An Alisa Review: Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

 

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire. Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

 

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son.Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart.

 

This was a sweet story about family and love.  Ivan loves kids and working in the pediatrics unit in the hospital is the perfect place for him.  Tucker can’t help but think about his son’s nurse even though he knows he should keep his distance especially because of his job.

 

Ivan makes some assumptions about Tucker and his life that he soon learns are not quite valid.  Tucker is trying to solve the murder of Ivan’s mother and keep Ivan in his personal life.  Ivan needs something stable in his life when everything seems to go wrong at once and Tucker seems to be that person.

 

I felt so bad for Ivan when he got the news about his mother’s murderer and feeling what he portrayed as Tucker’s betrayal.  I loved that Tucker has an endless amount of patience with his son and with Ivan.  While I really liked the story the further I got into it the more name mix ups and misspellings that kept coming up and it unfortunately took away from my enjoyment of the story a bit.

 

Cover art by Louca Matheo is nice and gives nice visuals of Ivan, Tucker and Jaydin.

 

Sales Links: Amazon | B&N | Google | Kobo

 

Book Details:

ebook, 183 pages

Published: August 28, 2017 by Ai Press

Edition Language: English

In the Spotlight: Jeff Erno on Slim Chance (author interview and excerpt)

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Slim Chance by Jeff Erno
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

♦︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jeff Erno here today. Welcome, Jeff!

✒︎

 

Thank you for hosting me on Scattered Thoughts. I’m thrilled to be promoting the release of my brand new novel, Slim Chance, which is a gay romance featuring a couple of unconventional main characters. Oliver is a twentysomething computer programmer who’s been battling obesity his entire life. His love interest, Benjy, is his coworker, and Benjy carries his own baggage. He suffers from severe social anxiety. With Benjy’s help, Oliver sets out to lose weight and become a new man. In the process, he and Benjy fall in love, but Oliver ultimately must decide if Benjy still fits within Oliver’s new lifestyle as a much trimmer man.

 

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I’ve recently determined that it’s more than I intended or realized at the time I was writing. I’ve never set out to write autobiographies, but I can see at least fragments of myself within many of my protagonists. Certainly in my earliest works—Trust Me, Dumb Jock, and Puppy Love—I didn’t even attempt to conceal the ways in which I related to the main character. Much of the backstory, setting, and personality for each of these characters were drawn from my own experience. As I continued writing, expanding my subject matter, I featured a lot of characters who were very different than me. Then most recently I’ve written a few books featuring older protagonists (Baggage, The Escort, Speedy Rewards) and these stories have characters who are in many ways similar to the middle-aged version of myself.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I envy authors who have the types of minds that absorb details. I think you have to be like this in order to write a believable, realistic historical novel. I think a lot of it has to do with personal interest. If you’ve watched a lot movies from a certain setting or era, or if you’ve read a lot of books, fiction or non, about a time period, and you have one of those minds that stores all the details for easy recall, then your work is going to appear more polished. In my case, I usually stick to contemporary stories. I don’t have great recall like that. Most of the research I do is about specific things in contemporary society, and most of the information I find online with Google searches. Sometimes I consult with an expert within an industry or a profession.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

As a teenager I read books like SE Hinton’s The Outsiders and a  lot of Stephen King novels. By the time I was a young adult I was reading sci-fi and bestselling romance authors such as Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins. Once in a while I’d lay my hands on a gay-themed story but they usually were not romances. Bookstores carried gay books in the “Gay/Lesbian Studies” section, and most were biographies or non-fiction. Then I finally discovered gay fiction, and this was back in the day when Armistead Maupin, Paul Monette, and Andrew Holleran were just becoming famous. Though they wrote fiction, they definitely didn’t pretend their books were romances. A little later, I joined a book club where I was able to select “gay literature” as my preferred genre and became aware of a brand new set of authors, some of whom actually did write romantic and/or erotic gay stories. My favorite was Chris Kenry. He was the very first author who wrote gay romance that even come close to resembling the kinds we see today in m/m. I think he was published by Kensington, and they were one of the few larger publishers who took a chance on gay-themed fictional stories. Christopher Rice was another author who was writing romantic themed gay stories before m/m emerged. And I could provide a long list of examples thereafter of authors that paved the way for us to transition making gay literature more mainstream. M/M romance actually emerged online out of fanfiction and slash fiction. And some of the early m/m romance publishers (like Dreamspinner—read their history on their website) began with an idea to publish romance books that exclusively featured gay characters.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Not all my stories are “romances” per se, but they all have happy endings. I’ve never been able to write a story without an HEA.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I read a lot of heterosexual romances and any gay romances I could lay my hands on, but at the time, there weren’t many available.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Interestingly, my “favorite” changes. It’s sort of like asking me to choose a favorite period of my life. Dumb Jock and Trust Me remind me of my teenage years. Puppy Love takes me to a place when I was deeply in love with a very controlling man—it’s very bittersweet. Baggage contains every ounce of regret I’ve ever felt in my life and feels like a baring of my soul. Speedy Rewards reminds me of a group of coworkers I loved with all my heart. The story I probably would choose as the one I want to be most remembered is Final Destiny. It’s not the most read or highest rated, and it’s not a romance, but I think it’s my best work.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I just completed an m/m romance featuring a pediatric nurse and a police detective who fall in love while working together to solve a murder case. I’ve started a YA novel featuring a teenager with telekinetic powers who uses a magical remote control gifted to him by his witchly aunt to attract a boyfriend. I also just finished a Christmas story and have a dystopian, a BDSM erotic story, and another romance in the works.

Blurb

Can a man improve his appearance without losing everything good inside him?

Oliver has always been obese and suffered from a negative body image. He’s tried diets before, failing time after time, but he vows this time will be different. As he begins an exercise program, his confidence increases—and so does his interest in his friend and coworker Benjy. Though they bonded long ago over a love of online gaming, it takes a lot of courage for Oliver to share his new body and be intimate with another man.

A passionate romance blooms, but as Oliver nears his goal, it seems he doesn’t need Benjy—with his chronic anxiety and troubled past—now that he’s made attractive new friends at the gym. But not all relationships are equal, and Oliver realizes that Benjy, who loved and supported him when no one else did, is more than a reminder of his old life.

A pleasing appearance means nothing when it hides a lonely, empty heart, and if Oliver cannot decide what’s truly important, he’ll lose what he cherishes most.

About the Author

Jeff Erno currently lives in southern Michigan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and human resources. Jeff began writing stories in the late 1990’s and initially posted them to a free online amateur website. The positive feedback he received from readers encouraged him to continue, and this eventually led to the publication of his first novel, Dumb Jock. Erno has subsequently published several other novels.

His greatest passion in life is writing, and he hopes to be able to continue sharing his work with readers worldwide.

 
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A Paul B Review: Golden Son (Tidal Crest #2) by Jeff Erno

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Golden SonThere is but one heir to the throne, one Golden Son.

At thirty-two, Ari loves his life in small town northern Michigan, running his aquatic pet store, but he’s always yearned to visit a coastal state. Inexplicably, he’s felt a connection with the ocean his entire life, and when his cousin Todd calls to ask him to be his best man at his California ocean-side wedding, Ari jumps at the chance for a much needed vacation. When he arrives in San Diego, however, he makes some discoveries about himself and finds love in the process. He also finds himself embroiled in a disturbing murder mystery that he ultimately helps to unravel.

Golden Son picks up about two weeks after the end of Deep Dive ends.  Sam and Prince Percy are wrapping up their honeymoon and facing the fact that they must return to reality.  Meanwhile, their friends Todd and Amy are preparing for their own wedding.  Todd calls his best friend Ari, who lives in Northern Michigan.  Ari, who has always had an attraction to the sea, decides it is about time he visits the ocean and accepts Todd’s invitation to be his best man.  Todd wonders once Ari has fulfilled his lifelong dream if he will return to his home on Lake Michigan.

As Sam and Percy visit the castle in the underwater city of Palaemon, an assassin tries to kill Percy’s father, the king.  His life is spared when one of his bodyguards jumps in front of the bullet, killing him.  Unbeknownst to anyone, the crown that determines the next ruler of merpeople was stolen during the confusion of the assassination attempt.  It also causes the royal family to return to their home on the California mainland for their protection until this mystery is solved.

Richard arrives on shore near Todd and Amy’s beachfront home.  Armand, the guard that was killed was his best friend and lover.  He goes to Todd’s place to grieve his loss as both his and his lover’s families are celebrating the sacrifice that Armand in protection of their king.  However, when he reaches the shore, he finds Ari.  He feels pull to Ari that is stronger than the one he had with Armand.  While Ari feels the attraction too, he realizes that Richard is hurting and gives him space to grieve.  The two must deal with their budding attraction while helping those around them figure out the reason Armand lost his life.

Jeff Erno has built upon his mer world with the second book in his Tidal Crest series.  The concept of three distinct classes of mermen sets up conflict within the species.   This allows expansion of the series as the three classes of mermen live in different parts of the oceans.  Overall, I thought this was a stronger book than the first.   It has strong soap opera plots to it to help the story move along.  I was a little put off on how quickly Richard got over his lover Armand and began to take up with Ari as these are not fate mates that most shifter books have.  But otherwise the story was quite enjoyable.

The cover art by Angela Waters shows a shirtless merman with his golden tail.  It fits the description of the title and book well.

Sales Links:  eXtasy Books | ARe | Amazon

Book Details

ebook, 111 pages
Published February 1st 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN139781487406219
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Tidal Crest

  • Deep Dive (Tidal Crest #1)
  • Golden Son (Tidal Crest #2)

A Paul B Review: Deep Dive (Tidal Crest #1) by Jeff Erno

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Deep Dive coverSam Lewis is a former Olympic diving champion who now works at Water World, an aquatic park similar to the real life Sea World.  He entertains the park visitors a couple of times a day doing dives that he would normally use as warm up from his competition past.  At the age of thirty-two, Sam knows his glory days as a competitive diver are long past but these shows give him some of his past glory.  His one wish is that now that he is no longer under judges’ scrutiny is to fins someone to share his life.  The one perk at working at the park is to see the other attractions.  He is particularly fascinated with the real life robotic merpeople, especially the merman.

Percy is a special effects designer at the same park that Sam works at.  One of the perks of his job is to watch his favorite Olympic diver perform at the park.  He is sitting at a bar when Sam approaches him.  Sam is surprised when Percy recognizes him, saying that he is a has been.  Percy states that is not the case at Water World where they both work.  When Percy reveals that he works with the animation of the mermaids, Sam comments how the merman looks exactly like Percy.  As things begin to heat up, Percy suddenly leaves.  Sam is left high and dry.

Sam begins to wonder what is wrong.  Is there something about himself that drives Percy off?  Or is there something wrong with Percy himself?  And what about this man Todd who seems to be a threat to the growing relationship of Percy and Sam?

I usually enjoy most things that Jeff Erno writes and this is not an exception.  This is the author’s first foray into the world of shape shifters and it appears that he is off to a good start.  The author does a good job at describing the pressures both of the main characters have faced in finding someone to have a relationship with.  He does not follow the fated mate route that is often used in these types of books in the normal sense, which is refreshing to see.    The main reason that I did not rate the book higher is that the ending seemed a bit rushed and the meeting with Percy’s parents was rather anti-climatic.  However, the twist with Percy’s mother almost makes up for it.  I look forward to seeing where the author takes this series.

The cover art by Angela Waters shows a well-built man surrounded by water.  He is shown in his merman form on the cover.  It is a well-executed cover for the story.

Sales Links:  Extasy Books |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details

ebook, 114 pages
Published November 15th 2015 by eXtasy Books
ISBN139781487405823
edition languageEnglish
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A Stella Review: Speedy Rewards (Working Class #1) by Jeff Erno

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Rating 4 stars out of 5   ★★★★

Speedy Rewards coverPhil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.

He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.

Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.

First step in his plan… do something about his love life.

Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil’s team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.

As is Brandon, the local cop…

And Mark, the homophobic boss…

Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.

When I started Speedy Rewards I couldn’t believe this was going to be my first book by Jeff Erno. It’s a well known author and I’m pretty sure at least one of his book was translated in Italian. Still, I missed him and his talent.

What first lured me into reading this book was the cover, I found it funny and cute and different from the usual ones with naked man on them. And different can totally be the key word for my review.

Speedy Rewards was so different from all the m/m I read daily, like a breath of fresh air, I couldn’t help but like it so much.

The particularity was that in almost every new chapter the author gave me a new character, not making it part of the MCs’ like but making it a true MC, with its own personal story.  Justine, the OCD casher; Ezra, the tattoo guy; Vince, the a*****e guy; and so many more. And if you’re are thinking it could be confusing, it wasn’t at all. I couldn’t have requested a book with better defined characters. It was like reading different stories but tightly woven to each other and set in a conventional store, managed by Phil. Jeff Erno was able to put so many occurrences in just a few days. He gave a rhythm to the story that kept me coming back to the book at every free minute I had during the day. A sequence of events never boring. And I was so caught in all the stories that at some point when I was already plenty halfway through the reading, I asked myself who was supposed to be the other MC in the apparent “main couple”. If it wasn’t for the cover, I wouldn’t have never guessed with whom the supposed by the blurb MC would have ended.

I want to highly recommend Speedy Rewards to all of you who is looking for something different but well written, detailed and engaging. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out. Meanwhile I’m browsing through the other books by this author.

Cover art by Jay Aheer. Lately I came across a lot of her works and I’m liking them more and more *adding Jay to my favorite cover artist*

Sales Links:  Wayward Ink Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 250 pages
Published June 5th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing
ISBN13 9781925222449
Edition Language English
Series Working Class #1

It’s Release Day for Jeff Erno’s Speedy Rewards! (excerpt)

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Speedy Rewards Banner

Synopsis

Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.

He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.

Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.

Speedy Rewards Jeff Erno

First step in his plan: do something about his love life.

Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Philís team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.

As is Brandon, the local cop.

And Mark, the homophobic boss.

Perhaps, with a little luck, the next week will be better.

Buy Links

Don’t miss the 1 Year Anniversary 40% Off Sale on Wayward Inkís Publishing’s site:

Book trailer

Excerpt

Phil had started out in retail back in high school, working as a bag boy at the local supermarket. He took some community college classes but did not complete his degree. It didnít matter, though. Back then, a college degree wasnít required, especially not for retail management. He rose quickly in the company, advancing to a management position.

Finally, when the company heíd worked at for ten years went belly-up, he found himself in the unemployment line. At age twenty-five, his mom had just died and he found himself completely alone, unemployed. He decided to go back to school to complete his degree. He signed up for online classes and continued with them even after he landed the job managing the convenience store. He received his diploma right around the time he met Darren online.

Looking back on his life, he realized that period, though difficult, had been perhaps the most hopeful he could remember. Though still grieving the loss of his mother, he felt like life had begun anew. He had a new career, a man he genuinely loved, and even a college degree. That was also when he began learning Spanish.

But the honeymoon stage of his relationship with Darren didnít last long, and when it became obvious Darren was far more interested in spending his free time with a bottle of booze than with Phil, they started to grow apart. Phil devoted most of his energy to the store, and when he wasnít working, he spent a good deal of time online. The relationship withered on the vine, until one day, Darren was gone.

“You work hard,” Humberto said. “You’re always working, no?”

“Sí,” Phil said, laughing. “Yes, I’m always working.”

“Every day I see you. You no have days off? You work too hard, man.”

“Well, it seems to me you work pretty hard, too, Humberto. You’re in here every day, on your way to work. Come on down to this register. I’ll ring you up.” Phil stepped over to the check stand on the far end, the one Janine had just vacated.

“Gracias,” Humberto said, stepping up to the counter with an armload of junk food. He placed the bags of chips and the Hostess snack cakes on the counter.

“What do you do?” Humberto stared at him, smiling, and Phil wondered if maybe he didn’t understand the question. “¿Cual es tu trabajo?”

“Oh… oh. Soy un manitas.”

“¿Manitas?” Phil had heard the word, but couldn’t immediately remember the meaning. “Oh, you’re a handyman. You fix things.”

“Sí, sí.”

“Wow, like, do you do plumbing work?”

“Oh yes, yes of course. Por supuesto.”

“Hm. Ya know, I need to find someone to come fix my sink. At home, I mean. At my house. Do you have a card?”

Humberto cocked his head to the side, as if thinking.

“¿Una tarjeta? A business card.”

“Oh, yes. Yes!” He reached into his shirt pocket and removed a business card, handing it to Phil. “Call me and I’ll come fix you up.” He winked, and as Phil looked into the man’s eyes, a lump formed in his throat. “I have all the right tools for the job.”

Phil quickly looked down at the touch screen on his register, trying to focus on the task of completing the transaction. “Uh, yeah. Um, do you want a bag for this?”

“Una bolsa,” Humberto said, laughing. “Sí.”

Phil placed the business card next to his register and tore off a plastic bag from the dispenser. Then he began filling it with Humberto’s items.

“I’ll let you see my big hammer,” Humberto said, lowering his voice.

About the author

JEFF ERNO began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. So far, he ís published over thirty novels. Jeff lives in Southern Michigan, where he works part time at a convenience store.

Jeffís writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.