Zathyn Priest

Guest Post: Inside His Reflection by Zathyn Priest

Inside His Reflection

Thank you to The Novel Approach for the opportunity to talk about my new book, Inside His Reflection, and one of the main characters, Elijah Benson.

Inside His Reflection went through several plot changes before I settled on the one that clicked.  This isn’t unusual for me.  All my books are written in this haphazard manner.  I change my mind to the point the finished product is completely different to the story I intended to write.  Due to this, my characters change, develop personalities, decide they don’t want to play well with ideas I had, and throw me curveballs.  Elijah did this to me many times.

Elijah is a man living with the pain of a horrendous past.  Blamed and demonised for crimes he didn’t commit, and a survivor of a brutal murder attempt.   Given this, he’s also a man who plays his cards close to his chest, trusts no one, and is a loner.  His personality comes across as brusque, sometimes arrogant, in spite of this not being his true self.  It’s a coping mechanism, however it has made him unlikable to most people.  Which, when creating such a character, runs the dangerous risk of making them unlikable to a reader, too.

My challenge with Elijah was to clearly create a mystery around him within the first few pages.  Create a standoffish arrogance, but also add layers to hint there was a lot more to him.  To show that even though he may not have smiled, laughed, or shown much emotion, there was a sense of humour beneath an icy exterior.  If there was nothing other than haughty arrogance, why would my second main character, Harry, be interested in a second date?  And, why would a reader care about Elijah if he simply came across as a tosser?  I used to joke on Facebook that I have an evil love of torturing my characters, and Elijah was my most tortured of all.  It is, in fact, true.  Given this, the last thing I wanted to do to the poor guy was make him so irritating that no one could stand reading more than a few pages of his company!

Elijah is a complex personality, and that made him a challenging character to create and write.  It also made him a challenging character to create a 3D digital model of.  Each fictional character in my books and works in progress have their own 3D digital model.  I craft them and use them in artworks, like movie storyboards.  This alone can take weeks of work in Daz Studio and Photoshop to get the first model of a character at a stage where it matches well with how I’ve imagined them in my mind.  After that, it’s an evolving process over more weeks or even months.  With Elijah, each scar on his face was taken from real photographs of scars, and then Photoshopped onto the 3D model skin texture.  A tedious, time consuming project.

Elijah Portrait

When someone asks my favourite character from the books I’ve written, it’s a bit like asking me to choose a favourite child.  Or, in my case, a favourite four-legged furkid.  My favourite is usually the characters I’m working with at the time.  But, Elijah is special to me because of his strength, his ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and to be able to fall in love when his life had been surrounded by so much hate.  If you read Inside His Reflection, I hope Elijah touches your heart, too.

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Inside His Reflection_PROMO sizeINSIDE HIS REFLECTION ~ Zathyn Priest

Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Art: Scarlet Tie Designs
Length: Novel
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Mild.  *Please Note* This book contains no sex scenes.
POV: Third
Purchase Link:  Wilde City Press

BLURB: A blind date leaves Harry reeling, and another date goes as badly. Scars on Elijah’s face are clues of a broken soul, yet Harry can’t walk away.  Not even when he learns Elijah sees a dead man in mirror reflections.

Elijah’s sanity snaps. Blamed for crimes he didn’t commit, Elijah has already survived a brutal murder attempt and now hides under a Protection Program. Harry must have faith he is innocent and fight for Elijah’s stolen rights. Can Harry do this without losing his mind, his own rights, and the man he loves?

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Author Bio: Zathyn Priest is an award winning Australian MM fiction author and cover artist.  His published novels include Inside His Reflection, Amara: The Rebirth, The Curtis Reincarnation, The Slayer’s Apprentice, and Liquid Glass. He has also written short fiction, The Statue, Left of Centre, and One of Those Days.  Zathyn’s new graphic novella, HAI-21, will be available early 2016.

Zathyn discovered digital art five years ago when he wanted to create 3D models of his own fictional characters.  The hobby turned into another passion, and then into pre-made cover art business, Scarlet Tie Designs.  He now creates original artwork book covers, website artworks, and poster artworks.

Sitting in an office all day in front of a computer does not match Zathyn’s restless soul.  Therefore, he also attends classical ballet and jazz burlesque dance classes, with the ambition to turn boylesque/burlesque into a part-time career.

Author LinksFacebook || Twitter ~ @zathynpriest || Blog 

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, fellow bookworms, and welcome back to another quick look at what we have in store for you in the week ahead.

We’ve got some great guests and giveaways coming up, plus reviews and another Flashback Friday, where we’re going to go a little mysterious and feature some of our favorite Mysteries.

I hope to see you back to visit! Now, here’s what’s up.

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Monday – We kick off a great week today with author J. Johanis on the Dream God blog tour

We’ll also have author Ethan Day with us on the tour for the re-release of the books in his Summit City series, Sno Ho and its full length follow up, Life in Fusion

Lissa Kasey drops by to spends some time with us as well, to chat about her new novel Cardinal Sins

Tuesday – Today begins with author Morticia Knight visiting on the tour for her new novel Negotiating Love

We’ll also welcome author Zathyn Priest today to chat about his new book Inside His Reflection

Wednesday – Today brings us author Christian Baine to talk about his new book Puppet Boy

And Shae Connor stops by today on the tour for her new book Nobody’s Son

Thursday – A little bit of the holiday spirit lands here today when Heidi Cullinan joins us on the tour for her new Christmas story, Winter Wonderland

The writing team of KA Merikan also stop by on the tour for the newest book in their Sex & Mayhem series, One Step too Close

Friday – Today we have author Damon Suede with us to talk to us about his new novel Pent Up

We’ll also have Part Two of Lynley Wayne’s article on building a better website

And Flashback Friday makes a return today. I think we’ll bring a little mystery to table by featuring some of our favorite mysteries, so stay tuned for that

SaturdayJosephine Myles and JL Merrow are popping in today to chat about their new anthology Boys Who Go Bump in the Night, a collection of short stories they’ve put together from previously published work

Sunday – Finally, after we give Saturday a miss and head straight on in to Sunday, we’ll welcome authors Amber Kell and RJ Scott on the tour for their new collaboration, The Case of the Purple Pearl

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

 

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Flashback Friday, Giveaways

Flashback Friday and Giveaway: The Bad Boys Edition

Flashback Friday

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Flashback Friday. Today we’re featuring some of the Bad Boys of fiction–the rocker boys and risk takers, rebels and heartbreakers–and, as always, there’s a chance to win an e-copy of one of our selected titles via the Rafflecopter widget below.

But before we get to the gist of this, congratulations goes to H.B., who selected Taylor V. Donovan’s Six Degrees of Lust from our Everyday Heroes edition.

And now, here are this week’s picks!

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TNA_Signature_SammyI love bad boys, I truly do, for they are often hiding the most tortured or wounded soul that is just screaming for someone to look beneath the bullsh*t and love them–really love them and not their hype.

Perhaps the most perfect example I have read of just such an anti-hero is The Curtis Reincarnation by Zathyn Priest.  This story is one of the sweetest stories of love and redemption ever to grace the m/m romance genre. Zathyn Priest weaves a story of a wounded and lost soul, a musical prodigy and genius, Alec Tyler (aka Tyler Curtis), bad boy goth rocker extraordinaire.

Abandoned by an evil and heartless mother, left parentless after the death of a beloved father at the age of 17, Alec is “discovered” by a cruel and money hungry man, turned abusive manager, Frank Brooks. For the next two years, Brooks mercilessly molds Alec into a superstar, hiding his epilepsy and grand mal seizures, under-medicating the same, and slowly robbing him blind. And then, across the streets of London, a girl named Bec wins a pair of tickets and convinces her standoffish gay brother Jordan to go to the concert of one Tyler Curtis.

Trying to escape the crowd after the concert, Jordan hides by the side of the stage when suddenly, Alec steps out and dances…for the audience of one…one young man who sits mesmerized by the exquisite grace of the other…and the line that Zathyn Priest writes for his MC to utter to the other says it all, “God…you’re exquisite.”

And so begins a love affair that will culminate in perhaps the sweetest most satisfying ending to a book I have ever read.

This novel was written seven years ago and still stands as one of the most beloved bad boy rocker stories in the genre.  If you haven’t read it already—do it!  If you have—maybe it’s time for a reread!

The Curtis ReincarnationJordan’s got a good life. He’s got his own web business, a fat cat for a pet and his own house, which he shares with his sister — oh well, nothing’s perfect. Also not perfect is not having someone special to share his life with. His sister Rebecca believes it’s because he’s too picky and too unapproachable, but Jordan just wants someone to do the Sunday crossword with, take walks with, someone who’ll be his mate for life. Is that really too much to ask?

One night Rebecca drags Jordan to a Tyler Curtis concert. Tyler is a notorious bad boy who treats his audience with contempt and sleeps with a different groupie every night, and Rebecca is determined to be tonight’s groupie. Jordan is there under protest. At least he is until he meets the man beneath the crass, bad boy image. Will Jordan get to know the true Tyler or will Tyler’s manager and a world wanting the man to match the image conspire against them?

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TNA_Signature_JulesAhhh – we all love bad boys…And, who fit the ‘bad boy’ bill more than rockers and musicians, right? Most rock stars are rebels at heart, and we love that about them. These hot messes are often in need of redemption, and are always in need of attention and love. I love it when an author can take us on a journey where we meet the quintessential bad boy, find out why he’s broken (if he is), see what makes him tick, and watch him find the person that is going to understand him and love him. SJ Frost does a fantastic job at this in the first two books of her Conquest series.

Conquest and No Fear both feature Jesse Alexander and Evan Arden as the main characters – and even though Jesse can truly be a pain in the ass, and things between the two of them happen very quickly in the first book, I completely fell in love with them.

From my review of Conquest:

I. Loved. This. Book. Even when I wanted to throw my Kindle out the window! Jesse and Evan are just…perfection together. It doesn’t even feel hokey that they get together so fast, because it just feels…right.

Jesse is an extremely temperamental, but gifted artist, who just can’t quite get it right with his band, Conquest. When he finally meets his idol, Evan Arden, things start to fall into place. Yet that is also when all the sparks start to fly in both his personal and professional life.

The other characters are also fun. Some that you’ll love, like Kenny and Julian from Conquest, and Jesse’s brother, Brandon – and then some that you’ll love to hate. The drama is mostly of the ‘record execs being dicks, and the band trying to rise above’ variety, rather than true drama between our MCs, which is how I prefer it.

A fun side note (and a peek into what a ridiculous nut job I am): I read these two books over a weekend while on a business trip, and a dear friend read them with me. We stayed up basically all night one night reading and messaging each other because we couldn’t put the book(s) down; and then the next day, in between meetings and conference events, I read, and hand wrote notes with my book flails on them in my seminar notebook, that I then took pictures of and texted to her. Oh, man…Good times.

I LOVE the broken, bad boy, rock star trope. I’ve read quite a few rockers that have been well written, and that I’ve also loved – maybe they’ll make it into another Flashback Friday edition somewhere down the road – but, none that have quite lived up to my adoration of Jesse and Evan. They were my first M/M rockers, and are still my favorites. Definitely check them out if you haven’t read them. Or, read them again if you have! That’s what I plan to do! :)

conquestVocally gifted singer, Jesse Alexander, has dreams of taking his band, Conquest, to the top. Evan Arden was thought of as a musical genius when at the height of his career he vanished from the spotlight. Together, their relationship is just as intense as their music careers. With success pushing down on them, Jesse must decide between his life of music, or his life with Evan.

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TNA_Signature_SadonnaThe book I’ve chosen for this week’s Flashback Friday is a book called Stories Beneath Our Skin. I was thinking about tattoos, I guess, since I’m about to start my largest tattoo to date. This was a new-to-me author when I picked up this book and I’m really glad I did.

This book really spoke to me on so many levels.  Anybody who knows me knows I’m a huge sucker for f*cked up characters, so of course I was in heaven with this story. Liam has had enough to deal with at age twenty-two to account for several lifetimes. He’s closed himself off and made himself very successful in his academic pursuits. But there is a pervasive sadness to him that maybe he is mostly unaware of – or at least immune to – at this point. While spending his days at the hospice waiting for his uncle to die, he needs something to take up his evening hours. When he goes to get a part time job at a tattoo parlor, we know by his reaction that there is a story there beneath the surface – and that it’s not a pretty one. Ace, the owner, takes a chance on him. From there, Liam is thrust into this strange little group of people – all of whom have their own issues as well.

The plot itself has some interesting twists, like a lot of stories we come across in real life. ;) The dance that Liam and Ace do around each other for a while makes us root for them all the more. Both deserve something good, but especially Liam. The relationship is slow in building and realistic in that Ace is a good bit older than Liam, and he knows he’s got family issues he has to deal with as well. There was a lot of consideration and deliberation on the parts of both characters.

The supporting cast of characters give depth to the story. They provide the nudging and the support that allow Liam and Ace to come together. Each one of them gives a little different flavor to the book. What a great group of friends and family. It’s really a testament to the author that this group of friends are really believable as a family. In these days when so many people do not have connections with their blood relatives – for whatever reason – the families we choose are many times much more integral to our lives than the ones we were born into.

A lot of this story is a little bit heartbreaking, but a lot of it is also hopeful and definitely well worth the time to read.

Stories Beneath Our SkinTattooing might have once been Liam’s passion, but he left it all behind along with ugly memories when he went to college. When his uncle’s health fails, Liam must come home at last to say his goodbyes. His days are spent at the hospice, leaving his nights to rake over the past. To fill those empty hours, he takes a job at Great Sin Ink. The close knit friendship of the workers there both intrigues and shakes Liam, who has spent the last four years keeping everyone at arm’s length. Neither Deb, the no-nonsense piercer, nor Goose, a manic tattoo artist, will let Liam get away with his isolationist ways for long.

If it were just those two, Liam might have stood a chance — but there’s also Ace, the owner of Great Sin. He hires Liam despite a thin resume, and that is a kindness Liam can’t forget. The two start up a tentative friendship, learning about each other as the summer days melt into each other. Slowly, Liam reveals a tender heart underneath the wall of quotes he uses to keep everyone out. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stand still, and both Liam and Ace have hard struggles before them that might break them up before they can even get together.

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TNA_Signature_LisaOkay, I dunno about you, but I just went and One-Clicked Sadonna’s rec. O.o

Because we didn’t get a lot of participation and representation for the Bad Boys this week, I’m going to cheat and pull out a few titles from my backlist. Variety is the spice of life, after all, right? And where would we be without a good cross-section of them to choose from? =)

The first book I’m dusting off today is Jess Faraday’s debut M/M novel The Affair of the Porcelain Dog. Understanding that historical fiction isn’t everyone’s cuppa, I’ll be 100% up front right now and tell you this is a historical novel, but if you’ve ever considered giving the genre a try, I can say this is a great place to start.

Drug trafficking, human trafficking, blackmail, betrayal, duplicity, moral ambiguity, prostitution, and murder; all are things you might expect to find in the Whitechapel district around the time Jack the Ripper took the life of his final victim, Mary Kelly, then seemed to disappear from the face of the earth. The lovely thing is that all of those dark and dangerous elements take place within the pages of The Affair of the Porcelain Dog too.

Cain Goddard saved Ira Adler from the streets of ‘Chapel, where Ira had been selling his body in order to survive. Cain brings Ira into his home and teaches the young man to read, write, and speak like a proper gentleman, hiring Ira as his “personal secretary,” though their relationship is far from the socially acceptable front they’re forced to portray to a world where anything more could find them both imprisoned (or worse) for gross indecency. Goddard has multiple faces, in fact, being not only a gay man but a rogue and a scholar as well. He was once an esteemed teacher at Cambridge University, but was sent down in a scandal for which he’s now being blackmailed. Since Goddard is unable to fulfill his one passion—teaching—he immerses himself fully in the other role—becoming the infamous Duke of Dorset Street, a hated and feared criminal whose questionable ethics and rationalizations make him a fully intriguing character, and a man whom Ira struggles and, ultimately, fails to align his own moral boundaries with.

Mystery and suspense abound in this book’s pages, and I have to be honest here–the sequel, Turnbull House, is even better. Cain Goddard may just be my all-time favorite bad boy of fiction.

The Affair of the Porcelain DogLondon 1889.

For Ira Adler, former rent-boy and present plaything of crime lord Cain Goddard, stealing back the statue from Goddard’s blackmailer should have been a doddle. But inside the statue is evidence that could put Goddard away for a long time under the sodomy laws, and everyone’s after it, including Ira’s bitter ex, Dr. Timothy Lazarus. No sooner does Ira have the porcelain dog in his hot little hands, than he loses it to a nimble-fingered prostitute.

As Ira’s search for the dog drags him back to the mean East End streets where he grew up, he discovers secrets about his own past, and about Goddard’s present business dealings, which make him question everything he thought he knew. An old friend turns up dead, and an old enemy proves himself a friend. Goddard is pressing Ira for a commitment, but every new discovery casts doubt on whether Ira can, in good conscience, remain with him.

In the end, Ira must choose between his hard-won life of luxury and standing against a grievous wrong.

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And now for something completely different, my next title is a contemporary romance filled with rocker boys, loads of angst, and, quite honestly, a twist I didn’t see coming until it happened and then I asked myself, “Pfft, how did you not see that coming?!”

M.J. O’Shea and Piper Vaughn’s Moonlight Becomes You was re-released by Dreamspinner last year, but I first read it back in 2011 when it was published by Loose Id. It’s a story of betrayal, revenge, redemption, and, finally, atonement for a disloyalty that destroyed a relationship.

Shane Ventura and his younger brother Nicky didn’t have much but an abusive father and an absentee mother growing up. The one thing they did have, though, was their music and their dreams of making it big. There was just one key component missing from the band Luck, and Shane finds that key in Jesse Seider, a nerdy, plain, and chubby boy who’s enlisted to tutor Shane so he can graduate from high school. The improbable connection that forms between Shane, the boy with the bad-ass attitude, and Jesse, the boy who isn’t afraid to challenge Shane, comes through their mutual love of music. Jesse is a gifted musician and singer, and though he is the antithesis of what a rock star supposedly looks like, it’s his addition to the band that fills a need and brings the group together.

Standing at the threshold of success, Luck is about to sign a contract that will bring them the recognition and fame they’ve always wanted—there’s one condition, though…the record label says Jesse has to go. And the boy Jesse loves, the boy who loves him in return, has been elected to swing the ax.

Out of loyalty to Nicky, and maybe just a little greed for finally attaining something bright and positive in his life, Shane does it. He kicks Jesse out of the band, out of his life, and shatters both of their hearts in the process.

Eleven years later, Shane has become the pathetic caricature of an aging rock star—drugs, booze, and an endless supply of nameless sycophants who are more than willing to share his bed for a night have done nothing to erase the sorrow and shame he feels for his betrayal of Jesse.

Then he meets Kayden Berlin, lead singer of the band Moonlight, and feels that first spark of attraction, but he quickly discovers the feelings are not returned. In fact, the only emotions Kayden seems capable of showing toward both Shane and Nicky are utter loathing and contempt. Which makes Shane even more determined to get behind the man’s walls and melt his icy exterior. It seems Kayden Berlin may be the one and only man who can fill the space in Shane’s heart that was left gaping when he turned his back on Jesse.

Angsty – check. Sexy – check. Bad boys – check. Happy ending – check check. Moonlight Becomes You is about as romantical as a book can get.

Moonlight Becomes YouEleven years ago, Shane Ventura made the biggest mistake of his life when he caved in to pressure from his record label to kick his best friend, Jesse Seider, out of their band, Luck. To this day, Shane has never wanted anyone more, and all the sex and alcohol in the world can’t fill the void Jesse left behind. Not even the prospect of teaming up with Britain’s hottest band, Moonlight, for a massive world tour can get him out of his funk. Then he meets lead singer Kayden Berlin and falls into instant lust.

Kayden may act like he’s not interested, but Shane knows he feels the spark between them. Yet the harder Shane pushes, the more Kayden pulls away, until one explosive night leaves Shane with a broken heart. That seems to be his lot—lucky at everything but love. Shane still has one lesson left to learn, though: when it comes to love, you can’t always leave things to chance.

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And, for my final something completely different, how about some vampires? I’ve talked these novellas up one side and down the other, but I’m throwing them out here again because how can you talk about bad boys and NOT talk about a character named Wild Bill?

Jordan Castillo Price’s Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary series is comprised of five novellas (the continuation is a set of five more novellas called A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion), and even the flipping series titles make me giddy. These boys were first introduced to the world back in 2008, when Michael takes up the mantle of justice and becomes a vampire hunter to avenge the death of his best friend Scary Mary.

Michael’s playing the killing game when he meets Wild Bill in a bar one night, but Wild Bill isn’t the target. In fact, Michael and Wild Bill are both hunting the same vamp when they meet, and it’s not until the two guys seduce their mark and stake him after an erotic three-way in Michael’s hotel room that Michael even comes to the realization that Wild Bill’s a vamp too. But by then, Michael’s got it bad for our vampire bad boy.

Wild Bill disappears just as quickly as he strutted his way into Michael’s space, but though he ran, he couldn’t hide. Michael’s gotten good at tracking and they meet again, and again… and they connect through something far more intangible and impossible to name than simple vengeance. Michael and Wild Bill live a vagabond life and exist on little more than blood, sex, and trying (when it’s possible) to do the right thing. But, it’s not always possible, and that’s what makes our bad boys so good–sometimes they have to be a little bit bad just to survive.

Michael and Wild Bill have become iconic in the M/M lexicon and are at the top of my list of some of my all-time favorite characters: human, non-human, or somewhere in between. They’re my addiction and every time I read the series, it gives me book hangover for days. Since I’ve read the books multiple times, though, I guess it’s more than worth it.

box-set-CMFSM200Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael, and will stop at nothing to go home with him.

Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the Interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s Heartland.

Ebook box set contains the following novelettes: Payback, Vertigo, Manikin, Tainted, Rebirth.

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*All comments must be relevant to the prompt to be eligible in the drawing
*Void where prohibited by law

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5 Stars, Drama, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Wilde City Press, Zathyn Priest

Review: Inside His Reflection by Zathyn Priest

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Inside His Reflection

Author: Zathyn Priest

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 294 Pages

At a Glance: Once again, Zathyn Priest proves he is an outstanding storyteller.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: A blind date leaves Harry reeling, and another date goes as badly.

Scars on Elijah’s face are clues of a broken soul, yet Harry can’t walk away. Not even when he learns Elijah sees a dead man in mirror reflections.

Elijah’s sanity snaps. Blamed for crimes he didn’t commit, Elijah has already survived a brutal murder attempt and now hides under a Protection Program. Harry must have faith he is innocent and fight for Elijah’s stolen rights.

Can Harry do this without losing his mind, his own rights, and the man he loves?

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Review: Harry lives in the outback—on a farm that also serves as a five star resort that is run by him, his identical twin brother, Henry, and their family. After agreeing to meet a blind date in Adelaide, Harry actually ends up meeting the wrong guy. Harry tells himself to step away—to leave the strangely aloof “Elijah” alone, but there is something so haunting about the young man, so lost, and so broken. Before he knows it, Harry is wrapped up in the nightmare that has haunted Ashley for so many years.

Elijah, aka Ashley, has been hiding for ten years under federal protection. Relocated from England to Australia, Ashley must hide who he is due to being accused of raping his foster brother, Rylan, then age 6. When he was supposedly discovered enacting the deed, Rylan’s father brutally beats, rapes and nearly kills Ashley, leaving his body disfigured and his mind fractured. When Ashley is forced into relocating, he loses contact with his twin brother Chris. Now, thinking Chris is dead, and terrified that Harry will discover who “Elijah” really is, Ashley begins to fall apart. And when all is said and done, there may be nothing left of Ashley for Harry to love.

Inside His Reflection by Zathyn Priest boasts a multi-layered plot with ample twists and turns. With each chapter, the author leaves a trail of crumbs for the reader to decipher, and brings them one step closer to understanding just what happened to fourteen-year old Ashley on that horrific night so long ago. As the layers of lies and secrets unfold, you begin to understand just how fragile a hold on reality Ashley has, and how difficult it will be for Harry to gain his trust. Yet Harry is nothing but patient, and perhaps the most compassionate character this author has written to date.

Loving and gentle, Harry sees beyond the shadows that surround Ashley, and remains steadfast in protecting him as best as he can. Ashley is so broken—mourning the loss of his twin brother who was his to take care of—his to guard and his to love; in essence, his world. Cast off by their parents, both boys have only each other to cling to, and in the end, even that is taken from them.

Inside His Reflection is a rich and tender love story that takes some very dark twists and turns. This is a love story that nearly expires before it can achieve stability. Yet, again and again, this author re-knits these two gorgeous characters together, making Harry and Ashley true survivors in a world that is determined to keep them apart. This novel is a story of healing and love and one man’s fight for sanity and reason. It is a journey that two men take to establish their love for each other despite the very real truth that time for them may be running out.

Once again, Zathyn Priest proves he is an outstanding storyteller who creates deeply wounded characters who learn to live with their brokenness and find the strength to move beyond it into a world where love and happiness are truly possible.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

You can buy Inside His Reflection here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

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GayRomLit, MLR Press, Zathyn Priest

GRL Countdown Celebration Guest Post: Writing the Graphic Way by Zathyn Priest

2014GRL_BlogTour_sq200x200In less than two months – if my poor mathematical skills are correct – I’ll be in Chicago for my first GRL. I thought I’d be feeling anxious by this stage but, aside from a morbid fear of flying, I’m more excited than nervous. To be able to finally meet friends in person, and have the opportunity to make new friends, is an opportunity I’m extremely grateful for.

My first MM novel, The Curtis Reincarnation, was published by Torquere Press about six years ago. It was followed by The Slayer’s Apprentice, Liquid Glass, and Left of Centre. I then wrote a free short story called One of Those Days and, after that, pretty much disappeared off the face of the Earth. I crashed and burned with severe PTSD, and along with that, I lost faith in myself as a writer. Which, I have to say, was shattering because it had always been my one true passion. To lose it, then feel like you’d never get it back, it left another big gap in my life. Continue reading

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A.J. Corza, Chris T. Kat, Dreamspinner Press, GotYouCovrd, J.M. Snyder, JMS Books LLC, Paul Alan Fahey

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



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

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

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

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

One such type is Collage:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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