A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Northern Star by Ethan Day and Jason Frazier (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holiday family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel.

Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again.

That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever expected.

I read this story when it was first released in 2013 and loved it.  Ethan Day’s tale of a complicated mess of a romance between Steve Steele and Deacon Miller grabbed at my heart because of all they went through to be together and become a family.  Ethan Day has always been one of those writers with the ability to make me empathize with his characters and their difficult situations.  Day can make you laugh and then turn around and send you running to the tissue box for the next round of Kleenex as his characters problems become seemingly insurmountable.  Nothing put you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions better than Northern Star so I couldn’t wait to see how it would translate to audio.

Well, it was wonderful.  Jason Frazier with a cast of characters that his voice can summon takes a story I loved and made it fresh for me.  I felt as though I was hearing/coming at it for the first time all over again.  Again I’m at the hotel bar where Deacon and Steve are meeting and having really hot sex afterwards.  I’m following them through all the tumultuous days that follow at the hospital where Deacon’s mom was taken after drunk driving.  Steve’s fight to adjust to his new status, Deacon and his sister’s plight, all the incredibly complex relationship dynamics and family drama that unfolds…Jason Frazier’s voice holds our attention to the story and the characters lives happening before us.  And there is so much here.  Child abandonment issues, alcoholism in parents, the effects of being closeted and the fear of being outed for most of a person’s adult life, poor self esteem, on and on. Ethan Day addresses realistically many important issues here, ones that need to be examined before Steve and Deacon can have a shot at a permanent relationship themselves.

The pain the characters are feeling, the anger and the many other emotions all come across in the voices of Jason Frazier.  He really does justice to Ethan Day’s story and characters and he made this story a wonderful audiobook experience!  I loved it in 2013 and I adore it again in audiobook!  I highly recommend this one for all you lovers of contemporary romance.

 

Cover by Wilde City Press art director. Works perfectly for the characters and storyline.

Sales

Audible

Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Originally released in 2013 from Wilde City Press in eBook format
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 8 hours and 41 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Ethan Day
Audible.com Release Date: July 4, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B073K15ZRC

 

A VVivacious Review: Weekend Getaway (Daniel and Ryan #7) by Tamryn Eradani

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

An idea from Ryan regarding a scene can’t seem to get out of Daniel’s head. He wants to try it out but among the safety of strangers, so Ryan and Daniel make a weekend trip that will either end in disaster or make for one very sexy memory. 

This review is the review of the book as well as the excerpt for the next one. Because you can’t drop a bomb in the excerpt and not expect it to have an impact.

I was so inordinately happy after reading this story and then I read the excerpt and I was like – Oh! This is too fast and I know how that sounds because in most reviews for this series I am like things are going too slow but seriously you can’t lull your readers into liking the slow pace you have set for your series and then start springing atomic bombs on them.

There is just too much happening in the next one, there might be a meet and greet with a family member and a very surprising addition to Daniel and Ryan’s sex life. I feel like this is no longer the review for the “Weekend getaway” but more like the review for the excerpt of “Caught in Between” which is a fitting name because that is exactly how I feel.

But if I could get my mind off the excerpt I would tell you that this short story was extraordinarily well written and well paced. There is a lot happening and I loved seeing Ryan and Daniel’s relationship progress so far. Daniel is so much more trusting of Ryan and I felt like these two scenes that they share in this short really pushed the boundaries of their relationship and their sex life but alas I can’t tell you all this because that excerpt completely short circuited my brain. All I can think about is the logistics of the thing, suggested by Daniel in the excerpt, happening.

I had these pretty little butterflies bouncing about in my stomach after reading the last line of Weekend Getaway because at that point I was feeling blissfully overwhelmed and happy considering how far Daniel and Ryan had come about and I was all ready to write an amazing review when I read the excerpt and the butterflies in my stomach transmogrified into vampire rats infected with the bubonic plague.

Okay, I might be exaggerating but I have no idea what to expect from the next one in this series. This particular book was amazing but I am really unsure about “Caught in Between”, but I guess the I will just have to wait and watch.

Meanwhile this particular short is independently a very nice addition to this series and I loved reading it as I hope you can tell but I am pretty nervous about the next one.

The Cover Art by Natasha Snow is amazing and I love the new series of covers for this

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Published August 7th 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947139541
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDaniel and Ryan #7

An Alisa Pre-Release Review: Grounded by Aidan Wayne

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Between raising his daughter Camille, his work as a full-time pastry chef, and his hobby of capoeira, Baz’s life is pretty full. He may be a little lonely, but he’s too busy to think about it all that much.

 

When his cousin Alaina introduces him to Terry, another capoeira student, Baz is instantly drawn to him. Though quiet and withdrawn, Terry ends up being a fun, interesting person who Baz can’t help but fall for. And when Baz does things, he doesn’t do them halfway.

 

Terry is a successful voice actor and a talented martial artist. But the fact that he’s shy, on top of being a trans man, has kept him from really dating. He likes Baz, he does—he just doesn’t want to mess up their friendship by failing at romance. Still, Baz is nothing if not stubborn, and Terry is willing to give things a try.

 

This was a very sweet story.  Baz hasn’t dated since his daughter was born, allowing her and his job to take up his life.  When he meeting Terry he is intrigued and begins with starting a tentative friendship with the shy man.

 

Baz is willing to push Terry for them to move into a relationship but doesn’t want to scare him.  He is so understanding with Terry, almost unbelievably so, and the bumps along the way to build their relationship.

 

Terry has gone through so much with transitioning and how people have treated him throughout his life.  I could see how hard it was for him when people mistook him for a girl and to accept that Baz wanted him, I mean really wanted him.  I loved seeing both Baz and Terry get the relationship they both wanted and needed in the end and I was glad to see them slowly taking more steps to be together longer.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is a wonderful picture.

 

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages

Published: August 21, 2017 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-947139-68-8

Edition Language: English

Tour: Becoming Andy Hunsinger by Jere’ M. Fishback (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Becoming Andy Hunsinger

Author: Jere’ M. Fishback

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: Aug 14, 2017

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 64200

Genre: Historical, friends to lovers, college, coming out, coming-of-age, historical, drug/alcohol use

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Synopsis

It’s 1976, and Anita Bryant’s homophobic “Save Our Children” crusade rages through Florida. When Andy Hunsinger, a closeted gay college student, joins in a demonstration protesting Bryant’s appearance in Tallahassee, his straight boy image is shattered when he is “outed” by a TV news reporter. In the months following, Andy discovers just what it means to be openly gay in a society that condemns love between two men and wonders if his friendship with Travis, a devout Christian who’s fighting his own sexual urges, can develop into something deeper.

Excerpt

Becoming Andy Hunsinger
Jere’ M. Fishback © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

On my seventh birthday, my parents gave me a Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat.

I still have the book; it rests on the shelf above my desk, along with other Seuss works I’ve collected. Inside The Cat in the Hat’s cover, my mother wrote an inscription, using her precise penmanship.

“Happy Birthday, Andy. As you grow older, you’ll realize many truths dwell within these pages. Much love, Mom and Dad.”

Mom was right, of course. She most always was. My favorite line is this one:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

***

Loretta McPhail was a notorious Tallahassee slumlord. On a steamy afternoon, in August 1976, she spoke to me in her North Florida drawl: part magnolia, part crosscut saw.

“The rent’s one twenty-five. I’ll need first, last, and a security deposit, no exceptions.”

McPhail wore a short-sleeved shirtwaist dress, spectator pumps, and a straw hat with a green plastic windowpane sewn into the brim. Her skin was as pale as cake flour. A gray moustache grew on her wrinkled upper lip, and age spots peppered the backs of her hands. Her eyeglasses had lenses so thick her gaze looked buggy.

I’d heard McPhail held title to more than fifty properties in town, all of them cited multiple times for violation of local building codes. She owned rooming houses, single-family homes, and small apartment buildings, mostly in neighborhoods surrounding Florida State University’s campus. Like me, her tenants sought cheap rent; they didn’t care if the roof leaked or the furnace didn’t work.

The Franklin Street apartment I viewed with McPhail wasn’t much: a living room and kitchen, divided by a three-quarter wall; a bedroom with windows looking into the rear and side yards; and a bathroom with a wall-mounted sink, a shower stall, and a toilet with a broken seat. In each room, the plaster ceilings bore water marks. The carpet was a leopard skin of suspicious-looking stains, and the whole place stank of mildew and cat pee.

McPhail’s building was a two-storied, red-brick four-plex with casement windows that opened like book covers, a Panhandle style of architecture popular in the 1950s. Shingles on the pitched roof curled at their edges. Live oaks and longleaf pines shaded the crabgrass lawn, and skeletal azaleas clung to the building’s exterior.

In the kitchen, I peeked inside a rust-pitted Frigidaire. The previous tenant had left gifts: a half-empty ketchup bottle, another of pickle relish. A carton of orange juice with an expiration date three months past sat beside a tub of margarine.

Out in the stairwell, piano music tinkled—a jazzy number I didn’t recognize.

McPhail clucked her tongue and shook her head. “I’ve told Fergal—and I mean several times—to close his door when he plays, but he never does. I’m not sure why I put up with that boy.”

McPhail pulled a pack of Marlboros from a pocket in the skirt of her dress. After tapping out two cigarettes, she jammed them between her lips. She lit both with a brushed-chrome Zippo, then gave me one.

I puffed and tapped a toe, letting my gaze travel about the kitchen. I studied the chipped porcelain sink, scratched Formica countertops, and drippy faucet. Blackened food caked the range’s burner pans. The linoleum floor’s confetti motif had long ago disappeared in high-traffic areas. Okay, the place was a dump. But the rent was cheap, and campus was less than a mile away. I could ride my bike to classes and to my part-time job as caddy at the Capital City Country Club.

Still, I hesitated.

The past two years, I’d lived in my fraternity house with forty brothers. I took my meals there, too. If I rented McPhail’s apartment, I’d have to cook for myself. What would I eat? Where would I shop for food?

Other questions flooded my brain. Where would I wash my clothes? And how did a guy open a utilities account? The apartment wasn’t furnished. Where would I purchase a bed? What about a dinette and living room furniture?

And how much did such things cost? It all seemed so complicated.

Still…

Lack of privacy at the fraternity house would pose a problem for me this year. Over summer break—back home in Pensacola—I’d experienced my first sexual encounter with another male, a lanky serviceman named Jeff Dellinger, age twenty-four. Jeff was a second lieutenant from Eglin Air Force Base. I met him at a sand volleyball game behind a Pensacola Beach hotel, and he seemed friendly. I liked his dark hair, slim physique, and ready smile, but wasn’t expecting anything personal to happen between us.

After all, I was a “straight boy,” right?

We bought each other beers at the tiki bar, and then Jeff invited me up to his hotel room. Once we reached the room, Jeff prepared two vodka tonics. My drink struck like snake venom, and then my brain fuzzed. Jeff opened a bureau drawer; he produced a lethal-looking pistol fashioned from black metal. The pistol had a matte finish and a checked grip.

“Ever seen one of these?” Jeff asked.

I shook my head.

“It’s an M1911—official air-force issue. I’ve fired it dozens of times.”

Jeff raised the gun to shoulder height. He closed one eye, focused his other on the pistol’s barrel sight. “Shooting’s almost…sensual.” Then he looked at me. “It’s like sex, if you know what I mean.”

I shrugged, not knowing what to say.

Jeff handed the pistol to me. It weighed more than I’d expected, between two and three pounds. I turned it this way and that, admiring its sleek contours. The grip felt cold against my palm and a shiver ran through me. I’d never fired a handgun, never thought to.

“Is it loaded?” I asked.

Jeff bobbed his chin. “One bullet’s in the firing chamber, seven more in the magazine; it’s a semiautomatic.”

After I handed Jeff the gun, he returned it to his bureau’s drawer while I sipped my drink, feeling woozier by the minute. Jeff sat next to me, on the room’s double bed. His knee nudged mine, our shoulders touched, and I smelled his coconut-scented sunscreen.

Jeff laid a hand on my thigh. Then he squeezed. “You don’t mind, do you?”

I looked down at his hand while my heart thumped. Go on, chickenshit. He wants you.

I gazed into Jeff’s dark eyes. “It’s fine.”

Moments later, my swim trunks lay in a corner and Jeff knelt in front of me, slurping away. Currents of pleasure crept through my limbs, and then I felt a buzzing between my legs. When I came, I thought I’d pass out. I closed my eyes and drew a deep breath. Then I watched fireworks explode inside my head.

Jesus, this feels good. Why haven’t I done this before?

Thereafter, we rendezvoused several times during summer, always at the same hotel.

“I get a military discount here,” Jeff explained.

I quickly learned the basics of male/male sex from Jeff, and each session proved better than the one before. During these meetings, Jeff introduced me to anal intercourse, something I’d never dreamed I would do.

The first few times, Jeff took a passive role. But then he asked me to surrender my cherry, and I acceded. Jeff’s initial penetration felt painful, but soon I relaxed, and I discovered a side of myself I hadn’t known existed. A fullness and warmth crept through my body as Jeff thrust inside me. The whole thing felt so…natural.

Whenever I lay in bed with Jeff, after sex, I always rested my head on his chest, and while I listened to his heartbeat I felt like a guy released from jail. I knew I was queer then—there was no doubt about it—and the realization made me feel a bit foolish, like I was the last guy at the party let in on the joke. I was a faggot, a fudge-packer, a butt pirate. My attempts at dating women had been a ruse—I’d only done it to fit in with my fraternity brothers—and what a waste of time it had been for all concerned.

Like most guys, I’d masturbated chronically since my early teens, and now I knew why visions of naked men crept into my thoughts whenever I did so. Now I knew why my friends’ girlie magazines had never held my interest. No wonder showering with my PE classmates in high school had thrilled me so.

It all seems stupid in retrospect. How could I not know I was gay? But in 1976, most guys weren’t in touch with their inner selves. I don’t know why, but we weren’t. Feelings weren’t a topic of male conversation. Emotional needs took a backseat to more “important” matters: achievement, sports, and politics—“normal” concerns, if you will.

My summer with Jeff changed all that, for me at least. In the sexual sense, I had found my mother lode. I belonged in the arms of a man—I would settle for nothing else—and I was fine with it. But now fall had arrived, and I would live in Tallahassee again. I couldn’t drive to Fort Walton Beach every weekend. That would mean a three-hour drive on monotonous Highway 90, passing by cow pastures and slash pine forests, just to meet up with Jeff. And how much sense did that make? I needed a boyfriend who lived nearby, and assuming I found one, I would face a few problems.

If I remained at the Lambda Chi house I’d share a room with a fraternity brother, so I’d have no privacy. Plus, the guys at Lambda Chi wouldn’t understand if I dated another male, no way.

Wasn’t it time I had my own place?

Now, in her run-down rental apartment, McPhail blew a stream of blue smoke. After the cloud rose to the kitchen’s cobwebbed ceiling, she looked at me with her insect eyes.

“Well?” she said.

I studied my shoes and licked my lips. Go on: do it.

I swung my gaze to my future landlady.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Jere’ M. Fishback is a former journalist and trial lawyer who now writes fiction full time. He lives with his partner Greg on a barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast. When he’s not writing, Jere’ enjoys reading, playing his guitar, jogging, swimming laps, fishing, and watching sunsets from his deck overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Tour Schedule

8/14    Happily Ever Chapter

8/14    Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

8/15    MillsyLovesBooks

8/15    A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

8/15    Love Bytes Reviews

8/16    V’s Reads

8/17    MM Good Book Reviews

8/17    The Novel Approach

8/17    Drops of Ink

8/17    Diverse Reader

8/18    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

8/18    Xtreme Delusions

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In the Spotlight: Fool of Main Beach (Love of Laguna #5) by Tara Lain (excerpt)

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The unlikeliest of lovers. The sweetest of loves.

 

Fool of Main Beach (Love of Laguna Series, Bk #5) by Tara Lain
Blurb:
Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?
Available for purchase at
            
Also available in paperback
Excerpt

Excerpt  – Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain

White bursts of light flashed in front of his eyes and a river of burning bile filled his mouth, oozing around the pressure of the big asshole’s arm on his neck. Damn. Damn. Who the fuck wants to die on the beach in a tuxedo?

Merle staggered backward as the brother tightened his grip and the other sibling from hell moved in to do more damage. Brother One pulled back a fist—and suddenly flew through the air, practically knocking Merle and his captor off their feet.

Standing behind where Brother One had stood was—Sasquatch. It had to be—this huge man, easily six foot six, dressed in what might be a pink puffer jacket, with a shock of curly, dark hair flying around his face. He stopped his forward momentum and snapped a fist at Ritchie, who was staggering back to join the fray. Only the smallest interface between that huge hand and Ritchie’s chin signaled bye-bye, Ritchie. The dude staggered back and fell on his ass. Merle would have cheered if his neck wasn’t breaking. Sweet Face held up his hands, and Sasquatch nodded with a smile more appropriate to a kindergarten class than a beach brawl.

Then the giant turned to Brother Two, who still held his arm painfully around Merle’s throat. Brother hissed in Merle’s ear, “Don’t come any closer or I’ll break his neck.”

Sasquatch cocked his head and gave that weird smile again. Is the guy nuts? “It’s very hard to break a person’s neck, did you know that?” He walked slowly forward. “You don’t want to hurt him.”

The arm around Merle’s neck trembled and tightened convulsively. Merle made a gagging sound.

Sasquatch frowned, an oddity on what appeared to be a young, pretty face. “It will be very bad for you if you hurt him, you know? But if you let him go, I won’t hurt you.” He looked over his shoulder. “See. Your friends ran away already.”

Sure enough. They’d melted into the dark the second they got the chance.

“You should go too.” Sasquatch stepped forward again. “Go now.”

Brother Two released Merle and ran like a rabbit toward the water as Merle collapsed onto the damp sand. “I hope you fucking drown.” He rubbed his neck and tried to get a full breath into his lungs.

The big man knelt down beside Merle.

Merle glanced up. Yes, on closer inspection the face might have been a choirboy’s—on the body of the Jolly Green Giant.

The big man bobbed his head. “You’re okay, right?”

“Yeah. I think so.”

“How can we know?”

Merle almost laughed. “Uh, I guess you can help me up, and we’ll check it out.”

“Okay.” The giant reached down, grasped Merle at the waist, and whoa—sent him flying to his feet. This time Merle did laugh. “Was that fun?” The big man smiled, and huge dimples popped out in his cherub face.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

“I could do it again. I like lifting you.”

“No, that’s okay.” Funny how that gave him a little flip in the stomach. He rotated his neck very gently. “I think I’m okay. How does my tux look?” He stepped back and wiped sand from his butt.

“Tux?”

“Oh, my clothes.”

“Good. Really pretty.”

“Thanks. A friend designed the clothes for me, and I’d hate for those assholes to ruin them.”

“Yes. That would be bad. Disappointing.”

“Yes, it would.”

“Friends are good.”

Merle stuck out his hand. “I’m Merle Justice, and I’m extremely grateful to you. I think you might have saved my life.”

The big man looked at Merle’s hand for a minute, then grinned and shook it enthusiastically. “I’m happy to save your life.”

Love in Laguna Series
Bk #1

 

Available for purchase at
                 

 

Bk #2
Available for purchase at 
 
                    

 

Bk #3
Available for purchase at
                      

 

 

 

Bk #4
Available for purchase at 
               
Grab your copy now!

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain
               
Giveaway

Release Blitz for Jay Northcote’s Tops Down Bottoms Up

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 23,000 words approx 
 
 
Blurb


Will Rowan’s festival fling with sexy dancer Seth lead to something more permanent?

Rowan is stuck at a folk festival helping out a mate, and it really isn’t his scene. The yoga and singing workshops are bad enough, but morris dancing is the final straw. Bearded men with beer guts prancing around wearing bells—who wants to watch that?

All Rowan’s preconceptions are shattered when he meets Seth—a morris dancer, and the stuff Rowan’s fantasies are made of. Seth persuades Rowan to come to a dancing workshop, and Rowan’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to know Seth better. The attraction is mutual, and a lesson filled with innuendo and flirting leads to an incredible night together.

When Rowan arrives home, he’s gutted to find that Seth has given him the wrong phone number. Assuming Seth did it on purpose, Rowan resolves to forget about him. But fate—and friends—conspire to get them back together. Will they manage to stay in step this time around?

A much shorter version of this story was originally published in the Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology by Dreamspinner Press. This version has been revised and extended. Almost half of it is new content.

 

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

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Cover Reveal for Mel Gough’s A World Apart (cover reveal and giveaway)

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Pre-order from Ninestar Press with the code PREORDER for 20% discount here
 
Release Date: September 18
 
Publisher: Ninestar Press
 
Length: 52,000 words
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow 
 
Blurb
 

Ben Griers is the darling of Corinth Georgia’s Police Department—intelligent, handsome, and hardworking. Thanks to his beautiful wife and clever daughter, Ben’s family is the envy of the town. Yet desperate unhappiness is hiding just below the surface.

When Donnie Saunders, a deadbeat redneck with a temper, is brought to the Corinth PD as a suspect in a hit-and-run, Ben finds himself surprisingly intrigued by the man. He quickly establishes Donnie’s innocence but can’t shake the feeling that Donnie is hiding something. When they unexpectedly encounter each other again at an AA meeting in Atlanta, sparks begin to fly.

With his marriage on the verge of collapse, Ben is grateful for the other man’s affection. But he is soon struggling to help an increasingly vulnerable Donnie, while at the same time having to deal with the upheaval in his own life. Ben eventually realizes that they cannot achieve happiness together unless they confront their darkest secrets.

Author Bio

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.

If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.

Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.

In her day job, Mel works for an NGO as operations manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

.

 

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A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.

Gritty, wildly imaginative, and full of action, Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon has much to recommend it. JT, the orc with a past is one of them.  A retired thief with a background of grief, pain, loss and maybe  even betrayal, JT hasn’t entirely let who and what he was go but he’s trying hard.  He loves the peace his new hard won life has won him and the young orc he’s mentoring reminds him a lot of himself when he was young.  Between his clients, building a business and keeping her busy and out of trouble, JT’s life is full.  Allmon makes JT accessible emotionally.  You connect with this character in his gruff ways all the while wanting to know more about the implants that connect him to the cars and trucks that are so much a part of him as breathing.

Then there’s Austin, an enigma that threatens JT’s world that he’s built, periling both of them for a job that’s shady to begin with.  Nothing that Austin says, does or is can be trusted.  Even as a reader,  I honestly found it hard to trust the feelings that Austin said/implied he had for JT.  Real? Lust? Gritty doesn’t even begin to explore the complicated dynamics that exist between these two and their past history together.

Even the plot and the revelations leave so many questions at the end.  Questions I’m not sure we’ll ever get answers too unless they will be coming in the next stories in the series.  I hope so.  This is one hell of a universe that Don Allmon is spinning here and one I can’t wait to dive back into.  Only don’t do it for the romance.   For romance lovers, you’re going to be disappointed here.  There is a relationship yes, but how it ends and on what grounds?  That’s still to be established.

Nothing comes easy in this world.  It’s hard scrabble all the way.  I want to see  where this series goes from here.  You will to.  Don’t read it for the romance, read it for the characters, the adventure and the world building!

Cover by: Simoné.  Love this cover by Simone.  It’s perfect for the characters and the story.

Sales Links:  Pre=order at Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

ebook, 177 pages
Expected publication: August 28th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496156
Edition LanguageEnglish

This title is part of the Blue Unicorn universe.

  • The Glamour Thieves
  • Apocalypse Alley (A Blue Unicorn novel)  coming soon

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Gabriel (Legacy Ranch #2) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Author’s Note:
Be aware: emotional and physical abuse are depicted on the page in this book.

Reviewer’s Note:

Be warned—this one is heavy—emotionally heavy—with topics of abuse, past and present, physical and emotional.  Gabriel is one very damaged man. 

When Gabriel escaped from Hank Castille’s ranch years ago, he made his way to Dallas where he was “rescued” by a man named Stefan.  At first, Gabriel was so grateful to have someone who cared about him, he thought he was in love with the man. But Stefan set him straight on that—though Stefan cared about him, he also cared how Gabriel could benefit him and though Gabriel never seems to see the truth in the relationship, it’s evident to readers that Stefan is his pimp and is an emotional and physical abuser. But Stefan wraps his abuse in pretty words and gives Gabriel a place to stay, clothes, and a paycheck. It’s earning this paycheck that brings him into the Stafford Hotel where the owner, Cameron Stafford, needs an escort for a family event.

Cameron is blind, well, almost blind, but his eyesight is deteriorating rapidly and he’s fighting a power struggle with his hotel magnate father and his sister’s husband, both of whom want a part of the successful Dallas hotel.  Cameron owns it outright, however, thanks to the savvy of his deceased grandfather who made sure no one could absorb it back into the rest of the company.  Cameron is gay, single, and blind—three strikes against him per his father and brother-in-law. The single is because his last douchebag boyfriend took advantage of his blindness and stole from him, so he hires an escort to accompany him to his other sister’s engagement party.  To do this, he relies heavily on his bodyguard, known only as Six, and against Six’s judgment, he moves forward with his plan. 

The story encompasses a year in their lives, a year in which the two men come to mean something to each other and Gabriel starts to see some of Stefan’s actions as less than humane. (Getting choked until one blacks out will do that to a person.)  The kindness he thought he felt from Stefan is tarnished by the reality, especially when he starts to pay attention to calls from one of the other young men who was abused at Hank Castille’s hands—a young man named Kyle who now manages the Legacy Ranch for Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes.  The ranch is intended as a safe place for the men who were abused by Hank and others like him, and for horses who are rescued from abusive situations.  Each client of the ranch is assigned a horse and together the therapeutic environment serves as a positive in their recovery.  They have a place for Gabriel whenever he’s ready for it—no strings attached.

Gabriel almost waits too long to seek help, but when he does, it’s Cam and Six who help get him to the ranch, where over time, the much-needed healing begins to take place. 

This is a love story, but it’s somewhat a secondary plotline.  The focus is more on the abusive situations, the reality faced by so many young men, the difficulty of asking for help, and the very real need for trust to begin to lay any foundation for a long-term commitment. 

I am enjoying this series, and though this was a difficult story to read in places, it was very necessary to take each step along the way.  As the story ends, there’s been no quick fix, however, there is a very strong hope for the future for the two men others might consider damaged or disabled but they know are stronger than ever with each other. 

I highly recommend this one, especially for readers who like hurt-comfort stories, but pay attention to the author’s warnings.  She’s very clear on the graphic scenes included, but my favorite sentence in the forward is where she very eloquently states: “I have a spectrum of readers and I know that some may consider this to be an on-page trigger, and it was important to me that I let you know.” 

~~~~

Cover art by Meredith Russell features a very handsome man set against the background of a big city skyline—both perfectly representing Gabriel and the city of Dallas.    

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Book Details:

ebook, 126 pages
Published August 2nd 2017 by Love Lane Books Limited
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-legacy-series.html
SeriesLegacy Ranch #2

Andrew Grey on Inspiration, Location, and his latest release Ebb and Flow (Love’s Charter #2) (guest post and excerpt)

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Ebb and Flow (Love’s Charter #2) by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Aug 18 2017

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Book Links: 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey back today with a guest post and excerpt from his latest novel Ebb and Flow. Welcome, Andrew!

🌊

Andrew Grey on Inspiration and Location

I like to set my stories in places I’ve visited.  It helps me get a sense of the place and be able to describe it clearly.  Also each setting has a certain feel to it about the place itself as well as the people.  For Ebb and Flow, the setting came as the result of a visit to my publishers who lives in that area of Florida.  On that trip I also got the opportunity to spend the day fishing on the gulf.  It was an amazing experience and the captain and his mate were amazing people whom it was a pleasure to get to know.  During the trip back, we had engine problems.  They jumped on it fast, diagnosing the issue and devising a solution with the tools and supplies they had on board.  The thought fast and repaired the boat so we could get back to shore safely and as quickly as possible.  My contribution to the problem solving was to stay out of the way.  I will admit that smoke pouring out of the engine compartment scared the crap out of me, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and the guys remained cool and calm under pressure.  I’ll go out fishing with them any time.  Parts of them are in each of the charter boat characters. 

Blurb/Synopsis:

To achieve happiness, they’ll have to find the courage to be their own men.

As first mate on a charter fishing boat, Billy Ray meets a lot of people, but not one of them has made him as uncomfortable as Skippy—because he’s drawn to Skippy as surely as the moon pulls the tides, and he’s almost as powerless to resist. Billy Ray has spent his life denying who he is to avoid the wrath of his religious father, and he can’t allow anyone to see through his carefully built façade.

Skippy is only in town on business and will have to return to Boston once he’s through. But he doesn’t count on Billy Ray capturing his attention and touching his heart. After all, his father has certain expectations, and one of them is not him staying in Florida.

Billy Ray doesn’t realize just how much he and Skippy have in common, though. They’re both living to please their fathers instead of following their own dreams—a fact that becomes painfully obvious when they get to know each other and realize how much joy they’ve denied themselves. While they can’t change the past, they can begin a future together and make up for lost time—as long as they’re willing to face the consequences of charting their own course.

hing.”

Excerpt 

To say that Billy Ray Lowell was uncomfortable would be a supreme understatement. Hell, it was like saying a hurricane was a nice, refreshing breeze. Billy Ray knew he liked boys—he’d figured that out a while ago. The problem was, he was with four other men who did too, and he felt like they knew what he was like. He wondered if they’d say something or if they could read his mind or something. Skippy kept watching him, and he had a hard—pun intended—time taking his attention away from him. Skippy was a little smaller than him, but compact and with great blue eyes the color of the water on the sunniest day, framed by dark blond hair that would probably lighten if he spent more time in the sun, and a golden complexion.

“Billy Ray,” Bubba said, and he jumped to bait Jerry’s hook, then moved on to Kyle’s. He was doing his best to avoid Skippy and leave him to Bubba, but it wasn’t working, and every time he got close to him, his cologne, which was really nice and probably a lot more expensive than the deodorant Billy Ray wore, drew him like a moth to flame. It was clean, with an undertone of heat that sent ripples running down Billy Ray’s back.

“I got one,” Skippy called, cranking the reel as the pole bent.

Billy Ray got the net as a huge grouper broke the water. He scooped it up and took the hook out, then slid the amazing fish into the box and covered it with ice. “Great catch. I think that’s about the biggest one I’ve seen in a while,” he told Skippy, who grinned from ear to ear, and damned if that didn’t make Billy Ray’s heart thump a little faster. He needed to get his head in the game and out of his pants, or he was going to fall in or something.

“Good eating tonight,” Skippy declared, and the others echoed his sentiment. “We figured we’d cook what we catch tonight, so you come on by the house and join us if you like. I’ll give you the address. I have it in my bag. There’s nothing like a fresh catch.”

“I agree with that,” Bubba said, and Billy Ray nodded. If Bubba was going to this party, he couldn’t very well stay away and not look like a jerk. “Bait his line and let’s see if there’s another one down there.”

Billy Ray jumped to, but the lines had gone slack, so Bubba made the call to haul them up and started the engine to move them on. While they moved, Billy Ray baited all the hooks and cut up some more bait so it would be ready for their next stop. He also washed down the decking from where one of the fish had bled a little. When they stopped, he secured them in place with the anchor, and they repeated the process of making sure the boat was in position. Then the guys started fishing, and once again Skippy pulled up a beauty. It was definitely his day.

As Billy Ray unhooked the fish, its fin scraped along his hand, cutting the back of it. He jerked, dropping the fish.

Bubba got the fish in the bucket. “Go wash it.”

“Kyle’s a doctor,” Skippy said, taking Billy Ray’s hand, and before Billy Ray could do anything to protest, Skippy had tugged him over.

“We need to get his wound cleaned right away.” Kyle put his pole in the holder and hurried to his bag. “Sit right there, and I’ll have you fixed up in no time.”

“This happens sometimes. It’s no big deal.” Billy Ray would have just used something to cover the cut and then gone back to work. That was what he usually did, unless the cut was pretty bad.

“Just sit down.” Kyle sat next to him and cleaned the wound. Billy Ray hissed but didn’t cry out even when the alcohol burned. “The fish carry bacteria, and a cut like this can get infected easily.” Kyle had a gentle grip, but it didn’t make his stomach do little flips, not the way the slightest touch from Skippy did. Billy Ray wished he knew what was causing it so he could make it stop. It wasn’t as though he was going to do anything about it. Skippy was a rich guy from up north, and he was a poor Southern kid who lived in the same town where he was born and had never gone anywhere or seen anything.

“Is it deep?”

Kyle shook his head as he worked. “No. But I want to bandage it well enough that you can work without getting it dirty.” He finished with the bandage and put his things away.

Billy Ray thanked Kyle and got back to work, raising the anchor so they could move to their next spot.

“We’re going to be traveling for a while,” Bubba said from the pilot location.

“Then we should eat,” Steven declared, pulling open the cooler. “I have plenty for everyone.” He took out containers of fried chicken, cold salads, fruit, and drinks. It was like a miniature buffet, and Billy Ray’s mouth watered.

“It’s all right,” Bubba told him. Usually the rule was to let the guests eat. They often offered some of what they brought, but Bubba and Mike thought it best to remain separate and do their job. “Go ahead. These guys are different. They’re friends of Mike and William’s.”

“Have something,” Skippy offered as he sat down. “Steven always packs more than we can eat, and he gets the best food. Help yourself.” He handed a plate to Billy Ray, who hesitated before taking it, watching the others as they talked among themselves in such a good-natured way. They seemed so… normal.

“Thanks.” Billy Ray took a little of everything and then sat off to the side while the five friends sat together. Or maybe it was just four friends and a guest. Alec, the youngest of the group, sat slightly away from the others and ate quietly while the rest talked nonstop, poking fun at each other as they sped out to their next fishing location.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)