A MelanieM Review: Tall With Room by A.J. Llewellyn

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Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Tall with Room coverAdriano is going home to Waldo, Florida, a town famous for having one of two official US speed traps and a flea market. Not much else is going on… Or is it?

A celebrated chef, Adriano has had to quit his job at a posh Beverly Hills restaurant because during his recovery from stage four cancer, chemo killed his taste buds. He can’t even taste his own cuisine. About the only thing that penetrates the dull sensation is coffee, so he’s bought a cafe in Waldo, hoping to find a new life in spite of his memory of it being a rigidly conservative town.

Looking forward to recuperating and spending time his mom, Adriano soon finds that Colin Mackenzie-the first man he ever loved, the only man he has ever wanted-never left Waldo. He apparently hasn’t forgotten Adriano either. But Colin, who once seduced then dumped him, seems to be playing games. He keeps coming into the cafe ordering his coffee-tall with room…for milk-but he doesn’t seem to have room for Adriano. Soon, the love they once shared is re-ignited in an explosive way, but what is going on in Waldo? Why do things seem so…haunted by the past?

I had just finished reading The Line by Angel Martinez and found the blurb for Tall With Room by A.J. Llewellyn at the end of the story.  It intrigued me with its unusual premise and main character.  So I got it without ever having seen the cover…if I had only checked out the cover. That would definitely have changed things.  I thought I was getting a contemporary romance and ended up with something else all together.  Was it a bad something or good something?  A little bit of both actually.

I come away from this short story very divided in my feelings towards it.  I loved most of it actually and that started with a character the likes of which I had never met before.  Adriano was a hot chef in LA and he loved everything about his life.  His restaurant and his rising recognition as a chef of high merit. He had a boyfriend he loved and a condo which suited him.  A great life until a small spot is found on his tongue, one misdiagnosis later and the cancer has become wide spread.  The treatment Adriano undergoes to cure the tongue cancer, (chemo and more) kills his taste buds and his ability to cook and remain a chef.  Alive but his living destroyed, Adriano returns to the hometown he happily left behind and his ailing mother.  What a great character and situation!  Llewellyn pulled me in with multiple tugs at my heart and a situation I hadn’t seen in a M/M romance before.  Throw in an old love, the love of his life, that disappeared early on in his youth, and you have a plot that is emotionally deep and gripping.

Even the title is pretty great when you know the story behind it.  Tall With Room refers to a type of coffee ordered, one with room for milk left at the top. A special order that Adriano’s past boyfriend was especially fond of. Its also a metaphor for their relationship.  So unusual illness, compelling character, and a home situation (mom with dementia) that most readers will connect with…all that added up to a story that should have been a real highlight on my reading list.  Those elements alone make this a story to remember.  Until it zags instead of zigs and takes an altogether different path into the supernatural.

If I had just seen that darn cover.

Truthfully, I didn’t enjoy the turn the story took.  I figured out what was going on before the end (when it picked up too much speed in the race to the denouement) and things got confusing with a flipflopping time line and elements that came at you with little to no setup.  It left me bereft and moping over the loss of the story I thought I was getting and a little bit peeved over the “feel good” ending the author employed.  One that I have seen/read before to more of a happy surprise/stunner than is revealed here.

The thing is I came to this book weighed down by my expectations from the blurb.  That sense of anticipation never left no matter where I was in the story (until towards the end that is).  Tall With Room a well-written tale, aside from the rushed elements and ending I mentioned.  The characters and situation remain lovely and original.  If I had only seen that cover first, then I think my anticipation about what I thought I was going to read would have been more in line with the actual story.    Yes, Virginia, book covers do make a difference!  That didn’t occur and I’m left with a sense of disappointment at how it all turned out.

So do I recommend this story?  Yep, because I have given you the cover as well as the blurb.  Its all there so you decide if you like your romance with a side order of the supernatural or not. If so, then  Tall With Room by A.J. Llewellyn is just the short story for you.  This is a HEA…although not the one you might be anticipating.  It certainly wasn’t the one I thought I was getting.  And yes, still mourning that fact.

You probably won’t.

Darn cover.

Cover art by Reese Dante,  I’m now biased and no, I don’t like it.  But only because of petty reasons, it’s actually pretty dramatic but where are the other elements from the story?

Buy Links:  Totally Bound Books  –  All Romance (ARe) –  Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 53 pages
Published August 24th 2012 by Total-E-Bound
ISBN 1781841020 (ISBN13: 9781781841020)
edition languageEnglish
Note:  All LGBT books from Totally Bound are being transferred to their new LGBT imprint, Pride Books.

 

 

A Stella Review: Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna #1) by Tara Lain

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Rating 4 stars out of 5

Knight of Ocean Avenue coverHow can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

 

Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain was simply a joy to read. This series started so good I can’t wait for the next one, hoping it will be sweet and light and positive like this one. If you, like me, are a sucker for flamboyant characters, gay/out for you and opposites attract, this book is definitely a must read!

The book opens with Billy being left by his girlfriend Annie. Billy, a gorgeous man and a sweet one (too sweet for Annie, let me tell you!), doesn’t have a high opinion of himself, most cause he isn’t literate, but he’s an amazing son for his parents and brother for his sisters. It’s because of his hard work in the construction area and lot of sacrifices that the girls went to college. He helps his family in any way he can. He just wanted a good girl to be by his side but each time they left him. Then he meets Shaz and things start making sense. Shaz is everything Billy isn’t: gay, flamboyant, stylish. The chemistry between them is soon explosive and evident.

“Oh God, I am gay. I am.” He wanted to laugh. He wanted to cry.
Shaz’s soft high voice sounded muffled against his chest. “Yes, dear. I think you are.”
“What does that mean?”
“We’ll find out. Don’t worry. It’s better to know.”

Talk about perfect characters! Tara created a wonderful couple, two men perfect for each other and perfect in the eye of the reader. That kind of persons you absolutely need in your life, as a brother or friend. I was soon caught in their lives, but most of all I was cheering for Billy, he so needed something beautiful like Shaz to happened to him.

“When I was a kid and other boys played baseball and rode skateboards and made fun of me, I dreamed of knights in shining armor. One knight specifically who would ride in on his great palfrey, sweep me up in his arms, and rescue me from the cruelties of being me. A hero who would look into my heart and not see a sissy who liked to sew and try out girl’s makeup, but a secret princess waiting in a tower. Waiting for him.” […]“The years passed, no knight came, and I let the cruelties make me as hard as the people who dished them out. But the day I first saw you in that coffee shop, not letting the bully get to me even though you didn’t know me at all, I saw that you were a knight. And today you stripped the cloak from your armor and revealed you were my knight.”
Billy shook his head, fighting the heat behind his eyes. “I’m no knight.”
“Kind, loyal, true, and brave. Works for me.”

I loved this book, still I didn’t give it five stars. The reason is really simply. I love angst, troubled stories and I NEED stories like Knight of Ocean Avenue in between to help me relax a little. It’s so good to read a light, lovely and simple story. But… this one was too simple. Everything went to smoothly till the end and it left me craving for just a tiny little bit more of something.

I’m waiting impatiently for the next one, I hope to get to see Shaz and Billy once again, but I have my eyes on two second characters who deserve their HEA together. Will Tara fulfill my wish?

Cover art by Reese Dante. Reese has a unique style that I’m becoming to like more with each cover I see.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press –  All Romance (ARe) –  Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published May 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 254 pages
ISBN13 9781632165763
Edition Language English

 

Its Time to Reveal the Cover for Vampire Rising by Larry Benjamin (author interview and giveaway)

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Vampire Rising by Larry Benjamin
Release Date: Summer, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Sales Links: http://www.vampirerising.com

Beaten Path Publishing  (eBook and Paperback)  – Amazon – Beaten Path Publishing eBook only

Blurb:

It’s the mid twenty-first century. Anti-Semitism, racism, sexism and homophobia have been consigned to the dustbin of history. The world is run by “the state,” and Christian zealots, whose chief governing tools are fear and oppression. It’s a wonderful time to be alive—unless you’re a Vampire. Vampires are despised, and feared, and subjected to discrimination and unspeakable violence.

Considered undead, unholy, without basic human rights, Gatsby Calloway lives on the fringes of society, avoiding humanity. Until he meets Barnabas, a young encaustic painter.

When Barnabas is mortally wounded during an anti-Vampire attack, Gatsby must forget everything he has known, and learn to trust.

Pages or Words: 67 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy

Excerpt:

“This here coming up is the stop for Chicksand Street,” the bus driver called out.

Barnabas stood and walked to the front of the bus. He peered out the windshield into the dark, then looked at the driver. “The schedule said you stopped at Chicksand Street,” Barnabas said.

“Not after dark I don’t,” the driver shot back. “This here is as far as I’m going tonight!”

Barnabas shrugged and moved to the door. The Mexican woman he’d noticed earlier touched his arm. As he turned to her, she drew a silver crucifix attached to rosary beads from around her neck and, muttering a prayer in Spanish, pressed it into his hands. He closed his hand around the offering still warm from her bosom and said, “Thank you.”

The bus slowed and the driver said, “This here road, about a mile on, becomes Chicksand Street.” He opened the door, barely stopping long enough for Barnabas to disembark. As soon as his feet touched the curb, the driver closed the door and sped away as fast as the bus’ ancient diesel engine would allow. As the bus passed him he saw the passengers with their foreheads and palms pressed against the windows, their eyes wide, and their mouths forming tiny “O”s of fright.

 

About the author:

Bronx-born wordsmith, Larry Benjamin considers himself less a writer than an artist whose chosen medium is the written word rather than clay or paint or bronze. His debut novel, the gay romance What Binds Us was released by Carina Press in March 2012. His second book, Damaged Angels, a collection of short stories, is a 2013 Rainbow Award Runner-Up in the Gay Contemporary General Fiction category. His third book, Unbroken, was a 2014 Lambda Literary finalist, and a 2014 IPPY (Independent Publishers Book Award) Gold medalist.

He lives in Philadelphia with his husband and their two dogs.

Where to find the author:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLarryBenjamin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterLarry
Website: http://www.larrybenjamin.com

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Tour Dates & Stops: June 3, 2015
Parker Williams, Multitasking Mommas, Divine Magazine, Bayou Book Junkie, Andrew Q. Gordon, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Inked Rainbow Reads, TTC Books and More, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Rainbow Gold Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Molly Lolly, Happily Ever Chapter, My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog, Mikky’s World of Books, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Havan Fellows, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Hearts on Fire, Michael Mandrake, Elin Gregory

Contest

Rafflecopter Prize: 3 books from Larry’s backlist.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Unbroken
My parents, unable to change me, had instead, silenced me. When they’d stilled my hands, they’d taken my words, made me lower my voice to a whisper. Later I remained silent in defense, refusing to acknowledge the hateful words: Brainiac. Sissy. Antiman. Faggot.
Lincoln de Chabert’s life is pretty unremarkable until he comes home from kindergarten and announces he will marry his best friend, Orlando, when he grows up.  His parents spring into immediate action, determined to fix him―his father takes him to baseball games and the movie “Patton”―igniting an epic battle of wills as Lincoln is determined to remain himself, and marry whom he chooses, at all costs.

What Binds Us
When 17 year old Thomas Edward meets the man of his dreams, he assumes they’ll be together forever. When their relationship ends abruptly, he learns that sometimes it’s in an ending that we find our beginning.
At 17 Thomas-Edward escapes southern New Jersey and the tyranny of his parents love thinking he is ready for his life to begin, thinking he is ready for anything.  Anything quickly arrives in the form of one Donovan Dion “Dondi” Whyte, his freshman roommate at the University of Pennsylvania. Dondi, who is like no one he has ever met before, in his own words: “Dondi became my guide, my Virgil, on my personal odyssey of self-discovery.”
Dondi introduces Thomas him into “a looking-glass world in which everything was familiar yet larger, more exquisite, more precious than anything he had ever known.” Dondi is stunningly wealthy, sophisticated, passionate, urbane—everything Thomas has dreamed of loving.  They fall in love but the relationship fails. They remain uneasy friends. Their fragile relationship is threatened when Thomas falls in love with Matthew, Dondi’s younger brother.

Damaged Angels
Damaged Angels is the first collection of short fiction by Larry Benjamin. The 13 stories in this collection give voice to the invisible, the damaged: the drug addicts and hustlers, the mentally ill, the confused, and the men who fall in love with them, all of them bravely trying to make a place for themselves in the world of unbroken men. Their worlds are sometimes the mean streets of decaying cities, sometimes the great beyond and, once, the earth itself. Often dark, always evocative and lyrical, these stories delve into the lives of men clearly less-than-perfect and explore love in the context of disease and oncoming death as in “The Cross,” drug addiction, as in “The Seduction of the Angel Gabriel,” and mental illness in “2 Rivers.” These stories explore the possibility that less-than-perfect is sometimes perfect.

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In the Spotlight: Despite The Odds (Odds Are #1) by Chris T. Kat (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Name: Despite the Odds (Odds Are #1) by Chris T. Kat
Release Date: June 3, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

 

Need a new contemporary romance to read?  Check out Chris T. Kat’s latest novella, Despite The Odds, the first in Kat’s new Odds Are series.  We have a excerpt for you all to read and a giveaway to enter.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs

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Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press

 

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Never judge a book by its cover.

Michael Campbell can’t hold a job for more than a few days. He’s lucky his foreman is giving him another chance with the solar panel project at a primary school in Atlantic City. When he spies a man walking strangely in front of the school, Michael laughs, assuming he’s drunk or high. Little does he realize that Joshua Stone, a teaching assistant, has cerebral palsy, and he’s having a bad muscle control day. Taking a tumble right in front of the handsome construction worker is just his luck.

When Michael learns the truth, he feels badly for his cruel behavior. He offers to give Joshua—and his tricycle, the Racing Rhonda—a lift. Joshua accepts the help, and suddenly there’s a gorgeous man breezing into his life, turning his world upside down. But Michael has more issues than his inability to hold down a job, and neither man is sure if they’ll be able to overcome their fears in order to be together.
Pages or Words: 114 pages/32,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Romance

 

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Henderson bulldozed right into Michael’s personal space, surprising him with the action. “You stupid son of a bitch!”

“Hey! No calling my mother names, okay?”

Michael tried to joke. He’d never seen Henderson this angry. Neither did he care to have all this anger directed at him. Sure, he could hold his own if necessary, but he was more a run-away-if-there’s-trouble kind of guy.

“Do you know who that was?”

“A drunk who shouldn’t set foot on school property?” Michael hazarded.

Henderson’s eyes narrowed to small slits when he replied, “His name is Joshua Stone, and he isn’t drunk. He’s a teaching assistant who works here.”

“He looked drunk to me.”

Henderson closed his eyes, obviously trying to rein in his temper, before he put a bit more distance between them. “Mr. Stone is disabled, hence the way he walks. It’s not always that obvious, but he was carrying books, a lot of books, which threw off his balance. He’s a very good teaching assistant. He doesn’t deserve to be laughed at by someone like you, who can’t even take care of himself.”

That stung.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the author:

Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChrisTKat
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christi_kat
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/ChrisTKat
Blog: http://christikat.blogspot.com
Amazon Author Page

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Tour Dates & Stops: June 3, 2015

Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, MM Good Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Multitasking Mommas, Full Moon Dreaming, Molly Lolly, Andrew Q. Gordon, Amanda C. Stone, 3 Chicks After Dark, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Bike Book Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bayou Book Junkie, Mikky’s World of Books, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, The Hat Party, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Charley Descoteaux, Chris McHart, Nephylim, Kristy’s Brain Food, Butterfly-O-Meter, Decadent Delights

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Chris T. Kat’s Jeff Woods Mystery collection, a three-book collection. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Head Into the Woods For Fantasy and Romance with Stephen del Mar’s The Live Oak Tales (author interview and giveaway)

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The Live Oak Series by Stephen del Mar:

Books in the series include…

Dark Love; The Bear, the Witch, and the Web; and Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf
Should be read in order

STRW In The Spotlight Header
Release Date: Book 1: Spring 2015, Books 2 & 3: May, 2015

In love with paranormal romance?  Want new tales with dragons, and shifters, and wolves, and love?  Check out the books that make up The Live Oak Tales by Stephen del Mar.  Blurbs and excerpts below.

My Interview with Stephen del Mar…

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Stephen del Mar author of The Live Oak Tales series. Hi Stephen, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Thanks, I’m very excited to be here. This is my first blog tour. Basic stuff about me: I’m a 54 year old gay man living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I have a background in media production and attended seminary for a while.

I’ve just finished and released “Hunter Moon & the Red Wolf,” which is the last book in “The Live Oak Tales.” This series is a fun and, at times, a quirky take on contemporary/paranormal fantasy. We have witches, faeries and a number of shifter folk all trying to do the right thing and live together. All of this is set in the Bennett Bay area on the Gulf Coast of Florida. A fun little place I’ve made up. I wanted a place where I could condense all of Florida into one county with a tourist town and backwater villages. I’ve been very influenced by the southern literary traditions and setting is always one of my main characters. A strong sense of place is a must for southern fiction, as is a bit of spirit, in whatever form that may take.

What book do you wish you could have written?

I honestly have no idea how to answer this. I’m in the process of writing everything I want to write. I’ve read a lot of very good books over the years, but if I’d written them they’d be different. Each writer has their own voice. Maybe I’m over thinking this and need more tea!

How important are names to you (in your books)? Do you choose names based on liking the way it sounds or meaning? How do you choose your names?

Names are really important to me. The sound of a name is really important as is the meaning. Sometimes characters come to me with their names in place. This is usually true of main characters. For minor ones, I search baby name sites for names that catch my eye. I also collect cool names for later use.

I move to my current location about a year ago and one of the streets I take to get home is Krycul. I just loved the harsh sound of that name. I knew I’d use it somewhere. In “Hunter Moon & the Red Wolf” I needed an evil guy that owned a meat packing plant. Krycul was it!

Were you already a great writer? Have you always enjoyed writing? How long have you been writing?

Okay, I’m not touching the “great” thing. 😉 I’ve wanted to write probably since high school, but two things stood in my way. One is I have dyslexia which makes writing a real bitch. I had to wait for computer technology to come around to assist me. The second is I’m a real pantser. That’s a writer who writes by the seat of their pants, without an outline, and discovers the story as it unfolds, much like the reader. Not one of my writing teachers in high school or college ever mentioned that this was a thing. Not one of those how to write book I bought over the years ever said you could just sit down and start writing. I imagine you can’t sell a lot of books that say, just write.

Outlines freeze me up for some reason. For thirty years, I was in this stuck state, then a writer friend of mine visited and took me to task for not writing. So I told her what I mentioned above and she looked at me like the fool I was. First she said, well there are these people called editors and proof readers that can help me clean up the spelling issues. Then she told me to just sit down and write. You don’t need an outline. Lots of writers don’t use them. Everyone writes different. Really? They couldn’t put that in a book?

So the best writing advice I can give: Just do it. Early drafts are supposed to be messy. There are people to help with that, if you need it. And most importantly, find what works for you. Go back to the first part, butt in chair and write. Finish what you write. Get it edited and beta read, publish the sucker and move on. Seems so easy now.

Which character, from any of your books, do you consider your greatest work?

There’s that word again. I really like Dieter in “Dark Love.” It’s a first person story so we get into his head. He’s gone through a lot and he’s become somewhat of a jerk. I think it’s fun to see him realize that and wrestle with it. He really doesn’t want to be a jerk, especially to his closest friends and his new boyfriend, but bless his heart, sometimes he just can’t help himself.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

Hobbies? Oh, yeah, those things I did before I started writing. I used to really be into aquariums. I had fish tanks everywhere and I also really enjoyed photography, it was my minor in college. But writing has taken over all of my free time. If I’m not at the Evil Day Job, I’m doing something writing related. And I really like hanging with my imaginary friends.

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: LMW Books

Sales Links:

“Slay me,” said the dragon.  Buy At Amazon
Dark Love   Buy At Amazon
The Bear, the Witch and the Web   Buy At Amazon
Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf  Buy At Amazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

About The Live Oak Tales

The Live Oak Tales is a paranormal/contemporary fantasy series set in the wider Stories from Bennett Bay collection by Stephen del Mar. The series consists of one short story (“Slay me,” said the dragon.), which serves as a standalone prequel and three novels, Dark Love, The Bear, the Witch and the Web, and Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf.

  • “Slay me,” said the dragon. is a tongue-in-cheek look at a romantic encounter between a dragon and a slayer. It sets up the mythology of dragon shifters that runs through the rest of the series.
  • Dark Love, a metaphor for gay love, takes us from the ordinary world of the Bennett Bay, a Gulf-side tourist town in Florida, to the tiny, backwater village of Live Oak. Dieter Reinhold, the proprietor of a trendy café in Bennett Bay’s Spanish Quarter travels back to Live Oak to deal with the death of his great uncle, the man that raised him as a father. While there, he learns there are more interesting creatures in the woods than he ever imagined. He discovers that magic, witches, and undying love are real.
  • In The Bear, the Witch and the Web, Innes Callahan and the circle of witches we met in Dark Love are facing a number of crises. The greatest of which is that the faeries are missing. In fact, all the enchantment seems to be gone from the Jumble, the wild woods adjacent to the farm. They need to find the faeries and discover who the new Witch of the Wood will be.
  • The final book in the series, Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf, finds the Circle still in disarray as Janos Pac tries to come into his own as the new Witch of the Woods. This is complicated by a plot by the dragons and wolves returning to Florida after nearly a hundred years, but are they really wolves?

These books are on the lighter side of the paranormal spectrum with a fair bit of humor. However, they do touch on deeper issues. Dark Love explores loss, grief, and what it means to hide one’s love. The stories also explore what it means to make hard choices about our path in life; and, an overarching theme is the changing nature of family as we move through life. How we move from our family of birth to the family we create with friends and lovers.
Pages or Words:
“Slay me,” said the dragon: 45 pages
Dark Love: 398 pages
The Bear, the Witch, & the Web: 153 pages
Hunter Moon & Red Wolf: 249 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy. (Book two also includes an older main character.)

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Excerpt from Dark Love: Book 1 in the Live Oak Tales
Setup: Dieter is alone at the family’s old farmhouse after the death of his uncle. His ex-lover and still good friend Innes comes over to comfort him. Innes finds the mysterious silver box Dieter found out in the barn, which seems to have human ash in it. Innes warns him that it might be dangerous. Innes is a witch and Dieter thinks magic is bull. Innes calls in his mentor, Flora May Crawford, to help him convince Dieter there is danger afoot. It doesn’t work. Later, Innes calls back with another warning for Dieter. It doesn’t make him think Innes is any less crazy.

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Of course that was the moment my phone made the little nose-twitch tinkle-tinkle. I sighed, go with the flow and remember you love him.
I picked up the phone. “Hello, Innes.”
“Didn’t you get my text?” He sounded flustered.
“No. I haven’t looked at my phone. I’ve had other things on my mind.”
“Oh. Right. Well, what are you doing?”
“Sitting naked in the kitchen having soup and a sandwich.”
“Why?”
“Because I was hungry. What do you want?”
He didn’t say anything for a moment. I heard the creak of a screen door and the chirping of frogs. He must have moved outside onto Flora May’s front porch. “Look,” he said, “Flora May just got back from the faeries.” He paused like he expected me to comment. I had nothing.
“She’s not telling me a lot. Said they’re pretty agitated about the whole thing.”
Again the pause. Again I was silent; although I was worrying my grip on the phone would reach its crush point.
“Dieter, you gotta promise me to take this seriously.”
Actually, I didn’t have to promise him anything.
“Dieter?”
“Yes?”
I heard him swallow. “Tonight is a full moon.”
“So? It happens every twenty-eight days from what I understand.”
“Fuck.” He was agitated. “Listen, whatever you do, don’t jack-off in that box under the full moon.”
My mind kicked into neutral and spun its gears as it tried to make sense of the string of words it just received. Because they didn’t make any sense and they kept coming.
He continued. “I mean it. Whatever you do, do not mix your semen with that ash in the full moonlight.”
Some emergency back-up system took over. My thumb slid over my phone and ended the call. I stood up, opened the fridge and pulled a beer out. I twisted the top off and dropped it on the table. I pushed my way through the swinging door into the living room. As I fell back onto the couch, I tried to imagine a world where the idea of masturbating into a box of human ash existed, let alone the need to warn someone not to do that. Ohhh, I’m gonna cum, make sure the drapes are pulled and the lids are on all the urns, ‘cause we don’t want our spunk and ash and moonlight to mix! ‘Cause that will start the zombie apocalypse or something.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the author:
Stephen del Mar is a fresh voice in Southern Gay Fiction. His Bennett Bay collection of books and stories explore life in that unique corner of the American South known as Florida. He also writes fantasy and science-fiction. Del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay region of Florida and enjoys Key Lime Pie and mango margaritas, but not at the same time.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.delmar.5
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephendelMar
Website: http://www.stephendelmar.com

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Ebook copy of Dark Love, Book 1 in the Live Oak Tales. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops:
1-Jun
Bayou Book Junkie
Rainbow Gold Reviews

2-Jun
Parker Williams
My Fiction Nook

3-Jun
Molly Lolly
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

4-Jun
Divine Magazine
MM Good Book Reviews
Havan Fellows

5-Jun
BFD Book Blog