Saturday, 14 June 2014

Author Interview: Alex Norris


About the Author:

I am a young British author, about to graduate from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Spanish and Russian. My passion for writing stretches further than does my memory. I have always wanted to be a writer, and in the summer of 2012, I decided to take the plunge and pen my first full-length novel. My writing focusses primarily on the themes of youth culture, growing up, and sexuality.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I’ve found with previous writing projects that unless I plan out the story chapter by chapter, I never seem to get round to finishing it. I think writing without a plan can work well for a lot of authors, but I need a clear structure to keep me writing. If I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I often get bored and give up on the project altogether.

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

I have always liked to draw on my own experiences for my writing and, as a gay male, writing about male/male relationships seemed natural. Though I do not consider what I write to be erotica, I do like to explore sexual relationships within my writing, and as a gay man myself, I feel like I have some authority to write about this accurately.

Do you write in other genres besides M/M?

At this early stage in my writing career, my writing has focussed primarily on male/male relationships, however I prefer my stories to be defined as contemporary realism rather than by the genders of the protagonists. I would like to write something in the science fiction genre at some point, and I have plans to start working on that at some point this year.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I’ve wanted to go to Iceland for ages, but am yet to get round to it. Iceland appeals to me because it feels almost otherworldly, like an alien planet. I would like to explore the countryside there and forget all about planet Earth for a little while.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?


Angel is a story about a young university student, Lewis, who is struggling to adjust to the banality of everyday life after the end of an exciting summer romance. Feeling alone and isolated in the vacuity of his student lifestyle, Lewis seeks meaning through helping people less fortunate than himself. However in his quest to find meaning and respite from his personal grieving, Lewis ends up in a vicious cycle of meeting with older men who are willing to pay him for his services. Lewis is forced to confront his own demons, as well as question the measures he is willing to take in order to help his new homeless friends.

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

I have learned loads about the publishing industry, especially how competitive it can be. I never thought it would be so difficult to convince people to download a book for free, but it’s a testament to the wealth of great literature out there that the electronic publishing industry has become so lucrative and competitive.

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

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis is my favourite book. Though it’s set in the 80s, its depiction of the lives of disillusioned young adults is just as relevant and cutting today as it was back then. At once bitingly funny and satirical while also heartfelt and even tragic, I’d recommend it to everyone enjoys a good campus novel.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

Angel:

Cambridge University isn't everything Lewis wanted it to be. Still hung up on a lost love affair from the past and surrounded by friends he loves and loathes in equal measure, Lewis' life takes a dramatic turn after a chance encounter with homeless Rosie. Desperately seeking meaning among the vacuous student lifestyle, Lewis embarks on a quest to help those without homes and without voices.

Through a string of secret and sordid affairs with strange men he meets online, Lewis tries to raise money for his new homeless friends. Along the way he'll encounter a transvestite with the lips of Brigitte Bardot, a gorgeous French traveler, and a slew of lonely men willing to pay for satisfaction.

But as Lewis delves further into the depraved, secret life of Cambridge's backstreets, his faith in humanity and hope for his own future decline rapidly. How low is he willing to sink to make some cash?

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web

www.alexnorrisbooks.com
www.creativia.org

Zipper Rippers will be reviewing Angel at a later date :)


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Book Review: Chasing the Rebel by Tyler Flynn


Chasing the Rebel
by Tyler Flynn
M/M Historical Romance
Carina Press
4 Stars
Review copy from Netgalley courtesy of the publisher

Blurb:

France, 1791

Marcus, Lord Rothbury, is on the run. Part of a foiled plot to help King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette escape to Switzerland, he’s searching for the jewels the rebels stole from the queen—jewels that, when sold in England, will buy the monarchs’ freedom and restore the aristocratic order Marcus holds dear.

Pamphleteer James Lockhart publicly condemns the monarchy and has his own plans for the jewels—selling them to help the Parisian poor. But when the two are thrown together against a common adversary, Marcus finds himself increasingly attracted to the impetuous American.

As they hunt for the jewels, Marcus begins to suspect his companion isn’t all he seems. Secretive and changeable, James could be playing a double game, and Marcus can’t be sure who James is fighting against—the enemy, or the man who’s fallen in love with him.

Review:

The French Revolution is not an era I have read about before in the context of a male/male romance and it was a delight to see something different in the historical genre.

Marcus Rothbury is an English aristocrat who has spent a lot of time at the French Court (I am unsure why, that was ever explained in the book, just that he was there.) The royals have been ousted and are foiled in their escape to Switzerland ahead of the mob. With the Queen's jewels stolen by the rebels, Marcus is determined to find them, return to England to find some royal sympathisers and use to jewels to help free the king and queen.

James Lockhart on the other hand, is an American who thinks the royals got what they deserved and he wants to find the jewels too, but not to save the king and queen, but to sell to feel the poor of Paris.

Both of them fall afoul of rebel soldiers and are thrown together, but it soon becomes clear that these two men already have a history already.

In Paris, both of them frequented a certain coffee house, where men can debate all the things of the day and also seek out other men of their persuasion. Rothbury and Lockhart have already spent one very passionate night together, but for Rothbury that's all it should be. He has dallied before, but never with the same man twice and he keeps rebuffing Lockhart's advances while the two of them are on the run through the wood and searching for the jewel thief.

Rothbury knows he had duties and responsibilities back in England; he must marry and secure an heir for his estates at Winterton, but Lockhart sorely tests his resolve.

Both characters are from different ends of the spectrum: Rothbury is a fine upstanding citizen, who wants to do what is right and his own desires should take second place. Lockhart is more of a free spirit, what he wants he goes after and he goes after Rothbury a lot.

It's a fun romp through French countryside, with our heroes trying to stay one step ahead of the men hunting them, getting captured, getting rescued, captured again and you think the rebels aren't very good at keeping their prisoners confined. The book is told entirely from Rothbury's point of view, so like Rothbury, the reader doesn't know what Lockhart's true intentions are which keeps the tension rising a bit.

In the book Lockhart's hair is bound in a ribbon, briefly I might add, for if his hair came loose from that ribbon once, it came loose quite a few times. Didn't he know how to tie a ribbon correctly? :) Nearly every chapter he lost that ribbon, or his hair came loose from it.

The banter between the two of them is very amusing and you can almost feel Rothbury's exasperation with this free-spirited American who says what he thinks and feels without worrying about the consequences.

It's an enjoyable read, but I did feel the ending wrapped everything up rather too neatly, but I won't say any more in case I spoil the story.

If you like historical M/M romance with quite a bit of unresolved sexual tension - eventually resolved, then this might be for you.





Friday, 6 June 2014

Blog Tour, Character Interview & Giveaway: Cry Wolf by Sophie Avett





There is a boutique hiding out between the fractured, narrow storefronts lining New Gotham’s foggy docks. The shingles are ribbed and black. Washed, peeling paint and displays offering views into wicked leather and lace studded glam. The mannequins are ghoulish beauties stitched together from whatever was left from the last fool to cross one of the sinister witches.

Welcome to Sinister Stitches

“…apparel for a wicked fairy tale.”


A spicy trinity of black magic sisters breathe star-dusted dreams to life with their gothic apparel boutique. They are schooled in the old ways of “fabric-bending” by the Needlewitches of old. With this knowledge, they’ve created an entire line of clothing that all share the same basic design element: one-size fits all. Each garment will magically tailor itself to its wearer once worn. Last time the Witches-Who-Stitch, hosted a literary catwalk, heroines were called from all walks of life and genres to challenge their seamstress skills. This time, their men have joined the fun—apparently, they’ve been sent to the boutique. (Whether they like it, or not.)

The witches were NOT expecting men. Their expertise is usually limited to DEMANDING their husbands NOT wear that in public, and, of course, the fashioning of fantastic clothing for all of literature’s heroines. (New Gotham’s men usually get their goods from Rumpel’s Twisted Threads, BUT that’s beyond the point, the girls put a quill to their interview, changed some bits, and rose to the occasion.)

To enjoy the hilarity, please check out some of the questionnaire Roxanne Rhoad’s Brom from No Place I’d Rather Be (Paranormal Pleasures II) was asked to fill out after he stalked into Sinister Stitches. 

THE WITCHES WHO STITCH QUESTIONNAIRE


Please provide the witches with your name: Brom

Please provide the witches with the following:

Hair Color: Blond
Hair Length: [ ] Short and Sharp, [ ] Shaggy and Sexy, [x] Lush and Long
Eye Color: Blue

Skin Tone: [ ] Ghoulish, [x] Snow White, [ ] Cina-baby, [ ] Mochalicious, [ ] Dark Chocolate, [ ] Other:_________

Please provide the witches with your measurements and body-type
a.) Height: 6 foot
b.) Body Type: [ ] Skeletal, [ ] Lean and Tender, [x] Lean and Tough, [ ] Ripe and Edible

Do you have any extra extremities? Place an “X” to all that apply.

[ ] Horns or [ ] Halo
[ ] 20 ft. of Hair or More
[ ] Gills and Fins or [ ] Hooves
[ ] Wings (Span:   )
[ ] Tail (How many:  )

How many heads do you have? (Your boy bit doesn’t count!) Just one.

Do you have arms and legs? If so, how many? Normal, 2 of each.

How dead are you? [] Living, [X] Undead, [ ] Astral Form

What are you? (Species/Breed)

Vampire

What is the occasion? (Ideas include: Wedding, Funeral, Sabbath, etc. Oh, and seduction is a valid occasion. The more details, the better.)

Seductive date night with our poly triad (m/f/m) vampire/witch/human

What’s the occasion setting? (Beach, haunted castle, grand ball, etc.)

Fancy dinner party

Will you be fighting for your life at some point in the evening? 

Possibly, one should always be prepared

Will you be set on fire? Better yet, will you be setting other people on fire?

I hope not

Will you be grave-robbing? (Dirt is a tailor’s tedium.)

Definitely not

What are you wearing right now? Who picked that outfit out? (Basically, who let you leave the crypt in those?)

After a couple centuries, I think I am capable of dressing myself though occasionally I do love a magical touch

Do you hope to be naked at some point in the evening? (All right, dirty birds. Such questions are actually intended toward the weres and shifters in regards to their transformations.)

You did say weres and shifters but as a vampire bent on seduction, nakedness is always on menu

Describe your last brush with Death in two sentences. (Helps us plan for the unexpected.)

Stupid jealous human with a wooden stake tried to best me, it didn’t work

Do you need a secret compartment for gigantic swords? Guns and condoms? Eyeliner, maybe?

No, not at all.

What are your three favorite colors?

Red, black, midnight blue

What two colors ninja your brain, sweetie?

Anything bright and sunny, vampires and bright colors just do not mix

Please pick a style that you feel embodies you the best. If none apply, feel free to surprise us by providing your own brilliant description in the “other” slot.

[ ] Dark AngelThis is for the spoonfuls of charming. The good-natured and naughty boys next door types. Thoughtful and sensual. Loyal and intelligent. More often than not, his head is in the clouds, but those dreams and that smile holds hope for all of us. Our philosophers.

[ ] Beast King: This is for the warlords and alphas. The type of men who walk into a room and their presence hushes out the sun.  They live in their bodies, but their minds are searching for the next challenge. Hands for fighting and these boots for ass-kickings. Our protectors.

[ ] Smooth Criminal: This is for the bad boys. You know, the types---mother’s worse nightmares. The kind of man that makes your skin itch every time he devours you with that hundred yard stare. Chances are his senses of humor is as wicked as his tongue. To hold him, isn’t to catch him. Our scheming rogues.

[x] Black Knight: This for the mysteries. The ones no one can quite make heads or tails out off. He’s a mixture, a melting pot of strong, sinister, and sweet. He might be Dark Angel one day, and a Smooth Criminal other days. Our brothers.

[ ] Other: _____________________

Who is your favorite comic/storybook villain?

Villain…Loki

If you could be any comic/storybook book hero, who would it be?

Superman, yes he is the best superhero because he was born that way, not made.

Now, tell us who you love the most.

Sonora is my everything.
                                               
Anything else you’d like to add…



After many barrels of chocolate, a dash of magic, and furious sewing…
Sinister Stitches’ Gothic Dame
Madame Mari presents Brom’s
Completed Threads
“Count Classic”


The fey lingering in the shadows is old, monarch-like butterfly wings dwarf her face in dark shadows, and her flowing Mortisha gown was spun from cobwebs and spider tears. All you can see are her eyes. Slanted, glowing and violet. They’re almost…arachnid. If you’re a woman, you’re just a little disturbed. If you’re a man, you are most intrigued (If you’re LGBT, you’re lovin’ it). After all, a Muse never ages. She motions toward the ghoulish mannequin, and a smile pinches her wrinkled, red mouth:
Capable of dressing yourself? Ha, don’t make me cackle, boy. First of all, I ain’t sure what you’re doin’ here, shugah. Why on earth did you come here? There is another store in New Gotham that does nothing but tailor threads for men. Be sure to grab a Twisted Threads business card from the counter before you go. Of course, we’ll fashion something for you to wear to the dinner party. Does no good to turn down good business, and, you, sir vampire…
*uses the tip of an African blackwood wand to lower her glitter purple granny shades on the bridge of her sleek nose*
Are good, good business. What? What’s that face for? *cackles happily* Goodness, relax. I haven’t the wings for that kind of thing anymore. Besides, we’ve got some stitchin’ to do, eh?
You’re a classic, so we’ve made sure to keep things sharp and neat. I’ve had Brenda brandish those killer scissors of hers, and she’s snippet you an elegant “American” style three-piece sinful black suit.
It is meant for those with wider frames, it will give you flawless lines. It isn’t tapered down the sides either, but it is tailored tight to the shoulders. We don’t want your single-singled breasted jacket hanging loosely. And frankly, we’ve decided to do away with shoulder pads. You don’t need ‘em, shugah. The gorge between the lapels is a little higher than normal, but we wanted to draw the proper attention to your neckpiece.
A simple Cary Grant bow tie. Timeless.
Oh, and we’ve also given the suit “Doctor Cuffs.” They were originally used when designing suits for Victorian doctors, allowing them to roll up their sleeves without having to take off their jackets while tending patients. We thought that might come in handy, should things get…well, a little bloody.
We suggest pairing this suit with a Dracula fan-collared cloak, or a Helsing leather duster. The inner lining should be red, but white might be an interesting contrast. Likewise, Astrid insists you tie back all that blond hair into a single tail at the nape of your neck. You know, so the ladies have easy access to that throat for…bloody kisses.
Now, why don’t you go find yourself a tall bite to drink? (Or two.)
IMPORTANT BULLETINS from THE PIXIES:

For more information about Roxanne Rhoads and Brom the Vampire’s adventures in No Place I’d Rather Be (Paranormal Pleasures II), please check out her author website
Care to check out the last round of Sinister Stitches interviews? Check out Sophie Avett and Jennifer Blackstream’s paranormal den, the Brimstone Pub. All SS interviews are retired there after their tour until the release of the SS e-book.
Fancy a tour of New Gotham? Check out New Gotham’s Survival Guide! It might save your life! 
For more information about Sophie Avett’s New Gotham Fairy Tales, the Sinister Stitches series, and recent releases, please check out her website.
Image Credit(s): Handmademedia

Image Editing Credit(s): Elaina, For the Muse Design


Cry Wolf
A New Gotham Fairy Tale
Sophie Avett

Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance (MM/New Adult)

Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Date of Publication:  May 1, 2014

Number of pages: est. 22 pages
Word Count:  est. 10, 000

Cover Artist: Elaina, For the Muse Design

Amazon   BN  ARe    Kobo    Smashwords

Book Description:

There’s a wild animal on the loose in the black forests surrounding New Gotham...

Not that anyone cares.

Well, Peter doesn't care.

Peter Ume is more interested in finding a way to alleviate the skull-numbing boredom of a city wide shut down. So far his ideas for excitement hover between stealing an unwary idiot’s underwear (soul works, too), setting someone’s eyebrows on fire, or stabbing the next person he meets in the eye with a hot French fry.

It turns out, he’ll be able to save assault and theft for a rainy day. As luck would have it, this naughty kitsune is about to meet the big bad wolf.

And man, is the wolf in for a surprise...

Warning: This story can be read as a standalone, but you will want to smack Sophie for it. (Or so the ravens have said.) So, do keep in mind that there is a part two. (And it will be a freebie. Sophie’s Pixies will carrier pigeon everyone more information soon.)


About the Author:

Sophie Avett is kind of a nerd. Like not even one of the cute, hip ones everyone brags about nowadays. More like the socially awkward hippie who eats way too much bread and dreams about being a dragon from behind towers of mythology books. Um...yeah. Picture old, tattered paperbacks and comic books--mostly Batman and Wonder Woman--dwarfing a tiny desk, with just barely enough room for the troll who writes there and the 70 pound hell-hound that insists on laying it's wet nose on top of her bare foot.

Granted not the most exciting existence, but she tries to make up for it by writing romances populated with her own peculiar ilk of paranormal beasties.  Trolls, wyverns, the obscure Nordic brownie--she likes to keep things interesting. And bloody. (And mostly naked--but, we'll keep that bit between us.)


Sinister Stitches Boutique Blog: http://sophieavettsinisterstitches.blogspot.com/
Brimstone Pub, the Blog: http://thebrimstonepub.com/

***

Giveaway:


Tour giveaway 

1 Gray Shell Pearl Shamballa Style Bracelet from Bits and Pieces which is featured in the book and prize pack - The entire prize pack will include: the bracelet, some trinkets and wonderfully sarcastic little note from Mrs. Pott’s. 

10  ecopies of ‘Twas the Darkest Night 







a Rafflecopter giveaway