Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sunday Sizzlers

My Regelence Rake
by J.L. Langley
M/M Sci-fi/Futuristic Regency

3rd in the series
Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle

Blurb:

Before you find your prince, you have to kiss your share of rakes.

With his days occupied with duties as Captain of the Guard, and nights consumed with upholding his reputation as a rake, Lord Sebastian Hastings’s schedule is filled. There’s no extra time to be anyone’s bodyguard, but the royal family’s safety is a task he sees to personally.

Prince Colton Townsend has loved Sebastian for as long as he can remember, but he’s done pining for a man who has vowed never to remarry. So he consoles himself with the second love of his life—horses. Stable building and horse racing consume his every thought, at least until he’s stuck with Sebastian dogging his every step.

While looking over the prospects at an auction, Colton is trying to ignore his sexy, pesky bodyguard when he feels compelled to take on a bully to protect an abused horse. Sebastian is dragged into the fray, and their good deed sparks a string of nasty rumors.

There’s only one way to quell the political storm: marry. But instead of solving everything, Colton realizes his new husband is a bundle of secrets, none of which he’ll give up easily. Unless Colton makes one, last-ditch effort that could break his heart for good.

Warning: Contains an obnoxious filly, a love-struck prince, a meddling king, a matchmaking duke, vicious rumors and hunky ex Special Forces soldiers.

***


Not for Sale
by Brenda Cothern
M/M Contemporary/BDSM/Undercover Agents
Amazon

Blurb:

Immigration Control Agent Ryan "Brew" Brewster finally got the break he was looking for in his human trafficking case. But to follow the lead, he would need to go undercover into the world of the gay leather community. A world he was very familiar with; a world that would require a partner for the undercover op.

Vice Cop Rick Kendry did not look twenty eight when he was out on the streets of Tampa luring in the John's. He barely looked eighteen but that was why he was stuck in vice. That and the fact that he was openly gay made him the best candidate for the job and luckily for him, he loved undercover work.

When Agent Brewster recruited him for the deep undercover Homeland Security op, Rick couldn't have been more thrilled but little did Rick know that he would soon be immersed into the intricate world of leather & BDSM.

***

Dance with Me
by Heidi Cullinan
M/M Contemporary/Dance
Amazon

Blurb:

Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semi-pro football career, but every time he turns around, dance instructor Laurie Parker is in his way. But when a bargain lands him as an assistant in Laurie's ballroom dancing class, everything changes.

As Laurie and Ed lose themselves in dance, their lives continue to spin around them: Ed's injury makes it clear he's nowhere near recovery, Laurie feels the pressure by friends and family to perform once more, and the community center that has become such an important part of both their worlds threatens to close. Alone, they haven't had the strength or spirit to face what life has hurled at them. But as the turns of their personal paths lead them time and again to one another, Ed and Laurie begin to think that if they dance this dance together, they might be able to succeed.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: exhibitionism/voyeurism, male/male sexual practices.


Friday, 28 June 2013

Author Interview: Andrew Gordon





About the Author:

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

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

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?


A bit of both. I have a general idea of the story before I start – most times. After that I typically talk it out with a couple people who beta read for me and/or just listen to my ideas.  When that's done, I've generally got a couple pages of email notes that I can refer to if needed.  Once I start writing, however, all bets are off. Things seem to change quite a bit from that 'roadmap' before the work is done. 

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

This sort of ties into the previous answer; yes, sometimes.  And sometimes it's that the story takes it's own path and the characters follow. I've yet to be able to predict all plot twists or character traits from the start.  Not yet at least.

What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?

There is the old saying–write what you know–so I went with it.  I won't say I had a traumatic coming out experience, but I dated a few people who did. But coming out, trying to figure out the dating game–I knew I wasn't interested in women early on so I barely dated until I came out–and the like are things I 'know' so it's easier to make it more realistic.  That and I like writing about gay characters that people like.  I remember reading the Last Herald Mage from Mercedes Lackey and think how cool it was to have a main character who was gay AND people loved. 

Do you write in other genres besides M/M?

Fantasy, but even there I have a M/M element.  But to me, that is a fantasy novel with a gay MC, not a M/M book.  I actually think much of my work is something other than M/M fiction, but with a M/M element.

What is your favourite food?

Ravioli.  Mine and 'lil q's (my toddler daughter.) With homemade pasta sauce of course.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Totally a morning person. I love getting up early and letting everyone stay in bed so I can go get coffee or just sit on the porch and have me time alone. 

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I'd love to go to Australia and New Zealand. My worry is that I'll go and I'll never want to leave. I get that way sometimes when I go to the Pacific Northwest of the US or British Columbia in Canada. -We had that trouble in New Zealand too, fantastic place!

Do distant places feature in your books?

Yes.  Aside from the fantasy book – where that place is so distant you can't find it – (Un)Masked was set in New Zealand. 

Do you listen to music while writing?


Almost always – right now it's Blink 182.  I can't deal with noise, but music always fades into the background and seems to keep me focused on my writing.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?


I won't totally rehash what's in the blurb, but this is a darker story for me. It's not a light happy romance.  Forty years before the book opens, Will's lover David is violently killed. On the same night, he is chosen by the spirit of vengeance – the Purpose–to be the spirit's human host. Coincidence? Can I say read the book?

After David's death, Will remains alone, avenging the guilty to placate the innocent. When he meets Ryan, his whole world is upended. Will is forced to confront the emotions he's suppressed for forty years – for good reason. Will must choose; let Ryan into his life and deal with his feelings, or push him away and give up any chance at reclaiming his humanity. Will isn't–on his face–a likeable character.  He's the sword of vengeance so to speak.  But I hope people will grow to like him.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

The two are so different it's hard to answer in one response, but here goes.  Writing – I'm too wordy. I don't need to explain every little thing. The readers are smart enough to figure it out if I do my job right. So I'm working on that. 

Publishing – you need a marketing degree to be successful these days. There are so many books out there I'm competing against that good promotions are a must to stand out enough for people to find me.

Is there anything you would do differently?

Start sooner.  I used to write often, but it wasn't structured enough to help improve me craft. It would have helped if I had gotten feed back sooner.  And the start sooner answer applies to marketing too.  I wish I'd started that sooner too.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?


Three people. Helen Chappell, Lorraine Fico and Anyta Sunday.  Helen is an author and teacher who taught me to 'write tighter' and she gave me the single best piece of advice I've received as a writer – join a writing group and solicit feed back.  That was a huge help.  Lorraine is the owner of Magnifico Manuscripts Editing.  In one month she helped improve my writing ten fold.  She taught me how to write 'stronger.  Anyta was my co-author for (Un)Masked, my first book, and she's just a wonderful writer who taught me a bit about writing 'better.'

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Practice a lot, find someone(s) to give you honest critical feedback and start building your 'brand' as soon as possible – well before you publish your first book.

What are three words that describe you?

Loyal, stubborn and determined.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant – all of them [okay so that's not 'a' book but it's kinda one.] As for an author, well that would be Tolkien. I just feel he was such a trendsetter and his writing shows the way he thought about every word he wrote. 

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book:

Purpose

Forty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then, Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can't understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.

Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn't done in decades: care.

Buy link: Purpose from Dreamspinner Press

List of previous books if any:

(Un)Masked – with Anyta Sunday
The Last Grand Master

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web:

Website: www.andrewqgordon.com,
Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon
Twitter:  @andrewqgordon
Email: andrewqgordon@gmail.com
***

Review of Purpose coming in July at Zipper Rippers

Book Review: His Roommate's Pleasure by Lana McGregor

Review copy via Netgalley courtesy of the publisher
His Roommate's Pleasure
by Lana McGregor

M/M Contemporary/Erotica/BDSM
Carina Press

30,000 words
4 Stars


Blurb:

It started with an accidental click…but where will it end?

Desperate to turn in a paper, Adam borrows his roommate's computer and mistakenly opens a folder that contains Josh's collection of porn. Adam had no idea that his jock roommate was gay—and into leashes, paddles and domination. And Adam, an inexperienced virgin who's only ever kissed one guy, is surprised to find himself curious about submitting…

Josh can't believe that his roommate discovered his spank bank—and he can't believe that Adam is so turned on by the thought of giving up control to someone. Taking a chance, he offers to look through the photos with Adam…and maybe try acting some of them out.

Night after night, the boys delve into their darkest fantasies of domination and submission. And as lust and experimentation grow into the promise of something deeper, Adam must decide if he's brave enough to tell Josh how he feels.

Review:

Adam's hand-me-down laptop finally gave up the ghost just as he urgently needs to turn in a paper for his college class and since his roommate is out, he decides to borrow Josh's computer to send his paper. He gets more than he bargained for when he accidentally clicks on a folder and is faced with lots of pictures of men in various submissive poses, along with bondage and spanking.

Josh returns and Adam is caught red-handed so to speak. "You tripped and fell onto my porn folder?" What started out as an embarrassing moment, soon turns into the two young men discovering each other and what they like sexually. They become friends with benefits, but soon realise they want something deeper. But how are they going to do that when Josh is still so deep in the closet that no one else even knows he's gay?

I like BDSM stories where they are done well. I'm still a bit wary after reading one where the Dom refused to pay attention to the sub's safe word and almost killed him. That is not a problem here. This is a BDSM story done right. Both of them agree to their limits and even when they are in a scene, Josh still takes time to make sure Adam is okay with things before they proceed any further. Some of the things Josh says and does in another context might seem horrible and humiliating, but here's the point - Adam loves it. He's not being made to do something he doesn't like. Josh is only dominating him because Adam allows him to. It's amazing how many stories get that wrong.

The love scenes are very hot and despite being sexy and kinky, they are tender too. Adam loves being called Josh's 'good boy' and Josh makes sure to say it a lot.

I loved the progression from two friends who have sex to something deeper and more emotional. It's not really a complaint, more of an observation, but during some of the love scenes, the author uses the words 'he' and 'him' a lot rather than the characters' names so it's a little confusing at times as to who is doing what to whom.

It's a short, easy read, the writing flows really well but I didn't get some of the urgency in the scenes where Adam was desperate to come, but Josh made him wait. A few exclamation marks wouldn't have gone amiss there to help the urgency along.

But all in all a very satisfying, hot and romantic story.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Book Review: Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

Review Copy supplied by narrator
Widdershins
by Jordan L. Hawk
M/M Alternate History/Paranormal
Audiobook narrated by Julian G. Simmons
Also available in ebook
Running Time: 9 hours 15 minutes
5 Stars


Blurb:

Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he's ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult that murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn't believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin's rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne's iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin's secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?

Review:

Historical M/M novels are one of my favourites, as are those with a supernatural bent, so I was even more eager to review this book. I've never tried an audiobook before, I'm much more of a visual person than aural, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Julian G. Simmons has a very clear voice, everything was easy to follow, and each character had a different voice. I suppose it helps that the narrator is also an actor, it really comes across in the narration. This is not just a flat read, it's a dramatic one.

Percival Whyborne is a shy researcher hiding in the basement of the Ladysmith Museum, his only comfort the dead languages found in books. Gradually we learn a bit more about him, about the guilt he feels over his cousin's death when they were both in their teens, a cousin who Whyborne was in love with but never revealed it. For a man of his inclinations, acting on them might mean imprisonment or worse, so Whyborne keeps hiding and tries to forget how lonely he is in his awful apartment.

Drawn in to a murder investigation by Griffin and an even more mysterious book, Whyborne soon discovers that keeping his feelings hidden take even more effort, for Griffin is handsome, friendly, seeming at ease with the world. He's the sort of man Whyborne wishes he was and as they continue their investigations, they become closer and closer.

The love scenes are sensual and tender, for Whyborne has no experience to speak of, just dreams and fantasies, but Griffin shows him how good things can be with two people who are intimate with each other. They share an emotional connection as well as a physical one and it really comes across in the love scenes.

Their love story is interspersed with their investigation, fighting a secret cult dealing with necromancy and other occult horrors, but I don't think any scene was particularly gory. It was more like those old black and white horror films where you never actually saw the monsters, just heard the screams.

All the characters were wonderful, I especially like Christine, the female archaeologist who takes no nonsense from anyone and considers herself one of Whyborne's friends; he wasn't even aware he had any.

If you like a bit of supernatural plot with your romance, you can't go far wrong with Widdershins. It was a wonderful read. It was written in first-person POV, and while not my favourite, I think it worked well here as we get to discover things at the same time as Whyborne. It's and adventure and love story rolled into one and I loved it.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

Monday, 24 June 2013

Author Interview: Jordan L. Hawk

About the Author:

Jordan L. Hawk grew up in the wilds of North Carolina, where she was raised on stories of haints and mountain magic by her bootlegging granny. After using a silver knife in the light of a full moon to summon her true love, she turned her talents to spinning tales. She weaves together couples who need to fall in love, then throws in some evil sorcerers and undead just to make sure they want it bad enough. In Jordan’s world, love might conquer all, but it just as easily could end up in the grave.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I plan everything relentlessly! If I don't have a basic structure in mind before I sit down to write, the plot wanders everywhere and eventually collapses into a hopeless snarl.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

It's their story, so I guess in a way they always take over the story! Seriously, I'm a very character-driven writer who believes everything after the inciting incident must flow from how these particular characters would react in this particular situation.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?


I morning person these days. I have to be if I ever want to see my husband!

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I would love to visit Ireland some day. And I'd love to go back to Europe--I was too young on my previous visit to really appreciate the history.

Do distant places feature in your books?

Only peripherally. I'm far more likely to write about locations I've been to more than once.

Do you listen to music while writing?

Not while writing, but it's critical to the process when I'm in creative mode, figuring out what I'm going to write later!

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?


Threshold is the second book in the Whyborne & Griffin series. Set in an alternate 1898, the series follows Percival Endicott Whyborne, a repressed scholar and budding sorcerer, and his lover Griffin Flaherty, an ex-Pinkerton detective now gone into business for himself. The book is set a few months after the end of Widdershins, and they've had just enough time together for all those little annoyances to start to crop up, when one person does something just differently enough to thoroughly irritate the other. Throw in some otherworldly happenings at a coal mine, Whyborne's awful family, and an ex-lover, and step back to watch the sparks fly!

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Persistance, hard work, and learning about the publishing business are the absolute essentials for a writing career. If you don't have all three of these, now is the time to start!

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

Threshold:

Introverted scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne wants nothing more than to live quietly with his lover, ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty. Unfortunately, Whyborne’s railroad tycoon father has other ideas, namely hiring Griffin to investigate mysterious events at a coal mine.

Whyborne, Griffin, and their friend Christine travel to Threshold Mountain, a place of dark legend even before the mine burrowed into its heart. A contingent of Pinkertons—including Griffin’s ex-lover Elliot—already guard the mine. But Griffin knows better than anyone just how unprepared the detectives are to face the otherworldly forces threatening them.

Soon, Whyborne and Griffin are on the trail of mysterious disappearances, deadly accidents, and whispered secrets. Is Elliot an ally, or does he only want to rekindle his relationship with Griffin? And if so, how can Whyborne possibly hope to compete with the stunningly handsome Pinkerton—especially when Griffin is hiding secrets about his past?

For in a town where friends become enemies and horror lurks behind a human mask, Whyborne can’t afford to trust anything—including his own heart.

List of previous books if any

Hainted
Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin Book 1)
Hunter of Demons (SPECTR #1)
Master of Ghouls (SPECTR #2)
"Heart of the Dragon" (short story)

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web
My website: http://www.jordanlhawk.com
Tweet at me! https://twitter.com/jordanlhawk
Or be my friend on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jordanlhawk

Friday, 21 June 2013

Interview with Narrator Julian G. Simmons

Something a bit different today, we have an interview with Julian G. Simmons who narrates the audiobook version of the M/M romance novel Widdershins (my review of that will be at a later date.) We will also have an interview with the author tomorrow :)

About the narrator:

Julian G. Simmons lives in Los Angeles, where he has worked as an actor, writer and producer, and is also a  voice-over artist.

Julian studied Shakespeare and Classics at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford University, England, and technique with Joanne Linville in Los Angeles.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

As a narrator I do a lot of preparation so that the story flows and the characters each have their own personality without going over the top.  The first thing I do is read the story and get a sense of the mood of the book.  As I’m reading I list each of the characters and whatever information I can derive so I can begin to create a personality for each character.  “Widdershins(Whyborne& Griffin)”is delightful because it has just about every type of character you can imagine. None of the characters are terribly young; Whyborne is probably the youngest and he’s in his 20s. He was so much fun to create a voice for as what he’s thinking is often not related to what he’s saying. He’s very human that way and very layered. I can’t remember the actual character count, I’m sure Jordan could tell you.  I think it was somewhere in the area of about 15 main and supporting characters and they are across the board. Most are men.  I think there are four female characters whom actually speak. So the trick is to then come up with a unique essence for each one without your voice range running amok. Reading in advance also helps make the story sound more natural; like someone telling a story and not reading words off a page.

Do the character voices ever want to take over the story?

Honestly, Jordan has written some pretty unique and wonderful characters and as far as one over the other?  I think they are all pretty balanced in the overall story. I have some favorites. As I said earlier, I love Whyborne because I related to him a lot.  Though most people wouldn’t think it to look at me, I have always felt awkward in public.  That’s probably why I like acting and narrating, because it gives me a chance to be someone else.  The other thing about Whyborne is that he stutters and when I was a child I had a mild stutter and had a special tutor to help me with that. Whyborne is also very endearing because you either can relate to him or you just have sympathy for his struggle to free himself from his emotional chains.   There is also a character named Dr. Christine Putnam, whom I adore.  She is this very strong female with an advance degree in Egyptology; a world that was dominated by men in the 1800s.  She has this toughness to her, but the surprise about Christine is that she has this very sensitive side to her that makes her so acutely real.  I think a lot of women today could learn a thing or two from this woman from the 1880s about self-esteem and worth.

What drew you to narrating a M/M romance, paranormal novel?

Several things. The first is the quality of the writing in this book. It’s a well-crafted tale. It has all the elements of a great murder mystery with some awful looking creatures, and it also has this incredible love story that gets very erotic, but never tawdry.  I guess one has to first imagine what it would be like to be homosexual in 1800s New England, if you can even imagine it. Lots of people can’t comprehend what it’s like to be gay in the 21st century! The relationship between these two has all the pain and struggle, doubt and fear you would expect for that time period, but they have no hatred for who they are sexually, but for what it does to their lives.  They are two very healthy (mentally and physically) young men, who mange to endure all those negative things and fall in love.  You are routing for them every step of the way.

Beyond that, I know that a lot of gay fiction is centered around sex, it’s poorly written and just how many times can you read about sex if there is no story to back it up? Sex is everywhere in today’s world, but where are the good stories, the good books?  They’re few and far between.

You are an actor and voiceover artist as well?

I recently did the voice of Roman Polanski for a film by the Scottish director, Mick Davis.  Doing accent work is one of my favorite things to do.  In fact, in “Widdershins” there are some Irish characters.  That terrified me because I’ve always found difficulty with the Irish accent.   I practiced and came up with a few I think work okay, but I was in a cold sweat doing them. 

Other than that I recently acted in a commercial for Samsung Asia, and I’ve been doing some commercial and corporate videos for companies like AMP in Australia and Pepsi in the U.S.

When do you like to record your narrations?

Most times you don’t have a choice, but if I have a choice I like to start mid morning because my voice isn’t all that clear first thing.  And if I have been recording for eight hours straight, I begin to get hoarse.  Most people don’t think about reading an entire book aloud. “Widdershins” is just shy of ten hours of recording. And when you’re recording there are lots of stops and starts and often recording on different days, so then you also have to remember the voice levels for all the characters for continuity.

Who or what has influenced you in your career?

I was very fortunate to be accepted into an intensive Shakespeare and Classics program that was conducted at Balliol College, Oxford.  I had some amazing teachers there, but there were two in particular that had a tremendous influence on me.  The first was William Gaskill, who was a founding director of the National Theatre and the artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre . He also directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Bill was teaching us Beckett and we actually performed some scenes from “Endgame” and I played Nagg, the father of Hamm. The character Nagg lives in a dustbin and has no legs and Bill made sure we thought about the characters we were playing so they would be as authentic as possible.  He could be very curmudgeonly if you didn’t get what he was saying, but he was also so lovable.  The other person is an actor and teacher name Bill Homewood, who interestingly is also narrating audiobooks now.  In a Shakespeare class I had with Bill, I was doing a monologue and to say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.  I was very self-conscious doing Shakespeare and Bill was intuitive enough to recognize that, instead of berating me.  He said, “You know, Julian, you could be really great if you just get out of your own way.”  Those words stayed with me for years, and I knew if I wanted to be a successful actor I would have to figure out how and why I did that and then either grow from what I learned or do something else.  I did learn a lot and Shakespeare is an incredible way to build up a firm foundation as an actor.  I did get to spout off about the relevance of Shakespeare’s work in a new documentary produced by Kevin Spacey that recently aired on Showtime in the U.S.

What are three words that describe you?

Actor. Passionate. Grateful.

What’s your favorite book or who is your favorite writer?

Gee, I can’t name just one, but I can name a few! I love “Widdershins” (Whyborne& Griffin) and not just because I was lucky enough to do the narration.   In addition, I just finished a book, “The Jannisary Tree,” by Jason GoodwinThat is exceptional. I love the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Walt Whitman, Dickinson, and I just started reading “London,” by Edward Rutherfurd. I may have to add that to the list now as well.

Anything you would say to someone who wants to become an audiobook narrator?

Try reading a book you like aloud in its entirety and see how you feel afterward.  Most people don’t realize how much work goes into not just reading a book aloud, but making it interesting to hear.  I’m not sure about in the UK, but it would be worthwhile to look for classes offered by audiobook narrators about learning the ins and outs of the craft.

What are three words that describe you?

Actor. Passionate. Grateful.

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web?

Absolutely.  I have a website: www.JulianGSimmons.com
I have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/juliangsimmons2013,
And I can be found on Twitter at: @juliangsimmons


Widdershins (Griffin and Whyborne 1)
by Jordan L. Hawk
Narrated by Julian G. Simmons
M/M Historical/Paranormal
Audiobook available from: audible | itunes
Running Time: 9 hours 15 minutes

Blurb:

Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he's ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult that murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn't believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin's rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne's iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin's secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Book Spotlight: Changing Planes by Karenna Colcroft

Changing Planes
by Karenna Colcraft
M/M Contemporary Romance
Loose-id Publishing
Available from 
http://www.loose-id.com/changing-planes.html
Blurb:

Oliver Sheehan is on his way from Boston to California to marry his fiancée and start a new life, but he isn't sure Sophia and Sacramento are what he truly wants. On the second leg of his flight, Oliver meets Colin Traynor, a flight attendant with a wicked sense of humor and smile to match, and the attraction is immediate. It isn't the first time Oliver's been interested in a guy, but it's definitely the most intense.

Even after he arrives in Sacramento, Oliver can't quite put Colin out of his mind, and when his engagement to Sophia unravels in the wake of her confession that she's fallen in love with a woman, Oliver turns to Colin for friendship and comfort. Although Colin refuses to start a relationship with Oliver so soon after the break-up, they can't keep their hands to themselves when Oliver crashes in Colin's hotel room for the night.

Following that, a month of texting and video chats--not entirely G-rated--leads to a hot weekend at Oliver's new apartment back in Boston to make up for lost time. In bed and out, Oliver knows he wants Colin in his life; he just hopes Colin wants the same.

Excerpt:

The plane took off, and Oliver closed his eyes and breathed deeply. The plane would go up, level out, and stay in the air all the way to California. It would probably hit some turbulence, which was nothing more dangerous than a bumpy road. He would be just fine.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard flight three-seventy-five, Chicago, Illinois to Sacramento, California. I’m Colin, and I’ll be one of your flight attendants today. The others don’t matter.”
Startled, Oliver opened his eyes as the passengers around him laughed uncertainly. Colin stood at the front of the cabin, grinning broadly. “We’ll be serving snacks and drinks a bit later. I promise they aren’t poisoned, though they might taste like it.”

More laughter this time. Oliver joined in. Colin’s humor put him at ease, which was almost certainly Colin’s intention. He’d probably dealt with tons of nervous passengers. Or maybe he’d just gotten bored giving the same spiel over and over.

“In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask may drop from the compartment above you,” Colin said. “If it hits you in the head, it will hurt like hell.” More laughter as Colin took a demonstration mask out of the cupboard beside him. “Secure it this way, and don’t worry about how you look in it. We won’t take pictures.”

He put the mask on and took it off again. “If you’re traveling with a small child or someone who needs assistance, secure your mask before theirs. You won’t be a whole lot of help if you’re gasping like a fish on the floor.”

Oliver was laughing harder than the comments actually warranted, and he knew it was partly due to anxiety. But the guy was also just plain funny. He should have been on a stand-up comedy stage instead of wasting his talent on this plane.

“If we crash over water, your seat cushion will double as a flotation device,” Colin said. “If we crash over land, you’ll be pretty much screwed.”

At that, the passengers laughed so loudly Colin had to stop talking. He just smiled until the noise subsided, then went on to talk about seat belts, flight magazines, and the location of the restrooms. At the end, the passengers applauded. Definitely not the usual reaction to flight instructions. Then again, Colin obviously wasn’t the usual flight attendant.

“The captain’s telling the flight crew to sit down for a few minutes because we’re about to hit some turbulence,” Colin said. “Not to worry. He knows what he’s doing. We hope.”

The laughter this time wasn’t quite as loud, though Colin was still clearly joking. He smiled and nodded. “Yeah, yeah, time to be serious. Thanks, folks. You’ve been a lovely audience. Please make sure your seat belts remain fastened until the light goes out, and as soon as the captain gives us the go-ahead, we’ll come around to take your drink orders.”

The flight crew took their seats near the cockpit entrance, and the passengers turned back to their distractions, though there was a hum of conversation that hadn’t been present before. Colin’s comedy routine had put everyone in a better mood. Even Oliver, who now wished he could fly again just to listen to Colin more.

Visit the author's website at http://www.karennacolcroft.com

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Movie Trailer: The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

Now, although not strictly M/M, I've always found LOTR and The Hobbit books and movies very slashable, I'm sure I'm not the only one ;)

I mean what's not to love with lots of handsome, long-haired men?

The film's release date is 13 December 2013



New Releases from Amber Allure

Painting In The Rain
by Dev Bentham
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-440-3 (Electronic)
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / The Arts
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (34k words)
New Release 35% Discount (One Week Only)

http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/PaintingRain.html

Description: New from Dev Bentham, Amber Allure's hottest new author....

Helping teenagers is tough. They face so many dangers--peer pressure, drugs, pregnancy, STDs. As a trained social worker, Mike knows all about it. He's taken a temporary job on the Oregon coast working with at-risk kids. But when he meets Gabe, the father of one of his charges, he finds himself in another type of danger--that of falling in love and getting stuck in a small, conservative town, not to mention living with an angry teenager.

And yet, he's drawn to Gabe in a way he never imagined possible. Gabe, whose own father left before he was born, stays in a town where he no longer feels welcome. He's living the life of a lonely artist so that he can be a father to his son, a bond that's been threatened by divorce and Gabe's public coming out. When he meets Mike, Gabe is bowled over with a longing so deep that he finds himself willing to risk everything. But there are plenty of dangers in a small town, and when a gay kid gets hurt and they refuse to leave him to his fate, Mike and Gabe may be risking more than their hearts...

Trust
by Cassandra Gold
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-439-7 (Electronic)
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / BDSM (Light)
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (12k words)
New Release 35% Discount (One Week Only)

http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/Trust.html


Description: New from Cassandra Gold, author of the Amber Allure best-sellers The Institute, Book I: Healer and Clay's Challenge....

Detective Zach Davis has always prized his iron control. Life has taught him that emotions and trust are things to be avoided at all costs. Then his lover leaves him, citing the distance between them, and Zach realizes something has to change. Could a night at a BDSM club be the perfect way for him to show Lane he really can let go and build an equal relationship...

SPECIAL PROMOTION
Amber Quill Press is in the "Publisher Spotlight"
at All Romance EBooks!
Watch for special deals on all of our titles
between June 15th and June 30th.

***

Monday, 17 June 2013

Book Spotlight: The Chosen by Annette Gisby

The Chosen
by Annette Gisby
M/M Fantasy Romance
Cover art by Ravven
http://www.ravven.com
Available from amazon | allromance | smashwords

Blurb:

The neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia have been at a tentative peace for three years after centuries of warfare. Prince Severin of Arcathia has been brought up to put duty before all else and as the only son of the King and Queen, it is his duty to marry and produce an heir. His parents want him to marry an Oscian princess to cement that tentative peace. Unfortunately Severin isn't interested in princesses. Now, if he had his pick of princes that would be another matter.

Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his aptitude for wizardry is discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by Prince Severin and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong, but his feelings for Severin sorely test his resolve.

With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, magic in the air, and outside forces trying to keep them apart, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?

Excerpt:

“No? You turn down the best offer of marriage you’ll ever have and you say you have nothing to be sorry for?”

“I don’t want to get married!” protested Severin. “I already told you that.”

“You’re twenty-one years old, and the only heir to the Arcathian throne! What happens when I’m gone and you’re left a bachelor? There’ll be bloodshed if you don’t sire a son and soon. Do you want to bring us back to the brink of civil war? That’s what it will come down to. Leave us,” Faran commanded the falconer.
The man bowed and hastily made his retreat, the birds squawked when he did so.

“Chayal told me what happened at your initiation,” said Faran in a much gentler tone. “That you were not pleased by any of the eligible women. There is no shame in it for them or for you, Severin. The prince’s first chosen is an honour and one not lightly bestowed. But why didn’t you go through with it?”

Severin blushed, and mentally made a note never to speak to Chayal again. The man was supposed to be his friend. Then he realised that being the head of the Raven Brotherhood, Chayal’s first loyalties were to his king. They were his father’s bodyguards, not his.

“Have you lain with anyone at all? Perhaps you preferred to keep it private between the two of you?”

“No, Father. No one.” Heat crept into his cheeks as he spoke.

“But don’t you see? This is even better. Anyone offering for you will have to offer a much higher dowry since you’re a virgin, which is unusual for Arcathian males. You could have your pick of princesses,” said Faran, trying to coax him.

Why couldn’t his father understand? Severin didn’t want his pick of princesses. The idea of lying with a woman didn’t interest him. He didn’t dislike women, in fact, Kelandra was one of his best friends, but the thought of being intimate like that with any of them wasn’t something he had ever wanted.

Visit the author's website at: http://www.annettegisby.n3.net




Friday, 14 June 2013

Author Interview: Dennis Milam Bensie

About the Author:

Dennis Milam Bensie grew up in Robinson, Illinois where his interest in the arts began in high school participating in various community theatre productions. Bensie’s first book,  Shorn: Toys to Men was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award, sponsored by the American Library Association. It was also a pick in the International gay magazine The Advocate as “One of the Best Overlooked Books of 2011″.

The author’s short stories have been published by Bay Laurel, Everyday Fiction, and This Zine Will Change Your Life and he has also been a feature contributor for The Good Men Project. One Gay American is his second book with Coffeetown Press and it was chosen as a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Book Awards. He was a presenter at the 2013 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. Dennis lives in Seattle with his three dogs.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I let the story flow. You can learn so much by listening to the story. Often, the most wonderful moments of writing are spontaneous.   

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I can be either/or. Not good at trying to be both at the same time. Sometimes when writing I lose all track of time. 

Do you listen to music while writing?

No. I write best when it is silent. 

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
One Gay American came out last September. It is my second memoir about growing up gay. The book is vignettes about my life that tie into gay history in America. 

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Live your life like you are already the writer you hope to be. Don’t wait for the validation. 

What are three words that describe you?

Sincere. Conflicted. Sharp.

What's your favorite book or who is your favorite writer?
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar 

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

For One Gay American:
“The bitch has been through it, and she (he) has no problem telling you ALL about it, WITHOUT sugar-coating the shadiest, dishiest bits. BIG SNAPS for Bensie!” ~~~Jinkx Monsoon, Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 

List of previous books if anyShorn: Toys to Men was released by Coffeetown Press in 2011. 
Any websites/places readers can find you on the webhttp://dennismilambensie.com

One Gay American
by Dennis Milam Bensie
Memoir
Coffee Town Press
Available in ebook and paperback

Dennis Milam Bensie is One Gay American. Born in the 1960s and raised with traditional values in Robinson, Illinois, Bensie desperately wanted romance, a beautiful wedding, and a baby to carry on the family name. He denied his sexuality and married a woman at nineteen years old,  but fantasized of weddings where he could be the bride. The newlyweds "adopted" a Cabbage Patch Doll and ironically witnessed a Cabbage Patch Doll wedding (a successful fundraiser staged by a local women's club) where the dolls were granted the type of grand ceremony off-limits to gay couples.

In search of his identity as a gay man, Bensie divorced his wife and stumbled through missteps and lessons that still sting his generation: defending against bullies, "disappointing" his parents, and looking for love in gay bars, bath houses and restrooms. He helped his straight friends plan their dream weddings and mourned his gay friends dying of AIDS. Although true love has not yet come his way, Bensie has learned to love himself.

Bensie is the author of the much-lauded memoir, Shorn: Toys to Men, which recounts his battle with paraphilia. One Gay American tells the rest of his story and draws parallels to gay history, decade by decade, with newspaper headlines and quotations. Bensie is the gay neighbor that you either love or hate. Either way, he's got a lot to say and says it with no apologies.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Book Review: Just a Little Unwell by Iyana Jenna

Review copy supplied by author
Just a Little Unwell
by Iyana Jenna
M/M Contemporary Short Story
Silver Publishing
Heat Level: Sweet
4 Stars


Blurb:

Patrick Trafford is pleased with the simple life he has, spending his time tending a tiny garden accompanied by his best friend, Chad, a cockroach. Nevertheless, he can't hide the excitement bubbling in him as a man suddenly appears in the garden.

Damien Abner politely welcomes, albeit somewhat at a loss, Patrick's warm offer to spend time with him. To have a coffee, watch some movie, and dance along with the characters in it.

They begin to date and Patrick has never been happier, though he barely knows who Damien is—not that it matters to him. For him, being clueless does mean bliss.

Review:

This was a short, bittersweet story that really pulls at your heartstrings. I guessed the twist long before it was revealed, so that was a bit of a disappointment for me. I would have preferred to have been surprised.

The story was told from Patrick's point of view and he was the one character's head we got to spend time in. I would have loved to have been inside Damien's head for part of it, but I suppose with a short story sticking to one character's POV probably worked for the best.

The author has a way with words and the story just flew by, as I was eager to see what happened next. I did enjoy the story but I was a little disappointed with the epilogue and so much time had passed for our characters, but as readers you didn't get to feel it. It was a good book but if it had been longer it would have been better.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Book Spotlight: Bitter Bonds by Lex Valentine

Bitter Bonds
by Lex Valentine
M/M Contemporary/BDSM
Sequel to Broken Bonds
Available from
allromance |  amazon | bn

Blurb:

Dominant Jake Conrad isn’t going to get involved in another relationship with a submissive. Burned by two former submissives, Jake vows never to collar one again. Then his best friend Ray brings him a sub like no other. Finn is damaged and bitter, although not as bitter as Jake. The white haired submissive has secrets and talents Jake never dreamed of and the lure of Finn’s need to submit calls to Jake’s soul.

Everyone Finn has ever loved walked away from him. He fears caring for anyone when he knows the outcome will shatter his heart again. When Finn falls for Jake, he gives his lover the ultimate gift, a chance to have the dreams he set aside years before even though he knows that if Jake accepts the gift, he’ll walk out of Finn’s life forever. A slave to his love for his Dominant, the submissive finds his true strength in easing Jake’s bitterness even at the cost of his own happiness.

Excerpt:

“You did good, Finn. I’m proud of you.”

The pleased expression on the Dominant’s face made Finn’s heart race. Jake’s amber eyes glowed with a light that captured Finn’s entire attention. His cock began to throb and swell beneath the denim placket of his jeans. God, he wanted Jake. Had from the moment he’d set eyes on him.

He’d been at Wired for Sound almost three weeks now. He kept the studio spotless and stayed out of the way of the rock stars who had invaded the space to record their albums. He’d learned that all of the musicians respected Jake and his opinion carried a lot of weight with them. They tried to entice him to sing or play on their songs but he always refused. They seemed genuinely disappointed when he turned them down. Finn thought that Jake must really be good if rock stars were begging him to collaborate with them.

“You know, it’s not always easy to hold your own around these guys. They have their diva moments,” Jake said as he stepped closer to Finn. “And some of them aren’t nearly as good as the public thinks they are. Some of them are nothing more than good looks and a decent voice bolstered and held together with good PR, great songwriters and producers and a really solid back up band.”

Finn stared at Jake in disbelief. He hadn’t noticed that the two bands currently working at Wired for Sound lacked talent. His expression must have given away his thoughts because Jake chuckled.

“I don’t mean these guys. They’re all pretty genuine. But there are others who don’t have their talent and yet make more money than both these bands put together,” Jake admitted. “The thing is, it’s okay to give them a little help here and there, but don’t ever step into the trap of agreeing to work with them. That’s not a smart move.”

“Why not?” Finn asked, tilting his head to look up at the Dominant.

Jake snorted and rubbed a hand over the back of the couch. “For you, the main one would be that they’d end up treating you like your parents did. Oh, they wouldn’t trot you out like a performing pig but they’d use you just the same.”

“Is that why you won’t ever sing with them or write songs with them when they ask?”

A glimmer of appreciation appeared in Jake’s amber eyes. “I know better than to let them exploit me. They respect me, but they’d use me in a heartbeat if they could. Better that they learn right now that you aren’t going give them any more than you just gave Adam.”

Finn’s mouth curled into a smile. “He was pissed that you wouldn’t let me help him.”

Another snort escaped Jake. “He’ll get over it. His diva-tude never lasts long. He just isn’t used to people telling him no.”

Sliding a foot forward, Finn inched closer to Jake. He glanced up at the older man through the fringe of hair that hung over his forehead.

“He seemed to take it for granted that I belong to you,” Finn said softly.

Jake’s hand came out to cup Finn’s chin. Their gazes met. Jake sighed. Finn quivered.

“Yeah, I did sort of give them all the sense that you belong to me. I wanted to make sure they left you alone,” Jake admitted.

Heart leaping, Finn decided he’d waited long enough to ask the question that had been on the tip of his tongue from the moment he’d first set eyes on Jake. “Do you want me to belong to you?”

Heat flared in Jake’s eyes, but he heaved a sigh and a rueful smile tilted his mouth up in one corner. “Yes. We both know that I do. But that doesn’t mean it’s right and it doesn’t mean I will.”

“Why not? I want you too. You must know that.” Finn knew he sounded like he was begging but he couldn’t help himself. He’d never wanted anyone the way he wanted Jake.

A door slammed and three members of the other band working at Wired for Sound burst out of the middle studio. Jake moved away from Finn, the delicate balance of the moment they’d just shared broken by the band’s raucous laughter. Finn decided that he wouldn’t let the subject die though. Later, when he and Jake were alone, he would bring it up again.

Visit the author at http://www.lexvalentine.com/

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

New Releases from MLR Press

Title Say Everything
Mixed Tape Series Volume #1
Author Gina A. Rogers
ISBN# MLR-1-02013-0083 (ebook) $3.99
Release Date June 2013
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Length 16,000 words
Heat Rating Graphic
Categories Contemporary, Erotica
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)


http://www.mlrbooks.com/Bookstore.php?bookid=GRSAYEVR

Gregory has no problem talking Atari, muscle cars or just plain dirty, but will he be able to open up his heart to Chad and just say everything?

Gregory put his past up for sale on Craigslist. He never expected Chad, a gorgeous black-haired devil, to waltz in and take it all. He doesn't leave him empty-handed though, giving him friendship and new memories to fill the space. Torn between his past and the chance at a real future, Gregory has to decide if he can let down his defenses and open himself up to the chance of getting hurt again. But Chad isn't going to wait forever and Gregory only has one chance to convince him to stay, but he'll have to say everything.

***

Title Heaven
Mixed Tape Series Volume #1
Author C.J. Anthony
ISBN# MLR-1-02013-0083 (ebook) $5.99
Release Date June 2013
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Length 38,000 words
Heat Rating Mild
Categories Historical, Humor
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)


http://www.mlrbooks.com/Bookstore.php?bookid=CJAHEAVN

Brian has climbed the high school social ladder, dating the pretty Popular girl---but he just wants to be with his best friend, Joey.

Your high school years will be some of the best years of your life---yeah right. Try some of the worst. Best friends since they were five, Joey Whitcomb--a Freak---and Brian Davis---a Brain---just want to survive the landmine of their 80's high school years. Upheaval begins when Brian gets elevated unwittingly to boyfriend of the Queen of the Popular clique. But when Brian (with a little help from Bryan Adams) comes to an epiphany about his true feelings for his best friend does he risk ruining their friendship for a little piece of Heaven?

***

Title True
Mixed Tape Series Volume #1
Author Sabrina Luna
ISBN# MLR-1-02013-0082 (ebook) $1.99
Release Date June 2013
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Length 9,000 words
Heat Rating Graphic
Categories Contemporary, Erotica, Historical
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)


http://www.mlrbooks.com/Bookstore.php?bookid=SL__TRUE

Dan Rockwell finds a mix tape in an old trunk which brings back memories of a special night in 1984.


When Dan Rockwell discovers a mix tape in an old trunk in his parents' attic, it brings back fond memories. Coaxed by his partner, Dan recalls Russ Hill, the guy who gave him the mix tape, and their very sexy Spring night together back in 1984.

***
Title Sharped Dressed Man
Mixed Tape Series Volume #1
Author T.A. Chase
ISBN# MLR-1-02013-0080 (ebook) $3.99
Release Date June 2013
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Length 15,000 words
Heat Rating Graphic
Categories Contemporary
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)


http://www.mlrbooks.com/Bookstore.php?bookid=TAC_SDRM

For twenty-five years, Jim and Dan have thought about what could have been, and now they have a chance to find out.

Jim Stanton and Daniel Perkins fell in love with each other at a ZZ Top concert in 1987, though they never admitted it. After graduation, they let their love slip away, but never forgot. Their 25th class reunion gives them the chance to correct the mistake.

***

Title Wouldn’t It Be Good
Mixed Tape Series Volume #1
Author Logan Zachary
ISBN# MLR-1-02013-0079 (ebook) $1.99
Release Date June 2013
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Length 6,000 words
Heat Rating Graphic
Categories Contemporary, Erotica
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)


http://www.mlrbooks.com/Bookstore.php?bookid=LZWDNBGD

Wouldn't it be good to have music bridge the gap between two men?

Jason is the football god on campus, and Jeff is not. After an incident in gym class, Jeff leaves school embarassed and bruised. Jason tries to help, but all he can do is leave a tape of mixed songs for Jeff hoping to help him feel better. Music can calm the savage beast, but can it bridge the gap between Mr. Perfect and Mr. Wrong? One song speaks volumes to Jeff, and his defenses begin to crumble as the men become closer and closer. Wouldn't it be good to have a friend?

***

Title 500 Miles
Mixed Tape Series Volume #1
Author Parker Williams
ISBN# MLR-1-02013-0081 (ebook) $2.99
Release Date June 2013
Cover Artist Deana C. Jamroz
Length 12,000 words
Heat Rating Mild
Categories Contemporary
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)


http://www.mlrbooks.com/Bookstore.php?bookid=PM_500ML

Mark loves Jase, but will that be enough to bring Jase back from the brink after a devastating tragedy?

Since he was fourteen, Mark knew he loved Jase, his brother Eric's best friend. As Jase and Eric leave for the Army, Jase leaves Mark something to hold onto, but when the two men are shipped to Afghanistan, things change when Jase tells Mark he's met someone. Confused and hurt, Mark is left to wonder what happened. Eric returns, but with devastating news - and needing Mark's help. Can Mark help the man who broke his heart? Or will he let Jase push him away - for the second time?



Monday, 10 June 2013

Book Spotlight: Teasing Jonathan by Amber Kell

Teasing Jonathan
Book 3 in the Mercenary Love Series
by Amber Kell
M/M Contemporary
Available from total-e-boundamazon


Blurb:

After spending years defending his country, will Jonathan lose the battle over his heart?

When Jonathan Stevens meets Kai Stromwell, it’s attraction at first sight, but can a brief sizzle turn into a lasting fire? A series of events leads Jonathan to believe someone is trying to kill Kai. The question is who? With no obvious motives the most he can do is stick close to the handsome man and stay alert. Keeping Kai safe becomes the focus of his life while he fights his own personal demons.

Kai Stromwell has worked hard to build up his fortune. Upon meeting Jonathan he wonders if maybe there is more to life than long hours at the office. When attempts on his life become more and more aggressive, he turns to his new love for answers. Depending on someone had never been easy but he would give up his millions if he could spend the rest of his life teasing Jonathan.

Excerpt:

Sometimes life conspired against him. Jonathan knew it like he knew that the desert sun always burned his skin crackling hot, and that sand always scratched across the most uncomfortable places when he needed to stand at attention.

After getting hardly any sleep, he’d driven to his boss Sinclair Alverston’s condo only to find him and his husband, Callum Turner, snuggled together on the couch, looking sickeningly happy. An ex-mercenary with a hard-ass reputation shouldn’t be able to pull off the googly-eyed look.

Callum took a moment to separate himself from Sinclair and casually whip Jonathan up an incredible omelette and heat up some biscuits, before returning to the couch for his real job—being the centre of Sin’s fucking universe. Jonathan wished he could hate Callum a bit for not only finding a lover who worshipped him but for making personal success look so easy too. Unfortunately, it took too much effort to dislike the chef. Callum was genuinely a nice guy who’d give the shirt off his back to a person in need. Jonathan considered Callum one of his rare non-military friends.

However, watching the pair of them smooching churned Jonathan’s stomach and not for the reason that his religious-minded parents would have preferred. Envy, an ugly emotion at the best of times, twisted inside him tighter than a contortionist. He might tell himself he preferred to be left alone because of his problems, but deep down beneath his indifferent veneer, he wished he had someone to love.

Even if he happened to find the perfect guy, Jonathan had enough emotional baggage to fill a dozen U-Haul trucks. If for some reason this imaginary Mr Wonderful overlooked the fact that he could never meet Jonathan’s parents and would never be acknowledged by any of Jonathan’s relatives, he’d still have to put up with the night-time terrors haunting Jonathan’s sleep.

Yep, he was a prize.

He sighed and took another bite of his omelette. Considering his sour attitude lately, Callum had shown great restraint in not poisoning Jonathan’s food. Even the explosion of flavours filling his mouth didn’t take away his melancholy. He’d have to talk to the doctor about upping his medication. He could feel depression clouding his thoughts and slowing his reflexes. With the mood-lifter cocktail he took, Jonathan shouldn’t still feel as if he were moving through molasses.

Sin approached and hopped onto the bar stool beside him. "I don’t want to pry into your personal life, Jonathan, but Patrick and I are worried about you. You’ve been jittery and unfocused lately. Not to mention you look like shit."

Jonathan laughed. It wasn’t funny, not really, but Sin’s complete lack of subtlety was kind of refreshing. You always knew where you stood with the ex-mercenary.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

He’d known the time would come when he needed to tell his bosses and apparently that time had arrived.
"I’ve been having nightmares—flashbacks, really. I’m on anti-depressants and I have a therapist. Not much is helping," he confessed.

Surprisingly, Sin nodded and patted him on the shoulder. "It gets better. Stick with a regimen. If you’d like a different therapist, I have one I used for a bit when I stopped being a mercenary."

Jonathan’s jaw dropped open. It had never occurred to him that Sinclair Alverston had ever been to a therapist in his life. That unexpected news lifted a weight off his chest. "Thanks."

Sin nodded. "You can’t tell by looking at someone that they need a hand once in a while. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Patrick and I have both had problems from time to time. Arthur still has nightmares about his partner. It’s natural. If you were completely unaffected, then you should be worried."

"I appreciate that." The relief of sharing his problems helped a great deal. Since he’d left the military, he’d gone from being in a group of people experiencing the same things to being a loner. He hadn’t realised how much talking to his friends had helped. Most of them were dead now, but looking at Callum and Sin, he knew he’d discounted people right in front of him who cared.

Sinclair’s phone rang. After a short conversation he hung up and turned his attention back to Jonathan.

Visit the author's blog at: http://amberkell.wordpress.com/

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Book Spotlight: Leaves in the Wind by J.D. Summers

Leaves in the Wind
by J.D. Summers
M/M Contemporary
Available from amazon


Blurb:

Hendly is a submissive college boy who is looking for love. He thinks that Randy is his soul mate. Unfortunately, Randy is not yet ready to commit to a relationship. He plays with Hendly's emotions and treats him like a sex object. Armed with a broken heart, Hendly reaches out to his ex, Matt, who shows him the passionate delights of the city. However, Hendly soon discovers that not all that glitters is gold.

Excerpt:

Randy followed me into the elevator.  Once inside, we remained silent. Once inside my room, we both sat on the bed.  I had to conquer every nerve in my body to prevent myself from jumping him right then and there.  Instead, I pretended that I didn’t care whether he was there or not.  This time, I found the silence to be quite tolerable.

He was the one to start the conversation. “I am sorry,” he said softly. 

“Sorry for what?”  I had the upper hand on him this time and I planned to use it to my full advantage.  All unsaid things had to be said now and for all.  I wasn’t going to beg for anyone to love me.

“I am sorry about the other night,” he responded after a few moments.

“It does not matter.  What is done is done.  It’s not that important,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.  He looked at me as if I had sent a knife through his heart.  I didn’t want to be as hasty yet to think that he actually cared for me.

“Don’t be like that.  It is important to me.” I could see the sorrow in his eyes. But I was smarter than that. Looking sorrowful didn’t make his apology genuine.

“Why?”  I asked.                       
   
I was reeling him in.  There was no way I was letting him off the hook that easily.

At this point, he could no longer remain seated.  He got up and headed for the door, then changed his mind.  He began to pace up and down my small dorm room, like a mad man.

“I have tried to fight it for too long, but I can’t do it any longer.  This is driving me crazy.  You are driving me crazy.  Please stop ignoring me.”

My plan had worked! He was admitting how he felt. The roles were reversed and it made me feel powerful. He was feeling how I felt before. The sweet taste of revenge trickled through every vein in my body.

“But I thought that was what you wanted. I was only trying to do what you asked me to do. I was just…being respectful of your wishes. You used to get really upset with me whenever I would try to speak with you at class. I don’t even know if you want me to speak to you anywhere on this campus.  Now don’t blame me if I got sick and tired of you using me and discarding me like a rag.” My voice had risen slightly towards the end of my statement and I was sure he was fully aware, now, that  I was getting angry.  He had some nerve!

“Tell me what you want me to do.  Anything. And I would do it. I promise.” Randy sounded so desperate. I had him eating out the palm of my hands.

Several thoughts swirled around inside my head.  I believed that he really meant to keep his promise. I had some conditions I wanted to make, but then again, I also wanted a relationship.  While it was true that he would have done anything to be with me, he might eventually end up resenting me if I made any excessive demands. I had to think it through carefully. I knew that, at the end of it all, I didn’t want to use him, like he had done to me before. I wanted a lover whom I could respect and who could respect me in return. I wanted love, not just a lustful surrender.


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Author Interview: Kelli A Wilkins

About the Author:

Kelli Wilkins is an award-winning author who has written more than 80 short stories, fifteen romance novels (for Medallion Press and Amber Quill Press), and four non-fiction books. Her romance writing spans many genres and heat levels and yet she’s also been known to surprise readers with a horror story. Most recently, her horror short, “Sometimes Monsters are Real” was one of eighteen stories included in the Mistresses of the Macabreanthology.
Kelli publishes a blog (http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/) filled with news, interviews, and writing prompts. She also writes a newsletter, Kelli's Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor).Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with everyone!I love hearing from readers and invite folks to contact me. Let me know your favorite book, character, or scene from any of my romances (or horror stories!).

Happy Reading,
Kelli


Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?


Each book comes to me in a different form. Sometimes I’ll have an entire story “jump” into my head, and I’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (That happened with A PerfectMatch, A Most Unusual Princess, Trust with Hearts, and The Viking’s Witch.)

Other times, I’ll get bits and pieces of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, I’ll have a character come first, and once I get to “know” and develop the character, I’ll find out the story. Once I know the story, the other pieces fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Four Days with Jack,Beauty & the Bigfoot, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.)

Before I start a book, I think about the story. I need to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. After that, I outline the scenes and start writing. As I write, I allow myself some leeway to explore things I hadn’t considered in my outline/list. I might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. I tend to go where the story takes me.

Once in a while I’ll be writing a scene and the characters “take over” and decide that the scene should go a different way, or something I planned on happening changes. I thought I knew all about my characters before I started writing The Pauper Prince and A Midsummer Night’s Delights – but I was wrong. One thing I learned while writing those stories was that characters can leap off the page and take the story in a different direction. Even though I created the characters, I was surprised to discover a different side to Prince Allan (in The Pauper Prince) and Julian (from A Midsummer Night’s Delights).

Writing a new book is always an adventure for me and I never know where the characters or stories will take me.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Yes, sometimes they develop a life of their own. That happened when I was writing my historical/fantasy, Dalton’s Temptation. I introduced a secondary character, Prince Allan, and before long, this wise-cracking fellow tried to run off with the book. I fell in love with him and decided that he needed his own book, so I wrote The Pauper Prince for him, and told his story. Readers and reviewers loved it.

Do you write in other genres besides M/M? What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?

I write romances in all genres, at all heat levels. Most of my romances are ‘straight’ M/F, but sometimes I mix in some ménage. I always knew that one day I’d write a gay romance, and I’d been batting ideas around in my head for a while. I was in-between books and had just finished editing A PerfectMatch(which had a gay secondary character) when I heard about the Amber Allure “Postcards from Paradise” line, and I knew I had my next project.

At first, all I had was a basic plot (straight guy comes out to his gay best friend), a title, and one pivotal scene that takes place in a bathroom. (For those who have read the book, you know which scene I’m talking about – but I won’t give it away here!) From there, I let my imagination wander and came up with the resort, the rest of the plot, and the unusual cast of characters that Jack and David encounter.
My second M/M book, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing also was written for a particular line at Amber Allure (the Howling at the Moon series). It’s a different take on the werewolf legend. This paranormal has a lot of humor mixed in and it was a lot of fun to write. Reviewers also loved it.

I’m toying with more ideas for M/M exclusive titles, and just wrote a new book that has M/M, F/F, and ménage. That story,Ultimate Night’s Delights, is the last book in a series that includes A Midsummer Night’s Delights and A Midwinter Night’s Delights. The first book starts out “straight” then readers are quickly drawn into a world of swapping, naughty games, and anything goes, including M/M and ménage. (Ultimate Night’s Delights should be released sometime this summer.)

Are you a morning person or a night owl?


I can be both!  I sometimes get up early and do an hour or two of writing while my husband is sleeping or surfing. If I take a nap in the afternoon, I’ll be able to stay up late at night and go out, or write more. I’m pretty flexible!

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I’ve been to a lot of places (Egypt, Scotland, Ireland, and lots of places in the US), but I’d like to go to Easter Island and see the Moai up close and in person. I’d also love to the tour castles in Wales (especially haunted ones!). I like visiting old, historical places that are surrounded in mystery.

Do distant places feature in your books?

Yes. I live in the States and several of my historical/fantasy books are set in the UK. I don’t mention a particular time-period (since it’s a fantasy I can make up kingdoms, princes, and whatever else I want). My IPPY award-winning historical, The Viking’s Witch was set in Celtic Scotland, and The Dark Lord took place in the Carpathian Mountains.

Do you listen to music while writing?

Yes. Depending on what stage of the writing process I’m in, the music changes. If I’m actually writing a book or short story, I listen to New Age-type music. If I’m typing/revising a story I put on anything (1960s-80s, or whatever.) When I’m proofreading a final draft I need to have quiet, though.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

My most recent M/M book is Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, published by Amber Quill Press. It’s an unusual take on the werewolf legend and blends a contemporary gay paranormal with humor - and danger.
Here’s the blurb:

Killer in Wolf’s Clothing

A super aggressive Alpha male, a serial killer, and a visit to a kinky sex club…What has Larry gotten himself into?

When Larry learns that his boyfriend Greg changes into another man during the full moon, he has a hard time accepting it—until he meets Deke, Greg’s alternate Alpha personality.

Deke doesn’t play nice and has no time for games. He only wants two things—to get laid and to get revenge against the arsonist who murdered his friends. Finally free from Greg’s restraints, Deke is ready for action, and Larry is more than willing to submit to Deke’s needs.

Together, Larry and Deke set out to find the killer. Their hunt takes them to an all-night Alpha sex club where things heat up for the two of them. But when Larry unwittingly falls into the clutches of the murderer, it’s up to Deke—and Greg—to save him before it’s too late.
 Buy link:  http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/KillerWolfsClothing.html

***
Sometime this summer/early autumnUltimate Night’s Delight’s will be released. It’s a follow-up A Midsummer Night’s Delights and A Midwinter Night’s Delights. Anything goes in those books, including M/M and ménage. (I encourage readers to check out both of the previous books – excerpts, blurbs, and reviews are on my site.)

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started? Is there anything you would do differently?


I’ve learned a million (or more) things about writing and publishing in the last 13 years. (Yes, it’s been that long!) Aside from elements of the craft (learning how to write tighter, build characters and settings, revise and edit my own work, etc.) I’ve learned a lot about publishing and promotion. I blog, do press releases, guest blogs, interviews, post on social media, etc., all of which seemed overwhelming at first.

The world of publishing has changed completely since I started submitting stories (on paper with a SASE) to editors and agents. There were no such things as e-books and traditional publishers refused to acknowledge them as “real” books. The M/M genre was all but non-existent and authors weren’t as open about writing erotica (in any genre) as they are now. Every step I’ve taken on my path has led me to where I am now, and I’m happy. So, for the most part, I wouldn’t make any grand changes to anything I’ve done.

However, there are two things that, looking back, I would have changed. One, I would have taken control over my website earlier. I was relying on friends who knew how to do programming to update it and that basically turned into a disaster. (My site was inactive for about a year while I listened to promises….) I’m now in charge of my own site and much happier with it. (Go check it out: www.KelliWilkins.com.)

The second thing is that I would have rewritten, deleted, or edited down one of the sex scenes in one of my books. (I won’t say which one.) I wasn’t happy with it from the start, and looking back I’d like to change it. Other than that, I’m content with my choices.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

Although most people think of me as romance writer, I also write horror short stories. The author who has had the most influence on my writing is Stephen King. I read his short stories at a very young age, and his writing style and distinct voice have always stuck with me. He creates interesting characters, brings the reader into the setting with sensory details, and sets up unique plots. The telling of the story (regardless of genre) is the core to any good book. I think his On Writing is a must-read for anyone who writes or wants to write.  

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

The best advice I can give to any writer (regardless of what genre he or she writes) is to keep writing. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to sit down every day and write something. But the more you write, the easier it gets.

Writing classes are a great way to learn the basics and meet other writers. If possible, join a writer’s group or a critique group to get feedback on your stories. When you’ve written the best story you can, submit it! You can’t get published if you never submit, and you never know when your first acceptance will arrive.

What are three words that describe you?

Eclectic free-thinking writer.

List of previous books:
I listed all of my romances here along with the genre. Readers are invited to check out summaries, excerpts, and reviews on my site: www.KelliWilkins.com
A Midsummer Night’s Delights (historical/fantasy, M/M &ménage)
A Midwinter Night’s Delights(historical/fantasy, M/M & ménage – Sequel to A Midsummer Night’s Delights)
A Most Unusual Princess (historical/fantasy)
A Perfect Match (contemporary wrestling romance – with secondary gay character)
Beauty & the Bigfoot(contemporary paranormal/comedy)
Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover (paranormal)
Dalton’s Temptation(historical/fantasy – Follow-up to A Most Unusual Princes)
The Dark Lord (historical)
Four Days with Jack(contemporary, gay) May 2011 Bestseller!
Killer in Wolf’s Clothing(paranormal, gay) May 2012 Bestseller!
Naughty Nobles (historical/fantasy anthology paperback– contains 3 stories: A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord, A Midsummer Night’s Delights)
The Pauper Prince (historical/fantasy – Follow-up to Dalton’s Temptation)
The Sexy Stranger (contemporary)
Trust with Hearts(contemporary)
The Viking's Witch (historical/paranormal) Gold IPPY Award Winner!

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web:

Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Amber Quill Press Author page http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/bio_Wilkins.html 
Medallion Press Author Page http://medallionmediagroup.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/@KWilkinsauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kelli.wilkins1