to this story of corruption and greed. First and foremost this was a story revolving around the corruption and shake down practices of a law enforcement agency. Ollie had already gone on record calling out fellow officers who were biased or bigoted against the gay community within the force; therefore, the story line that had him being the eyes and ears of what seemed a genuinely concerned captain over potentially racist officers was very realistic and valid.

The tensions created between he and other officers were very well written and gave Ollie’s fears over a lack of support from his back-up team credibility. When Ollie was finally taken into captivity by a seeming bad guy, the flow of this mystery novel deepened, and the plot twists and subsequent “breaking’ of Ollie’s resistance and spirit was on target. However, there were several elements in this story that were muddled and left unclear; for instance, the time frame of the story. There was talk of life on Mars about three quarters into the story that made me really jerk in surprise. At the onset of the novel, I got the feel that the setting was a bit different or other worldly, given some of the technology the cops were using, but I never got the idea it was definitely a world set in the future. It was a shock to me that I was now also reading a futuristic novel with possible sci-fi leanings.

Secondly, Ollie’s near constant internal dialogue, which had him self-doubting all that happened, was sketchy and stretched the bounds of believability.  His accepting the fact that he was brutally handled and involved in several non-consensual scenarios just because his captor was seeking revenge on those who had allowed his lover to be brutally treated, left me shaking my head in disbelief. I feel the guilt that Travis felt would have been a bit more justified if there had been even the slightest anger on Ollie’s part against his captors.

All in all, Without a Net seemed unfinished. I am not sure if I ever fully understood who was doing the kidnapping and where those people ended up in the story. If it was explained, I must have missed it while trying to get a handle on Ollie’s evolving reactions to being forced into submission to a man who mocked and used him repeatedly.

I will definitely be visiting this author’s backlist. I believe she writes in depth characters and exciting stories. Without a Net just needed a bit more attention to details in order to work out a few inconsistencies in the story.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

You can buy Without a Net here:

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Amazon US

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Giveaways, Perie Wolford

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: Lights by Perie Wolford

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Help us welcome author Perie Wolford to The Novel Approach today, as he tour in promotion of his latest novel, Lights. Enjoy the excerpt and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win one of five e-copies of the book.

Good luck!

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Lights NEW1Blurb: In the dead darkness of the underwater there were lights.

Coming home for summer break, two film school students, Bradley and Tag, decide to shoot a staged UFO encounter video, one that could potentially generate a lot of attention and a lot of clicks on YouTube. Unexpectedly for both of them, during the filming they accidentally discover a real alien presence in the dark waters near their coastal home town.

Buy Link: Amazon || Add it on Goodreads: Lights

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Watch the Trailer:

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Excerpt: Bradley rolled his eyes. Cooper only called him Bradley, and not Brad, when he was challenging him. Meanwhile, Cooper bared his beautiful chest and that seemed to attract attention. Now that neither of the guys felt like a five-year-old, a man’s muscular torso became a subject of leering.

“Anyone?” Cooper asked, looking at guys, expecting them to start taking their clothes off too. He couldn’t believe they were being such stiffs all of a sudden.

“Come on, Cooper, the water is cold. You’ll freeze your balls off,” Veronica began but he interrupted her.

“Ah-ah-ah!” he uttered, holding a finger to her mouth. She grimaced.

“If you squares are too afraid of some mildly cool water, I’m not even gonna bother trying to persuade you,” he simpered and without missing a beat pulled his shorts down.

He was not wearing any underwear under his shorts and his 6-inch flaccid dick pretty much tumbled out of there and hung for everyone to observe. He knew they would stare so he allowed a moment for them to fully take it in, not feeling even a bit embarrassed about his nudity. His dick was cut and perfectly shaped, dangling between his legs like a thick appetizing sausage. And as if that wasn’t enough, Cooper ran his hand across his torso, in a slow erotic way. His dick reacted to this, perking up a little.

They watched, enchanted.

Cooper licked his lip and bit it, his dick assuming a fully horizontal position at that.  Then, he looked at his penis, as if commanding it to rise. And it did, obediently. In a matter of seconds, like in some twisted magic show, Cooper’s dick rose to its full length of 8.5 inches, eliciting a gasp from the audience. No wonder Cooper was so cocky.

He crossed his hands and wiggled his eyebrow.

“You know guys, if any of you get an erection, I hear some cool water is pretty good at bringing it down,” he quipped. Bradley and Danny exchanged looks. They both slipped off their clothes briskly and plumped into the water. Veronica approached Cooper leisurely. He gave her a sly look and smiled, proud of himself, for several reasons.

“Okay, you got me,” she admitted. “Now get in the water, I’ll be right behind you.”

He approached the rail and stepped up onto the bench, allowing himself a peek from the corner of his eye at Veronica taking her clothes off, and then he jumped, splashes of water showering Bradley’s and Danny’s heads.

The water was freezing at first. Scream-like laughter escaped guys’ mouths as they shivered and shook, flailing their limbs, working their muscles, trying to get warm. In about five minutes it worked, and the water seemed to get a lot warmer. They swam around the yacht for a while, underwater floodlights making the water transparent, and their naked bodies luminous, almost fluorescent in it. They fooled around and splashed each other, giggling. Cooper climbed aboard several times to make somersaults and jump-dives, his flaccid dick dangling between his muscular legs teasingly. Then, bored with that, he ventured off into the dark, swimming far outside the reach of the floodlights, and Veronica followed him.

Danny swam closer to Bradley, closing the distance between them, translucent seawater allowing him to see Bradley’s private parts almost clearly and vice versa.

“I’ve never swum in the ocean at night before,” Danny said, drawing short gasps of air, his lips quivering from cold.

“It’s pretty cool, right?” Bradley breathed out, restraining himself from looking at Danny below the water level. This was the first time Danny took his shorts off and bared his slender beautiful body completely. That was exciting.

“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing,” Danny said. “Also it’s so fucking cold.”

Bradley laughed. “You wanna get out? There’s a big blanket in the cabin.”

“Hell yeah,” Danny said and began rowing towards the small ladder in the back of the yacht. Bradley followed him, allowing himself at last to glance at Danny’s naked butt. As the two climbed aboard, making a conscious effort not to stare at each other, just peek once or twice maybe, just from the corner of the eye, Bradley and Danny slipped into their shorts energetically. Bradley was about to go into the cabin to bring that blanket as he heard Veronica scream.

“What the fuck is that? What is that?” she shrilled.

Danny and Bradley rushed to the rail and what they saw in the water stunned them.

“Veronica?” Cooper shouted concerned.

“Do you see this? Can you fucking see this?” she screamed the way she would if she had suddenly noticed a snake twining around her ankle. But it wasn’t a snake. Below Veronica’s feet, deep underwater there was a light glowing. It was a brightly red sphere of light, shimmering in the current, its incandescent rays reaching out towards the surface, licking Veronica’s and Cooper’s toes.

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

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

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4 Stars, Annabelle Jacobs, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: The Altered 3 by Annabelle Jacobs

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: The Altered 3

Author: Annabelle Jacobs

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 166 Pages

At a Glance: The Altered 3 is a suspenseful and romantic end to this series.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Matt is a single shifter living in a house full of couples. It’s not that he begrudges his friends their happiness—especially after everything they’ve been through—but he wants someone for himself. He wants a mate. Living out in the Cornish countryside there seems little chance of him finding one.

Thomas’s life has recently been changed forever. Newly altered, he finds himself in danger as his mother, a prominent politician, works to put a stop to the mistreatment of altereds and bring those responsible to justice.

To keep him safe, Thomas is sent to Cornwall where Matt and his friends offer him refuge until he can return to his home in London. Despite the circumstances surrounding his arrival, Thomas and Matt bond in a way neither of them were expecting. They struggle to come to terms with what this might mean for their future once the threat is eliminated.

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Review: I’ve so enjoyed The Altered series and some of the fresh concepts Annabelle Jacobs has brought to the paranormal world her characters reside in. The shifters in the series aren’t the product of supernatural mysticism or the result of being bitten by another infected. The shifters in this series are the product of a bit of science fiction and government corruption, which adds a layer of intrigue and danger to the storyline, as the altered are stigmatized and ostracized by society’s prejudices and irrational fears, forcing them to hide their shifter status.

While shifter families aren’t designated as packs, nor are the more dominant members of those families technically considered the alphas, there is definitely the inference that Jordan and Daniel, Keira and Charlie, Sam and Ash—the mated pairs—and the lone single, Matt, are at least pack-like. They fight for each other, protect each other and, while Keira is definitely a dominant personality and a force to be reckoned with, there’s little doubt that Jordan would be the alpha if such a thing existed. What is also prevalent, though it’s never specifically called a fated mate bond, is the serum triggering the mating instinct in these human/shifter hybrids. It may not be fated, it may have nothing to do with magick, but there’s no doubt it’s potent and, from what we see, it’s an impulse that must be obeyed.

This series begins with the world-building and fulfills our romance needs at the same time in the relationship that evolves between Jordan and Daniel in book one. Their story is a great blend of action set against their resistance to the idea that there’s something calling them at a soul-deep level to be together. As the story arc progresses in book two, the overtones become decidedly more romantic as Ash and Sam resolve not only their feelings for each other but the challenges from Sam’s past, as well as the difficult transition for Ash to his status as a newly turned altered.

The end of this trilogy brings all the action and political intrigue and danger to a head, with Matt’s story and the disheartening reality that he is the lone partial shifter in a family of mated pairs—five full shifters and Daniel, a seer. His status as what he sees as the weakest link in the altered chain, not to mention the odd man out as the only one who doesn’t have a significant other to share his life with, started the story off with me immediately wanting to wrap him up in hugs and reassuring him everything would be okay. In other words, the author plays on our empathy, and it works. At least, it did for me. The surprise isn’t that Matt finally meets his mate, but the surprise for Matt is that his mate turns out to be a man, Thomas Knight, the son of a prominent government official—who also happens to be the woman determined to blow a plot to create a shifter army wide open.

In retaliation of his mother’s interference, Thomas is kidnapped and infected, forcing him into hiding not only to escape danger but to protect him until Teresa Knight can ensure a safer world for all altereds. The horrible miscalculation on the part of the villains in this story is that their plan to subdue Ms. Knight served only to infuriate and give her more motivation. Never underestimate the power of a mother when her child is being threatened. Lesson. Learned.

The building of Matt and Thomas’s relationship happens quickly, as is the norm in this sub-genre of romance, and even though Matt had never explored his attraction to men, his attraction to Thomas was handled well. I believed they were meant for each other, and in the end, that’s what all good stories do—make us believe in the impossible, the improbable, and the great mystery that is the chemistry of a physical, mental, and emotional attraction between two people.

While there may not have been any great twists or surprises leading up to the climax of the story, or in the way Annabelle Jacobs wound things down to the book’s happy ending, it moves along at a brisk pace with some really good suspense thrown in as the danger ratchets up toward the end. This series is a fun way to escape reality for a while and spend some time with hot, sexy shifters.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy The Altered 3 here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaways, Jenn Burke, Kelly Jensen

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Skip Trace Blog Tour with Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

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We’re so pleased to welcome authors Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen to The Novel Approach today on their blog tour for Skip Trace, book three in their sci-fi series Chaos Station.

Enjoy their guest post and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget to enter for the chance at some great prizes (details below).

Good luck!

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Inventors by Necessity

Part of creating a sci-fi setting is coming up with cool futuristic stuff. This is a fun thing—but also kind of a stressful one. See, I’m not a scientist. I’ve never wanted to be a scientist or an inventor. I have a rudimentary knowledge of how various things work, like car engines, the internet, computers, etc. But as a writer of sci-fi, I also need to become an inventor of things that aren’t possible…but might be. Someday.

For the Chaos Station series, which is set about 250 years in the future, Kelly and I wanted to have tech that readers could relate to. Here are a few of our inventions.

Wallets – Similar to today’s smartphones, but more—they handle credit transfers as well as communications. Wallets are made of flexible plastic so they can be folded into a user’s pocket, but then unfolded to present a large surface for holographic manipulation.

Smart fiber technology (SFT) – Most clothes have SFT, which uses nanotech to break down dirt and sweat particles to keep fabric looking nice and clean. This cuts down on the need for in-space clothes laundering.

Active tattoos – Ink for tattoos is no longer static; tattoos can be imbued with motion, lights, changing colour, etc.

Jazer – Expensive and very secure point-to-point communications that have no lag in transmission time.

One of the biggest challenges for our world is the limitations placed on people and technology because of jump-space. J-space is the quickest way to travel between two points in space (think a wrinkle in a string), but it’s a different reality and therefore has different rules. Anything that is too delicate can’t survive in j-space—for example, fruit needs a special container, or it will turn to mush.

The biggest drawback of j-space, though, is how it interferes with biotech. Humanity has the knowledge and capability to replace lost limbs with cybernetics, or to outfit people with implants that allow the user to interface directly with computers, but this tech is too delicate for j-space. Implants and cybernetic limbs will short out as soon as a ship jumps, possibly damaging more than just the limb or implant itself. This limitation has influenced the development of the Chaos Station world (and actually plays a big part in book 4!).

What are some of your favourite sci-fi inventions? Alternatively, what tech do you hope will become available in the future?

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Skip Trace Cover600Blurb: Zander Anatolius has been revived from the fatal effects of the super-soldier program, but now he has to face his estranged family and tell a story few would believe. With his lover and the crew of the Chaos at his side, Zander returns home to a media frenzy, threats from the military and pressure to join the family business.

Felix Ingesson still struggles with the horror of believing Zander dead. And no matter how strong their emotional connection is, Felix feels out of place in the glittery world of Zander’s rich family. His lover would be better off without a broken, low-class ship’s engineer holding him back.

When the crew receives word that another of Zander’s former teammates needs rescue, Felix travels with the Chaos…setting Zander free. But when Zander is arrested for treason, the men realize they need each other as much as ever—not only to survive, but to make their lives worth living.

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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Author BioBio: Jenn and Kelly met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.

The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.

www.chaosstation.com

Connect with JennTwitter | Facebook | Website

Connect with KellyTwitter | Facebook | Website

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THE GIVEAWAY

Prize: The first two books in the Chaos Station series, Chaos Station and Lonely Shore, and a $10 gift card to your favorite online bookseller.

Signing up for our newsletter gives access to our free Chaos Station story, “Graduation”.

Terms: Two prizes. Rafflecopter runs from 12:00 AM EST 10/05/2015 to 12:00 AM EST 10/09/2015. Giveaway is open internationally. Gift card value is US dollars. Winners will be contacted via email. If a winner already has one or both of the books, gift card value will be increased to $15 USD.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Fine Print:

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

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Giveaways, Reesa Herberth

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Riptide Publishing 4th Anniversary Blog Tour with Reesa Herberth

4thAnniversary_TourBanner

It seems like only yesterday that Brita Addams contacted me to ask for my participation in helping to promote the launch of a brand new publisher to the LGBT genre. That publisher was Riptide, and it’s hard to believe that was four years ago. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been asked to help celebrate this anniversary, so without further ado, please help us welcome author Reesa Herbert to The Novel Approach.

Enjoy her guest post, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win Free Books For A Year from Riptide!

Good luck!

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Thank you for joining Riptide on our 4th Anniversary blog tour! We are excited to bring you new guest posts from our authors and a behind the scenes insights from Riptide. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Don’t miss the limited time discounts and Free Books for a Year giveaway at the end of this post!

DividersFADE IN:

INT. AUTHOR’S LIVING ROOM – EVENING

A suburban living room, television tuned to a show where adults pretend to be ninjas.  An undisclosed number of cats await their dinner.

MICHELLE, a cheerful blonde woman who gets away with a lot because she looks innocent, is trying to light a fire under her co-author so they can write a good introduction post about their science fiction romance series, THE YLENDRIAN EMPIRE.

REESA, a distracted-looking redhead, is paying more attention to her armchair ninja warrior duties than her co-author.

MICHELLE

What would you say is the main reason people would like the Ylendrian Empire—

REESA

People?  What?  No, you’ve got to hit the trampoline with both feet!

MICHELLE

Ahem.  As I was SAYING.  We don’t have any space ninjas.  Yet.  But we’ve got bounty hunters, and psychic cops—

REESA

Psychic criminals, too.  But the space ninja thing—we should make a note.  And beleaguered technical support staff, respected sex workers…  Plus, even if we don’t have space ninjas, there’s the not-really-zombies on Station 43.

MICHELLE

I think we do a good job making sure our characters are flawed, but relatable. Like Corwin, from Peripheral People.

REESA

His feelings are still hurt because you called him a jerk.  Even if he is kind of standoffish, he has his reasons.  I kind of love that he’s not someone you’d immediately hit it off with at a party.  It makes it that much more rewarding to watch his layers peel back and reveal his ticklish underbelly.

MICHELLE

(Looking interested)

You think Corwin is ticklish?

REESA

I’m sure of it.  It’s probably why he’s so prickly.

(REESA squinches up her nose as she removes a very, very large black and white cat from her lap)

Your original question though, about why people would like the books.  I know you grew up with some geeky tendencies, and I was reading science fiction and fantasy as soon as I could pull it off my parents’ shelves.  As a reader, I find a lot more quality LGBTQ fiction now, but not necessarily a lot of speculative fiction, especially not with a romantic element.  So the Ylendrian Empire books definitely have that going for them.

MICHELLE

Although I don’t think the romantic element takes a back seat.  That was really important to me.  Our characters are Doing Things, but while the action is going on they’re still living the rest of their lives, too.

(Five cats of various sizes and shapes have all arranged themselves near the authors.  All five cats are staring, unblinking.)

REESA

(shifting uncomfortably)

So we’ve got action.  We’ve got romance.  We’ve got impossible odds.  We’ve even got mystery.  But it’s all a blend- I don’t think there’s a stronger pull in any direction.  Romance readers who don’t normally go for science fiction can pick up the books because they’re so character-focused.  Science fiction readers who might not pick up a romance can enjoy them because the plots and worldbuilding are familiar, and again, the characters drive the romance.  And people looking for LGBTQ characters can find them gift-wrapped in a sci fi/romance/action story.

(The large black and white cat returns, and REESA finds herself pinned under twenty pounds of yowling beast.)

MICHELLE

Not that they aren’t fans, but I think the cats want to be fed.

REESA

(Ignoring the chorus of hungry wails at her feet)

What if the space ninjas were cats?

FADE OUT

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Kelly Jensen (Chaos Station) says our latest, Peripheral People is “…thrillingly long and twisty and demands to be read in one straight sitting.”  Psychic detectives…in space!  What’s not to love?

If you’d like to dip your toe into the Ylendrian Empire, rather than jumping in the deep end, check out In Discretion, a charming little novella about that awkward moment when you run into your ex on a space station full of (not!)zombies.

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Reesa Herberth

About the Ylendarian Empire univserse

The Ylendrian Empire universe is a series of loosely-connected space operas written by Michelle Moore and Reesa Herberth.

Fast-paced heists, gritty paranormal mysteries, rescue missions in far-flung exotic jungles . . . the character-driven adventures and romances of the Ylendrian Empire are a chance to explore a new set of stars, with just enough spice to keep you wanting more.

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About Reesa: Reesa Herberth grew up in Hawaii, tried Arizona for a few years, and eventually settled in the D.C. area, where they have trees and rain.

She’s held a variety of crazy writer jobs, including book and video store manager for a defunct chain of music shops, office goddess for an artisan ice cream maker, cheese-cup scrubber at an organic goat dairy, high school secretary, and dye-stained proprietress of a small yarn and fiber business.

When not writing, she can usually be found reading, gardening, cooking, or spinning yarns of another sort entirely. She often resents her need for sleep.

With Michelle Moore, she is the author of the Ylendrian Empire books, including The Balance of Silence, the award-winning space opera caper, The Slipstream Con, and Peripheral People, a sci fi thriller with psychics and squishy feelings, coming soon.

Connect with Reesa:

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Anniversary Sale

The Ylendrian Empire collection is being sold in a special discounted bundle by Riptide this week only. Check out the sale on this series and other bundles HERE.

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THE GIVEAWAY

To celebrate our anniversary, Riptide Publishing is giving away free books for a year! Your first comment at each blog stop on the Anniversary Tour will count as an entry and give you a chance to win this great prize. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 31, 2015, and is not restricted to US entries.

 

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Giveaways, Hayden Thorne

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

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

Good luck!

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

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

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

Buy Links: JMS Books || Amazon || Smashwords

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

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

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

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From Chapter 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surrender and resignation were inevitable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s a long story.”

“Try me.”

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

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

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

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A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

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

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4 Stars, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Keep the Stars Running – An Anthology from Less Than Three Press

Title: Keep the Stars Running

Author: Various

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 419 Pages

At a Glance: A diverse anthology with great stories and even greater characters.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Space is not always filled with adventures and glory. Not everybody goes racing off to battle evil and save the galaxy. Between the rebels, pirates, royals, and spies are the everyday people who work hard just to get by and ensure everyone gets home safe. Less Than Three Press presents a collection of tales about the ordinary folks who keep the stars running.

The Prince and the Programmer by Cassandra Pierce
The Aurora Conspiracy by Lexi Ander
About a Bot by Andrea Speed
Flight Risk by Talya Andor
Survival by Leona Carver

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Review: I greatly appreciate the scope of this project. Though at times it dragged, the focus behind this anthology is unique and was a pleasure to read because it focused on the lesser known aspects of space adventures. As the blurb states, it’s not always filled with adventures and glory, and very often those behind the scenes are unrecognized. In this anthology, however, the mechanics and other personnel get to truly shine.

It’s difficult reviewing an anthology as a whole because of the individual stories it contains, but I will do this review in two parts. First, each story as an individual, and then the anthology as a whole. Because there are only five stories in this anthology, reviewing each one isn’t too difficult, even if they could—and sometimes should¬—have been published on their own. I am presenting the stories in the order that they are published in the book. Also, please forgive my poor descriptions of the stories. I tried to write short blurbs for them, but failed a bit.

The Prince and the Programmer by Cassandra Pierce

Jasno Erys is a foodsynth repair technician. When he is called to the suite of Prince Darex, he expects to get his job done and move on, but that’s not to be the case. When kidnappers enter the suite and find only Jasno, they mistake him for the prince and take him to their client. Of course, the client realizes he isn’t the prince, but Jasno manages to find himself in a position he’d always dreamed of—creating new foodsynth items and becoming a chef.

I rather liked this story. Of course, it has some elements where you need to suspend belief (just look at the title), but it was a fun story and I felt for Jasno. He’s stuck in a position he excels at, but his superiors won’t let him test his creativity. That’s just beyond the scope of his position. While he can fix the foodsynth machines, he can also create new recipes that actually taste like something. And Prince Tergus is not all he appears to be either. He’s a desperate man in love, who realizes almost too late that what he really wants wasn’t what he initially thought.
As a start to an anthology, I thought this story was perfect. It kept me engaged and really set the pace. I appreciated Jasno’s position as a foodsynth repairman-turned-chef (think of a Star Trek replicator for food only). It’s not something one would usually think of for a science fiction story, but hey, those things are going to break down at some time, right? It’s a dirty, tedious job, but someone has to do it.

In terms of the length, this story took up 18% of the book (according to my Kindle), which was a decent length for a shorter novella. Given that they are five stories, I thought it was the perfect length.

About a Bot by Andrea Speed.

Tahir is the Chief Maintenance Officer of a space station, though he refers to himself as the head janitor. His job is rather monotonous, as he is the only flesh and blood member of his staff. The rest consists of various robots. His task is to make sure they perform up to their standards and tinker with them when they’re taken offline to be replaced. When a new station decides to do a report on the people “behind the scenes,” Tahir is chosen and runs into his former crush, Jorian. But, unbeknownst to them, they’re about to contend with an alien enemy that humanity can barely stand up against.

This was my favorite story in the book for one reason, and I have just two words: Bagel bot.

Andrea Speed has such a unique sense of humor, and that is entirely on display in this story. Tahir has “pets” from robots no longer needed, and one of them is the aptly named Bagel bot who is shaped like, well, a bagel. There are others, but there was something just so endearing about her that made the story, even when I was wondering if mankind was about to be destroyed.

Tahir and Jorian have good chemistry, and when the enemy targets the space station, Tahir’s quick thinking and bumbling manages to buy them more time. Sadly, this story is short, and I really wanted more. I could easily see this turned into a full novel, and if I could, I would demand it. In terms of length, it’s the shortest at just 12% of the book. It ended far too soon.

The Aurora Conspiracy by Lexi Ander

Aliens and mining gone wrong. Conspiracies. Long lost loves. I don’t really know how else to describe this.

My second favorite story in this anthology because ALIENS. There’s something just so awesome about reading tales of alien species. Regin and Makari are great characters. I found Regin amusing, partially because of his small amount of feline DNA and how they drugged him with catnip to interrogate him, and Makari for his protective instincts concerning Regin, whom he loves and considers his mate, despite their years of separation.

At 20% of the book, this is a sizeable and well-paced story that starts with an interrogation and follows Regin, Makari, and friends to discover the possible conspiracy with the mining company. Add in a robot named Danny, who thinks he is James Bond, and, well, you have some great entertainment. Regin and Makari made me swoon, and Danny made me laugh. All of which make a great combination. The book is packed with action right until the end, and I really hoped for a good outcome for the boys since they had been torn apart years before.

Flight Risk by Talya Andor

Kiel is a hearing impaired mechanic who works on Gryphon Gears on a planet with limited water resources. He prefers to work on the gears, keeps his head down, and keep to himself, away from the pilots who like to torment him and the other mechanics. When Marco transfers in and is assigned to Bravo team, he doesn’t leave Kiel alone, even though it’s just what Kiel wants. Or is it? When a possible security breach and treason threatens their safety, it’s up to Marco and Kiel to save everyone at the base.

For me, initially, this story dragged. While I enjoyed Kiel and learning about what made him tick, and enjoyed watching Marco try to get Kiel into bed, I often put the book down. It’s only about 22% of the book, but it seemed a lot longer. At the end, however, the action picked up and I couldn’t put down the story. There were a few things that bothered me, such as the outright nastiness in Bravo team’s personalities, especially given what they were trying to do. It seemed contradictory, but I didn’t notice until after I finished the story. I liked Marco and Kiel, but they were the only characters who really got to shine, and I would have liked some other supporting characters who had more screen time.

Survival by Leona Carver

Valentin Mashir was supposed to be a colonist put in cryo for a trip to a new planet, but he’s been upgraded to work in one of the botanical labs and is given a crash course before the trip is underway. After a harrowing experience being put into cryo, Valentin is rudely awakened seventy years early, when the ship sensors detect problems with the plant life in the park. Along with a skeleton crew, they’ll have to get the park back under control and figure out what’s going on, or destroy the park to save the ship.

I don’t even know where to go with this review. The story starts going in one direction, and I’m like, oh, cool, this is nice. And then I think I know what’s going to happen, but the author does a 90 degree turn into the realm of mythology, and I’m staring at the book like, what… the heck just happened? It’s not bad, per se, I rather enjoyed it, but it took an interesting route that I did NOT expect.

This story has very little romance. There’s sex, yes, two men blowing off steam, but that’s it. I wanted romance, but didn’t get it. Fyodor is an intriguing character as a genetically engineered being, and I rather liked his cocky attitude. Valentin is a human who is used to the slums of earth, but he loves the trees he helped plant and wants to work with them.

I really can’t give away too much without ruining the story, but I will say that after being rudely woken from his cryo sleep, Valentin and the group discover something has caused the park to grow exponentially fast, and the roots have spread and are interfering with the ship. While the story is long, the longest in the book, it read pretty quickly.

As an entire anthology, I liked Keep the Stars Running for several reasons. First, the obvious: it goes behind the scenes and really looks at the various people who form support staff. I like that they are given their moments to shine. Some end up saving lives, others don’t, but they all do their jobs well. Second is the diversity. While yes, they all have gay characters, they are also a diverse cast. There are several people of color, and I’m not talking about the alien species encountered, but humans. I loved that. Too often people of color are left out of science fiction, and I think that hurts the genre. Finally, most of the stories have characters with disabilities. They were injured in one way or another, but that doesn’t stop them from working. Some have cybernetic implants to help them, others have had new limbs attached that aren’t quite up to the task. In the case of Kiel, he and the other mechanics have lost their hearing due to the nature of their jobs. The authors really went above and beyond to show that there is no cookie cutter mold for a hero, and they created an incredibly diverse cast within their respective stories. For that I commend them and the publisher.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. I only hope there are more anthologies like this one in the works, because I now have a soft spot for mechanics.

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2 Stars, DSP Publications, Lyn Gala, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Desert World Allegiances by Lyn Gala

Title: Desert World Allegiances (Desert World #1)

Author: Lyn Gala

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 240 Pages

At a Glance: To be honest, I struggled to get through this book.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Being condemned to slavery is a common enough occurrence on the desert planet of Livre, but this time, priest Shan Polli is determined to prevent the corrupt, soul-eating system from destroying one more life. Temar Grazer was sentenced for what amounted to a criminal prank—but Shan soon finds that the dangers extend far beyond Temar’s crime.

Caught between guilt and hope, Shan must find his true path in either the priesthood or in a man whose strength and survival defies the odds. Can the two men unravel a plot that threatens the entire world before Temar is broken by a system of slavery that has twisted out of control?

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Review: I knew going into this book that there would be no romance, so that aspect didn’t bother me. If you really want to read a romance, then this book is not for you, but if you want to read a science fiction novel with some terraforming and a world where water is scarce, then you might enjoy Desert World Allegiance.

To be honest, I struggled to get through this book. While the world-building is well done and the descriptions are vivid, I just couldn’t connect with the characters, and that’s what made most of the book so difficult for me. I didn’t care. From the first pages I was immediately frustrated because I knew how horribly wrong things were going to go, and it didn’t leave me in suspense. It just left me screaming at Temar for being an idiot. I knew everything was going to go from bad to worse. Temar and his sister are the victims of water theft, which is a big deal on a planet where water is scarce. An accident occurs and Temar’s sentence is short-term slavery. Enter Shan, who is against the sentence for Temar, and as he investigates the story he uncovers a conspiracy.

There is a lot of politics in the novel, which I have to be in a certain mood to read. I guess I wasn’t when I was reading Desert World Allegiance, because while it intrigued me sometimes, most of the time I didn’t want to read it. I often felt compelled to put the book down and do something else.

I also struggled with some of the concepts of the book. While I’m not averse to stories with slavery, in some it just doesn’t make sense. This book was borderline. On one hand I could see that as a severe punishment, the threat of slavery would be a deterrent to committing crimes. But on the other hand, for this society, which seems to be advanced, slavery felt a bit incongruous.

There is a second book to this series which I hear has more of a romantic aspect in it. Will I read it? Probably not. I don’t have enough of an emotional investment in the characters.

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You can buy Desert World Allegiance here:

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3.5 Stars, Caitlin Ricci, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: To the Highest Bidder by Caitlin Ricci

Title: To the Highest Bidder

Author: Caitlin Ricci

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Even though there were some questionable moments in To the Highest Bidder, I could see the strength of this author’s ability to weave a fascinating story.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: The Intergalactic Star Pilot Academy has accepted Thierry Leroux into the elite class of sky year 2231. But the academy comes with a hefty price tag, and there’s no way he, a poor Sythe orphan, has the credits the academy requires. Thierry’s brother, Corbin, a high-class companion, suggests Thierry sell his virginity for the cost of tuition. It seems like a ridiculous idea, but it may be Thierry’s only shot, so Thierry asks Corbin to arrange a meeting on the pleasure planet of Wish.

On Wish, Thierry meets Corbin’s boss, Monroe, and they agree to auction off Thierry’s virginity. Thierry is grateful to the masked buyer he knows only as “Dragonfly,” and Dragonfly is gentle, making Thierry’s first time a good memory. When Dragonfly requests to see him again, and pay for the pleasure, Thierry returns to Wish. But in this game, falling in love is dangerous for the heart, and Thierry might not like the man behind the mask.

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Review: Caitlin Ricci is a new author for me, and while I felt that her novel To the Highest Bidder had some questionable moments, her writing voice was so strong I truly felt compelled to read this one to the end. Was it as fully developed plot wise as I may have liked? No, but still the bones of this story were very strong, and after reading it, I knew I would be checking out other work from this author.

Corbin and Thierry are brothers and, essentially, orphans. Losing their parents many years before, the two brothers now live a spartan life, relying on Corbin’s work as an aspasian—effectively a high-class paid companion. Thierry has one dream—to become a pilot—but the money it will cost is far beyond any Corbin or Thierry ever hope to earn; until Corbin comes up with an idea. He suggests to Thierry that he sell his virginity—and since Monroe, Corbin’s boss, is able to set up the bidding, Thierry finds himself auctioned off to a masked man for one night of sex. At least, that was the idea. Before long, Thierry finds himself falling in love with the man he has nicknamed, “Dragonfly,” and it seems as though the gentleman is smitten as well. However, in a moment of passion, Thierry decides to remove the mask hiding his lover’s face and is shocked and angered to see just who his lover really is.

There were moments in this novel where I was absolutely hooked. For instance, the interactions between Dragonfly and Thierry were terribly intimate despite the fact that the older man never spoke. Then the letters back and forth between them while Thierry was at the academy really gave the story cohesion and allowed the reader to see the developing relationship. Thierry was so young—younger than his age of twenty—and I felt that was always present and clear, which made room for certain allowances when it came to his naïveté and his childish emotions.

Unfortunately, there were also some major gaps in this story. Why didn’t Corbin, who was already working in the brothel, prepare Thierry more for his first encounter? Why didn’t Thierry have a job as well? It didn’t make sense that Corbin did all the work to keep them fed. Corbin and Thierry were a special race called Sythe, and many times we read about how they possess a heightened awareness sexually. In fact, many of the students at the academy Thierry attends will not spar with him in the training classes for fear he’ll become some raving sexpot. Based on that, I really thought the rare times Thierry “opened “ himself up to feel all the emotions and physical pleasure he had with Dragonfly would have been amazing—intense, even out of control. Instead, while there was some passion, those scenes were more about the growing relationship rather than the heights of passion Sythe were supposedly capable of having. Why, then, refer to this special gift as often as the author did if there was not going to be a realization of it somewhere in the novel?

Perhaps the real nugget that left me a bit disappointed was the ending. Set several years in the future, Thierry finally gets the man he has loved all along, but their reunion was so abrupt that I was left wondering how the two of them remained in touch all those years. I felt the novel needed more meat to it—more explanation or perhaps a few scenes that took place during that decade or so that showed how these two remained involved and in love with each other. Sweeping past those years with a page or two of backstory did not really do the love story element justice.

To the Highest Bidder seemed like a partially formed story to me with serious need of further development. The author established her world so effectively and clearly and infused her novel with the makings of a wonderful love story. Even though there were some questionable moments, I could see the strength of this author’s ability to weave a fascinating story, and that is why I can assuredly say I will be checking out more of her work in the future.

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5 Stars, Carina Press, Jenn Burke, Kelly Jensen, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Lonely Shore by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

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Title: Lonely Shore (Chaos Station: Book Two)

Author: Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 187 Pages

At a Glance: A lot of emotions packed into this book, and so worth every tear.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: All they can do is live day to day…

Felix Ingesson has returned to his duties as the Chaos’s engineer with Zander Anatolius, his ex-boyfriend-turned-broken-super-soldier, at his side. Hope means something again. But there’s nothing Felix can do to battle the alien poison flowing through Zander’s veins, or his imminent mental decline. With each passing day, the side effects of Zander’s experimental training are becoming more difficult to ignore.

When the ruthless Agrius Cartel seeks their revenge—including an ambush and an attempt to kidnap the Chaos’s crew—Zander is pushed over the edge. He can no longer hide his symptoms, nor does he want to. But hurting Felix when he’s not in control of himself is Zander’s worst nightmare—when it nearly happens, he agrees to seek help. Even if that means trusting the unknown.

As Zander places his life in alien hands, Felix appoints himself his lover’s keeper. And though he tries to be strong, he can’t ignore the fact that he might lose Zander…forever this time.

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Review: If book one in this series was intense, book two punches you in the gut on page one and keeps going until the end. I mean honestly, the authors do not let up, and even though you want the pain to stop, you need to know what happens, so you keep reading. I whimpered from page one on, and full out cried from chapter ten through sixteen, and I’m not exaggerating either.

If you haven’t read book one, Chaos Station, you really need to go back and read it. You will be completely lost if you don’t have that information, as what happens in book two is a progression of events from book one.

That said, this book follows the Chaos crew as Zed’s side effects grow increasingly unstable, and Flick attempts to both cope with the changes in his best friend and lover, and the possibility of losing him. Meanwhile, the Agrius cartel is still after them, and when a possible solution is presented for Zed’s problem, it could mean losing Qek.

Every character in this book is developed even more, which I loved. While I love Zed and Flick, Qek shines yet again. Zed and Flick made me cry often, but Qek brought her brand of humor and understanding to the pages. Getting to explore her culture more in this book and seeing her home world was a treat, even if being there is dangerous for Qek. For readers who wanted more of the Ashushk culture, this is your chance!

If you read book one, you must read this book. If you like science fiction, I highly recommend this series. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Skip Trace, which I’m sure will be another fantastic installment!

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J. Scott Coatsworth, Less Than Three Press

Guest Post: The Homecoming by J. Scott Coatsworth

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My latest novella, The Homecoming, is out today, and I thought I’d share an exclusive excerpt with the readers of The Novel Approach.

I jokingly call this story my “wolfman meets spaceman” story, and while it’s sci-fi driven, it has elements of the paranormal, including shifters.

I chose this scene for your readers because it encapsulates the primal nature of the new Earth to which Aldiss, our spaceman, returns. It’s the moment when he awakens to the danger he’s put himself in, and is pivotal for Hari, our wolfman, too.

To set the scene, Alvin and his fellow crew member, Xandra, are trudging through a snowstorm hauling a third member of their team to safety when they find the body of the fourth member of the crew lying frozen in the snow.

Thanks for including me on your site for my blog tour. :)

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TH CoverPublisher: Less Than Three Press

Cover Artist: London Burden

Length: 20,000 Words

Buy Links: LT3 Press Book Market | Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Kobo

Blurb: When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.

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Excerpt: The nausea passed after a few minutes. Aldiss sat up and wiped off his lips, his hands shaking. He couldn’t speak, but he pointed to another pile of snow next to Rober. He didn’t want to look.

Xandra went over to it, brushing the snow away. It was a wolf, a black one.

For some reason, he breathed a little easier at that. He had been afraid, deep down in his gut, that its fur would be white.

Maybe it was the wolf that had attacked him earlier in the day. The cutter had slashed a nasty wound across the creature’s back. “Looks like they killed each other,” he said. He searched the tree-line around them, as if expecting to see wolves at every turn.

Xandra nodded grimly. She went to check on Cat, her hand gently touching the other woman’s forehead, pointedly not looking at Rober’s corpse. Cat looked like she was still asleep. He hoped it was just sleep.

Aldiss looked around the clearing for any trace of Rober’s cutter. Obviously the man had used it here. He paced around the bodies, using his boot to scuffle up the snow, but there was nothing metallic hidden under the covering blanket.

The trees loomed over them in the half light like giants.

“We should get going,” Xandra said, eyeing the forest warily. “There might be more of them.”

Aldiss neglected to mention that he knew there was at least one more.

He washed the blood from his hands in the ice-cold water of the stream. They were still shaking a little, but not too badly scraped up. He wished they had antibiotics, but he’d have to make do with a good washing.

He turned to say something to Xandra, and saw the wolf crouched at the far edge of the clearing. Deja vu of the worst kind.

Aldiss reached for the cutter at his side as the snow began once again to drift down lazily from the darkening sky. “Xandra.” He pointed in the direction of the wolf.

Her eyes went wide as she saw the beast. She was reaching for her own cutter as another wolf bounded out of the trees next to them, smashing into her and knocking her to the ground.

Aldiss freed his cutter, bringing it up and activating the laser blade as he stood. He swung it madly at the hindquarters of the wolf that was pinning Xandra to the ground, grazing it and sending it running back toward the cover of the trees.

The second wolf joined the action, lunging for Aldiss’s throat. Xandra just managed to bring her cutter up to slice off the wolf’s ear. The wolf yelped and jumped away, uttering a low growl.

Suddenly the small clearing was full of wolves.

Aldiss sliced the blade back-and-forth, the laser-sharp edge nipping animals left and right. Then something bit him in the leg, hard, and he fell to the ground with a scream, still swinging the deadly blade, yelling through the pain.

The snow fell more heavily, and the clearing grew darker and darker. His headlamp shone a crazy light through the falling patterns of snow as he looked around wildly for the next threat, revealing a furry tail here and bared teeth there.

In the gathering darkness, someone else screamed, a horrible guttural sound, and then went silent. “Xandra,” he shouted, feeling his way through the storm toward where he had heard the sound.

The snow and darkness now blocked almost all of his vision. Aldiss turned down his headlamp as low as it would go. He struggled forward on his hands and knees, the wound in his leg pulsing angrily, moving forward foot by foot. He prayed that the weather hid him from his enemies.

He found Xandra at last. She lay motionless, staring into the sky, her mouth agape in a silent scream. Her neck was ripped out in a jagged wound, just like Rober.

Aldiss felt sick again. He looked down at his own leg to see the wound, where sharp teeth had torn through the leg of his ASEA coveralls. He was losing blood, and fast, and who knew what kind of bacteria these wolves carried?

His vision faded in and out as he waved the cutter around in the darkness, his reflexes slowing.

I’m going to die out here, all alone.

He heard sounds of fighting continuing around him, and looked up, perplexed. Xandra was dead, and Cat… he didn’t know where he’d left Cat, lying by herself in the madness. But she’d been in no shape to stand, let alone fight.

The sounds of a struggle came closer, wolves howling in pain. He sat up as best as he was able, staring into the swirling snow.

A naked man stepped out of the darkness into the dim light of his headlamp, holding a cutter, dripping with blood.

Everything faded to black.

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j-scott-coatsworthAuthor Bio: Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

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Chris T. Kat, Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways

Interview and Giveaway: The Breeding Stations Blog Tour with Chris T. Kat

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We’re so pleased to have author Chris T. Kat with us today on her Breeding Stations blog tour. Enjoy our short chat and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Good luck!

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TNA: Hi, Chris, I’m glad to have you back for your Breeding Station blog tour.

CTK: Thank you, Lisa, I’m very glad to be back on The Novel Approach. :)

TNA: What are a few of your favorite things about writing Sci-Fi?

CTK: Breeding Stations is the first sci-fi book I’ve written. I wanted to try my hand at writing in this genre for a long time, but always balked. There’s so much to consider when writing sci-fi—the characters (humans, aliens), setting, plot, etc. I feared I’d tie myself into knots trying to create a world and plot that would come across as believable. In the end, I absolutely loved writing Breeding Stations and its sequel, Final Battle. It’s also the first time I wrote both books in a series one after another. It made everything much easier, and the books flowed. There were often times in which I could barely keep up with the story. Normally, I write about 1500 to 2000 words on a writing day. During the writing of Breeding Stations, I wrote 4000 to 6000 words in each session. Says something about my excitement, right?

But to get back to your question: my favorite thing about writing sci-fi is the creation of new worlds and a different take on society and social rules. I love to play with gender roles, and certain expectations, and did so freely in Breeding Stations.

TNA: Do you remember the book you read, or movie/TV show you saw, that first sparked your love of Science Fiction? What book/movie/show was it, and what are some of the things you loved about it?

CTK: My father and my grandmother were both big fans of science fiction and horror movies. I grew up watching Star Trek, the original series. I remember that I regularly visited my grandmother on Saturdays. Whenever a new episode of Star Trek came on, no one was allowed to speak a single word, and I got to sit on my grandmother’s lap. Unfortunately, my grandmother died at a young age.

My father kept my interest in all things sci-fi, though. We still watched Star Trek and later on Star Wars—much to the dislike of my mother, who doesn’t like sci-fi or paranormal. Later on, I discovered the paranormal genre in books and devoured whatever I could get my hands on.

What I loved about Star Trek? Hmm, the first thing I remember is Mr. Spock, the way he behaved and spoke. Second thing is his interaction with Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy. I absolutely loved their relationships. When it comes to Stark Trek: Next Generation, I adored Mr. Data and loved all the technology introduced throughout the series.

TNA: What are some of the futuristic inventions (i.e. teleportation, food replicators, etc.) that you wish were a reality you could see in your lifetime?

CTK: Teleportation is something I’d love to see in reality. It would allow me to see my best friend who lives in the USA (I live in Germany) more often. Having thousands of miles between you and your best friend really sucks…

I’d also love to see the changes in medicine and medical treatments in my lifetime. How much suffering could be stopped with new technologies and better understanding of the human body? That would be awesome, in my opinion.

TNA: If a habitable planet were discovered in a distant galaxy, and the United Nations decided to band together to attempt to populate it with volunteers from all corners of the world, would you consider being a pioneer in that movement? Why or why not?

CTK: That’s a difficult question. While I’d definitely be interested in being a pioneer, I probably wouldn’t do it in my current position. The kids are still young and I wouldn’t want to pull them out of their normal environment. A few years ago, we actually thought about relocating to the US, but didn’t go through with it because of our children. There’s a lot to think about before making a life-altering decision.

TNA: Finally, if you had to pick a favorite USS Enterprise captain, given the choices of Kirk or Picard, who do you think was the better captain and why?

CTK: I never thought I’d say this but—Picard. For a long time I didn’t want to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, because I didn’t believe they could hold a candle to the original Star Trek team. However, I realized later on that I didn’t watch the show or the movies for Captain Kirk, rather Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. Even when I was a kid, William Shatner’s acting skills never really convinced me. Captain Picard felt more layered to me. He was more serious, more in command, but he always took good care of his crew. Well, at least that’s how I feel about these two captains—other opinions will most likely differ. :)

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Breeding StationsBlurb: Spunky commander Berit Turner is known for two things: his huge libido and his lack of a filter—he says what he thinks. Berit sets his mind on being part of the mission to Ligador, to make sure the planet is habitable for humans. He’s ecstatic when his team is assigned to the task force. A delegation of Nadisc, a humanoid alien race, accompanies them, and passion ignites between Berit and their commanding officer, Tom. But Berit is determined that Tom is just another notch on his bedpost, as he doesn’t do relationships.

The excursion to Ligador goes wrong from the beginning, when they discover Ligador has been established as a breeding station by their worst enemy: the Tash’Ba. Dinosaur-like creatures become the team’s worst nightmare, and staying alive is going to take everything they’ve got… and then some.

You can find Breeding Stations in Paperback and E-Book at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon, or in all E-formats at All Romance eBooks.

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Chris T. KatAbout the Author: Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Where to find the author: Facebook | Twitter

Other: GoodReads | Blog | Amazon Author Page

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5 Stars, Cari Z., Reviewed by Angel, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Where There’s Fire by Cari Z.

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Title: Where There’s Fire (Panopolis: Book Two)

Author: Cari Z.

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 119 pages

At a Glance: Cari Z delivers another excellent, action packed adventure from Panopolis!

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Making a name for myself as a Villain in Panopolis is hard work. Six months ago, my boyfriend broke me out of jail. Now he’s spending most of his time defending our turf against other Villains he accidentally freed along with me. And my new psychic powers are not only impossible to control, but they’re also giving me migraines.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skills are improving every day, and Raul—aka the Mad Bombardier—and I have never been happier. That is, until my first solo job is interrupted by a mysterious woman who tells me that Raul has been kidnapped by a ruthless new Villain. The only way to free him is to do a job for Maggot, a man with scary ideas and an even scarier superpower.
I can’t go to the cops or a Hero for help. Odds are they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. If I fail, Raul will be killed. If I succeed, we’ll both be bound to a man who’ll stop at nothing to put Panopolis on the path to civil war.
It looks like the only way to win is to take out the competition.

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Review: Cari Z. delivers another excellent, action packed adventure from Panopolis! I will never look at Heroes and Villains the same way again, and neither will you. This is a most excellent thing, indeed.

When I saw this title go up as one of our choices, I jumped on it. I could not get enough of the first book in the series, and though it was only a little over a month ago that I read Where There’s Smoke, it felt like forever. It was so well done, I hadn’t forgotten a thing about the plot, and Fire picks up shortly after where Smoke ended. It is still the gritty, realistic fantasy that packs a well-placed punch to the gut when all is revealed in this installment.

Cari Z., Panopolis, Raul, and Edward do not disappoint. Like the first story, I couldn’t put this one down when I began reading, and I was ecstatic with the outcome even as I was saddened by it ending. I can’t wait for more of this verse by the author.

The storyline moves the characters along at a fast pace, but you are right there with them as the action happens. I found myself cheering Edward on as he struggled to find his place and rescue Raul. I hissed at the big, bad Villain each time he appeared, and fell for the newest characters introduced in this book.

Don’t get me wrong; I am still totally in love with Raul and Edward and their story, but I think I just might change my stance on Freight Train. I really didn’t like him in the first novel, but Cari Z. made me care just a bit about this Hero, even though I am a strict Villain-type woman. I want his story!

So much happens in such a short time, and I won’t spoil you here, but not one word was wasted. The economy made me savor the story, even though it seemed to just speed on by, and I craved more when it ended. I love that the author has turned this genre on its nose, and gives nothing but the best in continuity, character development and story in this book. If you haven’t read the first one, I highly recommend you do because while you are given the backstory in Fire, the experience is richer for having read Smoke first.

I am so on my toes to find out just what is happening in Panopolis, wondering who exactly SuperTruther is, waiting for Freight Train’s tale, and how Edward and Raul are going to survive this next stage of their lives that it just leaves me breathless with anticipation.

All I can say is read it and enjoy! Thank you, again, Cari Z., for such a fantastic and engaging tale in your excellently crafted world!

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You can buy Where There’s Fire here:

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Giveaways, Heidi Belleau, Lisa Henry, Riptide Publishing

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Tin Man Blog Tour with Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

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Hi! Welcome to Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau’s blog tour for our new release, Tin Man. We’re visiting some of our favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Tin Man, and sharing some of our influences, our ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!

Each comment on this blog tour enters you for a chance to win a $20 Riptide credit and an ecopy of Bliss, the first book set in this universe. Entries close July 25, 2015, and contest is not restricted to US residents. Remember to leave your email address in the comments so we know how to reach you!

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Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Tin Man. In this excerpt, Ace is scoping out the headquarters of the Anti Terrorist Unit, hoping to see Soren again.

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The headquarters of the Anti-Terrorism Unit had been built on the site of the old Government House. Ace knew that because he’d seen the collection of faded old postcards his mom had kept in the back of the closet, postcards that showed stately, beautiful buildings along the riverbank. The war had changed all that. A decade or so of shelling and bombing—way before Ace’s time—had leveled all the grand old buildings of Tophet. They had been replaced by gray, concrete structures, smog-stained and windowless.

Ace told himself that he’d crossed the river just because he hadn’t done it in years, but that didn’t explain why he’d been drawn to ATU headquarters. He bought a lukewarm cup of tea from a vendor on the corner and stood around with the group of people outside the welfare office down the street from the ATU. The day was cold enough that he was able to pull the hood of his jacket up and keep his face hidden without it appearing unusual.

The welfare office was closed, the doors padlocked shut. The screens in the window were broken and flickering, but the occasional message scrolled along the bottom of the screens under the news bulletins: workers wanted in District Two, a factory opening in District Five, applications now open. Government mandated wage. No accommodation. No benefits. Citizens only.

Citizens only, Ace knew, meant only those without criminal records. You couldn’t be a citizen and a crim, and once you were a crim, there was no going back. He’d stood at this same welfare office back when he was a kid, listening to his dad beg the staff for a chance to get a job so that he could feed his family. They’d only left when the staff had threatened to call the police and have his dad arrested again.

Ace saw the same desperation on some of the faces of the men and women who studied the scrolling adverts. Most of them seemed resigned, though, weariness etching deep lines in their faces and bowing their backs.

A cold wind blew off the river as the afternoon softened slowly into dusk. He shivered, the rubbish littering the street scattering about.

Ace had told himself he hadn’t come here looking for Soren Lau, but it was a lie.

He just wanted to make sure the kid wasn’t dead, that was all.

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TinMan_600x900Blurb: Petty thief Ashoka “Ace” King knows better than to get in the way of Tophet’s Anti-Terrorist Unit. Rightfully feared in Tophet’s crime-ridden underbelly, a face-to-face encounter with an ATU is almost certainly a death sentence. But Ace has never been one to follow the rules.

Soren Lau might be an ATU rookie, but he’s not naive enough to believe everything his superiors tell him. Then again, he’s not stupid enough to disobey them, either. If he doesn’t shoot and kill as ordered, he might be next on their list.

But when Soren meets Ace, a moment’s hesitation is all it takes to put both their lives on the line. They don’t know each other, they don’t trust each other, and there’s no way in hell they can both walk away from this alive. But with suspicion and mortal danger mounting against both of them—and the forbidden attraction blazing between them—there’s nothing they can do but try.

Tin Man is out on July 20. You can order it now at Riptide.

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Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa: Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

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Heidi Belleau

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.

She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)

When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

Connect with Heidi: Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Email

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5 Stars, Angel Martinez, Bellora Quinn, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Flax’s Pursuit by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn

Title: Flax’s Pursuit (AURA: Book Two)

Author: Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 294 Pages

At a Glance: Fantastic second book in the series with returning favorites and new characters.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.

Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.

Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.

Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.

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Review: If you haven’t read Quinn’s Gambit, the first book in the AURA series, you need to. The events from the first book are referred to, and the characters present, for the most part, are established in the first book. There are a few new additions which are great, but the book focuses just as much on Quinn, Val, and Kai as it does on Flax and the new crossovers.

Set after the incident with the Lich queen, Quinn and Val are settling into their new lives with each other and at AURA. Val is the new captain and Quinn works for them. Kai wants him trained, though, and he sets him up with Flax, a talented elf fairly fresh from the academy. Quinn and Flax don’t like each other at first for many reasons, and their relationship starts off rocky. Flax wants the captain, and he doesn’t think Quinn is worthy enough of him. He needs a relationship, and it becomes clear that what happens to Val in the first book is starting to happen to him. But will he find someone to bond with before it’s too late? And what about Kai and Tenzin? Kai stays at work late and breaks promises, and it pushes Tenzin to his limit.

My heart broke for half the book. The authors are really good at portraying characters that make me feel for their situation. I felt as if I was there with Flax as he realized the fading was starting, and when Kai watched Tenzin walk out the door.

As far as new characters go, Flax, Sage, and Ash are great. Their bond with each other grows throughout the book, and they plot to get both Val AND Quinn in their beds to form a senrist with them, because of Val’s heritage. I won’t lie, I really, REALLY wanted it to happen the more the book went on. I was with Quinn thinking about it, and while at first I was put off by it like he was, the more he thought, the more I did, and then the more I wanted it. It just seemed like a really good idea, and I wanted Flax to be happy. I love Quinn and Val alone, but Flax needed someone to love him. Thankfully, he does find that.

I look forward to the next book in this series. I have no idea what will happen, but I know I’ll love it just as much as the first two books.

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You can buy Flax’s Pursuit here:

Pride Publishing Buy Link

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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Grace R. Duncan, Reviewed by Taz, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Healing by Grace R. Duncan

Title: Healing (Pandemus Chronicles: Book Two)

Author: Grace R. Duncan

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 75 Pages

At a Glance: An enjoyable read that I’d recommend if you’re sitting by the pool watching the kids or killing some time.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: When Duncan stumbles into a pharmacy in search of something to fix his broken leg, he’s surprised to find someone else there. Like the rest of the post-pandemic world, it appeared empty. Instead, he discovers Mark, a former nurse who walked away from his profession after losing too many patients to the virus. Despite swearing he’d never practice medicine again, Mark patches Duncan up over Duncan’s protests. He even finds an abandoned house in the tiny town, and they settle in until Duncan heals enough to look out for himself. Much to the chagrin of both, they find themselves caring for each other.

Duncan welcomes it, thrilled at finding someone he can trust. However, he’s well aware of the shadows in Mark’s eyes and understands Mark’s reticence as he learns the story. But as he’s starting to do things for himself again, Duncan realizes he doesn’t want Mark to leave. He’s not sure if can get Mark to let go of his fears so they can stay together and love. But Duncan’s damned sure going to try.

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Review: I’m a pretty big fan of pandemic, post-apocalyptic, rebuilding life type stories. There’s something so powerful and heroic about the main characters who, despite the odds, managed to survive. Like they’re super human or something. So when I read the blurb for this book, I was pretty excited to see how the author would handle the genre.

Grace R. Duncan handled the story well. The characters had distinct personalities which complemented one another. Through description of the setting, the world became clear and added an element of isolation to the story. The way each man harbored their feelings, fearing that allowing them out would push the other away, helped to keep the tension high. And the fears were believable. In a world where most of the human race has perished, trusting that you won’t continue to lose the people you love is a very believable fear.

While the book was enjoyable, something I was able to read quickly without putting it aside and then coming back to it, there were elements to the story which left me wanting for more. This is the risk of writing shorter stories. There’s never enough space to fully develop the emotions and relationships when the word count is lower.

In this case, there were two key points where the length of the story impacted my response to it: One was when the two men met and had a discussion about why one helped the other in a world where suspicion runs high and people are out for themselves. The other was the pacing of the connection…a bit too fast for my taste.

All in all, an enjoyable read that I’d recommend if you’re sitting by the pool watching the kids or killing some time.

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You can buy Healing here:

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Perie Wolford, Reviewed by Maryann, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Audio Review: Encounter by Perie Wolford – Narrated by William Turbett

Title: Encounter (Encounters: Book One)

Author: Perie Wolford

Narrator:: William Turbett

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 3 Hours and 3 Minutes

At a Glance: Encounter is a unique sci-fi story for Young Adults. Perie Wolford created a mystery with tension and excitement.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: It’s time to face the unknown.

In an attempt to prove to the world that crop circles are man-made and aliens don’t really exist, Ricky and his team of young enthusiasts (including one particular enthusiast, Josh, who is hopelessly in love with Ricky) start falsifying the phenomenon by creating their own crop circles. Their endeavors prove pretty much successful, but only until the day when Ricky sees his unique circle design replicated throughout the country by forces unknown.

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Review: Ricky McAllister and Josh Cullen, with friends Ann and Mike, set out to prove that crop circles are not made by aliens but are manmade. Ricky has established a vlog where they post a lot of information and videos, and he is also the mastermind behind creating some intricate crop circles, while Josh is the expert at the videotaping. Ricky also invites Emily Bridget into the fold, an intern from Washington DC doing research on the crop circles, who tends to cause a lot of tension between Josh and Ricky.

When the first crop circle doesn’t create the results Ricky is looking for, and he finds out Emily is leaving, he feels he needs to do more. Ricky creates a bigger circle, which leads the team into a dangerous situation. When Ricky’s crop circle makes the news, and others begin to show up with his design, he heads to California to see the biggest one, with Emily and Josh in tow. The action reaches its peak when Josh discovers Emily is not who she says she is, sending him and Ricky on the run from government agents. It’s not until Josh and Ricky are locked inside a military truck that they realize the kind of friendship they really have.

Encounter is a unique sci-fi story for Young Adults. Perie Wolford created a mystery with tension and excitement. The ending is very much a surprise and left me wanting to find out what happened to Ricky and Josh, and if there is a future for them. I don’t read many Young Adult books, and while I found Josh to be somewhat immature in handling his feelings towards Ricky, and that Ricky handled the situation much better, I will definitely be watching for book two.

I found the narration of the story by William Turbett to be fair. I would have liked a stronger distinction between characters tones, and pauses where the story went into different timeframes, but I really liked the eerie music at the end, during the credits, which fit the theme of this story.

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You can buy Encounter here:

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4 Stars, Lori A. Witt, Reviewed by Sammy, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt

Title: The Tide of War

Author: Lori A. Witt

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 371 Pages

At a Glance: The Tide of War is straight up sci-fi at its best.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

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Review: Kyle lives in a society under attack. While there are constant small skirmishes between nations over petty things like border disputes, the real threat comes from the sky and a remote world inhabited by huge lizard-like creatures that need the earth for its resources after nearly destroying the atmosphere on its own. The Menarians are a race cloaked in mysteries that run constant bombing raids on the earth, resulting in devastating losses structurally, but thankfully minimal loss of lives. But, how can one count the cost of living in fear of being captured and destroyed by a menacing alien race?

Kyle is also gay and hiding it. Faced with a military that frowns upon anything but heterosexuality and, in fact, encourages its soldiers to marry, Kyle’s best kept secret are his lover and young son. On the surface it appears he is happily married to his elite gunner, Emily, herself a closeted lesbian. This amazing pilot/gunner team is continually sought after to join up with the elite fighting squadron who is space bound, fighting the Menarians on their own turf.

In the sky are another well-known fighting duo, Andrei and his wife Ogrufina. These two are the stars of the elite forces, and also hide secrets, namely that Andrei is bisexual and that his wife encourages him to pursue men that interest him. Don’t be fooled, theirs is a healthy and sexual love, but Ogrufina definitely allows what one might view as cheating on the side while understanding her husband’s needs for male companionship. This was a plot point I found a bit confusing, and also uncomfortable, because it was difficult to understand how the concept of what I believe was a touch of polyamory seemed to make this couple love each other more deeply. However, given what was about to happen in the story to both Kyle (who will lose his family in a bombing raid) and Andrei—this was a minor glitch in an otherwise disturbingly real and evolving story.

I say disturbing because what happens in this story could not only be plausible in today’s technological age but also even understandable, given the reasons that are discovered to be the motivation behind the horrible deception that is played out in the novel. I cannot go into further detail without giving away major plot points, but suffice it to say that all is not as it appears in this war, and when our dynamic and talented foursome finds out what is actually going on, it has devastating and lasting effects.

What I can describe to you is the amazing ability of this author to create a futuristic earth and the idea of alien forces that is so involved and convincing I could almost feel the force of exploding missiles and feel the taste of victory the pilots and gunners experienced when forcing back the enemy. This was an action packed novel that relentlessly pushed toward a mind-boggling conclusion that left one with their heart pounding and an uneasy feeling that Andrei and Kyle were not far from a new danger intent on destroying them.

The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt is straight up sci-fi at its best, and while there is a smattering of romance, this one is all about establishing a world in which real life heroes take risks that may endanger their lives. Fans of the military sci-fi genre will be delighted with this latest offering.

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You can buy The Tide of War here:

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Giveaways, L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Tide of War Blog Tour With L.A. Witt

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Lori A. Witt blog tour for The Tide of War!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (including books written as L.A. Witt or Lauren Gallagher, excluding The Tide of War) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 28, 2015 and winners will be announced on June 29th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

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How Many Names Does One Author Need?

Four, apparently.

As many of you may have noticed, The Tide of War is being released under a new pseudonym, Lori A. Witt. (Which is my real name. I’m not terribly creative about pen names.)  I already have loads of books out there as L.A. Witt and Lauren Gallagher, and my first book as Ann Gallagher is on the horizon. (And technically I have a fifth pen name—Diana Fyre’s first horror novel will be out sometime in 2016, but let’s stick with the ones who actually have books coming out this year.)

What gives, Lori???

So here’s what happened. When I first started publishing, I contracted a contemporary hetero romance, and decided to use my real name for that one. Shortly thereafter, I contracted my first erotica novel, and thought to myself, Hmm, maybe I should keep them separate, since erotica and erotic romance aren’t really the same thing. So, Lauren Gallagher sprang from my forehead.

Shortly after that, I sold my first gay romance. Now, if hetero erotica and hetero erotic romance should be separated, then gay romance was definitely a different niche. Time to come up with another name. By this point, the contract for my first book had fallen through, freeing up my real name. After perusing the ranks of gay romance authors at the time, I noticed it was commonplace for authors to use their initials and last name, so I tried it out and decided that L.A. Witt had a nice ring to it. Score. Another easy pen name.

The first two books came out, and Lori had her first lesson in branding. Namely—maintaining multiple pen names IS HARD. *whines* So when the next contract came down the pipe for a hetero romance, I said, you know what? Lauren Gallagher wrote that one too. I’m not doing three pen names. No way. Forget it.

This brings us to 2014. The Tide of War is done. I’ve got some other non-romance speculative fiction in the works. I can’t decide which pen name to use because, well, it’s not really L.A. Witt’s style, and it’s not really Lauren Gallagher’s style.

There I sat, scowling at my computer screen as the truth sank in—girlfriend, you need another name.

*cue diva fit*

Since I’d never actually used my real name for that romance that never saw the light of day, I went with Lori A. Witt. Simple. Easy to spell. Easy to remember. Awesome.

Fine. Three pen names. THREE. No more.

LOL.

That summer, along came a little plot bunny, and it wouldn’t be ignored. It also wouldn’t be an erotic romance. No, this one was a Christian novel. A sweet, gay, inspirational, romance.

Curious, I did an informal survey of my readers.

What would you think, I asked on Facebook, of a Christian romance with L.A. Witt’s name on it?

Once I assured people that I was not joking, the resounding consensus was exactly what I knew it would be.

Another pen name.

A fourth pen name.

A fourth. Freaking. Pen name.

So in August of this year, less than two months after Lori A. Witt’s debut in the speculative fiction arena, and about a week after L.A. Witt releases an all-male erotic ménage, Ann Gallagher will be releasing Lead Me Not.

Confused yet? Don’t worry—they’re all still on the same website, and they all share a blog, a Twitter account, and increasingly crowded name badges at conventions.

And by this time next year, I’ll probably be writing dark literary YA with magical realism in a Regency setting, and I’ll be banging my head against the wall over yet another pen name…

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Author BioAuthor Bio: Lori A. Witt is the fourth corner of the Gallagher-Witt quad, and prefers to play in the genres of science fiction and fantasy over all that romance nonsense. Okay, so romance does show up sometimes, but these are the books she writes when she needs a change of pace. Sword and sorcery, spaceships, and just general weird nerdy goodness—Lori writes it all. Like the other members of the quad (L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Ann Gallagher), Lori is in the process of relocating from Omahabad, Nebraskastan to the southwestern coast of Spain. In her spare time, she tries to stay out of the middle of L.A.’s and Lauren’s ongoing rivalry, while never missing a chance to trip Ann when she’s not paying attention.

Connect with Lori: Facebook | Website | Blog | Twitter

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TideOfWar_600x900Blurb: Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

The Tide of War is available July 22nd from Riptide Publishing.

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5 Stars, Jane Davitt, Reviewed by Taz, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Lucky Strike by Jane Davitt

Title: Lucky Strike

Author: Jane Davitt

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: Lucky Strike was a book I’ll probably go back to read again and again.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: Death’s a heartbeat away, but love is even closer.

Flying a traveler to Leap celebrations on the luxury planet Crestal is no problem for intrepid partners Jake and Rill, even if they have to navigate a deadly meteor shower to get there. But their fresh-faced, privileged passenger is carrying more than Leap gifts: Lian has a message to deliver, treachery and murder to avenge, and a killer close on his heels.

Lian thought he was ready for independence from his overbearing extended family, but his first solo trip off-planet has landed him in a nightmare of deadly intrigue. Though he’s devastated by betrayal, and no longer able to tell friend from foe, he’s fascinated by the gruff pilot and scorchingly handsome first mate who’ve become his reluctant rescuers.

With a dazzling fortune at stake and the fate of the United Protectorate of Planets in their hands, there’s no time for the three men to fall in love. But with their future measured in hours, crew and passenger may have just enough time to discover that three can become one, and that together they are strong enough to beat any odds.

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Review: What a fantastic book. From the opening scene to the end, the action remained riveting. This is the first book I’ve read by Jane Davitt, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The ingredients for success were woven together beautifully in this sci-fi romance. The world was so vivid and detailed that I didn’t feel like I had to spend a chapter or two getting to learn the lay of the land. Nope. Immediately immersed and kept there throughout the duration of the journey. Language was used with purpose and finesse. Each emotion and thought portrayed through action. Each comment tagged with behaviors revealing how the characters feel, and deepening their richness. The relationship between the characters evolved throughout…steady, believable, and sexy. And the plot just kept on going. Intense, but not in a shortness of breath sort of way, but more of a nail-biting experience where you just have to keep reading to see how they get themselves out of trouble. And once they do, they land in more trouble and once again, you can’t stop reading.

I find that I’m a critical reader of sci-fi. I love it so much that I’m easily disappointed if the author doesn’t craft a story that attends to the world with fastidious care. No disappointments here. I also find ménage stories are hit or miss for me, always feeling like one of the triad are less part of the whole, but in this story the author has created three distinct protagonists, each with his own personality (strengths admirable and flaws endearing). They work together and I couldn’t imagine them apart.

Ms. Davitt is truly a joy to read and Lucky Strike was a book I’ll probably go back to read again and again for the story, and to improve my own craft.

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