A MelanieM Review: Blue on Black by Carole Cummings


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Blue on Black coverKimolijah Adani—Class 2 gridTech, beloved brother, most promising student the Academy’s ever had the privilege of calling their own, genius mechanical gridstream engineer, brilliantly pioneering inventor… and dead man. But that’s what happens when a whiz kid messes with dynamic crystals and, apparently, comes to the attention of Baron Petra Stanslo. Killed for his revolutionary designs, Kimolijah Adani had been set to change the world with his impossible train that runs on nothing more than gridstream locked in a crystal. Technically it shouldn’t even be possible, but there is no doubt it works.

Bas is convinced the notoriously covetous and corrupt Stanslo had something to do with Kimolijah Adani’s tragic and suspicious end. A Directorate Tracker, Bas has finally managed to catch the scent of Kimolijah Adani’s killer, and it leads right into Stanslo’s little desert barony. For almost three years, Bas has tried to find a way into Stanslo’s Bridge, and when he finally makes it, shock is too small a word for what—or, rather, whom—he finds there.

I am often at a loss as to how to categorize a Carole Cummings novel.  Sometimes its fantasy, or alternate universe, or steampunk or a bit of all of those.  But no matter how  you want to classify them,  the fact remains that Carole Cummings is one of the most inventive, imaginative storyteller out there.  Cummings’ Wolf’s -Own series, stories I love, is a perfect example with its blending of cultural mythology, action/adventure, mystery and romance.  So I was very excited to see a new book, Blue on Black, was being released by DSP Publications.  Did the new story meet my high expectation for a Carole  Cummings novel?  A resounding yes in every way.

Our main narrator, Bas, provides our view into his bleak, tech driven world.  Its a place where a catastrophic event or series of events has changed both the political and  natural landscape…for the worse. Bas’ society runs by and is dependant on its psionic gridTechs, of varying strengths and abilities.  These techs, few by nature, are in so much demand that they are often captured, or kidnapped to be sold at a sort of Underground Tech Black Market.   Bas is a Directorate Tracker and its his job (along with his fellow trackers) to find the missing Techs, shutdown whatever operation or group had them, and return  them to the Directorate.  Its a tough, often perilous job that often means working undercover. Only now Bas is being sent undercover to do not only his job as a tracker but to cover for a dead Directorate agent as well.  Why?  Because someone has to get into the town of Stanslo’s Bridge, no matter the cost.  An evil is spreading out from there and at its heart is the Baron Stanslo.

I love a book that just sweeps me along, pulling me into worlds and situations so fantastical that I felt like whooping with glee.   That’s Blue on Black, where we go from the territory and city of the Directorate to the wild, wild west of the badlands or lost lands that surrounds the town that is the domain of an insane tyrant.  There is only one way in and out.  To take any other route means death,  given the strange creatures that exist out there and the extreme uninhabitable landscape.  The  tales shifts from high  tech to wild west steampunk, and gets richer in description and sheer inventiveness.

What else pulled me in ? An element that had me sold from the beginning. Remember the old movie “Laura”?  It’s one where a detective is investigating the murder of a young woman and falls in love with her portrait and the person she was from the pieces gathered from  his interviews.  From its haunting theme song to its film noir atmosphere, it remains a favorite and that element happens here.  Bas is fixated on Kimolijah Adani—Class 2 gridTech whose death has hit everyone hard whether they knew him or not.  Kimo was a genius on the brink of a major discovery   concerning the  Techgrid when he died.  And Bas can’t get him out of his head.  From Kimo’s writings to his photographs, the deceased psyTech is contantly in Bas’  thoughts.

His journey to hell and discover starts at the broken down train station, the one with a corpse of a scryTech nailed to the door.  Bas takes one barely running steam run train and then must switch to another (all in the company of some of the tyrant’s gang).  Here is Bas in the second train:

It’s different than any train Bas has ever been on before. Instead of the heavy ka-chunk ka-chunk of wheels on tracks, there’s more of a wheezy hum, smoother somehow, and it just has a lighter feel to it. Instead of the thick haze of stoke smoke and steam, there’s a hot reek of burnt gridstream and a charge to the air. It’s sort of exhilarating, because Bas has no doubt whatsoever he’s riding on a train that’s being powered solely by gridTech, and he’s pretty sure he’s one of a very few to even see something like this, let alone get a demonstration. It takes a little bit, but it does eventually occur to him that that’s likely the reason for the switch and the way station. Harrowgate is isolated, yeah, and even more so now that there’s no more relay office, but people do live there, and rumors do find a way of traveling long distances. If Stanslo doesn’t want anyone outside of his little desert barony to know he’s got what looks to Bas like a train that runs on independent gridstream, then he’d do best not to let them see it at all.

I was right, Bas thinks again and blinks when his jaw clamps too tight and his eyes narrow down to angry slits. Kimolijah Adani was killed for his designs. And now I’m riding into hell’s teeth on one of them.

And what Bas finds when he finally enters Stanslo’s Bridge is shocking, bleak and terrifying.  What’s worse?  Bas has to fit in as one of Stanslo’s enforcers.  This story is full of heartbreak, pain, death, magnificent inventions and hope.  I moved from one emotion to the next, swept along by Cumming’s vision and  amazing characters.  I felt so connected to them all because each person felt alive and believable, no matter the circumstances.

DSP Publications releases stories where romance is not the main element in the plot.  There is some here but for those looking for unadulterated passion and romance?  That is not Blue on Black.  What I found here was so satisfying and complete that I never felt the lack of any element.  But others might.   This is not a hearts and flowers story by any means.

I won’t go further, too many spoilers would pop up but the beauty of Cumming’s language sinks you  deeper into this story and characters, the words can transport even while making you believe in the ugly, mean, stripped down place that is Stanislo’s Bridge.   At times, I found myself holding my breath, tense, waiting for the next awful thing to happen, the suspense darn near killing me.  At  other times, I just marveled at the people trying to hold onto their lives, no matter how miserable the Baron had made them, that sense of hope floats over the story like a hawk in flight.  And that ending,, a perfectHFN, sings with a fierce joy and  lyricism  that makes me read it over and over again.

This is a book to relish, one to hunker down with and read in one session.  I highly recommend Blue On Black by Carole Cummings,  In fact, I recommend all of Cummings stories.  Pick this one up and get started today.

Cover art by Anne Cain.  I like the cover.  But it doesn’t contain any of the  darkness that fills the story.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications |   Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 380 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by DSP Publications
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dsppublications.com/ *

[Note: DSP Publications is a non romance imprint of Dreamspinner PRess.  DSP Publications books and stories are not meant to have a romantic element, although some do.  Those looking for total romance should turn to Dreamspinner Press].

A Stella Review: Strange Bedfellows by Cardeno C


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Strange Bedfellows coverCan the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

As the sole offspring of the Democratic United States president and his political operative wife, Trevor Moga was raised in an environment driven by the election cycle. During childhood, he fantasized about living in a made-for-television family, and as an adult, he rejected all things politics and built a highly successful career as far from his parents as possible.

Newly elected congressman Ford Hollingsworth is Republican royalty. The grandson of a revered governor and son of a respected senator, he was bred to value faith, family, and the goal of seeing a Hollingsworth in the White House.

When Trevor and Ford meet, sparks fly and a strong friendship is formed. But can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

Cardeno C will always have a  special spot in my heart. She was one of the first m/m authors I read and some of her books are in my “all time favorite” shelf. So you can imagine my enthusiasm every time she writes a new story. I enjoyed Strange Bedfellows even if I was a little hesitant. I always stay away from books about politics, most of all because I don’t live in the USA.  I ‘m not so sure if what I’m going to read it will match the reality of the current politics or not. Of course I made an exception for Cardeno, I couldn’t resist. And I didn’t regret my choice.  In a way the book was almost shallow (in a good sense), because it didn’t address political aspects, even if it is full of characters that breathed politics since their birth. To me it was better, definitely easier to follow a story otherwise too heavy and not very romantic. Giving the subject I wasn’t expecting something so light and easy, which I so appreciated. I read it in one stand and loved it.

The story between Ford, the 37 years old republican congressman, son of a democratic senator and Trevor, the 42 years old son of the democratic president of the USA was sweet, funny and sexy. A couple of things I particularly liked: first of all I loved how Trevor wasn’t once mad at Ford for being in the closet. He never pressed him to come out, he was always understanding and accepting of Ford’s fears and doubts. Then  there was Ford. He was my favorite character, so loyal to the family and to a career even when it interfered with his love life and forced him to be in the closet. He had duties and commitments that he couldn’t forget, especially with his father’s delicate health. But there was just one tiny problem, the situation between Ford and Trevor was not just a fling, a friends with benefit thing, they were in love with each other. How to solve it?

The title fit the story very well, cause the Strange Bedfellows is made of each time Ford and Trevor met at hotels to stay together, not to just have sex, but to talk, to know each other better and to Ford to discover how to be out in his family’s world. There are some funny moments too and an amazing HEA, in a true Cardeno’s style. I gave it just four stars cause although it was sweet, it lacked of hot parts and the ending seemed to me a little rushed, I would have preferred a couple of chapters more, not cause I’m greedy, but because it would have deserved more time to develop.

Shortly, if you’re a Cardeno fan you have to read Strange Bedfellows, I’m sure you will love it. If she is a new to you author, this story could be a lovely way to become addicted to her characters.

Cover art by Jay Aheer. What can I say about the cover? Not perfect or eye catching but well done. It is okay, nothing more.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 174 pages
Published June 26th 2015 by Smashwords Edition

A Sammy Review: Tin Man (Bliss #1.5) by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Everything in his life that should have been profound had been nameless. Life and death, fucking and killing—it should have been profound. It should have resonated. He wanted it to, with Ace. He just wanted something to matter, for once.

Tin Man coverAshoka “Ace” King is known as a crim, as are most people living in District Three. Between Morality Laws and rules that target those without jobs or homes, life in Tophet isn’t easy for those not in the upper realms of society. On top of it all, they all have to be on the constant look out for the ATU, a police force known to kill at random.

One unlucky night, Ace runs into a member of the ATU. He’s forced to make a split-second decision that puts his life in danger and makes him a target for the ATU. What he doesn’t expect is for that decision to lead him to Soren Lau, the ATU agent who just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger when ordered.

After a sordid tryst, the two become irrevocably entwined. But they’re on two different sides, and when fate brings them together yet another time, they both have to make a choice and decide which side they want to end up on.

“What would you do?” he asked. “If you were me, standing at the edge of the world. Would you run back toward solid ground, or would you jump?”

“I caught you once, didn’t I?”

One of my favorite things in books is when they are able to build this world that feels so vivid it’s nearly tangible. I was hoping to get that out of this book, and I did. The authors managed to weave in details of life in Tophet without making the book heavy with them, they intrigued me as a reader and made a society that I felt lucky to get to see and lucky to not have to live in… or do I?

Sometimes I think I can read a bit too much into things. My career involves social justice and advocacy, so upon reading this, bells went off in my head. A society where the people meant to protect us are causing harm, particularly to those in poverty? A society that marks people as criminals like it’s a brand that will forever be embedded in their skin? A society divided not by right and wrong but by the money in your pocket? So yeah, let’s just say I connected with that, and as much as it pained me, it was so wonderfully done. This society that is labeled as dystopian but somehow resembles bits of our own? If that’s not intriguing and thought-provoking, I don’t know what is.

But onto other matters, the characters. Ace and Soren together managed to create this almost devastating couple that shouldn’t work but did. Soren is questioning his role and all he’s dedicated himself to, and Ace is struggling just to survive. But these characters are anything but weak. Being able to watch them in their own battles was a real treat, especially when it resulted in their growth.

My absolute biggest complaint is that I wanted more. It ended just as it was getting good, and while I was satisfied to an extent, I definitely will be wanting more not only of this universe, but also these characters. Where do they go from here? I don’t know. I hope that I’ll find out though.

I really appreciate the cover art by L.C. Chase. It is very simple but provides a stark image and helps me visualize Soren without giving me all the intricacies of detail that readers like to fill in for themselves.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing  |  All Romance |  Amazon  | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 134 pages
Expected publication: July 20th 2015 by Riptide
edition languageEnglish
seriesBliss #1.5

Tin Man by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau – A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Must Read!



Tin Man cover

Tin Man (Bliss #1.5)
by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

Riptide Publishing
Goodreads Link – Add It To Your Bookshelf
Cover Artist:  L. C. Chase

Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing  |

We have Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau here today to talk about Tin Man, their latest release.  Need a new book to read? Check out Tin Man by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau – A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Must Read! And don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the tour contest!


Hi! Welcome to Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau’s blog tour for our new release, Tin Man. We’re visiting some of our favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Tin Man, and sharing some of our influences, our ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!

Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Tin Man. In this excerpt, Soren is back at headquarters after his encounter with Ace, and afraid his superiors will find out exactly what happened:

 Excerpt from Tin Man:

“Rookie? Hey, rookie, you still with me here?”
Soren swayed a little as Ruby helped him out of the back of the truck. His boots hit the ground, jarring his bones.
“Come on,” she said. She unhooked her water bottle from her belt and gave it to him. “You got yourself a nice concussion, rookie. Don’t pass out on me.”
It wasn’t his concussion making him dizzy. It was fear. Soren unscrewed the lid of the bottle and took a mouthful. He swirled it around and spat. The water stained the asphalt black. Soren watched it spread into the tiny cracks and slowly bleed away.
The rest of the team headed for the showers and locker room. One or two of them clapped him on the shoulder as they passed, but most didn’t. Soren glanced at Ruby, at his helmet held under her arm, and wondered what the feed had showed Command.
He took another swig of water and washed his mouth out again.
She took the bottle from him. “Let’s get you to the medical unit.”
He followed her inside. The sudden shift from sunlight to shade blinded him for a moment, and he didn’t know if Ruby’s hand on his shoulder was to guide him or restrain him. He blinked, waiting for the world to come back into focus, waiting for the blue shapes burned on his retina to vanish.
She steered him down the corridor.
Inside the medical unit, Captain Bernhardt was waiting with the doctors. “Lau.”
“Sir.” Soren tried not to read anything into the way that the captain’s gaze slid slowly over him. How much did he know? The worst thing he could possibly do, Soren knew, was to start offering up excuses too early. Innocent men didn’t do that. Only guilty men and weak men. In this place, they were the same thing.
“Clothes off,” the doctor said, stepping forward.
Soren bent down to remove his boots and socks. Then he tugged his shirt off and dropped it into the bag that the doctor held out. An evidence bag? God. His fingers fumbled with the button of his fly—all he could remember suddenly were Ace’s fingers sliding over his skin, making the muscles in his abdomen dance—then he shucked off his pants and underwear.
“Some abrasions and contusions,” the doctor said. “I’ll document them now and take the photographs in a day or two once the bruising comes up.”
He was talking to Captain Bernhardt, Soren realized, not him. Soren was a piece of evidence now. In some ways, it made things easier. It was useful to disengage himself from this for now, to move how the doctor wanted him to move, to stretch this way or bend that way, and not have to feel the humiliation a person might, with all these gazes on him. He was trembling, though. Couldn’t stop that.
“Hands on the edge of the table,” the doctor said. “Bend over.”
At least Ruby looked away for that indignity. Soren squeezed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth. Easy to submit to the humiliation of it when he knew it wouldn’t reveal anything incriminating. The fact that they were examining him there at all, though . . . Why do it in the first place if they didn’t suspect anything?
The doctor moved away at last. Soren straightened up and turned around again.
Then the doctor was back, with a swab. “Open your mouth.”
Soren caught Ruby’s gaze as the doctor poked the swab around. Did she guess why he’d washed his mouth out with her water? Why he’d done it twice? He watched as the doctor slid the swab into a plastic tube and had to fight the crazy urge to reach out and grab it back. There was no point panicking about what the swab might tell Command when his own words might condemn him yet.
Ruby looked away. Yeah, Soren was fucked.
“Okay, Lau.” Bernhardt held out a fresh set of clothes—a white undershirt and boxers. Nothing else.
Soren dressed. His body ached. The doctor didn’t offer him any painkillers, but it didn’t matter. Just because nobody had accused him of anything didn’t mean they weren’t suspicious. Didn’t mean he was in the clear.
Soren knew the worst was yet to come.

Petty thief Ashoka “Ace” King knows better than to get in the way of Tophet’s Anti-Terrorist Unit. Rightfully feared in Tophet’s crime-ridden underbelly, a face-to-face encounter with an ATU is almost certainly a death sentence. But Ace has never been one to follow the rules.

Soren Lau might be an ATU rookie, but he’s not naive enough to believe everything his superiors tell him. Then again, he’s not stupid enough to disobey them, either. If he doesn’t shoot and kill as ordered, he might be next on their list.

But when Soren meets Ace, a moment’s hesitation is all it takes to put both their lives on the line. They don’t know each other, they don’t trust each other, and there’s no way in hell they can both walk away from this alive. But with suspicion and mortal danger mounting against both of them—and the forbidden attraction blazing between them—there’s nothing they can do but try.

Tin Man is out on July 20. You can order it now at Riptide.

Author Bios:

Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa:

Blog: http://www.lisahenryonline.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaHenryOnline
Goodreads: http://http//www.goodreads.com/LisaHenry

Heidi Belleau

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.

She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)

When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

Connect with Heidi:

Blog: http://www.heidibelleau.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HeidiBelleau
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/heidibelleau
Email:  mailto:heidi.below.zero@gmail.com


Each comment on this blog tour enters you for a chance to win a $20 Riptide credit and an ecopy of Bliss, the first book set in this universe. Entries close July 25, and contest is not restricted to US residents. Remember to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you win!

In the Book Spotlight: The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1) by Charlotte Ashe by Charlotte Ashe (excerpt and Giveaway)


TheSidhe 1600px Cover-Front

The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1) by Charlotte Ashe

The Sidhe revised final

Release Date: July 21, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/32040943-charlotte-ashe#_=_
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Sarah Sanderson


Sales Links: Interlude PressAmazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Since his childhood, Brieden Lethiscir has admired The Sidhe, the beautiful and magical beings native to the Faerie world outside his homeland of Villalu. Though he grew up in a culture accepting of Sidhe enslavement by Villalu’s elite, Brieden finds that he can no longer tolerate the practice when he becomes a steward to Prince Dronyen, who is viciously abusive of his sidhe slave Sehrys. Captivated by the handsome and mysterious sidhe slave, Brieden vows to free and return Sehrys to his homeland.
As they escape the capital and navigate a treacherous path to the border, Breiden and Sehrys grow close. Breiden soon learns both the true power of The Sidhe, and that the world that he thought he knew is not what it once seemed. If they survive to reach the border, he will have to make a choice: the love of his life, or the fate of his world.

Pages or Words: 442 pages

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

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The sidhe was tall, supple and lithe, as all sidhe tended to be, with milk-pale skin that glowed like moonlight over lean, taut muscles. Like all the others before him, he was naked, giving potential buyers a full picture of what they were bidding on.
And he was extraordinary, head to toe.
His chin-length hair was violet-red and it gleamed in the afternoon sun. His lips were pink and delicate with a pronounced bow, his nose had a narrow, smooth slope and his eyes…
His eyes.
It wasn’t that they were the most incredible color imaginable: a storm of deep, contrasting, impossible greens unlike any Brieden had ever seen. And it wasn’t that they were large and almond- shaped beneath a fan of plum-colored lashes.
It was that they were full to the brim with life.
Never before had Brieden seen a sidhe slave with such lively and expressive eyes, even as he stood for auction. Those eyes were not dull or defeated in the slightest. Wary, yes, and utterly devoid of trust, but also blazing.
Blazing like the eyes of that sidhe Brieden had seen at the riverbank when he was twelve years old— the only free sidhe Brieden had ever had the chance to behold.
The elf stood on that platform as if he owned it. As if he were judging every human man before him, and not the other way around.
He tucked a lock of hair behind a delicately pointed elfin ear, then jutted his chin to reveal a chiseled jaw that contrasted beautifully against his tender features.
And though he knew it was insane, Brieden was quite sure that he was in love.

 STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Charlotte Ashe is a social worker by day and a writer of romantic fantasy by night.  A long-time fan of speculative fiction that skews feminist and features LGBTQ characters, Charlotte loves writing stories that are sexy, heartfelt, and full of magic and adventure. She has put her B.A. in literature and creative writing to use over the years as a writer of online fan-based fiction, and her most popular work has drawn more than one million readers worldwide, been translated into several languages, and been featured in online publications including The Backlot.

Charlotte lives in Portland, Maine and can be found sleeping at the beach all summer and clomping along the cobblestones in her Bean boots all winter, writing fairytales in her head to distract from the cold.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotte-Ashe/1416233241994204
Twitter: @CobwebsandAshes
Website: https://www.CharlotteAshe.com

 STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contestants must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card; also, five multi-format eBoook editions of THOAW: The Sidhe
Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tour Dates & Stops:
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MM Good Book Reviews
Multitasking Mommas

My Fiction Nook
Carly’s Book Reviews
Bike Book Reviews

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
The Novel Approach

Parker Williams
Bayou Book Junkie

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BFD Book Blog

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Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Amanda C. Stone

Inked Rainbow Reads

Molly Lolly
Rainbow Gold Reviews

Early Bird Book Chat: Ingela Boehm on Four Centuries of Gay Love and Not Safe For Work (guest post)


Not Safe For Work cover

Not Safe For Work by Ingela Boehm
Released July 6, 2015

Sales Links:   All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

We are pleased to have Ingela Boehm here today to talk a little about her latest release and blog about “Four Centuries of Gay Love”.

Four Centuries of Gay Love by Ingela Boehm

With the release of Not Safe For Work, my exploration of gay love now spans four centuries. Of course, there are many advantages to sticking to one genre – historical or contemporary – but I’m just too curious and too easily bored for that. I want every book to feel fresh to me, and one way of doing that is to jump between different eras.

It also gives rise to an interesting question: what is different about being in love nowadays compared to earlier times? Of course I can only speculate. In Rival Poet, I looked at how a same-sex romance might develop in a time when homosexuality wasn’t even an extant term. Back then, ‘sodomy’ was regarded as a kind of nymphomania: sodomites were so oversexed that women weren’t enough for them, they had to have men too. It was also a capital offence, which meant that you could be hanged for it. Luckily, the authorities tended to turn a blind eye as long as you were discreet.

My main character, Will Shakespeare, conceals his attraction to fellow poet Kit Marlowe because he fears for his life and reputation. The only one who guesses what’s going on – Will’s best friend Richard Burbage – accepts him for what he is, but would rather not know the particulars of his love life. Will is extremely lucky to have such an accepting friend, and he keeps the secret from everyone else.

Then again, maybe Will is a bit too careful. In the theater world, love between men is more or less an open secret.

In the 1970’s, which is the period for my ongoing series about rock band Pax, things have changed. Not long before 1975, when the first book begins, a law was passed in the UK that made it legal for gay people over 21 to make love. While many people still regarded it as a sickness, others embraced it and battled for equal rights. In the Pax series, Jamie and Michael learn to walk the tightrope of those shifting attitudes at the same time that they work on their musical career – a difficult task even without the added tension of being in love with the wrong person.

Finally, in my latest release Not Safe For Work, I take a look at how a gay relationship might develop today, when much of life takes place on social media. In the book, Jakob and Leo live in a world where public opinion has changed so much that homosexuality is seen as everyday and completely undramatic. Of course, their road to love is still not bump free: because what happens if everyone believes that you’re in a relationship with your best friend when you’re really not? How do you deny the rumors if people around you are not only fine with it, but they root for you? What if they would even be disappointed if you told them it wasn’t true?

Through social media, Jakob’s most private self is laid out for the world to see. It would be bad enough if only his closest friends were fooled by the prank, but the stories about him and Leo go viral and garner a cult following of young women who perpetuate their fake love story by writing their own ‘fics.’ It becomes a global phenomenon, and it’s all a lie – or maybe it’s not? Maybe that’s what’s most terrifying of all: that there might be a grain of truth in those stories. Even as Jakob realizes that he must deny that there’s anything going on between him and Leo, something holds him back. And although the stories disgust him, he’s unable to stop reading them.

So the characters in Not Safe For Work should really be able to date without problem, but it’s the author’s job to throw a spanner in the works. I like to torture my men, to make them struggle with their identities – and not only their sexuality. If I were asked to summarize my writing with one word, I would say ‘self-acceptance.’ In upcoming works, my characters face issues like class privilege, body image, guilt, prejudice and social exclusion.

That said, I do believe Jakob is the one I treat the worst. His battle is fought in the public eye, when he would really need a vacation on a desert island to digest what’s happening.

Oh well. I didn’t give him that. But I did give him Leo, and that has to be some small comfort.

~ Ingela Boehm


Not Safe For Work cover

Blurb for Not Safe For Work…

It’s Jakob’s birthday, and boy is he getting a surprise. His friend Leo has written a sexy blog about the two of them — all untrue, of course. Or is it? Identity hijacked, fake love life laid out for the world to see, Jakob is devastated. He should deny it all, but he can’t stop reading. Soon, he’ll have to confront Leo, but he’s afraid — can there be a tiny grain of truth in those stories?

About Author Ingela Boehm:

Ingela Bohm is a sucker for music and words, and whenever the two go together, she’s on board for the long haul. Every story she tries her hand at turns into a love story at some point, but that’s just her sentimental nature making itself known. She occasionally pretends to be a human being (as long as there are no dogs present), and she spends an obscene amount of time in front of really well-made TV series, trying to riddle out how the hell the bastards do it. Her current projects include part three of the Pax Cymrica series, a twisted, darker story called Mindfuck, and a vampire dystopia.  Currently lives in

You can contact/follow Ingela at:  Goodreads Author Page | Website | Twitter