A Free Dreamer Review: Strays (Urban Soul #2) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

After I pretty much inhaled part “Misfits”, part one of the “Urban Soul” series, I was extremely relieved to already have “Strays” waiting on my Kindle. While “Strays” is technically part two of the series, it works as a standalone. The MCs from book one to get their page-time, but they’re introduced well. However, I see absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t want to read “Misfits”!

Just like part one, “Strays” was absolutely brilliant. I loved every second of it and just couldn’t put it down. Lenny and Nero make for an incredibly hot couple and the stalker-part added an interesting twist to the story.

Nero isn’t a nice guy. He’s rude and he doesn’t make friends easily. And he’s definitely not the boyfriend-type. He’s been through quite a lot and it takes him a long time to open up to Lenny. I liked that they were both honest about the troubles Nero’s (understandable) hesitation caused and how they reacted to it. Nero is an intriguing character. While he’s definitely not the easiest person to be around, he can be genuinely kind, if he wants. I loved how he comes over as this super-macho kind of guy, but has no trouble admitting he likes boys wearing eye-liner.

Lenny is a sweet guy. He’s far easier to like than Nero but no less interesting. He’s tough in his own way and I really liked that about him.

At first glance, this couple might come off as a stereotype found in many m/m romance books: macho (sort of) closeted guy and younger, effeminate man. That usually leads to the older guy being in charge of the relationship and that’s something I can’t stand. But in this case, Nero and Lenny are very much equal. There’s nobody clearly “in charge” and I really liked that.

The stalker part was a bit predictable toward the end, tbh. Other than that, I think it was done really well.

Just like in the first book, the setting is described vividly. London and the restaurant kitchen felt very much alive to me. There was never any doubt as to where this book was set and where the characters are from. I really like books with such a strong sense of place, it gives them something unique.

Long story short, “Strays” is just as brilliant as part one of the series. It’s very different and might be more appealing, if you don’t like ménages. The sex is still smoking hot. I really hope there’ll be a third part in the series. I just love the whole universe.

The cover was done by the author herself. It’s in tune with that of part one. I love that tattoo, it’s so hot.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 249 pages

Expected publication: March 27th 2017 by Riptide Publishing

An Ali Review: One Bullet by Casey Wolfe

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Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
When Ethan Brant was shot, he found himself dealing with severe PTSD and unable to do his job as a police officer any longer. With the aid of Detective Shawn Greyson, the man who saved his life, Ethan not only finds himself again but discovers love as well.

Shawn’s life growing up was less than ideal, however, he overcame that to become who he is today. That doesn’t mean he isn’t missing something in his life. What Shawn hadn’t realized, upon first meeting, was that Ethan could give him all that and more.

One bullet changed both their lives.
I liked the premise of this story but I didn’t really like the execution.  There was a lot going on and I think it was too much for such a short book.  The book jumps from snippet to snippet but most of the major relationship dynamics take place off page. As a result I did not feel the chemistry between the two main characters.   Also, I was not invested in them or their relationship and I struggled to be interested in the plot. 
I don’t have any complaints about the technical aspects of the writing but as for content I was just not drawn in.  Everything was too superficial for my tastes.  Overall, this was just ok.
Cover by Natasha Snow:  I like the cover a lot.  It catches your eye and it fits well with the plot of the story.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | Kobo

ebook, 153 pages
Published: March 27, 2017, by NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781945952814
Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: One Bullet by Casey Wolfe

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

When Ethan Brant was shot, he found himself dealing with severe PTSD and unable to do his job as a police officer any longer. With the aid of Detective Shawn Greyson, the man who saved his life, Ethan not only finds himself again but discovers love as well.

Shawn’s life growing up was less than ideal, however, he overcame that to become who he is today. That doesn’t mean he isn’t missing something in his life. What Shawn hadn’t realized, upon first meeting, was that Ethan could give him all that and more.

One bullet changed both their lives.

One Bullet is a nice character exploration, not only of the main characters but those in their world. Everyone has a reason or a connection, and how they treat or react to each other enhances this study.

As a character driven story, there’s no mystery or build up that the story tries to reach. We get to see different situations that added to the protagonists’ characters and relationship. That first event that brought them together is the catalyst to understanding how a single moment in time can reshape someone’s life.

I liked Shawn and Ethan and how their relationship moved from strangers to friends, and then to lovers. They have great relationships with their siblings and best friends. Their parents are polar opposites, but very realistic.

I do need to mention that some of the scenes blocks seem arbitrary and the changes in POV, for a paragraph or two, were not always necessary. Also, there are several scenes that could have been removed to dive further into others. I think there’s a degree of separation between the characters and the readers. As if we were looking at them instead of experiencing the story.

Overall, if you are looking for a quick read with interesting characters, UST, and low to no angst, this is your story. It has a nice sense of place too.

The cover by Natasha Snow is captivating and goes well with the story. The smoking bullet is the reason the protagonist got together in the first place.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | Kobo

ebook, 153 pages
Published: March 27, 2017, by NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781945952814
Edition Language: English

 

Amy Lane on Writing, Personal Experience, the Saber Dance and her latest release ‘Bonfires’ (guest post)

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Bonfires by Amy Lane
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist:  Anne Cain

Purchase Links

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Amy Lane here today talking about one of my recently highly recommended stories, Bonfires. Welcome, Amy.

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Saber Dance

By Amy Lane

When I was a kid, one year my dad made less than $1500 for the entire year. Yes, you read that right, we’re not missing a zero—or two.  Yeah, sure, it was the seventies, and they didn’t drug test the poor people before giving out food stamps, and we lived in a dump for $75 a month, but you got to admit, that’s cutting things a bit close.

My dad was smart though—at the time he was in school to become a respiratory therapist (because Work-Fare WORKS, dammit!) and he made his scant living at a pick-n-pull, but he knew how to stretch out a dollar. We planted a garden, because seeds were cheap, and he haunted the feed stores for fertilized eggs.  A hammer, some nails, a lightbulb, and BANG! Baby chickens—and whether they were roosters or hens, one way or another those critters would feed us for a year.  (One year it was roosters—twenty-three out of twenty-five of them. My dad called all of his friends over to become a chicken-killing assembly line, and we had a hell of a barbecue, but that’s another story.)

So livestock, I’ve had it.  As well as cats, for most of my life. And the thing with feeding the chickens (or the sheep or cats or dogs for that matter) is that there are feedbags left over. A long time ago, you used to be able to get some of the feed—or rice for that matter—in heavy duty cloth bags, but mostly they came in paper. 

All of those layers of paper, with all of those leftover grains of food.

You what likes leftover grains of food?

Mice. Mice like leftover grains of food.

I remember—more than once—the chicken coop or feedbag pile getting infested with mice, and the orgy of destruction that followed.

There is nothing as entertaining as a cat chasing mice, especially one who has not become completely domesticated and still has a strong stream of jaguar running through its veins. The thing is, cats are insanely well-crafted killing machines. Everything from curved claws to sharp teeth to lashing tail plays some part in the feline Saber Dance that is a cat getting down to business.

I know some people out there—people who have possibly never had to walk into a darkened chicken coop to collect eggs and try not to freak out at the scurry of little feet as they scuttle through the hay—feel terrible for the furry little rodents, and I do see their side.  I mean, my kids have kept mice and rats as pets, and on a one-on-one basis they can be amiable little creatures with adorable beady eyes and twitching whiskers.

They can also be cannibalistic nightmares who overrun chicken coops, devour crops (remember, those were dinner!) and scurry over your sandal-clad foot when you least expect them. And my heroes, the floofy kitties, were effectively getting rid of the little grain-stealing criminals.

I was a fan!  Hell—on the day of the Massive Rooster Roast, half the adults who were supposed to be plucking and gutting chickens were in the chicken coop watching Squinter, my cat, do his thing, because that animal was amazing. If you’ve never seen a cat going after a mouse with one paw while he’s got one under the other paw and a third in his mouth, you are missing a cat’s reason for being.

So the scene from Bonfires in which Larx is throwing the feedbags onto the burn pile, and the cats are eliminating the fleeing mice—that’s drawn from my memories as a child. I remember how necessary clearing out the garden was, how the feedbags (in Larx’s case, it was cat food) often harbored more than feed, and how the family cats actually shook off their mantles of sloth and somnolence and for once earned their keep.

The texture of the light, the sharpness of the air in the fall, and the gladiatorial drama of life and death enacted on the stage of the fall bonfire all inspired a tremendous anticipation in my chest.

Like falling in love when you’re pushing fifty, it’s a timeless spectacle that feels brand new.

About Bonfires

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

About the Author

Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.

She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.

She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Connect with Amy:

Website: greenshill.com

Blog: writerslane.blogspot.com

Twitter: @amymaclane

Facebook group: Amy Lane Anonymous

Goodreads: goodreads.com/amymaclane

Stops on the blog tour:


March 17 – MM Good Book Reviews

March 24 – Divine Magazine

March 27 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  

March 27 – The Novel Approach

March 28 – Alpha Book Reviews

March 29 – Love Bytes

March 30 – Gay Book Reviews

March 31 – My Fiction Nook 

Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Strays (Urban Soul #2) by Garrett Leigh

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Strays (Urban Soul #2) by Garrett Leigh
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it Here at Riptide Publishing

About Strays

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

Now available from Riptide Publishing

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Social media:
Website: http://garrettleigh.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighbooks
Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Strays, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 1, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Its Superheroes Raised by Wolves Time! Rob Rosen on ‘Fierce’, his latest release + Giveaway

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Fierce by Rob Rosen
JMS Books LLC

Available for Purchase at

JMS Books LLC | Amazon | Goodreads

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Rob Rosen back today to talk about his latest novel, Fierce!  Welcome, Rob!

✒︎

Hello, I’m Rob Rosen. I’ve written romantic-comedy novels about zombies and werewolves, vampires and any number of assorted bad-ass drag queens, but for my 11th novel, Fierce, I decided to touch on the superhero genre, only with a decidedly different twist. Lucas, my novel’s hero, has major super powers, powers that he wants to use to do good in the world. He’s tall and handsome, and has one hell of an awesome crime-fighting costume. On the surface of things, he’s your standard superhero. This book veers into newer territory in that Lucas must face the realities of actual life, that to do good you sometimes have to do bad, that to put the criminal away, you might have to hurt people, even innocent people. Life is not black and white; crime-fighting isn’t either. What if you have to kill the bad guy? What if you have to put someone you know in jail? What if your powers were actually meant do evil things? Tack on trying to protect the world and your family at the same time, all while going to college, leaving home for the first time, trying to find love as you try and find yourself, and Fierce, I hope, really does sail the genre into uncharted superhero waters. 

For some more background, here’s a little blurb for you:

Lucas has a typical life — apart from being abandoned as a baby, raised by wolves, and having super powers. Still, inside, he feels like two people, both vying for control of himself. He’s a superhero and a nerdy college freshman. He’s both feral and tame. He wants to do good in the world and, at the same time, he wants to do nothing. And most of all, he wants to find his birth parents.

In this comedic tale of romance, mystery, and adventure, our hero is joined by his hunky boyfriend, his acerbic boss, an uptight college science professor, and his ex-boyfriend/once crime-fighting partner — not to mention a whole pack of wolves — to help foil his nemesis and uncover the secrets of his past to save his future.

If you find the above intriguing, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the book, which is available in all e-formats and as a paperback. 

Oh, and if you need some further persuading, here’s a little bit of the very beginning of Fierce:

“Help!”

I know, strange way to start a story, me screaming at you like that, but they say you need to grab the reader’s attention right off the bat. Help! I figured would do just that. Plus, you know, help was just what I needed. I mean, I was locked in a cage, my life in jeopardy of being snuffed out—which was par for the course, but still. In any case, help! seemed right on up there with the greats: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; Call me Ishmael; Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. And I only needed four little letters to get my point across. Take that, Judy Blume!

Anyway, back to that aforementioned help I was shouting for. No, it wasn’t my best moment, to be certain, what with me being a superhero and all. Fierce. That’s my name; pleased to meet you. Though I’m guessing you’ve probably already heard of me, me being famous and all. And yes, that’s me blowing my own horn. Louis Armstrong should blow a horn so well, in fact.

All that being said, and in case you’ve been living under a rock and have yet to hear of my, you know, greatness, here’s my story in a nutshell:

As a baby, I was raised by wolves in the mountainous wilds of Montana.

I have super powers. Like, seriously super.

I catch bad guys for a living. For free! Minus, of course, the well-merited and desperately sought-after publicity.

But, you ask, raised by wolves? Come on now, Fierce, really? Does that actually happen? Wolves eat babies, don’t they? I mean dingoes do—or so I’ve heard, a la one Miss Meryl Streep—so it stands to reason that wolves do, too. Though not these wolves. These were tame wolves. Well, tameish. They were zoo wolves, hand-raised by humans. Except, they escaped during a freak storm, back to the wilds from whence their ancestors came, never to be seen again.

I saw them right off the bat, though. Well, sawish. I mean, I was a baby at the time, my eyesight not what it is today—which is freakishly strong, by the way. And yes, toot, toot, my horn doth bloweth, yet again. Gabriel in the heavens up above turns green with envy at my tooting abilities. Oh, and in case you hadn’t already surmised it, superhero, at least in my case, equates to super ego. Freud missed out big time on the likes of yours truly.

But I digress. Back to the wolves.

Best I could figure it—seeing as, again, I was just a baby at the time—the initial wolf pack consisted of ten wolves that once inhabited a small zoo on the outskirts of Billings, Montana. One fateful day, a tornado hit. A big one. Huge even! Dorothy would’ve shit her panties it was so friggin’ massive. Anyway, from what I’ve read, the storm struck quite suddenly, too suddenly for the folks at the zoo to be able to corral all the animals beforehand, so, when the fencing to the wolves’ enclosure twisted and uprooted, out they sped. The zoo figured they died in the storm, except, well, duh, they didn’t. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be hearing this account right now, right? Then help! would’ve been lost to the cosmos. A truly sad thought, I know.

Now then, wolves, it should be noted, are wily and smart creatures, so the first thing they did was run. Free at last, free at last! In other words, once the storm broke, they found themselves as far away from humans as they could get. Eventually, they wound up along the outskirts of Granite Peak, which is the highest natural point in all of Montana, the tenth highest state highpoint in the nation. Granite Peak is also the second most difficult state highpoint to climb because of the generally poor weather and equally poor delineated pathways. Montana being so sparsely populated to begin with, the wolves could easily escape and literally never again be spotted. Which is just what they did, until, ultimately, they were spotted by the tiny likes of me. Fate! Or, you know, simply pure dumb luck. Depends on if your glass is half full, I suppose.

Enjoy!

Rob Rosen

http://www.therobrosen.com

About Fierce

Lucas has a typical life — apart from being abandoned as a baby, raised by wolves, and having super powers. Still, inside, he feels like two people, both vying for control of himself. He’s a superhero and a nerdy college freshman. He’s both feral and tame. He wants to do good in the world and, at the same time, he wants to do nothing. And most of all, he wants to find his birth parents.

In this comedic tale of romance, mystery, and adventure, our hero is joined by his hunky boyfriend, his acerbic boss, an uptight college science professor, and his ex-boyfriend/once crime-fighting partner — not to mention a whole pack of wolves — to help foil his nemesis and uncover the secrets of his past to save his future.

Giveaway

Rob Rosen is giving away a eBook copy of Fierce to one lucky reader.  Leave your email address along with a comment for Rob below.  A reader will be chosen at random by Rob and voila! The ebook will be yours!  Of course, you must be 18 years of age or older.

Release Blitz: Release on March 21th ‘The Necromancer’s Dance’ by S J Himes (Audiobook) and Narrated by Joel Leslie

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NDrelease

Title: The Necromancer’s Dance
Author: S J Himes
Series: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #1
Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Length: 8 Hours 8 minutes
Release Date: 21st March 2017
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, MM Romance

 

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BLURB

In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset upon by enemies, both old and new. Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother’s boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again pulled back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family’s death.

Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues into who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire’s attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.

Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead?

Death stalks the streets of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill….and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.

MATURE CONTENT Contains graphic violence, male/male sexual contact, a cranky necromancer, a sexy Irish vampire, and a pesky demon.

Purchase: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

EXCERPT

Angel was ranked as a sorcerer. The unfathomable infinite maelstrom of magic that gathered beyond this world in a brilliant sea of light and shadows, swirling and singing… Angel could use it. He was able reach out, through the veil, and touch the infinite. And even within the three tiers of magic users, witch, wizard, and sorcerer, there were rankings. All based on the personal strength of their individual abilities, and their affinities.

Angel’s affinity was for death, and he was a necromancer.

Not just death in its literal meaning; but all that lead to death and dying, and everything touched by mortality. Spirits, ghosts, poltergeists, all kinds of undead, the dying, illness, disease, poisons, and mortal injuries, and a whole mess of really nasty creatures and conditions. Anything on the other side of the veil and anything rushing towards death was within Angel’s affinity, in reach of his talents. Angel got along great with demons and vampires, when they weren’t trying to kill him. Nothing makes a vamp more nervous than a necromancer. The smart ones, at least.

About the Author

I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with ocasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), and The Wolfkin Saga. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.

Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Facebook Fan Group | Twitter | Amazon

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