In the Spotlight: Charley Descoteaux ‘Torque’ (character interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Torque by Charley Descoteaux
Release Date: February 23, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Charley Descoteaux author of Torque! Hi Charley, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about your current book.

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Torque is a Romance featuring a bisexual man, a man on the ace spectrum, and a trans woman with no plans to transition surgically. Most of it takes place in a working wrecking yard, so no glitz or glamor, but a lot of angst. Thank you for inviting me to visit, I’m thrilled to be here! Instead of hogging the spotlight, I’m turning it over to Mick, the main character of my novella, Torque.

  • What do you find attractive in a man?

Mick: Confidence. I like that in women too. 😉

  • The first thing that went through your head when you saw Scotty Bell.

Mick: How much trouble I was in. Same with Mercy. Both of them turned my crank in ways I never expected and didn’t think I’d be able to resist.

  • Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?

Mick: I don’t know. It was hard enough making it through the one story, not sure I’m up for being tortured like that again. I already have more than I ever thought to want, so I’ll probably let her move on and drag another poor sucker through the mud and the grease instead of calling attention to myself again.

  • Before you met Scotty, what was your ideal man?

Mick: Before I met Scotty I didn’t think there was such a thing as an ideal man. I also thought it didn’t matter—I’d never have a man anyway, so what good would it do to think about what kind I wanted?

  • You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?

Mick: One I didn’t cook! Ask Scotty, I can’t cook for shit, even with instructions right on the box. Seriously, though, I love Mexican food and could live on burritos. And pizza.

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Blurb

Sometimes letting things get complicated is the best way to figure it all out.

Mick Randall is on the run, from the biker culture he grew up in and his impossible vision of love. Alaska should be far enough to escape his old life—until he rolls into a wrecking yard and gets lost in a pair of pale, bottle-green eyes.

Scotty Bell has spent years learning to channel his fiery temper into the heat of a welding torch. His sexual heat has always been slower to ignite, but one look at Mick rouses confusion alongside desire. In all his life, he’s only been attracted to one other person—his best friend, Mercy Taylor.

Mick lands a temporary job at the yard, and finds an uneasy crash pad at Scotty’s place…where the ragged ends of his emotions get tangled up in Scotty and Mercy’s relationship.

But when Mick hears a Harley engine from his past bearing down on him, his first instinct is to go back to the half-life he’d been living. Lest his secrets destroy the only two people who’ve ever made him feel whole.

Warning: Contains references to abuse, subversive ideas about sexual identity and gender expression, and a free-range bisexual on a mission.

 

Pages or Words: 47,337 words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Ménage/Poly, Romance, *Trans, Asexual, LGBTQ+ Fiction

Excerpt

Copyright © 2016 Charley Descoteaux
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Mick slept on the couch for two weeks before Scott let him get dinner. Mick brought a pizza, hot wings and a six-pack. When he offered Scott a beer, Mick thought for a second he was about to get decked.

“No thanks, I don’t drink. But you go ahead.”

Mick put five bottles in the fridge and popped the top on the sixth. The long pull of rich beer felt like cool water after he’d been walking for weeks in the desert.

“Never?”

“Nope. I got enough of that before I was even born, I don’t need any more.”

It only took half a beer for Mick to get past the uncomfortable feeling he should’ve asked Scott to tell him more, or that he should’ve switched to Mountain Dew. Scott rented an On Demand movie, something forgettable with vampires, and they sat in their places on the couch and divided their attention between the movie and the pizza for the next two hours. Tom camped out in his usual spot between their thighs, graciously accepting all the chicken and pepperoni tributes offered to him.

After the movie was over they watched another one on HBO, but didn’t pay much attention to it. Mick had a nice buzz going and was happy to sit back and listen to Scott talk about his project—the VW Microbus he was converting into a flatbed. A warm, fuzzy feeling Mick almost didn’t recognize as happiness set up camp in his gut, and life was good.

He thought, more than once or twice, that Scott leaned toward him in a way that was a little more than friendly, but it had to be the beer.

Too bad.

Mick jerked in surprise when he realized he’d started to lean toward Scott. He had no right to be “more than friendly” to Scott. None at all.

Scott reached out to grasp his shoulder. “You okay, Mick?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Are you ready for bed?” Scott kneaded his shoulder, sending a current through his body.

“The movie isn’t over.”

“It’s not very good. If you don’t want to finish it, that’s okay with me.” Scott smiled and sat back against the couch, releasing Mick’s shoulder.

He couldn’t help himself, he leaned forward. Only a little bit. He didn’t want to lose Scott’s touch. In that moment, he couldn’t think of anything more important than Scott touching him, not even self-preservation.

Mick Randall wasn’t a stranger to self-medicating with alcohol but before he found Bell’s he hadn’t had a lot of money to spare, and lately he hadn’t had the time. Together, those circumstances had turned him into a lightweight. That had to be the explanation for why he saw a come-on in every glance and heard innuendo where surely Scott didn’t mean any. He’d have to be a lightweight to want so badly to respond to Scott’s touch with an embrace.

Maybe I should quit drinking.

Mick wasn’t capable of walking in a straight line by the time he hit the can, but it didn’t matter. Four beers was plenty and he’d take the other two out of Scott’s fridge the next day and remember not to bring more. If he wanted a drink, he wouldn’t have to drive far. When he left the bathroom his thoughts centered on that warm, happy feeling, and what he could get up to the next day. Before he knew what was happening, Scott had him backed against the wall, both hands spread across his chest.

All that fuzzy warm happiness disappeared, replaced by a tiny shiver of panic mixed with a side of relief. The relief tangled with a mix of “fucking finally” and “what the fuck” that made Mick dizzy. Or maybe that’s just the beer.

“Scott. Maybe I should sleep somewhere else tonight.”

“Yeah. Like in my bed with me.”

“I was thinking like my car, or a motel.”

Scott frowned and pushed him back against the wall harder, caressing his chest and shoulders as he did. The contrast of the unyielding wall against his shoulder blades and the man in front of him spun Mick’s head around once. “You don’t feel anything like Mercy. I knew you wouldn’t.”

“Don’t you think Mercy would—”

“She wouldn’t care. I’m not the only one she fools around with.” Scott leaned against him, chest to chest, close enough to kiss.

“Let me go.” Mick took hold of Scott’s shoulders and tried to push him back, but Scott was stronger than he looked.

“No. I don’t want to.”

“What am I supposed to do now?” Mick couldn’t see a clear path to the door. Panic reared up in the back of his mind—he had no game plan for this, no idea what his part should be.

“You can let me blow you. Or you can blow me. I don’t care who goes first. You want me, don’t you?”

Mick tried to speak but couldn’t. He couldn’t get a decent breath either, not with Scott’s hands on him. He nodded and tried to pull himself together.

“Haven’t you ever hooked up before?”

“Yeah.” Liar.

“Well, so have I. I’m not a little kid. You don’t have to—”

“I know you’re not.” Mick squeezed Scott’s shoulders, anxious to learn how his skin felt over those hard muscles, how those muscles looked when he moved. “I know.”

“So why—”

“I’ve hooked up before.”

“So why not with me?”

“Because it’s different with you. I mean, it would be— I can’t…”

“You think I’m an idiot? Too dumb to know what to—”

“No! No. That has nothing to do—” Mick saw something in Scott’s eyes that made the rest of that sentence turn to dust in his throat. He swallowed hard and was about to—no idea what he was about to do, but he couldn’t stand there forever—when he saw something else that stopped him. “You’re shaking.”

“Yeah.” Scott’s voice had a hard edge so when he surged forward, his erection pressing against Mick’s thigh, it was unexpected.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m trying to keep from punching you in the face.”

“Why do you want to punch me in the face?”

“Because you’re pushing me away. I thought you liked me.”

“I do like you. But—”

“Don’t say it’s not right. I’m dumb but I’m not—”

“I didn’t say you were dumb. You’re not dumb.” Mick could barely speak past his desire, so his last few words came out as breathless as he felt. He’d started panting and the sound filled the short hallway. “Please don’t punch me in the face.”

Scott frowned, but fear and pain was mixed up with the anger and desire showing in his light bottle-green eyes. Mick felt it all right along with him.

“Maybe I should go.”

When Scott didn’t respond Mick slid against the wall, sideways. In just a few steps, Mick wasn’t supporting all of Scott’s weight anymore, didn’t feel his tense muscles or his heat. Mick gingerly pushed off from the wall and walked backward, toward the living room.

“You don’t have to.”

“I think I do.” Mick sat on the sofa to pull on his boots and Scott dropped onto the cushion beside him. Mick straightened, one boot on and one off, and Scott grabbed him and kissed him.

Buy the book: SamhainAmazon USAll Romance eBooks

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Meet the Author

Charley Descoteaux misspent a large chunk of her youth on the back of a Harley, meeting people and having adventures that sometimes pop up in her fiction. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. Charley has survived earthquakes, tornadoes and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

23-Feb

Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Book Lovers 4Ever, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Posy Roberts

1-Mar

The Novel Approach, Velvet Panic, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Hearts on Fire

8-Mar

Louise Lyons, Foxylutely Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, the Twins: Talon ps & Princess so, Inked Rainbow Reads

15-Mar

Full Moon Dreaming, Elin Gregory, Alpha Book Club, Bayou Book Junkie

22-Mar

Butterfly-O-Meter, Kirsty Loves Books, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Unquietly Me

29-Mar

Jessie G. Books, QUEERcentric Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Love Bytes

5-Apr

Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Divine Magazine, Prism Book Alliance, Molly Lolly

12-Apr

Nephy Hart, Happily Ever Chapter, MM Good Book Reviews

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Amazon gift card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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A MelanieM Review: Roughstock: Blind Ride – Season One by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Blind Ride cover 2Jason Scott is at the top of the field in his career, that of professional bull riding.  Jason, along with his traveling partner and best friend, Andy Baxter, are riding the circuit, both hoping to finish at the top of the boards and win enough money to see each of them set for life.  Jason and Bax have been dancing around the fact that they are crazy about each other.  Each is afraid of losing his best friend if they admit how much they actually love each other. It will take something huge to make a change in their relationship.

Being a professional bullrider is a dangerous game and in one horrible instant everything changes for both Jason and Bax.  When a ride on one of the top bulls goes wrong, an injury to Jason’s head causes him to go blind. Reeling, Jason and Bax retreat to Jason’s family ranch to recover and wonder what’s next for them both.  For Jason, it appears his life is over and he has nothing to live  for.  Bax is determined to prove him wrong, both personally and professionally.

Bax thinks Jason can ride the bulls even blind.  But it will take Bax, his love and their small circle of friends to prove to Jason that even blind bullriders have their life and love ahead of them.

I have a huge fondness for both the Roughstock series and its author, BA Tortuga.  So it pains me when I have to report that this story, while having so many of the great qualities I have come to expect from this series, is guaranteed to frustrate the reader to the point that it is hard to recommend it. First let’s look at the merits of this story.

The characters are wonderful.  Jason “Mini” Scott and Andy “Bax” Baxter are typical of the cowboys you will find in the stories of B.A. Tortuga.  Their personalities are so authentic to the bull riding circuit and the locale that I would also expect to run into them at any PBR event.  They become so real that they feel like a part of your family.  And it is this intimacy that connects the reader to them and their futures.  You feel the dust that coats them as they pick themselves up off the arena floor and the pain their profession inflicts upon their bodies.  They are just so realistic that you hurt for them.  And Tortuga is one of the best authors around when it comes to dialog.  The words that issue out of the mouths of her cowboys ring with authentic local flavor and colloquialisms.  And it does so without being hokey or off sounding.  Here they are heading down the road to get supper:

Bax threw his duffel back, too, sliding into the driver’s side. “So, where to? I figure that one little place where you circle your order will be closed.” “There’s that one place by the highway — about twenty minutes out. It’s nothing but old ranchers taking their women out. Nice T-bones.” And he always got tickled by those tables with the ads printed on them. Reminded him of going to auction with Pa-paw.

“That works.” The big dualie slid right into traffic like an elephant into a herd of zebras, Bax muscling them right in.

They scooted down 35, radio blaring. He found a pack of smokes in the console and lit one for Bax, then got himself one. Three days of rest, then Tulsa.

“You think we ought to try and hit home ‘fore Tulsa?” It was kinda eerie sometimes, the way Bax read his mind. Then again, they’d been on the road together for nigh on six years.

“We can. Momma’d like to see us. ‘Course, we could go on to the city. Goof off. Depends on how much you want Momma’s pineapple upside down cake.”

“Oh, I’d rather go see your momma.” That man did have a sweet tooth. Pineapple upside down was Bax’s very favorite.

“Cool. I’ll call her. Let her know we’ll be in.” He took a deep drag, grinned. Lord, lord. “I hope your knee’s up to riding fence.”

“Shit, you know it. Just don’t ask me to walk fence.” Wheeling around a little Honda, Bax started humming with George on the radio, off tune as anything. “Nah. You wouldn’t be worth shit in Tulsa, then.”

They both hooted, and Jason leaned back, easy in his bones. Man, event win number three. Check in his pocket. Him and Bax heading for steak.

Life, she was good.

Of course, we know it’s all going to change and soon.  But in that short exchange we see the ease and contentment of Jason and Bax’s relationship.  It sings of a friendship long established and perhaps much more.

And once they fess up and go for a full romantic relationship, it is still in keeping with their cowboy ways and personalities.  No flowers here.

 It was like a good ride, all motion and want and spinning. He tried to warn Bax, tried to let the man know he was gonna be way quick off the mark, but it wasn’t happening. And it didn’t seem to matter one bit. Bax was pushing him on, making these amazing noises, just as hot for him as the Fourth of July.

Their relationship is hot, sexy, and emotionally deep.  How we fall for them.

Pretty much everything works here for much of the story.  The narrative suffers a bit from almost too much sex.  We want more of Jason coming to grips with his blindness.  And we want to see exactly how Jason, with Bax and Coke’s help, will learn to ride again.  At one point, even Bax remarks that he and Jason have sex instead of talking.  OK, but as a reader, while I love the hot sex, I want more of the relationship that produces it.

After all I have been through with Jason and Bax, feeling side by side with them on their emotional rollercoaster, I want and deserve to have the emotional payoff I expect at the end of the story.  And that is exactly what’s missing.  No “aha” moment, no ending.  Nothing.  It just stops prior to Jason ever getting back up on a bull, even one on his friend’s ranch.  The emotional reward, the moment everything has been building up to never happens. Frustrating? You betcha.  And totally unexpected from this seasoned author.  And it is this aspect that dragged the rating down to a 3 star rating.

So who should read this book?  Well, hard core fans of B.A. Tortuga for one as well as fans of the Roughstock series.  Coke, AJ, Bax and Jason are the core characters of the Roughstock series so its good to have this part of the story.  But that lack of ending just makes me want to grab a beer and go watch some PBR instead of continuing to bemoan what could have been an outstanding book.

Cover art by Posh Gosh.  I like this cover, it feels more representative of the story and characters.  Terrific job.

Sales Links:  Pride Publications |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, Pride Publications (a LGBT imprint of Totally Bound, now Totally Entwined)
Published July 7th 2015 by Totally Bound Publishing (first published January 1st 2007)
original titleRoughstock: Blind Ride – Season One
ISBN139781784306397
edition languageEnglish
seriesRoughstock #1
charactersJason Scott, Andy Baxter settingUnited States

Books in the Roughstock series:

Roughstock: Blind Ride — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Give it Time: the Seven of Wands – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: And a Smile — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Doce — A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m
Amorzinhos — A Roughstock Story – Novela, m/m, threesome
Roughstock: File Gumbo — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Roughstock: And a Smile — Coke’s Clown – Novela, m/m,
Shutter Speed, A Roughstock Story: the Seven of Pentacles – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: City/Country – Novel, m/f
Roughstock: Picking Roses – Novel, m/f
Needing To: A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m

Upcoming Roughstock Novels
Roughstock: What She Wants – Novel, m/m/f
Roughstock: Tag Team – Season Two – Novel, m/m
Roughstock: Terremoto – Season Two- Novel, m/m

Roughstock Shorts:
Cowboy Christmas (Coke and Dillon)
Barbed Wire and Bootheels (Sam and Beau)
Some Good Doctoring (CB and Jonesy) – Free Read

 

Down Under Showcase Author: Cecil Wilde

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Meet Cecil Wilde!

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

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

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Author Bio 1

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

 

Author Contacts

Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

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HRnostraightboysWishAugurDefyingConvention

Dawg Days Anthology

 

 

 

 

 

Out now:

No Straight Boys (Liquid Silver Books):

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

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

The Wish Augur (Less Than Three Press)

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

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

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

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

 

Genre(s):

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

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

Perfect Match is contemporary BDSM

Tea and Werewolves (Torquere Books):

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

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

Coming Soon:

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

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

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

 

Genre(s):

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

 

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Contests and Giveaways:

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

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Author Qand A

When did you start writing?

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

Q. Were you a reader as a child?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

A MelanieM Review: The Beast Without by Christian Baines

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

The Beast Without coverReylan, a Blood Shade, the correct term for vampires,, likes being on his own.  He is wealthy, gorgeous,  sexy and particular in who he eats.  He picks out his prey from the popular gay clubs of Sidney, on Oxford Street.  Reylan is always careful not to take too much, just enough to last a few days  before he has to feed again.  So when a crazed werewolf kills his latest companion, Reylan is not happy.  He is even less so when the werewolf, young Jorgas, seems to have developed an obsession with him.  An obsession that puts Reylan and those he cares about at risk.

In order for Reylan to take care of the situation, he finds he must work with a mysterious supernatural organization  called The Arcadia Trust and its leader Patricia Bakker.  The Arcadia Trust has its own agenda and wants Reylan to deliver the werewolf to them alive.  But things change when Reylan hunts down the young werewolf in question.  In a moment of intense need and hunger a tenuous relationship is formed between vampire and werewolf, a relationship neither wants.

As more people are murdered around them, Reylan, Jorgas and The Arcadian Trust must look further than Jorgas for the cause while trying to protect the ones inside their circle.  Reylan soon realizes that the civility he has cloaked his life in is no longer enough.  Its time for his true predator nature to come out and stay out if he is to stay alive and locate the true murderer among them.

What an excellent take on vampires and werewolves.  The Beast Without is such a far cry from the Twilight movies and other more current representations of these two supernatural beings. The werewolves and vampires of The Beast Without are not the benign creatures of the night that we see in popular movies and books these days.  No, the supernaturals of this novel, The Blood Shades and the Flesh Masters (werewolves) are apex predators, vicious and superior to humans who are regarded as food.  It’s actually kind of refreshing.

The vampires, werewolves and other supernatural beings like Cloak Masters (invisible beings) are genetic by nature.  All come from families where the various genes for each type of creature runs in the family.  It can skip generations and then, right around puberty, those that carry the gene mutate into the creature whose genes they carry, whether it be vampire, werewolf, or something quite different.  Christian Baines is developing a great back history for these supernaturals, a history that is being revealed slowly throughout the book.

Along with his impressive world building, Baines takes particular pains to make his characters complex, otherworldly and sometimes cruel in their outlook.  Take Reylan.  He is not human and revels in being a Blood Shade, finding the term vampire to be distasteful and tawdry. An asexual being, at least in the beginning, he dines on men, preferring the power and vigor in their blood to the caution and other traits that occurs in female hemoglobin.   As created by Baines, Reylan is a loner, a predator and absolutely absorbing.

I can’t  say enough about the characters i found here.  Whether it is Jorgas, a confused, raged filled werewolf, Father Isaac O’Baer of Saint Barnabas Church, a Father handy with advice or a knife, or Patricia Bakker, the enigmatic leader of The Arcadia Trust, these beings are intricately layered, wildly unpredictable in nature, and totally absorbing to read about.  I can’t get enough of them or anyone else that pops up in this story.  It’s really just a roll call of strange and wonderful creatures, each more exciting, dangerous and complex  than the one before.   They may not be real, but they certainly feel that way.  Here is Reylan’s thoughts on Cloak Walkers:

It’s said, perhaps cruelly, that you can smell a Cloak Walker long before you hear him – such is the inevitable toll of invisibility on personal hygiene. It’s even been claimed that the condition brings on leprosy, and that a Cloak Walker may be tracked by the body parts he leaves behind. I find what this theory lacks in credence, it makes up for in originality.

I love that wry, amused tone.  A little mean and deceptively mild. Perfect.

The plot is just as twisted and deceptive as the characters.  Baines has really done justice to each element here.  Both the story line and supernatural beings are totally worthy of each other, working their magic on the reader from page one.  Baines’ style of writing is smooth, his descriptions vivid and sometimes almost graphically realistic.  Here is our introduction to Reylan as he heads out to hunt at night:

 I’m not human, but even so, this is a reality I can’t ignore. If I’m not careful when I feed, when I take my fill of blood, I can quickly become the wrong one-nighter.

I’ll thank you not to use the ‘v’ word.

Given my proximity to Oxford Street, the sleazy, pulsing artery of Sydney’s nightclub district where I’ve lived for the better part of thirty years, I try not to visit any club twice in the same week. It’s safer that way, particularly for a man whose lifestyle depends on discretion. Barely two nights ago, I’d graced Fantasy, a club full of pretty, if flighty young things – some gay, some straight, most happily open minded on the subject. So the following night’s destination was Blaze, a club currently serving as de facto cathedral to the Church of Saint Muscle Mary, where the buff and beautiful took time out of their forty hour a week gym schedules to model, preen and occasionally dance the night away for the slack-jawed ogling pleasure of curious onlookers.

For hunting clothes, I chose a pair of tight leather trousers, an equally tight lycra vest and a silver-studded belt. A little attractive, a little sexual, and a little ridiculous. The perfect human mix I’d developed over the years. Not the epitome of modern style, but on a healthy twenty-four-year-old man, which is what I appear to be, it did say ‘come hither and bed me,’ which was the whole point.

Then, there was the pill. I rarely use them, but if options are lacking and I get too impatient, a little chemistry in a capsule can seal the sumptuous fate of any prospective companion. You needn’t judge me. You do a lot worse to your food. Besides, it’s not as if I’ve had to use it – recently.

There he is, all deliciousness in tone and outlook.  But soon Reylan will demonstrate just exactly how good a predator he is.  How I came to love him.

I should make one thing clear.  This is not a romance.  There are m/m relationships, there is sexual need, blood lust and heat a plenty.  But if you are looking for roses and candlelight dinners, this is not the story for you.  A convoluted relationship does develop between Reylan and Jorgas, but it is just at the beginning stages and it is certainly not based on love or even affection.  A bond certainly, but of need and blood and baser emotions.  It is realistic and involving as any I have read, and I love it.

Incredibly, The Beast Without is Christian Baines first novel. I came so close to giving this  remarkable story a 5-star rating but there are just too many loose ends that remain unresolved at the end of the story to go that final inch.    Christian Baines lays out a mystery for us, several in fact but nothing more.  Just speculation and insidiously addicting clues to a larger mystery looming behind the smaller ones. Everything about The Beast Without cries out for a sequel and I can only hope that one is in the works. At any rate, I highly recommend this rich and rewarding take on vampires and werewolves, especially for those of you tired of sparkle.

Cover art and design is terrific. Cover Images: Ivan Bliznetsov (front); DSNR (back) Jacket Design: David P Reiter

Afternote:  Christian Baines has indicated that a sequel to The Beast Without is planned, very good news indeed.

Sales Links:     All Romance (ARe)          Amazon      buy it here

Book Details:

Paperback, 234 pages
Published March 27th 2013 by Glass House Books
ISBN 192212043X (ISBN13: 9781922120434)
edition language
also eBook edition

Barb, a Zany Old Lady, Review: Starstruck (Bluewater Bay #1) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Starstruck coverI’ve been “starstruck” by an amazing storyteller named L.A. Witt. The author put together the best and longest slow burn- ust story I’ve ever read, and when the two MCs did finally come together, they exploded in a supernova!

Levi Pritchard, aging (late 30’s), former Hollywood superstar, is known best for his role as Chad Eastwick—an action hero role he despised because it completely stifled his creativity and smothered his acting ability. He also despised the whole Hollywood scene, especially the press vultures who refused to let him live his own life—a gay man deeply closeted who only wanted to be allowed to love his partner Dylan, but instead had to deny him to the world, bringing about their eventual breakup. He’s also the victim of two alcoholic parents who, though now in recovery, are still critical of his life and would never accept him as gay so he can’t find the courage to out himself and force the expected estrangement. In short, Levi is a deeply closeted, frustrated man who is running away from the career he loves and running to the family he hates, rather than being true to himself. When he’s offered a chance for a small role in Wolf’s Landing, the successful show that’s been filming in his town, Bluewater Bay, he’s considering it for two reasons. The first is that his good friend, Anna Maxwell, is the highly esteemed director and the second is Carter Samuels, a young actor who caught Levi’s eye when he first came on the Hollywood scene a few years before.

Carter Samuels is thrilled when he learns that Levi Pritchard, his idol and the man on whom he’s had a secret crush for years, is going to be joining the cast of Wolf’s Landing. In fact, Levi is the reason Carter became an actor. He first fell in love with Levi and Levi’s talent when he was exposed to several indie films in which Levi starred in his early career. Even once he was typecast as Chad Eastwick, Carter saw through the constraints that role placed on Levi to the talent hidden below the surface. Now, to have a chance to work with him, whether it’s for this first “walk on” role, or whether the role becomes ongoing, Carter has all he can do to contain himself.

When the two meet, there’s a definite sexual chemistry, though neither wants to acknowledge it. A chance private encounter brings them together in a kiss that neither can ignore. They do acknowledge that the kiss happened and that it was good, but they make a conscious decision to avoid the entrapments of a relationship. They’ve found that they have a lot in common, including a love of obscure indie films, and want to focus on their friendship because they each accept that Levi is firmly in the closet and not interested in coming out.  Spoiler alert: Continue reading

Go Behind Closed Doors with Andrew Q. Gordon and his release, A Closed Door (book tour and contest)

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Andrew Q. Gordon is here today with his latest release, A Closed Door.  Be sure to read the blurb and  excerpt today and don’t forget to enter the contest for a $10 Amazon gift card.  Link provided below at the end of the post!

Book Name: A Closed Door
Author Name: Andrew Q. Gordon

Author Bio:

Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog.  In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

Author Contact:

Twitter: @andrewqgordon
https://www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon

A Closed Door CoverTitle: A Closed Door by Andrew Q. Gordon
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Cover Artist: Lily Velden and Jay Aheer
Sales Links:   Wayward Ink Publishing  Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon Australia  Amazon DE  Amazon CAN

A Closed Door Blurb:

Outted at thirteen, Orin Merritt left home after high school hoping to escape the hell his life had become. Ten years later when a tornado destroys his childhood home and kills his parents, Orin finds himself in an entirely new nightmare. One he can’t run away from.

Blaming himself for failing the two people who always loved and supported him, he returns home and confronts his past in the person of his one-time best friend, Thomas Kennett.  Thomas not only rejected him when Orin came out, he led the group that tormented Orin into leaving.

As he struggles to deal with his grief, Orin also labors to fulfill the pledge he made to his parents before their death.  In the process, Orin learns that sometimes when you go away to find yourself, you leave the answers you’re looking for behind.

A Closed Door Excerpt:

“Orin, I won’t.” Thomas stood a bit straighter and his eyes lost the sad, pleading shine. “I won’t hurt you again.”

“You can’t promise that. Things happen.” Orin watched as his words dragged Thomas back from the brink of hope.

“If you truly believe that, then there’s nothing I can do. You have to believe there’s a chance or else I can’t prove it.”

“That’s not what I’m telling you.” He locked his gaze on Thomas’s. “If I say yes, I’ll have to take down the walls I surrounded my heart with to keep it safe. Once it’s gone, I won’t be able bring it back if I get hurt. Not now.

“So what I’m saying is, think about what you’re asking me to risk. If you really love me, ask yourself if are you willing to risk what will happen to me if you can’t keep your promise.”

He knew how unfair he’d been, but self-preservation had been a skill he’d honed over the past fifteen years. He needed Thomas to know just how serious the repercussion could be for his actions.

“Orin, I . . . I . . . how . . .?” Their faces were inches apart, and Thomas moved in for another kiss.

This felt different than the first—less urgent, but no less intense. Orin trembled at the leap he was about to take. When they stepped back, Thomas rubbed his thumb across Orin’s cheek.

“I do love you, Orin. More than I can say. So much, that I’m not willing to risk what will happen if I fail you again. I don’t have that right.”

Thomas’s lips quivered and the tears welled at the bottom of his eyes. He kissed Orin’s forehead gently.

“Good-bye, Orin. Please be happy.” Without looking back, Thomas walked to the front door, opened it, and walked away.

ACDBadgeTemplateTour Dates: October 10, 2014

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Love Bytes, Inked Rainbow Reads, The Hat Party, Cate Ashwood, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Prism Book Alliance, Full Moon Dreaming, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Multitasking Mommas, Regular Guys, Hot Romance, Nephylim, Louise Lyons, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Fallen Angel Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark, Jade Crystal, Amanda C. Stone, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Iyana Jenna, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Smoocher’s Voice, Michael Mandrake, Rebecca Cohen Writes, BFD Book Blog

Contest: Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link provided to enter and for all additional contest details.

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Book Blast: Skylar Wood and her release “Jade” (tour and contest)

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Check out Skylar Wood’s latest story, Jade.  Read the excerpt and don’t forget to enter the contest below:

Book Name: Jade
Author Name: Skylar Wood

Author Bio:

Skylar Wood lives in the very beautiful, lively and fun filled City of Edmonton, Alberta Canada, where there is always something going on, summer or winter. She feels it’s a great place to be.

Skylar is a reading fanatic and only wishes she had more time to do it. Jade is her first venture into the writing arena. She says that writing is hard work but it’s a refreshing change from her nine to five job. It provides fantasy and escape. She truly enjoyed writing Jade, a lesbian romance novel, stating it was a neat sexual fantasy to explore through the pages of a book and that writing Jade and seeing it publication has been one of the best experiences of her life.

Author Contacts:

Title: Jade by Skylar Wood
Publisher: Dark Hollow Press
Cover Artist: 3 Rusted Spoons Cover Design

Sales Links: www.darkhollowspress.com

Beauty In DarkJade Blurb:

Jade Tanner appears to have it all. To the world she is a self-made billionaire and business woman extraordinaire. However, it’s lonely sitting atop the corporate world, and more and more Jade can’t help but feel empty inside.

A secret sexual fantasy life begins as she starts chatting online with a beautiful young escort named Twylla Star. Becoming deeply immersed in this fantasy world, her desire to meet this woman soon becomes so overwhelming that Jade finds herself booking a date with her.

Meeting the delectable Twylla in Las Vegas, Jade is unprepared for the impact Twylla has on her the moment she holds the other woman in her arms. What started out as an unfettered sexual weekend with someone she’d never seen again, suddenly turns into something more.

When lust turns to love, are they strong enough to let go of the past to build a future together? And what will happen when the real world comes crashing back in?

Categories: Contemporary, Lesbian Romance

Jade Excerpt:

Twylla reached over in the bed for Jade only to find she was gone. She got out of bed and stumbled into the washroom to splash water on her face and then went in search of Jade. She found her in the kitchen. She was surprised at the surge of tenderness she felt when she looked at this woman, busy on her laptop. She had never felt anything like this for a date before.

“Morning,” she said, reaching her arms around Jade and kissing her neck.

“Morning, beautiful,” she replied, then kissed Twylla on the lips.

Pulling apart, she glanced at the computer screen. The name on the email was Jade Tanner. Twylla’s heart almost stopped in her chest.

Could this be the Jade Tanner, the founder of Jade Cosmetics and Tanner Enterprises? If so the woman she had spent the night with was a multi-billionaire. She kept a very low profile, so Twylla didn’t know what she looked like and hadn’t connected the name with the cosmetics tycoon. She knew Jade was very publicly against porn, and the sex industry in general. It didn’t make sense that the Jade Tanner would hire her for sex. Maybe the name was a coincidence.

She thought of all the times she had dated older gross men hoping they would take her as their mistress or possibly even see her as a wife. All of them saw her simply as a whore they had purchased. With Jade it had felt different. They had connected immediately. Their lovemaking had been erotic, sensual and blissful. She had enjoyed Jade’s body just as much as Jade had seemed to enjoy hers.

Jade closed her computer. “I’ve made coffee if you want it.”

She most definitely did. Walking away from her, she was aware of Jade watching her. She knew the power of her beauty and sexuality. Leaning against the counter, she turned so her robe fell partially open giving a teasing glimpse of her breasts.

Tour Dates: October 7, 2014

Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, My Fiction Nook, Inked Rainbow Reads, Jade Crystal, Rainbow Gold Reviews, The Hat Party, Andrew Q. Gordon, Cate Ashwood, Prism Book Alliance, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, All I Want and More Books, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Amanda C. Stone, Iyana Jenna, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Velvet Panic, Fallen Angel Reviews, Queer Town Abbey, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake

Contest: Rafflecopter Prize: Copy of ‘Jade’ e-book. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Contest entry form and additional contest details to be found at the Rafflecopter link provided below.

Rafflecopter Code:

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Review: In Distress (Superpowered Love #6) by Katey Hawthorne

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

KH_indistress_coverlg_1Hopeless romantic and total geek Eddie Kim continues to dream that his knight in shining armor will show up one day to carry him away for a beautiful future together.  But until that happens, Eddie hangs out with his best friends Kavita and Stacy playing D & D, moons over GoT’s Jon Snow and dreams of new scribblings for Morning Gloria’s sandwich board, the beanery where he is a barista.  Life is pretty good for an adorable 23 year old, just not perfect.  Then Eddie’s apartment catches fire and everything changes.

When Eddie’s kitchen catches fire, the smoke and fumes threaten to overwhelm Eddie.  But Eddie is saved when strong cold arms lift him up and out of danger and a freezing cold puts the fire out.  His rescuer?  A gorgeous unknown red head who asks that Eddie not reveal his rescuer’s presence.  One kiss later, then Eddie’s knight in shining frost disappears, leaving a stunned and coughing Eddie behind.

What’s a smitten boy to do when his longed for knight saves him only to disappear?  Why look for him of course.  Eddie’s friends look to craiglist to relocate his hero but the publicity is just the thing his hero was trying to avoid.

Callum, a mysterious red-head with freezing superpowers, couldn’t help saving Eddie but now he has put not only Eddie but himself in danger.  Callum Race has come to Columbus to try and clear his family name, and now the dangerous superpowered organization he needs to thwart know he’s come home again. But the attraction he feels towards Eddie is anything but cold.  And the more they see of each other, the stronger the connection gets.

Soon its a race against time for Callum and Eddie.  Callum determined to clear his brother’s name and Eddie equally determined to help Callum fight.  As the danger increases who is the knight and who is the “damsel in distress” is anyone’s guess.

I am going to admit right up front that I am a big time fan of Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series.  So hearing about the release of In Distress brought a sense of anticipation and joy that soon I would be plunged back into a world of elemental beings and their search for  some Superpowered Love.  Hawthorne’s In Distress, part of Loose Id’s Missed Connections collection does not disappoint on any level, starting with her wonderful and totally adorable characters.

Now Eddie Kim would totally own that “adorable” appellation, particularly if it didn’t come with a gender attached to it.  Eddie sees gender somewhat differently than others do, less rigidly defined and certainly more open to interpretation.  At the moment, he identifies as male but that might change at any moment. Eddie wants others to respect that about him, knowing that his gender fluid appearance is one that can confuse those that aren’t familiar with him.  I liked this aspect of Eddie’s character, it gave Eddie a deeper dimension, that combined with the other elements of his persona, made Eddie a wonderful unique individual.  He’s highly intelligent and super romantic.  At 23, Eddie still dreams of “The One”, a Knight that will save him, albeit not from dragons but from a loveless existence.  And then Eddie gets what he has been dreaming for and ,of course, it’s far more than he ever expected.

Eddie, his friends Kavita and Stacy, as well as Callum, are all such terrific characters.  Just when you might be feeling a little, oh I don’t know, perhaps, dubious at Eddie’s exuberance and “tilting at windmills” sort of behavior, then you have Kavita and Stacy there as your standin’s, saying exactly what you would say to Eddie, to bring him back down to reality.  Only to realize a few paragraphs later that Eddie’s new reality is kind of out of this world, or too much of this world.  Katey Hawthorne moves us back and forth in an emotional whirlwind with Eddie as the story is told from his very exuberant and delightful point of view.

And then there’s Callum Race, currently on the outs from all the Superpowered groups, unable to come home because of his brother’s actions and death.  I have always found the Superpowered subculture that Katey Hawthorne has created for this series fascinating, especially it’s divisive cultural quandary of whether or not to stay hidden from the human populace.  Which side of the question you come down on essentially makes you either a upstanding member of the Superpowered community or an outcast and potential rebel.  This theme flows through all the stories and is an important one of In Distress as well.

There are plenty of action packed scenes as well as ones of intimacy and introspection to balance out each other.  I did wish that Callum and Eddie had more time together before things got totally out of control.  And for those of you who are new to the Superpowered Love series, some of the backhistory might feel a bit lacking.  But how can you resist passages or characters like this?

“You’re okay. Just come with me,” said the voice attached to the hands.

My feet slipped on inexplicable ice. The strong, gloved hands steadied me, and the voice said, “Shit, sorry.” Then my feet were wet, but it wasn’t so slippery, and I could walk.

And some guy in a black hoodie and leather gloves led me out of my smoke-filled apartment in the middle of the night. As we turned in to the hallway, flame flared up at the end. He held out a gloved hand. By the firelight, I saw frost spread in a flash over the wall and floor, snuffing out the flames.

I shivered again and decided I was still dreaming. And if I took this guy’s hood off, it was clearly going to be Jon Snow. Maybe I should jump on his back?

He tugged me out onto the rattly wrought-iron porch and started down the equally rattly stairs. He was tall, taller than me— which isn’t saying much, but still— with broad shoulders and slim hips. It was a perfect swimmer’s build, but he moved like he didn’t realize it, with an almost adolescent awkwardness. “Don’t you have a fire alarm?”

“It needs a battery,” I said, dazed. There was a small streetlight in the parking lot below, and the moon was out, and all I could smell was melting plastic. Now my brain was finally waking up. Oh God, this is real. My apartment was on fire— is on fire— was on fire, and this guy put it out with… What the hell did he just do? Who the hell is he? Oh my God, this is not Jon Snow!

“Well, consider getting one.” The voice was mild and somehow equally awkward but far from adolescent. “I’ll call you an ambulance. I have to get out of—”

But I wasn’t having that crap, by then. Adrenaline had belatedly kicked in, and I grabbed for his arm and spun him.

He was pale, possibly with a sprinkling of freckles, but I couldn’t see his hair under the hood. I could see his lips, palest pink and plump, especially the bottom one, which looked like someone had bitten it hard and the swelling had never gone down. Nice bone structure too— nothing supermodel or delicate, but hard, straight lines and angles. For some reason it made me think: Football hooligan? He was pretty, but the kind of pretty that’d still be scary in a fight.

And he’d probably just saved my life. I had a million questions (chiefly: Why the hell were you in my apartment— when it was on fire?), but my heart was racing with the sudden acknowledgement of my own ridiculous mortality. I had somehow forgotten the words thank you. So I grabbed the front of his hoodie, went up on my toes, and kissed him.

Because that’s what the damsel in distress does when he gets rescued from the tower, right?

 

And right there I was in love.  In love with the lonely and brave Callum and his quest for justice and in love with that delectably over the top voice and personality that could only belong to Eddie Kim.  Knight found his mate.  But who really rescued who is something you will have to find out for yourself.

Of course, Katey Hawthorne throws in mentions of Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, Game of Thrones, Spider Man and so many other present day references that help clue us into who Eddie and his friends are, a cultural shortcut that let’s us secure these characters as real people almost instantly in our minds.  If you need more information about these characters, visit Katey Hawthorne’s In Distress page at her website.  It has character stats and back history on the Superpowered Love series.

A special bonus resides at the end of the story.  An In Distress playlist for your enjoyment that will also add to a better understanding of these characters and background.  Just one more reason to get this story.  Not that you need one.  In Distress and all the Superpowered Love stories are must reads for me.  The Superpowered Love stories are fun, sexy romps. A fascinating as watching lighting in a storm or as mesmerizing as lightning bugs in a bottle. And all are full of memorable characters so sexy and full of life that you won’t want to see them leave, including Eddie and Callum from In Distress.

Don’t pass this up.

And watch out for the sandwich board sayings….they are quite wonderful too.  See?  Win, win and win.

Cover art by P.L. Nunn who has created the wonderful covers for all the stories in this series.  It works,  and its adorable.

Book Details:

Part of Loose Id’s Missed Connections Collection.
ebook
Published March 25th 2014 by Loose Id LLC
ISBN139781623006112
edition languageEnglish
url for all Things Katey Hawthorne http://www.kateyhawthorne.com
series Superpowered Love
settingColumbus, Ohio (United State

Books in the Superpowered Love series in the order they were written and should be read:

Equilibrium (Superpowered Love, #1)
Jealousy: A Love Story (Superpowered Love, #1.1)
Best Gift Ever (Superpowered Love, #1.2)
Riot Boy (Superpowered Love, #2)
Willoughby Spit (Superpowered Love, #2.1)
Nobody’s Hero (Superpowered Love, #3)
Losing Better (Superpowered Love, #4)
Re-Entry Burn (Superpowered Love, #5)
In Distress (Superpowered Love, #6)

In the Author Spotlight: Blaine D. Arden on The Forester II: Lost and Alone (Contest)

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spotlight on books

The Forester II- Lost and Found cover

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to have Blaine D. Arden here today to talk about her inspiration for her Forester Trilogy and her latest release The Forester II: Lost and Found.

Contest:  Blaine D. Arden and Storm Moon Press are giving away one copy of The Forester (The Forester I).  To enter to win, leave a comment and an email address in the body of the comment where you can be contacted.  Contest ends 4/18.

Where the world of the Forester came from by Blaine D. Arden

Inspiration for a story is never a straightforward with me. Often different segments of a story are inspired by different sources. I started out with my idea for the Forester itself because of a number of Christmas story/winter celebration calls and the word Solstice got stuck in my mind. But that was only the beginning. I had yet to come up with where my story would take place, and who the people were.

The magic system was something that I’d been playing with for a while. Though a big fan of fantasy, I never quite understood why magic was used so often as an elitist item. Only a few would possess it, and those often held all the power. I also wondered why magic seemed something you needed as a weapon. I liked the idea of magic as an everyday commodity, something used in everyday situations—think Mrs. Weasley doing her dishes—and not just by the elite few.

In real life the talents we were born with in combination with studying hard, dictate what we become. Some have a head for numbers, some for creating things with their hands. In more than one of my worlds, a person’s energy core dictates where their talents lie and what their profession will be. And their magic? Their magic helps them with their jobs. A smith can keep his bellows going while he works, a Truth Seeker can scan objects for traces of a killer, a Forester’s energy helps him turn trees into dwellings—with the trees’ cooperation, of course.

This last profession came to life because I wanted my elves to live in trees, which in turn was inspired by a comic series I’ve always been a big fan of Elfquest (which you can read online these days). But I didn’t just want simple hollow trees. I wanted ‘real’ houses for my elves real dwellings. And that’s where the Forester comes in. He’s someone who works with trees to create the dwellings the elves live in.

An excerpt from Oren’s Right describes a Forester’s job best.

The tree was the right age to mold into a dwelling for a soon-to-be vowed couple, but it was one of the late bloomers. I smiled. Late bloomers were very much like striplings—rebellious and single minded.

The first tree I treated when I arrived here had been a late bloomer as well. I looked around the center. Children played as parents sat at the tables chatting. It had looked so different then. This tribe had been without a Forester for over a turn, and the village had been littered with tents to house all of the elves. They must have been so cold in winter.

A soft breeze reminded me of what I was doing, and I pulled myself out of my thoughts. This late bloomer refused to let me open up its core. I wasn’t worried. I would get the permission I sought, but it would take time. Rubbing my hands together until they were warm, I could feel my energy bursting to get out. “It’s all right,” I whispered as I laid my hands on the thick bark. “I won’t do you any harm; I just want to take an image.”

It was a silly suggestion. Trees had no idea what I was talking about, but it would the moment I pushed my energy into it. I needed to get the layout. I already knew it would suit the wishes of the couple perfectly, but I needed to lay the foundations, to put my markings in the right places and show the tree what I was planning.

The tree balked. Not literally, but I could feel it trying to retreat even though that wasn’t possible. Trees could do many things. Moving was not one of them.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Oren approach, but I couldn’t remove my hands now. The tree finally gave in and let my energy soak into it. It was like drawing, this phase. I could see the lines, could see the shape it would get. The tree calmed down, and I could sense its permission. Until I suggested swelling. It balked again,
then. I’d teased the tree for long enough, and with a nod and a whispered greeting, I removed my hands. I’d be back tomorrow, and the tree would let me continue then, I hoped.

Slowly this little village in the middle of the forest took form, with tree dwellings and elves with and without wings living in harmony (well, not counting murder and kidnapping for the moment). And then the world grew in my head, and I realised this little tribe wasn’t the only one in this world. There were other tribes with, maybe, slightly different habits and different characters to write about. And I can barely wait to write the stories they want me to tell you all.

~~~

Blurb from The Forester II: Lost and Found:

The Forester II- Lost and Found cover“The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.”

One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers-smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif-is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht. If it isn’t sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it’s heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free. And if that’s not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.

Book Details:
ebook, 88 pages
Published December 21st 2013 by Storm Moon Press
ISBN139781627570855
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Forester Trilogy #2, Tales of the Forest #3

Buy Links:

Storm Moon Press,
ARe
Amazon

~~~

Author’s Bio:

Blaine D. Arden is a purple haired, forty-something writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes, and a penchant for wearing mostly black and purple, who sings her way through life.

You can find Blaine at

Contest: Blaine D. Arden and Storm Moon Press are giving away one copy of The Forester (The Forester I). To enter to win, leave a comment and an email address in the body of the comment where you can be contacted. Contest ends 4/18.  By leaving a comment, you are automatically agreeing you are over the age of 18.

 

The Forester II- Lost and Found coverThe Forester coverOren's Right

 

Review: Roughstock: Tag Team – Fais Do Do by B.A. Tortuga

Standard

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Tag Team- Fais Do Do coverLandon Gaudet, also known as Nutbutter, is a little Cajun with a huge heart.  A horse whisperer, loyal friend and brother, a man of all trades at the rodeo including bull riding, Landon appears to be a happy person.  But he is missing one thing….his soulmate, the man with the three blue circles tattoo his dreams have shown him.  Landon’s twin sister, Lauren, is a well known Cajun healer who lives on their property in the bayou, has seen the man in her prophesies too.  But Landon is unprepared for the reality of the man his dreams has shown him, Adam Taggert.

Adam Taggert, one of the triplet Taggert brothers, is feeling his age.  Over six feet and over thirty, Adam competes with his brother, Chris, in the tag team roping events to accolades and top prizes.  Unlike the others in his group of friends, Adam has never settled on one person to love.  Instead Adam plays the field, moving from one person to another with all the speed of a bronc out of the gate.  His one regret is that he gave up Beau Lafitte, the cajun he lost to bullrider Sam Bell.  Unable to commit at the time, Beau has become Adam’s biggest regret.

At a party on Beau and Sam’s farm, Adam meets Landon and sparks fly.  And what starts out as a fling on Adam’s side starts to turn serious for both of them.  But obstacles, real and imagined, start to pile up and threaten to undo the fledgling relationship and all of Landon’s dreams.   With Adam’s family disapproving of Landon and Adam’s low sense of self worth,  can Landon and his dream of a life with his soulmate become a reality or breakdown under the weight of too much opposition.

Fais Do Do is a Louisiana country dance party and that’s the perfect title for a book about two completely opposite men dancing around each other, hoping for romance and a forever love.  From the opening paragraph, BA Tortuga plunges the reader into Cajun country and the patois of the bayou.  Here the cajun patter flows over the tongues of men such as Beau Lafitte and Landon Gaudet with a fluidity born of the bayou with its deep French origins.  And its not just the parlance, but the culture as well.  From pig roasts to voodoo, from swampy waters to small nut brown men, the Cajun culture (and BA Tortuga’s love for it) is embedded deeply throughout this story and the characters involved.  Here is a excerpt as Adam meets Landon at the party:

“You met Adam?” Sam Bell asked, leading Landon across the yard, the piles of bullriders and their women just filling the place up. Shit, the ropers and the family hadn’t even made an appearance yet. By midnight, the booze and the music would be flowing, and the whole bayou would ring.

Landon did love it here at Beau and Sam’s farm, more than almost anywhere, and Sister was here, Cotton and his gal Em. Even Adrian and Packer.

“No, sir. I mean, I knowed him good, oui? He rides and rides, but I ain’t never spoke to him, me.”

“Safety man. Like him. You.”

Landon nodded. Sam’s words got better every time they chatted together, and Landon was happy for it. Him and Sister, they prayed and lit candles for the man, spent hours on their knees with Maw-Maw’s rosary beads clicking. Sister’d even sacrificed a chicken for healing, pouring the blood out during the new moon to suck the sickness and hurting from Mr. Bell and into the dirt.

His sister was pure hoodoo, witchy as all get out, but he’d never met a better traiteur, or treater. Magical healer. Didn’t reckon he ever would.

“Adam. Cajun. Landon. Tag.”

Landon looked up, the sun bright as a penny, and the glow surrounded a tall, tall cowboy, making the man shine. Landon caught his breath, the universe spinning.

His dream. Shit fire and save matches. Ever since he’d been a boy, he’d done dreamed of this very second. Right here. Right now. The cowboy would have a light blue shirt on, a belt buckle from a 1999 roping championship. There’d be a tattoo on the inside of the man’s wrist when he went to shake — three blue circles ina row, touching. This was his cowboy. His family. The one meant to be his amant.

His. “Hey, kid.” Kid. Like he was some petit fils. “Comme ça?” “C’est bon.” Oh, the man knew some Cajun, did Adam. Landon held a hand out, and, sure as shit came from a goose’s ass, there was that ink on the man’s wrist, permanent. Three blue circles in a row. One. Two. Three.

This one was his, deep down. In his body cells. “Pleased. You want a beer?”

Adam smiled at him, eye lines wrinkling up like to catch the sunlight. “You legal to drink, boy?”

“Shee-it. I reckon.”

To drink. To fuck. To dance. To catch him the cowboy the bon Dieu offered to him.

He wasn’t no child. Not no more.

Adam looked him up and down, one eyebrow arching. “Well, then. C’mon. We’ll have us a couple three beers before things get crazy. These Cajuns, they’re nuts.”

“We is, us, for sure.” It wasn’t a bad thing, though. It was just a true thing.

You had to be crazy to love it here in the swamps.

Reading that passage you can almost hear the honey slow dialect of a man of the bayou, with hope in his heart for this man and their future.  Such a lovely way to start this story, with a dance, some beer and hope.  But as the author also grounds her characters in reality, any path to a commitment and love is going to be a long and complicated one, especially between two men so opposite each other, both on the social register and in outlook.

As with all her Roughstock stories, Tortuga brings in a number of elements to supplement the main romantic storyline.  Present are Beau Lafitte and Sam Bell.  Sam who is dealing with a near death accident in the rodeo arena, is still in recovering with his brain injuries.  Beau is trying to adjust to a difference in their relationship and Sam.  Coke Pharris, renowned bullfighter and his lover, Dillon Walsh, rodeo clown are involved with this group too.   All of these men have intermingled past histories, including that of Adam and Beau before he fell in love with Sam.  It helps to have read the core books in the Roughstock series because that will give the reader a foundation of knowledge with regard to this ever enlarging group of friends and coworkers.

It also helps to have some knowledge of a rodeo and the various events and jobs that go along with it.  Otherwise, a “safety”, the role of a clown or bullfighter, and other sundry terms and positions might fly over the readers head.  But if you have even a remote idea of the rodeo world,  then this series and book will make you want to fly out to the nearest event and climb into the stands for a better looksee at the men and animals that compete on a daily basis.  BA Tortuga has this universe down pat, and through these men, the reader will get an authentic feel for the hardship and passion the ropers and riders have for their  sport.

Tag Team – Fais Do Do has a couple of aspects to its story that might make people either uncomfortable or bogged down in the narrative.  There is some heartfelt angst that one character in particular will have to endure.  And it will be caused by the one person who is capable of inflicting such pain.  For some, it will lessen their connection to this character and that would be unfortunate.  Because I do feel that this is a pretty realistic if unpleasant viewpoint and might not be an uncommon as some would think in southern (or any) society.

The other is the colloquialisms or vernacular spoken by Beau, Landon or Laurel Gaudet, “Sister” as she is known.  It is pretty thick, just as musical and full of french words and phrases, enough to confound anyone not familiar with the Cajun dialect.   Here is Landon and Sister in their home:

“Bubba?”

Landon looked over at Sister, who was busily stirring the eggs. “Yes, ma’am?”

“You gon’ go be with him forever and leave me here alone, you think?”

His heart said he was in love with Adam, but Landon said what he knew to be true. “Sister, I ain’t never onced left you. Never once for always. I will take care of you ‘til the Rapture.”

They were twins. He wasn’t about to leave her with no way to take care of herself, and he needed to see her face. Half of him was missing when she wasn’t there.

Her dark eyes looked relieved, and she found a smile for him. “You think your man will like me?”

“Why wouldn’t he? You’re…” He searched for the right word, but fuck if he didn’t know one. “Laurel.”

She laughed, whacking him with one hand. “Uh-huh. Tell me about him.”

“Oh, lady, he’s fine. Tall and strong with these eyes like chips of rock and he can ride…” He sighed, seeing his cowboy up in the saddle, moving like Adam was one with the horse, like the wind itself.

“I knew he had to love horses.” She grinned, eyes dancing.

“He’s a cowboy. A real cowboy, not just a bullrider.” “Oh, Bubba. You have it so bad.” He put down the tack he’d been repairing for Albert and

looked over, serious as a heart attack. “He’s it, Adam. For me. I been dreaming on him my whole life. I ain’t sure I’mhis one. I fear that was Mr. Beau.” Laurel shook her head, dark hair all wild and loose. “Mr.

Beau was made to comfort Sammy in the black times, Bubba. I know that.”

Landon shrugged. “Sure. I know that, but we don’t know God, not for true. I think maybe he has a mean streak, giving people to the wrong folks. Mr. Beau is a good man, a Cajun.”

“Maybe your man, he just is a little stupid, eh? Maybe he got him some Cajuns crossed.” Laurel put her spoon down, came to him with open arms, hugging on him hard. “God ain’t mean, not a bit. The Devil, he’s a trickster and a liar and he fools folks, but God loves him us. I know that.”

“I want to believe that, Sister.” He rested his head on her, eyes closing.

“Then quit fighting it and do so.” She patted his back, her hands warm, and he could see why people came to her for the healing. Her touch felt soothing, and her voice held the surety of an angel who’d seen God’s face.

“Witchy woman.”

“Yessir, and thank God for it. Someone got to keep you boys whole.”

“Mmm.” He hugged her tight, absorbing some of her strength. “We need to get back to cookin’.”

“Yep. Need to make a soft cake for Auntie down the road. We got to pray over her bad tooth. I think it’ll take the both of us.”

He wrinkled his nose. Tooth stuff was always smelly. Still, he always helped when he could. “All right.”

“You’re a good man, Bubba.”

“You think so? I ain’t… You know I ain’t as book learned as all them boys I ride with.”

“Pshaw.” She put a hand over his heart. “You got all you need right here.”

“I sure hope so, Sister. I surely do.”

I love the way it sounds and is used to bring these marvelous characters to life.  But I also recognize that some readers will have trouble with the dialog, making it a barrier to the personalities instead of a path to who they are as individuals and as a rich culture grounded in geography and history.

My only real quibble is that I felt the resolution of the issues (huge ones) between Landon and Adam came about too easily considering the events that tore them apart.  At 185 pages, the author had plenty of time (and length) to extend the reconciliation out to a reasonable amount of time.   But that is it for quibbles, mostly.  There are some editing issues, with the wrong name used in a sentence when they are clearly talking about another character.  But overlooking those, this is a terrific story as is the series.  Consider this highly recommended.

Cover illustration by A. Squires is perfect for the story and series.  Great job.

Book Details:

ebook, 185 pages
Published September 25th 2013 by Torquere Press
ISBN 161040582X (ISBN13: 9781610405829)
edition language English

Books in the Roughstock series:

Roughstock: Blind Ride — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Give it Time: the Seven of Wands – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: And a Smile — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Doce — A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m
Amorzinhos — A Roughstock Story – Novela, m/m, threesome
Roughstock: File Gumbo — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Roughstock: And a Smile — Coke’s Clown – Novela, m/m,
Shutter Speed, A Roughstock Story: the Seven of Pentacles – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: City/Country – Novel, m/f
Roughstock: Picking Roses – Novel, m/f
Needing To: A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: Tag Team – Fais Do Do Season Two – Novel, m/m

Upcoming Roughstock Novels
Roughstock: What She Wants – Novel, m/m/f
Roughstock: Terremoto – Season Two- Novel, m/m

Roughstock Shorts:
Cowboy Christmas (Coke and Dillon)
Barbed Wire and Bootheels (Sam and Beau)
Some Good Doctoring (CB and Jonesy) – Free Read