Archive for the ‘Blog Tour’ Category

Thanks, Sid, for having me on your blog to talk about After Christmas Eve, released today by MLR Press. Being here, as part of my Release Party, is a pleasure. Thanks so much for all you and your reviewers do to spread the word about new novels in the genre.

My holiday-themed murder mystery/thriller includes a little romance, a sprinkling of gay history, and a dash of humor. Though technically a prequel, you don’t need to have read Until Thanksgiving to enjoy After Christmas Eve. Here’s the tag line:

On Christmas Eve, 1966, Philip Potter drops off gifts to the homeless shelter, an act of generosity that later makes him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute.

Philip Potter plays a supporting role in my first novel—the uncle of a main character. Fans adored him and shared my interest in learning more about him. I was especially interested in finding out what had motivated his interest in homeless gay teenagers. With not much else in mind, I drafted out three-sentence descriptions of the first thirty chapters.

After Christmas EveWriting a novel is nothing like I’d imagined. For decades, my preconceived notions about the process prevented me from even trying. Finding out I could make stuff up as I went along, rather than having to plan everything out ahead of time, was a revelation.

Going through the publication process was educational too. I love working with editors and know their job is to make my story better. Whether about a character, the plot, wording or whatever, I almost always agree with suggestions for change. The single exception so far involved a demand to write out a year with words rather than numbers. I refused because, in my opinion, words made the passage more difficult to read.

Working with editors has made me a better writer. Fixing the same or similar problems a few times keeps me from repeating the same mistakes again—mostly. Christie and Kris—my editors at MLR Press—have been super. I’m tickled pink with the final version and hope you and your readers will be too.

To celebrate today’s release, I’m giving away 10 copies (ebooks) through my After Christmas Eve Eleven-Stop Blog Hop. Details are available here (http://wp.me/p1Htlv-LB). Each stop on the hop features a different excerpt from the first three chapters, in serial form. If you can’t wait for the next segment, you can buy the book here (http://www.mlrbooks.com/books.php).

Here’s the blurb:

As Philip Potter wraps up his last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, 1966, James Walker, his lover of six years, takes his life. Unaware of what waits for him at home, Philip drops off gifts to the homeless shelter, an act of generosity that later makes him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute.

Two men drive yellow Continentals. One is a killer, with the blood of at least six hustlers on his hands. Both men have secrets. And as Philip is about to discover, James had kept secrets, too. But James wasn’t trying to frame him for murder…

BUY LINK: MLR Press

Visit my website (http://rupured.com), like my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelRupured), or follow me on Twitter (@crotchetyman).

PlayingBall_tourbanner

HUG IT OUT!

By Shae Connor

One of the Atlanta Braves’ newer stars is first baseman Freddie Freeman, a tall, red-haired, corn-fed boy from central California. All of 23 years old, Freddie’s nonetheless become a clubhouse leader and a fan favorite, not just for his stellar play on the field but also for one big reason: Freddie LOVES to give hugs.

freddiehugs

In particular, Freddie loves to hug his BFF, Dan Uggla.

freddiedanhugs

Freddie and Dan hug so often, and so well, that it’s become an advertising gimmick (link: http://wapc.mlb.com/atl/play/?content_id=27085283&c_id=atl), a meme (link: http://freddiefreemanhuggingpeople.tumblr.com/), and even a fandom, complete with their own portmanteau: Fruggla.

fruggla

Their bromance gets even cuter when you realize that Freddie is 6 inches taller, and Dan is 10 years older. Seriously, how many gay romance stories have you read with setups like that?

It’s close friendships between teammates like these that lend themselves to fiction, and baseball is full of them. No, the characters in Home Field Advantage aren’t based on Freeman and Uggla (though Caleb does have some similarities to Freddie), but that doesn’t mean they won’t end up in the pages in some form somewhere. If not mine, then someone else’s.

I’d love to hear from other fans about your favorite pro sports friendships. Not just in baseball, either! A friend of mine is a big fan of two hockey players who are BFFs. What sports friendships do you follow, and what makes them so great?

While you’re thinking that over, take a minute to enter our giveaway! We’re offering two prizes. The grand prize is a print copy of Playing Ball signed by all four authors, a unisex BBQ apron featuring hot athletes from Originals by Lauren (https://www.etsy.com/shop/OriginalsbyLauren), and swag from all four authors. The runner-up will get an ebook copy of Playing Ball and swag from all four authors.

The giveaway will run from 12 AM Central on September 21, 2013, to 12 AM Central on October 11, 2013. To give an opportunity for the authors to get together to sign the book and gather swag, the winners will be picked and the prizes shipped after the end of GayRomLit 2013.

Rules: You must be a resident of Earth, 18 years or older, who lives in a place where the viewing of adult material is legal. By entering the giveaway, you are indicating your agreement to the rules. Winners must provide a physical mailing address to receive their prizes. If a winner does not respond to the prize notification within 48 hours, the prize will be re-awarded.

  Click here to enter!

Playing Ball

Playing BallShae Connor, Kate McMurray, Kerry Freeman, and Marguerite Labbe

Cover by Aaron Anderson

Published by Dreamspinner Press

270 pages

Blurb

Baseball—America’s favorite pastime—provides a field wide open for romance. A Home Field Advantage may not help when Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it. In 1927, Skip hides his sexuality to protect his career until he meets One Man to Remember. Ruben and Alan fell victim to a Wild Pitch, leaving them struggling with heartache and guilt, and now they’ve met again. And on One Last Road Trip, Jake retires and leaves baseball behind, hoping to reconnect with Mikko and get a second chance at love.

The anthology contains the following novellas:

Home Field Advantage by Shae Connor

Toby MacMillan, grandson of Atlanta Braves owner Ray MacMillan, lives for baseball and loves his team. When he meets new team member Caleb Browning, an innocent welcome-to-the-big-leagues dinner leads to a not-so-innocent night together. Toby quickly calls things off, afraid of the ramifications of their tryst, but the two men develop a friendship that soon becomes more. After Caleb takes a fastball to the head, their budding romance hits the news—and Toby’s grandfather hits the roof. When Ray MacMillan demands Toby deny the relationship, Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it.

One Man to Remember by Kate McMurray

It’s 1927, and in New York City, Babe Ruth and the Yankees’ unstoppable batting lineup, Murderers’ Row, is all anyone can talk about. Across town, the Giants’ rookie infielder Skip Littlefield racks up hits, creating a streak to rival the Babe’s. Worried his secrets could get out, he avoids the spotlight, but he catches the attention of lauded sports reporter Walter Selby, a notorious dandy whose sexuality is an open secret. Skip reluctantly agrees to an interview, and mutual attraction is sparked. Skip can only hope the more charismatic stars will draw attention away from his romance with Walt. Otherwise, his career and everything he loves is at stake.

Wild Pitch by Marguerite Labbe

Ruben Martell fell in love with Alan Hartner during their years playing baseball. They stepped over the foul line once, but the encounter left them struggling with heartache and guilt, turning away from each other to focus on their families. Now retired from the majors, they run a batting cage together and coach rival Little League teams as they juggle fatherhood and being single again. Though Ruben has never given up hope that Alan might look at him as more than a friend, Alan seems determined to keep things the way they’ve always been. But long-buried feelings and desires have a way of resurfacing, and Ruben can’t wait forever.

One Last Road Trip by Kerry Freeman

With the last game of his Major League Baseball career behind him, Jake Wilson hits the road. Years have passed, but he never got over the romance he shared with Mikko Niemi back in college. Finally, he’s ready to do something about it. He starts with some crucial visits to his ex-wife in New Mexico, his son in Oklahoma, and his daughter in Tennessee. But his true destination is Mikko’s home in Georgia, where he’s hoping to get a second chance at love.

Buy at Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4197 (ebook)

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4198 (paperback)

Buy at ARe:

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-playingball-1304727-166.html

Buy at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Ball-ebook/dp/B00FF0X2BE/

Check out the full schedule of this Blog Tour here:

http://shaeconnorwrites.com/2013/09/20/playing-ball-blog-tour-schedule/

OmorphiHigh school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.

Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.

Purchase Omorphi from   Harmony Ink Press    Amazon    Barnes & Noble   ARe/OmniLit

Why the Title Omorphi?

I am one of those people who was fortunate enough to have traveled often and from a young age. Many people don’t have this opportunity and that’s why I try to bring a little bit of the outside world and other cultures to my readers through my books. One of the main characters in my stories will almost always be from a country other than the United States. In the case of Safe, Nico is Italian. In the case of Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Isidore is French and Declan is Irish. In the case of Omorphi, Christy is Greek and we have a chance to glimpse a bit of Greek culture through some of Christy’s comments and cultural ways in Omorphi.

The working title of the novel was “Pretty” because Christy is, well, pretty. Also, Christy has been severely abused and has a very low opinion of himself. He believes, in spite of his good looks, he is ugly because of what heartless others have done to him. So, Christy likes to wear pretty things like lace and silk and, for him, it isn’t only cross-dressing, but a way to feel free of the ugliness he believes he is. Because Christy is Greek, I chose to change the title of the book to Omorphi, which means pretty in Greek. There you have it. That’s the story behind the title Omorphi!

About Cody

Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody Kennedy doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as: If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.

Find Cody    Facebook    Goodreads    Twitter @CodyKAuthor

~*~

Follow Omorphi’s blog tour for three chances to win an ebook copy of Omorphi!

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September 9th – Pre-kickoff post – Cody is a Featured Author on True Colorz and answers questions about penning Omoprhi Review by True Colorz

September 15th – The Novel Approach – Pre-release Q&A with Cody and a chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi Review by The Novel Approach

September 18th – Author Will Parkinson – Will holds nervous Cody’s hand the day before Omorphi’s release because he promised to and Cody talks about Omorphi’s Cover and Bringing Omorphi to Life

September 19th – Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books – Cody writes Perils and Pitfalls of Post Production Public Relations and a SECOND chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi! Review by Mrs. Condit & Friends

September 19th – Smile, Somebody Loves You – Announcement post and Cody shares Omorphi Trivia with Beverly and Tamara

September 20th – Author Shira Anthony – Why I write the kind of stories that I do by Cody

September 21st – Author Jamie Mayfield – Why Omorphi and A Broken Kind of Life are Same but Different

Also on September 21st – Harmony Ink Press on Facebook: Meet Cody Kennedy and Jamie Mayfield

September 22nd – Cody’s Blog – Tony Edmondson, Fan Extraordinaire, interviews Cody

September 27th – Author Wade Kelly – Character Interview with Christy Castle

September 28th – Author Iyana Jenna, Fairy Fan Extraordinaire, Q&A with Christy Castle

September 29th – Author Zoe Lynne – The Notes Behind Omorphi’s Play List

October 4th – Sid Love’s Blog – Why the title Omorphi? Review by Sid Love

October 5th – Author Madison Parker – What makes Omorphi unique?

October 6th – Author John Ames – Q&A with Michael Sattler

October 11th – Boys on the Brink – Omorphi: Writing Sex and Violence in Young Adult works

October 12th – Author Jamie Fessenden – Cody shares Omorphi Trivia with Jamie

October 15th – Granny Irene – A week in the Life of Christy Castle before Michael

October 18th – Author Sara Alva – A week in the life of Michael Sattler before Christy

October 19th – Author Sam Kadence – Cody Talks About Writing Action and the Suspension of Disbelief

October 20th – Cody’s Blog – Omorphi’s One Month Anniversary Trivia Contest and a THIRD chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi – In order to enter this contest you must:

1) have visited and commented on each stop on Omorphi’s Blog Tour – please be sure to leave your name and email address in your blog comment. “Anonymous” comments won’t qualify; and

2) you must correctly answer the trivia questions posted on Cody’s Blog by placing your answers in the comments section beneath the questions; and

3) along with your answers to the trivia questions, you must leave a comment about Omorphi’s Blog Tour.

The winner will be selected by Kismet, Cody’s greenwing macaw.

To make things even more exciting, a new contest will begin on October 21st on The Novel Approach Reviews Blog to win an ebook copy of Cody’s novella, Safe, due out October 24th from Harmony Ink Press!

Get ready to read and win!

made-of-stars

One of my favorite things to do is find dream casts for my book characters. I enjoy having someone to visualize as I write, and I find it often helps in the writing process. You picture someone’s voice and their movements, and it’s fun to translate that onto paper.

Granted, I don’t always have someone in mind when I’m writing. In the case of Made of Stars, the only character I knew right away was Chance, and the others didn’t come until much later on. Probably during edits.

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Hunter: Louis Hunter. Ha! The last name fits, right? This is one of the choices I’m not 100% confident about, simply because I haven’t watched any of Louis’ work to see if he embodies Hunter. But he’s got the boyish good looks, the sweet smile, and the lovely eyes. Looks-wise, he’s great.

Ashlin: Candice Accola. Although I’m not a big Vampire Diaries fan, I have watched the first two seasons and I loved Candice. She does well at being sweet when she wants to be, and has the perfect, almost mischievous smile I picture Ashlin having.

Rachael: Shay Mitchell, best known for her role in Pretty Little Liars. (A show I haven’t watched.) Although I wouldn’t consider Rachael a “main” character in Made of Stars, I still had this girl in mind and thought she deserved some recognition.

Chance: Hayden Christiansen. Let’s be real; Hayden is waaaay too old for the part now (although he’s still adorable as hell), but his role on Life as a House was so Chance. Maybe not in demeanor, necessarily, but his way of walking, talking, and even many of his expressions, were so spot on that I had him in mind from day one while writing Chance.

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If you’ve already read Made of Stars or even Hushed, do you have a dream cast in mind? What about for some of your other favorite books?

Made of StarsBlurb:

When eighteen-year-old Hunter Jackson and his half sister, Ashlin, return to their dad’s for the first winter in years, they expect everything to be just like the warmer months they’d spent there as kids. And it is—at first. But Chance, the charismatic and adventurous boy who made their summers epic, is harboring deep secrets. Secrets that are quickly spiraling into something else entirely.

The reason they’ve never met Chance’s parents or seen his home is becoming clearer. And what the siblings used to think of as Chance’s quirks—the outrageous stories, his clinginess, his dangerous impulsiveness—are now warning signs that something is seriously off.

Then Chance’s mom turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes shift to Chance and his dad. Hunter and Ashlin know Chance is innocent…they just have to prove it. But how can they protect the boy they both love when they can’t trust a word Chance says?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Goodreads

About Kelley

KelleyOnce upon a time, Kelley York was born in central California. And it’s there she she still resides with her lovely wife, step-daughter, and an abundance of cats, while fantasizing about moving to England or Ireland. She has a fascination with bells and animals, is a lover of video games, Doctor Who, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she’s a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or at least write about them.

Kelley is a sucker for dark fiction. She loves writing twisted characters, tragic happenings, and bittersweet endings that leave you wondering and crying. Character development takes center stage in her books because the bounds of a person’s character and the workings of their mind are limitless.

Her first book, HUSHED, was released by Entangled Publishing in December 2011. Her second and third books, HOLLOWED and SUICIDE WATCH, were released in 2012, and her next Entangled book, MADE OF STARS, is slated for October 1st, 2013. She is currently seeking representation.

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads 

Giveaway

1 signed copy of Made of Stars and some bookmarks (US Only)

1 eBook Package of Hushed, Suicide Watch, and Hollowed International

Rafflecopter Link

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjEwNA==/

Make Like a Vampire or Flee

The Memory of Blood and LotusesPart of my love for vampires stems from a rampant love of all things spooky. Oddly enough, I was actually pretty easily scared as a child. My sister Sam loved the Alien movies when we were kids. I, being the brave older sister that I was, usually preferred to vacate the living room at light speed. Don’t get me started on being stuck at a sleep over where they marathoned the Freddie Krueger movies. My mother was also fond of reading us Stephen King as bedtime stories. It was learn to love it or hide under the blankets the rest of my life.

So I went all in. My birthday is also in October. On the 13th. Let me tell you the hell I catch when that falls on a Friday. It once was on a blood moon, on a Friday. Somebody laughed and said, “You’re going to die.”  (He later apologized, acknowledging that sounded funnier in his head)

I used to throw costume parties. These days I mostly make everyone watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. My fear of all things scary eventually became a love of all things scary (and an adoration of cheesy, silly, not so scary things). And vampires will always be one of my absolute favorite things (followed by demons. Followed by hunters. Somebody write me vampire/demon/hunter funtimes).

Drinker Class XAnd I do like all permutations, from more ‘traditional’ Bram Stoker types, to psychic types, violent evil monsters, emo long-haired pretties. The best part of the LT3 collection is that the stories are all over the map. We’ve got a couple of vampire in clubs, vampires as part of society, vampires as monsters, and vampires in space. There’s even an ancient Egyptian vampire in there, how awesome is that? There was supposed to be a high fantasy type vampire story in there, but some loser went over the word limit (that she set, it’s a sad day when a publisher cannot follower her own rules, I’m telling you) so it did not make the cut. :3 But hey, there are plenty of other shinies to go around!

Now, I’m afraid, you’ve come nearly to the end of my brief burst of nonsense and must get back to school/work, or find some other way to avoid them (I strongly suggest buying some vampire books).

The giveaway for this post is the following:  one lucky winner will get Bundle One free. Just leave a comment with a way to contact you, and tell me your favorite type of candy (in the spirit of Halloween. There are piles of it in all the stores and it’s driving me up the effing wall). Winner will be drawn Monday, October 7th. 

Deadly is the FemaleThe second half of our shiny Proud to be a Vampire collection:

Deadly is the Female – Where a boarding school for women is more than it seems, and the town is about to get a lesson on revenge.

Reborn – One vampire ignorant and afraid, the other dangerously unstable, but loyal to each other—until they are found by other vampires.

The High Lord–Hunter meets monster … except neither can tell which of them is the hunter, and which the monster

For the Sake of the Kingdom – A fantastic retelling of Snow White.

Drinker Class X – Where vampires are handled with pills, hot doctors, and lots of paperwork.

Rangers over Regulus – Space station + wild west + vampires = awesome.

The Memory of Blood and Lotuses – Ancient Egypt, rife with sand, pharaohs, priests, and vampires.

You can check out the entire collection (and buy in bundles for 15% off) at the LT3 site (and individually at all the usual suspects).

I hope everyone has a good rest of the week, and a wonderful weekend!

Megan

All Whiny Vampires Will Be Asked to Leave

 

ConvergenceHello to everyone! ^_^ My name is Megan, I am Head Minion at Less Than Three Press and I am here today to show off our shiny collection of vampire stories :3

Paranormal is very much a love/hate thing right now. Many of us are loving it (I am an ardent fan of Teen Wolf, the new Sleepy Hollow, and one of these days I need to catch up on Supernatural. My list of books is ridiculous), and others really really wish the rest of us would go away and take our werewolves and vampires and other creatures with us. I apologize profusely to that latter group, cause this post and tomorrow’s is aalllllll vampires.

Which I love. Even sparkles cannot ruin my love of vampires. I’ve read all the old books, I even made it through all the Anne Rice books (Armand was my favorite). I played the shit out of that one Castlevania game. I adore Vampire Hunter D. This list could go on forever. If I didn’t think my editor would smother me with a pillow I would write them even more than I already do. There is rarely a vampire that I completely hate.

Danse MacabreThat being said, I hate whiny vampires (How did I make it through Anne Rice, you ask? It was high school. Guess what made me really start hating whiny vampires). These days, if a book is about how much a vampire hates being a vampire, he’s a poor tortured soul(less) with a Tough Life, I quit.

This is what provoked the series being presented to you today and tomorrow, dear readers. My partners at LT3 allowed me to put forth a submission call that led to our Proud to be a Vampire collection. You will get vampires who are violent and gleeful, chill and just wanting some quiet, old vamps, new and still getting used to it vamps, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, and even historical. But none of them are whiny about being card-carrying blood drinkers.

Death and the LadyIt’s a pretty awesome set, I must admit. Over the span of five weeks we will have eighteen stories for you—fifteen short stories and three novels. Fifteen are m/m, and three are f/f, because sexy lady vampires deserve love too (one of the earliest vampire novels ever was about a lesbian vampire, in fact).

And what fun is a post like this without a Giveaway? Because LT3 works in threes, on Monday, October 7th I will draw three winners, and each one will get to choose one Proud to be a Vampire ebook. Just leave a comment telling me one of your favorite vampires and a way to reach you ^__^

The first set of shinies in this collection include:

The ListDanse Macabre – If you like your vampires dark, violent, and mobster-like, look no further.

To Serve the Count – A touch of old school for those who can’t resist a classic take.

The List – A modern-day type world where vampires fight for their rights as citizens.

Thicker than Water – A story set far in the future, where the world we know is long gone, and vampires are a very real evil.

Convergence – A tale of treasure hunting and the dangers that come with it.

Reprisal – Dead humans, dead vampires, drugs, and two reluctant cops forced to cooperate.

Bloody Kiss – School trips are not supposed to include statues that come to life and bite people.

Promise of Forever – A clueless vampire, a missing ex-boyfriend, and a guy who just wanted to be left alone.

Marked – Drugs, generally speaking, are bad. They’re even worse when something goes wrong and vampires are involved.

Death and the Lady – A club owner just wants to auction off humans in peace, but old friends aren’t quite ready to leave her alone.

The Taste of Her – The end of World War II, a woman in mourning becomes less than human in exchange for information about her dead lover

You can check out the entire collection (and buy in bundles for 15% off) at the LT3 site (and individually at all the usual suspects).

Tomorrow I will return to babble at everyone again :3 Many thanks for dropping by, and to Sid Love for having me.  ^__^

Megan

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Reviewed by Elizabetta

IlluminationTITLE: Illumination
AUTHOR: Rowan Speedwell
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 307 pages
BLURB: Adam Craig is burned out. Lead singer of the hard rock band Black Varen, he’s tired of the empty life of groupies, paparazzi, and hotel rooms. Worse, a life in the closet. After the final concert of their latest tour, he flees the after-party in pursuit of memories of lost summers and carefree days, until he passes out on the patio of a shuttered lake resort.

Miles Caldwell is a brilliant artist, tied by agoraphobia and social anxiety to his family’s lodge. Alone but for his parrot, he spends his days illuminating manuscripts and hiding from the complexities of life. When he discovers Adam asleep in a deck chair, he’s furious but intrigued. Adam soon charms his way into Miles’ bed, and they lose themselves in a summer idyll, safe from the compromises and claims of reality.

But Adam’s life, with all its demands, is waiting for him. And Miles, uncertain of Adam’s true feelings, is battling demons of his own. Somehow, the man who’s never home and the man who never leaves it must find the strength to fight for a future together.

REVIEW:

Light, warmth, passion. And some turmoil to make the falling in love even sweeter.

I think I was smiling much of the time reading this.

Miles, is a gifted artist, he illuminates precious manuscripts, turning plain text into decorated works of art, much as church monks of the Middle Ages did before the time of the printing press. He makes his own period pigments, drafts the fancy lettering, and carefully paints in the elaborate embellishments. It’s like lush embroidery on paper. The addition of fine gold leaf elevates it, making the text glow. Miles loses himself in his work, quill in hand, working long hours to bring perfection to the page. His art helps him forget, keeps the fears at bay.

Adam, famous metal rock star, long-haired and golden-eyed music god, illuminates Miles. Fires him up, brings him back into life. Gives him companionship and hope. Adam is a jaded musician but he knows compassion and gentleness.

It is sweet reading, getting to know Miles and Adam. The author nicely balances that early glowing awareness the guys have for each other with the darkness always lurking for Miles… He has memory loss resulting from a horrific, long ago car accident that killed his parents. He’s recovered physically, but his fears have left him an agoraphobic recluse shutting himself away from the world on his lake-side family estate. Lucky for him, Adam, trying to flee all the rock-star crap, drops into his life. Adam sees the sweet guy beneath all the cranky. The mystery becomes how one guy tethered to his home, a prisoner to his fears, can make a relationship with another guy who is always on the move and lives hundreds of miles away.

I loved the set-up, the isolation of Miles and Adam at the lake house, the time they spend together, learning each other. It immerses them and the reader into a kind of dreamy other-world, intimate and protected.

“… he ran his fingers gently over Adam’s cheekbone, trailing them around this ear as if the curve of cartilage were something rare and precious… his eyes gone smoky blue and deep in thought, the way they did when he was thinking about his art. Adam felt… like Miles’s attention was on him the way a curator’s might be on a sculpture he was deciding to acquire.”

These two artists teach each other about their respective work– we feel Miles’s passion for illuminating, we learn about Adam’s obsession with musical theatre. They are awestruck, tender, and caring. They make each other laugh. It felt like falling in love as they fall in love. And yet…

The psychological trauma that keeps Miles shut away informs all his thoughts and actions. His memory loss disconnects him from his childhood when his artistic gifts were taking hold and moving in a different direction. The boy who created glorious paintings is now a man confined to copying an old art form.

“That’s all he does now, copy the way things were done five hundred years ago, as if reconnecting with someone else’s history makes up for lacking his own.”

It is a childhood lost; he is lost and can’t find his way back to a semblance of normal. The second half of the book takes a darker tone because of the limitations this puts on the guys’ relationship.

There are supporting characters, critical to the story, that deserve a mention. Lisa, Miles’s sister, is a caring, supportive force in his life; I really liked her in the story. Doug and Robert are a committed couple and childhood friends of Miles that have stood by him, giving him comfort in an unorthodox way. There’s also Grace, Miles’s African grey parrot, whose mimicking adds some laughs. The author does a fine job building these characters and weaving them into the story.

In general, the pacing is good, there were a few repetitive sections, and there is a lot of information given about the art of illumination, but I was happy for every page. I really got into these guys and their journey. This is not just a fluffy romance. Miles has serious issues that give the piece a dark edge… and yet it is infused with hope and light.

Elizabetta’s Rating:

BUY LINK: Riptide  ::  Amazon (Paperback)

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Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
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ROWAN SPEEDWELL

Rowan Speedwell lives in a tarpaper shack in the North Woods, without so much as cable TV to keep her warm. Compared to her, J.D. Salinger is an extrovert. She is allergic to publicity and loathes marketing, so her books only sell one or two copies. If you have one, she thanks you, as your purchase enables her to buy cat food for her diabetic feline companion, Kimball O’Hara.

She does have internet, when she hikes to the top of the mountain and fires up her PC Jr., so visit her website or follow her on Twitter at @rowanspeedwell if you need to request a refund for the one book you did buy.

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~ GIVEAWAY ~

Illumination_150x300(1)TO WIN A FREE COPY OF ILLUMINATION, LEAVE A COMMENT TO THIS POST:

Follow the given format to enter yourself into the contest:

Name*:
Email ID*:
The format in which you’d prefer to read the book, in case you win*:
Message to the author:

Don’t forget to “FOLLOW THIS BLOG”. The widget is on the top of this page where you can either subscribe to this blog via email or if you are a wordpress user, you can “Follow” it through your READER!

Why do you need to follow? – To get instant updates on the winner announcement, or other giveaway events that are planned to be hosted on this blog or simply for the reviews and author interviews that are posted here.

If you are on Facebook, join our official Group: The Blog of Sid Love

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CONTEST WILL END ON 6th October, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!

DevilAtTheCrossroads_TourBanner

 

Hello to the Sid Love crew – thank you so much for having me!

My paranormal novella Devil at the Crossroads was just released by Riptide Publishing, and I’m glad to have the chance to chat a little about how this story was born. And, at the end of the post, there’s also a juicy giveaway for all lovely readers…!

I have made a few posts over the last few days – you can check out the blog tour schedule here :)!

 I (heart) short stories!

DevilAtTheCrossroads_150x300(1)When I first started writing, I used to suck at short stories.

I used to get all these vague ideas for long, convoluted stories, picturesque scenes with poignant thoughts and elaborate descriptions . . . and then never get anywhere with any of those. I was a bit too enamoured of my own prose and, to put it mildly, totally unable to plot. I would go on for two pages of flowery description about some inspiring scenery, ramble on a stream of consciousness for another three, insert an oh-so-bohemian dream sequence for another five, all the while basking in just how fancy all those words looked and completely missing the fact that they were, well . . . completely useless. They weren’t taking the story anywhere. Heck, there was barely a story in the first place, just a collage of very picturesque chunks of prose.

Don’t get me wrong, fine prose is a very nice thing, and I even managed to win a couple of prizes because of how artfully I was able to arrange those pretty words to hide the fact that I wasn’t actually saying anything! But . . . it turned out soon that it was not enough. I would ramble on for pages and pages until eventually I would just . . . drift off and towards some new project. Which would, of course, never be completed either. I spent a few years writing and somehow feeling that ‘my thing’ was leaving unfinished stories that meandered nowhere, but did so in a very wordy way – what a depressing specialty!

That was when I started my Creative Writing BA at university. Now, like every degree in an artistic field, this is a potentially very useless one: because nobody can really teach you how to write, or paint, or play music, and nobody can make you do it. What they can do is teach you a set of more or less standard skills or tools, that you are then free to use or not use as you please. They did it in my fine arts high school, and I was able to work for a while just relying on those technical tools, albeit not having any real talent (as I mentioned in my recent post at Fiction Vixen). But, when they did it in the Creative Writing BA, the results were incredibly different, because this time I did have some rough talent that could be harnessed and trained.

What helped me the most were not the lectures about prose style – I was too bogged down with that already! – but courses that focused on plotting, on the bare mechanics of storytelling, on how to make sure that a story works and has a strong, solid structure before adding to it and embellishing it. I realized then that I always used to just slather on the embellishment, but without having any structure under it. Curiously enough, the best course for this wasn’t a prose writing one at all, but one on ‘Writing Short Films,’ where descriptions and long musings were entirely absent and I was pushed out of my comfort zone and forced to work on the substance of the story.

Now, assignments for university were of course very short, and that was when I smashed my nose against my wordiness. For the first year, I hated, hated, hated having to work on short pieces – it was so different from what I was used to! But my reaction was to obsess over it, reading piles of short stories and hammering at the keyboard every day, determined to get it right. I started to appreciate short stories in a way I never had. I had never possessed the ability to sum up something with a few concise words instead of blathering on for five paragraphs, the skill of taking one clear idea and execute it cleanly in a page, such as in the classic Sentry by Fredric Brown, the ability to develope a whole plot, complete with the classic inciting incident, turning point and climax, in a flawless miniature version . . .

I started seeing short stories as bonsai trees, requiring a lot of care and hard work in order obtain a small but precise result, a miniature version of a novel. It was a challenge to know what to prune, where to tighten, what words to discard, what branches of the story would need to be sacrificed – but slowly I started enjoying the challenge more and more.

And, well! The result is that I, the former queen of rambling wordiness and sworn enemy of briefness, somehow ended up specializing in short stories. If you have read something of mine already, you’ll know that I have only published novellas and short stories up until now! I know that they aren’t the most popular format – I too wasn’t a fan until but a few years ago, and it is difficult to find a well-executed short story, at that – but I have just grown to love them a lot. It might partly be because I have some attention issues, so a strong short story can hold my attention in full throughout the whole thing, while with novels I often find myself drifting off along the way. Occasionally, I even find myself wondering if a particular story was watered down to get it to novel length, and I wonder whether it might have worked better as a short.

That is one of the main reasons why I have only written shorter works so far, including Devil at the Crossroads. Those stories seem to just naturally fit the novella/short story format; that amount of words was enough to tell that particular story, so, when it was done, I stopped. I suppose I could have added bits and bobs, stretched scenes, piled on words until the story grew into a novel: but would the work be better for it? I’m afraid I would have a relapse in my blabbering habits of stories past! I’m afraid I will remain specialized in short stories until a plot comes to mind that just naturally fits a novel length. And I promise – when that happens, you’ll be the first to know! 😉

Cornelia xxx

 

!!Trivia Contest!!

Attention, dear readers – this release comes with a trivia contest, and the winners will receive a free ebook of their choice from my backlist!

There are three easy questions, whose answer can be found reading Devil at the Crossroads. Keep an eye for the answers as you read the story, then email me the answers at corneliagrey [at] yahoo [dot] com – do not leave them in the comments, remember, you don’t want to make life too easy for the competition ;)!

The deadline for the contest is September the 30th: I will randomly select two readers among those who emailed me replying correctly to the three questions. The winners will be officially announced on my blog (as well as emailed!) and they will receive a free ebook of their choice from my backlist!

Ready for the questions? Here we go…

1)      What is the model of Logan’s guitar?

2)      Throughout the story, three spider tattoos are mentioned. Where are they located?

3)      Farfarello happens to mention a future birthday of Logan’s. Which birthday is that?

Good luck! And remember, email me your answers by September the 30th to be entered in the contest :)!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.

She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.

You can find her at www.corneliagrey.com

Annd also on [Twitter] [Livejournal] [Blogger] [Facebook]

 

Devil at the Crossroads Blurb:

Devil at the CrossroadsThe devil covets more than his soul …

Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.

You can read an excerpt and purchase ‘Devil at the Crossroads’ here!

 

Today, Rick R. Reed takes a stop at The Blog of Sid Love to promote his newly released book “Hungry for Love”! The author reads out an excerpt from the book in the form of a VLog, which is actually interesting. Check out as Rick shares with you the exciting moment when the two main characters – Brandon and Nate – meet for the first time —

 

 

HUNGRY FOR LOVE

Hungry for LoveBlurb

Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep. Nate’s sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model. 

When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn’t even know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?

Buy Links

From Dreamspinner Press (ebook): http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4178

From Dreamspinner Press (paperback):

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4179

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Hungry-for-Love-ebook/dp/B00F5KRZOO/

Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Hungry-Love-Rick-R-Reed/dp/1627981454/

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hungryforlove-1294299-149.html

REVIEWS

From LIVE YOUR LIFE, BUY THE BOOK

“I loved his writing style, I loved the flow of the book, I didn’t feel like there was anything missing by the time the end of the story came around and I was really able to love Brandon and Nate very easily…this story had romance, love, friendship, deception, jealousy, heartbreak…. Read the review: http://liveyourlifebuythebook.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/hungry-for-love/.

From ON TOP DOWN UNDER BOOK REVIEW

“…overall, I really enjoyed this book…it was perfect…” Read the review: http://ontopdownunderbookreviews.com/hungry-for-love-rick-r-reed/.

From MRS. CONDIT AND FRIENDS READ BOOKS

“…written beautifully with humor, and love, and intelligence. Rick Reed has done a wonderful, wonderful job with this story!!” Read the review: http://mrsconditreadsbooks.com/index.php/?p=14621.

From AMOS LASSEN REVIEWS

“Reed has never been afraid to tackle the important issues of the LGBT community and here he looks at friendship, love, lies, heartbreak and jealousy while creating characters that we can identify with and grow to love.” Read the review: http://reviewsbyamoslassen.com/?p=24500.

From USA Today

“I’ve gotten distracted reading a book before but never because I stopped to marvel at the genius of the author…sigh worthy….” Read the review: http://www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2013/09/13/recommended-rhys-ford-rick-r-reed-cardeno-c/2807953/.

READ AN EXCERPT…

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4178

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Visit Rick’s website at www.rickrreed.com or follow his blog at http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/. You can also like Rick on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks  or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rickrreed. Rick always enjoys hearing from readers and answers all e-mails personally. Send him a message at jimmyfels@gmail.com

When secondary characters steal the show

Reviewers have frequently commented that my secondary characters are one of the strengths of my writing. They aren’t cardboard cut-outs there simply to fulfil a plot point. Even if we never know their full story, they give a sense of having a full story.

Chase the Stars (Lang Downs, #2)Never has this been more true than in the character of Neil Emery in the Lang Downs series. Neil started out as a name on the page, one in a crowd of jackaroos all curious about their new boss. Then, he became a homophobic bigot determined to run Caine off when he found out Caine was gay. But it turns out there’s more to Neil than just his homophobia. Above all else, Neil is loyal, and once someone has won his loyalty, nothing else matters. I won’t say how Caine managed it in case anyone reading this post hasn’t read Inherit the Sky yet, although since I’m going to keep talking about how Neil develops through the rest of the series, I may not be able to avoid all spoilers. Once Caine has won Neil’s loyalty, Neil’s attitude changes. “I’m sorry for all the names I called you, boss,” Neil said. “I won’t give you any more trouble.  From here on out, I’m your man.”

I got questions from readers about how that would really play out. Would Neil really be able to keep that promise to Caine?

Chase the Stars opens with the answer to that in a couple of different ways, and we begin to see how deeply Neil’s loyalty runs. A teenager stumbles into the hotel where they’re all having dinner, crying because his brother is being bashed and he’s afraid he’ll be killed. Macklin is out the door like a shot. And then this:

The boy had barely finished his answer before Macklin was out the door.

“Neil—”

“Yes, boss,” the jackaroo at the next table replied, already on his feet and following Macklin out the door before Caine finished speaking.

Obeying orders, even half-complete ones, is one thing, but Neil takes it a step further, defending Caine and Macklin to all the new jackaroos on the station.

“Some of you may have heard rumors about the boss.”

Chris slipped inside to listen.

“You might have heard people say he’s a poofter,” the man went on. Chris thought he’d heard Caine and Macklin call him Neil, but he wasn’t sure.  “You might have even heard less polite things about him.”

Chris hoped Neil wasn’t getting ready to deny it.  Macklin had said they didn’t talk about it but they didn’t hide it either.

“Let me make this very clear,” Neil continued, all but bristling as he spoke.  “Caine Neiheisel and Macklin Armstrong are the backbone of this station. If you can’t deal with working for a poofter, leave now, because there’s not a man on this station who will tolerate any kind of slur against either of them.”

“Wait,” one of the men said.  “Either of them? Armstrong is gay too?”

“Do you have a problem with that?” Neil demanded.

“No,” the man said, raising his hands in pacification.  “I’m just… surprised.  And, well, a little surprised everyone is so open about it.”

“Caine saved Neil’s life,” another of the hands explained. “He now feels the need to defend the boss against any threat, real or otherwise.”

“Like Macklin would let Caine get so much as a bruise,” another hand joked.

“Caine works his arse off just like the rest of us,” Neil insisted.

“And then works Macklin’s arse at night.”

“No way in hell Macklin lets anyone fuck him.”

“Caine’s the boss.”

“On the station. No way he’s the boss in the bedroom.”

“Enough!” Neil roared. “Get your sorry arses out of here and get to work!”

CTFbuttonIt’s enough to make Chris feel safe for the first time in years. So now we have loyalty that goes not just to taking orders from Caine but also to defending him. It’s a change in attitude from Neil’s original reaction to Caine, but it’s still directed very much at Caine. Has Neil’s homophobia truly faded or will it rear its head again when faced with other gay men?

This is where we see Neil’s true growth, because when first his brother and later his best friend come out to him, he doesn’t blink. Well, maybe he blinks, but he takes it in stride and supports them both through their struggles. Just… no details please!

Neil will never get a book of his own. He’s as straight as they come and actually gets married (and has kids) over the course of the story, but he’s the character who has stayed with me the most because he’s the one who gives me hope. If Neil, with all his learned homophobia, can reach the point of being the staunchest ally of the men of Lang Downs, maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for the rest of the world.

I’ll leave you with this, Neil’s finest moment from Conquer the Flames.

“And you didn’t go looking for it, because why would you?” Neil finished. “Look, I’m not an expert on relationships and stuff, but sex is supposed to be fun and feel good and bring you closer to the person you’re with. I know it wasn’t that way for you—and the fucker should be shot for what he did—but I don’t think no sex is the answer, especially not now that you have a great guy to have it with. Just, you know, spare me the details.”

“No details,” Ian promised. “That’s what happened last night. Things got a little intense and I panicked. Thorne wanted to know why. It’s not the first time he’s asked, but it’s the first time I answered him. He started cursing and shouting, at him, not at me, but I was already freaked out, and I just couldn’t deal with any more.”

“So what did you do?” Neil asked.

“I locked myself in my room until I couldn’t hear him shouting anymore, then I went to bed alone for the first time in a week, and I hated every second of it,” Ian said. “I don’t think I really slept until he came in to get dressed this morning and lay down with me instead.”

“You know I’d do anything for you, right?” Neil said. Ian nodded, not sure where that question was leading. “If you need to talk about this, I’ll listen, details and all.

҉҉  ——–  ҉҉

CONQUER THE FLAMES

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH:
254 pages
RELEASE DATE: 09/27/2013
BLURB: Thorne Lachlan knows a thing or two about getting himself safely out of a blaze. For years he fought in the world’s hot spots, a Commando with the Australian Army. Now, retired, he fights flames for the Royal Fire Service. When a grassfire brings him to Lang Downs, the next sheep station in danger, Thorne meets Ian Duncan and sparks fly that neither man can put out. But both men have ghosts from the past that stand in the way of moving beyond mutual attraction.

While Thorne longs for the home he could share with Ian at Lang Downs, he fears his own instability might make him a danger to others. And Ian’s always believed that the foster care nightmare he escaped before coming to Lang Downs would make any relationship impossible. Trust doesn’t come easily to Thorne or Ian until the fire’s aftermath forces them to see past the scars keeping them both from healing.

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ariel Tachna bio pic (1)Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

You can e-mail Ariel at arieltachna@gmail.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ariel-Tachna/185759935215

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/arieltachna

Website:  http://www.arieltachna.com/

GIVEAWAY

Ariel Tachna gives you all a chance to win an ebook of one of her titles from the backlist.

TO ENTER YOURSELF IN THIS CONTEST, LEAVE A COMMENT TO THIS POST:

Name*:
Email ID*:
Which book from the author’s back list would you like to read?*:
The format in which you’d prefer to read the book, in case you win*:

Don’t forget to “FOLLOW THIS BLOG”. The widget is on the top of this page where you can either subscribe to this blog via email or if you are a wordpress user, you can “Follow” it through your READER!

Why do you need to follow? – To get instant updates on the winner announcement, or other giveaway events that are planned to be hosted on this blog or simply for the reviews and author interviews that are posted here.

If you are on Facebook, join our official Group: The Blog of Sid Love

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CONTEST WILL END ON 28th September, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!