A MelanieM Review: New Lease of Life by Lillian Francis

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

New Lease On LifePhillip used to laugh a lot, back when his friends called him Pip. However the good deed that left him hospitalized not only marred his body, it stripped him of his good humor too. Ever since, he has pushed his friends away and shut out the world. Donating his vintage clothing to a charity shop should have been the final act in a year-long campaign to sever the links with the man Pip used to be, but the stranger on his doorstep awakens feelings in Pip that he hasn’t experienced since the incident that left him angry at the world and reliant on the cold metal of the hideous hospital-issue crutch.

Colby forces his way into Pip’s life, picking at the scab of his past. Colby isn’t interested in Pip’s money or his expensive address. He has only one goal: to make Pip smile again. With every moment in Pip’s presence, Colby chips away at the walls Pip has built around himself. Pip knows it’s impossible to fight his attraction with Colby’s sunny disposition casting light into the darkness in his soul.

Once again, Lillian Francis has written a story and characters guaranteed to capture your heart.  From the moment you and Colby meet the broken Pip,  something about this damaged man will call out to you. So much so that, like Colby,  you’re pulled through that door and into the wreckage of Pip’s life.

As the second chime faded away, Colby heard an odd thudsqueakcurse, thudsqueakcurse, thudsqueakcurse that got progressively louder the longer he stood poised with his finger still hovering near the bell press. Dropping his hand back to his side, Colby leaned closer to the door, hoping to make out the individual sounds, but they were muffled by the thick wood.

“You only need to press the bell once,” said the angry young man whose face appeared in the gap as the door was opened. “I should get a plaque saying ‘Cripple lives here. Be patient.’” This last part appeared to be muttered more to himself before he returned his brusque attention back to Colby. “What d’you want?”

What follows is an angry, sad, sharp, concise little conversation that makes you want to know that young man banging about inside his place, a place you’ll find out that all but screams of happier times and abandonment.

And suddenly you want to make it better, you want Colby to make it better.  Later it becomes to help Pip make it better for himself.

What an amazing story which is all the more so because there isn’t a lot of drama or angst.  That has already happened.  This is about healing, the recovery.  And it happens in stages just as it should.

Phillip Longhampton had once been an astonishing man, a dandy as it were, well known for as the flamboyant Pip with his vintage impeccable dress, his clothes blog, his outgoing nature, all destroyed by one good deed gone horribly  wrong.  Now Phillip once more, he hides away with his disability,  having removed himself from his old life, clothes included.

Lillian Francis’ vivid descriptions and thorough research make both the old and present Pip come  alive for us.  We see him through the photographs Colby sees of his clothing, the care and quality as well as the deep affection in which Pip still hold his valued collection, whether he will admit it or not.  The portrait we gather together of the man is one we see a piece at a time.  First snarly and in pain, and then as more and more of his past is filled in, we see the man he was and is slowly becoming again.

As the character of Pip fills in, the one of Colby fleshes out as well  The reader gets to know both men as they get to know each other.  Its a lovely technique and it deepens this romance to one quite out of the ordinary.  Of course there is nothing ordinary about either of these two.  I could see the clothes but how I wish I could visit the shoppes as well.  And yes, I want that cane.

The relationship builds to the perfect climax, and although I could see it coming, it didn’t spoil the wonder and joy that I knew that scene would bring.  Really, so, so, marvelous.

Oh, and don’t miss out on that fun glossary at the beginning.  I had no idea what the traditional definition of a cockney was, I do now.  Bow Bells and Cheapside indeed.

This is a story to treasure and Lillian Francis an author to put on autobuy.  This is just so well written, its entertaining and just such a lovely romance. I so highly recommend them both.   Make it your New Year’s resolution to seek them both out and find out why!

Cover art Paul Richmond.  I never thought I would say this.  But this cover absolutely doesn’t work for the characters especially, how could anyone think they would represent Pip or Colby is beyond me.  When you read the book you’ll be shaking your head along with me.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published December 25th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish





A Stella Advent Story Review: The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever by B.G. Thomas

Rating: 4,25 out of 5 stars

The Beary Best Holiday Party EverBefore he discovered the Heartland Bear Clan, Ron Corbin figured no one could ever love a “fatass” like him. But the big group of big men accepts him, and likes him just the way he is. Having finally found a place he belongs, he works hard to get elected president of the club—and wins. He’s the happiest he’s ever been.

But Paddy Brennan, a sexy bear cub who blew into town and became Mr. Popular overnight, is elected vice-president. Ron doesn’t think Paddy has earned the honor, and now he’ll have to work shoulder to shoulder (and belly to belly) with the guy for a year.

Ron will do what’s best for the club even if that means setting his personal feeling—that Paddy is a jerk—aside. But then as the two men get to know each other, Ron reluctantly finds he not only likes the guy, but is growing more and more attracted to him.

Deep down, Ron still worries he isn’t good enough, but maybe Paddy can show him there’s a beary happy ending waiting for them after all.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever was a great surprise, well written and so realistic. Finally a story with normal characters, physically imperfect like us. The dialogues were all true and believable and I soon connected with Ron and his funny mind. The whole short was really awesome but I want more, I want Billy’s book. The bootylicious drag queen took my heart.

If you’re looking for a quick but well developed story, full of humor and sweet times, this new one by BG Thomas is highly recommended. I already have my eyes on a couple more of books by this new to me author.

The cover art by Catt Ford is really well done and fitting. Cute too.

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


Kindle Edition, 81 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calenda



AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Beary-Holiday-Party-Advent-Calendar-ebook/dp/B018RVC1NW


Like Your Romance Superpowered? Check out ‘Stronger, Better, Faster, More’ by Carlin Grant and Katey Hawthorne (guest post and giveaway)


Stronger, Better, Faster, More by Carlin Grant and Katey Hawthorne

Publisher: Loose Id LLC
Release Date:12/29/2015
Cover Artist Mina Carter

Buy it here at Loose id or other links here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Carlin Grant and Katey Hawthorne here today to talk about their latest story, Stronger, Better, Faster, More and Superpowers.  Welcome, Carlin and Katey!  Tell us more!


Superpowers we Love by Carlin Grant and Katey Hawthorne

Thanks so much for letting us stop by today, Melanie. For our book birthday, Carlin and I decided to talk about a major theme of our new book, Stronger, Better, Faster, More: SUPERPOWERS. What we love, both personally and to write. Read on, and remember to enter our giveaway.

Katey: So, obviously I love superpowers, and obviously Carlin does too, since we met geeking out over Marvel characters. But when it comes to favorites I think I have two clear winners, both of which I have now written about: Pyrokinesis and Superspeed.

Superspeed, at last at last, is featured in Stronger, Better, Faster, More. As the title might imply. I love this power because there are so many great iterations of it and how it affects the character who has it. Some can turn it on and off, which is convenient. Others are constantly sped up, though, which is Vel Chandrasekhar’s ability/problem. So he’s constantly feeling like the whole world is moving in slow mo, constantly having to slow down how he talks, eats, walks, constantly being super impatient with everything. Except he’s actually mega-patient, in his world.

That has been, by far and away, one of my favorite things to write about ever. I’m glad this book and Vel gave me the chance!

Carlin: I actually love superspeed too, when presented the way Vel’s was in Stronger, Better, Faster, More where the character’s entire world is sped up. I’ve found that, in both reading and writing, I’m drawn most to superpowered characters whose abilities either come with drawback when using it, like Beau’s endurance, or is something they have to manage in their everyday life, like Vel’s superspeed.

When writing superhumans, you always run the risk of creating a character that’s too large or powerful to relate to, and I feel like drawbacks help a character stay accessible to the reader. When you see a character struggling to manage the side effects, it makes you want them to succeed. When they go into a fight or rescue situation knowing it’ll mean intense pain for them later, it makes that sacrifice and risk a lot more meaningful.

As for me? I’d go with teleportation. It’s hard to beat fast, free travel.

Title  Stronger, Better, Faster, More by Carlin Grant and Katey Hawthorne



Book Blurb

When he gets super-endurance powers out of nowhere, being a culinary student and kids’ soccer coach isn’t enough for Beau CGKH_StrongerBetterFasterMore_coverinWarren–he has to be a superhero too. A sweet, hardworking trans man from a close knit family, it’s important to Beau to use his new abilities to stand up for people who can’t protect themselves. When he runs into a speedster at a fire rescue, he doesn’t expect it to be his high school crush, Vel Chandrasekhar. Turns out Vel got superspeed when Beau go his endurance, so they decide to make their single supe act into a duo.

With their immediate attraction and superpowered libidos, it’s not long before Beau and Vel are roommates-with-benefits. That’s the idea, anyhow, if only Beau can keep from falling back into his old crush hard, since Vel’s self-esteem issues have left him skittish about relationships. Just when things are at boiling point between them, though, their search for their own superhero origin story leads them and their families into mortal danger. The only way to survive the truth is to depend on each other–and admit they’re a lot more than friends.

  • Genre: M/M,  Paranormal, erorom
  • LengthNovel (72k)

About the Authors

Carlin Grant is a queer writer who likes to put the focus on LGBTQIA+ characters and has a sweet tooth for romance. Growing up in backwoods North Carolina left them with a love for the characters, culture, and folklore that is common in the rural South, and these themes often show up in their stories. When they’re not writing, Carlin enjoys reading, video games, superheroes, mixtapes, and visiting the beach. They currently reside in coastal NC, where they spend most of their time chasing after their toddler.
Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys comic books, B-movies, loud music, Epiphones, and Bushmills.


Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the authors.  Good luck and happy reading!


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In the Spotlight: ‘Life is a Stevie Wonder Song’ by V.L. Locey (excerpt and giveaway)


Life is a Stevie Wonder Song by V.L. Locey
Release Date: December 30, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris



Authors know that their muse is a fickle creature. Best-selling spy novelist Stephen Ramsey has been in a hate-hate relationship with his inspiration for months. Stephen’s publisher lays a legal ultimatum upon him, with a rapidly approaching deadline, he knows he must do something to kick-start his creativity or face the unemployment line. His daughter comes up with a possible answer: a summer camp for the creative soul. With nothing to lose, Stephen packs up his laptop, phonograph and beloved record albums and heads from Manhattan to the Catskill Mountains.

There, among a horde of college students attending for extra credits, is Declan Pomeroy, a photographer of fey creatures who is twenty years younger than Stephen. The woods are a magical place, and he quickly finds himself falling under the spell of the free-spirited photographer. Confusion wars with desire inside Stephen as he succumbs to the feelings welling up inside. But, sadly, summer camp always has to end. Can a man who has just found himself really leave the person that makes his heart sing?


Pages or Words: 24,600 words
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Gay For You, May/December


Then he appeared from the tree line, a lithe, pale creature of the Finnish goddess Mielikki’s woods if ever I had seen one. Yay for that semester of world mythology back in college finally paying off. Declan wore nothing but a scrap of linen tied around his lean waist and a camera around his neck. I swallowed and stepped down off the porch, anxious to get closer to him. He waited patiently for me. As I drew closer, I could hear him humming. A smile tweaked my lips. It was Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

“You look like you have too much on,” Declan announced when I stood in front of him. I glanced down at my attire. Gym shorts, a T-shirt, and sneakers sans socks. “How would you feel about doing this nude?” My sight knifed back from my clothes to my guide into the Twilight Zone.

“You’re not naked,” I pointed out once I could speak around the knot of desire clogging my throat.

“I usually am, but I figured you’d be far too uptight to not have clothes on, so, I fashioned a makeshift chiton to cover my goodies.”

“Okay. Yes, I’m not comfortable with our goodies hanging out.” He glanced up at the fat moon over our heads, then sighed dramatically. “I can do no shirt and no shoes, however.”

Declan’s gaze returned to me from Madame Luna. He made a sort of cooing sound then rose to his tiny toes to press his lips to mine. It was a soft peck, our mouths touching for a mere second, but it did things to my perceptions of who Steven Ramsey is that I still cannot fully explain.

“I think I’d like to see you without a shirt,” he whispered over my lips.

“What are you doing?” I croaked. He shrugged a shoulder, then dropped back down to stand flat-footed. “Stop it, okay? I’m old enough to be your father.”

He smiled then spun around, his bare back gleaming pure white. I wanted to touch his skin, trace the knobs of his spine with my tongue. This whole thing was pure insanity, yet I hurried to strip off my old T-shirt and kick off my sneakers. Declan glanced over his shoulder, smiled again, and then rushed off into the night, the coquette. I followed because what else could I do? Not traipsing after the kid was impossible. The grass was cool and wet under my bare soles. The high whine of a mosquito zipped past my ear. I would be nothing but a massive bug bite in the morning. I walked behind Declan, swatting at the air, hoping I didn’t step on something that would require stitches or a tetanus shot. We stepped into the woods. I debated going back for my shoes.

“We have to be as silent as possible,” Declan, standing on my right, whispered.

“Shoes are quiet,” I replied, my hand resting on the scraggy bark of an old pine.

“Shoes don’t allow you to touch the earth.”

“They also don’t allow thorns to penetrate your flesh,” I parried. My guide grunted in consternation then set off once again. A million questions bounced around my head as I tenderly placed one foot down then the other. What kind of camera did he use? Was there a special ethereal film for capturing fey? Did I need therapy? Did I just step on a slug?

We walked deeper into the woods. The farther we traveled, the more I wanted to speak up or at least scoff. I was working on a good zinger when I ran into Declan’s bare back. He threw up a hand to silence me. My body tightened from a weird combination of fear and desire. The kid felt wonderful pressed against my chest, his clammy skin resting against mine. I peered over his head, my hand coming to rest on his left hip. Declan leaned back into me just the slightest bit. My cock began to swell. My eyelids drifted down as he wiggled enticingly closer still.

“Look at the hazy ring around the moon,” Declan whispered. My fingers dug into his bony hip. I opened my eyes and looked up. We were on the edge of a small glen. He lifted up his camera and snapped several images as I stared at the milky white fingers of magic tickling the moon. “Now look at the ground.” I did. There, in the center of the small glen, was a small, perfectly circular ring of mushrooms perhaps ten feet wide. “That’s known as a fairy ring.”

“Huh,” I grunted, my body trying desperately to take over the show. Declan had to feel my erection resting against his pert ass. He seemed perfectly as ease with a hard dick between his buttocks. I, on the other hand, was slowly going mad. I longed to lower my mouth to his neck and lick the sweat from his skin. I also wanted to run away screaming to the world that I was not a faggot, but was I? It certainly looked it. Declan lowered his camera and took a few shots of the white mushrooms.

“I’ve heard tales of the fey blessing those who stand in a fairy ring under a full moon. Would you like to go stand in the ring, Steven?” he asked. I nodded. He slid out of my grasp and reached back to find my hand. His fingers were thinner than mine. He pulled me into the glen. I glanced up, then back. “Are you afraid that someone will see us cuddling in the fairy ring?”

“At the moment,” I stepped carefully over several large mushrooms,” I’m afraid of everything, mostly you.”


Buy the book: Torquere Books


Meet the Author

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, two dogs, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and three Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

Where to find the author:

Tour Dates & Stops: December 29, 2015

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Bayou Book Junkie, Havan Fellows, Just Love Romance, Happily Ever Chapter, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, The Jena Wade, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic

Final updated Life is a Stevie Wonder Song


Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Life is a Stevie Wonder’ song by V.L. Locey.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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