A MelanieM Review: Elemental Ride by Mell Eight

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

elemental-rideRawley isn’t the type to crush hard and fast on anyone, but he’s somehow helpless when it comes to the new mailman. Even his bikes and his job as enforcer for a local motorcycle gang, the center of his world, don’t compare to his interest in Reign. Unfortunately, Reign doesn’t seem to be as interested—but secrets and magic have a way of turning everything upside down.

Elemental Ride is a short story by Mell Eight in the Roughhouse Riders series (written by different authors) by LT3 Press. Many of the things I liked about it can’t really be discussed here as they fall into spoiler territory and take away the aha moments the author has in store for the readers.

Lets just say its a  neat idea and I can’t say that I’ve seen it in another story before, at least handled in this manner.  Its both a strength of Elemental Ride and one place where the story falls a little short.  Short as in length.   For such a complicated aspect to this plot line (and trust me, this is Mell Eight’s typical weird, twisted little world), this story needed to be far longer than 65 pages.

I liked Rawley. I got a real sense of the man, his place but not his gang.  Since motorcycles clubs, it is their series after all, are his family, they should play a huge part of this, and I never got that really.  I needed more background here.  Perhaps there’s another book I’m missing.

There is romance but it is not the focus but the mysteries that the author is  playing with that are the key here.  So when the romance/love does occur, the connection you have with it isn’t as strong as it might have been, at least in my opinion.  Again, had this story been enlarged to the degree that all the elements had the layers they deserve and the time for the author to enrich them with dimension, more scenes, and way more dialog, then I believe this would be not only a superb story but one that showcases this author’s amazing imagination just as it deserves to be.

I enjoyed Elemental Ride, but I was always aware that it could have been so much more.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is hot and works for the story.  Loved it.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

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Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620048863
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb Advent Calendar Review – Day 3: Anyplace Else (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

anyplace-else-by-kim-fieldingGrant Beaudoin is a mid-thirties, middle manager in a middle class area of Minneapolis. No love interest now or in the recent past, he’s sort of floating along in life. When his twin brother meets and falls head over heels in love with a guy from Croatia, Grant is envious but not really interested in pursuing a man of his own.  Everything in his life is simple until he arrives in Hawaii for his brother’s wedding, and his life takes a turn into the bizarre.

Leaving the bar one afternoon, he strolls into the rain forest and becomes fascinated with a huge oak tree and the man who appears before him, practically out of thin air! The man tells a tale of ancient gods who live, die, and are reborn around the solstice every year.  He’s so intrigued, in fact, that he goes back the next night and actually witnesses the event of which the man told him. Profoundly impacted by the tale and by what he witnesses, he decides to make a change in his life—a change that will lead him on a new and unexpected path into a very different future than he ever dreamed of. 

I have to say this first: Kim Fielding is, without a doubt, an impressive author with an imagination as big as the great outdoors. Every time I pick up one of her books, I’m amazed at the variety and scope of her work, the emotions she evokes, and the characters she creates.  This is a short Advent Calendar story, and yet it felt as if it were a full-length novel encompassing all the plot complexities a lengthy novel can contain.

Be sure to add this one to your holiday shopping list for yourself and those you know might enjoy a short story that packs a huge punch. 

Cover art by Paul Richmond is hilarious and perfect for the holiday cover.

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Book Details:

ebook, 33 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635331653
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

Charlie Cochrane on Writing Historicals and her holiday release ‘Wild Bells’ (guest blog)

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Wild Bells by Charlie Cochrane

Purchase at  7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane. one of our favorite authors, here today to share with our readers about writing historicals and her latest release, Wild Bells. Welcome, Charlie.

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Why does “blizzard” make Charlie twitch?

The word “blizzard” makes me shudder. Not because I’ve ever been stuck out in one (although we did once have the most horrendous snow affected car journey) but because I used it in speech in the first edition of my Regency, “The Shade on a Fine Day”.  Now, it sounds a nice old word, doesn’t it? You can imagine King Lear blethering on about blizzards on the blasted heath. It isn’t. It’s late Victorian and comes from North America so my nice, gay Regency curate couldn’t have used it, unless he actually coined the word and it then somehow crossed the Atlantic.  Having the book come out in a revised edition has allowed me to correct my error!

I have to admit that no readers have ever taken me to task for this mistake, because it’s not an obvious blooper, but I know, which is quite sufficient. Sometimes authors are their own hardest critics. I hate getting anything wrong in my historicals, although things do slip through and my wonderful editors usually catch those, but the odd bit of stuff creeps into the final text, usually because something sounds old and isn’t.

Writing historicals can be a tricky business. To start with, that a lot of the challenge lies in the conscientious author’s head. If we didn’t care about getting things right, we could just plough on, putting the sound of Big Ben’s chimes into a Regency or letting our Victorian hero eat Jelly Babies, not checking dates and times and brands and all the other things which keep authors awake at night. We have to remember to get our men to raise their hats to a lady, to dress for dinner and to use the right words.

There is also a cadence and a rhythm to language, which makes some historicals (be they novels, films or tv programmes) sound out of kilter. I’d say to any aspirant historical writer to read things from the era they’re looking at. Novels, newspapers, plays, anything to get a feel for the words and the way they were used.

Now, there’s always the argument that says that the past isn’t so different from now. People haven’t changed, not matter what people say about the (surely imaginary) “good old days”, when everyone was decent and honest. I’m sure Ham, Shem and Japhet probably cheated at Ludo to get one over on Noah. I was recently reading about two Irish forwards dumping a Welsh rugby player into the crowd during the game, leaving him with nasty injuries including a couple of fractured ribs. Back in 1999? No. Back in 1899.

Human nature remains recognisable, even if the experiences and social conditions which play such a part in moulding people are different according to the time and place where they were raised. So getting it right in the story isn’t just a matter of language or customs, it’s about attitudes and expectations. I recently heard a keynote speech (at the Queer Company event) which illustrated the huge differences between the Regency era – the sort of period in which both the Wild Bells stories are set) and the Victorian age, and how that transformation had come about due to a number of factors such as movement into cities and economic changes. Fascinating stuff, all of which was new to me, even if I knew about the consequences.

The past has a wonderful capacity to surprise us; and sometimes it catches us out.

Wild Bells – Two stories by Charlie Cochrane

The Shade on a Fine Day:
Curate William Church may set the hearts of the parish’s young ladies aflame, but he doesn’t want their affection or presents, no matter how much they want to give them to him. He has his sights set elsewhere, for a love he’s not allowed to indulge. One night, eight for dinner at the Canon’s table means the potential arrival of a ghost. But what message will the spirit bring and which of the young men around the table is it for?

The Angel in the Window:
Two officers, one ship, one common enemy.
Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of the British navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to anxieties about exposure—and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship. When danger comes more from the English than the French, where should a man turn?

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About the Author

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, sometimes historical (sometimes hysterical) and usually with a mystery thrown into the mix.

She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, and International Thriller Writers Inc., with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes Books, Lethe, MLR, and Riptide. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames and is on the organising team for UK Meet.

To sign up for her newsletter, email her at cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com, or catch her at:

Francis Gideon on Trans Characters and the release The Santa Hoax by Francis Gideon

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The Santa Hoax by Francis Gideon
H
armony Ink Press
Release: December 1 2016

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words would like to welcome Francis Gideon here today to talk about their latest release, The Santa Hoax.  Welcome, Francis!

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Hello everyone! My YA holiday romance The Santa Hoax came out with Harmony Ink Press on December 1st. The story contains several trans characters, including protagonist Julian, and documents some topical trans issues. Though I wrote the first draft of this book in the fall of 2013, the topics I covered seem more relevant than ever.

The story documents Julian’s coming out as he tells people about his identity. As I’ve talked about in other blog posts during this tour, coming out is never simple and often needs to happen more than once. Trans people in particular need to deal with the reality of depending on other people to get their names and pronouns right. Julian suffers with this–at first because he doesn’t tell anyone he’s trans–and then when he deals with transphobia. There’s not *too* much transphobic language in the story (because at its core, it’s really a sweet holiday romance that just happens to be about a trans guy), but the one thing that I wanted to focus on was the infamous bathroom problem.

Enough people here probably remember the bill H2 in North Carolina and how upset it made the trans community. If not, here’s a brief article on its history and what happened. The bathroom problem is something that’s followed trans people around for ages. If you’re trans, what bathroom do you use, and what will people say when you’re in that bathroom? The common theme in most of these debates is that trans women will come into women’s bathroom and attack other women (except that the opposite in real life is usually true). In Julian’s case, he’s a trans guy and only fifteen, so the same fear or judgement doesn’t exactly apply to him, but he’s still threatened and punished in some way for using the bathroom (I don’t want to give too much away about how/why/who) and this makes Julian, along with his friends, seek some kind of resolution and justice. In the story, I created a fake politician in Toronto (where the story is set) who made a similar ruling like North Carolina’s case, and a social media uprising from trans people that rallied against it.

Even though my take on this issue is fictional, there are far too many real-life examples of this kind of systemic transphobia. Even in Canada, yes. I know that Canada is often held up as the pinnacle of all things diverse, especially now after the US election, but we have diversity issues. Everywhere has diversity issues. The world doesn’t seem like it’s made for people who are different–so I’ve always seen my job as a writer to imagine something better. So while I talk a lot about transphobia in this post and it seems like a general downer, I assure you–the book has a happy ending. It’s also about falling in love and being a secret Santa and learning about your friends in a way that is healthy and safe and fun. I’ve included one of the happier holiday scenes of Julian and his friends looking at Christmas lights as an excerpt, so my post isn’t a total bummer.😉

The Santa Hoax was a joy to write, so I hope it’s a joy to read. Thank you!

Book Blurb

When Julian Gibson realizes he’s transgender, he doesn’t think anything has to change. His parents and friends still call him Julia and think he’s a girl, but so long as Julian can still hang out with his best friend Aiden and read sci-fi novels with his dad, life seems pretty good.

Then high school happens. Aiden ditches him, and a new girl, Maria, keeps cornering him in the girls’ bathroom. A full year after discovering he’s transgender, Julian realizes life changes whether you’re ready for it or not. So Julian makes a deal with himself: if he can tell his secret to three people, it is no longer a hoax. What happens during his slow process of coming out leads Julian down odd pathways of friendship, romance, Christmas shopping, random parties, bad movies, and a realization about why kids still believe in Santa—it’s sometimes better than discovering the truth.

 
Excerpt

“There you are!” Maria said, eagerly greeting him.

She wore jeggings that clung to her thighs and waist, along with a white coat Julian hadn’t seen before. Josie hung around at her side, wearing pretty much the exact same thing she had earlier, looking up from her phone every so often to verify where they were. She has GPS. How adorable. Davis was by her side, his baseball hat pulled down over his face. The collar of his dark jacket was flipped up in the slight wind and obscured his face.

“Sorry if I’m late,” Julian apologized. “Had to say good-bye to my dad.”

“Nah, you’re fine. Just on time.” Maria linked her arm with Julian’s as they moved toward the sidewalk. “Where are we going now, Josie?”

“Just to the left,” she said, then leaned close to Julian and whispered so only he could hear. “Davis is driving me crazy already. Help.”

“Just focus on the lights,” he said. “And maybe think of drawing a comic or two.”

“Come on,” Maria stated, keeping Julian’s attention on her. “Show me some houses.”

Josie walked ahead of the two of them, Davis by her side. They continued down the block two by two as the sun sank behind the trees. The chill set in almost immediately after, and though the wind whipped at their faces and blew Maria’s hair, she never once complained about being cold. Julian had no idea what he was supposed to do if she was. Do I give her my coat? That was what guys on dates did. But if this was a date—not that it was—then Maria probably saw him as a girl. So Julian was doubly confused and decided to not think about it at all. He pulled the group over into the next subdivision, where they were almost blinded by the first house they saw. Lights lined the roof, crisscrossing and in several different Christmas colors. There were also a few light-up Santas, snowmen, and Christmas stars hanging by the garage.

“Oh, wow. It’s like walking on the surface of the sun,” Josie exclaimed, using a hand to block some of the light.

“Total Griswolds,” Maria commented. “Like that movie Christmas Vacation, you know?”

“Yeah, I guess. Just like that.”

“Their electricity bills must be through the roof,” Josie stated. “No wonder there is global warming.”

“If there is, why is it still so cold?” Davis asked, rubbing his hands together.

Josie began to explain, only getting through a few complex statements before Davis put his hands up. “Okay, fine, fine. I’m wrong. I get it.”

Maria rolled her eyes and then tugged Julian forward. “So is this a house you like? You strike me as someone more subtle.”

“Yeah,” Julian said, grinning. “I walk around a lot, actually. Let me show you a better house.”

After a small walk, Julian stopped them in front of Mr. Stevenson’s house. His blue icicle lights hung over the garage and by his front windows. He also had a floodlight that displayed a small silhouette of a snowman on his garage.

“Okay,” Maria said. “Why do you like this one?”

“It’s not too garish, or even that Christmas or religious oriented.”

“And?” Maria asked, nudging him. “You’re holding out on me.”

“Well, if you think about it, this time of year is really about light, right? All the holidays celebrate light because it’s the darkest time.”

Everyone nodded, so Julian went on. “And this house is usually dark most of the time. Mr. Stevenson used to work at my elementary school, actually. He was the music teacher, but he got sick, and his kids have to take care of him now. But they still put up his lights, and I really like that. I don’t know. The whole thing reminds me of learning to play an instrument in his class. Probably dumb.”

“No, no,” Maria said, squeezing his arm. “Not dumb. What did you play?”

“Piano. I was never that good, though.”

“You probably were, but you’re just shy now. That’s okay,” Maria said, her eyes going back to the house. “I can appreciate this.”

Julian nodded. He wanted to add more about how he had first started playing, but realizing that would involve Aiden, he cut off the thought before it had a chance to catch hold. When Julian heard clicking from a phone, he turned to see Davis in the middle of writing a message, not even listening to what he had just said. That was okay, really. Julian hadn’t really been talking to Davis when he told the story. But as he looked back to find Josie, she was already across the street, taking a picture of a rabbit in the bushes. It had been Maria, and only Maria, who was listening intently to him. When he glanced back over to her, he found her staring at him.

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she said, smiling softly. “Just thanks for telling me. I wouldn’t have known any of that without you.”

“I got a million stories.”

“I’ll bet,” Maria said, then looked past him toward Josie with a sigh. “But we should probably catch up with the group. And I think this street is a dead end, right?”


Author Bio:

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante.  He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal. Find him at francisgideon.wordpress.com.

An Ali Review: Painting with Fire (Survivors Find Love #1) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
painting-with-fire-by-lissa-kaseyCharlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.
Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust. 

 They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.
This was a lovely story about two unlikely men falling in love.  When Charlie and Jessie go back to her home town they end up stating with Bastian.  Bastian is younger and is a doll maker for a living.  He has had an abusive past with his family and he’s very lonely and fragile.  The two men are immediately attracted to each other and their relationship is a slow bloom kind of thing.  Bastian has some emotional issues he needs to work through and Charlie has the patience to take the time to work through them with him.  I enjoyed watching these two fall in love and I liked them as a couple.
I found Bastian’s job really interesting and something I’ve never read in a romance story before.  I felt the author did a good job showing us what this profession entails and also uses it to show us facets of Bastien’s personality.  I also felt the atmosphere was set well.  It was easy to image the town and Bastian’s home.  
Overall I really enjoyed this.  The main plot was a classic hurt/comfort trope but the author added in enough different things (such as Bastian’s job) to make it feel like a unique story.  This is a story I would recommend and I will be looking forward to more books in this series.
 The cover art is nice enough but does not really stand out to me.  
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Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 173 pages
Published December 2nd 2016
ASIN B01MDPH0X0
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English Series Survivors Find Love #1

An Alisa Release Day Review: Five Minutes Longer by Victoria Sue

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

fiveminuteslonger_v2Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

 

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

 

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

 

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives—four weeks for them to survive.

 

This was a wonderful story.  The world that includes the enhanced humans was well thought out and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything when it came to the background of the story.  Talon and his team have continued to stand by the fact that they don’t want regular humans on their team.  And in walks Finn, he breaks down all the walls that Talon has put up without really pushing to which is the most scary thing for Talon.

 

Finn isn’t quite what Talon expects from reading his file and can’t help but be intrigued by the different depths he has.  Finn knows that being on this task force is his last chance to make his dreams come true, but his family, past and Talon’s issues may make it impossible for it to happen.  Both have made some mistakes and make new assumptions that may tear them apart.

 

In this story I can feel how desperate Finn is to make this opportunity work and then his defeat when he knows that it’s never going to happen.  Every time they get close Talon feels he has to push Finn away and keeps playing push and pull with his feelings.  Once Talon gets some sense knocked into him he fully realizes the mistakes he has made and will do anything to get Finn back on the team and in his life.  This is a wonderful beginning to what I hope is a new series and I hope to read more about these two and the other members of the team.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is great and sets the tone for the story well.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages

Published: December 1, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634779166

Edition Language: English

A Caryn Review: You Are Not Me (’90s Coming of Age #2) by Leta Blake

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

you-are-not-me-by-leta-blakeI can’t remember the last time I was this emotionally connected to a book.  I read this through in one sitting, and I kept wanting to reach in and shake Peter, or warn him, or give him a hug, or something!!  And I’m now so invested I can’t wait for the last installment!

The book picks up immediately after Pictures of You ends – the summer between high school and college.  Peter’s boyfriend and first love, Adam, is in Italy to stay with his parents until college starts in the fall, while Peter remains at home, working to save money to go to University of Tennessee.  He’s still feeling that uncomfortable mix of guilt and want that was with him all through senior year, missing Adam, and wondering what really will happen when Adam gets back.

But the summer turns into a series of revelations for Peter.  All his high school friends?  Actually more of Adam’s friends, and Peter doesn’t have much in common with them anymore now that Adam is gone.  His parents, who had been distant and uninvolved his entire life, turn over a new leaf and become both supportive and intrusive.  Peter starts spending more time with Robert (his drag queen boss) and her boyfriend, and they both encourage him to get to know other gay people.  He had his first taste of being open and honest when he came out to his parents, and now he is exploring what it means to be gay, and thinking about coming out to the world at large.  His boss Robert takes it upon himself to introduce Peter to the gay community of Knoxville, primarily through  the club where he performs as a drag queen.  I was reminded at this point that Peter is still only 19 years old, with teenage judgement and teenage hormones – kudos to the author for making sure the reader never loses sight of this as he goes through all these difficult situations!  When he is exposed to the world of alcohol, drugs, anonymous sex and promiscuity, he gets conflicting advice from his friends, from “party hard” to “be safe”, and meanwhile he is still trying to decide how he is going to handle Adam when he comes back home.

To complicate things further, Daniel – who was introduced in the first book when Peter met him at Robert’s house – is back in the picture.  The initial attraction that Peter felt for him is still there, and perhaps even stronger now that Adam is only a voice on the phone or in a letter.  Daniel is everything that Adam is not:  he is completely out, mature, responsible, looking out for Peter and trying to keep him out of trouble, and completely honest with everybody.  Always.  Daniel wants Peter, everyone knows it, but he will not pursue Peter as long as Peter wants to stay faithful to Adam.

Peter’s choice:  stay with his closeted boyfriend whom he still loves and who says he needs him, or break it off and pursue what he knows would be a healthier relationship.  It should be an easy choice, but Adam still exercises a fascination that Peter has trouble resisting, and since Peter is basically loyal and generous, he can’t let Adam go.

That’s the kind of choice that makes a person really examine their values and their past decisions, knowing that the choice they make now will have a permanent influence on who they become.  Heavy stuff!  But sympathetically written, engaging, and once again ending at just the right spot when Peter makes that choice.

Finally, I really appreciated how the hysteria surrounding HIV/AIDS in the early 90s was presented.  The ways different gay men approached safe (or not) sex, testing, and those who were HIV positive.  25 years later, HIV is now a manageable chronic illness, and the general public is no longer so fearful of touching or even being around HIV positive people.  But I remember those days, remember doing HIV awareness programs in high schools – in the bible belt where we were forbidden to talk about condoms or safe sex! – and how bigots hoped that the “gay plague” would wipe out homosexuals.  Even though we have a long way to go for equality, we have come really far!

Cover is gorgeous and perfect for the story and series.

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Book Details:

ebook, 328 pages
Published November 29th 2016 by Leta Blake Books
ISBN139781626227613
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series’90s Coming of Age #2

A Stella Advent Calendar Bah Humbug Story-Day 2: The Fortune Cookie by Matt Burlingame

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

the-fortune-cookieThirty-three-year-old technical writer Laurence Hart is a modern-day Scrooge when it comes to the holiday season—and the rest of the year, too. He doesn’t like most people, they don’t like him, and he’s happy to keep it that way. Over lunch with his best friend, he receives a fortune cookie promising him true love. The next day, forced to work on a holiday charity committee or lose his job, he meets Nick, a jolly ginger giant who loves all things Christmas. Together they face numerous obstacles to put together a holiday fair to raise money for children in foster care, in only four days. While Laurence has to mend his curmudgeonly ways to make the event a success, Nick’s holiday magic might mend Laurence’s heart.

New Christmas, new DSP Advent Calendar! I’m super happy to have the chance at reviewing all these stories this month. The first I read was The Fortune Cookie by Matt Burlingame and I have to say I was impressed. Considering it’s the author debut book, he did great, a truly well done Christmas short.

I liked the characters, Laurence was so fierce in his determination at hating Christmas, he made me laugh more than once, like each time he put all the decorations in the shredder. I loved I got to how he became who he is today and I adored how he changed in a better person, how the meeting with Nick brought Laurence to be a man who deserves a lovely boyfriend  like only Nick can be.

I enjoyed the writing, it let the reading flow easily. Although The Fortune Cookie is a short, the plot is well developed, there are great characters and the ending was great. I feel to recommend it.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is cute and I can easily see Laurence and Nick in the models.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 49 pages

Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13 978-1-63533-164-6

Edition Language English

Lissa Kasey’s Special Guest Blog: The World’s An Island and her release ‘Painting with Fire (Survivors Find Love #1)

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Painting with Fire (Survivors Find Love #1) by Lissa Kasey

Purchase It Here

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The World’s an Island by Lissa Kasey

In August my family erupted. I was working on Model Investigator, and fighting to finish it through depression and outrage. When it was done I decided I needed something a little cathartic. I wanted to write a story that laid out some of my family history but had a positive ending. It would be my first ever contemporary romance. However, like a lot of my stories, I wanted to create a separate space just for these characters. Instead of putting them on another planet or an alternate world, I decided to put them on a reclusive island I hadn’t known existed until I inquired of a friend for ideas—the San Juan islands in Washington.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a Midwesterner that I didn’t know these islands existed. I’ve never been to that corner of the country, so I was a little surprised by the happy little secret of these islands filled with lavender, alpacas, and state parks. Of course they are islands for the rich now as home prices are in the millions. But I thought, why not? Why not create a little community in the real world for my survivors to live, heal, and find love?

After some research, I decided on Friday Harbor as my location. This appears to be one of the largest and easiest to access islands of the bunch. There’s a town with a hospital, an airport, and a huge state park overlooking the Olympic Mountains. There’s also an alpaca farm and fields of lavender.

There is a state ferry that travels back and forth all day long from the mainland to the islands. Research included looking at traffic cams, searching real estate sites, reviewing maps, and checking out the websites for the island, the fire fighters and police departments of the island, and the farms. Here’s the main website for Friday Harbor: http://www.fridayharbor.com/.

It’s a popular place to get married, spend the day exploring the island, or even summer months hiking in the state park. Sadly, I have not yet been to the island. Though I do plan a trip in the near future.

What I found most appealing about these islands other than being mostly unknown, is that instead of being a tropical getaway for people who want to lay on beaches and drink alcohol, it seems to be a place of quiet exploration, and a slow down of the fast pace we often find ourselves in when on vacation or even just living life. This, to me, felt like the perfect place for my characters to heal.

What would be your ideal place to travel? Do you like to rush around on vacation or just relax? Have you ever been to a secret hideaway like this? Some place unknown to the average individual, maybe even underrated, but beautiful?

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About Painting with Fire

Charlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.

Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust.

They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.

Excerpt

Bastian was waiting for him. He was dressed in fitted blue jeans and a thick zip up sweater. His shoes were heavy black leather. Charlie nodded. “Ready?”

“Yes,” Bastian said. “And no. I’m terrified. I’ve never been on a motorcycle before.”

Charlie led him out to the bike, retrieved the helmets from the lockbox in the back of the truck and helped Bastian put on his. He left the visor up and put on his own. “Once I’m on, I want you to swing your legs around it up behind me. Close. Especially since this is your first ride. Your feet go here.” He motioned to the foot rest. “The shield keeps most of the bugs from splattering on us, but if we go really fast you’ll need to wash your clothes when we’re done.”

Bastian’s eyes widened. Charlie grinned since he was teasing, flicked his visor down and swung onto the bike. Bastian hesitated for a moment, like he wasn’t sure he could do it. Then he carefully climbed on behind Charlie. Charlie steadied the bike and turned it on, giving it a minute for the blue tooth to link up. Then he glanced back to see Bastian nervously watching his feet.

“Slide forward,” Charlie told him. “Put your arms around my waist. I won’t let you fall. We’ll start slow, I promise.”

Bastian slid forward. He carefully wrapped his arms around Charlie’s waist, but his grip was loose. Charlie kicked the bike up, it rolled a few feet, and suddenly Bastian was holding on for dear life. Charlie grinned as he eased them down Bastian’s drive, out the gate, and to the main road, keeping their speed just under thirty miles an hour.

Once they hit the long stretch of lavender fields, Charlie pushed the speed up to fifty. Still below the limit, but enough to have Bastian clinging to him and laughing with excitement and joy. Charlie loved the sound. He had to admit he was attracted to Bastian. Not so much how he looked, though he was adorable, but his amazing heart and endurance. Charlie hoped they could at least become friends. As a man who spent most of his life in the field, he didn’t have enough of those outside the job.

Charlie eased the bike down so they could turn around. The sky was darkening.

“There’s a side road not far up that takes us along the coast,” Bastian said.

“Yeah? Let me know where it is and we’ll take a ride that way.”

“Okay.” Bastian rested his head against Charlie’s shoulder. Once they reached the turn off, Charlie turned on the side road, happy it was paved and in good condition. It wasn’t a long road, but the view was spectacular. Charlie pulled over into a small dirt overlook and took off his helmet. The sun was setting and it was spectacular.

“Wow,” Charlie breathed.

Bastian took off his helmet too. “Nothing else matches the colors. Some say it’s the pollen from the lavender that makes sunsets and rises here so colorful. Others say it’s the mix of cold air from the mountains and the warmth of the water.” He didn’t let go of Charlie; his body heat warmed Charlie. They watched in silence as the sun set. Final traces of the sun’s glow vanishing into a dark blue night. Stars appeared in the thousands.

“No wonder you create such beautiful things with this inspiring view to fuel your muse,” Charlie remarked.

Author Bio:

Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. She specializes in depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTGA spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.

In Our Holiday Audiobook Spotlight: Snowed In by Teodora Kostova (special audio excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Snowed In
Author: Teodora Kostova
Release Date: November 14th 2016
Genre: Audiobook, Contemporary MM Romance

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BLURB

Be careful what you wish for…

Nate has been in love with Quinn, his brother’s best friend, for as long as he can remember. But when he finally gets the chance to show Quinn how he feels, his heart gets broken in the most unexpected way.

Second chances come when you least expect them…

Quinn doesn’t believe in miracles, especially not Christmas ones. When he decides to win Nate back he knows it won’t be easy. The last thing he expects is a health scare, a road trip and a vicious snow storm to work in his favor.

In the end, a cabin in the woods turns out to be not only the shelter they desperately need, but also Quinn’s very own Christmas miracle.

Sometimes, to forgive, you need to get snowed in…

Buy Links: Audible | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Goodreads

Book Trailer: Youtube

Snowed In audio book tour

Excerpt #4

The guy peered above Nate’s shoulder, his arm still curled around Nate’s waist protectively. Quinn’s stare zeroed in on the fingers fanned out on Nate’s stomach, and primal jealousy erupted strong and hot in his gut.

“Nate,” Brandon said, standing up and stepping in front of Quinn, shielding him from view.  “Wanna get dressed and come out here? We need to talk.”

Nate’s lips curved into a cruel smile. “Nah. I’m good.” He entwined his fingers with the ones on his stomach, turned his head around and gave the guy a sweet, lingering kiss.

“Nate…” There was a warning in Brandon’s voice, but Nate didn’t pay him any heed. He dragged the guy into his bedroom and slammed the door behind them.

“Fucking immature asshole,” Brandon muttered as he stalked into the direction of Nate’s bedroom. He walked in without knocking, completely ignoring the shouting that came from inside.

Quinn dropped his face into his hands. Confused, hurt, and utterly miserable, he contemplated getting up, going out the door and never coming back. The past should stay buried, right? There was nothing keeping him in Chicago anymore. He’d graduated, Kai was gone… The world was his oyster. He could do anything he wanted, go anywhere he liked.

And yet… The only place he wanted to be was where Nate was.

Quinn could hear shouting coming from the bedroom, but his head was pounding and he couldn’t focus enough to get exactly what was said. He could guess that Brandon was ripping into his brother and, the stubborn hothead Nate was. he wasn’t budging an inch.

That could go for a while.

Surprisingly, Brandon stormed out of the room a moment later, his frown making him seem much older than his twenty four years.

“He’ll be right out,” he declared, storming into the kitchen and opening the fridge with more force than necessary, rattling the contents inside.

EXCERPT

Nate could hear the cruelty in his tone but he didn’t care. He’d never been this angry in his life, and if Quinn wasn’t here to face the mess he’d caused, Nate was going to use the next best thing – the traitor who’d chosen him over his own brother.

“I didn’t know any of that,” Brandon said, his eyes softening. He reached for Nate, but Nate whipped his hand away, taking a step back.

“Don’t fucking touch me!”

Angry tears prickled behind his eyes, making him feel humiliated even more. Spinning around on his heel, he ignored Brandon’s voice calling him back and stomped into to his room, slamming the door.

He didn’t make it to the bed. The anger, grief, and loss he’d felt overwhelmed him and Nate slumped to the floor, a ragged sob tearing out of his throat.

I hope one day you can forgive me…

Not a chance in fucking hell.

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**GIVEAWAY: for a chance to win 3 x Snowed In audiobooks, 3 x Snowed In ebooks, 1 SIGNED Snowed In paperback (International) and a $5 Amazon giftcard!!!

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About the Author

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Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job a few years ago when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.

When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid.

Don’t be shy and get in touch – I love connecting with my readers.

Links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Blog Stops:

December 1st – Socially Awkward Book Nerd | The Blogger Girls | Nerd Girl Official | Dawn’s Reading Nook

December 2nd – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words | Outrageous Heroes

December 3rd – Love Bytes Reviews

December 5th – Making It Happen | BFD Book Blog | MM Good Book Reviews | My Fiction Nook

December 6th – The Purple Rose Tea House

December 7th – Addison Albright | MJs Book Blog and Reviews

December 8th – Because Two Men are Better Than One | Bayou Book Junkie

December 9th – Bonkers About Books

December 12th – Prism Book Alliance | Drops of Ink

December 13th – Diverse Reader

December 14th – All in One Place

December 15th – Happily Ever Chapter | Sinfully Gay Romance | Velvet Panic

December 16th – TTC Books and More | Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents | Triple A

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