Check out the Last Splash of Summer with Beach Rental Anthology (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Beach Rental, M/M Anthology

Author: M.T. Aspen, Asta Idonea, Dale Cameron Lowry, Lynn Townsend, Jamie Lowe, & Rob Rosen

Publisher: Torquere Press

Release Date: September 24, 2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 32,000 Words

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotic-Romance

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Synopsis

In Drinks Over Sunset by M.T. Aspen, Vagabond Witt’s flight from his past is unexpectedly stalled by a gorgeous expat. But if Dean holds on too tightly, he’ll only inflict more pain on the man he loves. In Lick by Asta Idonea, Jay is unimpressed when his parents drag him on a seaside holiday to Bournemouth. However, the English summer heats up when he meets sexy ice cream seller Aland. In Pacific Rimming by Dale Cameron Lowry, Turning forty makes Mike feel old, so his husband, Ken, helps him recapture his youth in a ménage a trois with a gorgeous younger man. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?

In Sea Salt & Chocolate by Lynn Townsend, Marriage is hard work, everyone knows that. Will a summer vacation lead to reigniting sparks between Eric and Temple, or will it tear their family apart? In Weekend Encounter by Jamie Lowe, Jackson may not be looking for romance during a weekend getaway with his friends, but that doesn’t mean romance isn’t looking for him. When Jackson encounters Logan, his plan to third wheel with his buddies is derailed in the best way possible. In Yin and Yang by Rob Rosen, An unexpected early morning encounter between a surfer and California newbie leads to much more than either ever expected along a deserted stretch of pristine beach. Love, it seems, is in the misty sea air!

Excerpt

Sea Salt & Chocolate

by Lynn Townsend

“The carpet’s stainproof,” Eric said, quiet under his breath as Temple stood over the spot while Miriam sobbed on the sofa. “We can just rag it up, not a big deal.”

“This is why we can’t have nice things,” Temple retorted, very quietly. The sentiment was entirely sincere, for that moment in time, but not something he really wanted Miriam to glom on to and drag out as ammunition later in life.

“Ya always did have an uptight streak a mile wide,” Eric said. He had already fetched a washcloth and was blotting up the stain. Astonishingly enough, the white carpet was reporting back clean.

Miriam took advantage of her parents cleaning the carpet to flee the scene. By the time Eric had finished blotting up chocolate milk and carefully drying the spot, she was back from a complete exploration of the house—excluding, of course, her brother’s room, he had locked it against her, and even then, Temple could hear her banging on the door and demanding to be let in, along with A.J.’s crackling baritone denials—and declared “I’m bored.”

“We’ve been here for—” Temple checked his watch “—twenty minutes. You have at least another forty minutes before you’re allowed to be bored.”

“There’s nothin’ to do, Dad,” she complained.

“What would you be doing if you were at home?”

“Watchin’ YouTube.”

“Get me your phone and I’ll hook you up to the wireless,” Eric said. A.J. had registered a number of complaints about Miriam getting a phone so young, since he’d had to wait ’til he was twelve before they’d added his line, whereas Miriam got her phone only a few months back. Temple had gotten tired of Miriam constantly stealing his phone and playing Minecraft on it. It had been much easier, not to mention peaceful, to just let everyone in the house have a device.

Temple sighed, gazing down at his husband, who remained on the floor while he dealt with a six-year-old’s crisis. Eric had gone back to school, pursuing a degree in architecture, but he’d also taken on most of the household duties, including the emotional nurturing of their children, and at the same time, Temple had discovered himself shoved to the side. Their children went to Eric for comfort first, and Temple only when Eric wasn’t available. Oddly, Temple found he missed it. Missed little arms thrown around his neck, missed the trembly smiles after getting a Band-Aid.

And whose fault is that? He asked himself. You were eager enough to give it up, when Eric offered. Your family’s not broken yet, you can still fix it before it gets too far off track. And Eric’s right. I can’t remember the last time we had a lot of time together, without any responsibilities.

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Torquere Press

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Publisher of GLBT fiction books http://www.torquerepress.com to offer the finest in erotic LGBT romance available.

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Scary Spotlight: Haunted Hotties 2 Anthology from Torquere Press (excerpts and contest)

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Authors Name: McKay, Rob Rosen, Dakota Caudill, Elizabeth Coldwell,
Jessica Payseur, Jessica Chase, Louisa Bacio, Charles Payseur,
Helena Maeve, Avery Dawes

Anthology: Haunted Hotties Volume II
Release Date: October 28, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

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Blurb

This Halloween collection has a little something for everybody. With demons, ghosts, psychics, reapers, shifters, and witches… a rainbow of paranormal/supernatural is included.

In Everything a Big Bad Wolf Could Want by McKay, Whimsy has to decide if he’s in love with his straight, next-door neighbor by Halloween or risk losing him forever. In Casper the Horny Ghost by Rob Rosen, Chris not only inherited a long-abandoned house, he also inherited the ghost that came with it. In Necromantic by Dakota Caudill, Kaitlyn’s always felt like she was waiting for something, but she never expected her new girlfriend to be able to raise the dead. In The Man in Green by Elizabeth Coldwell, Richard intends to cut down all the trees surrounding his new property, but the man in the woods has other ideas. In Haunts Old and New by Jessica Payseur, Rosalie doesn’t like the new ghost that’s in her house and yet, she can’t seem to stay away from her. In The Fisher Lot by Jessica Chase, it turns out being dared to spend the night in the local “haunted house” might be the best thing that’s ever happened to Barney.

In Open by Louisa Bacio, Martina keeps trying to pretend that everything is fine, but the ghosts in her new B&B are just as determined to get her attention. In A Friendly Ghostbusting by Charles Payseur, an old rival who once humiliated him is not what Cas needs as he sets out to explore an old psychiatric prison. In Darkling by Helena Maeve, Eugene tried to warn Caleb and his friends away from Ledwich University and soon enough they’ll learn… they really should have listened. In The Devil’s in the Details by Avery Dawes, since they died during the Civil War, Oliver and Francis get one night a year together; but they have to be careful or they’ll never get another one.

 

Pages or Words: 63,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Historical, Horror, Humor, Lesbian Romance, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Anthology – Please remember not all stories in an anthology encompass all catetgories.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Everything a Big Bad Wolf Could Want by McKay

He rolled his head to look at Harlan, wanting to make sure he was all right, only to find Harlan lying on his side, looking at him. They gazed at each other in silence for a long moment, then Harlan reached out and stroked Whimsy’s cheek.

“My wolf likes you,” he said, his voice raspy with a strange undercurrent like a growl beneath the surface.

“That’s good, isn’t it?” Whimsy mustered a smile, trying to resist the urge to nuzzle against Harlan’s fingers. That wasn’t his right.

Suddenly, Harlan moved, and Whimsy found himself pinned beneath Harlan’s large, heavy, naked body. “It likes you more’n it likes Barbara.”

This close, Whimsy could see something feral in Harlan’s eyes, as if the wolf hadn’t loosened its grip completely yet, and he wanted to call it forth. He wanted to belong to it, and he was overwhelmed by a desire to show his throat and surrender that he’d never felt with anyone before.

“Maybe that should tell you something,” he said boldly. If he were a noble, self-sacrificing man, he would have extricated himself and encouraged Harlan to think only of his girlfriend, but he wasn’t that noble or self-sacrificing, and he couldn’t bring himself to feel terribly guilty about it at the moment.

“I like women. But there’s something about you, Whims…” Harlan bent his head and ran his nose along the length of Whimsy’s throat as if scenting him, and Whimsy shivered as he tilted his head back.

Whimsy shifted beneath Harlan just enough to seat Harlan’s lean hips in the cradle of his thighs, and Harlan settled there like they were made to fit together. Feeling bolder, Whimsy slid one hand along Harlan’s arm to rest on his shoulder, testing to see what Harlan would allow.

“Liking women doesn’t mean you can’t like men too,” he pointed out. “It’s not an either-or thing for some people. Maybe you like both.”

“Maybe I do. I’ve thought about other men before, including you. I don’t know.” Harlan released a long, slow sigh. “There’s a lotta things I don’t know these days.”

“I know I like you a lot,” Whimsy whispered, sliding his hand to the back of Harlan’s neck and stroking it gently. “I think we could be good together.”

 

Buy the book: Torquere Books

 

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Where to find the authors:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Jessie G. Books, KathyMac Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter, BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Havan Fellows, Bayou Book Junkie, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Inked Rainbow Reads, Unquietly Me, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Bonkers About Books, Divine Magazine, Posy Roberts, Velvet Panic

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Haunted Hotties II’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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In the STRW Spotlight: Rob Rosen’s Men of the Manor Tour (contest)

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Focusing In On:  Rob Rosen and the Men of the Manor Anthology

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Rob Rosen here today to talk about the Men of the Manor Anthology, and sit down for another great author interview.  Rob has brought along a great contest to enter.  

Contest: a pdf format copy of Men of the Manor. Leave a Comment below with your favorite historical era or book, make sure it has an email address where you can be reached. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Contest ends 9/21.

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Men of the Manor Anthology

Edited by Rob Rosen

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The country estate, masters and servants, mystery and intrigue,
sex and money. All go hand in hand in these turn-of-the-century
tales of what goes on behind the manor’s closed doors. Does the
master lure the butler to the phonograph room for a romp
behind the sofa, or does the stable boy have a tryst with the
footman while the lord longingly watches on? Does the aristocrat
drop his foppish manners when the butler helps him undress?
And do the classes exchange more than pleasantries when the
lamps are dimmed and the ladies retire for the evening?

Rob Rosen has gathered the hottest stories of romance and sex
between wealthy aristocrats and the hard-working estate staff,
all with a pre–World War I backdrop, including the fashion and
art and the latest inventions of the day. War is years way, the
estates are huge and sprawling, the fashionably elite have too
much time on their hands, while the toiling underclass are always
on the lookout for a means to a brighter future — no matter
whose bed they end up in. Think Downton Abbey and Upstairs,
Downstairs, but with enough sex to make the town vicar blush.

Men of the Manor: Erotic Encounters between Upstairs Lords and Downstairs Lads
by Rob Rosen

Buy Link ebooks:    All Romance eBooks  Amazon      Men of the Manor Anthology

It is also in paperback.

 My Interview with Rob Rosen on all things Men of the Manor….

STRW:  Pre WWI era, why that setting?

Rob Rosen: It was during this time that manors, and hence servants, were commonplace. After WWI, and as a result of it, this way of life quickly began to vanish. Since the collection is about masters and servants, the timeframe I picked seemed to make the most sense. Plus, it offers a glimpse into an era that’s both intriguing and so vastly out of sync with our own.

STRW:  You seem to have all the genres covered: Mystery, Romance, History…a kind of Downton Abby for Lords and Lads. I love the idea for this collection. How did that all come about?

Rob Rosen:  Well, you already hit the nail on the head. Downton Abby is still a huge hit, and so a collection like the one I’ve put together seemed ripe for the picking. Cleis Press readily agreed with me, and, voila, Men of the Manor was born. Plus, I’ve always been a fan of stories about the haves and the have-nots, and the struggle between the two classes that results.

STRW:  Historical fiction is one of the hardest genres in my opinion to write. So many things have to be accurate for the time frame, including dialog and laws. How did that play into the authors chosen to write the stories or did it?

Rob Rosen:  Those things were actually secondary in my decision process. I simply chose the best stories, the hottest ones, but the ones that were highly literary as well. Still, you’re correct; the dialog did have to ring true, as did the social mores of the time, the dress, the way a manor is run. Fortunately, the authors in this anthology are all superior writers and were all adept at keeping with the theme.

 STRW:  Saucy lads and naughty lords…just the thought makes me gleeful. Any particular Lord come to mind when this subject matter popped up? Lord Darcy? Lord Byron, for example?

Rob Rosen:  Not really, no. In fact, the lords and masters in the collection are all strikingly different from one another. Some are caring and some cruel, some seeking the sex out, some chancing upon it. Yet all are well-aware of their power over their servants, and all the servants, in turn, are aware of their places in the house, which is what makes the inevitable sex that much more illicit, steamier, sexier.

STRW:  Do you see this as a one time collection or something that could be repeated with additional authors?

Rob Rosen:  I’d love a sequel! But, hey, only time will tell. Fingers crossed that Men of the Manor will be a big enough hit to merit one.

STRW:  I think I may have asked you this before but what do you find sexy?

Rob Rosen:  Literarily speaking, I find unexpected encounters sexy, when the characters find themselves in situations they never saw coming. Men of the Manor is chock full of just such unexpected encounters, of masters of the house suddenly finding themselves, sexually speaking, with the help and vice-versa, and then having to deal with the ramifications. These kinds of scenarios make for great plot twists as well.

STRW:  If this collection runs the gamut of the social structure of the time, does it do the same fiction wise? From serious angst to lighthearted comedy?

Rob Rosen: For sure! In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way. A well devised anthology gives the reader the full spectrum of human emotion. So while some of the stories are deep and/or brooding, several are also lighthearted, romantic, sweet. And a couple are downright whimsical in nature.

STRW:  I won’t ask favorites, that’s not fair. But do you have a favorite historical novel or movie that you love to watch over and over again?

Rob Rosen: Hands down, Tea with Mussolini. But who doesn’t love a movie starring Cher and Judi Dench? In terms of novels, I’m a huge fan of Gore Vidal. I’ve read all of his historical novels: the Narratives of Empire series. I even got to meet the man and shake his hand!

STRW:   What’s up next for Rob Rosen?

Rob Rosen: There’s, thankfully, lots coming up. My next anthology, the renowned Best Gay Erotica 2015, will be out in December, followed by Warlords and Warriors early next year. And in February, my eighth novel, Creature Comfort, will be released.

If you want to keep up with all this and much more, please visit me at www.therobrosen.com or on his Goodreads author page.

Author Bio:

Rob Rosen is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, “Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love”, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated “Divas Las Vegas”, which was the winner of the 2010 TLA Gaybies for Best Gay Fiction, “Hot Lava”, “Southern Fried”, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated “Queerwolf”, “Vamp”, and “Queens of the Apocalypse”. His short stories have appeared in more than 200 anthologies. You can find 20 of them in his erotic romance anthology, “Good & Hot”. He is also the editor of “Lust in Time: Erotic Romance Through the Ages” and “Men of the Manor: Erotic Encounters between Upstairs Lords and Downstairs Lads”. Please visit him at his website.

Review: Queens of the Apocalypse by Rob Rosen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Queens of the Apocalypse coverFabulous drag queens Destiny St. James, Kit Kat, and Blondella Bombshell were making preparations for their first show of the evening when all hell broke loose and life on earth was forever changed.  Protected by the steel walls of their dressing room, formerly a meat locker in a converted old restaurant, the drag queens never saw the solar flares that reduced most of the earth’s population to zombies.  But once outside, the direness of their situation is soon made all too clear.  Zombies are everywhere and only a message left on Blondella’s cell phone indicates that other people might have made it through alive, including her boyfriend in New York City.

What ensues is no less than apocalyptic road trip across American, one that would include the remnants of the US Army, Cher and an armload of Bob Mackie costumes, a few bedazzlers and strangely enough, true love for all three.  Not even the destruction of civilization as we know is enough to keep these girls out of their Jimmy Choos (knockoffs) and red nail polish!  Watch out, zombies, the Queens of the Apocalypse are headed your way!

I love, LOVE Queens of the Apocalypse!  Just when I think I am all “zombied out” by all the zombie books, undead tv shows and movies, along comes this fabulous (what other word could possibly fit) novel by Rob Rosen and I am back in the zombie fan club.  Of course, no other zombie story that I am aware of has such flamboyant, totally impossible and outrageously lovable stars  like Destiny, Kit and Blondella!  Nothing gets these girls down, including world annihilation and solar flares.

Rob Rosen made me believe in and fall in love with these drag queens from the very start when we meet them in the process of getting made up for their evening show at the club.  The dialog between the girls in the dressing room is affectionately snarky and hilarious, while remaining down to earth and totally real.  Making notes as I read became impossible as the story and those fabulous girls kept me enthralled in their journey across country and life and death situations they encounter.  It’s that old ‘laughing through the tears” storyline, but mostly laughing even as the living dead surround them and their circumstance often seems hopeless.  But Rob is not interested in stereotypes, although some of the situations and scenes can be downright campy.  No, Rosen has delivered some confident, intelligent, and resilient individuals who persevere no matter how high the odds or zombies that are stacked against them.  Destiny, our narrator, Kit and Blondella just keep rising to the occasion when presented with new obtacles or surprises, like an undead Drag Queen friend of theirs, Creature and a wealth of SuperSoakers as artillery!  With wigs askew, makeup running, and cracked nails, these wonderful characters demonstrate compassion, and a largesse of heart that keeps this story poignant as well as comedic.  Because even with all the death and mayhem surrounding them, there are such great comedic episodes that will have you laughing till your cheeks hurt. And there are still those quiet moments of reflection and despair, often at night, where the frightening reality of exactly how slim their chances are of making it is driven home for them and for the reader.  This is such an amazing story.

Rob Rosen’s tightly told and layered narrative never falters or bogs down. Instead we and the Queens are moved along at a fast pace, just barely (and sometimes not at all) keeping ahead of the zombie hoards now roaming the city streets and countryside.  Voracious, stiff and groaning, the zombies here are both heartbreaking and scary.  And they never stop coming.  Rosen’s plan for them was as surprising a twist as all the other elements found here.  I loved it.  And Queen Creature too.  Because for all the quips and bon mots Destiny, Kit, Blondella throw out, underneath all that bravado is the heart-rending reality of a world forever traumatically changed. It’s a new reality where all everyone they knew has died and returned as zombies. Vanished as well is all the support and social structure people count on, that of the United States of America as most probably all other countries too.

And even though Rosen has created some wonderful companions/love interests for our heroines, the sad fact is none of our merry band of survivors can be sure that there are more like them out there.  So struggle on they do, with hope, love, and a great deal of attitude, they are drag queens after all.  But yes, love interests arrive and they are as interesting a lot as the drag queens they fall in love with.  There aren’t many characters here (as you can well imagine) but those still talking and walking are as layered and realistic a group as the main characters.

Queens of the Apocalypse is one novel that has it all.  It has humor, suspense, horror, romance, and an absolutely outstanding ending.  Its as if Rosen went through the literary pantry pulling everything off the shelves and tossing them into his author mixing bowl.  And what he came up with is a smashing fictional dish that satisfies everyones palate.  A goodly dose of guffaws is balanced with a bouquet of tears, a pinch of spice and snark to go with the softness and surprise of love found amongst the ruins of society.  Really I can’t wait to go back and read it all over again.

I highly recommend you put this on the top of your TBR stack if you aren’t already reading it now.  It is one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Best of 2014!

Cover art by Wilde City Press.  I certainly wish I knew the name of the artist behind this fabulous cover.  It’s utter perfection and almost too big in attitude to be reduced to the size of a cover.  I love this!

Book Details:

Published January 29th 2014 by Wilde City Press
ISBN139781925031775
edition languageEnglish
Buy Link:  Wilde City Press

Now Cut that Out, Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs, & Contests

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Now Cut That Out!!!! 

Once again we seem to be on the weather rollercoaster of all time here in the DC area (ok, so much of the country is there with us).  One day 80 degrees, the next day snow and sleet.  No really, that was us last week. The Cherry Blossoms popped out over night and record crowds packed the Tidal Basin to take in the pink beauty and monuments.

For about 2 to 3 days.

And then the snow and sleet and winds and freezing cold set in once more.  I  don’t have to tell you what happened to most of the blossoms do I?  Yep, history.  So now the temps have climbed back to the 50’s and all the plants I moved outside are back indoors until who knows when.

Like me.

Maybe by the end of June I will be able to go outside and plant in the gardens.  I have so many plants that didn’t make it through this winter.  Le sigh.  Maybe I will use this as an excuse to plan some new gardens.  I will have plenty of bare patches to fill that’s for sure.

Now on to the business at hand.  I have several winner announcements listed below, for Abigail Roux’s Ball & Chain book tour . S.J. Frost’s Vampire Prince tour, and Blaine D. Arden’s The Forester II Guest Blog/Contest:

 And the Winners Are……

Winners of the Ball & Chain Book Tour and Contest are:

Jessie Miller
Shannonn Vandermark
Melissa Crisp
Denise Smith

Kathy Latimer
Debra Guyette
Laurie Peterson
Cindi Clubbs,
Scarlett Camaj
Nicole Martens

Winner of SJ Frost’s  Vampire Prince,  tour is :  A.J.

Winner of Blaine D. Arden’s The Forester isblackasphodel

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Congratulations to all the winners.  My thanks goes out to everyone who participated as well as authors Abigail Roux and S.J. Frost for stopping by with such great posts and wonderful giveaways!

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Now on to the week ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs and Contests:

Monday, 4/21:            Haunted Halls by M Raiya
Tuesday, 4/22:            Queens of the Apocalypse by Rob Rosen
Wed., 4/23:                  Back to the Frat with Anne Tenino and her Poster Boy (Contest)
Thursday, 4/24:          Poster Boy by Anne Tenino
Friday, 4/25:               To the Other Side by S.J. Frost
Sat., 4/26:                    Blown Kisses by Havan Fellows

Review: Mixed Tapes Volume #2 Edited by Kris Jacen

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Rating 3.5 stars out of 5

Mixed Tape 2 coverRemember when there was nothing finer than someone putting together a tape of music that meant something to you both.  A song here that brought back memories of a special date or a song there that spelled out the love you had for each other.   That special list of songs on that Mixed Tape told you someone was thinking about you and your relationship with them when putting that list together.  Here is the second volume of songs and the stories that revolve around the relationships forever tied together by musical memories.

Mixed Tape – Volume #2:

“Never Goin’ to Let You Go” by Embry Carlysle
“Living On My Own” by Megan Slayer
“Save Your Love For Me” by Lex Valentine
“Up Where We Belong” by Rob Rosen
“It’s Raining Men” by Diana DeRicci
“How Soon Is Now” by Christopher Koehler

I did not read the first anthology in this series although I love the subject of these two volumes.  I still have locked away somewhere a tape or two that a former boyfriend mixed together for me, tapes that still manage to bring back smiles and perhaps a few tears along with the memories.  Among these stories I have found a new author to love, and several stories to recommend.  I am not sure if any of these stories have companion pieces in the first volume but one story here in particular is sending me back to check.   Here are the stories as they line up in the anthology:

1.  How Soon Is Now by Christopher Koehler.  Rating: 4 stars

Toby Meyer and Derek Tremaine are university undergraduates.  And each has been eyeing the other for months but neither has worked up the courage to approach the other man.  For Derek, past mistakes have made him overly cautious about relationship until the sight of Toby makes Derek want much more with the other man. For Toby, Derek is frustration personified.  He can’t understand why the man won’t ask him out on a date.  One night at a party which change the stalemate Toby and Derek are locked in.  For someone else has his eyes on Toby and Derek must decide to act for both their sakes.

I wished this story had been a little longer but the characters were interesting and endearing.  Derek especially was a interesting take on the “larger man”.  His sense of fashion is an important part of his personality, a trait more often seen in the young quirky characters instead of someone as huge as Derek.  Loved him, and this aspect of the story.  I only wish it has been a little longer and the resolution more drawn out.

2.  It’s Raining Men by Diana DeRicci. Rating: 5 stars

Dallas and his group of friends have come to Paper Dolls to cheer on their friend in the drag queen contest.  But from the moment he lays his eyes on Pepper Prince (aka Peter), the hostess of the club, Dallas knows he must do everything possible to get to know the man on stage.  Pepper Prince has a firm policy to never date any of his “dolls” or members of the audience who comes to see them.  Dallas, however, is impossible to ignore and persistent beyond measure.  When they do finally get together, the sparks fly.  But Peter has been hurt in the past.  Can Dallas overcome Peter’s past to make a future for himself and Peter together?

This is simply an amazing story.  Outstanding characterizations and terrific plot make this story a true standout.  DeRicci layers the story with several couples that you want to know better, along with the point of view of gay man who loves dressing as a woman and being a man.  The author makes Peter such an accessible personality, so well grounded in his beliefs that every reader will be able to understand exactly where Peter is coming from emotionally and applaud him.  Dallas too has so many wonderful strengths and accompanying insecurities that the pair is terrific apart and as a couple.  I simply wanted more of them, and their friends.  This is the best story of the anthology.  I want more in this universe.

3. Up Where We Belong by Rob Rosen. Rating: 3.5 stars

A limousine driver is standing in an airport holding a sign with a name on it – Ted Jackson.  Unfortunately for him, two men with the exact name arrive at the airport at the same time, one from the East Coast and one from the West.  The solution?  Both men take the same car to their hotel and a romance ensues that turns into something much more for them both.

This is a very cute story.  I loved the idea of two men with the same name and one very confused limousine driver.  There are some hot sexy scenes and a quick resolution.  Another case of instant love but here it kind of works.  Short and sweet.

4. Living On My Own by Megan Slayer. Rating 3 stars

Kelsey’s life is in turmoil.  He has just been dumped by his ex who has made awful accusations about him, his sister has trashed the house he let her stay in and he is lonely beyond measure.  Then Daniel Tate shows up, the man Kelsey has never gotten over.  They had a wonderful life before Daniel’s drinking destroyed their relationship.  Now Daniel is back and sober.  Daniel also wants Kelsey back.  Can Kelsey work through all the pain he has been put through and trust Daniel again?  Or will their last chance at a relationship be lost forever?

I liked Kelsey and Daniel well enough,  although I would have appreciated a little more back history on them both.  They were involved in a BDSM relationship and they pick back up on that immediately as soon as Daniel reenters Kelsey’s life.  Kelsey has just been humiliated in public due to a man he trusted, the trust he had previously place in Daniel had been destroyed due to Daniel’s drinking.  So how it is that they pick back up on that part of their relationship immediately given their test issues?  I liked the rest of their story well enough but this issues dragged it down to a 3 star rating.

5. Never Goin’ to Let You Go by Embry Carlysle. Rating: 2 stars

Takes place in Chicago in the 1980’s.  Friends Drake and Shane come to grips with each other and their sexuality.  Drake is gay and unashamedly so.  Shane is sure that he is straight to the point of making fun of gays and throwing around gay slurs.  Shane is also attracted to Drake which confuses him and makes him act out in a cowardly fashion.  Months and months go by and the miscommunications and misplaced emotions pile up.  Can Drake and Shane break through Shane’s self imposed barriers to have the relationship they want with each other?

Sigh.  I almost didn’t make it through this story.  It feels impenetrably long, like slogging through molasses on a cold day.   The writing is overly dense, the same issues repeated innumerable times throughout the story until the reader just doesn’t care any longer how the boys resolve their problems to have any sort of relationship.   Shane particularly is not a likable or endearing character.  I am not sure why the author feels like the reader should connect with him,  Instead we are left thinking that Drake should have moved on eons ago.  My least favorite story of the group.

6.  Save Your Love by Lex Valentine. Rating 2.5 stars

Starts out May 1987 in San Jose, California.  On his 18th birthday, Jay Sparks loses his virginity and finds out he is gay at a rock festival. Jay also discovers that Matt Langdon, his friend and first lover is also his forever love.  But it will be years and many different paths and lovers for each of them before they will be ready to take the chance on a relationship and a forever love.

I just couldn’t connect with these characters, however much I wanted to.  Jay, now a rock star, and Matt, a firefighter, keep meeting, usually on birthdays, having sex and telling each other how much they love each other.  They also  have to tell each other they just got tested and when was the last time they slept with someone else.  Conversations then occur where they deny their many lovers mean anything and that they know this causes each other pain.  *head desk*  Nothing about their relationship or feelings felt very realistic or believable,  When Jay says “I don’t understand how I can be with other guys when loving you feels so right, ” well, by that time I really didn’t care.  Far too short to make the reader engaged in such a relationship.  My penultimate least favorite story in this anthology.

Book Details:

ebook, 253 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by MLR Press
ISBN 1020130092
edition languageEnglish
seriesMixed T

Review: Fever Anthology by M Rode

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

If you love cowboys, than this is the anthology for you.  From cowboy tv stars to those that ride bucking bulls and every permutation in between, these 8 stories will make you laugh, make you sigh, even reach for a fan or too but always make you remember why you love a cowboy.

Stories included in Fever are:Fever cover

Loose Riggin’ by Julia Talbot
Two Buckets and a Snakeskin Suit by Aaron Michaels
Torn by Sean Michael
Cowboy and Indian by Rob Rosen
Heart of Dixie by Mychael Black
Ready to Ride by Katherine Halle
White Hat/Black Hat by Kiernan Kelly
In the Pocket, a Roughstock story by BA Tortuga

I really enjoyed this anthology, especially because cowboys are a real weakness for me.  Of special interest was the new story from BA Tortuga in her Roughstock series, I cannot get enough of those boys.  It also introduced me to a series I hadn’t heard of, Mychael Black’s Hearth and Home series, so that was a plus too.  Here in sequence as they appear are mini reviews of each story:

1.  Loose Riggin‘ by Julia Talbot: 3.5 stars

One cowboy on the way up, one cowboy bull rider on the way down.  Baron LeBlanc is a top bullrider at the end of his career.  During one ride he injuries himself badly and an young bull rider, Arlen Deamus, offers to take care of him and become his traveling partner.  I loved this story and thought the characters and the plot were full of promise.  It is the perfect introduction for a longer story.  Julia Talbot draws us in with her wonderful characters, great names and vivid descriptions but just as we are settling in, its over. As a short story, it ends so abruptly that it feels incomplete and the reader feels more than a little frustrated after investing emotionally in the story.  I would love to see this author expand Baron and Arlen romance into a full length book.  I will be first in line to pick it up.

2. Two Buckets and a Snakeskin Suit by Aaron Michaels: Rating 3.5 stars out of 5

While on vacation, Marcus and his sister Shelly attend camel races outside Las Vegas.  Shelly is dying to meet an Australian cowboy and these camel races have more than their share of those.  But when Marcus is hurt after he falls off a camel, he is the one who captures the attention of the only Aussie cowboy there.  This was a cute little romance between a man talked into riding a camel by his sister and the Aussie cowboy who just happens to be a chiropractor who comes to his aid.  Michaels did a nice job with presenting us with a well rounded character in Marcus and Shelly but I would have loved a little more back story on Vic.  But it’s cute, hot, and has a realistic HFN.

3.  Torn by Sean Michael: 5 stars for the heat alone

Pistol, an injured bull rider, returns home to his partner Bender and their ranch after a long  6 month absence on the rodeo circuit and shoulder surgery.  He is unsure of his welcome after receiving an angry  phone call from his  partner following his injury.  Bender’s love for Pistol is both the source of his anger and the one thing that will heal it.  This is my second favorite story in the collection.  Sean Michael gets everything right in this story.  We get all the information we need about these two men and their long term relationship from Michael’s descriptions of their tense posture, their loving gestures and a dialog that  telegraphs a well established intimacy at every level.  Bender is tired of his lover’s injuries and this last one scared him badly.  Pistol loves riding bulls and is frightened that his time as a bullrider is coming to an end.  The situation is tense, hot, loving, angry, gentle, just everything you would expect from two scared people who love each other deeply and are faced with a serious situation.  The ending is perfection, but then so is this short story.  It doesn’t need to be longer, it doesn’t need any additional backstory.  It ends where it should.  Lovely.  Here is a tease. Pistol is returning home after surgery unsure of his welcome:

He opened the door, pushed it open and stood, trying to keep them from the arm still in the sling. “Hey y’all, you happy to see me?”

“You should have called and let me know.” Bender waited for the dogs to have their hello, blue eyes on him like twin laser beams.

“I didn’t want you worrying. Jack needed his guest room back.” He’d been imposing. Not to mention, the man’s mother-in-law had come to help with the last few days of Mary Ellen’s pregnancy, and he’d wanted to come home. Bender told the dogs to “scatter,” and they did.

Before Pistol could say anything Bender was on him, mouth covering his in a kiss that smashed his lips against his teeth and totally stole his breath.

Oh. Oh, thank God. He pushed up into the kiss, damn near sobbing with relief.

4. Cowboy and Indian by Rob Rosen: 2 stars out of 5

Jed sees a poster for a fifty-dollar prize for the longest bronco buck advertised outside a saloon.  He figures his horse Bessy needs a new saddle and aims to get it for her by riding in the rodeo.  Along the way he runs into an Apache warrior, Taza, who wants to help his people.  They make love, not war and end up with a future neither of them ever dreamed of.   There are quite a number of things about this story that I have issues with, but the portrait of Taza, an Apache warrior, is the largest.  Having a Native American character, especially in a historical story, can be a iffy element if not handled just right.  For me, Taza just did not work.  From his pidgin English which reminded me of the “Me, Tonto, you white man” variety to the fact that he drops trow for an unknown white man just after the awful Apache wars have ended….well it’s not just unrealistic but downright ridiculous.  Here is their first interchange:

 “Jed,” I told him, with a polite nod. “White man sounds so, well now, formal.”

With his free hand, he pounded his chest. “Taza,” he informed me. “In your language, means Apache warrior.”

I nodded my head. “Pleasure, Taza.”

And then he nodded, releasing the beast before sending it swinging. “You want to pleasure Taza?”

The only way that piece of dialog would work is in a Mel Brooks comedy.  And it just goes further downhill from there.  This is the one story I would skip over.

5. Heart of Dixie by Mychael Black: Rating 4 stars out of 5

Mack Sexton has been in love with his best friend and handyman Les Spencer for a long time.  Les feels the same but neither man has acknowledged let alone acted on their feelings.  Then one day everything changes.  Heart of Dixie is a snapshot of a relationship that is part of a series called Hearth and Home by Mychael Black.  I am unfamiliar with that series but got enough of a taste of it from this story that I will be scampering back to pick up the rest.  Black develops the characters and setting to the point that it and both men feel real and the reader connects with them from the start.  Mack’s sister, Kate, is a lively character in her own right and the interaction among the three of them comes across as long established and affectionate.  Enjoyable and romantic.  I loved this one.

6. Ready To Ride by Katherine Halle: 4 stars out of 5

Eric is an orthopedic surgeon volunteering his time with the Justin Sports Medicine program. Ben Greene is champion Saddle Bronc rider Eric has come to love.  When Eric’s volunteer time with the rodeo comes to an end, Ben must travel on the circuit alone.  And while neither man has talked about where their relationship is going, both love each other deeply.  When Ben is receives a season-ending injury during a ride, Eric decides that, conversation or not, he is bringing his man home for good.  I loved Halle’s characters and thought she got the character of Ben with his avoidance of “mushy talk” just right.  While most of the story is seen through Eric’s eyes,  Halle shows us that Ben’s actions telegraph his feelings perfectly to his lover and that words are not always necessary.  This story has romance, cowboys and HEA in a nice short package.

7. White Hat/Black Hat by Kiernan Kelly: 4.25 stars out of 5

The time is 1968, the place Hollywood where a new TV western is getting ready to go into production.  Two men, Dallas Frank and Stone Grant, arrive to audition for the two leads, Black Bart and Sheriff Carson Star, the White Hat/Black Hat title characters.  To each man’s surprise and delight, they win the roles and secretly the love of each other.   For the next forty years, they pretend to hate each other in public while continuing a love affair that has lasted as long as their show.  Then their show is cancelled.  What will they do now?  Kelly gives us a terrific look back at old Hollywood and its outlook on homosexuality.  Through small interludes we watch as Dallas (real name Joe Bob) and Stone Grant (real name Arvin Mason) settle into a long term relationship while playing the Hollywood game to protect the series and their reputation. The ending is rewarding, the relationship has a very authentic feel as does the times the men pass through.  My third favorite story of the collection.

8. In the Pocket, a Roughstock story by BA Tortuga: 5 out of 5 stars

Sterling is a new bullfighter and he loves his job.  He also loves working with his hero and fellow bullfighter, Coke Pharris.  But rodeo clown Dillon Walsh is tired of the youngster drooling on his man and figures a little matchmaking is in order.  When stock  contractor Colby Tyburn asks for an introduction to Sterling, Dillon sees an opportunity and takes it, maneuvering Sterling into a date with the stock contractor.  Colby Tyburn has been watching Sterling for some time and loves what he sees….a gorgeous energetic young man, all want and desire.  Sparks fly at the first introduction but neither man expects the white hot sex to turn into something deeper and just perhaps, permanent.  In the Pocket is a Roughstock story. So if the reader is familiar with the series, than you already know all about Coke Pharris and his rodeo clown lover, Dillon Walsh.  They happen to be a favorite couple of mine so it is wonderful to see them make an appearance here.  But the focus of the story is the young (and virginal) bullfighter, Sterling, and the older, more experienced man, Colby Tyburn, a roughstock contractor.

Sterling is a bouncy Tigger of a character.  He is youthful, energetic to the extreme and has a bad case of hero worship when it comes to Coke Pharris.  Unfortunately for Sterling, Coke is taken and Dillon is not happy that Sterling can’t keep his hands off his man.  BA Tortuga paints the perfect portrait of innocent enthusiasm and lustful need all wrapped up in one young man who doesn’t seem to know what to do with it all.  I just loved Sterling, he absolutely made me smile.  Colby Tyburn could have come off as a predator but his appreciation for Sterling and all of his qualities, not just his physical traits, brings him back to a person the reader can relate to.  Their sexual encounter is sexy, white hot, and ultimately very touching.  It is not necessary to have read the other Roughstock stories, but it does help to round out the back history of the other men mentioned, however casually.   There are over 17 stories in the Roughstock series, Coke and Dillon’s story is called Roughstock: And a Smile- Season One. I absolutely recommend them all.  Here is a taste:

Nate (was) screaming his head off to get the bull’s attention. Joa landed, but luckily the Brazilian was ready, and they sort of strong-armed each other.

“Gotcha.”

He flung Joa toward Pharris and put himself between the cowboy and Merry-Go-Round. He heard Coke grunt, but then he and Nate were busy playing a game of slap the bull on the nose, trading off as it went round and round. This was his favorite part, the fun part. They did their little dance, and he pulled his butt in, hearing the whoosh as two thousand pounds went by.

“Woohoo!” He grinned at the gate shut, jogging over to Pharris, who clapped him on the back.

He loved his life.

Loved it.

Cover illustration by BSClay is perfect in tone and design for this collection.

Book Details:

ebook, 195 pages
Published June 5th 2013 by Torquere Press
ISBN
1610404858 (ISBN13: 9781610404853)
edition language
English

A Book Giveaway, Riding the Weather Rollercoaster, and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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So far the Washington Metro area has felt like Seattle, WA, and now we are aiming for Phoenix, AZ.  We have had close to 12 inches of rain in the last month alone, and that doesn’t seem to be letting up as we head towards the middle of July.  Really, folks, nothing like 100 percent humidity for a smokey Fourth of July.  Now the heat wave that baked the western states has hit here as well.  Temperature is rising to 98º today.  Now add to that the fact that the ground squishes with every footstep and a high humidity….well, it is little wonder I expect to see monkeys swinging from the maples at any time.  It is downright tropical outside.  Well ok, we did see a runaway red panda last week that escaped from the National Zoo (now safely back home after a trip to Adams Morgan, a very trendy place).  And a couple of teenage black bears that decided to tour downtown Washington for a suitable condo to live in.  I am betting air-conditioning and a pool were on their list of must haves!   So I am seeing a day spent inside knitting and reading on the agenda for the rest of the day.  I did get my coleus and caladiums bought on sale planted yesterday, as well as some yanking of smartweed but anything else will have to wait until the temperatures go down.

Now on to the exciting week ahead.  Kendall McKenna’s latest release, The Final Line is just out.  It is the another book in her wonderful Recon Diaries series.  On Monday, Kendall McKenna will be here with a guest blog and a book contest.  We will be giving away, courtesy of MLR Press, a copy of The Final Line to one of the people who comment on her blog and my review, which will be posted the next day.  Here is the blurb for the book:

Staff Sergeant Corey Yarwood is an instructor at the Basic Reconnaissance Course. His last deployment ended in horror, but he can’t remember those events. Battling severe PTSD, Corey’s drinking is growing out of control.

Sean Chandler walks into a dive bar, and into Corey’s life. An actor and a musician, Sean has the empathy and compassion to sooth Corey’s pain, and the strength to support him as he struggles to heal.

Corey’s lost memories are pivotal to a civilian murder, and a military investigation. Remembering could mean salvation, or destruction. Will the truth be too much for Sean to handle?

So mark your calendars for July 8 and 9 for your chance to win a copy of this wonderful book!  And thank you, MLR Press and Laura Baumbach for the copies of The Final Line.  Now here is the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, July 8, 2013:                 Guest Blog with Kendall McKenna, author of The Final Line

Book Contest.  One copy of The Final Line will be given away

Tuesday, July 9, 2013:                  Review of The Final Line, last day to comment for the contest

Wednesday, July 10,2013:          Pickup Men by LC Chase, winner of contest announced

Thursday, July 11, 2013:             Changing Planes by Karenna Colcroft

Friday, July 12, 2013:                  Fever Anthology by M. Rode

Saturday, July 13, 2013:              In Pursuit of the Bang On, Well Done, and apparently Endangered Short Story

So that’s our exciting week ahead.  I will leave you with a picture of Winston, recently groomed.  He has settled into our family as though he has

DSCN3917 always been there.  And here is a recipe for a drink to keep this hot weather in its place!  This cocktail is called appropriately Adios Motherfucker or AMF.  I have included the recipe as well as a link to the video on how to make this delicious drink.  A great way to say goodbye heatwave or  anything else to want to get rid of:

Adios Motherfucker CocktailAMF Recipe:

Scale ingredients to servings
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz rum
1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
2 oz sweet and sour mix
2 oz 7-Up® soda

Pour all ingredients except the 7-Up into a chilled glass filled with ice cubes. Top with 7-Up and stir gently.
Read more: Adios Motherfucker recipe http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink735.html#ixzz2YHs7Z756