Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Book Review: Karma Bites by Erin M. Leaf


Karma Bites
by Erin M. Leaf
M/M Contemporary/Light BDSM
Evernight Publishing
5 Stars

Book Blurb:

Boyd will do anything to avoid his cousin Coco—even pretend to be gay. He’s visiting his dad who’s got a broken arm, and all he wants is for her to leave him alone, so Boyd calls his best friend for help. His father swears that karma is going to bite him on his butt for lying, but Boyd can’t think of any other way to extricate himself from Coco’s clutches.

Harrison will do anything for his best friend—even pretend to be his boyfriend, because he’s awesome like that. Once he arrives, though, Boyd surprises him with a “practice” kiss, which is just totally uncalled for. Before Harrison can fend him off, they’re on the bed making out. How does he get into these crazy situations? Oh yeah, Boyd and his wacky ideas. Harrison’s going to make him pay for this (even if he kind of secretly enjoyed it), because that’s how karma works.

Review:

Originally posted at The Romance Reviews
http://glbt.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=13816

A wonderful, friends-to lovers fun story with two great lead characters.

Boyd made a promise to his grandfather when he was a child that he would always look after his cousin Coco. What he didn't anticipate was the amount of times he had to bail her out in dangerous situations that she'd somehow managed to get herself into. In high school, Coco knew she could always count on Boyd to bail her out and not tell her mother.

Now, older, but not necessarily any wiser, Coco has set her sights on Boyd as boyfriend material. Seeing no way out of it, Boyd blurts out that he's gay and has no interest in dating women. Thinking he's home free, Boyd despairs when Coco insists that Boyd invite his boyfriend down for the weekend and she can take them to the nightclub, Karma Bites.

Harrison has been best friends with Boyd for years, ever since they shared a college dorm and Boyd took the rap when Harrison accidentally set fire to the dorm. But he is still shocked at the phone call from Boyd, wanting him to pretend to be his boyfriend. They're just friends, they aren't gay, how are they going to pull this deception off?

When Boyd suggests they practice being boyfriends before Coco arrives, that's when they realize that perhaps they weren't as straight as they had thought.

After reading quite a few angsty stories lately, this one was a breath of air. It was a fun, lighthearted read with lots of banter between the characters.

Although short, the author doesn't skimp on characterization or detail and you know you are reading a complete tale. The make out scene with Boyd and Harrison on Boyd's bed was so hot, and when they were caught by Boyd's dad and Coco, you were embarrassed on their behalf.

Karma Bites turns out to be a bit of a kink club, and Coco's motives for taking them there aren't exactly pure. Coco is in trouble with the owner, glamorous drag queen Karma and owes the club a scene. Boyd refuses to do a scene with her, but will do one with Harrison instead. And the scene that follows is one of the most sensual and emotional scenes I've ever read in any book. It isn't about the physical aspect, but more how connected they are to each other and it doesn't really matter about the audience, because all Boyd and Harrison see are each other. The reader doesn't just know it, they feel it, too.

I enjoyed every minute of reading it, despite the 'love you' declarations that seemed a bit sudden. Short, but hot and sweet.


Monday, 28 April 2014

Books Spotlight: Sacrifices by Chris T. Kat




Sacrifices - PROMO Blitz
(A Jeff Woods Mystery); Sequel to Attachment Strings
By Chris T. Kat

M/M  Mystery/Suspense
Date Published: 4/28/2014

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When he was outed on the local news, Jeff Woods gave up his dream job as a detective to become an on-air radio personality. The sacrifice was worth it to keep Alex and Sean in his life, but Alex lost his job, too. Jeff can tell Alex worries he’s pressuring Jeff too much, first with Sean and now the lack of money, but he has no idea what that will lead Alex to do. Desperate times bring out the stupidity in some people, and when Jeff discovers Alex is in over his head in a situation he can’t handle, he needs all his self-control to stay calm.

Life is not easy with the Church of Virtue still spouting venom wherever they go, homophobes at the police department, a gangster who wants Alex in the worst possible way, and a bed that barely holds one grown man, much less two (and a child), but Jeff is there to stay for good, and he’ll do what it takes to make Alex believe him.


EXCERPT

After wishing Sean a good day at school, which he answered with a sullen look, I made my way over to Alex. He got up from his chair and threw himself into my open arms.

I held him tight, felt him tremble slightly. He whispered, “I don’t want him to make a fuss when the school bus arrives. I can’t handle this shit anymore.”

He was almost sobbing the last sentence. Sean had given him hell since school had started. We both understood Sean’s refusal, but St. Christopherus School was the only one available for him.

Sean never wanted to get on his school bus, which he showed everyone in no uncertain terms. He screamed and cried and thrashed around in his wheelchair so violently that he’d managed to flip the wheelchair onto its side on several occasions.

His new bus driver, an elderly woman named Patricia Cornell, was an incredibly patient person. Somehow she always convinced Sean she’d take care of him and got him on the bus. By the time the bus left, Alex was either crying or close to tears. I’d witnessed all of this several times in the past weeks and generally sat with Alex afterward while he tried to compose himself.

Today he’d be on his own.

Tightening my grip, I whispered back, “He’ll get over it eventually. His therapist said as much.”

Alex snorted. “Yeah, Burnes also said he’d get over his nightmares eventually. Do you see that happening? Because I damn well don’t.”

His trembles increased and fast puffs of breath tickled my throat. Not a good sign. Helplessly, I murmured his name.

Sean whistled sharply, obviously not happy about being excluded from the conversation. Alex jumped in my arms and tried to push away from me. I held on, keeping him crushed to my chest.

“Jeff, I need—”

“No, you don’t,” I cut him off. “Sean will survive not being the center of your attention for a moment. Relax.”

“Relax?” Alex snapped, again struggling to get free from me.

Lifting him off his feet, I carried him over to his chair, plonked down on it, and settled him on my lap, all the while ignoring his protests. “Hush now, I’m in charge here.”

“No, you’re not.”

“But yes, of course I am. Who else could be in charge here other than me?”

Sean laughed from the other side of the table. I winked at him. Alex finally stopped struggling and leaned against me instead.

“How about me?” he asked.

“You?” I countered, doing my best to sound sufficiently horrified.

Alex bumped a fist against my chest, smiling a bit. “Yes.”

“Well, for one, I like to be in charge and you don’t.”

“That’s not true!”

“Don’t interrupt me,” I said. The corners of my mouth curved upward, even though I tried to keep a straight face. “I’m having a really good daydream right now.”

“Really? What’s it about?”

“Oh, just that you’re acknowledging my awesomeness and—”

“All right, all right, you’re awesome and in charge and I was short of having a meltdown. Yet again.” He sighed.

“Hah! I knew someday you’d say it!”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t let it go to your head. We don’t want you to be distracted while you’re on your way to work,” Alex muttered.

And that was the real problem, or at least part of it. Alex feared something could happen to me—on my way to work, at work, on my way back, anywhere.

I couldn’t blame him. Resting my cheek on top of his head, I pulled him closer to me. Alex shuddered, then trailed a finger over my shirt, tracing the large scar hidden under it.

Chris T. Kat
 photo Chris_T_Kat_icon_zps4e1f5872.jpgChris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks, or does cross stitch.

Author Links

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press: Ebook - Paperback

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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Double Alchemy by Susan Mac Nicol





Guest Post - Role playing 
by Susan Mac Nicol

I have to confess that this is one of the things that confuses the hell out of me on Facebook. Of course, with it being an online world anyone can be what they want to be. David Gandy seems to be a popular choice as well as Tom Hardy and Tom Hiddleston. The thing is, you never know when you’re talking to a real person or someone who is real behind the scenes but who you see isn’t the real them.

I was chatting away the other day to someone who then told me they were a dog. Yep, that’s right. An animal. Apparently one of the other characters I chat with (a male model but I still don’t know if he’s real or not although he’s very convincing) has a dog who is a model and she has her own Facebook account for promotional purposes. Blow me down with a feather but I felt like a real idiot.

I think I might be one of the few people who’s a real person. You can see what I look like, see a little about where I live, when you send me a message it’s the true person Susan Mac Nicol responding on the other side. I know people use aliases to protect their privacy, and in the genre in which I write, gay male Romance, a lot of authors use nom de plumes to protect themselves from scrutiny and vilification. Sad but true and they have to do what they need to do to keep their family and their personal affairs safe from ignorant, bigoted tossers. Luckily I don’t have to do this because everyone knows if they give me grief I’ll wait for a quiet moment, when they’ve forgotten they insulted me, and then get my own back. I’m a Capricorn -it’s how I play the game.

I’ve seen cartoon characters playing along in role play forums along with famous athletes, actors, porn stars, strangely named individuals that you just know can’t be real, and as my characters, Shane Templar and Matthew Langer, I’ve been invited to many orgies and BDSM themed weekends. Of course Shane encourages all that so it’s very much my fault, but oh, it’s such fun. Until people really think you are real then it’s not so amusing. Shane has had his fair share of stalkers and it can get pretty scary when women and men try to proposition him thinking he’s an actual person and getting upset when you give them the cold shoulder.

It’s an entertaining way to spend time and when I first released Stripped Bare, it was a great forum in which to get the story out and led to this book doing very well and becoming my first best seller.

Just make sure you know who your real friends are. :)

***

Double Alchemy
by Susan Mac Nicol
M/M Paranormal Romance
Boroughs Publishing Group
Released 25th March 2014
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K91KLzo5-Og

Powerful yet tormented modern warlock Quinn Fairmont must initiate the silver-eyed Cade Mairston into the world of witchfinders, Withinners, and what can happen when two men fall truly, madly, deeply in love.

THE WORLD IN SHADOW

In modern London there lurks a warlock, Quinn Fairmont. Dangerous, powerful, tortured, sharing his body with the soul of an ancient Welsh sorcerer, Quinn is never alone—and never wholly himself. He fights against all those who would exploit his kind. He takes pleasure where he can find it.

In the forest of Hampstead Heath, Quinn’s hometown, Cade Mairston appears to him like a waking dream. Lithe, lean and silver-eyed, he evokes feelings in Quinn unlike any other: lust with true affection, immediate and shocking. Cade is clearly more than he seems. And yet, if a man of the world, Cade is innocent. He knows nothing of warlocks, witchfinders or Withinners. He knows nothing of what he is, what he might be, or what he might feel. For him, the story is just beginning. Magyck, peril and passion await.

Praise for Double Alchemy

“I love Paranormal stories & I'm a huge fan of Susan Mac Nicol's M/M books. In this book, she brings both genres together & gives us this amazing story. With her master storytelling, she takes us into the mystical & magical world of Witches, Warlocks, Withinners & Feys. A world where danger lurks in the shadows.” - Maria Recchia

“I stayed up all night reading this story. Susan has a way of writing that is different than anyone else. She's uniquely brilliant at weaving a tale that brings out my emotions. I have laughed in every one of her stories. That's incredible for me. Not just a smile, but a laugh. I love that. This book needs to be read. You won’t be disappointed.” - Author Kindle Alexander

Praise for Susan Mac Nicol

"We have to re-iterate that this Author will always be an automatic one-click for us. Her writing is flawless and her flawed characters are completely lovable. There’s always something quirky and fun in her stories as well as drama, angst and heaps of passion! We can highly recommend!!" - Gitte & Jenny - Totally Booked Blog

"Susan has been hailed as a genius writer of male/male literature. Her Saving Alexander has been nominated for several awards and has been reviewed widely. Congrats on all your success, Susan. You have earned it." - Gay Lit Authors

***

About the Author:

Susan Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, UK, and left for South Africa when she was eight. She returned to the UK thirty years later and now lives in Essex. Her debut novel Cassandra by Starlight, the first in a trilogy, was published last year by Boroughs Publishing Group in the US. Sue’s latest story, Double Alchemy is her fifth m/m romance.

Sue has written since she was very young, and never thought she would see herself becoming a Romance writer, being a horror/psychological thriller reader all her life. But the Romance genre is now something very close to her heart and she intends continuing the trend.

Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association here in the UK.

Susan Mac Nicol is also author of The Magick of Christmas, Confounding Cupid, Cassandra by Starlight, Together in Starlight, Stripped Bare, Saving Alexander, Worth Keeping and Waiting for Rain.

Social Links: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

***

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, 25 April 2014

Series Spotlight: Scarlet and the White Wolf by Kirby Crow


The Pedlar and the Bandit King
Scarlet and the White Wolf #1
by Kirby Crow
M/M Fantasy Romance
Torquere Press
Available from Allromance


Scarlet of Lysia is an honest peddler, a young merchant traveling the wild, undefended roads to support his aging parents. Liall, called the Wolf of Omara, is the handsome, world-weary chieftain of a tribe of bandits blocking a mountain road that Scarlet needs to cross. When Liall jokingly demands a carnal toll for the privilege, Scarlet refuses and an inventive battle of wills ensues, with disastrous results. Scarlet is convinced that Liall is a worthless, immoral rogue, but when the hostile countryside explodes into violence and Liall unexpectedly fights to save the lives of Scarlet's family, Scarlet is forced to admit that the Wolf is not the worst ally he could have, but what price will proud Scarlet ultimately have to pay for Liall's friendship?

***

Mariner's Luck
Scarlet and the White Wolf #2
by Kirby Crow
M/M Fantasy Romance
Torquere Press
Available from Allromance

In this second book of the Scarlet and the White Wolf trilogy, Scarlet the pedlar and Liall the bandit find themselves among hostile company aboard a Rshani brigantine headed north through icy waters. Liall has been summoned home to Rshan na Ostre by way of a cryptic message. Scarlet, after a near-fatal encounter with bounty-hunters seeking Liall's head, recklessly follows Liall into danger. Now the unlikely pair -a slight, honorable Hilurin and a giant northern rogue- are relentlessly pursued over rough seas on a perilous journey for Liall to reclaim his past, but what new dangers will await them in the fabled Land of Night?

***

Land of Night
Scarlet and the White Wolf #3
by Kirby Crow
M/M Fantasy Romance
Torquere Press
Available from Allromance


Struggling to come to terms with his new life in Rshan na Ostre, young Scarlet is trying to find his place in a decadent, foreign society that bears an ancient hatred for all Hilurin. As Liall is pulled away from Scarlet and into the jaded intrigues of a royal court, the young pedlar wonders if they've made a terrible mistake in journeying to Rshan. Each passing day, Liall seems more like a stranger, more like one of the haughty Rshani nobility and less like the bandit leader Scarlet knew in Byzantur. As Liall contends with the aristocracy to uphold his fourteen-year-old brother's claim to the throne, an infinitely more dangerous enemy draws nearer, determined to part the lovers forever.





Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Book Review: The Thief Taker by William Holden

The Thief Taker
by William Holden
Thomas Newton #2
M/M Historical/Erotica
Bold Stroke Books
Review copy from Netgalley
3 Stars

Blurb:

Fleeing London, Thomas Newton reaches Paris full of hopes for a new life with Pierre Baptiste. The hopes are quickly shattered. There are unsettling rumors about Pierre’s past and very real threats in the present. Arrested on false charges, thrown into a dank prison, Thomas must decide whether he can trust Pierre’s help to winning back his freedom. But freedom will bring other risks, especially if it requires a return to London and all that he fled. The men from his past whom he betrayed—and who might well want revenge. His avowed enemies, the bigots that chased him across the channel. And, worst of all, everything he doesn’t know about his family. To survive, he will have to play both sides of the life—as a thief taker.

***


Review:

When I started this book, it felt as I had been dropped in a story that had already started and I was a bit lost. Looking on Goodreads, I realised it was a sequel, so that explained a few things.

The first quarter or so of the book takes place in a horrible prison and asylum where Thomas Newton is thrown into on false charges.

Now, I did realise this was an erotica story before I started, but the sex scenes in the prison squicked me completely (not because of the sex scenes, LOL!) but because all I could keep thinking of was the rats and the filth, with Thomas beaten, half-starved, dying of thirst, almost raped at the hands of a different prisoner and yet he still wanted to have sex? It just seemed off to me. Maybe it's a male thing, I don't know.

The parts in the prison were so awful and depressing, angst heaped upon angst, and I wasn't sure I could keep reading, but once Thomas was freed by his friend Pierre Baptiste, things started looking up.

They returned to London to try and find out who had arranged for Thomas to be sent to that awful place in Paris and discover more than they bargained for.

I've never heard of the Society for the Reformation of Manners before, which appears in the book, but on further research it seems to have been set up to act as moral guardians and get people arrested who didn't fit in with their views, such as prostitutes and homosexual men. Sodomy was a capital offence then, so Thomas and his friends were rightly in fear of the noose.

I liked Thomas as a character, even though he has done some things in the past to save his own skin, but he is still a sympathetic character.

The book is a mix of action/mystery and erotica, with it landing heavily on the erotica side. I found myself skimming some of the sex scenes to get to the next part of the mystery :) The erotica is on the harder side than most of the M/M historicals I've read, with a lot more explicit and earthy language. I have one major quibble with the sex scenes, in nearly every one Thomas uses the word 'ass'. He's British, I don't think he would use 'ass' in that context, and it really jarred me out of the scenes altogether.

It was an interesting book, well-written and true to the historical aspect as far as I could tell, but I think readers would enjoy it more by reading the previous book in the series first. There are hints as to what has happened previously, so you aren't completly lost, but I think it would have added more depth if I'd read the previous one first.

If you like your m/m erotica with a bit of a harder edge, then this might be for you.

***





Saturday, 12 April 2014

Book Spotlight & Bargain Book: The Chosen by Annette Gisby

The Chosen
by Annette Gisby
M/M Romance/Fantasy
Cover art by Ravven
Get the ebook for only 99 cents this week (Normal price $4.99)
Amazon | Amazon UK | BN | 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:


There was a small table, which had a candle, a sponge, and a basin with a jug of water sitting atop it. The jug was cracked, but Severin didn’t mind. As soon as Halan left them alone, he stripped down to his breeches and began to wash his face and chest. Despite being a little thinner after his bout of seasickness, Severin knew he was in good shape and wanted to show off his body to Havyn. Severin lifted his arms to wash under them, stretching his body taut. Havyn gasped behind him. Severin smiled to himself and turned around, his face impassive once more.

“Havyn, don’t you need a wash too?” asked Severin, holding out the sponge, the water dripping with small ‘plops’ onto the wooden floor.

Havyn visibly swallowed as he took the offered sponge and began to wash his face without removing any of his clothes.

“Shirt off,” said Severin. “You’re probably so sticky after the horse ride. The water’s wonderfully refreshing.”

Severin wondered if Havyn would make any objection, but considering they would both be naked to the waist, perhaps Havyn didn’t mind because he set the sponge down on the table while he removed his tunic and undershirt. Severin let his gaze travel from Havyn’s head to the waistband of his leggings. He felt like whistling in appreciation.

“Your chest is so smooth,” said Severin, lifting the sponge and beginning to wash Havyn’s chest without asking. Havyn didn’t protest, and Severin wondered if it was because the boy was used to doing what he was told without thought for his own needs or desires. Perhaps he didn’t really want this? Didn’t really want Severin?

Havyn closed his eyes and swayed slightly, his hands fisted at his sides.

“Ildar said it’s because of the Aldari. They are smooth too, no hair except for their heads and eyebrows.”

“Really?” Severin glanced down at Havyn’s groin, noticing the growing bulge there. He smiled again. It seemed that despite Ildar’s anti-sex lessons, Havyn was still capable of desire. What would happen if he reached out and kissed Havyn? Would Havyn push him away? Severin’s mouth watered at the thought of kissing those delectable lips. He set the sponge down and dipped his hands in the water before returning to Havyn’s chest and rubbing the water all over his neck and chest again. Havyn moaned and swayed against him.

Havyn’s nipples stood up in little points, but Severin didn’t know if it was because of the chill of the water or because he was enjoying the caresses. Severin’s own nipples peaked in sympathy. He caressed the smooth planes of Havyn’s chest. The blood pounded in his ears and pooled in his groin. Halan had finished bringing all the pallets and they wouldn’t be disturbed until the others returned, but Severin went to the door and latched it just in case.

Havyn’s eyes flew open at the noise. “Master Severin?”

“When we’re alone you may call me Severin,” he replied, turning back to Havyn, it was quite an uncomfortable walk. “I’m not a king with you, Havyn. I’m just a man.”

“I—” Havyn began, but Severin stopped him by pressing a forefinger to Havyn’s lips.

“Sssh. No words. Not now. I just want you to feel.”

Severin had kissed his fair share of girls at all of the balls his parents had hosted at the palace, but until now, he had never dared to contemplate kissing a man. Havyn looked up at him with something akin to awe, his eyes bright, and Severin relished it. “You know I can’t lie to you,” whispered Severin. “I want you, Havyn. Do you understand?” Havyn was a little bit younger than him, and Severin wondered if perhaps Havyn hadn’t yet understood what two men could do together.

Havyn nodded, his eyes fluttering closed, his mouth hanging half-open. Severin took that as an invitation, and he leaned closer to Havyn, so close their chests were almost touching. He cupped Havyn’s face in his hands and pressed his lips softly against Havyn’s. His eyes closed at the sensation while the two of them stood there stealing the breath from each other. Severin knew he wanted a lot more than kisses, but he didn’t want to scare Havyn away with too much too soon, despite his own desire. Severin let his hands wander down Havyn’s back, trailing softly over his skin. He held back the moans that wanted to fly free from his throat.

Severin only pulled away from the kiss when his need for air became too great. Havyn stared at him with wide eyes, his fingers trailing along his lips, as if he couldn’t quite believe it had happened. “You kissed me,” Havyn said with a sigh.

“I’d like to do it again if you will permit it,” said Severin. “I only want what you are willing to give me.”

“Everything,” breathed Havyn. “But Lord Ildar said I mustn’t.”

“What Ildar doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” said Severin. “I won’t take your virtue, Havyn. There are other ways we can take pleasure with each other.”

***

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Author Interview & Giveaways The Unwanted by Jeffrey Ricker





About the Author:

Jeffrey Ricker’s first novel, Detours, was published in 2011 by Bold Strokes Books. His second novel, The Unwanted, will be published by Bold Strokes in 2014. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Paws and Reflect, Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction, Blood Sacraments, Men of the Mean Streets, Speaking Out, Raising Hell, The Dirty Diner, Night Shadows: Queer Horror, and others. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he is pursuing an MFA at the University of British Columbia.

(Hi! Thanks for doing this, by the way.)

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

It’s a little of both. For the first 50 pages or so, I’m a total pantser. (That is, I write by the seat of my pants.) Once I get to that point, I can more or less tell if the story has legs. That’s when I sit down and start writing a plan. It’s not a formal outline so much as a general roadmap. It leaves room for taking the scenic route along the way.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Not really. Since I’m the one making them up, they’ll pretty much do whatever I tell them to.

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

Well, I’m gay, so....

Do you write in other genres besides M/M?

I do! I’ve written mainstream contemporary fiction, some horror, and I’m working on a science fiction novel at the moment. A lot of gay short fiction I’ve written has also been a mashup with another genre: noir, horror, science fiction, and so on.

What is your favourite food?

It’s a tossup between chocolate and cheese.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m a reformed night owl who occasionally backslides, but for the most part I’m a diehard morning person. I’m up by six every day and my idea of sleeping in on the weekends is 7am.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

Mars. Frankly, I just want to get off this planet sometimes.

Do distant places feature in your books?

My answer to the above question might give away the answer a little. I’ve written a short story that takes place on Mars and another that takes place on a planet at the edge of colonized space. The Unwanted starts in St. Louis and ends in an Amazon homeland outside of regular space and time.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I love listening to music, but when I’m writing, I really need either indistinct background noise (cafés do well for this, as long as there’s not that one person whose voice you just can’t tune out) or silence. I do get inspired by music, though, so when I’m working on a long project like a book, I usually end up putting together an iTunes playlist of songs that put me in the frame of mind to work on that project.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

The Unwanted is a YA fantasy about a teenager who discovers that the mother he always thought was dead is actually alive—and she’s an Amazon. Naturally, complications ensue. I didn’t set out to write a YA specifically, but I read a lot of it, so I suppose it’s inevitable that my own writing interests would veer in that direction. Plus, when I was a teenager back in the ’80s, there weren’t a lot of options when I looked hesitantly for books with queer characters my age that I could relate to. On top of that, I loved reading fantasy and science fiction, and finding a book in those genres with queer characters just wasn’t happening. The Unwanted is the sort of thing I wanted to read when I was a teenager.

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

That editors are the best people in the world. (And I don’t just say that because in my secret double life I’ve also been a copy editor.) Seriously, editors will tell you when your story is going off the rails, they’ll ask you questions designed to help you find your way back, and a good copy editor will keep you from making yourself look like an idiot. (I say this as an admitted idiot.)

Is there anything you would do differently?

Not a thing.

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

I think of influence in terms of inspiration, and I can be inspired by just about anything or anyone—the last great book I finished, random bits of conversation, things I read in passing, eavesdropping. I just tend to jot them down to have them on hand for future reference. I've also written stories based on parameters in calls for submission. I try not to limit myself. One thing I’ve learned from my editor and mentor, Greg Herren: as long as it’s a topic or a genre I’m interested in, I’ll give it a go. And if I say to myself, “Oh, I can't write that; I've never tried,” I try to follow it up with, “Well then, how do you know?”

Basically, I believe in putting the Muse on staff and making him keep regular hours.

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

Don’t listen too much to the advice given by other writers. :) Just write, don’t stop writing, and you’ll figure out what works for you.

What are three words that describe you?

Grumpy, contrary, snarky

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

My favourite book, hands down, is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I won’t say that my writing resembles his (because I wouldn’t want to insult his memory), but this book and its writer are what inspired me to want to write.

List of previous books if any

Detours, which was published in 2011, also by Bold Strokes Books.

Any places readers can find you on the web:

Lord, I’ve left a trail of self-promoting carnage all over the web. Here are the ones where I’m most active:

blog: http://jeffreyricker.wordpress.com

website: www.jeffrey-ricker.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickerje

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickerje

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4022611.Jeffrey_Ricker

Red Room: http://redroom.com/member/jeffrey-ricker/

***

The Unwanted
Jeffrey Ricker
Genre: Gay YA fantasy
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Date of Publication: March 18, 2014
ISBN: 978-1626390485
ASIN: 1626390487
Number of pages: 264
Word Count: 91,556
Cover Artist: Sheri 

Indiebound | Amazon | BN | Indigo

Jamie Thomas has enough trouble on his hands trying to get through junior year of high school without being pulverized by Billy Stratton, his bully and tormentor. But the mother he was always told was dead is actually alive—and she’s an Amazon! 

Sixteen years after she left him on his father’s doorstep, she’s back and needs Jamie’s help. A curse has caused the ancient tribe of warrior women to give birth to nothing but boys, dooming them to extinction—until prophecy reveals that salvation lies with one of the offspring they abandoned. 

Putting his life on the line, Jamie must find the courage to confront the wrath of an angry god to save a society that rejected him.

***

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The Unwanted by Jeffrey Ricker

The Unwanted

by Jeffrey Ricker

Giveaway ends April 16, 2014.

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Monday, 7 April 2014

Series Spotlight: The Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers


Provoked
by Joanna Chambers
Enlightment Book 1
M/M Historical
Samhain Publishing

When a man loses his heart, he has no choice but to follow…

Lowborn David Lauriston lacks the family connections needed to rise in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. Worse, his latest case—defending weavers accused of treason—has brought him under suspicion of harbouring radical sympathies.

Troubled by his sexuality, tormented by memories of a man he once platonically loved, David lives a largely celibate life—until a rare sexual encounter with a compelling stranger turns his world on its head.

Cynical and worldly, Lord Murdo Balfour is more at home in hedonistic London than dingy, repressed Edinburgh. Unlike David, he intends to eventually marry while continuing to enjoy the company of men whenever he pleases. Yet sex with David is different. It’s personal, intimate, and instead of extinguishing his desire, it only leaves him hungry for more.

As David’s search for the man who betrayed the weavers deepens, he begins to suspect that his mysterious lover has more sinister reasons for his presence in Edinburgh. The truth could leave his heart broken…and more necks stretching on the gallows.

Warning: Contains mystery and danger set in 1822 Scotland, and a forbidden love between two men that will leave you on the edge of your seat—until the next book.

***

Beguiled
by Joanna Chambers
Enlightenment Book 2
M/M Historical
Samhain Publishing

"A fleeting pleasure is the sweetest seduction..."

David Lauriston couldn't be less interested in King George IV's first visit to Edinburgh. But with Faculty of Advocates members required to put on a minimal show of patriotism, David makes an appointment with his tailor for a new set of clothes-only to run into a man he hasn't seen for two long years.

Lord Murdo Balfour.

Much has changed since their bitter parting, except their stormy attraction. And when Murdo suggests they enjoy each other's company during his stay, David finds himself agreeing. After all, it's only a temporary tryst.

Amidst the pomp and ceremony of the King's visit, Murdo's seduction is more powerful than David ever imagined possible. But when other figures from David's past show up, he is drawn into a chain of events beyond his control. Where his determination to help a friend will break his body, threaten his career, and put at risk the fragile tenderness he's found in Murdo's arms.

Warning: Contains a lowborn Scottish lawyer with no love for the aristocracy, but more than enough passion for this highborn lord. Political intrigue, kilts, explicit m/m trysts, and men who epitomize "knight in shining armor.

***

Enlightened
by Joanna Chambers
Enlightenment Book 3
M/M Historical
Samhain Publishing

Five months ago, David Lauriston was badly hurt helping his friend Elizabeth escape her violent husband. Since then, David has been living with his lover, Lord Murdo Balfour, while he recuperates.

Despite the pain of his injuries, David’s time with Murdo has been the happiest of his life. The only things that trouble him are Murdo’s occasional bouts of preoccupation, and the fact that one day soon, David will have to return to his legal practice in Edinburgh.

That day comes too soon when David’s friend and mentor takes to his deathbed, and David finds himself agreeing to take on a private mission in London. Murdo is at his side in the journey, but a shocking revelation by Murdo’s ruthless father leaves David questioning everything they’ve shared.

As tensions mount and the stakes grow higher, David and Murdo are forced to ask themselves how far they’re prepared to go—and how much they’re prepared to give up— to stay together. And whether there’s any chance of lasting happiness for men like them.

***

Visit the author at http://joannachambers.com/

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Book Review: Becoming a Man by Paul Monette


Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story
by Paul Monette
Open Road Media
5 Stars
LGBT Memoirs

Paul Monette grew up all-American, Catholic, overachieving . . . and closeted. As a child of the 1950s, a time when a kid suspected of being a “homo” would routinely be beaten up, Monette kept his secret throughout his adolescence. He wrestled with his sexuality for the first thirty years of his life, priding himself on his ability to “pass” for straight. The story of his journey to adulthood and to self-acceptance with grace and honesty, this intimate portrait of a young man’s struggle with his own desires is witty, humorous, and deeply felt.

Before his death of complications from AIDS in 1995, Monette was an outspoken activist crusading for gay rights. Becoming a Man shows his courageous path to stand up for his own right to love and be loved.

Review:

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, Paul Monette strives to be what everyone expects him to be: a straight A student, polite, kind, normal and straight. But even as a child Paul knew he was different, but he did everything in his power to push that difference deep down where no one could see it or even suspect him of being queer. He lied to himself, to his parents, to everyone around him so that he could fit in and not be singled out for the bullies and the haters.

I can hardly imagine how hard it must have been to grow up gay in the 50s and 60s. Even now, there are still such stigmas attached to being outside the norm as it were.

The book is well-written and heartfelt and pulls at the heartstrings, it's even more poignant reading it knowing that the author has died. The story is so raw and emotional at points that I just had to stop reading for a while and dry the tears.

As a straight woman, I suppose I can't really understand what gay people went through to be accepted, and even these days that isn't universally true. I was upset on Paul's behalf at what he had to do, had to pretend to be in order to be accepted by his peers.

I was always the odd one out at school, picked last for sports teams, rather be reading a book than playing sports. One day, I think I was around ten or eleven, the bullying got too much and I walked out of the classroom, out of the school and never went back. My parents refused to send me back there.

If only Paul's parents had been as understanding when they found his stash of magazines. His dad said it was fine to look at the girlie magazines, that was natural. But the others, the homosexual ones, that wasn't normal or good.

What is normal? What is natural? Homosexuality happens in nature and what is more natural than Nature itself?

The book reminds me a little of a gay version of Dead Poet's Society. It's a fascinating read on what it was really like to grow up gay in those times. Everyone should read it.