STRW Author And Series Highlight: J.M. Dabney and her Linked Series

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Author J.M. Dabney

(Twirled World Ink, Brawlers, Executioners, and Trenton Security)

My first introduction to J.M. Dabney was through the story Ghost (Executioners #1) by J.M. Dabney.  It revolved around a young brutalized woman, Harper Sage and Gideon Jane,  an enormous mountain of man transplanted to the small town of Powers, Georgia.  The author was totally unfamiliar to me, but the elements of the blurb called out to me.  The location of a small town in Georgia for personal reasons, and then the haunting character of Harper Sage, an abused transgender woman who in many ways stood in for the local transgender women recently killed in this area.  This was a story that I just couldn’t turn away from.  And from the moment, I entered the J.M. Dabney universe that the location Powers, Georgia is the focal point for, I was both a captured and  committed fan.

Harper Sage was my introduction to J.M. Dabney’s ability to create incredible authentic people who bleed off the page.  The author got under this character’s skin, crawled through her psyche, and let us know what had brought her to this broken emotional state, and how much resiliency she had left in her to allow her to recover to learn to love herself and Gideon.  Dabney brings alive not only Harper’s intensity and yes, delicacy while remaining true to her choices as a transgender woman, but then  she went into the mind and heart of Gideon Jane, a musician in the band Executioners and organic farmer.  At points in this story, the reader feels as emotionally wrecked as the characters, drawn up into their lives and the small town dynamics.

There is violence in a Dabney story.  These people have been subjected to unbelievable abuse, and her characters are often violent, brutal, and borderline psychotic in return.  Their past, their upbringing has made them so, and the author doesn’t shy away from that fact.  Pain, anguish, brutality, it’s all there but it’s also offset by a deep love found by the characters who get their HEA.

So by the end of Ghost, I knew I had found something extraordinary.  J.M Dabney had created not just an incredible love story, but characters so memorable that I can see them and hear them so clearly even now.  Harper and Gideon were also surrounded by characters that resonated with me with the same impact that they had, one of which Joker was the next story in the series.  Joker is another man abused, hardened and brutalized by life.  And my second story by the author.  Into it I dove and found another astonishing tale of heartbreaking abuse, torture, and finally, if not recovery, then the ability to let someone in enough to find love.

From two novels, I then found out that Executioners was the third in a group of connected series.  Be still my heart.  I had a journey to go on!  Back to the beginning series and the original men, couples, and location that started it all, and the series that links the two.  That would be Twirled World Ink (#1), Brawlers (#2), and Executioners (#3).  What an incredible narrative journey it’s been…to see all the characters that have filled the stories, seen their growth, as well as the town’s evolution, and know there’s still more to come. .

I wanted to share my discovery of J.M. Dabney with our readers as well let them in on where this linked series are going.  Welcome, J.M., thanks for agreeing to answer Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words author interview questions.  Your characters and series have me captivated by their gritty tales and small town location,  I know I need to know more.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J.M. Dabney

Characters.  All or most of the men in your series, from the first Twirled World Ink right up to Joker (so heartbreaking) in Executioners are men who have been abused, violent, hardened by their life experiences, and have expressed little hope in finding love until it happens to them.  Usually someone with a past equally painful.  Why these men?  What started you on writing them?    And was there a special inspiration behind Berzerker, the first? Or any of them actually?

 

To be honest, I like the idea of someone who’s harder to love, those antiheroes/heroines, getting that happily ever after. Finding love in real life or literary form shouldn’t be a color by numbers type thing. It’s like in Japan they have a process of repairing pottery with gold called Kintsugi. I mean, for me I think even the broken can be beautiful. It’s not perfect, but still beautiful. Berzerker came around when I was seriously considering that writing wasn’t for me. The characters I loved weren’t physically or emotionally perfect, so, this big, gruff and hairy guy formed in my head. I said to myself that I was going to write the book. It probably wouldn’t get published, but I wanted to write Zerk’s story. As I was writing Zerk, Trouble popped up, and he was what people would consider the epitome of the romance hero. Tall, blond, and buff, but inside he was broken and I dissected what I thought would be that tragic hero of sorts. To me, they were these amazing men, broken and hardened, sometimes violent, but they needed their other halves. I found the more I typed the more I fell in love with these characters that you wouldn’t typically see in romance. But I’m also a huge believer in body positivity and what better way to show that everyone deserves love then writing these men and women into romance?

 

 

Location:  Powers, Georgia:  Why small town Georgia particularly?  My father is small town Georgia boy  as is that entire side of the family who is spread across the state (Americus, Perry, etc.).  I understand the draw but is there a reason you chose it?

 

Small towns have a colorful history, an eccentricity to them and I’m from Virginia so I typically pick Southern states to base my stories in. As I was writing, I needed a town name and Powers, Georgia it was. I don’t like using real places because I love the challenge of building the world or town from the ground up. I wish the answer was more interesting, but Southern towns and people are where I feel at home. The ones I know best, I guess.

 

The series starts with the Twirled World Ink Tattoo shop.   I think people are fascinated by tattoos. I know I am as well as the artists, the tattooers themselves.  I have tattoos and i know the, at least for me, slow process in deciding what I wanted and who I wanted to do it.  But why start here?  Did you already have the characters in mind as well as the shop?  

 

Tattoo Artists are smart, creative, and unique. In my teens, there was this shop that I went to and one of the guys that worked there we could debate anything and I learned a lot about the history of tattoos in that shop in Edgewater, MD. I have several tattoos including a full sleeve. I always loved the process. It’s almost meditative for me sitting in that chair. So, my guys have bits and pieces of every tattoo artist or biker I’ve met in my almost forty years. I love bars and tattoo shops, so I put not just my passion for body positivity into my stories but these places I felt most at home.

 

Series.  Each series has four books, one for each man.  Has it evolved that way or was that the original plan?

 

I’ve been asked this before, I absolutely love series, short or long, doesn’t matter to me, but four seemed like a nice solid number. A close-knit group with potential for more, but I’m also an impatient reader. So, some of my decision was to keep the series short with as little wait time as possible because as I said I’m an impatient reader.

 

The Future:  Reading backwards has been sort of a literary excavation, its been wonderful to get to the beginning of it all.  But I still wish to look forward as will all our readers.  I know there are at least 2 more books in the Executioners series.  Can you tell us about them and the characters involved?  When can we hope to see them?

 

The Executioners have two more books, King who you see a little of in the course of the series. Unconsciously, I believe I kept him a bit more sequestered for the fact I wanted a bit more mystery with him. Readers see him as a player, but I also highlight his love for his son. It the dichotomy of what allow the readers to see and what is actually happening behind the scenes. Hinting at what is to come, but hopefully surprising them when they finally to read the book. The final Executioners book is Sin & Saint, it’s a menage romance, their man comes in the package of the mature and reserved new Sheriff of Powers, GA. Camden Pelter is strong and dependable, mired down in the challenge of taking over and I gave him the crazy and completely loveable twins. They are exactly what he needs. As for release dates, King should be out later this month and Sin & Saint should be ready for release in December.

 

Will there be more connected series?  Another after Executioners?

 

Yes, there will be another connected series, Trenton Security deals with Linus’s Crew. They’re a bit more hardened, some would say I made their pasts darker, but we’re dealing with men such as Livingston who is severely scarred. Some who grew up and aged out of the foster care system. There’s more action in the Trenton Series and I hope everyone loves them as much as the rest of the guys from Twirled, Brawlers, and Executioners. If people have read the Executioners I start bringing the Trenton guys out of the dark and showing the personalities that my readers will meet in the future.

 

Is there something you would like our readers to know about these men and all these series?  

 

I would just like the readers who take a chance on my books will see a love that transcends physical or emotional perfection. These are just real people. Guys you could meet in your local bar/pub or even just bumping into one of them on the street. They may be scary, you may want to cross the street, but to me these men are the type you’ll want in your corner when life gets hard. I think they are what shows that true love doesn’t have to adhere to a certain package. As I said earlier, even the broken can be beautiful.

 

What’s next for J.M. Dabney?

 

Wow, that’s a hard question, I’m generally a writer of LGBTQ+ Fiction and Romance, but I write across all genres with all pairings including M/F. If anyone ever got their hands on my Work in Progress list they’d think I’m crazier than the characters I create. With the more books that come out they’ll see that I’m all over the place and I hope in the future that I gain more readers who just want to read a great story about a character that might not be your cup of tea, but you love them nonetheless.

J.M. Dabney

Author of LGBTQI Fiction and Romance

www.jmdabneyauthor.com

About the Author

By day, she’s an introverted cook hiding out in her kitchen in the middle of nowhere Ohio, by night and any free time she may have, she is a writer of mainly LGBTQ Fiction and Erotica. Although. she’s equal opportunity when it comes to telling a story, she’ll even write a bit of straight erotic romance when the mood strikes.

She has been writing for years in old notebooks. At the age of eight, she wrote the worst poem in the history of poetry, but it sparked her love for writing. She reads too much and loves to get lost in other worlds and her favorite stories have to include laughter and having the reader doing at least one double take. Thirty-something, forever restless she uses her stories to ground herself, and find her place of peace.

Goodreads Author Page

Twitter: jmdabney_author

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the series to date.  I can’t recommend these men and their stories highly enough.  If you love hurt/comfort, broken men, and extraordinary tales, then discover the world of J.M Dabney and the town of Powers, Georgia.  There’s still so much more to come.

  • Executioners – third series

What We Are Thankful For In Books Continues and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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What We Are Thankful For In Books Month Continues

Our What We Are Thankful For In Books Month continues.  If you missed it last week, this month we are going to celebrate the things we’re grateful for…bookwise.    For some of us (myself included as you will see this week), its new authors (not new necessarily, but new to us or yes, just plain spanking new release new).  For others it may be new books that they read that they just think the world of and need to share!

Could be new narrators if you love audiobooks. How many times has a narrator made or broke a audiobook for you?  I can think of a audiobook I just listened to where the narrator was incredible and made the story fresh again…all it has to be is book related.

Could even be a new cover artist because in my mind they are so important when it comes to bringing a reader forward and getting them interested in a story, yes, even in this age of eReaders and eBooks.  Think of all those covers that made you laugh or made you dwell on their beauty?

This week I have an incredible Author and Series Discover/Highlight with J.M Dabney that you won’t want to miss on Thursday.  The author gives us insight into the characters and  their linked series that I’ve been reviewing for the past month and a half.  Plus what the future holds for any new series and her writing.  I was so happy with the interview and I hope you all will be too.

Last week I posed the question “What have you discovered or have found this year in books that you are grateful for?” and several of our readers have left some wonderful comments I wanted to share:

From H.B.:

“I think I’m always grateful that books seem to inspire being open minded and that authors choose to tackle subjects readers or people in general may be too scared to address or inquire about. I like that there have been an bigger influx of stories with ace and transgender characters, and mpreg stories.”

From Purple Reader:

“Great thought, H.B., and I couldn’t have said it better in this day and age. More specifically to my own reading, I was thankful I had enough time to get into some long-held tbr series in some of my fav genres and I loved them all, gay: fantasy (Gordon’s Champion of the Gods), mystery (Marshall Thornton’s Boystown), historical naval/pirates (Kei’s Pirates of the Narrow Seas), scifi/dystopia (Hassell’s ICoS), Steampunk (Hall’s Prosperity), action/adventure (Bauer’s Executive Office), and western (anthology, Once Upon a Time in the Weird West)… ok, you found me out, I pretty much like any gay genre, as long as it’s good.”

So let’s from from more of you….what are you thankful for in books this year?  What’s stood out for you?  Stella, the gift certificate fairy is waiting in the wings with arms full of certs!  And we have plenty of the month to go!

What have you discovered or have found this year in books that you are

Thankful for Giveaway

What have you discovered or have found this year in books that you are grateful for?  Write in and let us know.  Short, long, recommendations, however, you would like to tell us.  Let’s hear from all of you.  Leave us your comment of what you are grateful for in books (author, series, books, narrator, cover artist, whatever it may be, along with your email address where you can be reached if chosen. Multiple gift certificates will be handed out the last week of November!  Must be 18 year of age or older to enter.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 5:

  • What We Are Thankful For In Books Month Continues
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 6:

  • Release Blitz for Tiki Torches and Treasure by J.C. Long
  • Release Blitz and Giveaway for Beauty & The Guardian Beast by Rhys Ethan
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Lace-Covered Compromise by Silvia Violet
  • A MelanieM Review: Trouble (Twirled World Ink #2) by J.M. Dabney
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: Blood Drop (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #5) by Jacob Z. Flores
  • An Alisa Review: Lace-Covered Compromise by Silvia Violet

Tuesday, October 7:

  • Dreamspinner Press Promo: Anne Barwell
  •  Blog Tour and Review for Tara Lain’s “Never”
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Borne (The Republic #3) by Archer Kay Leah
  • A MelanieM Review: The Royal Marine by Dahlia Donovan
  • A MelanieM Review: Drama Detective (Nicky and Noah Mystery #5) by Joe Cosentino

Wednesday, October 8:

  • Cover Reveal for Jackie Keswick’s Undercover Star
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Watch Point by Cecilia Tan
  • A Julia Review: Ardulum: Second Don by J.S. Fields
  • A MelanieM Review: Scary (Twirled World Ink #3) by J.M. Dabney
  • A Stella Review: Making Home (Bay Valley U #1) by Dev Bentham
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows (Lawyers in Love #2) by Ari McKay

Thursday, October 9:

  • Guest Column Come on, Muse!” from Nancy Stewart (Beulah Land)
  • Dreamspinner Promo:Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows by Ari McKay
  • Author and Series Discovery: J.M. Dabney and Linked Series
  • A MelanieM Review: Lucky (Twirled World Ink #4) by J.M. Dabney
  • A VVivacous Review: The Boy Who Fell to Earth by A Zukowski
  • An Alisa Review: The Undefendable (The Vampire Court Chronicles, #1) by Suede Delray

Friday, October 10:

  • DSP Promo M.A. Church
  • BLITZ: A Bolt of Blue by Nicky Spencer
  • Tour for Dirk Greyson’s Hell and Back
  • A Julia Review: Changing Colors by Elyse Springer
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Five Minutes Longer (Enhanced #1) by Victoria Sue and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Finding Persimmon by R.W. Clinger

Saturday, October 11:

  • Release Blitz for A Bolt of Blue by Nicky Spencer
  • A MelanieM Pre-release Review: Dragon Rider (Landlocked Heart #3) by Kay Berrisford

 

 

A MelanieM Review: Berzerker (Twirled World Ink #1) by J.M. Dabney

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Welcome to Twirled World Ink where the crazies run the asylum.

The hum of a tattoo machine was Brian “Berzerker” Anderson’s favorite sound in the world. He’d won a coveted spot at Twirled World Ink with a legend in the business, Gib Phelps. Creating beauty with his large, scarred hands was his happy place—the place where he fit in the world. Although, nothing could remain perfect forever, his boyfriend of over a year decided to move on and up without him in tow. He had two choices, return to living with his friends and co-workers or take an offer too tempting to pass up.

Landon Phelps grew up in an unconventional home as the only child to Legendary Tattoo Artist Gib Phelps and mother, Peaches. He always felt a bit out of place when he became a boring accountant instead of following in his parents’ footsteps. Boundaries were in place early on; he didn’t date the employees of Twirled World Ink. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken. Bezerker was his idea of perfection, large, husky and tattooed; the thick, grab-worthy beard was a bonus. So when the boyfriend became the ex, Landon decided it was time to get his man.

With the help of the matchmaking Twirled Crew, can Landon finally get Berzerker to see him as more than a friend and the employer’s son?

Here we are at the beginning!  The Twirled World Ink series launches the first of three interconnected series and an ever enlarging cast of addictive characters, all of whom live in the town of Powers, Georgia.  And it all starts here.  I’ve been working my way backwards from that last series, Executioners (a band) to arrive at this  point.  Now I get to meet the original characters and see how they find their HEA.

First it’s Brian “Berzerker” Anderson, the large, intimidating inked tattooer at Twirled World Ink.  Tossed aside by someone ashamed of him,  it frees him up for the man who’s been waiting for just this opportunity. Landon, the young son of the owners of the tattoo shop who’s crushed on Berzerker for ages and now intends to go after the man he wants.

This story by J.M. Dabney has enough elements to appeal to everyone.  It has an age different in couple, humor, friends to lovers, and yes, simply hot sex scenes.  I don’t really regard what happens with Brian and Landon as instant love as they have known each other for a while, but more as a recognition of what’s really been there all along.  And I love stories like that.

It’s hard for me to be impartial about this story because in a way I’ve been living with this couple for nine books now and feel like I know them intimately.  I’ve seen them grow and I know where they are going.  So for me, this is a lovely trip back in time to see where it began for them and I love it.  And yes, I’m so fond of them.

All that couldn’t happen without  J.M. Dabney’s wonderful way with characterization and decisions about location and things like a tattoo shop called Twirled World Ink.  Because as Berzerker demonstrates its never just about the couple, its also about the supporting cast of characters that you will come to love and need to see as much of as anyone else.  That includes Peaches and Gib, and the rest of the Brawler crew and everyone else from Twirled World Ink and more.   In this series (all three of them)  it takes a town, and that town is Powers, Georgia.  It too will undergo transformation along with the men who live there.

And it starts here.

I gave you all the old cover because that came with the version I read.  The new cover states that it has been reedited so I will put that one  in a smaller version below.  I hate to admit it but I really prefer the older version.  Tell me what you think.

Cover art by Winterheart Designs (old).  I really love this older cover.  It seems grittier, more perfect for the characters than the new lighter version.  Tell me what you think.

 

 

 

 

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Author’s Note: Although this is the first book in a series each book is a standalone and every book deals with a separate couple.

Kindle Edition, 138 pages
Published November 27th 2016 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC (first published November 2016)
ASINB01N0KDB60
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTwirled World Ink #1
Characters Brian “Berzerker” Anderson, Landon Phelps settingPowers, Georgia (United States)

 

A MelanieM Review: Bull (Brawlers #3) by J.M. Dabney

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

They said men only get better with age, distinguished and all that BS, but Archer “Bulletproof” Woods hadn’t gotten better. At fifty-six he was still as much an asshole as he’d been in his twenties and thirties, hell, maybe he was worse. Being a bouncer at a bar called Brawlers suited him just fine and he even tolerated the rest of the crew who’d taken up residence in his house when they’d had nowhere else to go. He was big, growly and homely that kept the parade of men passing through Brawlers at arm’s length for the past decade. One night changed all that.

What he’d thought was happily ever after turned into a nearly five year nightmare. Gregory Charles appeared to have it all, a successful business, sophistication, and a perfect marriage. His friend and best employee, Landon, begged him to come out to a friend’s bar to celebrate Landon’s anniversary. What could it hurt? A night without contemplating the hell that would come down on him the moment he served his husband with divorce papers would do him good. That is until he met the brooding older man staring into a whiskey straight ignoring everyone around him.

Watching for trouble was his job and Gregory screamed mistake as soon as the long, lean and handsome man sat down beside him. But he also knew when someone was in over their head and Gregory needed someone to watch his back. That someone was Bull, only time would tell if he’d have to fight Gregory as much as the man after him.

Bull‘s story is the one I’ve been waiting for.  I’ve love the huge, hulking father figure ever since I became aware of the Brawlers and their extended family.  It’s Bull and his house whose been the home and focal point of so many of these stories.  And it’s been Bull who’s been such a steadying influence on those around him when everything felt like it was being destroyed for them.  Yet Bull was ever lonely, alpha among alphas, and you wanted to get the know the person called Bull.  In Bull (Brawlers #3) by J.M. Dabney I finally got that story.

The solitary man isn’t the one I was prepared to find.  He’s hardly anywhere close to the men he houses, although he  clearly understands them and the violence that drives them.  Instead Dabney gives us a man full of pain and loneliness, hating it, yet perhaps thinking that his time for something more has passed him by because of his age.  The sadness is overwhelming.  Then Gregory appears at Brawlers, helping to  celebrate Landon’s anniversary and a connection is made that changes everything.

Gregory is a complicated character (they all are here).  Explaining more about Gregory actually gives away too much of the the plot for my comfort, however, let’s just say trying to serve divorce papers to a husband isn’t always the easiest thing when the husband refuses to accept them.  This is a hurt/comfort story and deals with issues of domestic violence and control.

Bull’s situation (he’s divorced with a grown child he hasn’t seen in awhile) plus his age all determines the manner in which he views his actions towards Gregory and any possibility of a relationship.  Gregory’s own demons also need to be dealt with by Gregory himself and others.  Broken, bruised men are the heart of most of Dabney’s stories.  For most, life has made them hard and violent, but for some, it’s left it’s marks in other ways.

The relationship dynamics here make any romance unsure and slow as it should be.  I loved the struggle and the carefulness taken to ensure more pain wasn’t inflicted.   I like that there is an awareness of the age issue, it’s addressed, and they move forward. Was it a little rushed towards the end?  Perhaps, but the whole is darn near perfect.

I think Bull is one of my favorite Brawler books of the series.  Of course, I do love the whole series and the one that follows it.  I have them all listed below.  Check them all out and check them off as I review them.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover design by Winterheart Designs is perfect for Bull, how I love these covers.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 199 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC (first published 2017)
ASINB06Y2GHQPH
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBrawlers #3

  • Executioners – third series

A MelanieM Review: Psycho (Brawlers, #2) by J.M. Dabney

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

Life wasn’t easy when you were certifiable, Gerald “Psycho” Clemons lived on the fringes of society. Five years he hadn’t thought twice about riding with a group who saw most laws as flexible. When the leader of the group turned crazier than Psycho, he stepped in and made the man pay. He’d never been rewarded for his temper before, yet that’s what happened when he earned a permanent place and a job as a bouncer. Everyone walked a wide circle around him, and he liked it that way. One look from his cold black eyes and he had people backing up. Then he met a man who had to be crazier than him.

Decadence Bakery was Ben Morin’s dream come true, and he loved it, but he grew tired of his lonely existence. Six months earlier he’d turned on the open sign and hopefully changed his life for the better. Ben loved his small cottage in the middle of nowhere even with the 3 a.m. rumbling of motorcycles and loud music at the farm next door. Although one thing he didn’t love, was his new hobby of watching one of the terrifying men next door. What could a little harmless peek now and then hurt?

Sweet and older wasn’t his type, but Psycho couldn’t deny the need to possess the beautiful baker. It was stronger than even the insanity he barely kept at bay, could he have a man who looked passed it or would Ben run like all the rest?

J.M. Dabney’s explorations of the strange, sometimes twisted road to love between men who’ve been abused, hardened by life and their soulmates continues with Psycho.  The second story in the Brawler‘s series (see all connected series below), Psycho is employed at the Brawlers bar/club as one of their security men.  He does whatever it takes to keep the bar running smooth and it’s employees safe.  He’s also is one of those men barely under control at any given moment, only his boss Elijah, who seems to have ‘adopted’ him, easily brings Psycho back from the edge.

Dabney gives Psycho a profoundly disturbing, yet I suspect intentionally vague backhistory.  The author gives us just enough elements of Psycho’s background and upbringing if you can call it that to make one nauseous, letting the reader’s mind fill in the horrific blanks of how that could traumatize any child that survived it.  Yes, the name Psycho certainly fits the man.  It also makes his lack of socialization, verbal skills, and inability to recognize all the normal group/personal interactions and their subtleties understandable. It’s just all beyond him, and the rage that’s constantly with him is one consequence of that.

Here’s a brute whose actions and personality seem simple yet the truth is he’s anything but.  I loved that about this story (and series).  Dabney’s ability to create such brutalized, abused men, yet let us see beyond the surface into their backhistory into the trauma that made them, and the way in which they still find the person that accepts who they are,  despite their violence and still with the capacity for love.  Here Psycho’s man is Ben the baker.

Ben Morin isn’t quite the norm here.  Yes, he’s gotten out of a relationship and there will be some wonderful growth for him as a character, surprising growth.  Yet Ben, intelligent, accepting, loving Ben (with a little help), finds a new circle of friends and a home within the Brawlers circle and love, eventually, with Psycho.  There’s also an ex involved in a surprising thread here, but I won’t reveal who it is  and how it comes into play.  I was astonished myself how much I liked this aspect of the story.  And I admit I must have brushed over this when I came across it in the Executioners books.  Huh.  But watching these two get together is such a pleasure that sometimes I found myself just laughing out loud over the sheer joy and fun that was involved here.

Reading Psycho (Brawlers, #2) by J.M. Dabney was such a wild, wonderful experience!  I laughed so hard at places, wanted to cry over the abuse that made Psycho the man that he is, fanned myself a lot over the sexy scenes and was just so beyond happy at the HEA for all involved.  When it comes to a J.M. Dabney story, you get a village. By that I mean, all your beloved characters are going to make appearances, which is great by me.  I’m working myself backwards in the series but you don’t have to.  I’ve laid them all out for you below.  It certainly helps to know who everyone is because not only do they make appearances in each other’s stories and their relationships have matured (as they have) as the series advance.  The town of Powers, Georgia also undergoes a dramatic transformation from series one Twirled World Ink  to series three Executioners. So no, you really can’t call any of them standalones.  What I do call them is highly recommended.  Getting reading now!

Now onto Bull (Brawlers, #3), review coming soon.

Cover art by Winterheart Designs is terrific.  I just love the covers for this series, this one included.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 119 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC (first published 2017)
ASINB06XV7TLTX
Edition Language English
SeriesBrawlers #2 setting Georgia (United States)

  • Executioners – third series

A MelanieM Review: Ghost (Executioners #1) by JM Dabney

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Gideon Jane earned the name Ghost for his reclusive nature when he joined a group of guys in Powers, Georgia in a band called Executioners. It had been his way of settling into small town life after living in New York for the past twenty years. He loved the band and his small organic farm. What he didn’t love was being single, but it appeared it was his new reality. He didn’t want his ex back, although he did want something. What that was eluded him until the evening he walked into Nightingale’s Books.

Small town girl Harper Sage knew pain, and she’d lived with it—she had the scars both mental and physical to prove it. It would’ve been easier to hop in her car to find safety and anonymity, but Harper stayed to prove she was stronger than hurled fists and bruising prejudice. She found herself within the safety of a close-knit group of rough bikers and bar bouncers. That didn’t mean it was all perfect.

What’s a girl to do when she craves normalcy and acceptance: she just smiles. Choices are made, some with dire consequences and others that bring her closer to her dream. Will she make the right decision or finally discover escape is her best option?

Author Note: This book contains scenes of violence and descriptions of self-harm.

I was wavering about reading this story as I have a huge stack of books to read but something about that cover and synopsis reached out to me.  That and the fact that the times we live in has made it so important that people in the LGBTQIA spectrum be made to feel loved and normal and as part of society as everyone else. Ghost helps highlight the lives that many have been made to live as it has a main character who has been marginalized and abused for most of her life.

So I picked this up and dived into a world of pain, self abuse, recovery and love.  It’s a remarkable story, full of characters that have such staying power that I’m still mulling over how to write this review even now.  Told from Gideon’s (aka Ghost) and Harper’s perspective, an emotionally gripping, deeply moving story unfolds. From Harper, we see her pain, her self-harm, her journey from boy to woman and the trauma inflicted by others on her for that choice.  This story does contain graphic descriptions of violence as Harper chose to inflict harm on herself through bad choices in men, one horror of a man in particular.  The scenes are vivid and carry a huge emotional impact.  If this is a trigger for you be warned.  We are there inside Harper’s heart and mind, we feel how little she believes she deserves in life and how far to the ground her self esteem has fallen.  Prepare for your own heart to be as bruised and broken as Harper.

Then there’s Gideon Jane, known as Ghost because his presence around town is so fleeting.  He’s moved to this small town needing peace, quiet, friends and a new start after a long-term relationship destructed.  Gideon is beautiful and layered, moving solidly and quietly into Harper’s life like a balm, a wonderful large, perhaps chubby (his ex’s words) rock of a man.  He recognizes how wounded she is and how slowly he has to move, winning her trust inch by inch.  It’s done through communication and by actions, the reader falling in love with Gideon along with Harper.

J.M. Dabney has also chosen to have Harper not undergo gender reassignment surgery and Harper talks/muses about her emotional choice to live with body dysmorphic disorder and what it’s cost her.  Everything about this aspect of the story is handled realistically and with extreme sensitivity.  The scars that line Harper’s body are extensive.  How she views her body image and how that changes over the course of the story will bring tears to your eyes.

There is so many layers here.  The romance between Gideon and Harper is tender and slow moving as it should be.  There is the element of her abusive ex who is still around. Plus Dabney gives us a town of amazing characters whose stories we need to be told.  I hope that Joker’s story will be the second to arrive in this series.  As a character who pulled on my heart he was on a level with Harper with his angst and trauma filled past history.

The only reason Ghost did not reach a full 5 star rating is that I felt it wrapped up too quickly for everything that had gone on before. Had the author spread out the ending as she had the rest of the story, this novel would have reached perfection.  As it was it came amazingly close.

Ghost (Executioners #1) by JM Dabney is a deeply moving love story.  Its contemporary in it’s subject and timing.  But timeless in its message and beauty.  I highly recommend it but please heed the warnings.

Cover Design: Winterheart Design.  I love this cover.  It’s a perfect representation of Gideon and the story. Perfection!

Sales Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble PayHip | KOBO

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 157 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
ASINB073WH7WFJ
URL https://www.jmdabneyauthor.com/executioners
SeriesExecutioners #1 settingGeorgia (United States)