Coffee Sip and Book Break with ‘Turn The Page….A Charity Anthology

Standard

turnthepage_postcard_front

That was only the end of the chapter, not your whole story….

Turn The Page…. a donation anthology

by Tempeste O’Riley, Dianne Hartsock, Nikki Prince, Grace R. Duncan, Sue Brown, Aine P Massie, Carole Cummings, Hope Ryan, Mark Zubro, Antonia Aquilante, D. Zander Crane

M/M F/F Transgender Genderfluid

Contemporary Urban Fantasy Paranormal BDSM Romance

(Each story is unique and special, so the genre varies wildly. All are LGBTQ)

Publisher: Abbey of the Brew City Sisters
Cover Artist: Jess Small

Release Date: October 7th, 2016 (ebook/print)

Length: Novel / 270 pages

Order:

Amazon Create Space Smashwords

Description:

Turn The Page…. began as a simple idea and grew from there. No matter how bad things seem to be, just turn the page, there’s more—better—things to come. This is only one chapter in your life. It’s not the whole story. With this simple idea, Novice Sister Eroti-Quill—whom most know better as Tempeste O’Riley—began their quest to help Suicide Prevention and Awareness programs in their area. They managed to con (excuse me, convince) other authors to donate their time and stories to the project, and now, many months later, Turn The Page is born!

The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eroti-Quill’s hope for others, to help bring strength to programs that so desperately need funding. It will allow them show those that need support but may not have it, or that may be afraid to reach out, just how much love and understanding surrounds them. Turn The Page…. is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love, hope, and acceptance.

Individual Blurbs:

Happy Birthday to Me by Tempeste O’Riley

When Dave’s best friend drags him out for his birthday—nearly kicking and screaming, he finds more than he expected at Sovereign, the BDSM club he half owned but had refused to step foot in for two years other than for administrative things while it was closed. He didn’t go to clubs. He didn’t sub anymore. Period.

Well… until he sees Master Nicky. Then his plans for his birthday change and he decides that maybe giving himself a present, might not be quite such a bad idea after all.

Robin’s Confession by Dianne Hartsock

How can Robin find true love without accepting himself first?

Purr by Nikki Prince

Sasha’s love was in imminent danger. All she wanted was to keep Tori safe. Stay at the cabin wait for the verdict from the council. That’s all they had to do. One little dip in the lake couldn’t hurt could it?

Lockdown by Grace R. Duncan

Gylam’s never been that great at communication and this time he’s gone too far. His penchant for keeping his mouth shut resulted in a disastrous trip to the local dungeon. Jackson, his partner—both cop and at home—and Dom, is well familiar with Gylam’s tendencies. The punishment he gives Gylam is just shy of his limits, but Gylam knows he’s earned it. It remains to be seen if it teaches him anything, though.

Ducks in a Row by Sue Brown

David spends his afternoons feeding the ducks, a peaceful activity until the day Jeff and his Labrador dog burst into his life. David and Jeff get to know one another, punctuated by Bozo’s mishaps, but David is unwilling to share all his secrets. Will Jeff give him the time he needs?

Butterflies by Aine P Massie

Kyndra visits Jaiden’s shop for a little birthday shopping but is there for more than the pretty blown glass designs she makes—lovely though they are. What she really wants is a date with the beautiful craftswoman. But can she push her fears aside and ask, or will her past get in the way? With Jaiden’s help, can who Kyndra is inside finally shine?

Once Step Back by Carole Cummings

When Sahir is busy running for his life, it never occurs to him that the being in wrong place at the wrong time might turn into the right place at the right time. Not until he literally collides with Nicholas and salvation comes by way of magical intervention. But when Nicholas ends up being the one who really needs help, Sahir has to decide the best way to give it—and how to offer it to someone who can’t even figure out if he wants it.

Superheroes by Hope Ryan

Many people reach a point where they think life can’t get any worse. Rock bottom, where the future is so bleak, they begin to ask, “why bother?”

When homeless gay man Wayne Kent reaches that point, standing on a Pittsburgh bridge on a cold Tuesday in April, the last thing he expects is to get stopped—especially by a man named Bruce Clark.

But Bruce has been there, he’s seen that, he’s thought and felt the things Wayne is now and he refuses to see the beautiful, hurting man become another statistic. Coffee and a sandwich is a first step and Bruce hopes it’ll lead to a permanent step up for Wayne. And maybe even a step toward more together.

Unworthy by Mark Zubro

A love lost over half a century ago. Is there really redemption for all of our regrets, or at least perhaps for one regret? A chance to change the decision you made over half a century ago, or at least a chance to say what was unsaid, to say what could be said now? The love you missed so long ago, and if you could have one moment again, once last chance.

Love and Hope and Magic by Antonia Aquilante

Once each century, a ritual is performed, the magic of which sustains the land and protects it and its people for the century to come. But the person who performs the ritual never survives. This time Ailill is chosen. He is honored and content with his fate, but his best friend Lorcan is not. Lorcan can’t accept the loss of Ailill and can’t see a life without the man he thinks of as his other half. But Ailill knew Lorcan perhaps better than Lorcan knows himself, and he knew a life of love and magic is waiting for Lorcan after Ailill is gone, if only Lorcan can find the courage to reach for it.

Façade by D. Zander Crane

David struggles with his gender identity as he searches his city for a woman-murdering madman in his female alter-ego, Façade. Can he overcome his depression and confusion long enough to stop the Grinning Reaper?

Programs Helped:

     

About the Authors:

Tempeste O’Riley

Homo-Erotic Romance Author, Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t – defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since. Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They count their friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life.

Tempe is also a PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA.

Website: http://tempesteoriley.com/

Dianne Hartsock

Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Website: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/

Nikki Prince

Nikki Prince is a mother of two, who’s always had a dream to be a published author in the romance genre. Her passion lies in raising her children as readers, gaming, cooking, reading and her writing. Her mother can now breathe easy about the child who used to get in trouble because she was hiding books everywhere and reading when it wasn’t appropriate.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several epublishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres, but wants to let everyone know to not box her in, because there is always room for growth.

Nikki’s also a member of Romance Writers of America National chapter and is president of the OCC/RWA local chapter. She is also a member of the online chapter Passionate Ink RWA, The Beaumonde RWA, and the Rainbow Romance Writers (RRW).

Website: http://authornikkiprince.com

Grace R. Duncan

Real, erotic, forever… Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica. A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind. As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Website: http://www.grace-duncan.com

Sue Brown

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact, she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Website: http://www.suebrownstories.com/

Áine P Massie

Áine is a proud member of the Rom-Critters, the Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Áine has always had a particular fascination with vampires, mythology, and the unusual. When she can escape from her children and books, she enjoys… oh yes, reading, playing, ritual, a good cappuccino, and working with her healing stones.

Her first published work came in high school where she was part of a writing and drama group. However, she has been reading the likes of Shakespeare and Poe since late elementary school and enjoys most forms of fiction.

Website: http://apmassie.com

Carole Cummings

Carole lives with her husband and family in Pennsylvania, USA, where she spends her time trying to find time to write. Recipient of various amateur and professional writing awards, she is the author of nine published speculative fiction novels, two series, and… more short stories than she can keep track of.

Website: www.carolecummings.com

Hope Ryan

Young adult/new adult author who loves to write the tough stuff…but always with a happy ending.

Hope Ryan is an out and proud bigender, bisexual, wife of a loving guy and mother to three, including an amazingly brave genderfluid son. She loves to write about the tough stuff, but also wants to see her characters happy in the end. She feels strongly about showing there is hope for everyone, no matter where you come from, how you identify your gender or who you love. Hope likes to play board and card games and can often be found playing God with her Sims or running around, fighting monsters in a virtual version of Middle Earth. Her TV and movie preferences lean towards anime, sci-fi and fantasy, though she’ll never turn down a good happily ever after love story, either. As long as there are explosions or action, she’s happy. She loves to read books of all kinds, though prefers stories about love in its many forms.

Website: http://www.hoperyan.com

Mark Zubro

Mark Zubro is the author of thirty-four novels and five short stories. His book A Simple Suburban Murder won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Men’s mystery. His latest young adult mystery, Gentle, is just out. His science fiction trilogy, Alien Danger, continues to outperform expectations. He spends his time reading, writing, napping, and eating chocolate.

Website: http://markzubro.com

Antonia Aquilante

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

D. Zander Crane

D. Zander Crane is an aspiring, if occasional author, computer troubleshooter, and semi-professional putt-putt golf commentator. He resides in West Chester, Ohio, with the ghost of his mother, a Manx named Hae Yu, and a dozen unfinished manuscripts. His inspiration is long-time friend Tempe.

eMail: donovanacrane@gmail.com

A MelanieM Review: 7&7 – Anthology of Virtue and Vice by Andrea Speed , Carole Cummings, Rick R. Reed, John Inman, Serena Yates, Clare London, J. Tullos Hennig

Standard

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

7 & 7 AnthologyHumankind possesses a dual nature, the ability to rise to the brightest heights—or sink to the darkest and most perverse depths.

What inspires some to reach the pinnacles of virtue while others cannot resist the temptations of vice? Is it something innate, or a result of destiny and circumstance?

Delve into the minds and spirits of saints and sinners alike with a collection of stories that explore the call toward good or evil—and the consequences of answering it. For while rewards certainly await the righteous, there are also pleasures to be found in the darkness. Venture off the expected path with some of the most innovative voices in LGBT speculative fiction as they present their unique takes on the classic vices and virtues.

Many authors including: Andrea Speed, Brandon Witt, Sean Michael, J Tullos Hennig, Carol Cummings, Rick R. Reed, John Inman, Rhys Ford, Clare London, Pearl Love, Jamie Fessenden, J. S. Cook, Amy Rae Durresson, Serena Yates

I found this to be an absolutely wonderful  anthology…however not if you are looking for stories of romance exactly.  This anthology is released from DSP Publications which means its stories are less romance based and more driven towards content elsewhere, which in some cases here is horror.  That’s fine, if those are not to your taste, skip over them and proceed to the next.  This is a wonderful smorgasbord of authors and a wonderful way to taste their various narrative talents.

Which ones were some of my absolute favorites?

Heirs to Grace and Infinity by C. Cummings – 5 stars (31 pages)

Urban fantasy in which a fugitive sorcerer matches wits with the bureau’s top agent to save children.  Its imaginative, wonderful in its world building and keeps you on your seat.  It was just terrific in every way from the characters to the plot. C. Cummings is one of my favorite authors. This is why.

Hope by Rick Reed – 5 stars out of 5 (47 pages)

Looking for hope in crises around a mother’s death and one’s personal life.  This was such a deeply moving story of loss and hope.  One man moves home to his mother’s house after she’s died, to deal with the aftermath of her loss.  His grief, those of her friends who loved and took care of her…and the house that’s now his and the new location.  Its powerful, moving and so beautifully done.

The Darkness of the Sun by Amy Rae Durreson – 4.5 stars out of 5 (41 pages)

A grieving Priest finds his faith.  Another story that is based in loss and takes a different tack altogether.  The author has a wonderful feel  for the trail and the life of this simple priest who has lost his way.

Prudence for Fools by Sean Michael – 4.5 stars out of 5 (41 pages)

A disgraced seer is thrown out of court and returns to the tribe of his husband but is haunted by his visions.  I loved this  story by Sean Michael.  This seer and his husband, a couple of long years, are wonderful and their relationship is one I connected to immediately.  Michael pulls us into this world and the situation quickly.  Another story that could have filled twice its pages.  I found it gripping, the couple moving in their deeply loving relationship and the tribe is one I wanted to learn more about.

Red Light Special by Rhys Ford – 4.5 stars out of 5 (38 pages)

An Elf, a Knight and a Succubus plus Detroit and one of my favorite authors who writes with snark, a vividness thats startling and a pizazz that flies off the page.  Really.  This is a story that needs no review.  Just read it.  It works.  It hilarious and sexy.

Horseboy by J. Tullos Henry – 4.5 stars out of 5

A Horseboy of the Lebanon, a Templar Knight, and intimate desert secrets.  A bit of history, a bit of the supernatural.  A short story I found that works on every level, it kept me connected and involved in the action and the time period.  Great job.

There are many in the 4 star to 3 star range. Those I enjoyed as well.  And won’t cover here.  There were only a few that I was disappointed in.  That’s a great number is an anthology this size.

The Gate by J. S. Cook – 2.75 stars out of 5 (21 pages)

A gay man sees a seedier, dark side of the wartime effort.  Set in the 40’s during the wartime, I felt this went nowhere.  Little setup, little ending.  I know the author was going for noir but it went south instead.

The Rendering by J. Inman – 1 star

Fat gay guy goes on a date set up by a computer dating service and ends up….

Well, I saw the ending coming from the very beginning.  Why?  For starters, I knew the historical ingredients of the product being sold and the links being made in the story.  The clues were obvious as to where it was going to go.  Some have called this fat shaming…others strictly horror.  I thought it just beyond obvious and boring.  That it came from one of my favorite authors made me want to cry.  That’s the horror.

Those are the highs and the lows.  The highs and all the terrific stories in the middle far outweigh the lows.  I highly recommend this anthology.  Its a feast all around.  Pick it up and start sampling.

Cover is simple and it works.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications

Book Details:

ebook, 360 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by DSP Publications (first published March 10th 2016)
ISBN 1634773608 (ISBN13: 9781634773607)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Scattered Thoughts Summary of Reviews for August 2013

Standard

August banner with pencils

August 2013 Review and Blog Summary:

5 Star Rating:

Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #3) by Lee Brazil, contemporary
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #4) by Lee Brazil, contemporary
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #4) by Havan Fellows, contemporary
Wicked Incarcerations (Wicked’s Way #3) by Havan Fellows contemporarysummer images with book

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Chances Are (Chances Are #1) by Lee Brazil (4.5 stars) contemporary
Dance Only For Me (Dance With The Devil #6) by Megan Derr (4.75 stars) fantasy
Demolished by Astrid Amara (4 stars), contemporary
Home Sweet Home (Home #5) by T.A. Chase, (4.5 stars) contemporary
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #2) by Lee Brazil
The Beast Without by Christian Baines (4.75 stars) supernatural
Welcome, Brother (College Fun and Gays #5) by Erica Pike (4 stars) contemporary
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Ways #2) by Havan Fellows
Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Ways #1) by Havan Fellows

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Burden by Annmarie McKenna (3.5 stars) contemporary
Faire Fugitive by Madeleine Ribbon (3.75 stars) fantasy
Fall For Me (Rock Gods #1) by Ann Lister, contemporary
Handle With Care by Josephine Myles (3.5 stars) contemporary
Mixed Tapes, Vol. 2 by Kris Jacen editor (3.5 stars) contemporary
Nischal (Leopard’s Spots #9) by Bailey Bradford (3.75 stars) supernatural
Subtle Innuendos (Mixed Tape series) by Z. Allora (3 stars) contemporary
The Boy Who Came In From The Cold by B.G. Thomas ((3 stars) contemporary

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

The Queen’s Librarian by Carole Cummings (2.75 stars) fantasy

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:

Aching For It (Dominican Heat #1) by Stanley Bennett Clay (1 star) contemporary

Other Blogs:
Author Spotlight: Havan Fellows    
Author Spotlight: Lee Brazil
Wait? That Was The Ending? A Writing Mini rant From Scattered Thoughts

Review: The Queen’s Librarian by Carole Cummings

Standard

Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

The Queen's Librarian coverLucas Tripp is the Queen’s Librarian.  He is also her cousin, her much poorer cousin.  He has a mother who loves to spend money and six sisters, four of whom need husbands and expect Lucas to find them suitably wealthy ones as their status  (and their mother) dictates.  Lucas also runs their family estate, takes care of their offerings to the gods and tries to find time to spend with his patient and oh so gorgeous boyfriend Alex Booker.  But nothing is running according to plan, any plans.  One of Lucas’ sister is being courted by a renown womanizer who  just so happens to be his boyfriend’s brother. Then when another sister finally settles on a suitable  suitor,  the man disappears amidst a flurry of speculation and  a tinge of magic.

Before Lucas realizes it, he is in the middle of a multitude of mysteries.  Where did his sister’s suitor disappear to?  What happened to the rains?  Who is the man who keeps popping in and out of his life and rooms, only to mutter a mysterious foreign phrase or two and then disappear?  Everything seems to come back to The Stone Circle and the Daimin but what does it all mean?  Lucas must find the truth, get his sisters married ,save the towns harvest, and make his cousin, the Queen happy.  Oh, and find time to spend with his boyfriend.  What is a Queen’s Librarian to do?

Carole Cummings’ Wolf’s-own series was fantastic and one of my favorites last year.  So when I saw she released a new book I couldn’t wait to read it.  I was expecting marvelously intricate world building, multilayered characterizations and a tight, deep story worthy of the first two elements.  Unfortunately, I found none of that here.  In fact, The Queen’s Librarian is almost the antithesis of those amazing stories and it seems she planned it that way.  In her dedication, she mentions that Fen of the Wolf’s-own series was the reason for this story. In her own words:

“Fen, because if it hadn’t been for the bleak despair that was his headspace, I would never have needed Lucas and Alex to brighten up the path away from his angsty abyss.” – Carole Cummings

Unfortunately, everything that was right with Fen is wrong with Lucas.  Once again, it all comes back to characterization as the key to a story and at the heart of this story is one character so diffuse that he lacks a core personality to relate to.  Lucas Tripp is one of those flighty, scatterbrained characters who dither and mumble and stumble their way through their life and the story.  You can always count on them to be forgetful, naive to the point of stupidity, and have the focus of a Magpie.  Have I left out any characteristics of this type of personality?  Oh, right, they are also unaware of their good looks, kind, and prone to a punctuation free, never ending style of inner monologue.

I have seen quite a few of these characters lately.  Some I loved because they were so well done or their dialog was fun if not downright delightful.  Others not so much.  Unfortunatelyl, Lucas falls into the latter category.  I will give you a sample of Lucas and the narrative you will encounter:

THERE was a bit of a scuffle, with Bramble assuming he and his muddy paws would be welcome in the house and Lucas begging to differ. Lucas won. Just barely. And Cat seemed a little too pleased with it all, so much so that she deigned to greet Lucas with a stretch and a serpentine saunter over to her milk bowl—on the shelf over the stove to deter Bramble from slurping it—rather than her usual slow blink and yawn. Or, in Bramble’s case, her usual glare of death and warning extension of claws. Lucas obligingly fetched her the last of the milk and let the reverberating contented purr that rumbled through the quiet of the little house soothe him as he stripped and changed. His clothes smelled of pub. He hadn’t noticed it when he’d dragged them back on this morning, or when he and Alex had been walking home, but now… drat it all, had he spilled ale all over his shirt? Or maybe taken a swim in it?

He tossed the shirt into the growing pile in the corner. There was a basket under there somewhere, he was sure of it, that he was going to have to gather up one of these days and present to Miss Emma. The anticipated oh-whatever-are-we-going-to-do-with-you look that always came along with the occasion was what held him back. He should learn to wash his own clothes… someday. He should also learn to cook. Toast and cheese and the occasional egg did not a satisfying diet make. And if he learned to cook, he wouldn’t have to spend so much time up at the main house, suffering through yet another not-quite-lecture about Why Certain Young Men Should Have Already Given Their Mothers Grandchildren. As if there weren’t enough of the little creatures about the place for supper every Sun’s Day. Sometimes Lucas wondered if Pippa and Nan weren’t actually in some kind of competition for who could produce the most children in the shortest amount of time.

Thank God they weren’t Lucas’s problem anymore. He was going to have to dump his wages from the Library into the estate’s coffers again, he could see it coming now. He’d been hoping to at least buy Clara’s handfasting dress for her, but he wasn’t as optimistic now as he’d been only a week or so ago. Slade had taken the news of his prospective wife’s poverty extraordinarily well, almost weirdly enthusiastically, actually, nearly doing backflips to assure Lucas that he was in love with Clara and not her supposed dowry. And he hadn’t even been drunk yet. It endeared him almost instantly to Lucas, and even Alex had been soppily charmed. Of course, there was still the meeting with Slade’s parents to get through before everything was official, and the Queen had to approve, if Lucas ever got the chance to put the request to her, but Clara wanted this, and it was a love match, not a contract of convenience, so Lucas would make it happen.

And this is pretty typical of all 224 pages of The Queen’s Librarian.  It just goes on and on and on as Lucas goes on and on and on.  He rambles, he dithers, he’s myopic and the narrative reflects that in descriptions, dialog and plot.  It made my eyes glaze over.  For me to find this type of personality charming, I need to feel that the character has a solid foundation beneath all that fluttering and I never got that from Lucas.  His is a personality so wispy it’s almost airborne.

The plot of The Queen’s Librarian suffers from some of the same elements that mark this book’s characterizations.  It rambles yet the reader can clearly identify the villains almost immediately and determine where the plot meander off course.  It’s a dense morass of words that makes it hard to find your way through the storyline.  And there is a neat plot here but it is buried so deep under layers of extraneous words that it gets lost. The best part of this story is actually the last quarter (or less) of the book.  The story gets a dynamic turn as the “aha” moment arrives, magic splatters off the walls and finally we see some action, instead of the constant rambling discourse that is the trademark of the majority of this story.

If I were to pinpoint the things I liked about The Queen’s Librarian, I suppose it would be the dog, the actual plot underneath it all, the Queen and her Consort.  He seems like a fellow I would share a bit of candy with.  The rest of the characters are a likable enough lot but would I spend another 224 pages with them? I don’t think so.  I certainly couldn’t read this book again.  As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t give this a 3 rating.  Sigh.  For some of you, perhaps, just the fantasy aspect alone will make the story acceptable or better.  For everyone else, I will recommend Cummings Wolf’s – own series to start with.  Those books contain remarkable stories, with memorable characters and a substantial, intricate plot that flows through the series.  Read those and leave this one alone.

Cover art by Paul Richmond.  The cover is delightful, light in tone and design.

Book Details:

ebook, 224 pages
Published July 26th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623808693 (ISBN13: 9781623808693)
edition language English

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Book Wishes for 2013 – Authors, are you Listening?

Standard


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Book Wishes for 2013:

While everyone has been busy making New Year’s resolutions, I have been thinking about what I would wish for 2013 in books.  Turns out I have quite a few wishes, some  I would like to share in hopes they reach an author’s ear or more…..

❋I wish that 2013 brings a new book from JL Langley, this one to feature Sterling and Rhys, her wolf shifters…boy have we been waiting for their story.

❋I wish that 2013 brings another book in the Knitting series from Amy Lane *cough Jeremy cough*

❋I wish that 2013 brings Roan, Dylan, Holden, and the rest back with a fervor because Andrea Speed is killing me with anticipation over what the virus is going to do to Roan next.

❋I wish that Josh Lanyon is relaxed and happy from his sabbatical and ready to unleash some new books on his adoring fans.

❋I wish that I finally have time to start and finish JP Barnaby‘s Lost Boy series.

❋I wish that when authors are describing human eyes, the term “orb” doesn’t even come to mind as a word choice.  Really, people, you are making me mental with this one.  No more “his adoring blue orbs”.  Do you hear how dumb that sounds?  Magical orbs, alien orbs, fine.  Human orbs, no. Emphatically, unwaveringly, absolutely no.  See my Vocabulary Gone Bad series.

❋Ditto man tits.

❋I wish to that Abigail Roux doesn’t hurt Ty and Zane too badly in her next Cut & Run series, but that probably won’t happen.

❋I wish to see fewer instances of “instalove”, more measured steps towards a romantic relationship.

❋I wish that 2013 brings new stories about the Roughstock gang (BA Tortuga) and see Sam further along in his recovery.

❋I wish that Mary Calmes gives us another story in her werepanther universe and Domin Thorne and Yuri, really love those two.

❋I wish that I start taking my time reading books I have been waiting for instead of rushing through them (and then having to start over).  Patience, I need more patience.

❋I wish that when authors put their characters through hell (rape, savage attacks etc), there is no instant recovery without any effects from the abuse.  If you are going to go there, then at least make what happens to these people realistic all the way through.  No brutal multiple rapes and then joyful snowmobiling through the countryside. This makes me crazy too.

❋I wish that Andrew Grey is as prolific as he was in 2012.  I need more  Range stories and Taste of Love series.

❋I wish that 2013 let’s me finish and write the rest of the reviews for Charlie Cochrane‘s outstanding Cambridge Fellows series, really I have no good excuse for this one, time just got away from me.

❋I wish that RJ Scott continues to write in her Sanctuary series, love those boys and TJ Klune brings back more bad poetry from the Kid as well as the Kid himself.

❋I wish to see less rushed endings and more complete backstories.

❋My wish for Sarah Black is for the Pacific Northwest to be as big a muse as the American southwest has been in the past.

❋I wish for more great m/m science fiction.

❋I wish for more in the Wick universe from Megan Derr.

❋I wish for anything new from Laura Baumbach.

❋I wish to see Tucker Springs explode with stories from many of my favorite authors (Marie Sexton, Heidi Cullinan and LA Witt).

❋I wish for more of the Bellingham Mysteries from Nicole Kimberling and Bellski stories from Astrid Amara.

❋I wish that 2013 let’s me discover more new authors I can’t live without.  Thank you, 2012 for RC Cooper, Amelia C. Gormley, Rodney Ross, Shira Anthony, Poppy Denison, Marguerite Labbe, Joel Skelton, Katey Hawthorne, Piper J. Vaughn, Cardeno C, Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane to name the ones that jump into my fogged brain this morning.

❋I wish to thank those authors whose stories I have been reading for sometimes for the continued enjoyment and hours of escape you have given me and so many other readers…..Ariel Tachna, Ethan Day, Anne Tenino, James Buchanan, SJ Frost, Josephine Myles, Willa Okati, Carole Cummings, Isabelle Rowan, Kate Steele, Lynn Lorenz, and so many others (again fogged brain from late night and Redskins game).

❋And a final wish for 2013 is for people to remember and rediscover the wonderful Home series by William Neale, an author who will truly be missed.

So that’s it, all my pathetic brain can spew out today.  I am sure there is much more trying to battle their way forward but they will have to wait.  A shout out to all the couples in Maryland that starting getting married at 12:01am this morning. Congratulations and a Happy New Year.  I will be leaving you all with a picture of Kirby in his New Year’s finest, please note the black leis, a nice touch don’t you think to go with his tiara?

DSCF1412

Review of Wolf’s Own: Ghost by Carole Cummings

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars

Fen Jacen-rei is a Ghost, an Untouchable, his power revealed at birth and his fate sealed by the Universe and the gods Raven and Wolf.  One half of twin brothers born to a Full Blooded Jin mother, his father sold him to a mage who accompanied the birth-wife the night he and his brother Joori were born.  Most twins, you see, were killed at birth or spirited away to an unspeakable end,  But that night the Stranger intervened, promising to keep them hidden, saving them for a price.  The price? That upon the boy’s coming into his powers, the Stranger would return and take him away.

Fen Jacen-rei was normal until he matured and then the Voices came to him, all the voices of the Ancestors, the spirits of the dead mages swirling through his brain, threatening to overwhelm him, to break his sanity as they have done for all the other poor Untouchables who now wander mad, babbling and cursed across their occupied land.  In the house of Asai the Mage,Fen Jacen-rei fights those same voices, trying to maintain his sanity through cutting as he trains as an assassin for the one who bought him.  A Mage who hides him until he is ready to be used as a weapon.

But the Gods have other plans for the Ghost and the Ghost assassin is recruited by his competitors. This time by Kamen Malick and his small band of outlaws and assassins who were told to grab the Ghost and bring him into the fold,  no matter the means, by another Magician with ties to the Wolf God.  It seems that Fen Jacen-rei is a Catalyst, one who changes the balance of power.  But for whose side? For Asai and the Raven?  Or Malick and the Wolf?  As mysteries and layers of magical subterfuge swirls around him, Fen Jacen-rei only knows that he must protect the ones he loves and seek vengeance upon the person who betrayed them all. He will need help in his quest but who to  trust when all seem cloaked in smoke and all the paths are mazes.

Hooked.  I am totally hooked by the story and the world building of Carole Cummings.  I have to admit I was a little uncertain when I opened the book to find a glossary list of terms, gods, and history.  When I have to get through pages of info dump before I can get to the first chapter, well let’s just say that it never works out well.  It’s my opinion that the author should be able to weave that information into the story without forcing the reader to be attached to a reference guide at all times.  Knowing that, it won’t surprise you that I blithely disregard said pages and jump right into the story and see what comes. And what normally comes my way is an overpopulated, dense narrative so consumed by its own world building that plot and characterization are quickly forgotten.  Not here.  That did not happen here to my delight and astonishment.  I could pick up the history and world building bit by bit and compile a picture of the world  Fen Jacen-rei inhabits without referring back to an encyclopedia, just as I should.

Wolf’s Own is a series of which Ghost is book 1.  Carole Cummings does her job and then some as an author in delivering to the reader a new universe in which to play in.  We have two races and their pantheon of Gods and godlings.  One race held the magic albeit a little too carelessly, the other benefited until a war broke out, the balance was broken and the Gods fell silent.  One race, the Jin have had their lands taken away, their families destroyed, the children killed and their magic drained by the Adan for unspeakable purposes.  Not all the Adan are aware of what is happening within their society, how would they feel if they knew what horrors were being perpetuated upon the fallen?  Layer by layer, Cummings builds a world rich in religious traditions and Gods, of  political plots and empires, of magic and its consequences.  And we get all this while never forgetting that there are people caught in the middle, whose lives have been torn asunder, loved ones killed or kidnapped, or driven mad by forces out of their control.  Powerful themes abound through this book like the winds of a storm, full of thunder, and lightning and drenching rain that covers everything in its path.

Carole Cummings is as careful with her characterizations as she is with the world building.  These  beings breath, cry and break before our eyes.  They accept that life is cruel and try to find ways to adapt and survive on a daily basis.  Cummings brings us beings at every level of society, from prostitutes to Mages and makes them all so very real.  I like that she also keeps us guessing as the each beings real nature, as every character seems to be wearing a mask of sorts.  No one is really who they seem to be.  Fen Jacen-rei is such a compelling character that I took him to heart immediately.  A child caught up in the war of Gods, he cries out for our sympathy and love from the first time we meet him, the night he was born and listen as his craven father sells him off.   The pain of watching him taught his craft and being manipulated by a Mage who uses Fen’s need to be loved is heartbreaking.  We are invested in this young man from the outset and are pulled along by the force of our own feelings for him and his story.  All the other characters are equally well drawn, from Malick to the sister twin assassins he rescued from blood slavery to the Mage and Asai himself.

My only quibble is that the book stops just before they all set out on a mission.  Kill me, just kill me now as I hate cliffhangers.  This story is so outstanding that I don’t even mind what is usually a problem for me.  But in other ways, my frustration excluded, the end point made perfect sense.  Joori, the brother, has power too and the Gods are circling about Jen’s family with a vengeance. That is the perfect place to start the second book in the series, Wolf’s Own #2: Weregild.  I cannot wait to start that one.  But in the meantime, I am thrilled to find a new addiction. I have a new series that has all the elements to make it one of the best of the year and a new author.  Its a great day.  So, run out and pick this one up.  If you love info dumps, read the glossary.  Yes, I know.  The author went to a lot of trouble to compile it.  But she didn’t need to.  So if you are like me, skip it and get right into a tale to remember and characters that won’t let you go.  I promise you won’t be sorry.

Gorgeous cover art by  the inestimable Anne Cain.

Great Saturday, Marvelous Sunday, Fall is Here! The Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

I had a great day yesterday.  Friends came over, a fellow blogger, and an author, both wonderful.  We had a time of it, discussing books, movies, Spartacus, you name it while drinking wine, gobbling up bread, cheese and crackers while the sun shown down!  Does it get any better than that?  I don’t think so.  Kirby loves visitors and was so excited to see them both, going from one to the other before roaming around looking for squirrels and bugs and things.  Winston and Willow are just happy to sit in the chair with me and chill.  And today?  Just beautiful, cool, sunny, the perfect football weather as they say.  Daughter and SIL off to the Redskins game and RGIII’s first home game.  I know, I know.  I swore off the Redskins but habits are hard to break!  So consider this a work in progress.

Three more bushes to go into the garden, Firelight Spirea.  The foliage changes color three times during the year.  In the spring, the leaves are a orange green changing to greenish yellow in the summer and then turning a lovely deep red in the fall, all that and beautiful pink blossoms that beacon to bees and butterflies for weeks while they are in bloom.  Sigh!  I love gardening and the discovery of new plants.  The windows are open, letting in the cool breezes to refresh the house air.  A ruby throated hummer just buzzed the window letting me know the feeders still need filling as there are still migrants making their way south and they shouldn’t be forgotten.

I am just finishing up the first in the Wolf’s Own series by Carole Cummings and loving it.  Look for the review at the end of the week.  I am starting the week off with a bang and a great book by Amy Lane.  Don’t miss out on this one.  As always so many books, so little time, but I am working on it.  Just a reminder, the first week in October is JL Langley week and I will be giving away a copy of My Regelence Rake to a lucky person who comments on the week which will include a interview with JL and recaps of all the SciFi Regency books to date.  So let’s get to it:

Monday:                               Sidecar by Amy Lane

Tuesday:                               Magic’s Muse by Anne Barwell

Wednesday:                        Gilbert by Bailey Bradford

Thursday:                            Wolf’s Own: Ghost by Carole Cummings

Friday:                                 Inferno by Scarlett Blackwell

Saturday:                             Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and  Marie Sexton

 

Have a wonderful week.  Get out and enjoy this weather!  Happy Fall All!

Autumn Comes to Maryland, Vote 6 for Equality and the Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

Good morning to all and what a spectacular day it is here in Maryland.  The sky is that crystalline crisp blue that I only see in Fall, the clouds fluffy white and a huge flock of Canada geese just flew overhead, their cries trumpeting the arrival of Fall.  How I love this time of year, my pulse quickens, my step is a tad more brisk (such as it is these days), and I feel like rejuvenated after the sweltering heat of summer. The Monarch butterflies are flitting through the garden on their way to Mexico, and what a journey they have in front of them, over 3, 000 miles of ingrained need to fly to a place they have never been.  Amazing when  you  consider they are fragility on wings.

Autumn is a time of movement, a time of activity, both measured and frantic.  Beaver and muskrats are busy with caches of food and antlers, so too are the squirrels and white footed mice. All have plenty to do to make sure the food stores are full for the winter.  Bees zoom around the garden, gathering pollen and nectar from the spectacular profusion of gold, white and purple flowers of the season.  The  New England asters, goldenrod, the Black-eyed Susans, and the Joe Pye weed that linger on.  Most people think of Autumn colors as red, yellow and orange, but the fall gardener knows that the harbinger of Fall also carries the colors of white, gold and purple to all the gardens and fields around us.

Fall brings change.  Leaves swirl to the ground as the sap returns to their roots in preparation for Winter, seeds are scattered by wind and animal alike, and the animals start their migration to the winter feeding grounds.  The songbirds seek the safety of the night for their travels while the raptors, secure as top predators of the air, wing their way south during the daylight hours, soaring above as they follow the coasts and mountains. I watch the squirrels stuffing leaves into the neighbors chimney with all the energy and enthusiasm of teenagers on energy drinks.  I have never seen those neighbors use their chimney and hope that for the squirrels sake that this continues.   My old bird feeder finally fell apart from the relentless onslaught from the non flighted visitors and  a new one should arrive any day, carrying with it the hope of a squirrel proof feeder. Hah, I say from experience.  My money is on the squirrels.

I am hoping for another change in Maryland this fall.  It is 51 days until the election and I am hoping that this fall brings Marriage Equality for all in the state of Maryland.  If you  live here, please vote for Question 6 and make it legal for all GLBTQ to marry here.  It is long past time for this to happen, equal marriage rights are long overdue.  Let’s be a voice for progress and become a partner in movement for equal rights for all.  Vote yes for Question 6 and let’s make the promise a reality!  I will be there on voting day and hope you will join me.

Finally, October will see several special events on my blog.  First up, actually the very first week is Regency Sci-Fi week with JL Langley in preparation for My Regelence Rake release October 1st.  I have an interview with JL, recap of the series to date, a discussion about  Regency novels, and a contest to give away a copy of My Regelence Rake to someone who comments during the week!  Whew!  I am also participating in the Howloween Blog Hope at the end of October where I will be giving away a Amazon gift card during the blog hop!  So stay tuned, my pretties, we have a great time planned this fall.  Change is in the air, I can feel it.  Can you?

Here are the books to be reviewed this week:

Monday:                         Life As A Fairy Thrall by Katey Hawthorne

Tuesday:                         Making Contact (Sci Fi Anthology)

Wednesday:                   Nate’s Deputy by Lavinia Lewis

Thursday:                       Gregory’s Rebellion by Lavinia Lewis

Friday:                             The Melody Thief by Shira Anthony

Saturday:                         Wolf’s Own Book One Ghost by Carole Cummings