A MelanieM Review: Omega from the Ocean (Heron Manor Book 1) by Amy Bellows

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

An MM Retelling of The Little Mermaid. With dragons.

Merman Jack is a terrible virgin sacrifice. Mostly because he isn’t virginal. At all.

Hopefully the Sea King won’t notice.

For Jack, the human world has too many wonderful temptations, and too many alphas to resist. He only has two months left before he has to give himself to the Sea King, and he doesn’t want to spend them in the cold, dark catacombs where the Mermen of Rixton live. It may be forbidden for Jack to go to shore, but when did that ever stop him?

Peter is a terrible dragon shifter. He can’t figure out what he’s supposed to collect for his hoard. Without his hoard, he can’t do any of the important dragon-shifter things, like take his dragon form or find his fated mate. After years of losing his lovers to their fated mates, Peter’s feeling his age, and he’s tired of being alone.

When Peter sees a beautiful merman on the beach, he thinks he’s finally found his fated mate. Jack falls hard for Peter too, but he knows they can’t be together forever. If Jack doesn’t show up on the day of his sacrifice, the Sea King will kill his father and take his brother instead.

Will the love between a terrible virgin sacrifice and a terrible dragon shifter be enough to change their fate?

I came to this book and author through a roundabout way.  A FB group I subscribe to was asking what everyone was reading at the moment and for one person the excited answer was Omega from the Ocean (Heron Manor Book 1) by Amy Bellows.  A few others chimed in about how they all loved her writing and a couple had read and adored this story as well.  

I was already making a note on my phone because I had never heard of the book or author.  A few questions later and it sounded like it was on my list of novels to read this month.  That tag line especially had me hooked.  A twist on the Little Mermaid?  In my head I knew that could go from the traditional dark Grimm original to the Disney happi[y HEA to anything M/M sexy and well mermany. Yes, I know, not a word. Sue me.

Amy Bellows gives us a story that ecompasses a bit of all three in Omega from the Ocean (Heron Manor Book 1).  It starts off with a overlay of lighthearted  sexy fun as Jack aka Seafoam the merman can’t stay away from the human world, specifically the horney frat houses full of willing bodies and a nearby house where he can catch a glimpse of the Prince of his dreams.  Jack comes off initially as gorgeous, adorable, sexy…..and as far from virginal as can be. 

The Prince?  That would be a Dragon shifter who can’t shift because he can’t figure out what he is supposed to be hoarding.  Cute right? He has two moms, one of whom hoards herons, that’s where the name of the series comes in.  So far so light.

Then we get more information about Jack, his plight as a sacrifice, the state of the mer people, and the whole tale takes a turn towards the Grimm while bringing in the LGBT romance, both MM and FF for the Prince’s moms.

Bellows does a great job of laying down a universe that the author will continue to build onto in future stories as the newly revealed history and mer culture is expanded at the end.  This extends to both the dragons and the mer, land and sea, which makes the world building quite extensive as well as the mythology. I am so enthusiastic about both.

After starting with the foundation, Bellows sets forth her characters, again establishing each in their natural setting.  Jack/Seafoam emerging from the watery mer environs which is feeling cagelike to Peter, in his house on land, wistfully wanting to find that elusive “thing” he is meant to hoard.  Each main character’s personality is defined early.  The main basics there, loyaolty, generosity, ability to love, intelligence, laid out…while the layers and history will be revealed later as the story continues.

The chemistry and sheer sexiness between the two is marked by sadness and an overlay of foreknowledge that they clicked together immediately but now was all they had. I loved the relationship between them, sparkling, innocent in so many ways for them both.  Joyful in Jack’s exploration of the human   world, especially food.

But the author balances the light with the dark, at least for most of the story.  The ending?  Amazing, full of questions for some, happy endings for others, and the groundwork set for the next installment.  Was some of it dark?  Yes, given the nature of part of this story.  But it all flows so beautifully and it leaves you wanting more.

Elements I would love more knowledge of?  Those dragon eggs and dragon rearing.  Hopefully that will be included.  That is the mpreg here.  Eggs not babies perse. Considering the path the author took here with both species…. dragons and seahorses as species models, it makes perfect sense.  I will be seeking out more by this author and not just this series.

So, if you were like me, and unfamiliar with both this story and author, I absolutely recommend both.  Pick up Omega from the Ocean (Heron Manor Book 1) by Amy Bellows and be preapred for a fantasy story that will give you laughs, sniffles, a few white knuckle moments and the pleasure of knowing there  is more to come.

Cover art is lovely.  So attractive and yes, I can see Jack in that model.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 247 pages
Published July 4th 2019
ASINB07TY1XY6

Omega from the Ocean is a 77,000-word gritty, age-gap romance with knotting, light D/s, and Mpreg of the dragon-egg variety. While the ending may be an HEA for Jack and Peter, it’s an HFN for the rest of the Mermen of Rixton. Omega from the Ocean is intended for an 18+ audience.

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Witchstone Amulet by Mason Thomas

Standard

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

What helps makes this successful for me is that Hunter is well established as a character, and the reader is immersed in his POV, before anything extraordinary happens. Hunter’s choices, based on who he is as a person, lead him to another realm after he follows a thief stealing his mother’s brooch. This is a typical portal story of moving between worlds, but it’s very well written. Thrown into action in the enemy territory of the Heneran lands, a tense truce is formed between Hunter and the thief Dax as they try to survive. Once they are near out of enemy territory, Hunter meets the Rebellion forces–a ragtag band of people living in a camp in the wilderness and gets thrown into politics against the Crown. As the setting shifts to the capital city of Andreya, he learns more about his new world and how to survive in it. His world crumbles as he starts to question everything he thought he knew, including about his own mother. I felt like I was getting pulled in and figuring things out more quickly than Hunter, which is a clever way of getting the reader invested.

There are really only four main side characters that help the reader to more emotionally connect with the story and move in along in different ways. Glimpses of the rebel leader Quinnar are intriguing. Is he a good man? A good leader? Or does he just want power for himself? Because it’s Hunter’s POV, I was never really sure. It’s always welcome to have a strong, capable female character like Zinnuvial. Uri’s situation is played for sympathy, but I found it frustrating. Corrad at first comes off as a mean bully, but thankfully is a bit more nuanced than that in the end. The most interesting character is always Hunter. Because there isn’t another POV, and the story is focused on developing Hunter and the actual plot, I felt like I didn’t know Dax as well as I would have liked.

Hunter makes a good everyman; but he makes an even better hero. The character is written in such a way that there was always meant to be more for him, for his life. The author works hard at making this believable: that a modern man from Chicago could end up learning to flourish in a more difficult and brutal time without having grown up with the knowledge and skills everyone else would have. Hunter proves himself to be adaptable and able to listen and learn when under duress. The actions scenes are well written, helping to continually build the tension until the satisfying final confrontation. His relationship with Dax is a slow burn from enemies to lovers. Even after the sex, it only clicks into place when Hunter proves how clever, brave, and capable his is–making him a great match for Dax, someone Dax can really respect. It’s only when I thought back about the story that I realized in only takes place within a very short period of time, which lessens the believability. Then, there is the final chapter, which gives the happily ever after, whilst still leaving room for a new adventure as Dax and Hunter look to the future. It is clear there have been atrocities on both sides of this war and it will take time to right wrongs, so the story between the Humans of this world and the Henerans could go in many directions.

Cover Art: Tiferet Design. Rich and interesting, it absolutely works for the story and character.

 

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press |   Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 293 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Witchstone Amulet
ISBN 139781644055311
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Heel (Working Out the Kinks #2) by KM Neuhold

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

“I’ve never thought of calling a man Daddy before, but I can’t think of a word that fits Vale better. He’s my Daddy, and I’m his pup.”

Broken and bruised, there’s nothing I won’t do to protect Adrian. I picked him up and made him whole before, and I’ll do it again. Adrian is a sweet pup with a smile full of sunshine and a heart made for love. A sweet pup needs a gentle hand, and that’s exactly what I intend to give him.

There’s nothing quite like slipping an expensive pair of high heels onto Adrian’s feet and watching him light up. If he wants a fairytale, I’ll happily be his Prince Charming.

*** Heel is the second book in the Working Out the Kinks series but can be read as a stand-alone. This book contains a scene of domestic violence. This book also contains an adorable man who loves to be a puppy, fabulous high heels, and the happily ever after Adrian deserves.

This was a great story.  Adrian and Vale have been in each other’s lives for years with Adrian carrying a torch for Vale and Vale doing his best to deny his own attraction.  Adrian’s pup is totally a Diva (though so is Adrian to an extent), I just wish we would have gotten to see his pup a little more.

I love the combination of Daddy kink and puppy play.  Vale is the typical Daddy in that he just wants to take care of and protect Adrian and dote on him at the same time.  Adrian is definitely an excitable pup but also needs the tender love and care of a Daddy outside of that.

I liked Adrian and was very glad that being with Vale gave him the confidence to take more control of his life but also use the degree he went to school for by helping out with Vale’s business, it looked like he was just keeping the status quo with his previous Dom.  Vale had the break through the wall he built around his feeling for Adrian but once he made that decision he was all in.  There was the little bit of violence with Adrian’s previous Dom but I felt that was really just back story and to add a little bit of suspense to the story, its main focus was on Vale and Adrian’s relationship.

The cover art by K.M. Neuhold is great and I love Diva’s collar.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 235 pages

Published: August 2, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Working Out the Kinks #2

Mason Thomas on Plotter vs Pantser and his new release The Witchstone Amulet (author guest blog)

Standard

The Witchstone Amulet by Mason Thomas

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: August 27th 2019

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press |   Amazon

 

 

 

Plotter vs. Pantser: That is (not) the question

Summer is what I like to call “con” season.  During these months I go to several different conventions (not least of which is San Diego Comic Con) and my focus, not surprisingly, are the panels with authors and/or about writing. Regardless of who is on the panel or what the intended topic of the conversation is, the discussion invariably centers on process. And every established author has their own distinct, trademarked, approach to writing a novel. Like snowflakes, no two authors tackle the monumental task of novel writing the exact same way.

I love listening to each author discuss their process for that very reason. Every answer is so different. There are commonalities, certainly, but there is clearly not one formulaic approach. Although there are books that provide a structure to novel writing, there really isn’t a one size fits all approach. Every author “eats that elephant” in their own way. And I find great comfort in that.

During these panel discussions, the question “are you a pantser or plotter?” always seems to come from someone in the audience. For those who might not be familiar with these terms, a pantser is the type of writer that flies from the seat of their pants. They let the story unveil itself organically, one scene leading to the next, the author discovering the arc of the story as they write. A plotter is just the opposite. They map out the entire story arc ahead of time and only when they know the beginning middle and end, do they begin to pound out the words.

George R. R. Martin described it similarly as writers come as either gardeners or architects. Perhaps a more artful way of describing the two approaches, but it essentially says the same thing.

The problem with that question is the answer isn’t a binary one. From my experience, it is very rare that an author is either fully one or the other. It is far more likely that an author falls somewhere between the two. The vast majority of authors when pressed will say that they are a hybrid of both. And I fall into that group as well.

Years ago, when asked, I would always hang my hat on the pantser hook. But even then I wasn’t a pure pantser. I had elements of being a plotter as well. Today, the needle is pointing straight up in the middle. I am sitting at the top of the bell curve. I am a panter, or a plotser.

So, I hear you ask, what is my process? What does it look like and how is different from other authors?

It always begins with a nugget of an idea. I can’t tell you where it comes from honestly, but it bubbles up from some corner of my brain and demands my notice, not as a “EUREKA” but a quiet little “huh.” I’ll poke at the idea first, see if it’s worth a closer look, and if it wiggles a bit and giggles back at me, I’ll give it more attention. From there, the idea gets sticky and other ideas start to cling to it, and it expands and expands until I start to envision an arc of a story.

Then, I am compelled to start writing. I let the dog off the leash and let it run. I will pick a scene, something that feels like where the story might start and I’ll just type. Maybe I’ll bite off a chapter, maybe three. But during this time, I’m feeling out who these people are that find themselves on my page, and what the world they inhabit might look like. I allow my subconscious to take over and I’m along for the ride. 

Panster.

But as I settle deeper into the story, I need to make some solid decisions before I can continue. I can’t have characters making life choices if I don’t know the circumstances of their past. And to know those circumstances, I need to know all the various facets of the world that shaped them. So, now I go through the process of world-building and shaping my characters. The world they inhabit is a force that drives their decisions in life, so I need to make sure I understand all the political, economic, and social components. I map out all the character traits, both positive and negative (especially the negatives) and I like to find one dark secret that each character harbors that no one else knows.

I start to envision their journey and begin to map out where I see them going and where they will end up at the end of it all.

Plotter.

Now, it’s a game of leapfrog. When I write scenes, furthering the story, their actions and interactions unveil more of the big picture that I didn’t—or couldn’t—predict. There are nuances and happy discoveries that only come to light when you are immersed in a scene. I always say if I’m surprised my readers will be too, so I embrace this part of it.  But along with the wild reveal of the plot, it requires going back and adding these unearthed details to the character backstories and to the world, because those new discoveries will affect the further trajectory of the story. This then dictates what future scenes are necessary to continue to propel the story forward. Each of these feeds the other.

Ergo, plotser.

By the end, my first draft, surprisingly, has about the same word count that the final revised version will have. This is after I’ve deleted the chaff and added more scenes that flesh out and round out the plot.

There it is: my process. It’s not pretty, and it’s not refined. It’s a mad, chaotic scramble that often feels more like a frantic excavation than writing a novel. Michelangelo is quoted as saying that he was only revealing the work that was trapped in the stone, and in a strange way I understand that thinking. The true nature of the story reveals itself to me and I am on some level powerless against it.

One important point to add regarding my process, however. I need to know how the story is going to end—at least generally. I may not know the route, but at least I need to know the destination.

In my view, the reason the question of plotter vs. Pantser is so frequently asked is people are looking for guidance as to how to best tackle that monumental task of writing a novel. But the important take-away in all this is there is no singular approach, no right way and no wrong way. Every writer approaches it differently. The only way to know what is right for you is sit down and discover it for yourself. 

Blurb for THE WITCHSTONE AMULET


Protect it at all costs.

 

That’s what rugby player Hunter Best’s mother told him before she died. But when Hunter surprises an intruder in his Chicago apartment, he discovers her amulet stolen. Hunter pursues the thief—all the way through a strange vortex. He wakes in a bizarre and violent world, a benighted realm on the threshold of civil war.

 

The queen has become a ruthless tyrant, punishing any who oppose her, weakening the kingdom’s defenses against the brutal Henerans. To survive, Hunter must depend on the man who robbed him, a handsome former spy named Dax, now a leader of the resistance that believes the queen is an imposter–a Heneran disguised by magic… who also looks identical to Hunter’s mother.

 

There’s no love lost between Hunter and Dax, and even if Hunter grudgingly agrees with the resistance, he just wants to reclaim his property and go home. But he might be the only one who can oppose the queen and end her reign of terror.

 

Mason Thomas Bio

Mason Thomas began his writing journey at the age of thirteen when his personal hero, Isaac Asimov, took the time to respond to a letter he wrote him. He’s been writing stories every since. Today, he is ecstatic and grateful that there is a place at the speculative table for stories with strong gay protagonists. Mason, by all accounts, is still a nerdy teenager, although his hairline and waistline  indicate otherwise. When his fingers are not pounding furiously at a keyboard, they can usually be found holding a video game controller, plucking away at an electric guitar, or shaking a twenty-sided die during a role playing game. Mason will take any opportunity to play dress up, whether through cosplay, Halloween or a visit to a Renaissance Faire. He pays the bills by daring middle school students to actually like school and encouraging them to make a mess in his science classroom. He lives in Chicago with his endlessly patient husband, who has tolerated his geeky nonsense for two decades, and their two unruly cats who graciously allow Mason and his husband to share the same space with them. 

Book Blitz and Giveaway for A Rhythm You Feel (The Rock Gods: East Coast Label Book One) by Ann Lister

Standard

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited.
 
Length: 347 pages
 
Blurb
 

Blade: As the lead singer of Hard Core, I’ve been taught several key life lessons. Unfortunately, I’ve also ignored many of them in the last twenty minutes alone, which is why I’m now being chased by a horde of crazed fans.


But my worst misjudgment today? Going outside in public without security or a backup plan. Screaming fans come with the job and the fame is as much of a blessing as it is a curse, but I still couldn’t imagine doing any other line of work.


Music owns me and I am happy to be her bitch.


Nico: I knew who he was as soon as he burst through the front door of my store and I was absolutely starstruck and speechless. Yes, me with my own hardened attitude and jaded outlook on life had lost the ability to talk in the presence of Blade.


I’m an ex-con. I paid my debt to society, and I have my own brand of scars to show from the time I spent behind bars. My life’s regrets stain my soul as much as the ink of my tattoos color my skin. Solace for me came with ownership of a bookstore. It was a peaceful place to work until a certain rockstar blew in from the street like a Category 5 hurricane.


Hurricane Blade was about to make landfall and I wasn’t sure I’d survive the storm.

 
Author Bio
 

Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels. After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award.


Her ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposure to the music world and her love of rock music is the inspiration for her erotic rock star romances. Her rock star romance, “Fall For Me”, Book One in The Rock Gods series, was a Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Award and Book Three, Make You Mine, established her as an Amazon #1 Bestselling Author. Each book in The Rock Gods series brings her two favorite elements together: musicians and the love between two men.


Her stories focus on what it truly means to love; love unconditionally, love without restrictions or labels, love without fear or judgment – to just simply love.

 
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

BLOG TOUR for Heel (Working Out the Kinks #2) by KM Neuhold

Standard

Heel

Working Out the Kinks Series, Book 2

K.M. Neuhold

M/M Romance/Daddy/puppy play

Release Date: 08.02.19

Heel Final (1)

Blurb

“I’ve never thought of calling a man Daddy before, but I can’t think of a word that fits Vale better. He’s my Daddy, and I’m his pup.”

 

Broken and bruised, there’s nothing I won’t do to protect Adrian. I picked him up and made him whole before, and I’ll do it again. Adrian is a sweet pup with a smile full of sunshine and a heart made for love. A sweet pup needs a gentle hand, and that’s exactly what I intend to give him.

 

There’s nothing quite like slipping an expensive pair of high heels onto Adrian’s feet and watching him light up. If he wants a fairytale, I’ll happily be his Prince Charming.

 

*Heel is the second book in the Working Out the Kinks series but can be read as a stand-alone. This book contains a scene of domestic violence. This book also contains an adorable man who loves to be a puppy, fabulous high heels, and the happily ever after Adrian deserves.

Buy Link: mybook.to/Heel

Heel teaser 2

Heel teaser 3

Excerpt

“Be still, Sunshine,” Vale says commandingly, giving my body no choice but to obey, going limp in his arms. “You’re the most tempting, insanity inducing man I’ve ever met,” he accuses affectionately, my mind short circuiting when his lips brush against the base of my neck.

“Please,” I whimper again.

“Shh,” he soothes. “I want you to listen, because this is what we’re going to do.”

The calm domination in his tone settles the place deep inside me that craves direction and structure, to be taken care of by someone who knows better than I do.

“Yes,” I say breathlessly.

“Good boy. Now, first you’re going to give me your fingers to lick clean because I don’t think I can go another minute without a taste.” I groan in agreement, and he brushes another kiss against the back of my neck. “Then, we’re going to get out of bed, and I’m going to make breakfast. We’re going to talk about that kiss and where we go from here.”

Part of me wants to argue that talking is overrated, that I’d much rather have him bury himself inside me, and we can figure things out sweaty and screaming instead of talking over coffee. But the other part of me, the part that went all mushy and calm at the use of his Dom voice, is ready to give Vale anything he asks for if he’ll just tell me I’m his.

“Yes,” I answer, and he groans his approval, his cock jerking against my ass, clearly excited by my easy submission. I’ll say yes to anything to hear him make that sound again.

With great effort, I manage to let go of my cock. Vale’s grasp is still around my wrist, guiding my hand, making sure to slick my fingers with more precum before pulling it out of my underwear and to his mouth. I moan as his hot lips engulf my fingers, sucking them in and holding them in place as his tongue flicks over the tips, seeking out every drop of my arousal.

He grunts as he sucks my fingers clean, my eyes rolling back in my head as I imagine exactly how the same treatment would feel farther south.

“God, you taste even better than I imagined,” he praises in a raspy voice when he finally releases my fingers.

“You imagined what I’d taste like?”

“You have no idea, Sunshine.”

KM Neuhold Logo__

Author K.M.Neuhold is a complete romance junkie, a total sap in every way. She started her journey as an author in new adult, MF romance, but after a chance reading of an MM book she was completely hooked on everything about lovely- and sometimes damaged- men finding their Happily Ever After together. She has a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well. And she fully admits that her OCD tendencies of making sure every side character has a full backstory will likely always lead to every book having a spin-off or series. When she’s not writing she’s a lion tamer, an astronaut, and a superhero…just kidding, she’s likely watching Netflix and snuggling with her husky while her amazing husband brings her coffee.

SOCIAL MEDIA

FACEBOOK

NEUHOLD’S NERDS (FAN GROUP)

TWITTER
@gay
WEBSITE

NEWSLETTER

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vibrant Promotions Logo