A MelanieM Review: DMZ by Andrea Speed


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

DMZIn college, Carlo Langlois had a secret crush on Ky Kinnaird, a straight jock who was everything wonderful in Carlos’ opinion.  But Carlos was shy, gay, and didn’t run in the same circles so he didn’t think Ky was even aware he existed.  Fast forward to the present.  Carlos is  a member of the diplomatic corps, he’s in a foreign and hostile nation, and he’s in a world of trouble.  His helicopter was shot down and now he needs rescuing and medical attention.

Who does MI-6 send in to  extract him but Ky Kinnaird, a secret agent and his old crush.  Secrets come out and the old attraction flares up, now only if Ky can keep Carlo alive enough to see if they have a future ahead.

DMZ from Andrea Speed reads more like a single chapter from a larger story than a complete story itself.  It has many good elements going for it.  A narrative that manages to convey a sense of urgency and moment to moment terror of discovery as well as a sense of loss and emptiness of buildings and  people damaged by too much warfare and bombardment.

The characters too are intriguing from the snippets we get of their backgrounds and mutual history.  I just wish that all the great little elements added up to a piece of substance.  One that feels complete instead of just a pulled out section of a larger story.

I love Andrea Speed and if you are new to this author, I think I would explore her other stories first before picking up this one.   It’s tempting enough for me to wish that Speed uses it as a platform for a larger novel or series.

Cover art by L.C. Chase.  Wow. What a dramatic cover!  One of the Best of the Month! Love it.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press     All Romance eBook (ARe)     amazon         DMZ


Book Details:

ebook, 29 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632161044 (ISBN13: 9781632161048)
edition languageEnglish

In Our Book Spotlight: One Thing Leads by Jude Dunn (book tour and contest)




In our author and book spotlight today is Jude Dunn, here with his latest book, One Thing Leads from Dreamspinner Press.  Check out the blurb and excerpt and don’t forget to enter the contest provided at the bottom of the post!  Welcome, Jude Dunn!

Why Do We Do the Things We Do?
Jude Dunn talks about his new novel, One Thing Leads, and what wine goes with Momma’s garlic mashed potatoes.

One Thing Leads by Jude DunnOneThingLeadsLG

Dion’s in love, but he doesn’t know how to tell Kenji, the man he’s fallen for. He hopes Kenji feels the same way. But when a sexpot named Grayson comes to dinner and falls all over Dion, Dion winds up fighting with Kenji.

So Dion storms out. And Kenji leaves. Oh, no! And to make matters worse, Grayson, the oversexed playboy, starts making moves on Dion. You know, acting like a friend, providing a shoulder to cry on. Slowly he leads Dion step by step down a very dark road until Dion finally comes to his senses in a dangerous situation. Can you imagine being faced with blackmail that could force you into a life of prostitution?

Ever lost your way like that? Maybe not that seriously, but still…. I have, and that’s part of the reason why I wrote One Thing Leads. You can find out more about the book here and via the links below, but first I want to answer the questions Melanie and company have put to me.

STRW: The plot for One Thing Leads is pretty dark. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

JD: The idea came to me from my personal fantasy life plus something else. Yes, that’s right. I’m not afraid to admit I fantasize about really dark things as long as folks know I’d never act on them in real life. The “something else” part is that I’m a geek-nerd who’s interested in the way almost everything works. I like knowing what’s under my iPad’s hood, and I also enjoy thinking about what makes us humans tick. In the case of One Thing Leads, I wanted to examine what draws us down a slippery slope like the one Dion travels. Is it that heartbreak, as in Dion’s case, makes us have a case of the “I don’t care anymore” blues? I haven’t answered the question to my own satisfaction—much less anyone else’s—but it was fun exploring the ideas surrounding the situation.

STRW: Why go in this direction?

JD: Oh, this one’s easy. I’m a pervert. No, seriously, I love being titillated, so I assume that others do too. Um, do these two sentences mean the same thing?

STRW: Your characters seem to have interesting professions. Where do you pull from to get into their heads and make each character and his or her profession seem real?

JD: Part of being an author is doing research. There are some who hate that and some who love it. I’m decidedly in the second camp. Choosing a character’s profession is an opportunity for me to learn about some aspect of people, life, and the world that’s new to me. In fact, this quest is what leads me to formulate concepts for novels and the plots that drive them. I could easily get lost in the research if I didn’t reign myself in.

STRW: Favorite romance you love to read?

JD: Now this is embarrassing. I don’t read a lot of romance lit. I write it because it warms my heart. What I do read—and voraciously—is everything from physics to history to biography to science fiction and most anything in between, which is why I don’t have time for romances. There’s just too much to read already on my nightstand (and iPad). I also like coming at my writing from a perspective free of the typical plot lines and characterizations. So I can’t name a specific novel or story in the romance genre.

STRW: Your bio says you enjoy cooking and wine, so what would be a favorite dish to eat, favorite comfort dish to cook and eat, and your go-to wine for a romantic occasion?

JD: Okay, now we can get down to the important stuff mentioned in the subtitle above, namely: What wine goes with Momma’s garlic mashed potatoes? The correct answer, of course, is different each person. As for me, I’m a red wine guy. Give me tannins, the more the merrier. In this case, that means something like a dark Spanish garnacha, rich and complex and tasty. Pair those two with Momma’s Double-Sauce Meatloaf, and I’m in heaven.

As far as culinary creations, I’m no gourmet cook, but I love making risotto while chatting and sipping wine with good friends. And wine for romantic occasions? In my book there’s nothing better than champagne, the best my pocketbook will allow.

STRW: Do you find the adage “write what you know” something that applies to you and your stories or should that even matter with so many resources available for research these days?

JD: The answer for me is the dreaded “Yes and no”—always seems like a cop-out, doesn’t it? The “yes” part is that we must draw from personal experience to write the truest sentences we can. Hemingway talked about writing “one true sentence.” You can read my thoughts on what he said here.

The “no” part is that not having experience in an area of life shouldn’t stop you from writing about something you’re interested in. William Gibson was praised for his depiction of Japan in the ground-breaking novel, Neuromancer, even though he’d never been there. He did good research, and at a time when he had to do it at the public library.

STRW: What’s your favorite book or author that had the most impact on you as a child? Does that impact carry over to your writing today?

JD: Now we get to the strangeness that is Jude Dunn. I grew up in a family that let popular trends carry them down the cultural stream of the fifties and sixties. That meant my preteen “literary” diet was mostly I Love Lucy (not reruns! I’m that old), Bugs Bunny versus Elmer Fudd, and Star Trek (the original series, of course).

But then I discovered The Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade, and something happened to me. Tolkien was a writer who thought words mattered. He fit them together like a craftsman building fine furniture, and reading his work hooked forever on thoughtful, well-written stories. This is why I write more slowly than I like, because I take time to ponder what I’m really saying.

STRW: Would you consider One Thing Leads a story that falls into the hurt/comfort trope? If not, why not?

JD: Nope. The basic elements of this trope are present in my story, but the emphasis isn’t on comforting Dion in the wake of the abuse he suffers. I’ve done my best to focus on what triggers a person’s start down a path of pain and how her (or her) loved ones help them deal with the aftermath when they come to their senses. Was I successful? I’m not sure. But this is where the novel’s title comes from and what the story is really about.

STRW: What’s next for Jude Dunn?

JD: I have some wonderful ideas on the drawing board. Like most writers, the problem isn’t enough ideas; it’s too many of them. I started writing for the fun of it. Now I’m trying to decide what to do with the notion that I could make writing more than a pastime. I am certain of this: I wrote One Thing Leads because I couldn’t not write it. As long as I have stories I can’t stop myself from sharing, I’ll keep writing. We’ll see what this one thing leads to. I can’t wait for the answer.


Pre-order One Thing Leads

More info about One Thing Leads

Read a chapter for free

Site: http://www.judedunn.com/

Twitter: @jude_dunn

Pick up a free PDF or two of my unpublished stories: http://www.judedunn.com/stories

Tell me what you like, don’t like, and wish gay authors wrote about: http://www.judedunn.com/contact/

Thank you, Melanie and company, for the opportunity to guest blog for you!


Book Name: One Thing Leads
Goodreads Author Page 
Author Name: Jude Dunn


Author Bio:

I’m a southern boy. Well, “boy” may be a stretch. I’m sixty-one this year, but I still feel like I’m twenty-two and act like I’m nine-and-a-half. Grew up in north Alabama, smack-dab in the middle of the Bible belt.

I discovered I was attracted to boys at age fourteen. Twenty minutes after that, I found out that being gay was the unforgivable sin, not blaspheming the Holy Spirit, as my little Baptist church had taught me. So, as so many like me have always done, I hid from everyone, including and especially myself.

At age forty-nine I came out to myself, my wife, and my three wonderful children. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the best thing that ever happened to me.

I started writing shortly after discovering anime. There’s this thing called “fandoms,” you see—well, I know you probably know about that. I grew my skills slowly, feeding on the dribbles of praise and criticism my mailing lists provided. In 2011 I decided to try my hand at original fiction and found I have a talent for telling stories that touch people’s hearts and make them laugh. For me there’s no greater high in all the world. The next year I somehow screwed up the courage to submit to a publisher and was given a thumbs up. Now I’m happily sharing my tales with those who care to read them.

My day job is editing and engraving sacred music for a mainline publisher in Chicago, where I live with an antisocial cat who refuses to be named. I enjoy fine wines, jazz, and the darkest chocolate I can get my hands on.

I write in a variety of genres, from gay romance and erotica to science fiction and mainstream thrillers, each category under a different pseudonym. Jude Dunn is the one I use for gay romance. My work is sometimes subtle, sometimes fiery, but always brimming with characters who tackle their challenges with an unwavering love of life.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy your time here. – Jude

OneThingLeadsLGAuthor Contact: https://twitter.com/jude_dunn
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press 

One Thing Leads Blurb:

Dion Bellamy is twenty-seven and studying social work at the University of Chicago. He has lived with Kenji Okamura, a construction worker, for a year and a half. Dion loves Kenji and passionately hopes Kenji feels the same, but he has never said the three big words. Then Grayson Sinclair, Dion’s schoolmate and a vivacious, oversexed playboy, comes between them.

One step at a time, barely aware where his steps are leading, Dion descends the slippery slope into a life of depravity. First, Grayson ensures Kenji is out of the way. Then he entices Dion to go clubbing with him, gets Dion drunk and high, and then takes him to a sex club, where he films Dion giving blow jobs to multiple men. He threatens to put the video online unless Dion signs a contract to work as a prostitute. Though he hardly understands how he reached this point, Dion must now figure out how to escape his fate and save himself.

One Thing Leads Excerpt:

“God,” Dion screamed, throwing his hands in the air in disgust. He and Kenji glared like dogs circling each other before attacking. Finally Dion broke the tension. “I need some air,” he said, then spun on a heel and strode to the bedroom. Kenji sat still as stone, listening to Dion slamming drawers as he found clothes suitable for going out.

How did this happen? I wanted to come clean. I thought if we talked about it—

After quickly dressing, Dion stormed to the front door.

“Where are you going?”

“Out,” Dion said without looking at Kenji. “Does that meet with your approval?”

“Dion, don’t be—”

The sound of the door slamming rang in Kenji’s ears. Footsteps fell hard and fast down the stairs. When they stopped, he looked away from the door. He closed his eyes at the muffled sound of another door slamming hard two floors below. When he opened his eyes a few minutes later, he looked down, surprised to see dots of blood on the seat of the recliner. He opened his hands and saw that his fingernails had broken the skin of his palms.

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Tour Dates/Tour Stops:

OTLBadgeOctober 20: Parker Williams
October 21: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
October 22: Sinfully Sexy
October 23: Cate Ashwood
October 24: Jade Crystal
October 27: Inked Rainbow Reads
October 28: Velvet Panic
October 29: Amanda C. Stone
October 30: Kimi-Chan
October 31: Fallen Angel Reviews
November 3: Emotion in Motion
November 4: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves
November 5: EE Montgomery, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
November 6: Love Bytes
November 7: Iyana Jenna
November 10: Prism Book Alliance, My Fiction Nook
November 11: Multitasking Mommas, Wake Up Your Wild Side
November 12: BFD Book Blog
November 13: Cathy Brockman Romances
November 14: MM Good Book Reviews

Contest: Enter to win one of five Rafflecopter Prizes: One of FIVE e-copies of One Thing Leads. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link provided to enter and for all additional contest details.

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