Coffee Sip and Book Break with ‘Black Lace’ by LJ Hamlin (excerpt and giveaway)

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 Black Lace by L.J. Hamlin
Release Date: November 18, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

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Blurb

Jed Chance is the lead singer of Black Lace, a very successful rock band. It’s gone through a few lineup changes: first, Jed was outed by a former bandmate, and now they’re looking for another new member. That’s when Donnie comes to audition.

Donnie is ten years younger than Jed, and he’s beautiful, with a complicated past. He instantly gets a crush on Jed, but is afraid to act on it. Still, Jed and Donnie can’t keep away from each other. But getting together isn’t their only problem: Jed has attracted a dangerous stalker, who means to do Jed serious harm.

 

Pages or Words: 36,000 words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance

Excerpt

Reading about yourself on the Internet might be a bad idea — masochistic even — but during the audition break, Jed has the urge to see the latest gossip. He’s found an article that starts with a recap of Black Lace’s history; his history.

Lead singer of Black Lace, Jed Chance, shocked the world when he confirmed that he is, in fact, gay. Rumors started when ex-Black Lace member Bert Goode sold his story about his affair with the married man.

Jed winces, because it hadn’t been that simple, and because Bert’s betrayal still hurts, even though it’s been nine years. Jed skips over the speculation of why he’d played it straight, marrying Jamie Pierce, his now ex-wife and manager.

At the time, it seemed like the scandal would be the end of Black Lace, but two years after they went on “hiatus” the band was back with a new guitarist, and a new attitude. Mrs. Cherry Lee was a welcome addition to the band, and a breath of fresh air. The once great rock band was back again, delivering some memorable music.

But now Cherry Lee has retired from the band to spend more time with her family, having given birth to three children during her seven years in the band. Cherry Lee and the rest of her bandmates all claim to be parting on good terms. But what this reporter wants to know is what will happen to Black Lace now that Cherry Lee is gone.

The band’s record company claims this isn’t the end of Black Lace; there will be another tour soon and even a new album. Who will step into Cherry Lee’s shoes? And will it be the same? Better? Worse? Watch this space.

Buy the book: Torquere Books

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Meet the Author

L.J. Hamlin is a twenty-something (getting older every day) author, who has been writing all her life, mainly in notebooks no one else ever saw. Then she discovered M/M groups online and was encouraged by friends to share her stories. After a while (and with a lot of pushing) she grew brave enough to attempt getting published. Now she shares her stories with others and hopes never to stop. L.J. loves cats and pretty much all animals, is a collector of many things, often weird, but most of all books.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Havan Fellows, The Hat Party, A.M. Leibowitz, BFD Book Blog, Divine Magazine, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Bayou Book Junkie, Jessie G. Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Chris McHart, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter, 3 Chicks After Dark, Book Lovers 4Ever, Velvet Panic, V’s Reads, MM Good Book Reviews

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Black Lace’ by L.J. Hamlin.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Scattered Thoughts Hosts Boys In The Band Blog Tour and Contest

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is the latest stop on the Boys in the Band blog tour, with authors L.A. Witt, Paula Coots, Rowan Speedwell, and Cecilia Tan. Each of these writers has brought a rock star to life in a recent romance release, so they got together to talk about music, musicians, love, and good old “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” Today they answer the question: “What’s the biggest challenge when writing about a rock band or rock star?”

Scroll down for the answer and a chance to win a prize pack of all four books!

You could win:

LAW_WiththeBand_coverin_200tHard rock band Schadenfreude is finally on the verge of the success that’s eluded them for the last several years. With Aaron McClure as their new lead singer, nothing’s going to stop them…except maybe a steamy, secret relationship between Aaron and bassist Bastian Koehler. Aaron knows all too well what can happen when band members get involved with each other. After all, his last band was a casualty of his last relationship, and Schadenfreude forbids band members from dating for that very reason. But Bastian is too hot to resist, and besides, it’s just sex, so what’s the harm? Their passion in the bedroom is rivaled only by their ambition as musicians, though, and pretty soon, it’s going to tear them, and Schadenfreude apart, if they can’t get back to playing with the band.

Music is the driving force in Reed Lang’s life and he’s hit the jackpot when it comes to signing a major label deal and scoring a hit single oranother_rock_star_200t two. It’s never an easy task and certainly not for an out and proud gay man, even in this day and age. Now, it’s time to hire the backing band, shoot the videos, do all the promotion work and get out on the road. But what happens onstage is only half the show. When the wild energy onstage can’t be contained some become more than just hired hands. Friends. Mentors. Tormenters. Lovers. Surviving the circus of the music business, the rigors of the road, staying true to your art and discovering your heart show Reed that maybe there is more to life than being just another rock star.

????????????????????????????????????????It’s the 1980s, the era of MTV, AIDS, and Just Say No. Daron Marks is trying to make it as a guitar player in an industry where the whole world is the closet. Keeping his sexuality a secret would be a lot easier if he hadn’t developed a huge crush on his band’s lead singer, Ziggy Ferias. In fact, everything would be a lot easier without his crush on Ziggy… except for fame itself. In the latest volume of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles (volume 5), Moondog 3 are on the road. Is the tour bus the pressure cooker that will meld them together or will the pressure blow them apart?

Adam Craig is burned out. Lead singer of the hard rock band Black Varen, he’s tired of the empty life ofIllumination cover groupies, paparazzi, and hotel rooms. Worse, a life in the closet. Miles Caldwell is a brilliant artist, tied by agoraphobia and social anxiety to his family’s lodge. Alone but for his parrot, he spends his days illuminating manuscripts and hiding from the complexities of life. Somehow, the man who’s never home and the man who never leaves it must find the strength to fight for a future together.

Today’s question for our four authors: “What’s the biggest challenge when writing about a rock band or rock star?”

L.A. Witt: Song lyrics. Dear lord, song lyrics. I cannot write lyrics to save my life. With the Band has some lyrics in it, but those were actually written by Lia Wolff, my beta reader, who has considerably more talent in that department than I do. If I tried to write them, they’d come out sounding like something dreamed up by One Direction after some bad peyote.

Paula Coots:Trying to write about music itself is like trying to describe color to someone who has never seen it. You can evoke the essence of it–you can never quite capture the sound with words.

Rowan Speedwell:  Pretending to know anything about contemporary rock and roll. While I still listen to contemporary music, it’s not my overriding interest, the way it was when I was younger. I cherish quiet now, so I can go days without listening to music. Most of what I catch is in a movie or when one of my friends or nephews sits me down and poke earbuds in my ears and say “Listen to this!” I like music, but my taste is very eclectic, so it was very hard to sit down and imagine one specific kind of music, one “sound” that would belong to Adam’s band. I finally focused on the music of U2, which spans not only decades but musical styles. Then I had people who know much more about contemporary music read what I’d written and tell me where I went wrong.

Cecilia Tan: For me the biggest challenge has been keeping the details of rock and roll life realistic without overwhelming the reader. Daron narrates in first person, and sometimes he really wants to go into technical aspects of touring or of playing guitar. Sometimes I have to rein him in. Fortunately most readers are at least a little fascinated by details, like how difficult it is to park tour buses near certain venues. It’s necessary to do a lot of research to get those details right, though, and sometimes the answer can’t be found. Since my book takes place in the 1980s, a lot of these venues have been torn down. I invent when I have to, but I like using as much real detail as possible!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a prize pack including all four ebooks below!

About the Authors:

  • Paula Coots:After seeing David Bowie and his lead guitarist, Mick Ronson, when she was eleven, Paula knew what she wanted to do with her life. Her plan was to play lead guitar in a band and hopefully make it big, and then after that focus on writing. Well, she didn’t “make it big” as a rock star, but she has had her share of traveling band adventures as a lead guitarist over the past twenty five years. And now she writes!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaulaCootsBooks
Twitter:@PaulaRCoots

  • Rowan Speedwell lives in a tarpaper shack in the North Woods, without so much as cable TV to keep her warm. She is allergic to publicity and loathes marketing, so her books only sell one or two copies. If you have one, she thanks you, as your purchase enables her to buy cat food for her diabetic feline companion, Kimball O’Hara.

Website http://www.rowanspeedwell.com
Twitter: @RowanSpeedwell

  • Cecilia Tan mostly writes erotica and science fiction/fantasy, but she started writing Daron’s Guitar Chronicles back in the eighties and is still writing it today. She is the author of Slow Surrender, The Prince’s Boy, the Magic University books, and many other novels and stories. She was inducted into the Saints & Sinners GLBT Writers Hall of Fame in 2010 and is currently a nominee for the RT Magazine Career Achievement Award in erotic fiction. She lives in the fantasy utopia of Cambridge, Massachusetts with her three cats and her partner of 23 years.

Daron serial website: http://daron.ceciliatan.com
Blog: http://blog.ceciliatan.com
Twitter: @ceciliatan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thececiliatan

  • L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

Website: http://www.loriawitt.com
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
Twitter: @GallagherWitt

Visit to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/38252b1/, a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other stops on the Boys in the Band Tour:
Dec 4  Sinfully Sexy Books
Dec 6 MM Good Book Reviews
Dec 10 Pants Off Reviews
Dec 11 Mrs. Condit Reads Books
Dec 12 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Dec 13 Chicks After Dark
Dec 14 Sid Love
Dec 16 Em Lynley’s Literary Love Shack
Dec 19 Joyfully Jay
Dec 18 Boys in Our Books
Dec 23 Elisa Rolle’s Reviews and Ramblings

A Wintery Mix, Favorite Childhood Books, and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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We are expecting a wintery mix here in Maryland, rain, sleet, ice and snow all mixing together to create an equal mixture of beauty and angst.  Trees with limbs that glisten like diamonds to go along with downed power lines and people lost in the cold.  Joy mixed in with a little quiet reflection, softened by the grey skies of winter and clouds laden with snow.

Days like this bring back memories of winters past and winter stories I loved reading to my daughter and the children later at the nature The Winter Bear book Covercenter.  Stories like  The Winter Bear by Ruth Craft and Robert Frost’s Stopping Through The Woods On A Snowy Evening were a perfect way to convey the feelings and emotions brought on by the first snow or a cold, blustery day in winter.

The Winter Bear especially is still so close to my heart.  It’s simple story and the illustrations that hark back to the style of the original Winnie the Pooh never fail to move me.  A lost stuff bear is tangled up in a shrub looking worn , a little dirty and so very alone.  Its winter and the landscape is cold and barren.  Then a small group of children, siblings, finds the bear, gets him down and takes him home where they clean him up, Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on a Snow Eveningdress in warmly and give that little bear a home with them.  It’s a spare, elegant and concise little story and yet it is so moving that it can still bring tears to my eyes as that last page as the children and little bear are snug  and warm in a little living room with the fire blazing and snow falling outside.  It was first published in 1976 and is hard to find.  But once found and added to your bookshelf, it will become a family treasure to bring out generation after generation no matter your religion or location.  Much like the other book that I love so well, Robert Frost’s Stopping Through the Woods on a Snowy Evening.  The illustrations are in black and white, with a splash of red in places, just glorious and perfect for this poem.  Children and adults alike love looking at them, watching the sleigh travel through town and into the woods with a surprise for the animals that live there.  And then there are those words….such memorable, wonderful words.  The last stanza is the best known..”.The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.”  I have the entire short poem  at the end of the post today.  But those words and those illustrations together paint a memory portrait that draws adults and children into those woods time and again, a magic that is never lost.  Pick those books up and add them to your holiday collection.

Now I have a very special week ahead starting with a book that made my Best of 2013 within the first ten pages.  That’s when I started sobbing copious tears, a phrase perfect for the floodgate that opened upon reading Amy Lane’s latest book, Christmas Kitsch. Never have I been so moved by a character that quickly had me forgetting he wasn’t real.  Rusty, a wounded, glorious man child, whose open heart and mind is so transcendent that his story pulled me in not to release me until 3am, red eyed, snotty, and happy beyond belief that I had met him.  Amy Lane is running a contest and her author spotlight is Monday with my review of Christmas Kitsch is on Tuesday.  Thursday is a 4 book, 4 author Boys In the Band Blog Tour (and contest).  And Friday and Saturday…well if you have been reading the Pulp Friction authors and their combined series (City Knight, Triple Threat, Wicked’s Ways and Chances Are) then you are in for another treat.  The last book in all their series is a combined effort.  Odd Man Out wraps up all the stories of all the characters and is written by all 4 authors.  They have written a guest blog for Friday to talk about the last book and what’s coming in 2014 for Pulp Friction.  My review of Odd Man Out follows on Saturday.  And there is an amazing giveaway associated with this Pulp Friction Season Finale as well.  What a week ahead!!!!  Don’t miss out on a day of it!

Monday, Dec. 9:    Amy Lane’s Christmas Kitsch Blog Tour, Contest and Author Spotlight

Tuesday, Dec. 10:  Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Wed., Dec. 11:          Tag Team: Fais Do Do by BA Tortuga

Thurs., Dec. 12:       Boys In The Band Blog Tour and Contest, Authors  L.A. Witt, Paula Coots, Rowan Speedwell, and Cecilia Tan

Friday, Dec. 13:       Pulp Friction Author Blog, Contest and Odd Man Out release

Sat., Dec. 14:             Odd Man Out by Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, TE Webb, and Laura Harner, a Pulp Friction 2013 finale!

Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Review: Love You Like A Romance Novel by Megan Derr

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Love You Like A Romance Novel coverJefferson  “Jet” Kristopherson, is a rock star. Jet and his cousin, David “Dai” Kristopherson, form the very successful rock band, Forever and a Dai.  But their careers and fame came at a high cost, their families.  Both families disassociated themselves from Jet and Dai the moment Jet fled the family home and business he was being groomed to run, taking his cousin along with him.  While Jet knows abandoning the family business for a career as a musician made him an utter disappointment in his families opinion, the real blame laid on his shoulders was taking Dai with him,  and their families have never forgiven him.  Now circumstances beyond his control force him back to confront his family and issues he hoped were buried in the past.

Jason Kristopherson is everything his cousin and brother are not.  Jason is a successful entertainment lawyer at his father’s law firm just as his family had planned.  He is powerful, well respected or feared by his peers and others in the industry.  And it is expected that Jason will assume the leadership role in Kristopherson, Carmichael, and Jones, his father’s firm when his father retires.  But Jason is hiding a few secrets of his own that if revealed will shatter his family and the future they have so carefully planned out for his life.

The future is about to change drastically for all three men. Who will survive when all the secrets are exposed?

First let me say that as a fantasy author, Megan Derr can do no wrong.  With regard to her fantasy stories and series, I can count on her plots being dynamic and complex, her characterizations beautifully realized complete with a lively dialog that moves her fantasy narratives along at a smooth and exuberant pace.  I can also say the same of some of her contemporary romance stories.  Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Love You Like A Romance Novel.

My quibbles with this story boil down to just a couple of issues, but for me they are big ones. Let’s take them one at a time.  First is the dense narrative.  The first half of this story is so densely packed with backstory and repetitive dialog that it slows the momentum down.  So much of it entails the family business and family history that the real drama between Jet and Jason  (as well as Jason and Dai) becomes diluted.  I noticed that this story was a serialized entry for Megan Derr and Less Than Three Press and wondered if the somewhat jerky movement of the story might be due to the fact that it came out in spurts as a series does rather than a planned novel.  That might explain the lack of smoothness in the narrative I found throughout the story.

Secondly, parts of the plot lacked realism.  A law firm knowingly deals with major criminal elements and than they are surprised when their reputation (and other things) takes a hit?  The characters also react in a way so counter to the situations they are in that at least this reader pulled back in disbelief more than once.  When someone knows they are a target, do you really walk into a dark house?  That sort of thing happens in a variety of ways here.  Perfect, perhaps for a soap opera or yes, maybe a bodice ripper but not a contemporary romance.

But I think my most serious issue is with the characters.  I did love Jason Kristopherson.  He is the most layered and grownup of the group.  He really saved this story for me.  He has just a delicious secret that he is keeping, one I did not expect.  Jason is ruthless, powerful, self aware and extraordinarily complicated.  I wish his counterparts in the story had his complexities.  Unfortunately, in regard to Jet and Dai, the first half of the story comes across as Lifestyles of the Rich and Whiny.  Both men are wealthy, came from uber rich families and spend most of their time whining and yelling at everyone around them.  Neither man is good at listening and communication issues abound throughout the story. Jet is actually 30 years old but his behavior never seems to rise above that of a teenager.  In fact, had one meeting been held at the beginning and they actually talked things out, then the book would have been over at page one.  But no, Dai and Jet jump to conclusions, run away or just yell at everyone.  Exasperating the first time it happens, tiresome and juvenile when it occurs repeatedly.

After the fifty percent mark, the story started to get interesting and engaging and my interest perked up.  But then a major character does something so unrealistic that I was jolted back to the beginning and all the reasons I had a hard time investing in this story.  And that was a pity because there are some good bones here underneath the thick surface layer and character missteps.  Perhaps had the characters more interesting layers, less money, and more real problems, I could have disregarded some of the other issues I had with Love You Like A Romance Novel, but as it stands I loved it less than a romance novel, in fact I loved it not at all.

The cover art is too dark for me to see the graphics, does not seem designed to grab a reader’s attention.

Review: Metal Heart by Meredith Shayne

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Rating: 4.25 stars

Metal Heart coverIt is 1990 and a local band called King Phoenix is looking for a lead guitarist to round out the band.  When 20 year old Scott King shows up to audition, his music and song writing abilities mesh perfectly with the songs and sounds King Phoenix embodies and they welcome him into the group.  Scott also bonds closely with their lead singer, Ash Walker.  As the rock band evolves from anonymity to fame, Scott and Ash form first a close friendship which turns into a intense, sexual and romantic relationship that lasts for four years. But unlike his other band members, Scott starts to experience stage fright the bigger the venues they play.  His coping mechanisms coupled with some bad friends, start Scott on a downward spiral that Ash and the band are first unaware of, then unable to stop.  Pressure mounts until the stresses and rumors of Ash leaving the band, cause Scott to implode, ODing on drugs and alcohol.  While Scott lies in a coma in the hospital, the band leaves to go on tour without him.  There will be no further communication between the band and Scott until 16 years later.

2011, Berry, Australia.  Scott King has worked hard since coming out of rehab to become a successful music producer with his own studio.  He’s healthy having been clean for 16 years.  Scott likes his quiet life, he lives with his twin sister and his niece, he has friends and ex lovers, and is mostly content.  His past is safely secured in a box tucked away in a closet in his bedroom, a box that never gets opened lest the past bring out all the old demons he has fought for so long.

Then he gets a phone call from the past, his old band manager, who wants Scott to play at a benefit gig for King Phoenix’s old sound man who is dying of cancer.  The benefit is to raise money for his wife and child and Scott is needed to reunite the band.  Prodded by his sister and fond memories of their sound man, Scott agrees against his better judgement. But seeing Ash, who wants to take up where they left off,  starts to shatter Scott’s self control as does the stage fright that starts to come back.  Can Scott handle the stress of seeing the only man he has ever loved under the same conditions that once broke him? Or will this reunion cost Scott everything he has worked so hard to build, including his sobriety.

I love a good rocker book and Metal Heart is terrific.  It is my first introduction to Meredith Shayne and I will eagerly check out the rest of her library. Metal Heart has so much to recommend it, including a gritty look at the effect of drugs and alcohol on someone vulnerable enough to let them take over his life.  Actually, I think this element of the novel is perhaps the best part of the story, elevating it even over the lovers reunited.

Shayne starts off by giving us the character of Scott King, a naive 20 year old gay musician.  A friend and later band manager drags him to audition for a scruffy local band called King Phoenix.  Scott is someone who loses himself in his music, from the compositions he writes to the lead guitar he plays.  Shayne gives him a vulnerability that shows the reader how open emotionally Scott can be to all things, including love in the form of Ash Walker.  I love this character and we watch him grow and struggle over a 16 year period.  For Scott, the best part of his life is the early  years with Ash, before the band caught on and became famous.  Young, impressionable, artistic and happy, those are his defining years.  But the stresses of playing to large crowds, as well as hiding their romance and sexuality from all around them, places such a strain on Scott that the cracks start to appear and fissure, and we feel helpless as we watch it happen.  The author then goes on to demonstrates how readily available drugs and alcohol allowed musicians and others to cope with the demands of touring and the pressures of fame.  The scenes where associates introduce Scott to drugs rings true as does the resulting addiction that others are helpless to derail.

This leads us into discussions of therapy and rehabilitation as well as the fact that once you are an addict, you are always an addict. Shayne is careful to give us an authentic portrayal of someone in the throes of an addiction to someone living the life of a recovered addict.  The temptations to succumb to the pressure to use again are always present and Scott is that addict personified.   Really, this is just a remarkable characterization.

The character of Ash Walker is one that, while he didn’t quite work his magic on me, will be a favorite of most readers.  A little older, Ash is less vulnerable and more savvy than Scott, even at the beginning.  And while we never doubt the love he holds for Scott, he comes across as the most secure and  ambitious of the two.  He wants fame, and is at ease with the pressures that come with it, unlike Scott.  And while there is more to his story than is revealed at the beginning, I still found myself disconnected from this character, especially after he continues to pressure Scott to resume playing while acknowledging that Scott is showing the symptoms of cracking under the stress.  I did find it realistic that the band members would be so self involved not to understand what was happening to Scott in the 90’s but for them to consider his actions that of a “jerk” when he is clearly trying to protect himself and his self control in 2011, well I found that to be less feasible, more objectionable than anything else.

This also applies to the “aha” moment of the story which I won’t divulge here.  But one thing that is repeatedly brought up is the fact that Scott “disappeared” and that in 16 years Scott never tried to contact the band members.  They all knew he was in rehab and a little research would have shown that those in rehabilitation are not to have contact with those that helped enable them.  Plus Scott King became a successful music producer, and they couldn’t find him until 16 years later? Again, that just doesn’t seem all that realistic.  But those qualms aside, this author delivers a vibrant, enthusiastic portrait of young rockers, love and the price of fame to life in Metal Heart, and then leaves us with the promise that sometimes love is enough, even after 16 years apart.  For me, this is still a HFN, instead of HEA and there seems to be plenty of room for another book to see where they take the relationship next as not all obstacles have been cleared away.  Either way, this story will please fans of rock n roll stories and bad boys with music to burn as well as those of romantic lovers reunited at long last.  All fans will be left satisfied at the end of Metal Heart.  Pick it up and happy reading!

Cover art by Anne Cain.  Love, love this cover.  From the graphics to the color choices and fonts, just perfect.

Review: Rocking On by Emily Veinglory

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Rating: 3.5 stars

It all started back in high school.  Scott DeMaris and Bevin Stewart formed a band  called Black Lam. Scott supplied the music and the motivation and Bevis wrote the lyrics and sang.  Black Lam played locally with moderate success and everything was fine until Scott decided he wanted to be famous and the band was the ticket.  Scott and Bevin were also high school lovers but being gay in a world of screaming girls fans was not going to cut it for Scott who went back into the closet. Bevin, dealing with the onset of a number of crippling disorders, told Scott he didn’t want to be famous and left both Scott and Black Lam.  And the men parted not to be reunited for another 10 years.

Now Scott has returned and Bevin’s carefully ordered life he has assembled for himself is upended, his strict routine shattered.  Scott wants Bevin to be his friend again.  He is tired of the hangers on and the phonies surrounding him and wants Bevin back.  Bevin likes his life. He owns a cafe shop and a small house. A strict regimen and regular visits with his therapist have helped to keep his agoraphobia and panic attacks under control, among other issues. And Scott back in his life puts all that at risk.  Added to everything else, a closeted Scott wants to renew their relationship and that is something that an out gay Bevin won’t tolerate.  He won’t be someone’s secret and being the hidden lover of a rock star is more than he can handle.  But Scott won’t give up and Bevin realizes that his love for Scott is still there after all these years.  How can two men makes their relationship work when love is not enough to keep them together.

In Rocking On Emily Veinglory has surely given us one of the more complex, damaged main characters that I have come across in Bevin Stewart. When we first meet Bevin sitting at his computer trying to decide if he wants to “friend” Scott on Facebook or not but is interrupted by a sound from the back of the house.  He is trying to navigate through the rooms of his small house with difficulty.  There seems to be clutter everywhere, items stacked on every possible surface of the house he lives in.  And someone, Scott, is tapping on the backdoor wanting to come in.  But napkins, and other restaurant goods are stacked against the walls and door and the only way in is through the front entrance.  Just from this scene alone we are aware that Bevin has some issues, big ones.  And as the story gains momentum, more and more of Bevin’s problems come forward.  Bevin  is an agoraphobic given to panic attacks, and he also seems to have hoarding tendencies to go along with the fears of crowds and tight places.  Yet, he has acknowledged his  problems and sought help with the assistance of a therapist he listens to.  Bevin has also managed to own and run a successful small business and accumulate employees that respect him and in some cases are his friends.  I liked Bevin immensely and wish the rest of the book and his lover were up to his high standards.

Part of my quibbles with this story come from Scott DeMaris, closeted rocker who wants Bevin back in his life but on his terms.  He plows back into Bevis’ life with all the subtly of a runaway train and with just about the same effect as he starts to demolish Bevin’s carefully planned life.  I think we are supposed to root for him as means to shake Bevin up and enlarge his world but instead I ended up more irritated than anything else. Scott reappears, shakes things up and then vanishes on tour without a note or phone call before appearing on Bevin’s doorstep yet again.  Absent and feckless are two of the words Bevin uses to describe Scott.  I can think of so many more and none of them flattering.  Scott declares his love for Bevin but I never feel the truth of that statement.  At one point the psychiatrist working with Bevin, tells him that Scott’s very unreliability maybe just the thing Bevin needs otherwise Bevin would rely too much on a lover who is constantly around and I am stunned by that.  So if I get this right, better to have a so called lover you see intermittently than work on your issues of dependance? Gack.  Most of the problems I have with Scott is that he seems to have no layering to him and he comes across as more of a one-dimensional character than Bevin does.  The two men just do not balance each other out and that inequality effects the entire story.

There are several events within the story that are traumatic for Bevin and they come across so realistically that your heart beats fast and your stress levels rise along with Bevin.  I wish that the drama and strength of these episodes would have been used to better effect within the narrative.  At the end of the seeming endless chain of one night’s events that include abandonment on the side of the road and car accidents, I would anticipated them being used as a springboard to an epiphany or life change or something other than a medium regression to past behavior.  Over and over again, I feel as though Bevin and the reader are being set up for something major and than nothing happens.  Perhaps that is more realism in the way this story actually unfolds than this book can handle.  What I do know is that the ending leaves me unsatisfied and feeling unsettled.  I am not happy for Bevin in the end and he is such a great character that I should be as content as he purports to be as he goes off with Scott.  I’m not and I don’t think you would be either.  In fact, I would be scrambling to find the number for Match.com to hand to Bevin before he boards the plane.  Bevin deserves much better and so do you.

Cover by Paul Richmond is dramatic and wonderful.  Not a match for the book however.