Published October 10th 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing
Edition Language English
But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head … The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.
September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.
We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.
Ah, September, that month so in between. Neither summer or fall, sometimes too warm, often too cold at night, it wavers never quite knowing where to fall. We’ve left summer activities behind yet the true fall events are yet to come. No pumpkins or fall colors…as yet. But we know they are coming. September fills us up with anticipation. With expectations. With enough everything, that it’s a month we still embrace as the quotes above reflect.
We know that September is also a month that is fond of things bookish as you can see from it’s events listing on the calendar as we previously noted. So here again is the September literary calendar events starting with this week:
September 6 Read a Book Day (this week)
September 8 International Literacy Day
September 11 Libraries Remember Day, because never underestimate the power of a Librarian or library card!
September 15 LGBT Awareness Day (I know…just because I thought it should be there)
September 22 Dear Diary Day, Love Note Day (because think of how many novels and stories started from these)
September 24 Punctuation Day (enough said)
If you all were to suggest a Literary Event for the calendar, what would it be? An International LGBT Romance Story Day? Triad in Lust Day? Quiltbag Aliens HEA Day? Give me some titles for our own special September literary events. Let’s call it our LGBTQIA Literary Event Title Giveaway! Have your title chosen and we will have Stella set you up with a $10 gift card from Dreamspinners. Giveaway runs through September 22.
And just in case you missed the notice yesterday, Instafreebie has great M/M short stories up for downloading until September 4. Check out our post with link here. Perfect for Read a Book (or story) Day or any day of the week or month.
Happy Reading and have a safe, wonderful weekend.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
“If vampires had yearbooks, I’d probably be listed as “Lucas, the Least Likely to Succeed.” After all, I’m living in the basement of a spooky old house about to fall down around my ears and a blood thrall named Liam brings me the blood of small game, so I won’t starve to death. It all started when some werewolves attacked our coven and killed off all the vampires, except for a few of us who managed to escape the bloodbath. But as the youngest, I still didn’t know how to hunt or even survive the sunlight, so I was stuck here in this old mausoleum of a house. That is, until the werewolves came back. They found me right away, of course, and to my shock, they had Valerian, the leader of my old coven, living with them as the mate of the alpha wolf, Finn. Valerian and Mason, the beautiful blond mate of both Finn and Valerian—don’t ask; it’s way too complicated—both begged Finn to let me stay. He did, but he put me under the control of a big, mean, gorgeous, sexy wolf named Connor.
Don’t get me wrong. My old sire, Tolan, the sadist, trained me to do as I’m told. But sometimes, I forget and that really gets on Connor’s nerves. I see the relationship with Valerian and his mates and I want something like that for myself. I want to belong to someone. I want someone to love me. And more and more I think I want that someone to be Connor. But that may be something he can’t ever give me.”
A new pack, a new beginning, a little betrayal, some frequent fighting, a lot of sex and even some spanking, and you have a rousing and romantic adventure with the Hybrid wolves.
This series is continuing to intrigue me. I liked getting to see Mason, Finn and Valerian continuing to build the trust in their relationship. Connor has been mourning his dead mate for a long time and has trouble accepting his pull to Lucas. Lucas hasn’t had the best life since he was turned into a vampire and he still has trouble knowing what to do.
They are beginning a new pack that will be welcoming and it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment. Finn and Valerian are still trying to feel accepted by their mates and for different reasons and Mason’s open defiance doesn’t help matters.
I was glad to see Mason, Finn and Valerian recognizing the work their relationship needs and taking some of the steps they need. I could feel Connor and Lucas’s pain and worries regarding their situation and how to act. I don’t always like when it takes a life or death situation for someone to completely accept how they feel for someone. I feel bad that Lucas wasn’t able to get the closer he hoped for and how what happened may affect his mother.
I liked cover art by E Keith it gives a nice visual of the house and of Connor and follows the style of the first book.
Sales Links: Amazon
ebook, 184 pages
Published: July 18, 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing
Edition Language: English
Series: A Darker Hollow #3
I see the end of August approaching and the first of September arriving on Saturday and usually it heralds the start of the change over. The beach season is ending in a last huge Labor Day weekend bonanza flood of cars across the bridge here. I’ve heard the geese flocks honking at night as they start to group together in enormous masses in the marshes near the Bay prior to migration. And the Virginia Creeper is just starting to show a tinge of color on the turn.
For children and teachers? It’s the beginning of the school year for many with all that entails. New possibilities, new starts, new friends, and unfortunately, far too often if you are a LGBTQIA youth, uncertainty, rejection, and fear. Sometimes, it’s all about the community, the school, the support, and even the family the children find that surrounds them.
I just read a story in the news yesterday about a young child and their family out west moving for yet another time because the trans elementary school child’s experience became a nightmare. Not only from the kids but especially from the other school parents who called that child a monster and worse. Who does that to a child? Who cuts that deep? Lucky for this one they had the incredible support of a family willing to pick up and keep moving to find the right environment for their family and kid. How many don’t? The odds are not in their favor.
I think of all the books that I’ve read where the characters have been maimed by their backgrounds, their childhoods, and then I think about these news stories and how much they mesh. Those novels cut to the heart but these media stories? Especially the ones that end so very horrifically? Well, those are the wounds that somehow never really heal once you’ve read or heard about them. As they shouldn’t. That’s why we have an Ali Forney Shelter , A Matthew Shepard Foundation,
and of course The Trevor Project for suicide prevention.
How it makes me want to cry knowing how badly the last is still needed. All of them are so in need in this political climate. So going into the start of school, here are some other links LGBTQIA school kids and their families might need…just in case you know anyone who would benefit or wish to donate…or anything….
Lost-n-Found Youth – Atlanta, GA
Free2Be – Alabama
Stand Up For Kids –Atlanta, GA
Chris Kids –Atlanta, GA
Just Us – Atlanta, GA
Triad House – NJ
Life Ties – Ewing, NJ
The Q Spot – Ocean Grove, NJ
Time Out Youth Center – Charlotte NC
The Ali Forney Center – NYC
Reciprocity Foundation – NYC
Hetrick Martin Institute – NYC
New Alternatives – NYC
Gay & Lesbian Youth Services of Western NY – Buffalo, NY
Pride for Youth – Long Island, NY
ALSO Out Youth Sarasota, FL
Zebra Youth, Orlando, FL
JASMYN, Jacksonville, FL
Pridelines – South Florida
Rainbows End – Spectrum San Anselmo, CA
Hillcrest Youth Center – San
Hatch Youth – Houston, TX
Out Youth – Dallas, TX
Youth First Texas – Dallas, TX
Fiesta Youth – San Antonio, TX
Thrive – San Antonio, TX
Out Youth – Austin, TX
Ruth Ellis Center – Detroit, MI
Ozone House – Ann Arbor, MI
Pathfinders – Milwaukee, WI
SMYAL – Washington DC
Safe Spaces – Washington DC
The DC Center – Washington, DC
Time OUT Youth – Charlotte, NC
Home O’ Hope – Denver, CO
BAGLY– Boston, MA
The Waltham House – Boston, MA
Camp Lightbulb – Provincetown, MA
WAGLY – Wellesley Hills, MA
Lifeworks – Los Angeles, CA
Joshua House – Inland Empire, CA
Youth Care – Seattle, WA
The Q Center – Bremerton, WA
The YEAH! program – Berkley, CA
Castro Youth Housing Initiative, San Francisco, CA
The Billy DeFrank Center, San Jose, CA
Avenues for Youth – Minneapolis, MN
Attic Youth Center – Philadelphia, PA
LGBT Homeless – Chicago, IL
Project Fierce – Chicago, IL
Center on Halsted – Chicago, IL
Lucie’s PLace – Little Rock, AR
So no, this wasn’t where I thought this Sunday’s post was heading, but one, than two, than three news threads on my iPhone this week combined with the backgrounds of some main characters of some of the stories I was reading and the sights of school buses practicing their runs…and a post was born.
We will talk more about what a literary month September is next week. Until then, have a great week, read many books, and see if you can catch a rainbow or two. And maybe push a wish of hope and good wishes to all those LGBTQIA youth heading back to school this coming week.
*Thank you, author Brandon Shire for providing this terrific list. Find more information on the link provided.
Several books I finished this week just furthered my ideas as to what helps launch a romance novel above the mass of romance stories you read or will read over the course of a year or more. One wasn’t terribly successful in the romance department in my opinion while succeeding wildly in almost every other aspect, while two others had an almost constricted romance that still managed to allow their main characters love shine through along with an unusual storyline that unfolded around them.
Why does one fail while others succeed? What makes a well done romance novel? Yes, yes, I know so much can be subjective. I remember that one write’s advice that I repeated (and still think is awful) on concentrating only on the main characters and leaving secondary characters totally alone. Insert roll of eyes here. Because imo a well done supportive cast makes a novel…romance or not. All of my favorite stories mention a marvelously done secondary grouping of characters, almost or as memorable as the main ones.
For some authors, they use their stories as love notes to locations, towns they visited or grew up in or in one instance (Basil, Switzerland) one they live now. The result can be a superb blending of location, culture, and story. For others, its some other element…tree planting, apple orchards, a trip to the Sun Temple and Machu Picchu. This list is endless. Then there is the fantastical…the marvelous blending of mythologies, cultures, gods, and beasts that can come about when imaginations soar and blend with romances.
All of the above have managed to come together for me in romances that became something splendid, magical…even when the book itself was contemporary or science fiction. The author or authors wrote and their story spoke to something deep inside of us.
Stories and characters we remember.
What are those books that still speak to you now and why? What’s so special about them? I really want to know.
So let’s make this official with a What Makes a Book Magic List Giveaway. Send in your comments, it will run til the end of the month and we will giveaway 2 gift certificates to 2 lucky readers. Leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.
I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.
Now for this week’s books and tours.
Unless you are living in a cave somewhere (without wifi) or at the highest reaches of the earth (ditto wifi), you know that a royal wedding took place yesterday between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. At last count, it’s estimated that 2 billion people worldwide watched the royal wedding, one of the most remarkable of it’s kind, with it’s inclusion of an American Bishop, the Rev. Michael Curry’s rousing sermon, a Gospel Choir, and the wonderful UK teenage cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, among the highlights.
Now spring is typically the start of wedding season and what a way to launch it. Yes, I watched. I have long loved that madcap Prince Harry. From happy red-haired toddler to lost little boy following his mother’s coffin to troubled adolescent into his twenties , we’ve all watched him…and I think related. He grew up, went off to service, matured, and, and continued on the path his mother started. And finally found love. How could we not cheer? Especially when it came in the form of Meghan Markle? Someone remarkable in her own right, self assured, oddly similiar background (sans royalty of course) who has used her celebrity to provide wells for women in Africa and continue her own charity work. So, yes, I guess, the world went sort of mad this weekend. Were you watching?
Ah, royal courtships and weddings. It’s the stuff books have always been and are made of. Doesn’t Cinderella ring any bells? Or any Disney princess with their foundations grounded in novels? I’m not just thinking contemporary love stories, although those too. But plenty of science fiction and fantasy stories have royal courtships and interstellar weddings at the heart of their novels. Sometimes, even the fate of a planetary alliance will rest on the union! Gadzooks! That’s a terribly familiar and beloved theme right there! (Shannon West’s Mate of the Tyger Prince jumps into mind). So I was trying to find lists. Any lists. Not very successful. So you know what I’m going to ask.
Wrack those memories! All genres! Let’s get those wedding fics out here! Contemporary, supernatural, scify, fantasy, all of them! We can list by series as well.
I’m sort of starting us off here….
Crofton Hall series by Rebecca Cohen (with some contemporary stories too)
Wake Up Married Series by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths
Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores
Marriage of Inconvenience by M.J. O’Shea
The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray
First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony
Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker
Mate of the Tyger Prince series by Shannon West (shifter aliens, humans, mpreg)
Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye
The Gryphon King’s Consort by Jenn Burke
Its our Royal Wedding Giveaway! No, it’s not their cake! Our giveaway will be associated with this. Let’s call it the Royal Wedding Giveaway! Leave a comment for the rest of the month, along with your recs if any, (address too). A $10 gift card will be given to the one chosen on June 1st. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
It wasn’t that long ago (1980’s and 1990’s) really that the book world was being torn asunder by the rise of the super bookstores like Crown Books, Waldenbooks, B. Daltons, Borders among others who, due to their size and discounting practices, under cut the neighborhood bookstores and put many out of business because they couldn’t compete.
Then ironically came computer ordering and Amazon. Slowly the sales started to erode at the major booksellers as the cheaper hardbacks and then eBooks gained (for many reasons) in popularity and people started buying, not just eBooks but all their books on the computer. Equally ironic? Later we saw the rise of the niche bookstore, quietly returning back to the neighborhoods, filling a hole and feeding a desire that never quite left because people love to visit bookstore, hold actual books, and talk with others who share their passions.
Now its 2018 and so many of those super bookstore chains are gone or failing done in by Amazon’s success, with Google, iTunes and others close behind. Banes and Noble‘s longstanding flagship store in Bethesda is closing…long a landmark. Lately I’ve been wondering if our LGBT publishers have been looking over their shoulders and wondering if they will be able to compete against this giant as well. The list of publishers that have given up recently is depressing because they were the ones I turned to when I wanted my stories to read all those years ago (Samhain Publishing, ARe, Loose Id, Torquere…). it certainly wasn’t’ Amazon.
All those special niche publishers fed my need for these stories , giving home and platform to authors who had stories to tell. There is a much longer list than I gave and not all ended gracefully or were well run, just as all small businesses everywhere. Somehow with us, it seems more personal, our world smaller somehow. Anyhow, I’m getting off-course again. They did something Amazon couldn’t or wouldn’t do. The small and personal against the enormous business machine.
Does the #cockygate ring any bells for you? Google it!
So now Amazon is in the publishing business as well as the selling business and the cost of eBooks is rising. Some say it’s rising far above what people should have to pay for an eBook? What’s too high? $8 $9? What’s your limit for an eBook? What’s the price you would pay for convenience and portability? I get a feeling the market is about to find out.
What are your feelings about this?
Is there a built in balance supplied by the consumer? With the big business on one end (no matter the type Amazon or Crown and the more personal small business mode on the other? Or can both co exist financially if the right market balance is achieved? Same with publishers. Can the very real need for the small niche publishers ensure that they succeed even while the giants like Amazon and Google and iTunes roll on?
I hope that our continuing need for the personal, the quirky, and the individual will help us support our LGBT publishers while also not forgetting that there are self-publishing authors who need to make a living and do so via the juggernaut that is Amazon. We need both and should give our support to both. That doesn’t mean sacrificing scrutiny however, especially where in-house practices are concerned. And not just Amazon.
Much has been said recently about the practices at Borders and the problems at Riptide Publishing has been well documented here.
So, my wonderful readers here, I have one more question to put to you. What responsibility, if any, do we have as readers, to the authors and publishers that we love to read and buy from? Is it enough to simply buy their stories and leave it at that? Or do we have a larger responsibility here simply as book lovers to ensure that the concerns of all readers are being taken care of. That all stories are safe, not pirated, not being withheld from the public because of a giant conglomerate’s minion’s desire to remove all titles with the word Cocky in it (#cockygate), or just because they contain LGBT subject matter on the cover or storyline. Or even, help us, have a PoC on the cover. Do we just keep buying books or do we do something? And what?
What say you? I’d really like to know…
Yes, May is upon us and I couldn’t be happier! That means our official last day of frost has passed and its safe to plant our annuals. For us nerds, we can look forward to May 4th….Star Wars Day. Yes, May the Fourth be with you! And Cinco de Mayo will follow on its heels.
Bluebirds have been back, nest building in earnest. The pollen count is rising…sorry but the trees are going mad in the spring. Nature is bursting forth again with growth. And the days are getting longer, something that always lifts my spirits.
So too the fact that I can take my Kindle outside to read while the dogs investigate the yard to see what’s new and exciting or old and inviting. You never know with them.
Odd little interesting items you might be interested in, especially if you like comic books like me. The first saturday in May? Its Free Comic Book Day. Here’s the history and info. Call your local store to see if its participating.
Calling all nerds, geeks, and comic book aficionados. Today is Free Comic Book Day.
Who says you can’t get something for nothing? On this very special day, comic book stores all over the country hand our specially printed copies of free comic books. Some comic book stores take it a step further, setting up shelves of free comic books, with no strings attached. Take one or take several, and you don’t owe the store anything. Of course, the comic book stores are trying to hook you into the fun world of comic books, so you come back and buy new editions over and over again. Occasionally, stores will also hand out other freebies, memorabilia, posters, etc.
Free Comic Book Day, taking place on the first Saturday of May, is an annual promotional effort by the North American Comic Book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. At last count, over 2,000 retailers in 30 countries participate in this fun filled day.
Head on out to your local comic book store, and get hooked on the world of comics.
Friday, May 5th is a very busy day. It’s also Oyster Day (great since I’m so close to the Chesapeake Bay). I’ll take advantage of this! Maybe have half a dozen raw oysters and read a free comic. Sounds like a plan to me. Did you know that there are LGBT comics out there? Remember that post?
Anyhow it’s looking to be a busy week! Let the May celebrations begin!
From our readers who left comments for our What’s Old is New Again Giveaway, I’d like to post them here.
Thank you for the generous giveaway … I think in regards to issues coming left and right from Romancelandia these days, I would love to read more about INTERRACIAL COUPLE trope. I don’t feel like I read it a lot. Other than that, I still see the same old tropes playing around, enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers …
[ I agree, Ami. Your comment is timely, One of the books I read last week Why I Trust You by Colette Davison featured an interracial couple as does one by Alex Beecroft in one of my favorite series Contraband Hearts (Porthkennack #10) by Alex Beecroft. I’m reviewing that on Saturday. What is fascinating about that one is that it is an M/M historical romance that absolutely feels authentic. Authors! More please!]
I read pretty much the same tropes I’ve always have keeping to shifter stories, mpreg and friends to lovers. Mpreg and shifter stories kind of go hand in hand but I notice in the past year there have been more and more stories that focus on mpreg stories that involve alpha /omega couples that don’t having shifting abilities. I see resurfacing of marriage of convenience/relationship of convenience stories too.
[True, H.B., I see more and more of those as well. One of the things I see popping up on cable/tv…everywhere are the prince stories and the commoner stories. Gosh. Wonder where that idea came from. And how long before it makes its way into the M/M stories. shall we take a poll?]
♦︎From Purple Reader:
Thanks for the generous gift. And thanks so much for taking time to highlight the issues brought up in “What’s New In LGBT Romance Fiction”. As you can tell, they mean a lot to me, and I think it’s good to visit these issues so that we keep in mind how our community is impacted by such RW issues, but also how we can create positive change. And that’s something SPRING does for me, too – bringing warmth and hope as well as renewal.
[You’re welcome, P.R. and yes, those issues mean a lot to us here too. The LGBTQIA Book World is a small universe of authors, publishers, editors, covers artists, and promotional groups and more. All of those have a larger impact that extends outward to current readers and, I feel, future readers that will find their books and, perhaps, recognize themselves within and see a larger universe that awaits them. I hope so. Thanks for all your wonderful comments!]
🎼Music of the Moment: Appalachian spring by Aaron Copland
Because I can hear the bubbling spring all along its journey and yes, everything about this piece makes me think of Spring and possibilities!
My thanks to everyone who left such wonderful comments. The winner of What’s Old is New Again Giveaway is H.B.!. H.B., please contact Stella at email@example.com and she will hook you up with your gift certificate! Congratulations.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Senana Saz Rays has been sentenced to four years of slave labor on prison planet Indiku after assaulting his state appointed psychiatrist. Leaving his lover Rhyan behind on earth, Sena spends his time on the planet Indiku working with the coveted medicinal leeri flowers. Although a slave, he can’t help but find peace in the mundane life he’s lived on the alien planet and the wondrous sightings of the indigenous Zanzi that look so much like mythical earth dragons. Senana is just one year shy of going home and being with Rhyan again when all thoughts of freedom are swiped away as a massive Zanzi takes him from the leeri fields and back to the mountains it calls home.
La’el is a proud Zanzi. His only wish was to find a life mate and experience the bond his parents share. When he finally finds him in the leeri fields he doesn’t hesitate to take Sena— even their vast physical differences won’t dissuade the young Zanzi. La’el will do anything to prove to Sena that they are meant to be together, even if he’s unsure how to convince his human mate.
Both La’el and Sena are about to find out that there is more between them than either of them could ever imagine. Their bond affects more than just their fate, but also reveals a true evil buried in the heart of Indiku, and all the way back to Earth.
This story sucked me in at the very beginning and I loved learning about Indiku from Sena and La’el’s eyes. However, there was no real indication of the love triangle that would come into play near the end of the book or the large cliffhanger the story ended on. It wasn’t complete and there isn’t any other indication that there will be another book and if it will come when. The writing in this story was very well written, it’s just path the story took that I have a problem with.
La’el is so happy to find his mate and doesn’t understand why Sena doesn’t feel the same way. Sena feels a connection to La’el but still thinks about his lover from earth, Rhyan. When they seek shelter it is Rhyan Sena turns to.
I liked the world building in Indiku near the beginning though I didn’t feel like I really learned much about their culture. La’el wasn’t right just taking Sena the way he did but I could see he was young and very impulsive. I felt sorry for La’el once they got to earth because now he has to compete with Sena’s previous lover while trying to navigate this new world that Sena has brought him to. I can’t say I ever really liked Sena, he came off very brash and I never felt he redeemed himself. Protecting La’el if about the only good thing I felt he did. We didn’t see much of Rhyan but what I see I didn’t like and then the whole selling dragons thing that was apparently going on, I didn’t learn enough about it but obviously this goes into more problems that are beneath the surface. I was so upset by the end of the book I’m not sure I will even read it if a follow-up book comes out.
The cover art by E Keith and S Neff is nice and I love the two visuals of La’el.
ebook, 226 pages
Published: March 1, 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing
Edition Language: English
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
It’s Valentine’s Day again and popular technologies executive Flynn Reynolds has received more than his share of candy from the single women employees and mother’s of marriageable age daughters. His best friend Greer Sheen thinks it’s funny that every year Flynn has to lug a ton of chocolate home from the office. Usually foreigners don’t get this much attention in Tokyo! But Flynn isn’t just anybody. He’s the youngest son of the richest American man in Japan. They both get the surprise of their lives with a young Japanese man appears and presents a box of candy to Flynn. Straight laced Greer is shocked that a guy has offered his heart to Flynn, even though Flynn has professed to be gay. Greer just thinks it’s a phase Flynn is going through. After all, Flynn had married a woman and had a son, but he could be wrong, especially since Flynn looked completely enamored by dark-haired, dark-eyed guy who was brave enough to show up with sweets. Would Flynn be foolish enough to risk his reputation and cause an international scandal in Tokyo?
This was a cute story. You could see how flattered Flynn was and Chiriro’s pure interest and how much he has invested his heart before they even met. I am still thrown on the traditions and expectations of the culture and haven’t felt they have been well described for me. I really liked seeing these two go with their feelings despite what any around them may say or do. The only thing that I had an issue with is Flynn would refer to himself as bisexual in one sentence and then gay in the next like he couldn’t decide either way.
The cover art by E Keith is cute and is perfect for a Valentines story.
ebook, 35 pages
Published: February 2, 2017 by Painted Hearts Publishing
Edition Language: English