Focusing In On Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming by Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga (contest)

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Welcomes Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga

and their latest anthology,

Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming!

Rope, wolves, leather, vampires, demons, hats, bears.

Rodeo.

 

Kiernan Kelly, BA Tortuga, and Julia Talbot have combined their wild imaginations and talent to come up with the Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming Anthology.  It’s an irresistible combination of “rope, wolves, leather, vampires, demons, hats, bears”…and the rodeo!

When offered an interview, I grabbed at the chance to float some questions by these terrific authors.  My interview with them follows directly.

Today there’s a contest to enter, an excerpt to read and much more.    The link for the Raffecopter contest can be found here and at the bottom of today’s post.  Winner receives an eBook copy of Midnight Rodeo:Homecoming.  So don’t forget to enter to win.  As always you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Good luck and Happy Reading!

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Contest:  Rafflecopter Prize: E-Book of Midnight Rodeo.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Visit this link or the one at the bottom of the post to enter.

Book Title: Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming

Authors Name: Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga

 

 

A ScatteredThoughts Interview with Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga! 

 

 

STRW:  You all have been friends/SOs (congratulations to B.A. and Julia on their wedding) and co-authors for a long time. Has that affected each other’s writing styles, do you think?

  • Julia Talbot: Thank you! I think it definitely affects our writing. I mean, for one thing, we were all kinda pioneers in taking m/m from online chats and boards to mainstream fiction, so we set our own “house style” if you will. Then there’s the fact that we’ve all co-written and been critique partners for years. Bound to spill over some in each author’s work.
  • BA: Oh, lord yes. There isn’t a single thing that Julia has written that I haven’t read as she worked on it and vice versa. I get to see Kiernan stories chapter by chapter. We all listen to each other talk and visit together. We all share a part of the brain. 😀
  • KKelly: think our writing styles are naturally similar enough to blend nicely in an anthology, yet still remain distinct enough for a reader to recognize the author’s voice in each one.

STRW:   Which comes first? The anthology idea or similar stories you are all working on?

  • KKelly: I usually work on stories simultaneously, with preference given to whichever deadline is looming.
  • BA: I would say that the anthology idea almost always comes first. We go…Ooh! Shiny idea! And then we go… Oh, look. Look at this boy! 😉
  • Julia Talbot:  The anthology idea, generally. We get together at cons and someone says, what if there was this bar…

STRW:  Between the three of you, you all have written about a multitude of professions. Which is your favorite profession to assign a character and why?

  • BA: Well, I’m a cowboy fan, for sure. Rodeo cowboys, working cowboys, country western singers in Stetsons. Honestly, I love a blue-collar working man.
  • Julia Talbot:  Mine is pretty broad. Someone pointed out recently that I like uniforms. Military, cops, doctors, skinwalkers. I like the trappings of a false skin.
  • KKelly: That’s a good question. I like blue collar workers (I find something inherently sexy about a man who works with his hands), but I’ve written lots of white collar professions as well. My favorite (even if I’ve only done it in one story, Change of Heart, and its sequel, Change in Attitude) was to make a shifter a veterinarian. In Change of Heart, the shifter is hit by a truck while in wolf-form, and ends up in his own vet clinic. That was a great deal of fun to write.

STRW: BA, Bullriders or wolf shifters?  Do you have a favorite?  I have been waiting for a wolf shifter bull rider to arrive (although I am not sure that would work due to the predator prey nature) and it looks like I will get my wish along with other supernatural beings.  How did that come about?  Did it involve alcohol or a yarn binge?

  • BA (only):  Well, the funny thing is that the whole idea happened because I couldn’t decide between bullriders and werewolves. They tell you, as a writer, you have to pick a genre, and I was stressing it. Do I write cowboys or werewolves? Cowboys? Werewolves? Ack! Then I went…Oh.

OH!

PARANORMAL COWBOY BUTTS OMG.

And then I may have sparkled. 😉

STRW:   Historical fiction (westerns included) is among the hardest genres to write. Supernatural fiction probably the most fun. Do you each have a favorite type of story to write?

  • KKelly: I write in every genre, but I love to write paranormal romances because the usual laws of physics don’t necessarily apply. My particular favorite are shifters, although I tend to favor unusual creatures over the more familiar wolves. My “In Their Own Skins” trilogy features just about every type of animal-form I could think of – hawks, horses, bear, T-Rex, velociraptors… You just can’t do that in a contemporary romance. LOL
  • Julia Talbot:  I have a long love of historicals. They’re not hard to write for me as I love research. They are a harder sell, though, because they’re so much more subjective. What if someone really hates 16th century Spain? I also love paranormals, because I love the animal nature of shifters, the alien apex predator nature of a vampire.
  • BA: I love my westerns, modern and historicals, but it’s very very difficult for the paranormal elements not to creep in. I also adore writing horror. 😀

STRW:   Cowboys and rodeos are a real passion for many, including myself. Can you all explain why they act as a muse for your writing? Is there a particular bull rider on the circuit today you root for? Or even a bull for that matter?

  • KKelly: I was introduced to bullriding back when I wrote “Riding Heartbreak Road.” I knew next to nothing about the rodeo, but I had this image in my head of a hunky cowboy wearing nothing but his hat and chaps. I knew if I wanted to write the scene, I needed to do research about the rodeo, and since I liked the idea of cowboys trying to stay on the back of a two-thousand pound monster for a mere eight seconds, I narrowed my research to bullriding. I began by watching PBR (Professional Bull Riding) on television, and became so involved in the sport that I began to go to local PBR events. I’ve always been a fan of Guilherme Marchi and Mike Lee, and little Gage Gay is just so darn adorable, I’d like to pick him up and carry him around in my pocket.
  • Julia Talbot:  Oh, my grandpa was a cowboy, and to some extent so was my mom. I married into a family of them. I tend to root for the Brazilian bullriders now, but my all-time favorites are Chris Shivers and Mike White.
  • BA: I grew up with cowboys – my daddy’s a cowboy, my brothers are cowboys. Those are the people I know and love. I can’t imagine choosing another muse. I am totally old school, and currently I’m rooting for the Brazilians in the PBR. Guilherme Marchi makes me fluttery. Will Lowe is my favorite PRCA rider. My all time favorite cowboy is Ty Murray. No, Jim Shoulders. Wait…

STRW: (for BA) I find the older bullriders/bronc riders especially poignant.  It’s such a young man or woman’s sport.  I know and love BA’s Rough Stock series that has some retired cowboys.  But any plans for a story or series about the bull riders or rodeo riders who are forced to retire or leave that lifestyle behind?

  • BA: I actually do have a series in the works called Out to Pasture featuring the ‘old guys’ – old guys in Roughstock are, what? 25? 😉

STRW:  . The PBR and Gay Rodeo circuits…any overlap that you see these days? Has the PBR gotten any more LGBTQ friendly? Or is your writing a way to bring that element to the mainstream?

  • KKelly: I’m not sure if the doors are open yet on the PBR circuit. You don’t hear about gay riders. They’re probably there, but they keep it on the down-low. I’m afraid the PBR isn’t the most open operation, and definitely not as welcoming to everyone as the IGRA (International Gay Rodeo Association). I think the PBR is still very much a “good ol’ boys” network.
  • Julia Talbot:  I wouldn’t be able to speak for any organizations with any certainty. My writing of cowboys in particular is a fantasy of how I would love people to react to all things LGBTQ.
  • BA: All I’ll say on that subject is that, once Julia and I came out the closet, our attendance has gone from 10-12 events a year to maybe 1 a year. I write a fantasy world wherein love is accepted.

STRW:   Vampires or werewolves? Do you all have a favorite and why?

  • Julia Talbot:  Werewolves. I mean, I am a vamp fan since Dracula at 11, and later, Anne Rice and Poppy Z Brite. But I adore writing werebeasts and exploring how their animal side makes them react to human situations.
  • KKelly: Again, I’ve written both, but I do favor werewolves over vampires.  I think there are many reasons for my preference – I’m an animal lover (no, not in THAT way, thank you very much), so the wolves play into that. I like that wolves mate for life, and I enjoy exploring the pack mentality. Wolves are affectionate with each other, strong, agile, and noble creatures. Vampires…yeah, not so much. Vampires are by nature solitary, decadent creatures, usually interested solely in their own survival. Plus, with vampires, unless their love interest is also a vamp, you need to worry about the whole immortality-watching-your-love-age-and-die thing. Werewolves need to worry about three things: the full moon, silver bullets, and wolfsbane. That’s about it. Vampires, on the other hand, need to watch out for garlic, crosses, running water, sunlight, holy water, crucifixes, wooden stakes, etc. In other words, vampires are high maintenance.
  • BA: Werewolves. I mean, I love vamps, but werewolves!!! 😀 I love animals and the whole concept of pack structure and being driven by instinct makes me incredibly happy.

STRW:  Next projects up for each of you?

  • Julia Talbot:  A menage novella called Georgia Knights out in September from TQ. I have the third Elemental Ops book with Changeling Press out in August and a long novella contemporary out in January or February with Dreamspinner. Find all the things at my website, http://www.juliatalbot.com
  • BA: I am working on a m/m contemporary about kids and cowboys tentatively titled “Ever the Same”, Brazilian bullriders, the next story for the Cereus universe, and a contemporary m/m about a redneck musician and his bodyguard. I’m also finishing up a f/f YA novel currently titled, “Stealing Bases”.
  • KKelly: I’m currently working on an m/m YA titled “Mad About the Hatter,” a short story for the next book in the “Butt” series, Butt Babes in Boyland, which I’ve tentatively titled, “Elf Esteem,” and an m/m novel about a vampire (I know, I know – high maintenance) and an angel/vampire hybrid titled “Riding Lucifer.”

 STRW:  That was a butt load of questions and the answers from all three of you were wonderful.  Thank you so much for taking the time to spend a little  time here with us today!

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Author Bios:

  • BA Tortuga:

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has answered the call of the high desert mountains. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Links:
Website: http://www.batortuga.com
Twitter: @batortuga

  • Kiernan Kelly:

Kiernan Kelly lives in the wilds of the alligator-infested U.S. Southeast, slathered in SPF 45, drinking colorful tropical, hi-octane concoctions served by thong-clad cabana boys.

All right, the truth is that she spends her time locked in the dark recesses of her office, writing gay erotic romance while chained to a temperamental laptop, drinking coffee, and dreaming of thong-clad cabana boys.

Sigh.

To date, Kiernan has over a dozen novels in print and ebook, and a plethora of short stories in both formats.

Links:
Website 
Email:  KiernanKelly@KiernanKelly.com
Facebook

 

  • Julia Talbot:

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Torquere Press, Ellora’s Cave, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved.

Find Julia at:
Twitter  at @juliatalbot
Website  
Facebook

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Midnight Rodeo Homecoming coverMidnight Rodeo: Homecoming
Authors: Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga

Cover Artist: Anne Squires
Publisher: Torquere Press

Buy Links:    Torquere Press

Blurb(s):

What happens when rodeos start to get too tough for humans to compete in? Midnight Rodeo, of course, where supernatural creatures like shifters and vampires work for the prize money, and for the awe of their audience.

In Welcome to the Pack by BA Tortuga, when head bullfighter Denton is killed by a demon bull, his twin, Denver, comes back to take his place. Denver was gone for years, working mundane rodeos and missing his twin. He’s not sure the pack can heal him since the other bullfighters challenge Denver at every turn. All except Blaine, who’s an outcast himself, and who knows Denver is like no one he’s ever met.

In Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly, psychic Blaze scouts locations for the rodeo company, Darque and Knight, where he finds another psychic talent, Zack, who’s hot as the Fourth of July. Zack is complicated, though, thanks to his sidekick, Mikey, a damaged kid. Blaze invites the pair back to the rodeo, but not everyone is as happy as Blaze to have them there.

In Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot, bear shifter Ben is returning to the rodeo after a long injury recovery. Big bear shifter Ozzie is the barrel man and clown, and he’s been waiting for Ben to come back to the big show. But is Ben ready to ride again, let alone be the lover Ozzie is ready to take on?

Excerpt:

Denver was– wow.

Denton had been stunning, making Blaine stare a lot. A lot. Still, Dent had been off-limits, and he’d bet Denver was, too. No one could be that hot and be like Blaine.

He was the weird one, the one brought into the pack by a she-wolf who had already had a single pup. Blaine figured he was lucky no one had killed him when he was a kid.

Everyone else was broad and wide, shaggy headed with eyes like green glass. All of them came from the same line. Denver was the spitting image of Denton, really. A little harder around the edges, a little more wild. A shit ton more bruised.

The guys had been taking turns. Two a night, just like clockwork, they’d come and challenge Denver. One at midnight, one at three a.m. Greg and Vince went, then Carter and Caul, and finally Hank and Mike. Boom.

He supposed Denver was waiting for him, now. Blaine sighed. He had no intention of trying to take the pack. God, the very idea made his head hurt.
The real question was, were they going to just start over, or was Denver going to get a night off, a chance to sleep before they settled in town for tonight’s show?

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Tour Dates/Stops: 7/28 – 8/22

 

BadgeMR Homecoming Rev
7/28: Prism Book Alliance
7/29: Parker Williams
7/30: Up All Night, Read All Day
7/31: Amanda C. Stone
8/1: LeAnn’s Book Reviews
8/4: Love Bytes
8/5: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Jade Crystal
8/6: The Hat Party
8/7: Night Owl Reviews, Because Two Men Are Better Than One
8/8: The Novel Approach
8/11: Decadent Delights
8/12: Wake Up Your Wild Side
8/13: Tara Lain
8/14: MM Good Book Reviews, Emotion in Motion
8/15: Iyana Jenna, Rainbow Gold Reviews
8/18: Fallen Angel Reviews, Velvet Panic
8/19: Hearts on Fire
8/20: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Dawn’s Reading Nook
8/21: Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Kimi-Chan
8/22: My Fiction Nook, Smoocher’s Voice
Contest:   Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter Prize: E-Book of Midnight Rodeo

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A MelanieM Review: Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming by Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot, B.A.Tortuga

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Midnight Rodeo Homecoming coverDoes just the thoughts of a rodeo fill you with anticipation of fun, knuckle cracking suspense and danger?  And good looking cowboys too?  What happens when you take all that and add in demons, vampires,  weres of all types, and a ghost or two?  The answer to the last question is Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming ,a collection of three stories by authors Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga.

The Darque and Knight Rodeo is famous for its wild bulls, great bull riders ,over the top bullfighters and much, much more.  If only the humans who came to watch knew who and what were really behind the gates and stands when this rodeo came to town.  Three stories look into the lives and loves of the Darque and Knight Rodeo. This rodeo is run and employees nothing but Supes as the Supernatural are known, in search of a home, love and a family.

Those stories are Welcome to the Pack by BA Tortuga, Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly, and Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot. Don’t miss out on a single one!

This book checked all the boxes for me.  It’s got the rodeo and cowboys (as such), it’s got  weres (both cat, wolf, and more), vampires, demons, and paranormals…all on the search for love, home, and a family.  It’s also by Kiernan Kelly, BA Tortuga, and Julia Talbot, a trio of authors who always manage to bring it home with their stories and viewpoints.  All three stories are centered around the Darque and Knight Rodeo (love that play on words).

I’ll be taking a look at each story as they appear in the book.  First up? A werewolf homecoming of sorts in “Welcome to the Pack”.

“Welcome to the Pack” by BA Tortuga – 4.75 stars

Bullfighter Denver returns home when his twin brother and pack Alpha, Denton, is killed by a bull at The Darque and Knight Rodeo.  Denver left the pack when it was decided that Denton would be the Alpha and now Denver is returning to reclaim the role and get the pack in order.  It’s been decades since Denver has been back and the pack isn’t all that happy to see him. Denver must fight for the right to be Alpha and try to heal the hole caused by the loss of his brother.  Only another outcast, Blaine, seems to be in his corner.  A necessary support to have when all the bulls they fight are possessed by demons!

My favorite story of the three but not by much.  The universe building here is superb.  I can’t get enough of this rodeo and all the beings that make up this rodeo!  This is a tale of two brothers, really.  One has died by the beginning of the story but Denton’s presence is felt throughout as Denver greatly misses him and is often compared to his brother.  Denver has been working the “mundane” rodeo circuit as humans are called and now returns to his former pack in disarray.  They’ve gotten sloppy, mean, and not exactly welcoming to Denver.  As Denver fights his way back into the pack, he finds a mate and a home.  Along the way the readers finds out such details as there is a caged demon inside of each bull.  I’m sure that many cowboys would find this entirely plausible! The cat shifters, a pride, that runs the cafeteria, food stands, and give massages to those they care for.  I would love a story about that Pride and its members.

Blaine, an outsider by way of his unusual birth and size, is a wonderful character.  I adored him and his relationship with Denver.  This is the longest story of the three and could easily have been its own book.  And series.  Plus there is a Russian tiger shifter, Dimitri, in need of a mate.  I need that story as badly as he does his HEA!  I wonder if BA Tortuga takes bribes?

Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly – 5 stars

Blaze Morgan  looks like a mundane but he’s not.  Instead Blaze has a hidden psychic talent that allows him to scout out the locations in small towns along the rodeo circuit where Darque and Knight can set up for a while.  Blaze supplies patches when holes appear in the magic wards that kept their real identities masked and the magical nature of their rodeo hidden from the mundanes that buy the tickets at each stop. Blaze even has a talent for mind control but that only applies to the humans he meets and not any Supes he comes into contact with.  That proves to be a problem when Blaze finds a homeless pair hiding out on the deserted farm where Darque and Knight are getting ready to set up for a run.

Zack and 10 year old human Mikey have been using the farm as their home for a while and Blaze’s appearance shattered the temporary home they have made together.  Telekinetic Zack saved Mikey from abusive kidnapper, and the farm has served them both as a place for Mikey to try and heal and a  haven for Zack.  Blaze invites them to join the rodeo as they can always use another psychic but not everyone is happy to have a human child around.

This story got me too.  Loved poor damaged Mikey and his relationship with Zack.  Zack, Blaze and Mikey make a wonderful family but not everyone is happy to have them there.   Kelly builds the suspense and anguish skillfully as she does the love and bonding between the two men and the wounded child.  As it all comes to an explosive ending, the reader is fully engaged and ready to do battle along side Zack, and Blaze to keep their family safe and together.

Loved this story too as so many other types of beings appear here to deepen the universe all three authors are building.  Vampire Cody and Demon Philip own and run Darque and Knight, dragons are used as barrel racers and a single burp can set the tents on fire.  Cheetah shifters and wolf shifters and so many others are bull riders, barrel racers, and more.  There is even a Grand Wizard Dermid who sets the spells that enchant the rodeo to keep it safe. It just keeps getting more fascinating the more you know about it.

Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot – 4.5 stars

Grizzly bear shifter Ozzie is the barrel man and clown for Darque and Knight Rodeo. Little Black Bear shifter, Ben, trains and supplies the best rodeo horses while managing on being the worst bulldogger. And Ben has the biggest crush of Ozzie but Ozzie thinks Ben’s too young and inexperienced. Then Ben is badly hurt and sent home to recover. When Ben comes back, Ozzie is surprised how much he has missed the little bear. But there’s something different about Ben, something he’s hiding and Ozzie is determined to get to the truth and let the little bear know how much he cares.

Of course, the barrel man and clown is a Grizzly shifter! How perfect!  And Julia Talbot gets the feel of a bear in human form just right as they lumber along with their love of honey, fruits, and finally each other.  The author brings the natural history of bears into her story in subtle but genuine  ways and it just elevates this story up another notch.  Ben’s injury almost killed him and the ensuing trauma has had enormous side effects, as it should.   Ben’s gentleness and forlorn demeanor plays off beautifully against the jovial good nature and confidence of Ozzie.  They are made for each other and Julia Talbot’s lovely story charts the  path of their romance  from start to finish.  More please, much, much more!

I really adored Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming.  I can only hope that this book is a precursor of more stories to come.  Darque and Knight Rodeo is full of amazing beings, each with their own stories to tell.  How did Philip and Cody get together? A demon and a vamp?  What about Dimitri and the Pride of cat shifters?  Plus there is Denver’s triplet brothers to get in trouble and surely other paranormals that could use a job at a rodeo?  I can think of character after character with a story that needs telling and these three authors are just the ones to do it.

I highly recommend Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming.  Its fun, lively, engrossing….just a great read.  Pick it up and become involved in the lives of the supernatural and paranormal as they find their way to HEA and a home.  You will be happy you did.

Sales Links:  Torquere Press           All Romance eBooks (ARe)              Amazon                    Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming

Cover by Anne Squires.  Love this cover.  I only wish there had been a bit of a supernatural air about it, maybe claws on the hand or something.

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Published July 16th 2014 by Torquere Press
ISBN 1610407776 (ISBN13: 9781610407779)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=4220

Review: Home for the Hollandaise by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Home for the Hollandaise coverJack Shields has returned home for the holidays to the town he hates.  His dad is suffering from Alzheimer’s, his mother needs him and his cooking to make things  bearable, at least for Christmas.  The town Jack grew up in is full of bad memories, especially for a gay boy in Texas, including the cheating boyfriend he loved , left behind after a knockdown fight and has still never forgotten.

Kent Thibault has just returned to the town where he grew up in order to spend the holidays with his mother.  Now a musician, Kent has nothing but bad memories of this small Texas town, including the fact that it was where he lost the boy he grew up with and loved.  One night, one horrible misunderstanding, one fight and now 10 years later, Kent still thinks about Jack, the one that got away.

Now both have returned to town for the holidays and family.  A chance meeting at the local grocery brings up old memories, bad and good and reignites all the old feelings.  When two former lovers still very much in love meet again, is it too much for them to hope that a future together is still possible?

From the title to the characters within, I loved Home for the Hollandaise by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga.  A Torquere Holiday short story, it brings up all the best and the worst of  Christmas with the family, especially families breaking apart under stress and illness.  For 49 pages, the reader is brought into the lives of Jack, his family and his former boyfriend, Kent.  Jack is home under the worst conditions as his father has Alzheimer’s and is only intermittently aware of who Jack is.  What Jack’s father does remember is Jack’s cooking.  Jack is a mini-celebrity chef in Austin and his food is a path back to his father.

I found this element, the relationship of Jack with his father and the scene as they connect over food, possibly for the last time, incredibly touching and real.  Its that touch of authenticity and warmth that illuminates the depth of family love over familial discord and brings pathos to the holidays as well as joy.

The characters here from Jack’s mother shaking under the stress and pain of the situation, Kent staying in the trailer his Mom has stashed in the backyard as a rental, and the old football bully from high school, all are created with a deft hand and painted with the realism and knowledge of small town Texas life.  I just loved this story and only wish that I could have lingered a tiny bit more with the men back in Austin, trying for that future once again that they thought they had lost.

Cover illustration by A Squires is ok, but with such a great title, wouldn’t you think hollandaise would be on the table as well?

Book Details:

, ebook, 49 pages
Published December 11th 2013 by Torquere Press

The Eternal Optimism of Dogs and the Week in Reviews

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Winter trees longs

It snowed on Friday.  Only 3 inches or so but the first accumulated snow we have had here in over 2 years.  And Winston is not happy about it. Not happy at all.  Now Kirby is in snow heaven.  Like the good Irish dog he is, the cold and snow just rolls off him.  Even now he is bounding around the back yard communing with nature, racing the squirrels along the fence and in general, just having a blast.  Willow is asleep.  And Winston?  Well, he is gazing longingly out the front window in hopes that the weather there is dramatically better than the one outside the back door.

He reminds me of that quote from Robert A. Heinlein’s wife, Virginia, that inspired his novel The Door into Summer. Virginia remarked when their cat refused to leave the house: “he’s looking for a door into summer.”  That’s Winston.  Going from one door to the next, eternally optimistic that he will find that the door opens into summer, or spring, or fall, anything but a season thatWinter_2 contains snow or ice.  We head out the backdoor into the snow, Willow and Kirby marching resolutely ahead.  Only Winston stops at the door, peering out, dubious at the thought of putting paw to the cold snowy ground.  Eventually he goes out, does his business and quickly returns to the warmth of home after venturing out perhaps 5 ft in all.  Willow returns next, and then we all gather at the door to watch as Kirby runs and gambols around, only returning with a sigh when I call him in.

Then and only then does Winston begin to bounce.  He twirls, he whirls, he grabs his leash and heads to the front door where surely it is sunny, warm and green.   Several times I have accommodated him.  I hook up his leash, grab my hat, gloves, scarf and coat (and his sweater) and we head out the door.  And every time Winston freezes as he looks out upon the snow and ice.  We get no further than the driveway. The disbelief and disgust is written on his upturned face as he looks back at me.  The little balloon above his head so clearly stating “really? here too?” And without me saying a word he pulls me back to the front door and the warmth he knows is inside.

So here we sit, all four.  For myself, I think the snow is beautiful and fleeting, it is Maryland these days after all.  Kirby is waiting for his next adventure in the backyard where the foxes and squirrels await.  Willow is asleep behind me, content in her red sweater. And Winston?  Well, he is watchful and waiting too.  For the grass to be green, the bunnies appear along with the bees and the warmth of his favorite seasons.  I love that optimism.  For Winston a change in the weather is only a door away.  No matter how many times it proves otherwise, the promise of Summer remains just on the other side of the door.

Always hopeful.  Not a bad way to live at all.

Here is this week’s reviews.  There are holiday stories, a wicca story, a humorous tale of romance and a fantasy book from Megan Derr you won’t want to miss.  Truly something for everyone.

Monday, Jan. 6:              Home for the Hollandaise by BA Tortuga,Julia Talbot

Tuesday, Jan. 7               Texas Christmas by RJ Scott

Wed., Jan. 8:                   A Small Miracle Happened by Mari Donne

Thursday, Jan. 9:          Sparks & Drops by Susan Laine

Friday, Jan. 10:              Serenading Stanley by John Inman

Saturday, Jan. 11:          The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr