A MelanieM Review: Off Course (Coyote’s Call #1) by Bailey Bradford

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Gideon’s worst night ever starts out with a bang that will change his whole life.

GOff Course coverideon Wells is bad luck.  That’s what he’s been told.  It’s the reason he was tossed out of his clan, and its the reason he has ended up stranded on this  road to nowhere in a Texas desert as the temperatures climb above 100 degrees.  From a birth rate that is in a spiral downward for bear shifters, to Gideon’s homosexuality, Gideon has borne the brunt of suspicions and anger from other bear shifters until he was ostracized, thrown out with no where to go.  Then his  dump of a car catches fire and he finds himself surrounded by scorpions..and  Gideon starts to believe what he’s been told.  But first he has to find a way to survive.

Coyote shifter Miller Hudson clan has disbanded.  Over the years fewer and fewer of them  retained the ability to shift until the present when they are shifters in name only.  True there is a legend that says an Alpha coyote shifter,  along with  a bear shifter mate, with be the savior of the now-defunct coyote den and bring them all back to the glory they once were.  But who believes in prophesies anymore?  Certainly not Miller.

Until he finds Gideon half dead along a deserted road near  town.   Suddenly everything changes for Miller and for Gideon.  But first Miller has to save him.

Off Course is the first in Bailey Bradford’s new series, Coyote’s Call, and it’s a great start to a promising new series.  I liked the premise and setting immediately.  The idea of a desert works beautifully when a mystical prophesy or folklore element is present.  Add to that the use of coyote shifters in a natural setting and the layers forming feel fantastical and real.

Although its Gideon we meet first, I am going to temporarily push him to the back.  The coyote clan that Bradford has created for this story is a marvel, complete with Native American overtones.  Something is happening to all the shifters world wide, dropping birthrates just the first indication.  With the coyote shifters the damage is manifested in the loss of their ability to shift into a coyote form.  That hole in who they are has brought about the dissolution of the clan, another key component of the basic coyote nature.   From Miller Hudson to his mother and other coyote shifters we see a close-knit group of people trying to hang on.  Miller is especially strong.  In fact it’s his strength of personality and outlook that takes charge of this story and Gideon in ways you are going to love.   I love all the dimension and depth to this group of people.  From their artwork to their philosophies, they are a fascinating clan and a perfect one to build a series around.

Then Bailey Bradford brings in Gideon Wells, the opposite of Miller and his people in every way, including pack/clan structure and society.  I felt that the rigid bear clan structure was less effective than the one created for the coyotes but we also get a reduced feel for them as not a lot of information about their background is  present so perhaps that’s coming.  But in Gideon Wells,  Bradford has a winning character, one I just adored from the moment we meet him.  Gideon is bearlike in every way, big and tall without being imposing, a little soft about the tummy, his is a personality gentle, hurting, and endearing.  He lacks self confidence and is clearly in need of love and a home.  And of course, his senses are muted so he has no idea who is a shifter and who is human, another fun element to explore.  This is a savory romance, hot and sexy, gentle and sweet.  I need more of these two shifters.

With a first novel in a series, the author has to lay the ground for the other stories to come and, again, Bradford does that successfully here.  There are a number of characters introduced who need their mates and HEA.  And the major threads of shifter species decline and the Coyote Clan are fascinating, so I can’t wait to read the next story to see how the author develops her series theme as well as character growth that I see coming.

If you love romance, especially one  with a supernatural shifter element, pick up Off Course by Bailey Bradford.  I throughly enjoyed it and think you will too.

Cover Artist:  Posh Gosh.  I liked this cover but didn’t love it.  Its dark, instead of the heat and lightness of the desert.  Plus where is the coyote or  bear elements?  So much to work with and yet that seems to be another “wolf shifter” cover.  A missed opportunity that the next cover will pick up on.

Sales Links:   Totally Bound      All Romance eBook (ARe)             amazon        Off Course

Book Details:

ebook, 164 pages
Expected publication: November 21st 2014 by Totally Bound (first published October 24th 2014)
ISBN139781784302924
edition languageEnglish
url https://www.totallybound.com
seriesCoyote’s Call #1

Into the Author Spotlight with Haley Walsh and her Skyler Foxe Mysteries! (book tour

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Foxe Tail cover

Foxe Hunt 2 coverOut Foxed 3Foxe Fire cover 4

Who’s sitting in the Author Spotlight today?  Haley Walsh, author of the Skyler Foxe Mystery Series.  Haley is here today to talk about her latest release and the inspiration behind Skyler Fox.  This M/M romantic mystery series follows the teaching and unwitting sleuthing career of Skyler Foxe, high school English teacher!

 

Haley Walsh is giving away one eBook copy of Desert Foxe (Skyker Foxe Mystery Series 5).  To enter to win, leave a comment with an address where you can be reached in the body of the email.  Do you have a favorite sleuth?  Tell us about it and be entered to win.  Contest ends 11/22/2014.

 

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The Story Behind the Skyler Foxe Mystery Series
By Haley Walsh

There’s a story behind every story. What inspired the books? What, if any of it, is from your own life? But the story behind my latest Skyler Foxe Mystery was more than that. It happened quite a few years ago, in fact. Long ago and far away.

It’s strange to have been pals (and have dated) gay guys all one’s adult life and yet not know about m/m romance until recently. Sometimes you walk around with blind spots. But when I did discover it, it sort of became something sitting in the back of my mind. After all, I was working on a career as a novelist. I didn’t have time for this. I was writing serious books! Of course, about that time, I had veered my writing toward the fun genre of murder and mayhem: mysteries! But these were still fairly serious being historical mysteries, something dense with prose and heady research. In fact, research took up a lot of my time besides the day job, but I did finally get that publishing contract from a big New York publisher. No, it’s not all that glamorous and money is not tumbling into my hands, but let’s just say it is slightly prestigious and ego-boosting.

And yet, here at the back of my mind was this other story just squirming around taking up my daydreaming time. Since I was in mystery mode now it began being shaped as a mystery, and since I love writing characters with depth, it started to be populated with all kinds of interesting people with detailed backstories. For my day job, I had been working with kids and teens for six years, and with the teens there was so much drama from the least little thing. My writer’s eye took note, memorizing details like the toss of a head, the scrunch of a nose, someone wearing their sunglasses at the back of their head, the slouching, the strutting, the posturing, the slang! Yes, an idea was definitely forming.

I like stories to have all sorts of things going on. And especially in a mystery, it isn’t necessarily the puzzle that is the most important thing in the book. The characters and their lives and loves can become the main thrust and the mystery can come along and screw it all up. Making my detective an amateur sleuth and putting him in a high school setting as a teacher added just the right amount of angst, red herrings, and plot galore to keep a series going for a good long time.

I do use my own past experiences with teens, my own sense of humor, some of the characterizations of gay men I have known. These books are supposed to be funny, light-hearted romantic mysteries but they also deal with some serious themes and issues, including homophobia, murder, and the sexual orientation of teens. It’s fluff but deep fluff. Fluff noir.

And then I got the idea from watching the television show, Veronica Mars, that one could have a mystery solved in each episode but still have an on-going story arc stretch throughout the season. And I got it in my head to do that with the first three books of this series, making it like a mini-series pilot. Each book will have its own puzzle, its own murder to solve, but there will be something going on in the background, something strange and dangerous to keep the characters on edge for three books until the final denouement in book three.

And so we started with FOXE TAIL. Skyler Foxe is a young, fun-loving player, a brand new high school English teacher in a bible belt sort of region inFoxe Tail cover southern California. He loves teaching, loves his school kids, has an unnatural obsession with Motown music, and loves going out dancing with his friends, who are all former hook-ups—what are affectionately known as the Skyler Fuck Club or SFC—and just wants nothing more than partying on weekends and getting down to English Lit during the week. Of course—this being a mystery—he also falls into murder.

In the first book, FOXE TAIL, Skyler finds a dead body outside a dance club and discovers it’s the son of his high school principal.

Foxe Hunt 2 coverAnd in FOXE HUNT, Skyler meets up again with former hook-ups and friends, Jeff and Evan, just kicked out of the Army for don’t ask don’t tell. Evan came home wounded and very depressed and winds up dead. The police call it suicide but Skyler discovers it’s murder. Meanwhile, through all this, something fishy is going on behind the scenes at the high school. A math teacher, hinting at her own fears and suspicions, is pushed down the stairs and ends up in a coma. And the gorgeous new assistant football coach, Keith Fletcher, is acting suspiciously himself, and seems to know more than he should.

In book three, OUT-FOXED, while chaperoning a high school dance Skyler has just been dragged out of the closet by the hunky assistant football coach—a man he thought he knew. But when Sky discovers Keith has been keeping a big secret, he breaks it off, leaving both of them lonely and confused. With troubles mounting from the press, angry parents, confused students, Skyler’s own mom, andOut Foxed 3 a murdered teacher, what’s a boy to do but discover—once and for all–who’s behind all the dirty doings at James Polk High? A novella followed, volume 3 ½ called FOXE DEN: A Holiday Collection. It has no mystery at all, but what I call “DVD extras.” We see Skyler and his Foxe Den 3.5main squeeze Keith through the holiday season with some hot action as well as navigating the scary territory of a first time relationship.

Book four, FOXE FIRE, is a standalone though it does continue the story arc of Skyler and his boyfriend Keith while Skyler is trying to stop an arsonist and a murderer, worrying that it might be one of his students. And in the latest release, DESERT FOXE, Skyler and his cadre of friends goes to the White Party in Palm Springs for some fun, frivolity, and luscious men but wind up getting involved in murder and more when the FBI asks Skyler to do the unthinkable.Foxe Fire cover 4

There are more books in the future with Skyler tackling some of the knottier issues of LGBT life and, of course, solving murders.

DesertFoxe_WDDesert Foxe by Haley Walsh
Published by MLR Press

Genre: M/M mystery/humor
Is it Part of a Series: It is number 5 in the series, which is also available for review
Publication Date: Nov 7
Length of book: 230 pages
Formats: Print and ebook: mobi, pdf, Kindle
Website: http://SkylerFoxeMysteries.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skylerfoxe.mysteries

Sales Links:   MLR Press   All Romance Ebooks (ARe)

You can find out more about Haley Walsh’s series at her website  or friend her on Facebook /skylerfoxe.mysteries

Author Bio:

Haley Walsh tried acting, but decided the actor’s life was not for her. Instead, she became a successful graphic designer in Los Angeles, her hometown. After fifteen years of burning money in the ’80s and early ’90s, she retired from the graphics industry and turned her interests toward writing. She became a freelance newspaper reporter, wrote articles for quirky magazines, published award-winning short stories, and now writes an acclaimed gay mystery series, the Skyler Foxe Mysteries. She’s lived all her life in southern California, sampling wines and chomping chocolate. Yeah, it’s a living.

You can contact Haley Walsh at:

Website
Goodreads Author Page

In The Author Spotlight: RJ Scott and Darach’s Cariad (Book tour and contest)

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Need a new story?  Check out the latest from RJ Scott!

Darach’s Cariad by RJ Scott

Darach’s Cariad by RJ Scott
Publisher:  Love Lane Books
Cover art by Meredith Russell

This book is available 7th November on Love Lane Books, Amazon and AllRomance.Darach 400x600

Book 1 in the series, Kian’s Hunter, will be available at 99c from 7th of November until the end of the month.

Buy links –  RJ Scott Blog uk

Darach’s Cariad Blurb

Darach Gravenor has blue magic. He is alone in his world and he wants to rescue his friend Kian from the horrors of the Other World.

Ceithin Morgan is Cariad. Strong with Ancient magic he teaches Darach that not all children’s fairy stories should be believed. Ceithin has his own reasons for helping Darach and shows Darach that there is magic that he never even knew existed.

They are living on borrowed time. Guardian knows what they are doing and he is coming for Ceithin. Darach and Ceithin have two choices — do they run, or do they make their stand together?

Excerpt from Darach’s Cariad (MM, Paranormal)

In one surge of movement, Ceithin snapped the fragile blue Fire trying to hold him in place and had the younger man pinned to the floor in bonds of crimson. His visitor opened his mouth. Ceithin stopped any potential shout for help with a casual flick of his wrist and a spell to silence Darach. Carefully, he eased to kneel next to his new prisoner. He only had one question for Darach. A rhetorical question given the frightened man was spelled into absolute quiet, but a good one to get out into the damp cold air.

“What are you doing here, you idiot?” He rolled to his feet and looked down at the figure prone on the floor, and a sudden uncertainty tugged at him. “Darach Gravenor.” The harshness of the syllables scratched at his throat when he spoke them, and he sensed immediate shock from his prisoner. He leaned closer. “The one who wants to follow. Kian told me, warned me you would try to find the Cariad.”

Darach shook his head, and his eyes widened in the dim light of crimson.

“I’ll let you loose. Are you going to scream? If I lift the hold, don’t make a sound, all right?” He waited until Darach nodded, then breath by breath, he snagged the bands of his Fire hovering around Darach’s face.

Author Bio:

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over sixty titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

  • Author Contacts:

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
http://www.rjscott.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/author.rjscott?ref=ts&fref=ts
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott
https://twitter.com/Rjscott_author
http://www.librarything.com/author/scottrj

Contest:  Win a free e-book from RJ’s backlist or first sight of a new ebook.  Contest available worldwide, must be 18 years of age or older to enter in the US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway     http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f922301b39/