A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rebuild My Heart (Lexington Lovers #4) by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Lexington Lovers

A love built to last.

When Derek Jackson is hired to renovate the LGBT bookstore that’s also Owen Hensley’s home, opposites attract. Derek is a big burly blue-collar guy, about ten years older than slight, sweet, and bookish Owen. As they spend time together, it becomes clear that each handsome outside leads to a beautiful interior. Far from the shy twink he appears, Owen has a rock-solid foundation that helped him put himself through college and start his own business. Behind Derek’s strong façade waits a tender heart that’s been battered by a rough family past—something Owen understands.

After Owen’s runaway nephew lands on his doorstep, it throws a wrench in their plans. Derek can’t ask Owen to choose, but he doesn’t think he can take second place with his lover the way he always has with his family. Can they find a way to keep their romance standing?

As much as I have enjoyed each story separately, I find that the more the author releases new novels and builds a community that all the couples reside in, relate to and repeatedly connect to one another, that my fondness for and delight in this series has grown with each installment.  That has happened again with Rebuild My Heart, a book that offered up some wonderful new characters, showed some old ones in new light, and had the readers watch as this small corner of Lexington grew a bit larger in population and heart once more.

I love that cover because that is Owen Hensley to perfection.  Ariel Tachna will stretch out the reveal of Owen’s actual name and history to give the developing romance and his character depth and new elements not often seen in romance.  Authentic to the south, harsh and dark in the reality, I almost wish Tachna had spent more time on this aspect of the story instead of that bit of frippery with Owen’s ex which really came to nothing.  Owen’s background has the feeling of bedrock, the bit with the ex that of cotton candy.  And it took away from the story.  Unless of course, it will figure on down the line.

Derek Jackson’s background is, not lopsided, but maybe less filled in for the reader.  His family comes from the wonderful third story , Stage Two. All those characters are in attendance here to my complete gratification and happiness.  They are in many ways his family, although it will take the entire book for Derek to figure that out, much to my frustration with him.  The other part of his “real family” is one we hear about but never see.  It makes them less than realistic, it also makes the demons in his head due to the pressures they lay on him , perhaps less believable because we don’t see it in action.  I don’t know, this portion of the story and Derek’s doesn’t come across as it should for me.

What I do love is their romance, the boys Kit and Phillip, their dynamics with Derek,and then Owen, and finally Ephah.  That was so amazing and pulled me in.  Those boys were boys!  The dialog often hilarious or poignant or whatever the boys were into.  And the slow evolution of one man’s thinking, actually two was beautiful to read.

So yes, some things that bothered me but on the whole, many other elements that offered depth and additional pleasures.  I love seeing the same characters continue to appear in book after book, as I said they continue to form a community I look forward to visiting in.  Now to see who is coming next.  Especially since there is an opening into Owen’s  past .

I recommend this series and definitely Rebuild My Heart (Lexington Lovers #4) by Ariel Tachna.  At some point Kit will need his story too.  But not yet.  Too soon.  So who is next?

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza, yes, that’s Owen alright, down to the pink hair. Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644051429
Edition Languagev English
Series: Lexington Lovers #4

Lexington Lovers Series

Unstable Stud

A Matchless Man

Stage Two

Rebuild My Heart

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stage Two (Lexington Lovers #3) by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

Love has a steep learning curve.

Assistant high school principal Blake Barnes has everything he wants—a chance to help troubled students and an outlet for his passion for theater. Well, almost everything—he still goes home to an empty apartment. Then his high school crush explodes back into his life, the unexpected guardian of two boys in Blake’s care.

Thane Dalton has always been a bad boy through and through. Not much has changed, including his mistrust of authority figures, and no amount of institutional bureaucracy will keep him from protecting his nephews from the bullies terrorizing them. If that means butting heads with Blake, so be it.

Blake and Thane have lessons to learn: that they both have the boys’ best interests at heart, that the tension between them isn’t just confrontational, and that sparks can fly when opposites come together.

Stage Two by Ariel Tachna was just an excellent all around story, that it happened to include a romance was a definite plus as well.  It was as much about two young teenagers adjusting to the loss of their mother, making a new home with their uncle, dealing with, frankly, a very scary bullying situation in their new school as it is about Blake and Thane finding each other.  That it all happens under stressful conditions realistically portrayed here by the author is one of this story’s strengths.  Everyone becomes more grounded and believable when faced with the situations and relationship dynamics dealt with within this story.  And it’s a guarantee for us to connect with them all.  I deny anyone not to feel the pain and loss that these boys are going through. Its comes pouring out so vividly here that you want to comfort them yourselves.  In tandem with those boys grief is their uncle’s confusion, bewilderment and anger. Thane too has lost his sister, he’s trying to deal with being a guardian to two boys in mourning in a new situation and unsure he can handle it all.  That his go to method of dealing is anger and all too often his fists to settle situations?  Well, I think we have all met people like Thane as well.

Blake is a joy of discovery, for the reader and all the main characters within the novel. I’m including the boys in with their uncle Thane since they are so much a part of this story.  New facets of Blake’s personality unfold to the delight of the reader, Thane and the boys as the narrative moves forward and all the characters find themselves in different situations inside and outside of school.  I found myself eager to know what new side of Blake was going to come forward and show itself.  And each time it did, the author managed to make it happen in such a way that I should have seen it all along.  So should have Thane.

This is a story of long ago attractions that come rushing back, but no real instant love.  Everything else is handled in a way that feels adult, responsible and yet, doesn’t rule out passion and romance.  And the fact that there’s two young men counting on both Blake and Thane.

As much as I adored the first two stories in the Lexington Lovers series, this is by far my favorite.  I recommend the entire series but they can all be read as stand alone tales so pick this up first.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer.  I really like this cover, from the background with the curtain to the model, just so well done.  Warm and inviting.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #33, 224 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331498 (ISBN13: 9781635331493)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Lexington Lovers

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Talking in Code by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
 
talkingincodefs_v1Richard and Tim aka Dav met in the SEALs and have been in a relationship for around twenty years. Now they run their own paramilitary organization, Strike Force Omega where they meet Eric who rounds up their threesome.
 
Four months ago, Eric gets captured leading to months of torture and imprisonment. In a twist of fate his rescue coincides with Tim getting gravely injured in the field. With Tim unconscious in an ICU, for the first time Richard has to step up in a role that has always been Tim’s and help ease Eric back to life as they know it.
 
What Richard soon discovers is that Richard and Eric have no idea what their relationship is like without Tim acting as the intermediary. With Eric’s PTSD rearing its ugly head, will Richard and Eric make it through with two lives on the line?
 
Before I start this review I must say two things – Firstly, read the official blurb it is the best introduction to this book and it is spot on. Secondly, I have no idea what to write in this review so far, this book is amazing but I am finding it very hard to articulate my feelings on paper. So, if my review ends up making no sense just know that I loved the book, it is amazing and if you like the blurb then read it because the book delivers on everything that the blurb promises.
 
First I am not a very prolific reader when it comes to MMM romances, but on the other hand I also love MMM romances that are riddled with angst and problems as three men try to navigate their way through life together. For one I find happy MMM romances unreal because unless the threesome has been together for a long time I don’t understand how three men can just fit in like they were moulded together. Every couple has an adjustment period, so it stands to logic that a threesome would have triple the adjustment period because there are three couples in the mix and one relationship. This also happens to be one of the facts that made me love this book because even though Richard, Tim and Eric have been together for four years, they are still discovering new things in their relationship, like the fact that Richard and Eric have always had Tim and thus, kind of neglected finding their own equation with each other. Richard & Tim know where they stand with each other courtesy of the fact that they have been together for a long time and Tim & Eric are completely in sync especially when it comes to settling Eric back into routine life after he comes back from an op. But then there is Eric & Richard who love each other but have never really tried to figure out who and what they are to the other. This made for an interesting premise and it translated very well into the book.
 
Also I fell in love with both Richard and Eric. These two were on fire. They shared such a sensual intimacy that every scene that they share together in this book, including the sex scenes, reads like the most important thing to the story. In a way I feel like in every story sex while important to a relationship and in some relationships it can be the defining feature of the relationship does little for story progression and I mean the actual sex scene, not what comes of it but in this story I just felt like the sex between these two was writing the story, making it an absolute delight to read this book.
 
The half star deduction is actually for Tim, all this focus on Richard and Eric has the unfortunate side effect that we just don’t know Tim well enough. As far as I can tell this book is going to be a first in a series and I hope this means that we still have time to get to know Tim and work out who these three are together. But the story is complete in itself, so I have no idea if the next in this series will feature these three, if a sequel is in fact in the works. But one thing that I really liked with regards to Tim was the fact that Richard refers to Tim as Dav while Eric refers to him as Tim which kind of makes me feel that it is Richard & Dav and Eric & Tim, which kind of highlights the different equations he has with the two but I could be reading into things that aren’t there because it might just be because of the fact that Richard has nicknames for both of them and his nickname for Tim is Dav.
 
This story is a romance through and through, despite the fact that the story is set in a military/para-military background. I read this book in a single setting, I just couldn’t stop. I simply adored the book.
 
While this book is a MMM and the fact that this relationship is a threesome is absolutely essential for the premise to work, the fact is we only get to see Eric, Richard and Tim together in a sex scene only twice. Personally this wasn’t a problem for me because we do get a fair idea of how these three function together in their relationship through their conversations with each other which were priceless to me.
 
After all is said and done, I would just like to say, I loved this book. It was an amazing and delightful read that had me turning pages one after the other and I am completely in love with Richard and Eric.
 
This is my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be my last by her.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. I liked the cover.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 256 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635334438 (ISBN13: 9781635334432)
Edition Language English

On Tour with Ariel Tachna and ‘Talking in Code’ (‘Recognition’ guest post)

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Talking in Code by Ariel Tachna
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ariel Tachna here today talking about her latest story, Talking in Code. Welcome, Ariel!

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Talking in Code starts in media res. Eric, Tim, and Richard are already well and truly involved with each other, but the story includes references to moments before the book begins, moments that are not fully explored in the novel itself.

This is the third of those moments.

Recognition

“Some days I don’t know what to do with Newton,” Tim said as he climbed into the shower with Richard. It had been one hell of a mission, but they’d all made it home safe, and he couldn’t ask for more than that. “How hard is it to follow one simple order?”

Richard snorted as he directed the spray onto Tim’s back. “To listen to you talk about him, impossible.”

Tim flushed. He probably talked more about Eric than he should, but he couldn’t seem to stop. If Richard had noticed, though, he needed to tone it down.

“I’ve been on a lot of missions with him recently.”

“You have,” Richard agreed. He pulled Tim into his arms. Tim went willingly, tucking his head beneath Richard’s chin and resting against his broad chest. Other than their height, they were of a size, but it always felt like coming home to lean on Richard this way, like he was safe for a few hours in the craziness of their lives. “I’ve had to listen to you bitch about him after every one. It’s a damn good thing he’s good at his job, because he’s hell to work with, from what I can tell.”

“He’s not good at his job. He’s brilliant at it,” Tim said automatically. He’d spent months arguing with anyone who would listen, until he’d finally just said fuck it and started taking Eric on his own missions. He appreciated him even if none of the other team leaders seemed willing to acknowledge his effectiveness.

“So you’ve said. Repeatedly.”

“Is that a problem?” Tim asked, feeling defensive. He hadn’t done anything wrong by taking Eric under his wing. He’d just made sure they kept him as part of Strike Force Omega instead of losing him because of people who couldn’t see past his attitude.

“Not unless you tell me it’s one,” Richard replied easily.

Tim almost wished Richard would make an issue out of it. He could feel it between them, the silent elephant in the room, but he was the one in the wrong, not Richard. He was the one who couldn’t stop thinking about another man when he already had the best man in the world in his bed.

“Do you remember when we had shore leave in Bangkok?” Richard said. “We’d been together for a couple of years at that point, but nobody knew, not even our families.”

Tim remembered it. Well, parts of it. Other parts were nothing but a drunken haze. They’d been twenty-four. Stupidity was expected. “What about it?”

“You remember Chaisai, then. He caught my eye, you thought he was pretty too, and we spent several days taking turns fucking him senseless.”

“That was a long time ago. We haven’t done anything like that since then.”

“Only because nobody’s caught our eye,” Richard said. “Newton has caught your eye.”

“What about yours?” Tim asked, hardly daring to hope this conversation would go where he wanted it to.

“He’s easy on the eyes,” Richard replied with a shrug. “It would be no hardship to take him to bed.”

Tim swallowed hard. “He’s not just another fuck. He works for us, and I’d like him to keep working for us. It’s not worth losing his skills for a night of fun.”

“Maybe I’m reading you wrong, but I think it went past the realm of a night of fun a long time ago,” Richard said. “You kicked Warren’s ass after he insulted Newton one time too many and made such a fool of him that he quit. The last time you did that was for me. You talk about him all the time, even if half of it is complaints. You worry about him when he takes a mission with someone else, and you fuss over him worse than a mother hen with her chicks if he comes back with so much as a scratch on him.”

Tim froze. “And that doesn’t bother you?” he asked slowly.

To his surprise, Richard laughed. “It might if he didn’t look at you like you hung the moon, or if you had started treating me different because of it, but as it is, all I can think about is what a lucky bastard I am to have you when a young guy like Newton is lusting after you too. I can imagine it already. We’d get him in bed, and I’d just sit back and watch for a bit. Watch how much he wants you, all while knowing you’re mine. He can have you for a bit, but only because I agreed.”

The thought took Tim’s breath away. He could imagine it so easily—Richard’s gaze on him as he fucked Eric. Or maybe Eric was the one doing the fucking. Tim didn’t care. He’d take whatever he could get. Or if that wasn’t Eric’s thing, he’d try something else. He gave a damn fine blow job, according to Richard. And all the while, Richard would be there, leaning against the headboard, stroking himself while he watched, until his control finally snapped and he took charge. His big, hot hands on both of them as he directed their actions, bending them to his pleasure because they’d already seen to their own. “You’d do that for me?”

“I’d do it for us,” Richard corrected. “If that’s what you want. If you have a different scenario in mind, I’m all ears.”

Tim had more scenarios in mind than he was willing to admit, but one recurred more frequently than the others. “Him between us. Doesn’t matter what we’re doing to him, but sandwiched between us so that every thrust against him drives him into you and or drives him against me. So that whatever we do to him, we’re doing to each other by extension.”

“We can do that.”

God, he loved Richard. There weren’t words enough in any language he spoke—and he’d learned enough to be conversational in several—to say how much.

“And if one night isn’t enough?” Tim asked. “If this isn’t like Chaisai and something we just get out of our system?”

“Then we’ll need a bigger bed.”

Talking in Code blurb:

Some things crumble under pressure. Others are tempered by it instead. For three former soldiers, a tragedy might be the catalyst that binds them together—stronger than ever.

Richard Horn and Timothy Davenport met in the SEALs twenty years ago and have been lovers ever since. Now running their own paramilitary organization, Strike Force Omega, they work in the shadows to protect their country and its people. When Tim falls for Eric Newton, a deadly sniper and strategist on their team, Richard accepts that Tim’s heart is big enough for two men. He respects, admires, and even desires Eric enough to accept him into their relationship—and their bed—but he’s never been fully a part of what Eric and Tim share.

Then Eric is captured by terrorists and Tim is gravely injured in an op gone wrong, bringing Richard’s world crashing down around his ears. Even if he gets his men out alive, Eric must face the aftermath of months of physical and psychological torture—and without Tim to lean on, Eric’s PTSD is tearing him apart. Richard has to figure out the third leg of their triangle fast, or Tim won’t have a life to come back to.

About the Author

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When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands). The cat pretends they’re all beneath her, no matter what language they’re speaking.

Visit Ariel:

Website:   http://www.arieltachna.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArielTachna
Twitter:    @ArielTachna
 E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.comwszaa

A Stella Advent Calendar Review Day 11: Popcorn Garlands by Ariel Tachna

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

popcorn-garlandsCarlos Mendez spends all year working hard at his Houston-based landscaping business, and he sends every spare penny he earns back to his family in Mexico. By the time the holidays roll around, he doesn’t have much patience for the unadulterated greed and consumerism paraded past him. But a chance meeting with his neighbor, Ned Williams, and Ned’s cancer-stricken daughter, might help to remind him of the real meaning of the season—something beyond the gaudy lights and extravagant displays—something he wants to be a part of.

Popcorn Garlands by Ariel Tachna moved me deeply. It perfectly shows what Christmas should actually be, the true spirit of this holiday and not all the materialism we are so used of and too often abused.

Carlos kindness and his crew’s families’ generosity is so huge and lovely broke my heart. Versus little Sonia who is fiercely beating a bad illness. Versus a dad, Nat, who is struggling with life, dealing with his daugther medical bills, a new job and no money to scrap and buy a present to the sweetest child ever.

Although  the story is more a HFN because there is really no space for a development in the MCs relationship, I was pretty satisfied. I know Nat and Carlos are working on their HEA.

The cover art by Paul Richmond is awesome like everything he does.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 26 pages

Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635331730 (ISBN13: 9781635331738)

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: A Matchless Man (Lexington Lovers #2) by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of  5

a-matchless-manNone of the matches caught his eye as much as the matchmaker himself.

Growing up poorer than poor didn’t leave Navashen Bhattathiri many options for life outside of school. All of his concentration was on keeping his scholarships. Sixteen years later, he’s fulfilled his dream and become a doctor. Now he’s returning home to Lexington and is ready to prove himself to the world. In doing so, he reconnects with Brent Carpenter—high school classmate, real estate agent, all-around great guy… and closet matchmaker.

Brent makes it his mission to help Navashen develop a social life and meet available, interesting men. Unfortunately Navashen’s schedule is unpredictable, and few of those available, interesting men value his dedication like Brent does. Brent’s unfailing friendship and support convince Navashen he’s the one, but can he capture Brent’s heart when the matchmaker is focused on finding Navashen another man?

A Matchless Man (Lexington Lovers #2) by Ariel Tachna is another heartwarming, loving romance from the Dreamspun desire.  I haven’t read the first  Lexington Lovers story but this one is a definite winner.  Ariel Tachna uses her intimate knowledge of the Indian family unit to great advantage here with the character of Navashen Bhattathiri.  Navashen is returning home to Lexington, ready to settle down with his new job, wanting to buy his forever home and  finally start his new life as a out gay doctor.  Included in those plans are Navashen’s parents living close by and his adult younger brother with a learning disability brought on by a premature birth and lack of oxygen to the brain.

The family dynamics are such that you get a feel not only for the adult Navashen but for the life he had as a child as well.  You can sense the isolation of the mother (self imposed), the father’s role, that  wonderful brother.  That family, each member and its culture is vividly, sympathetically portrayed.  You understand their actions, even their fears, and it makes them come alive.

That goes for all the characters here.  From the other secondary ones like the retired math teacher and hardware store owner, to the other main one in Brent Carpenter, the real estate agent who helps Navashen find his “right” home, and get settled within the community.  Brent too has his own issues,  primarily dealing with his ex, wife that is.  Brent is bi-sexual, something that confuses Navashen who is less experienced with his own sexuality.

Tachna packs this story with quite a number of themes , each is handled honestly and with delicacy and humor.  Akshat, the brother especially jumps to mind with the  way he’s been sheltered and now starts to assume more responsibilities when he moves in with his brother.  The joy, the growth…this character just shines off the page.  Yet you never forget his history or his position in the family.  Its just terrific.

Also the way Brent’s bisexuality is talked about, his choices and Navashen’s as well.  There is adult discussion going on here, and yes, some emotional denial, but that’s all too human as well.  Tachna shows how that isolation that exists in the Bhattathira family extends in many ways to all members.  In Navashen, he’s had blinders on  until he finished his internships and got his degree.  Now he’s still focused on the house and his brother.  That’s seems very real too.

This entire story reads true.

The angst, such as it is, is believable, built on human foibles and the barriers raised up out of past fears.  But watching the characters work their way through their problems to arrive at a place where they can see a future together?  Beyond wonderful.

I loved this story.  Now I’ll have to find the first in the series to see what I missed.

Cover art by Paul Richmond shows Navashen, a terrific representation of the character.

Sales Links

        

 

Book Details:

ebook, 224 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773705 (ISBN13: 9781634773706)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Lexington Lovers – add it to your Goodreads shelf here:

Unstable Stud (Lexington Lovers, #1)
A Matchless Man (Lexington Lovers, #2)

A MelanieM Review: At Your Service by Ariel Tachna

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

AtYourServiceFSWhen Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.

Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.

From the moment we enter the story of At Your Service, its immediately clear that France, and its culture is going to be on loving display as a major character in Ariel Tachna’s story.  From the language to the food to the vividly described local venues, the reader feels as connected to the settings as Anthony and Paul due to the deep affection that the author holds for the people and places she is writing about.  I cannot tell you how much that helps to elevate a story as it does here.

The characters are introduced quickly as it needs to be, given the time frame the author is working within.  A week to meed and fall in love.  Possible?  Yes and definitely while in Paris.  God, that city has its own magic.   And Paul and Anthony definitely click over  the food and wine of the restaurant Au cœur du terroir and other places Paul takes Anthony too.  Its a quiet joy watching the men connect with each other even knowing what’s coming and the fear of relationships that returns along with Paul’s ex.

However, Paul’s has far darker issues than a simple fear of relationships and Tachna does a wonderful job  of not glossing over the real pain involved for both parties in the sexual issues here.   It took a story I was expected to be merely a pleasant romance into one with with emotional heft and characters that showed real growth by the end of the story.

If you love your stories with some angst, travel and struggles towards romance, then At Your Service by Ariel Tachna is the story for you.  I absolutely recommend it.

Cover art by L.C. Chase is a delight and speaks towards the location.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: March 14th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634768528
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

Its Release Day for ‘At Your Service’ by Ariel Tachna – Join Ariel Tachna for Her Interview and Giveaway!

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At Your Service by Ariel Tachna
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reamspinner Publishing

Release Date: March 14
Cover Artist L. C. Chase

Read An Excerpt/Buy It Here At Dreamspinner Publishing ebook or paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ariel Tachna here today to talk about her latest novel and talk a bit about her writing. Welcome, Ariel.  Congratulations on  At Your Service!

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Thank you, Melanie, for hosting me today, and thanks to all your followers for taking the time to read this. In appreciation, I’ll be giving away one copy of At Your Service to someone who comments.

1. Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

Book ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes it’s a dream (Partnership in Blood). Sometimes it’s an overheard snippet of Dance Off coverAllianceinBloodFSconversation (Dance Off). Sometimes it’s a situation I see or read about (Fallout). It might be a line from a book (The Matelot) or a movie (Under the Skin) or a song (The Inventor’s Companion), or a relationship dynamic I want to explore outside the context of that book or movie. I’ve had book ideas come from comments friends (Inherit the Sky) or readers (Cherish the Land) have made. They’ve come from places I’ve visited (Seducing C.C.), journeys I’ve taken (The Path), and people I’ve met (At Your Service). Sometimes it’s a personal experience (Home for Chirappu). In short, the inspiration comes from life. It’s up to me to be open to the world around me and to see everything as a potential source of creativity.HomeforChirappuFS

2.  Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why?

Definitely a pantzer. The only time I’ve successfully planned books prior to writing them is when I’m working with Nicki, and even then, those plans are open for discussion as we write. I go into a story with a set of characters, a conflict (although sometimes I discover as I’m writing that the conflict I envisioned is not the real one), and an ending (happily ever after). I used to try to make more detailed outlines, but I discovered that when I do that, my stories either feel flat or I can’t finish them because the characters rebel against my preconceived notions of who they are and refuse to cooperate until I let them tell their own stories. Ultimately everyone is happier if I just let them have their way.

3.  Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

I’ve written in pretty much every genre out there at one time or another. Except humor. I don’t do humor. As a reader, I’m most drawn to fantasy because with fantasy (or science fiction), the writer can do away with a lot of the societal norms that irk me. In fantasy, you can have a matriarchal society or an egalitarian one or one where dragons partner with humans or one where interspace travel is a question of finding someone with enough psychic ability to teleport you across the universe. You can have magic and science and any combination of aliens and cultures and languages and races. The limits of the writer’s imagination are the only limits out there. That said, doing it well is not an easy thing. There’s a lot of mediocre fantasy out there. There’s a lot of knock-off fantasy as well. I remember taking my kids to see a children’s fantasy movie a few years ago and spending the entire movie thinking, “And that’s Aragorn. And those are the Orcs. And there you have the Rohirrim.” It was Lord of the Rings all over again with names and faces changed but no real originality. Now, we can’t all be Tolkien (don’t I wish I could be as brilliant as him), but it’s easy to fall into borrowing ideas here and there instead of starting truly from scratch.

4.  If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

I’m sure I have many characters who would be different if I started their story now rather than when I started them, but each book I’ve written is very much a product of who I was as a person and a writer at the time it was written. Even when I’ve had the opportunity to do second editions of books, I’ve chosen not to make a lot of changes in those characters, because whoever they might be if I started telling the same story now, that’s not who they are because I’m not telling that story now. I told it then in the best way I could and as true to those characters as I could. Have I progressed as a writer? Of course I have. Would the text have fewer POV changes or invalid simultaneous actions or epithets or other mistakes I’ve learned not to make if I wrote it now? Possibly. Would that make the characters in any way better? I don’t think so, because my growth as a writer is technical more than it is creative. I don’t create better characters now than I did ten years ago. Different characters, no doubt, but not better, and to try to change them is to deny who they were and who I was then.

5.  Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

It’s a bit like children or students, if you’re a teacher—you’re not supposed to have favorites, but you kind of do anyway. And yes, I have them. Caine and Macklin, Orlando and Alain, and Jean and Raymond are probably my three favorites, although then I start thinking, “what about Christian and Teo?” “But I love Leandre and Perrin.” “Oh, I can’t forget about Frank and Daniel.” So yes, I have my favorites, but I also love them all.

6.  If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

That’s sort of a loaded question because I have different books for different kinds of comfort, but they would have in include The Lord of the Rings, the Sunrunner series by Melanie Rawn, the first six (at least) of the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, Cursed and Betrayed by Rhianne Aile, and Change of Heart by Mary Calmes. That would cover most eventualities. 😉

7.  How early in your life did you begin writing?

I was twelve when I started writing. By the time I finished high school, I had five completed novels written. I’m pretty sure no one would want to read them now. They were very clearly written by a middle or high school student, but they were good practice for the art of pacing, dialogue, character creation, and more.

8.  Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

I can’t ever remember not reading. I know my mother read to me because I know my mother, but I can’t ever remember not reading along. I think the childhood book that had the most impact on me was the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warren. I read and reread those books so many times that in second grade, I have a vivid memory of recounting the entire first book to a classmate at the end of a field trip. And I don’t mean a two-sentence summary. A little bit later, more late elementary, early middle school, it was the Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Everyone talks about Harry Potter, but Will Stanton would totally take Harry to school. (Sorry to all the Potter fans out there, but read the books before you come after me. You’ll see I’m totally right.) Susan Cooper introduced me to two of my enduring loves with those books: King Arthur and fantasy.

9.  If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

I’m SO bad at titles. I’m not sure you want to ask me that question. I can honestly say I have come up with the titles for a total of four of my books. For all the others, I had to throw myself on the mercy of my friends and beta readers.

Blurb

When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet—and sleep with—Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.

Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them—Paul wants sex, not a relationship—Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.

About the Author

ariel bio pic

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Visit Ariel:

Other Novels by Ariel Tachna:

Inherit The Sky coverPath[The]FSFalloutFSSedCCFS

A MelanieM Review: Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5) by Ariel Tachna

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sequel to Conquer the Flames
Lang Downs: Book Five

Cherish the Land coverSeth Simms never wanted to be a cowboy, although to listen to his best friend, Jason Thompson, tell it, he isn’t one. He just happens to have lucked out in coming to live on Lang Downs with his brother ten years ago. He found enough stability to finish high school and go off to university, but he never really believed Lang Downs would be the same haven for him that it had become for so many others. He’s too messed up in the head. No one would accept someone with his issues.

All his life, Jason has had one goal: to come home to Lang Downs as resident veterinarian when they need his skills and jackaroo when they don’t. And it means he gets to spend time with Seth during his occasional visits, even though his dream of going from friends to lovers is hopeless since Seth is straight.

When Seth unexpectedly comes home to stay, Jason takes it as the boon it is. But juggling a relationship with another jackaroo and his friendship with Seth isn’t easy, and that’s before Jason realizes how deep Seth’s issues run and how dangerously Seth chooses to cope with them.

With Ariel Tachna’s Cherish The Land, another heartwarming series comes to a close and does so beautifully.  I have never been to Australia (a long held desire) but I have felt like I have been transported there by several authors and their incredible stories, including Ariel Tachna’s Lang Downs series.  My introduction to Lang Downs, a cattle station in the Northern Territory, came with Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs, #1).  With that story Ariel Tachna brought Lang Downs Station, the men that love and live on it, and the “close to nature” lifestyle inherent with living on land that is both beautiful and extreme.  By the end of that amazing story, I felt that not only did I know these men but that I had  spent actual time at Lang Downs, getting a feel for the land and the roll call of seasons that sweep over it.

Now through five stories, it  comes to an end, and it sort of breaks my heart to let  it and all these couples go.   But just as in nature, there is a natural cycle to things, so it happens here.  Tachna takes most of the loose plot stories and floating characters and brings them home, whether to Lang Downs or somewhere close by and does it in the manner that all the previous stories have been written-gentle, persuasive and loving.

There are no explosions here, just a narrative that moves with the unstoppable progression and a quietness that is so unflinching, so natural that the events seem as though they were written in the red dust of the land covers all that enters it. Lang Downs has always been a sanctuary…for gay men, for those in need of safety and acceptance.  Seth Simms accepted that haven once, with his brother, Chris Simms of Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2) years ago.  But he left for heartbreaking reasons.  And those same reasons are now pulling him home.  Seth is a vulnerable character, his fears deep and his pain secret. Its affect on him has become one of shame and withdrawal.  I had forgotten over the course of the series how complicated Seth was and this story renews that believable characterization once more.

Jason Thompson was an original member of the first story along with his family.  He has grown tremendously (including his age as well as depth) as each book appeared and fully takes his place as a main character here.  I have always loved him and his family, never more so than in the events that occur here with Seth, who is such a damaged soul.

All the couples get pulled into the tragedy that occurs (all too commonplace in the removed outback), and the situation as it works itself out and resolves was one that I had hoped would lead to an all new series, not an end to this one.  Ah well….

What happens involves the adjacent station run by the rigid and homophobic brother of Jeremy Taylor who now lives at Lang Downs, along with his lover, manager Sam Emery of Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3).  Also involved?  Thorne Lachlan and Ian Duncan of Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4).   Each has an important role  at Lang Downs and each has an important part to play as this final installment rolls out.  Did I say how much I will miss them all?  Yes indeed, and that includes all the various dogs, cats and horses that have appeared to become part of the family as well.

Did all the loose plot threads get resolved?  Did all the characters find their HEA?  No, realistically so. And while that lead to a small amount of frustration with this story, it also serves to keep hope alive that Ariel Tachna might revisit this series once more to update us on all the lives and goings on of the people of Lang Downs and beyond.  Hope is good, right?

Haven’t read this series yet?  Need a new contemporary saga to fall in love with?  I absolutely recommend Ariel Tachna’s  Lang  Downs series and Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5).  The writing is evocative and seamless.  The images deeply moving and sometimes emotionally shattering.  And the love these men feel for each other and the land flows off the pages and into your hearts in stories you won’t easily forget in books its hard to put down.  Here’s hoping this won’t be the last time to journey to Lang Downs and men I adore.

Cover art by  Anne Cain is simply beautiful as it has been for each book in the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  eBook & Paperback | All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon  | Buy It here

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published June 8th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781634760881
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
seriesLang Downs #5

Books in the Lang Downs Series in the order they were written and should be read are:

  • Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs, #1)
  • Chase the Stars (Lang Downs, #2)
  • Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3)
  • Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4)
  • Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5) – series finale