Posts Tagged ‘dreamspinner press’

Reviewed by Nikyta

The Choosing by Annabelle Jacobs eBookTITLE: The Choosing
AUTHOR: Annabelle Jacobs
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 210 pages
BLURB: Jerath is facing the biggest problem of his life. When boys in his shapeshifter village Eladir get their fangs, they must endure a coming-of-age rite called the Choosing, so they can take on their animal form. The rite is performed on the full moon, but the trouble is the Choosing involves having sex with a girl, and Jerath’s only interested in boys. Even if he manages to somehow get through the rite, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever find a mate in his village, where opposite-sex couples are the norm.

Even worse, he may miss the rite altogether after raiders attack his home and take several young men prisoner. Jerath will need the help of warriors if he’s to free the captive shapeshifters, so with his best friend, Serim, he flees south to find aid. Along the way, they meet Meren, a handsome warrior whose attraction to Jerath is instant and very much returned. But with the next full moon approaching and available time for the prisoners to undergo the Choosing running out, Jerath’s love life is far from his only worry.

REVIEW:

I’m going to shamelessly say that covers are the first thing that draw me in so when I saw this one, I was intrigued. Then I found out that it was not only fantasy but had shifters and I just knew that I had to read it… and I’m very glad I did.

Jerath is eagerly awaiting going through The Choosing, where he can finally find out the nature of his animal. Unfortunately, he can’t do that until his fangs come in, which don’t seem to be in any hurry to grow. One day Jerath and his friend Serim are catching fish as part of their chores only to realize on the way back to their village that raiders have taken over the village and captured some of their people to sell as slaves. Scared for their lives and their captured loved ones, they try to seek help with a southern village, Chastil. The journey to Chastil is long and tiring but comes with a few unexpected surprises. Jerath thought he’d never find a mate but when he meets Meren, one of the warriors from Chastil, that just might change his whole future. The real question, however, is whether Meren and his people can help Jerath free his fellow shifters and whether they’ll both survive it to be able to see where their connection leaves them?

I must say, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this story as much as I did. I found Jerath amusing. He’s fierce and possessive but sweet and innocent. It was endearing to see him flustered one moment but then aggressive the next. Meren was the opposite in that he was bold and confident but then easily melted whenever Jerath decided to take the reins. I adored these two and the connection that they make. It’s sweet but intense, loving and hot. I wished there had been more of them because while I feel like I know them, I don’t feel like I know them as well as I could.

The characters are definitely a great addition to this book, however, I think the main appeal was the world the author created. It’s complex but easy to understand. I loved that shifters were freely known about and even that there were whole communities dedicated to them. I liked that the women were born knowing their shifter animal while the men had to wait until they completed The Choosing to know theirs. It added mystery and conflict to the story and made it interesting seeing how the rituals were done. I also liked the fact that it wasn’t just ‘expected’ that they were going to eventually shift but there was always that fear for Jerath that it might not happen.

I had a few niggles with this story. Mostly, I felt like sometimes Serim (Jerath’s female friend) outshined not only Jerath and Meren but the relationship they were building. At times, I felt like the bond between Serim and Jerath was stronger than the one between Meren and Jerath. (This is actually even more prominent when you look at the cover and see the black panther (Serim’s shifter form), which leaves me wondering why is there a black panther on the cover? I would think there would be a jaguar instead.) Personally, that lessened my enjoyment at times because I wanted to see more of the bond between Jerath and Meren not be reminded of the connection between Serim and Jerath. Beyond that, there are a few inconsistencies but I would have loved to see more of Meren’s culture since it seems so different, yet similar, to Jerath’s culture.

Readers should be warned, however, that there is m/f sex in this story. While necessary to the development of the story arc and of Jerath, I know some readers would appreciate being told of this. I’m not all that fond of girly bits in my stories and while I didn’t exactly like this part, I did think it needed to happen so I was fine with it overall.

All in all, even with my issues, I absolutely adored this one. It’s refreshing in a way, unique in others in how different it is from other shifter stories. Add to that, the world is quite fascinating and engaging and the bond that Jerath and Meren ultimately develop was nice to see. I’m hoping Ms. Jacobs decides to write more stories in this world because I’d love to explore it further, especially if that means seeing more of Meren’s culture and rituals.

Definitely recommended for those looking for a different kind of shifter story with an interesting journey and a good HEA.

Nikyta rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS
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Hello people,

The Blog of Sid Love is celebrating and not for just one reason. For the ones who don’t know, TBSL completed its 7 months yesterday and this has been a memorable journey for me as well as my reviewers. The authors, my followers and readers have been amazing in participating in our events and following our reviews. Your words of appreciation always encourages us to do better.

So on this special occasion, we have a big event planned for you all. Also, we are going reveal something quite amazing to you (Well, it amazes me at least 😛 ) and we hope you like whatever it is and support us.

Event Details:

We have a new FB page, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/theblogofsidlove

Author Cardeno C. will be taking over this page TODAY between ONE PM TO TWO PM Pacific Time and you can chat with the author while the author will reveal some facts about his upcoming book “More Than Everything”. There will be a contest whereby you will get a chance to win a free ebook copy of any ONE of Cardeno’s books. So be there and participate!

We ALSO have a new twitter page, the link to which is: https://twitter.com/BlogofSidLove

Rhys Ford will take over this twitter feed and chat with you between the same time as Cardeno will be on FB. She will run a similar contest over there and will tell you about her new book “Fish and Ghosts”.

Like and Follow the two accounts so that you will be entered into both the contests. At the end of the chats, both the authors will choose a winner and also make an announcement for us! So be there on time.. they will let you know about how you can also win a goodie pack that comes from The Blog of Sid Love 😀

More details on that coming soon!

So, gear up people and show us some LOVE!

Reviewed by Carissa

Serenading Stanley by John Inman eBookTITLE: Serenading Stanley
AUTHOR: John Inman
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 234 pages
BLURB: Welcome to the Belladonna Arms, a rundown little apartment building perched atop a hill in downtown San Diego, home to the city’s lost and lovelorn. Shy archaeology student Stanley Sternbaum has just moved in and fills his time quietly observing his eccentric neighbors, avoiding his hellion mother, and trying his best to go unnoticed… which proves to be a problem when it comes to fellow tenant Roger Jane. Smitten, the hunky nurse with beautiful green eyes does everything in his power to woo Stanley, but Stanley has always lived a quiet life, too withdrawn from the world to take a chance on love. Especially with someone as beautiful as Roger Jane.

While Roger tries to batter down Stanley’s defenses, Stanley turns to his new neighbors to learn about love: Ramon, who’s not afraid to give his heart to the wrong man; Sylvia, the trans who just wants to be a woman, and the secret admirer who loves her just the way she is; Arthur, the aging drag queen who loves them all, expecting nothing in return—and Roger, who has been hurt once before but is still willing to risk his heart on Stanley, if Stanley will only look past his own insecurities and let him in.

REVIEW:

“Stuck in the dead grass by the front steps leading up to the entrance of the apartment building was another sign.  This one was handwritten on a slab of cardboard and stapled to the wooden stake pounded into the ground.  The lettering on this sign was rendered in pink Magic Marker.  It read ‘VACANCY.’  And under that, this time scrawled in magenta Magic Marker and sprinkled liberally with glitter, were the words ‘TO APPLY PLEASE BE CUTE.’”

Stanley knows two things for certain: he would do almost anything to avoid moving back in with his mother, and he is abominable at interacting with anyone not long, long dead.  Also, he might just be a little in love with Roger Jane.  OK, that’s three things, but to be fair, he really didn’t want to be in love with Roger.  Not really.  Even if only the thought of those godlike lips made him tremble.  And alright, he also knows that Arthur needs some serious make-up tips–and that he most definitely shouldn’t get them from Ramon.  And that Sylvia is one hell of a woman–despite having more parts than she ever desired.  He also knows that living on floor six of the Belladonna Oven, er, Arms, was likely kill him–or at least Arthur–eventually.  So, it turns out Stanley actually knows quite a bit.

He certainly knows enough to know that Roger will never look at him twice.  What with Roger being a god, in all his beautiful nursing glory, and poor ol’ Stanley entirely mortal, and entirely aware of it.  Except Roger did look–a lot more than twice–and now Stanley doesn’t know what to think.

I am a big fan of John Inman, so I may’ve been counting down the days till I could get my hands on Serenading Stanley.  And I may also have spent four hours curled up on my bed giggling like a stoner with a pet watermelon to play with (um…just read the book, you’ll totally understand) when I finally got it.  There may also have been kissing involved (hey! I’m not that kind of girl…it was a quick, discreet peck on the screen) when Stanley manned up and got all declare-y.  This may have all happened…but the brownies seemed to have clouded my memories a bit…so I’ll guess we’ll never know for sure.

What I do know is that once again Inman gave us a book chalked full with pithy humor and a whole host of characters to fall in love with.  This book is no two-man show.  Yes, we are given god-like Roger, who will use every tool in his arsenal to woo the recalcitrant Stanley.  And poor, earthly Stanley, who’ll use every trick in his, to avoid a broken heart.  But it is the cross-dressing building manager, the lovely Sylvia–who would do anything to make her body fit her soul–and even the kleptomaniac, the beautician, and the masseur, that make the story whole.  Without them Stanley would never have his Roger, and without them we would never have such a fun and truly heartwarming tale of friendship, love, and beauty disasters.

If you are looking for an angst-filled book, than I’d advise you to look elsewhere.  Yes, we have Stanley issues, what with the whole insecurity thing, but it is nothing to bog the story down.  This is a fun, light read, that will have you awwing and giggling away long into the night.  Roger’s insistence, and Stanley’s reluctance, play nicely off each other.  And boy, when Roger wants to make a point, he does it beautifully–and with tongue.  He will also not let his Little Mouse scurry away simply because he fears the big What If.  Plus, when a man comes bearing a watermelon–and something a lot more fun–how can you turn him away?  I loved these two together, and I loved watching Roger serenade his way into Stanley’s heart (in a totally non-musical way–because apparently that would be disastrous).

Between the entrancing tenants of the Belladonna Arms, and the hard-won love affair of Stanley and Roger, I was completely won over by this book.  And Sylvia nearly broke my poor heart.  That girl deserves everything that she got–and so much more.  To be trapped inside a body that never matches you, is a terrible thing.  To have yourself denied because of money, even worse.  I loved that Inman was able to bring Sylvia–and all the rest of the tenants–to life is such a wonderful, and highly amusing, way.  I would have liked a little more tension, near the end, but I think I’ll take the sight of Pete on his knees, any day.

Don’t know what else to say, but that I loved it and I’m glad I trusted Inman with my oh-so-fragile bookish heart.  I totally and completely recommend you read this book when you’ve hit angst overload and need to remember how to smile.  Or if you want to find out just how sweet a twizzler can be.

Carissa rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: CARISSA’S REVIEWS
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How do you see the important people in your life, and how do they see you?

Those were the questions I had in mind when I started to write Salvage, my latest release from Dreamspinner Press. It was a challenge to reveal the key differences in how the characters perceived each other, until I had a little help from my boss, and from one of my sons.

Sometimes you need input from other people to see your own flesh and blood very clearly.

In Salvage, the Cooper family has been apart for five years. Fleeting visits home during that time weren’t enough to change each other’s opinions. On the other hand, I see my kids just about every single day. Does that mean I understand them as they really are now? My boss doesn’t think so.

A while ago, we spotted my son and his partner through our office window. My teen wore jeans that were ragged at the hem, that were more hole than denim,and that showed his neon-yellow underwear. He has his father’s curly hair, and boy it could have used a thorough combing. My son and his partner held hands as they passed by, deep in animated conversation, oblivious to our spying.

Just as I was internally making a list — throw away those awful pants, book a haircut, and for goodness sake, find him a belt! — my boss said,

“He’s so happy, isn’t he? Every single time I see him, he’s smiling.”

Had we looked through the same pane of glass?

How come she saw him so differently to me?

Somehow, my perception of my almost-adult son had gotten locked on the young child I used to lay out clothes for every morning.It took a pane of glass and someone else’s words to make me shift my focus. Of course my son is wonderful!

In Salvage, Gabe too focuses on past perceptions, and I use glass as a device to illustrate how those perceptions can change. There are two moments where Gabe sees his father, Coop, through a windowpane, and those two points are a key part of the story. At another stage, Gabe holds a pane of glass between himself and his sister’s boyfriend. Can he ever see the kid who outed him in high school as a good man?

Most importantly in this love story, Gabe glimpses his new neighbor Scott through a window thick with grime. That blurred and smudged sight leaves Gabe full of questions. Time, and listening to the people closest to him, helps himsee Scott clearly.

Salvage Blurb

SalvageFive years ago, an accident fractured Gabe Cooper’s family. Believing it was broken beyond repair, Gabe and his best friend Jamie Carlson left Minnesota behind for San Diego sunshine and college. Now another crisis brings Gabe home to help his ailing father, and he finally has to face the guilt that kept him away for so long.

Scott Stark also returns to Minnesota, with his young niece and nephew in tow, shouldering new family responsibilities. While Gabe comes to grips with his past, Scott struggles to accept his present role as a substitute parent, caring for two children, each with different needs. As Gabe and Scott get to know each other, reclaiming family life almost seems possible. Only two things stand in the way of love: Gabe’s unresolved relationship with Jamie, and Scott’s plan to leave Minnesota as soon as he can. Both men will have to accept past mistakes if they want to salvage a future together, and time is running out.

Buy links: Dreamspinner Press  ::  Amazon US  ::  Amazon UK  ::  All Romance eBooks

About this author

Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time instead. Love, loss and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.

When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don’t disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.

Con Riley’s Website

Con Riley on Twitter

Con Riley on Facebook

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Reviewed by Taylor

The Scarlet Tide by Stephen Osborne eBookTITLE: The Scarlet Tide
SERIES: Duncan Andrews Thriller #3
AUTHOR: Stephen Osborne
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: Duncan Andrews, a private detective who specializes in paranormal cases, is back, along with his usual gang. Robbie Church, his boyfriend, is a ghost. Gina, a centuries old witch, is his best friend. And Daisy, Duncan’s bulldog, just happens to be a zombie. Odd man out seems to be Nick, a history teacher. He’s a normal, living human.

Duncan’s latest case leads him to a rock band in Indianapolis called The Scarlet Tide. It doesn’t take Duncan long to realize all of the band members are vampires. He sets out to destroy them, but runs into trouble with the charismatic leader of the band, Dominic Hunt. Duncan ends up under Hunt’s psychic control, and is forced to examine his relationships with Robbie and Nick, as well as his attraction for Hunt. Can Robbie and Gina help Duncan break Hunt’s psychic grip? Is there any hope the vampire can be destroyed once and for all?

REVIEW:

This is the third book in the Duncan Andrews Thriller series which focuses on Duncan, a private detective that takes on generally unusual paranormal cases.  He’s got a dead boyfriend that hasn’t moved on to the afterlife, a centuries old witch for a best friend, a zombie dog, and his human friend, Nick, along for the ride.

In this installment, Duncan is investing a series of vampire attacks and he believes a local band called The Scarlet Tide comprises of the culprits.  He aims to kill them all, but he starts falling under the spell of lead singer, Dominic Hunt, as well as dealing for his feelings for Nick and his love for his boyfriend Robbie.

It’s going to be difficult explaining my feelings about this book without giving major spoilers, but I will say, the series isn’t really going where I want it to go relationship-wise.  I can absolutely understand both sides, I can see the reasons, but I don’t have to like it.  It broke my heart.  I think when two characters fit so well; I just can’t see them with anyone else.  Nothing is definite with this author and series because every time I think a final decision has been made it twists, so I’m still holding out judgment until at least the next book, but I don’t know if my poor little heart can take it.  There is a lot of love there, and a lot of care and respect given to these characters, so I appreciate that.

That’s not to say that this book is all sorrows, though.  It’s still crackling with Duncan’s quick wit, his ability to be both effective and efficient, yet awkward, and his observations are hysterical, especially when they occur in completely inappropriate times.  An example is when he notices another character’s endowment and how large he is and he notes this in an almost surprised, high-five, yeahh-buddy-oh-wait-let’s-be-serious-detective manner that had me snorting with laughter.

There aren’t any new fancy tricks with the vampire plot, and it felt a bit clichéd to have them as a rock band (I swear I read vampire rockers almost every time I read about vampires), but I still thought all of the characters held their own and brought something fresh.

I liked the parallel plot lines of a young couple and one dies, and the other grieves and feels guilty at the idea of moving on coordinating with Duncan and Andrew’s position as a couple.  It was nice that the reader could see what might have been Duncan’s life had Robbie not stayed around for the last 11 years.

I hope the author switches it up a bit in the following book(s).  The reader still gets a recap of all the characters, and Duncan still keeps stressing and bemoaning his lack of sex and intimate touch with Robbie.  I get that it’s important, but it’s getting a bit stale.  I’d like to think in the next book a final decision is made on their relationship, and I’m praying it goes the way I’m hoping.

Recommend because I still adore Duncan’s personality, the mysteries are fast-paced and interesting, and Robbie will always be on my ‘fictional-husbands’ shelf.

Taylor rates it – 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: TAYLOR’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Carissa

Burning Ashes by H. Lewis-Foster eBookTITLE: Burning Ashes
AUTHOR: H. Lewis-Foster
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: Intelligent and confident, Australian cricketer Nat Seddon is one of the world’s best bowlers. He’s openly gay, but keeps his private life to himself, everything under control. But on the last day of his team’s “Ashes” tour of England, he meets Scott Alverley, England’s promising new batsman. Nat tries not to be attracted to Scott, but he can’t help finding the privileged young man handsome and endearing. Nat is tempted by a little end of tour fun, but finds himself playing agony uncle to a virgin. Instead of going home to bask on a beach, he spends a wet week in the north of England with Scott. Try as he might to resist, he can’t help falling hopelessly in love.

The hectic sporting calendar is a persistent obstacle to their growing romance; Nat and Scott are rarely even on the same continent. They make the most of the time when they can be together, but the months apart take a toll on Scott, professionally and personally. The possible solutions are nearly unthinkable, but if they are willing to make sacrifices that will change their lives forever, they might hold on to the love they found in the Ashes.

REVIEW:

“Cricket is a strange and beautiful game.  A match can last for five hours or five days, and the rules are near incomprehensible to those who have never played the game.  This sport of gentlemen evokes heated passions around the world and none more so than when England play Australia.  One of the oldest and keenest rivalries in sport, when the two countries do battle, the contest is known as the Ashes.”

When Scott and Nat meet over the cricket pitch, both men are struck by an attraction that is both worrisome and unexpected.  Not that it would stop Nat from bowling out Scott, whose first time at bat for the English national team ends with crash of Nat’s ball colliding with his wicket.  Attraction turns to quite a bit more when, over a friendly drink and rather botched attempt at seduction, Scott invites Nat to spend a week with him at his family’s house near the Lake District.  But with several oceans–and a longtime sporting rivalry–between them, can the love they’ve come to share stand the test of time and trials, or will it all turn to burning ashes?

Before I read this book I knew three things about the game of cricket.  The first is that it’s called cricket. Second, that the little sticky things that the bowler is trying to hit is called a wicket. And thirdly, that it is the most incomprehensible game I have ever tried to watch.  My anglophile obsession has carried me into many a deep dark corner of English life, but not even a nice cup of tea or my love of England was able to make that game watchable.  But like the anglo-addict I am, I was drawn into reading this book by the lovely cover and the idea of a sporting Romeo/Juliet style love story.

What I found within the story, though, led me to believe that the cover was probably the best part of the whole book.

I just had a very hard time believing that these two, who have only known each other less than a week, fall hopelessly and madly in love–and stay in almost constant loving bliss for the entire book.  I am no stranger to the idea of insta-love, and while sometimes annoying in its unreality, it can be executed in such a way as to make the reader feel the heat, the connection between the two main characters.  Not here.  There was about as much chemistry between them as a cup of table salt in a jug of warm water.  Handy for clearing out slugs or soothing a cough, but not a lot to inspire the more intense of feelings.  It had the potential–in so many different scenes, in so many different ways–but like table salt, something was preventing the full-on flash, bang, pow of chemical combustion.  It wasn’t till almost two-thirds through the book that I even began to feel anything between the two, and by then, I just couldn’t bring myself to care.  Too much was skipped over in the first section of the book.  Not enough time trying to build them up as a couple, and the lack of on-the-page romantic interaction–and yes, sex is part of that–just killed any hope for a believable romance.

This was not helped by the near teenage-level of angst and emotion that these two exhibited.  I was thrown, quite a bit, by how the stoic Nat–who at the beginning would not wince, less he show weakness–spent a good portion of the book near tears.  I’m all for being in touch with your emotions, but I prefer that they are your emotions that you’re in touch with–not a hormonal teenager’s.  Almost every twist, problem, or disaster was met by almost uncontrollable emotional-overload.  And when they finally do start to act like adults, there doesn’t seem to be much of a catalyst for it.  So either they were capable of it the whole time, or they just woke up one day and decided that almost breaking down in tears at the slightest provocation was not helping anyone.

Strangely enough, I think quite a few of the problems could have been solved if the author had stuck to a shorter timeline for the plot.  With a story that covers almost six years it felt like you would barely get comfortable in a scene before you were jerked out and thrown three months in the future.  If we had been given a novel that stayed with the characters long enough, in one setting, I don’t think it would have felt like we were being shown a highlights reel–instead of the real story.  Also, the amount of time spent in info-dumping, be it back-story or important conversations, may have been needed to move along the plot by giving large bursts of information, but it was too much.  It felt like I was reading a briefing on the characters, and not learning about who they actually were.

About two-thirds of the way through, it did pick up.  I was starting to get a feel for the real people that these characters were playing for the majority of the story, but by then it was too late to save the book, for me.  I really did want to like this book, and there were moments–when catching a bit of banter between Nat and Scott, or some of the players–that I felt it was on the cusp of something, but it could never quite push itself over the line.

Carissa rates it – 2_5

BUY LINKS:  Dreamspinner Press

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: CARISSA’S REVIEWS
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BlueRiver_FBbanner_DSP

Welcome to the blog of Sid Love. I feel very honored to have you stopping by here.

Thanks for having me. 🙂

We don’t often see an interview or guest post from you, though you are a fervent blogger with an very active website and reading group. Is there a reason you usually don’t do interviews?

The biggest element is time: I never have enough. So I have to pick and choose carefully what I can fit into my schedule.

Talking from experience I can say that your blog is a true pleasure to follow because it’s smart, interesting and funny but yours is quite special because of the phenomenal photographs you’ve taken and posted there. How come you are such a fantastic photographer? Did you study for it? And where does the passion for it come from?

Thanks for the compliment. 🙂 I try to keep it interesting.

I’ve been studying photography most of my life. When digital became relatively cheap and common place, I took that as my cue to dive in. It’s far cheaper to download pics to a computer than take film in for developing. Over the years, I’ve developed my style, which is generally color-saturated and detailed. I like rich, deep colors in my pictures. As I was developing my photographic skill, I was also learning how to post-process in Photoshop. Taking a picture is only the first step. It’s what you do with it afterward that makes a photo special.

I spend much of my days immersed in words, either writing them or editing them. Turning to a purely visual hobby is restful and exercises a different part of my brain.

You have written quite a few different novels/stories. Do you have a preferred genre to write in?

My preferred genre is m/m, but if other characters start yelling in my ear, I tend to listen. I never want to limit myself in any way.

On top of being a writer, an amateur photographer and still working a day job, you are also known as a very good editor. How are you able to keep up?

Honestly? I have no idea. 🙂

Blue RiverYou newest release ‘Blue River’ is coming from Dreamspinner Press on October 9th as a re-release. Why is it released anew and can you tell us something about it?

A much shorter version of Blue River was published by MLR Press a couple years ago. However, it was released as part of a mass presentation of holiday stories and got lost in the crowd. I thought the story deserved a wider audience, so I got my rights back, revamped the story, almost doubling its original length, and offered it to Dreamspinner. I’m very glad they accepted it. Here’s the blurb: 

Photography genius Ethan Mars is out and living the fast life in Los Angeles until a mysterious mist in Topanga Canyon sends him back in time. There he meets Quinn Parker, a farmer who has hidden his homosexuality from everyone, even Margaret, his fiancée. Falling in love is the last thing Ethan expects, and the last thing Quinn can allow—in 1863, being gay can get him killed. When Ethan is unexpectedly offered a way home, he faces an impossible decision: go back… or stay?

I did a lot of research for this one. It seemed I was stopping every other sentence to check things out. Did they have toothpaste? What about toilet paper? How did they preserve food for winter? How did they kill a chicken for dinner? It was endless! And I loved every minute of it.

If I look at your blog I see another book coming this month called Transgression, another totally different book from what I can tell so far. Is there something you can or are willing to share on that one?

Transgression 300x469This is a case where I had two other stories already started, but a character insisted I stop work on them and tell her story. In Transgression, you meet Sky Kelly, a pre-op trans woman living in Los Angeles. You also meet Zach Fox, Ricky Giraldi, Liza Dabrowski, Gus Fischer, and Ethan Stonebridge. All of them are interesting, and half are hiding something. 

This is different from anything I’ve written before. I loved writing this story, and I’m excited to hear what readers think.

Some of your books are published by a publisher ( dsp and mlr) while others you choose to publish yourself at Voodoo Lily Press, the publishing company you have with author, A.J Rose. How do you decide what to publish where?

I like Dreamspinner, so I hope to place a story there once in a while. But I also like the discipline of self-publishing. I’m kind of a control freak, and being able to handle or oversee every step of a manuscript from start to finish appeals to me a great deal. 

Transgression will be self-published because it contains characters or storylines publishers may not want to accept. I am not limited in what I want to write if I self-publish. AJ and I take our self-pubbed works very seriously and release a professional product. It’s important to us that readers’ enjoyment of our titles is not lessened by bad covers or editing. To that end, we take great care to offer them the best book we can produce.

And do you find it hard for you and AJ to work so closely together, considering you’re both authors with strong personalities?

When AJ and I are writing, we’re in our own little worlds. Once in a while, we’ll share something about our story or ask for an opinion, but mostly, we save that for when neither of us is immersed.

Time to do the shorties 🙂

Favorite food? King crab. It’s expensive, so I don’t get it often, but I love it.

Favorite color? All the colors of the rainbow. 🙂

Favorite author? Oh, no! Not going there. I enjoy too many to choose only one.

Favorite book? Impossible to choose.

Favorite way to spend a day off? In bed. ‘Nuff said.

Favorite movie? Can people really choose only one?

Favorite music or song? I have many, but lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Hurts. Theo Hutchcraft has an incredible voice. 

Favorite clothes? Anything comfortable, and the fewer, the better.

Favorite season? Summer. It will always be summer.

I’m curious to know who your biggest influences are. Not just writers, but others as well. Is there a particular teacher or family member that made a big difference in your life that you could tell us about?

My Uncle Dan is a big influence. I’m talking about life things. You know, the importance of being honest with yourself and others, and the value of friendship and having a strong sense of ethics. Whatever “goodness” is in me was nurtured and encouraged by family and close friends.

Do you have any other hobbies that people might find interesting?

I enjoy astronomy. Uncle Dan has a large telescope, and we use it whenever I’m at his place. I taught myself to play guitar years ago, and I sing fairly well. AJ is the piano player in the family, but I can play by ear. I’m pretty much interested in everything!

What can we expect from the author Theo Fenraven? What is in the works?

Another Precog book is in the works, though I might not get that out until next year. I have a couple of SF books in mind, and AJ and I are finally coming around to the idea of writing something together.

At the end of this interview I would like to ask you if there is anything else you would like to mention or share?

I want to thank my readers. Without you, there’s little point in getting published. I appreciate all of you, and I want to send special thanks to those of you who’ve sent me email or otherwise found a way to tell me how much you enjoy my stories. I love hearing from you.

Thank you so much for doing this interview !

~ As told to Danielle

GIVEAWAY

Besides participating in this interview Theo kindly offered a give-away of his new release “Blue River”

If you want to enter leave a message below answering why you would like to read this book

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CONTEST WILL END ON 13th October, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!

Reviewed by Taylor

SERIES: Duncan Andrews Thriller
AUTHOR:
Stephen Osborne
BOOKS: 
3
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

Pale as a Ghost (Book One, Duncan Andrews Thriller)

10789098BLURB: Private detective Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch. His dog is a zombie. And his dead boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. So it’s hardly any wonder that he uses his connection to the supernatural to help him solve cases. Good thing, too, because Duncan has his hands full. Janice Sanderson, the richest woman in Indianapolis, wants him to find her stripper daughter, Brenda, and another client is having some trouble with a specter haunting her family home. On top of that, Duncan has decided to add dating into the mix, though after Robbie’s death, he’s not sure he’s ready.

When Duncan meets Nick while tracking down a lead on Brenda’s boyfriend, he shelves his doubts and agrees to a date. Robbie doesn’t make it easy on him, showing up to spoil his chances, but that is the least of Duncan’s worries—because one of his clients’ husbands is missing and there’s a serial killer on the loose—one Duncan fears isn’t human.

REVIEW:

Private Detective Duncan Andrews has a complicated life.  He has a ghost for a boyfriend, a witch best friend, a lovable and hungry zombie dog, and he solves unusual crimes on top of that. In this first installment, Duncan has been hired for two separate cases, a blue female ghost haunting a family and finding a missing, rebellious girl.  Along the way, he meets Nick, a man that just may convince Duncan to move on from his dead boyfriend and start dating someone human.

OH…OH…OH…how I heart this special, lovely book.  It caught me by surprise, as I had never even heard of this author before, and didn’t have any expectations.  But it’s everything I could ask for in a story.  It made me LAUGH and laugh and laugh some more until I cried.  It even caused me to laugh unexpectedly, which are always my most attractive and “barkish” laughs.  Morton’s salt and a ghost defending his man.   That’s all I can say.  But it’s more than just incredible wit.  Duncan is smart, patient, devoted, self-deprecating, sarcastic, and relatable.  His boyfriend, Robbie, is someone I just want to hug and protect, and he’s so abashedly adorable that I loved him the way Duncan loved him.  And the moments where they slowed down their banter and really talked and revealed their sadness at their situation broke my heart.  They can’t be intimate because the effort it takes for Robbie to become more human-like weakens him too much.  There are a few times where he musters the strength to hold hands with his love or to kiss him, and I felt so much compassion for them both.

But there is more to this book than even Robbie and Duncan. There is Gina, Duncan’s kickass best friend and witch, who is understanding, funny, and I loved all her powers and observations.  The zombie dog, Daisy, is hysterical as she chases squirrels to eat.  Even the lesser secondary characters held my interest.  From Kevin, the teenager who loved the Jonas Brothers, to Brenda, Derek, Caleb and more.  Both of the cases Duncan worked on were vastly different, but they were quick.  The pace was perfect, and I never felt any of it dragged.  Just the RIGHT mix of action, humor, love, gore, and world-building.

I have only two tiny niggles. Nick, the secondary lust interest, whom I found pretty bland.  I’m glad he came across that way, though, because not once did I feel any heat between him and Duncan, and it’s like observing a couple that has been slogged in mud versus a shiny diamond with the pairing of Robbie and Duncan.  Those two fit and are meant to be together (I hope, I hope…please…please), and Nick was just there. The other thing was the author has a tendency to use the phrase “made a face” too much rather than switch it up, but like I said, tiny niggles.

Highly recommend for a fast-paced, amusing mystery.

Taylor rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

Animal Instinct (Book Two, Duncan Andrews Thriller)

13648038BLURB: Sequel to Pale as a Ghost Duncan Andrews Thriller Private detective Duncan Andrews has the home-team advantage when it comes to solving paranormal crimes: His best friend, Gina, is a centuries-old witch. His dog is a zombie. And his boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. Duncan certainly has his work cut out for him with this case. Someone’s been using the skull of a powerful wizard to control animals, and whoever it is, they’re not out to set up a petting zoo. For Gina, the case hits close to home-she knows just how dangerous it is, since the wizard was her father. Just when he thinks they’re close to breaking the case, tragedy strikes, leaving Gina in a coma. Then, after years as a ghost, Robbie finally decides to move on, leaving Duncan to protect young Ashton Marsh, the victim of several strange animal attacks. Suddenly Duncan is working without his supernatural safety net. Without his friends, can Duncan defeat the power of Eleazar’s skull and keep Ashton alive? Or will the struggle for his life end in broken bodies as well as broken hearts?

REVIEW:

In the sequel to Pale as a Ghost, we are back with Private Detective Duncan Andrews and his cast of unusual companions, from his zombie dog, his ghost boyfriend, and his witch best friend.  Duncan isn’t just your usual detective, though, because he’s always out solving the random Twilight wannabe vampire running amuck or in this instance, a stolen skull from a powerful wizard being used to harm and even kill others.  This case strikes personal for Duncan and his best friend Gina, as it is her father Eleazar’s stolen skull.

Soon Gina is put into a coma, and he has another case that brings him clues as to who stole the skull.  Weird trick of the skull?  Its power uses animals to harm.

Amidst that you have Duncan and Robbie questioning their reality of a relationship and whether either can make it on their own.  And Nick is still tagging along.

I loved this book just as much as the last one, but it was different in its own way.  The reader still has Duncan’s priceless one-liners, his awkwardness, his love for his boyfriend, and everything else that makes this wonderful man up.  Robbie….SIGH…my fictional hubby, Robbie.  Damn, I love that man.  That dead man still wearing his high school letterman jacket that wants to have sex with his very alive boyfriend.  Trust me it’s not as creepy as it sounds.  And gahhhhh, he is so freakin cute and hilarious.  When Duncan was getting hit on??? Robbie’s reactions were classic.  Even in the dream sequence where he’s wandering around observing and asking questions.  He’s just so caring, sexy, pouty, and wise in his own way.  These two FIT.  I can’t see them apart ever…ever, ever, ever.  Mr. Osborne, do NOT break my heart.  That scene in the car where Duncan and Robbie are discussing whether Robbie should move on to the afterlife?  How awesome and neat (not really).  You knew I wanted to sob like a 5 year old.

Then there is Nick, who I’m coming around to (again not really).  Don’t get me wrong, he’s fine and nice and dependable, but he’s not Robbie.  He is a good friend, though.  And Duncan needs a great friend that has no association with the paranormal world.  Gina, when she was there in this book, is just as lovable as always.  And Daisy, that sweet murderess dog.  Yeah, me likey her.

I thought the case in this book was more interesting than the ones in the last book, and I also thought the instances where the skull worked its magic were creepy.  That makes me happy.  M/m books need more great suspense or mystery novels.  I’ll never look at squirrels the same way.  Or that damn grinning cat.

Oh and Eleazar?? You, my kind floating head sir, are so, so, SO badass for the gift you gave the reader and, most importantly, Duncan at the end.

Highly recommend for fictional hubby love and a good mystery and suspense.

Taylor rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: TAYLOR’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Jen B.

Trusting Thomas by K.C. Wells eBookTITLE: Trusting Thomas
SERIES: Collars and Cuffs #2
AUTHOR: K.C. Wells
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 282 Pages
BLURB: Christmas is a time for goodwill to all, but Collars and Cuffs co-owner Thomas Williams receives an unexpected gift that chills him to the bone. A Dom from another Manchester club asks Thomas for his help rescuing an abused submissive, Peter Nicholson. Thomas takes in the young man as a favor to a friend, offering space and time to heal, but he makes it clear he’s never had a sub and doesn’t want one.

Peter finds Thomas’s home calm and peaceful, but his past has left him unwilling to trust another Dom. When Thomas doesn’t behave as Peter expects, Peter’s nightmares begin to fade, and he decides he’d like to learn more about D/s life. A well-known trainer of submissives, Thomas begins to teach Peter, but as the new submissive opens up to him, Thomas finds he cares more for Peter than he should. Just as he decides it’s time to find a permanent Dom for Peter, they discover Peter’s tormentor is still very much a threat. With their lives in danger, Thomas can’t deny his feelings for Peter any longer. The question now becomes, can Peter make it out of the lions’ den alive, so that Thomas can tell his boy that he loves him?

REVIEW:

This story centers around Peter, a 26 year old who has been in an extremely abusive, slavish at times, BDSM relationship with dom Curtis.  Another dom, Steven, notices and questions Curtis’ treatment of Peter while attending a party and eventually finds a way to remove Peter from the situation.  He turns to his friend Thomas, part owner of Collars & Cuffs, whom we met in book 1.

Thomas is a bit older at 56, but he has a stellar reputation as a trainer of doms and subs and agrees to take on training Peter.  I don’t think Thomas quite realized what he was getting into with Peter or the extent of the damage that was done to him previously.  But he steps up to the plate and finds alternative ways to help Peter work through his issues.  Mostly he provides some structure as Peter gains confidence and becomes more comfortable with BDSM.  Turns out that he had the complete opposite understanding of what it was all about, and Thomas begins his training by showing him how things should be.

Peter is a total sweetheart.  I wanted to peek in his diary myself just to see what he had gone through in one lump, as opposed to the crumbs we are fed.  Curtis was a horrific dom and just not a good person.  Peter slowly gets stronger with the help of Thomas, and it is a joy to watch.

Honestly, I felt like there was actually even less BDSM action in this story than in the first.  I didn’t actually find that a problem though, as it fit perfectly with this story.  Again, this story centers around Peter’s recovery and issues with the actual BDSM taking a back seat.  Thomas must find ways to show Peter the lifestyle that don’t involve pain or humiliation, so he turns to toys and other less-invasive methods, and when some of Peter’s issues prevent him from being comfortable outside of the house, Thomas works around that by not taking him to the Club.

These guys both seemed right for each other.  One of their biggest obstacles after Peter’s issues was the age gap.  Thirty years is a big gap, and the issue comes up more than once.  It never really felt like that much while I was reading, so I never had an issue with it myself.  For now, these guys make a nice couple where they both need each other for different things.  They still have a lot to work through, but they are certainly on the right path.  There is very little sex here, but I didn’t miss it.  I truly just wanted to see Peter get his life back on track and get past his time with Curtis.  Speaking of Curtis, things seemed to wrap up a bit quickly where he was concerned.

It was really nice seeing Leo and Alex again, as happy as they were when we left them in the first book.  We meet a few new characters, and I was left wondering and looking forward to who would be next.

Jen rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: JENNIFER B’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Danielle

Blue River by Theo Fenraven eBookTITLE: Blue River
AUTHOR: Theo Fenraven
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 92 pages
BLURB: Photography genius Ethan Mars is out and living the fast life in Los Angeles until a mysterious mist in Topanga Canyon sends him back in time. There he meets Quinn Parker, a farmer who has hidden his homosexuality from everyone, even Margaret, his fiancée. Falling in love is the last thing Ethan expects, and the last thing Quinn can allow—in 1863, being gay can get him killed. When Ethan is unexpectedly offered a way home, he faces an impossible decision: go back… or stay?

REVIEW:

This is a 2nd, more extended edition of this story and I hadn’t read the first edition so it was new for me.

After a rough start to get into it, I found myself getting swept up by the impressive, all-consuming way of storytelling by this author.

It is easy to get familiar with the characters. Ethan seems such a fast guy but adapts quite easily to his new living arrangements and Quinn he is so adorable and sweet, learning things while getting to know Ethan.

Even Quinn’s sister is a pleasure to get to know just because of the fact she personalizes a character from that period of time. And because she is so different than her brother. You can see the author work hard and researched the time period well.

This story isn’t long and it moves at  a good pace. You get acquainted with the characters quickly but steadily and you learn a lot in a couple of pages. For me the way Quinn learns from Ethan about his feelings, his struggle to allow himself to feel like that for Ethan is the most fascinating and enthralling part of this story.

It is nice to read how Ethan adapts as well, how he learns about simple things. The end without spoiling too much is perfectly written . The struggle when Ethan faces the choice is very well portrayed by the author.An I have to say that  in a way you get surprised even by the ending. I liked that a lot.

If I have one point of criticism,  I would have to mention that I would have liked to have seen more at the end. I would have loved to see how Ethan and Quinn would adapt and continue on. Also there is a focus on first times and in a way it feels like something is missing there. It is not disturbing or anything but for me it could have been there and made the story more complete..

In the end I have to say I really liked this short story. It makes you feel connected to the characters in an comfortable way and the writing of Mr Theo Fenraven is definitely a pleasure to experience. The story is well built, reads easily and is extremely well-written.

A solid 4 stars from me.

Danielle rates it – four-stars_0

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: DANIELLE’S REVIEWS
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