A Stella Review: The Wish Auger by Cecil Wilde

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wish AugerGabriel Juarez has only one wish for Christmas, uttered moments before midnight on Christmas Eve: a hug. He wakes up the next morning to find his wish being haphazardly granted in the form of an insecure elf called Felix, who works as a wish augur and couldn’t bring himself to let Gabe’s wish go unfulfilled.

A knitting elf? I’m a goner. How cute is it?

The Wish Augur by Cecil Wilde is a short Christmas story.

Gabe has no family, no friends (except Maria), a crappy job with crappy coworkers and a crappy apartment. Shortly, his life sucks. He writes comics in his free time, hoping it could become his true work. He’s lonely and sad, spending the Christmas Eve in bed crying and cursing his life.

“I want… All I want for Christmas right now is a hug.”

On Christmas morning he wakes with someone wrapped around him. Who is the blond haired, blue eyes guy in his bed?
Felix is one of Santa’s elves, a wish augur elf come from the North Pole to Gabe’s home to fulfill his request of a hug. He just wants Gabe to spend a perfect Christmas.

There are a lot of things I loved in this story. First of all the characters: Felix is exuberant, full of energy and at the same time insecure. Gabe squeezed my heart in the first pages of the book and it was wonderful to see him starting to believe in this “hugs dispenser” and becoming happier and self assured.

I liked all the little details the author added to the story: the fireworks scene, the decorations’ choice and the fantastic use Felix do of the magic (pancakes from nowhere and high speed knitting).

Since I’m a naughty girl, I loved the short and funny sex scene.

Being so short I can understand there was no space for more informations about Felix’s world, but I’m sure we could get more about this cute couple in a sequel, cause I loved the end so much and it would be wonderful to see them again in their new life together.

A quick, magical Christmas story. Highly recommended.

COVER DESIGNED by Aisha Akeju. I like this artist’s work a lot. So far she designed covers that fit the stories I read perfectly. In particular I like this one cause I can see something magical in it and at the same time it’s simple and cozy. That bed draws a lot of hugs.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press   All Romance (ARe)    Amazon    Buy It here

Book Details:
Published December 17th 2014 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
Kindle Edition, 44 pages
ASIN B00PPH99SM
Edition language English

 

A Stella Review: Defying Conventions by Cecil Wilde

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RATING: 4 stars out of 5

DefyingConventionDanny and AJ have been online friends for years, and secretly in love with each other. When the opportunity to attend a comics convention comes up, they decide to go and share a room. But friendship online does not always translate to friendship offline, and both are anxious about how the meeting will go, and the friendship change, when faced with challenges easily avoided behind the safety of computer screens…

“You’re perfect.” AJ smiled up at him as they walked.

Danny smiled shyly and looked down at their joined hands.”I’m not.” He squeezed AJ’s hand. “But it’s awesome that you’d say that.”

“You’re not literally perfect, but you’re perfect to me,”AJ clarified. “Perfect in all your imperfections.”

Defying Convention is the first Cecil Wilde’s book and the first book with a transgender MCs I read. I’m so glad I got a chance at review it. It was an unexpected surprise.

AJ is a non binary, they don’t want to define themselves as female or male gender. They’re a funny and affectionate geek with pink hair and pink bunny slippers.

Danny is a transman, an insecure young man that suffers from panic attacks.

They’ve been best friends online for five years and this is the first time they meet in real life. The occasion is a comics convention and at the same time their five years anniversary. Most of all they’ve been in love with each other but just haven’t realized they already were in a love relationship, even if they haven’t met before.

I think they are perfect together cause they keep each other safe. Especially AJ is so protective and respectful of Danny’s issues, they understand him like no other can. While the cute Danny still can’t believe AJ is real, sometimes he thought he made them up in his mind. Having bad issues with physical contacts, it is so sweet to see him open up with AJ, who are so touchy feely.

In some ways this book was instructive too. I wasn’t aware of the meaning and use of specific terms in the transgender world.
First of all, the author chose to use they/them/their when they referred to AJ and I admit it wasn’t easy to read. I was ready for the use of it/its but I looked out and I understand why they chose them. Still, sometimes it diverted my attention from the story. Nevertheless, as you can see, I chose to follow the author’s lead and so I used the same pronouns in my review too. I want to respect their choice.

I also appreciated how the author addressed some transgender issue. Reading about Aj being so resigned in their everyday challenges, made me want to hug them. I totally understand it’s a serious subject but this is a light and funny book so I was glad it was handled lightly.

Of course this is not an m/m romance, so you need to be ready to read about sex between a transman and a Non Binary friend (with women’s parts). There isn’t a lot of sex, just one scene and really hot(LOL). Reading only m/m books, I can say I usually am very strict and don’t want woman parts in my books. In this one I was well aware of what I was going to read but it didn’t bother me, cause of course AJ has a vagina but I didn’t think of them as a woman. I was pretty good to try to be neutral as they wished.

I realized in Defying Convention the author chose to tell us not much about how AJ and Danny met online and became best friend, perhaps showing us some particular moments in their online time. They gave us just this brief time frame, these five days needful for them to finally be physically together and maybe try to be a couple. I usually am so greedy I always want to know more about everything. In this case I believe focus on “the now” was the perfect choice, at the end we’re talking about a book of just 65 pages.

I’m a sucker for sweet characters, AJ and Danny were so cute together it was impossible not fall in love with them. Add a good writing and a funny story, I can totally say this book was a winner to me. Highly recommended.

Cover designed by Aisha Akeju: I really like it and it totally fit the book.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press      All Romance (ARe)    Amazon    Buy it here

Book details:
kindle 65 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2015 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN 9781620044773
edition languageEnglish

Down Under Showcase Author: Cecil Wilde

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STRW down Under Banner sm Hearts

Meet Cecil Wilde!

Cecil Wilde is the author of No Straight Boys, The Wish Auger and other listed below.

To get to know Cecil Wilde a little better, the author agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

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Author Bio 1

Cecil Wilde resides in Australia, accompanied by a cat who takes up most of the bed, a family of possums in the roof space, and more spiders than they’re entirely comfortable with. They write altogether cuter queer romance than their image as a grumpy cynic might suggest.

 

Author Contacts

Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

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HRnostraightboysWishAugurDefyingConvention

Dawg Days Anthology

 

 

 

 

 

Out now:

No Straight Boys (Liquid Silver Books):

 Blurb:  Not dating straight boys is a pretty good strategy for long-term relationships if you’re a gay man, but what happens when one particular straight boy turns out to be the man of your dreams?

Cute, funny, and sometimes borderline philosophical, No Straight Boys is about what happens when perfection isn’t what you think it is, and love is best found via late-night text message.

The Wish Augur (Less Than Three Press)

[this is not actually out RIGHT now but it will be by January]:

Blurb: Gabriel Juarez has only one wish for Christmas, uttered moments before midnight on Christmas Eve: a hug. He wakes up the next morning to find his wish being haphazardly granted in the form of an insecure elf called Felix, who works as a wish augur and couldn’t bring himself to let Gabe’s wish go unfulfilled.

First Guy Kiss from Missed Connections Anthology from Less Than Three Press

Blurb: A fleeting glance across a crowded space. Trains passing by in the night. Paths that once split unexpectedly cross again. Old friends reunited. Sometimes rediscovering a person and having new feelings can be just as intense as an initial spark. Less Than Three Press presents an anthology of stories about people who get a second chance to connect…

 

Genre(s):

No Straight Boys, First Guy Kiss and Defying Convention are contemporary

The Wish Augur is fantasy with a contemporary setting (and an elf!)

Perfect Match is contemporary BDSM

Tea and Werewolves (Torquere Books):

Blurb:  As soon as Connor walks into Sev’s tea shop, Sev knows there’s something different about him. It could be his charming smile, his obvious intelligence, or the way he howls at the moon when it’s full. Either way, sparks start flying straight away.

Sev and Connor both know there’s more to their relationship than simple mutual attraction, and the question of taking the next step is foremost in their minds even as they tumble into bed together for the first time. Will they work things out, or will the suddenness of it all get the better of them?

Coming Soon:

Defying Convention (Less Than Three Press) [28th January]:

Blurb: Danny and AJ have been online friends for years, and secretly in love with each other. When the opportunity to attend a comics convention comes up, they decide to go and share a room. But friendship online does not always translate to friendship offline, and both are anxious about how the meeting will go, and the friendship change, when faced with challenges easily avoided behind the safety of computer screens…

Perfect Match – Playmates #1 (Liquid Silver Books) [23rd February]

 

Genre(s):

  • No Straight Boys and Defying Convention are contemporary
  • The Wish Augur is fantasy with a contemporary setting (and an elf!)
  • Perfect Match is contemporary BDSM

 

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Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Cecil Wilde) is an eBook copy the reader’s choice of Cecil Wilde’s backlist. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green . Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

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Author Qand A

When did you start writing?

 Other than the usual writing for school–which I enjoyed, but never really did more of than I had to–I started writing for something other than grades when I discovered fandom, in my last few years of high school. After that it was sort of a slippery slope which I did describe recently to a friend as my accidental descent into a writing career.

Q. Were you a reader as a child?

 

Yep! To the point where school librarians would encourage me to go outside for once. As a kid, I never met a book I didn’t want to read. I’ve always been enchanted by stories of all kinds.

 

Q. Title or characters or plot?  Which comes first?

 

Characters. Almost without fail, characters come first. The ones who are most compelling or whose circumstances as they occur to me have the best potential for a decent plot tend to be the ones who get written into books. Titles are lucky to come at all. I’m terrible at titles.

 

Q. Do you have a favorite character that you have written?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely love all my characters (even the seemingly unpleasant ones), but right now I have to say that AJ, of Defying Convention, is my favourite. They’re a quiet kind of person, but warm and full of sunshine and giggles and pink hair. Danny, the other MC in that book, is about as in love with them as I am.

 

Q. My first impression of AUS/NZ was from stories and novels like Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice as well as from movies like The Man from Snowy River, The Dish, Rabbit Proof Fence, Strictly Ballroom, and yes, Crocodile Dundee!  There are so many out there.  What is your favorite AUS/NZ stories and favorite Australian/New Zealand movies?

 

I love Crocodile Dundee! It was a favourite of mine as a kid (call that a knife? This is a knife!) I don’t think I could talk about great Australian tales without mentioning Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Muriel’s Wedding, or The Castle. Films like The Wog Boy are great for illustrating stuff about Australian culture that doesn’t really get talked about outside of Oz, and indie stuff like Better Than Sex can actually be really great (if you can lay hands on a copy of that I highly recommend it as an alternative romance).

In terms of books, I don’t think you can go past Paul Jennings’s entire body of work, which is bizarre and wonderful and what Australian literature looks like to me. Also worth a read (though feel free to skip the film) is The Monkey’s Mask, which is a mystery novel in verse that takes place in the Blue Mountains and surrounds, and has lesbians (which, obviously, is a huge draw). Speaking of verse, Judith Wright is a wonderful poet, and her narrative poems about Australia truly capture the spirit of the land as I know it. The rest of her work is also powerful stuff (I will never get Double Image out of my head).

If you want something more lighthearted that really captures the spirit of small town Australia, Seachange is a great soap opera-style drama. As an added bonus, you might even get to see David Wenham in his budgie smugglers!

I could talk about Australian literature and film all day, but I’ll stop there.

 

Q. What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

 

I’ll never get tired of going into Melbourne. I don’t live far away–about an hour by train–but it really is a phenomenal city. As they say in the song, I’ve been to cities that never close down, and they’re lovely, but nothing’s ever compared to Melbourne for me. Not London, not Singapore, not Los Angeles, not even Belfast, which I think of as my other home. Melbourne’s beautiful. I discover something new every time I make the trip in. I could write an entire book on everything I love about Melbourne. (And if anyone wants to experience that, I fully recommend Long Macchiatos and Monsters, by Alison Evans, as a beautiful love song to Melbourne with a gorgeous romance to boot).

Down Under Day 28: Welcome, Cecil Wilde, and AUS/NZ Facts of the Day!

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DownUnder_badge

 Down Under Author Showcase Day 28

Welcome, Cecil Wilde!

Our Down Under Author Showcase is almost over, but not our discoveries of wonderful new authors (at least to this review group).  Cecil Wilde is our featured author today and our review of Defying Convention follows Cecil’s author page.  It’s one of our highly recommended reads so be sure to make its acquaintance today, along with Cecil’s other stories and novels.  As always, don’t forget to enter Cecil’s giveaway and locate the Scavenger Hunt word of the day!

AUS flag over countryAustralia Fact of the Day!

Since Cecil makes a mention of spiders (hmm, where does that happen?), let’s take a closer look at one common spider in Australia!

There are 1500 species of Australian spiders and the average person swallows three spiders a year. The most infamous spiders mentioned in Australian literature, including a few of the stories by our Down Under Authors (can you name which ones?) are: Redback Spider, and Sydney Funnel-web Spider.

Redback Spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) are very common in Australia. They are even kind of popular: one Australian beer is named after them.

Redbacks can be found everywhere in Australia, especially in the densely populated urban areas. They thrive in the warmer regions. Look for them on verandas, in sheds, in storage yards, on industrial sites and inside houses. They also hide in hollow logs, wood or junk piles etc.

Small insects make up the bulk diet of Redback Spiders, but they sometimes kill and eat much bigger prey, even small lizards if they get tangled up in the sticky web. They also steal wrapped up food items from each other’s webs if they can.

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How dangerous is the Redback Spider?

Redbacks are responsible for the vast majority of serious spider bites in Australia. However, they are not considered dangerous. Only the bite of a female Redback Spider is toxic (the males are too small to bite anyway).

To get bitten you have to actually stick your hand into the web of a spider, they rarely leave their nest. The fangs of the Redback Spider are tiny. Even if you do manage to get bitten the bite is likely ineffective. In addition the Redback Spider venom is a very slow acting toxin, and most people don’t show any reaction to it (except it itches like crazy).

Possible symptoms in those who do react are pain (can become severe), localised sweating at the bite site, and later on more sweating, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting.  A simple ice pack is the best first aid. In most cases it’s all that’s required as very few people actually develop these symptoms (about 6% of those bitten, to be precise).

Honest, if you go and see a doctor here and tell them a Redback spider bit you, they’ll probably just tell you to go home and put ice on it.  The Redback Spider is related to the venomous Black Widow Spider commonly found here in the US and looks very similar.

The only difference is the red back, or rather the very distinctive red dorsal stripe (instead of the hour glass) that you can see in the picture.

Cultural Impact outside of Arachnophobia? Per Wikipedia (I know, I know) Slim Newton drew popular attention to redbacks with his song “The Redback on the Toilet Seat”, which won the Golden Guitar at the first Country Music Awards of Australia in 1973. A sculpture of an impossibly large redback  (I personally like The Big Poo better), one of Australia’s big things, was built in 1996 at Eight Mile Plains, Queensland. The Angels 1991 album Red Back Fever takes its name from the spider. Matildaredback-beer-online-1369633780 Bay Brewing Company produces a wheat beer called Redback,with the distinctive red stripe as the logo. The redback appears in the name and emblem of the South Australia cricket team. The Airborne Redback, an Australian ultralight trike, was also named after the spider. Redback Boots is an Australian workboot manufacturing company, which uses the spider in its name and logo

kiwi and NZ countryNew Zealand Fact of the  Day!

Let’s keep going with arachnids and the New Zealand spider Hollywood made famous!  That would be the Avondale Spider, ok it’s sort of an immigrant from Australia. The large harmless spider found around the Avondale area of Auckland is an Australian huntsman spider. This spider found its way to New Zealand in the early 1920s, with the first specimen found in 1924. It probably came in imported wood used for railway sleepers. (What the heck is a railway sleeper?) It has not spread very far from Avondale, so it has received the popular name of Avondale Spider. In South Australia this species is quite common, and people encourage them to live in their houses to keep the pest insect population down.220px-Huntsman-spider-in-hand

In 1989/90, 374 Avondale spiders were sent to Hollywood to star in the Steven Spielberg movie Arachnophobia. This spider is harmless to humans, but it looks fearsome and therefore suited its movie role as a “killer spider”. The film made use of 374 live Avondale spiders, from New Zealand, which were picked for their large size, unusually social lifestyle, and yes, are essentially harmless to actors, uh humans. They were guided around the set by the use of heat and cold, but the large “general” and “queen” were articulated models.  Look it’s Bob (that’s what they called the largest mechanical spider in the movie)!Avondale spider

The first reaction of most people on finding Avondale spiders is usually horror. The spiders move very fast when disturbed (as do people when frightened!). Mature spiders with legs outstretched can measure up to 200 mm across (8”).

The mature males are frequent visitors inside houses in the months January to March when they are looking for a female to mate with. Females are capable of laying up to 200 green eggs in an oval-shaped, white papery-looking egg sac about 25 mm long (1”) by 12 mm wide (1/2”). Females guard their egg sac, and after 4-6 weeks open this up to enable the spiderlings to hatch. They will look after the spiderlings for a few more months until they disperse. Spiderlings will feed communally if the prey is too big for them to manage on their own.

Avondale spiders live in colonies with their extended family and friends; no other spider in New Zealand has this lifestyle.