Pixie's Author Interview with Storm Moon Press's Blaine D. Arden

MM Good Book Reviews lead reviewer, Pixie, tracked down one of Storm Moon Press’s newest writers, Blaine D. Arden.  Her short story, The Storyteller is an erotic fantasy piece that bleeped my radar.  It’s sexy and so well written, I just didn’t want it to end. Since then, she has gone on to writer both fantasy and mystery and has been featured in several Goodread anthologies.

Enjoy their chat,

Portia

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself Blaine and is your hair naturally purple (What? You never know)
Well, I’m a purple haired, forty-something, writer of gay romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes and the colors black, purple and red, who sings her way through life.
Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, I spent many hours of my sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories and acting them out with my Barbies.
I’ve been married for almost twenty-two years to a man who gave me all the space I needed to grow, and together we raise—or try to, anyway—two sons, a foster-son (17, 20 and 19) and a ten-year old cairn terrier named Kendra.

As for my purple hair: Of course it is natural!! *snort*
Nah, I’m a natural blonde, so the purple is purely for artificial intelligence and vanity. You can check my color here: http://blainedarden.com/images/Blaineat18-writing-d.jpg though I was quite a bit younger then *wink* (in this photo I’m actually writing my first gay fiction)

Blaine do you set aside time to write or do you just go with when the inspiration strikes?
Well, I treat writing as my profession, so I write every day. I don’t quite make a 40 hour work week, with appointments, household, family, social gatherings and social networking distracting me from it, but I try to write a couple of hours in the morning and another couple in the afternoon.
But… I am a writer, so I drag a notebook everywhere and will definitely write when the inspiration strikes. I often complain that inspiration is a bitch with a lousy sense of timing, especially when she strikes right after I turned my lamp off to go to sleep.

You started out writing quite young, did you always want to be a published writer or is that just a nice bonus?
No, not always. I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer, and writing wasn’t exactly encouraged at home. And while I did try to get a story published at eighteen—still can’t believe I did that, and shudder at how badly written it was—I still didn’t think of it as a future career. Writing always came second… well, last, to anything: studying, job, family, chores. I think the idea of being published didn’t take hold again until I finished my first NaNoWriMo project a couple of years ago, but I didn’t take a conscious step towards being published until January last year, when I dumped my studies to focus on my writing full-time. No regrets yet *grin*

How do your family support you in your writing? (Little bell next to computer to summon someone to make you a drink?)
I love my men to bits, but I doubt any of them would bring me something to drink until I asked them, repeatedly, and even then I’d probably have to wait a couple of hours for them to remember they promised to bring me one… They hug me and cheer for me when I receive good news, they stay out of my way when I request it (yes, sometimes I have to ask more than once for it to stick in their minds), they put up with my bouncy hysterics when I’m soaring and moodiness when I’m stressing out over a deadline.

Blaine what gave you that little push to finally submit your work?
Oh. Well, after I made the decision to go for my writing career, I joined a critique group, and the comments to my first chapter/scene were helpful and encouraging. It amazed me how level-headed I was when reading the edits (though I often kick at them during a first read-through, my inner editor takes over on the second read and agrees with most of the suggestions). I think that was the final nudge to giving it a go.

I have to ask, was it difficult getting someone to publish your work when you decided to take that step?
Err… not yet. At least, not in my experience. Out of three submissions, I was rejected once, and that novel subsequently was accepted elsewhere. Though, the first line of my first acceptance email almost gave me a heart-attack, because they didn’t think the story fit the anthology I submitted it for. But they wanted the story anyway. Phew! I was on holiday in the UK at that time, and I think the whole campsite could hear my joy.

And how do you find it working with Storm Moon Press?
Enjoying it very much so far. The staff is very friendly and helpful and I love the banter during the editing. I never take anything for granted and ask about every change I don’t get (when not explained in the comments) and defend every change I don’t agree with, and it’s encouraged. In the end, it’s all for the good of the story. I like that they handle a lot of the marketing and arrange reviews/interviews/guest blogs, if you’re willing to do those. So, all around, very enjoyable. Oh, and I love their covers. *grin*

So, Blaine you write M/M, how did you decide to write in this genre and what book inspired you to take the plunge.
I wrote my first gay fiction when I was 17/18. I was a rather naïve idealist and with all the negativity on homosexuality and AIDS on TV, I wanted to show the world how beautiful love between men could be. I’ve written non-gay stories over the years as well, but somehow I always come back to my men. It wasn’t a book that inspired me to take the plunge; I was inspired by films, three of them to be precise. ‘An Early Frost’ is the film that started it all, ‘Maurice’ is the film I fell in love with and ‘Beautiful Thing’ is the film that finally convinced me that my view on gay romance wasn’t wrong, like I thought it was for a while. Of course, if you want to be technical, ‘Maurice’ is a book as well, by E.M. Forster, but I saw the film before I read the book.

Who is your favorite fantasy/mystery character out of all the books you have read?
Out of ALL the books I’ve read? Oh, boy… My first thought was Snape… so I’ll be going with that, though Mrs. Pollifax is a very good runner-up. Snape embodies the types I tend to fall for, the underdog, the aloof, the stoic, not quite bad guy, while Mrs. Pollifax embodies every girl’s dream. Who doesn’t want to be a secret agent on dangerous missions? LOL

You seem to have an affinity for fantasy; will you be branching out into other genres?
I make occasional road-trips to other genres—Aliens, Smith and Jones is SF—but I feel fantasy is where I’m strongest. I know it sounds strange, but creating my own world with its own culture and rules is far easier for me than researching contemporary cultures. I’m not very politics and culture minded and I don’t read the news papers, so am often not quite up to date on what’s happening where. I am a dreamer, after all, and I like living in my own world, however inconvenient that often is. Plus there is this annoying habit I have of wanting to write stories in which no one cares what gender your partner is, and our world just isn’t ready for that yet, regrettably.

Your next book is Aliens, Smith and Jones (expected release 20th July 2012) tell us a little about it and how it came to life.
How it came to life? Oh, my? Do you have a day or two? No? I’ll try to keep it short, then.
Aliens started life as a short story from the point of view of a virtually immortal ex-alien who falls in love for the second time in 400 years. But while writing I started to realize that writing from the point of view of his lover was much more interesting, considering he was the one with all the action, tracking and monitoring alien beings and artifacts. And then came the blind date that wouldn’t go away and the story grew into a novel.

Aliens, Smith and Jones is about Connor Smith, who works for Primrose, an organization tasked with monitoring and tracking aliens and alien technology. It’s a job that doesn’t know the meaning of “nine-to-five”. It also doesn’t leave much room for a social life, a complication that Connor hasn’t minded, until now. At the prodding of his best friend, Connor reluctantly puts himself back in the dating pool, even though it means lying about his remarkable life.

Elsewhere, Noah Jones has led a remarkable life of his own. Stranded on Earth in 1648, Noah was forced to transform himself permanently into human form to survive. He soon learned that in doing so, he’d become effectively immortal, aging only at a glacial pace. Alone, with no way to contact his people or return home, Noah becomes a silent observer of human civilization—always in the world, but never of the world. Then, hundreds of years later, he sees a face in a crowd and instantly feels a connection that he thought he’d never feel again. But he’s too late: Connor’s already taken.

Destiny is not without a sense of humor, though, and the two men are pulled inexorably closer, snared by the same web of dangers and conspiracies. Worse, Primrose is now aware of Noah, and they aren’t ones to leave an alien unrestrained. So while Connor struggles to understand the strange pull he feels toward Noah, forces without as well as within are working against them to keep them apart.

What advice would you give to a new comer to the M/M genre who is just starting out?
Write what you love and finish what you write. Don’t worry about publishing until after you’ve finished the story. Actually, don’t worry about publishing at all. Finish the story, then edit it, edit it again, let someone else (NOT your mother or best friend) look it over and don’t fear critique. Critique is not meant to hurt you, but meant to make your story better, meant to help you grow as a writer. And then read it through at least one last time.
And when you’re finally ready to submit, stick to the guidelines. I know the fonts are not the most beautiful, and the format may not make it pretty, but it’s not about looking pretty, it’s all about the text, and not making editors squint their eyes and think twice about even opening it. You want them to read your stuff, make it readable and stick to the guidelines.
Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Other writers are often very willing to answer questions.

Tell us a little of your hobbies aside from writing.
I sing in a choir and I have singing lessons. I also practice QiGong.

And for those of us… err *cough splutter* for those of our readers who don’t know Qigong (unless you mean the artist and then I will look a complete pratt ;-)) what is it?
QiGong (aka Chi Kung) is the practice of aligning breath, movement and awareness for exercise, healing and meditation. And yes, I plucked that off the net to make sure I say it right. It’s a close relative to Tai Chi, actually and it’s all about your chi, your life force.

Do you think Qigong helps with your creativity? (Qigong is said to ‘allow access to higher realms of awareness, and awaken one’s “true nature”’)
I don’t really see relation to my creativity, but, I started doing it because my mind never shuts up. For me, going through those exercises, from posture to breathing to moving and being aware of what I’m doing, means that for an hour, hour and a half a week, my mind is slowed down and very much forced into the here and now.
But it’s entirely possible that giving my mind a break is good for my creativity.

Funnily enough my singing teacher teaches on the same principles, almost. She’s very in tune with her students and through breathing and mindfulness exercises she tries to get the best out of me, vocally and health wise. So, double-win situation for me.

You also sing.  Besides from choir singing, what other type of music do you like to sing to?
Oh, tough question, since I suck at naming genres. I sing rock/soft rock, ballads, top forty, country… whatever catches my fancy, really. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve sung Toto, Heart, Gotye (bit too low for me, unfortunately), Ilse DeLange, Adam Lambert, Maria Mena, Emmy Rossum and Kings of Leon. I have a rather eclectic taste and depending on my mood I’ll go for something that screams or something that’s small and more intimate in nature.

So Blaine tell us something that nobody else knows… not even your husband (leans forward in eager anticipation).
I had plenty of things to say, until I read the ‘not even your husband’ part. Is there anything my husband doesn’t know? I guess the only thing I could answer to that is how often or how much… He knows what sort of porn I love, but not how often I watch it. He also knows I buy books, just *cough* not how much money I spend on it *cough*
Disappointing answer, I know, but… I honestly don’t know what I haven’t told my husband. I think I even told him I fancied my ex-boyfriend’s father for a bit…


Well Blaine I have read a bit of your background and I have to ask… what’s wrong
with pixies? You love fairies and elves and dragons but not pixies (muttering about stinking fairies).
There’s nothing wrong with pixies, honestly. I just never thought to include them into my bio. Probably because I’ve not written about them… but never say never. I used to think I wasn’t ever going to write gun porn, and see how wrong I was about that *grin*

Okay Blaine a serious question now, if this world suddenly became a magical place what magical creature would you be? (What… you can tell a lot about the sort of person someone is by that choice!! Honest)
Magical creature? Oh, that’s open to so many interpretations. But, seeing how much I love pointy ears, I guess I’d have to go for fairy, elf or even pixie *grin* I’m none too picky, I just want to fly, wear pretty clothes and play with other creatures’ pointy ears. Though, I’d love to have a bit of magic, even if it’s just to do the dishes with the flick of a wrist

Okay Blaine tell the readers where they can find you and your books (seriously readers she writes good stuff).
*blush* thank you for the compliment.
my website: http://blainedarden.com/
my blog: http://blog.blainedarden.com/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/BlaineDArden
Twitter: @BlaineDArden http://www.twitter.com/BlaineDArden
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/BlaineDArden

The Haunted Glade by Hayden Thorne

Title: The Haunted Glade

Series: N/A

Author: Hayden Thorne

Genre: Fantasy; Gay Fiction; Historical; Paranormal; Young Adult

Length: 19 pages/5,128 words/ Short Story

Publisher:  Queerteen Press, JMS Books (January 15th 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb: from Queerteens Press (JMS Books LLC) – Legend talks about a haunted glade somewhere deep in a nearby wood. While most residents of a tiny village regard those fireside stories as nothing more than cautionary tales meant to keep children in line, curious adolescents attempt to solve the puzzle of the haunted glade. Rumors of a strange twilight melody that seems to come from somewhere in the wood only feed youthful recklessness, and no one but the village potter knows the truth behind this mysterious music. He alone in his generation has heard the haunted glade’s call, and he knows that someone among those young adventurers is now being summoned, as well. The task of finding that special boy and grooming him for his destiny falls on Irwin’s shoulders.

Product Link: http://www.queerteen-press.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=13&zenid=mbr7u1nfn4juslm27e5kqv6347

Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: A sweet, young adult story of growth, and learning to acceptance and understanding oneself, written with vivid imagery. Seventeen year old Yves Milford seems the only person in the village who can hear the music coming from the nearby haunted glade, where fanciful legends and warning stories have been passed down for generations to keep villagers out.  When Yves’ peers begin pairing off into couples, thirty-six year old village potter, Irwin Blythe, confides in the young man that he also can hear the songs from the glen. This music is only heard by certain people and Irwin tells Yves that since he can hear it, he will soon discover what it means to be accepted by others like him. After Yves turns eighteen and learns what is in the glen, he realizes this acceptance and understands that he one day will be called upon to help those from his village who have similar yearnings.

A very enjoyable read…

 

 

The Cupid Caper by Kate Roman

Title:  The Cupid Caper

Author:  Kate Roman

Genre:   M/M  Contemporary/Mythology

Length:  Novella (249 KB, 54 pages)

Publisher:  Torquere Press, Inc. (May 8, 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 1/2Hearts

Blurb:  Eros Omnia — Ross to his friends and Cupid to the rest of the known world – is having a bad day. With just one more set of arrows to shoot before he can move up to Mercury’s vacant position, Ross loses one of the arrows and worse yet, uncovers a plot implicating two of the oldest gods on Olympus. At the same time, one of those arrows shot true in the finest ass Ross has seen in an eternity. With a little cunning, some bravado and the most beautiful mortal he’s ever laid eyes on, Cupid’s aiming to make his worst day turn out to be the best yet…

Product Link:  http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=3572

Reviewer:   Artemis

Review:  Ross has been the God of Love for close to a century and has discovered that the work isn’t particularly rewarding.  There is a position opening up for Mercury (the God of Trade) and Ross is determined to get the job.  He only has to act as Cupid on one last assignment and he is pretty sure the position of Mercury is his….as long as he doesn’t screw up!  Getting Tony and Kristin together proves a little bit difficult, however.  Tony Aster, a medical student that makes Ross’s heart beat a little faster, finally gets hit with his arrow after a rather humorous incident involving a pigeon, but Kristin proves a little bit more difficult.  Ross ends up losing the arrow meant for her and now Tony is walking around primed for falling in love with whoever sticks themself with the lost arrow.  Two things happen as Ross tries to fix his slightly messed up case….he discovers that there is a plot amongst some of the other Gods to ruin his chances at a promotion and he falls head over heels in love with Tony.

Since I have always been fascinated with Mythology, this story really drew me in right from the beginning.  It is a quick read so there isn’t a lot of time to develop the secondary characters very well, but I think the author did a really good job of letting us get to know Ross and Tony.  As a medical student, Tony has a natural tendency to be nurturing and Ross would love more than anything to just fall into his arms, but always has his mission to unite Tony and Kristin in love in the back of his mind.  They give into the very real attraction between them and become physically involved, which makes Ross wonder why Kristin and Tony were ever meant to fall in love in the first place.

I thought the author gave a unique little plot twist at the end in terms of why Ross was being sabotaged.  Sometimes I had a hard time following who was who in terms of all the gods involved, but probably because the story moved along so fast.  Overall, though, I enjoyed the author’s writing style and thought Ross and Tony were both really great characters.  She also gave a lot of description when discussing people and places involved which really made it an enjoyable story

Carny's Magic by K. Z. Snow

Title:  Carny’s Magic

Series:   N/A

Author:  K. Z. Snow

Genre:  Paranormal

Length:  Novel

Publisher:  Loose Id (May 29th, 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts-liked it

Blurb:   Carny Jessup here. The best part of my life began when my aunt’s homophobic squeeze smashed his fist into my face. I already knew a wizard named Jackson Spey lived on my side of town, so I figured I’d turn things around by becoming his apprentice.

Problem was, Spey didn’t want an apprentice. He was going through a midlife crisis. All he wanted was to build beautiful furniture and get cozy with his beautiful husband, Adin. He still took me in, though. Guess he felt sorry for me. And he was intrigued by the red paths I’d been seeing in the air.

I’m only 19, so how could I have foreseen the rest? That I’d fall for a breathtaking boy named Peter, who was at the center of some strange magic tied to Jackson’s past. And that I’d have to deal with a sorcerer named Bezod, an evil pig who plagued all four of us and threatened to destroy our relationships.

Hey, sometimes you just have to fight for what’s right. Like love. I might’ve been new to the boyfriend gig and Jackson might’ve been a reluctant wizard, but when the time came, we were ready to kick some supernatural ass.

Product Linkhttp://www.loose-id.com/Carnys-Magic.aspx

Reviewer: Cat

Review:   When I first started reading this book, I loved it. It was in Carny’s POV and had a very sweet but dry sense of humor… then we get to part two and what happened? It switches to Jackson and Adin without warning and it’s like Carny disappeared and the sense of humor. It was as if an entirely different writer took over… but towards the end it switched back and redeemed itself. All in all it was a pretty good book. A great romance and good plot.

Carny is an abused boy, well just become a man actually at 19. He is fed up with being unwanted and beaten on by his aunt’s boyfriends, so he makes a decision to leave. He had heard his other aunt mention a wizard and he has checked him out. Strange things start to happen as soon as he decides to go meet Jackson Spey. He starts seeing paths; he meets a young boy and a very handsome young man. Not to forget Jackson himself is hot and his roommate/ lover even hotter.  Carny’s life takes a drastic change. So does Carny find the wizard he is looking for? Does magic really exist? Does Carny meet a lover or two or three? Who is Jackson Spey really?

I am not gonna tell you. Get the book and see for yourself

I recommend this book to anyone that loves Magic, Wizards, sorcerers, Vampires, and a nice sweet romantic love story.

 

 

Left in the Darkness by Stephani Hecht

Title:  Left in the Darkness

Series:  Haven Coffee House Boys #2

Author:  Stephani Hecht

Genre:   Young Adult

Length:  73 Pages

Publisher:  Devine Destinies (June 1st, 2012)

Heat Level:  Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb:   While mostly physically healed from a gay bashing that almost left him dead, Taylor is still an emotional mess. Not only does he have to deal with the fact that his own brother was one of the attackers, but Taylor has been disowned by his father as well. The only bright spot in Taylor’s life is his small group of friends, but even they have their own issues. Christian is now angry all the time. James is having to deal with his own homophobic father. Devlin is wondering if he’ll ever be able to measure up to other’s expectations. Worst of all, Andy seems to be walking down a path that will only lead to his destruction. Can the Haven Coffee House Boys overcome all their obstacles? Or will the darkness overcome them?

Product Link:  http://www.extasybooks.com/left-in-the-darkness-5/

Reviewer:   John

Review:  Left in the Darkness is the second installment of Haven Coffee House Boys series by Stephani Hecht. The first novel, if you have not read it, focuses on Christian, Taylor, Devlin, Andy and James as they try their best to overcome the bullying that Taylor endures at home and school. At the end of the first novel, we see that Christian and Taylor suffered a brutal attack by Tommy, Taylor’s twin brother, and a group of jocks. Taylor got the worst of the attack and ends up pretty bad.

Left in the Darkness deals with the aftermath of the attack as the Haven Coffee House Boys try their best to piece their lives back together. Taylor moves in with Christian, Christian deals with his mixed emotions, James with his homophobic father, Devlin with his insecurities over his relationship with Christian, and Andy with the lack of attention. Each storyline develops as the book progresses and the cliffhanger at the end leaves you wanting more. That’s the only negative thing about the book, the dreaded cliffhanger.

Stephani Hecht did an impeccable job when piecing this story together since it is full of friendship, drama, love, and suspense. I cannot wait for the third book in this amazing series where we will find out what happened to Andy and what will happen to the Haven Coffee House Boys as their lives shift and turn for the better or worse.

Made Man by Evan Gilbert

Title: Made Man

Author: Evan Gilbert

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novella (84pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (13th June 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Twenty years ago, Eli Calero fell in love with Kevin Murphy, a jock whose mob boss father physically and emotionally abused him. Twenty years ago, Eli Calero got his heart broken, and he’s never gotten over it.

Now, after a career as an investigative reporter, Eli is a true crime author living in Pasadena. He has no interest in attending a reunion back in St. Louis, but he ends up going anyway—and since he’s in the area, Eli decides to settle an old score. He’s determined to gather enough evidence to take down Kevin’s father.

But Eli doesn’t have all the facts, and there are a few things he didn’t count on: Kevin’s still in town. He still has feelings for Eli. And he’s about to get caught in the crossfire.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3007

Review: Eli lost the love of his life, Kevin Murphy, twenty years ago and he has never forgotten him. Now, he is going back to St. Louis for a school reunion and he takes the opportunity to dig into the business of Kevin’s father to bring him down… but, not everything is as he thought.

This is a good storyline of love lost and found again, of holding your hands up and accepting your dues and of hoping for a fresh beginning. Eli is still bitter about being dumped by his first love even after twenty years and when he revisits his home town for a school reunion, he decides it’s about time that someone made Jameson Murphy pay for his crimes. And when he sees Kevin Murphy again, after so long, he is more determined than ever to make Jameson pay. But, Eli gets a shock when he learns the truth and it leaves him with a hard choice to make.

So, a tale of young love shattered, love never forgotten, forgiveness, accepting your punishment and the promising hope of a new beginning, which will keep you reading and hoping for a happy ending for these two characters, Eli and Kevin. I must admit that I couldn’t understand why it took Eli so long to return to St. Louis to settle old scores, when he knew everything that Kevin’s father had done to him. and it puzzled me why he suddenly decided to do it now instead of years earlier, I mean twenty years is a long time. I could totally understand him still being in love with Kevin and rekindling that love and even being willing to give everything up for him. Although, he forgave him very easily for the past (I’d have shouted and screamed at him a bit more).

Both characters are interesting, although we only see things from Eli’s perspective and their characters are quite unique when they are together… Kevin, the mobster’s son, turns vulnerable and needy when with Eli, while Eli is protective and wanting to shelter Kevin from all harm. The progression of the story is quite good and the truth about Kevin’s father is surprising, but I found the ending difficult to deal with. It left me feeling disappointed because it wasn’t a HEA and I couldn’t even call it a HFN, because it felt like it was left dangling in space with just a hint of promise. I would much rather have seen them a couple of years later after Kevin had paid his dues, because then I would have known that they would be together rather than the promise of them being together.

So, I will recommend this to those who love mobsters, a vulnerable heart under a hard exterior, some hot sex, love lost and found and a promise of a happy ending.

 

 

You Never Cared by Michele L. Montgomergy

Title:  You Never Cared

Series:  N/A

Author:  Michele L. Montgomery

Genre:   Young Adult

Length:  17 Pages

Publisher:  Scarlet Tie (June 25th, 2012 first published April 7th, 2011)

Heat Level:  None

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Heart

Blurb:  “I would gladly trade places with Casper, given the chance. I lifted my head to see Casper’s best friend standing on the other side of the grave.”

Jordan is a golden child — wealthy, popular, the self-professed ruler of the senior class. Jordan is also a bully, a bully whose group of friends mercilessly tormented seventeen-year-old Casper for being different, for being poor, for suffering silently. Random acts of abuse from his classmates were par for the course in Casper’s life, until one night, the bullying evolved into a hate crime and he, unable to endure, longing for peace, finally took his own life.

You Never Cared is the heartbreaking tale, told in Jordan’s words, of a life stolen, of love lost, and of a soul compromised. But ultimately, it is a story of forgiveness and redemption. As Sammy, Casper’s friend and lover, attempts to cope with the anguish of his boyfriend’s loss, Jordan attempts to own his part in the crime, trying to make amends but knowing his only hope is to carry on Casper’s legacy, to work to build a better future for boys and girls who, like Casper, just need a strong voice to encourage and stand up for them.

Product Link:  http://scarlettiebooks.com/you_never_cared.html

Reviewer:   John

Review: I had the opportunity of reading Michele L. Montgomery’s You Never Cared this week and I was left in a complete state of shock. Bullying is a global epidemic that affects millions of teenagers each year. The psychological impact that this form of abuse leaves on its victims can last longer than any form of physical abuse. Michele L. Montgomery accomplished in 17 pages what most writers take several novels to complete. I’m not a fan of short stories that leaves you wanting more, but this one may be the exception.

You Never Cared deals with the emotional aftermath of Casper’s (the victim) decision of taking his life after Jordan (the bully) and his friends bullied him on graduation night. The bullying gets so out of hand that one of the bullies violently rapes Casper in the storage room. This short but extraordinary piece of work is raw, painful, sad, and mostly heart touching. Since it is told in the bully’s point of view, we get to see the emotional damage that Jordan endures after Casper’s suicide.

Every few years, a book so powerful and meaningful comes along that inspires people to be tolerance and acceptance of others. You Never Cared is that novel for me. Michele L. Montgomery wrote a very powerful message that needs to be heard by everyone. I highly recommend this short story for anyone who wants to read a novel about, bullying, love, forgiveness and redemption.

Concord Grape: Unexpected by TC Blue

Title: Concord Grape: Unexpected

Author TC Blue

Series: Color Boxes

Publisher: Torquere Press, Inc. (May 15, 2012)

Genre: M/M/M menage

Length: novella

Heat Level:  Hot (could go explicit)

Hearts Rating:  ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb: The last thing Pauly expects during a simple night out is to wind up embroiled in a cab chase. Then again, if something weird happens, it made sense that it would happen to him. He can only count himself lucky that his cab driver is smart, attractive, and seems to like him, even with the drama.

Being involved in a situation that requires police attention isn’t something Randy’s ever aspired to, but he can’t resent it when it’s brings Pauly into his life. Pauly’s just about perfect, as far as Randy can tell, but that means he’s unlikely to be interested in anything more than friendship with a guy like Randy. That’s better than nothing, right?

James isn’t looking for a relationship. He’s not even looking for a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement. That’s why he finds his obsession with two guys he picks up in a bar so bizarre. He’s too busy for love, of course, but becoming friends with the two men somehow leads to wanting things he shouldn’t. Even more complicated is the fact that he can’t seem to decide which of them he’s more interested in — the stunningly hot Pauly or the more quietly attractive Randy.

All three men have decisions to make, and choices to face, not an easy task. There’s no way the three of them could ever build a relationship together… is there?

Product link:  http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=78_112&products_id=3574

Review: This was a cute look into the complications of three-way love. I won’t say threesome because this was so much more and that’s what I liked about it. You know me, I’m hopeless when it comes to a good juicy true heartfelt love, so add a second person, oh yeah, and I was hooked.  All three characters were so well-developed you couldn’t help but feel each one’s thoughts and feelings.

The story started with Pauly telling his story to a friend and the other two came out and joined them. Then it almost lost me when it went back to Pauly, before he met James and Randy. But, I finally figured out he was telling the story.  He was in a bar and some dude was hitting on him too aggressively, so he split. He caught a cab but the other guy caught one also. A chase ensued. The cab driver was watching him in the mirror and figured out there was a problem, called the other cab found out there was a real problem and called 911.   The next morning, Randy, the cab driver, woke on a strange couch; he had stayed at Pauly’s. They become friends. The 911 operator had felt a pull to the two men in the cab and worried. He goes to a gay bar and sees two men dancing provocatively and was just entranced. The next morning Pauly wakes up, naked in bed with two men, and can’t remember what was going on. So he ran home. Pauly is a trouble magnet, Randy is insecure about his looks and James isn’t use to relationships. So, is this the beginning of a beautiful three-way romance? Or does one choose one over the other? How can three men love each other? Well, get the book and see.

Recommendations:  I recommend this book to anyone that loves a good fun light-hearted romance, threesomes, and nice hot romance and fairies and craft fairs. (You’ve got to get the book, just to read this part it’s hilarious!!)

Raise Your Glass by John Goode

Title:  Raise Your Glass

Series:  Tales from Foster High #3

Author:  John Goode

Genre:   Young Adult

Length:  120 Pages

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (May 30, 2012)

Heat Level:  Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb:   Tales of Foster High – Sequel to The End of the Beginning Kyle Stilleno used to be the invisible student. Brad Graymark used to be the baseball star. Then they fell in love and Brad outed them both with a spectacular public display of affection, and now everything is different. After spending a few days lying low, Kyle and Brad are going back to school. It’s time to face the music and see how Foster High deals with their growing romance. But the school’s reaction-and the staff’s hostility-are not what they expected. Everyone they know seems to be allied against them. Isn’t there anyone they can count on to defend their happiness?

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3005

Reviewer:   John

Review:  Raise Your Glass is the third part from the Tales of Foster High Series by John Goode. The first two were an emotional rollercoaster ride as the characters came to accept themselves and each other. I honestly thought that was the end of it, but John Goode proved me wrong with the latest installment of his series.

Raise Your Glass deals with the emotional aftermath of Brad’s decision after he came out as gay teen to everyone. And let me tell you that the welcoming was not a warm one. Without giving too much of the plot, these two kids basically walked to the pits of hell and fought everyone off just to defend their love and right to be happy. I think that everyone can relate to that at some point in life.

John Goode is an extraordinary voice in the GLBT community. The rawness of the book makes it a must read for parents and gay teens everywhere. There are just a few books that have moved me to tears and this book is one of them. If you want to read this novel, I recommend reading the first two books so you get a better understanding of the story. Rumor has it that there will be a fourth installment of this extraordinary saga and I just simply can’t wait for it!

love is in the title by RJ Scott

Title:  Love Is In the Title

Series:  Love #1

Author:  RJ Scott

Genre:  Young Adults

Length:  15 pages

Publisher:  RJ Scott @ Love Lane Books (June 1st, 2011)

Heat Level:  Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Hearts

Blurb:   RJ Scott’s first story for Young Adults.

Luke requests songs for the late show with Roscoe. Songs that mean something to him and the people around him. Lately he has been requesting songs for the boy he watches from afar. The gorgeous dark haired blue eyed captain of the football team, Cameron.

One night, and the last request, and all of Luke’s secrets spill. It seems though, that he isn’t the only one with secrets.

Product Link:  http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-loveisinthetitle-557238-176.html

Reviewer:   John

Review:  High School can be one of the toughest times in teen’s life. It’s during this time that they become the person that they will be for the rest of their lives. Meet Luke Holston, the nerdy guy from Math class. Every Friday night, he requests songs for Cameron Anders, the star quarterback and captain of his high school’s team. Luke has always watched his secret crush from far and only communicated with him through the poetic art of music.

Yes, it is a simple and short love story, but unbelievably sweet and lovely at the same time. Every page is page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more. Love Is in the Title is the first novel that RJ Scott wrote for the world of Young Adult and clearly not her last since there are two more books that make up this series.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves jock/nerd love stories or just want to read a happy-go-lucky work of art. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Mourning Jack by S. A. Meade

Title:  Mourning Jack

Series:  N/A

Author:  S. A. Meade

Genre:   Contemporary

Length:  Novel

Publisher:  Total E-Bound

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb:   When Ade loses his best friend he soon learns that mourning Jack brings not only sorrow but happiness too.

Restaurant chef Ade is a man of his word. When his best friend is killed while serving in Afghanistan, he honours a promise to look after Jack’s lover, Cal.

Ever the white knight, Ade does his best to console Cal in spite of losing his job and nearly losing his life. Ever the fool, Ade falls in love and learns the hard way that loving someone who can’t love him isn’t enough.

With a new job in a new place comes the possibility of a new love, but Eric has baggage of his own. Can Ade and Eric leave their old heartaches behind and find new happiness with each other?

Product Link:  http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1655

Reviewer:   Portia

Review:  Ade and Jack were as close as brothers.  If fact, when Ade’s family didn’t take his coming out well, Jack’s family became his surrogate parents and all but adopted Ade.  There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to honor his friend.  But, falling in love with Jack’s lover wasn’t on his agenda…it just kinda happened.

The title of this book kind of threw me.  Maybe, it’s me, but this was so much more than Ade or even Cal mourning Jack.  Don’t get me wrong; even though he’s dead before the book even begins, Jack is a primary character in this book.  But, for me, this is Ade’s story.  Despite his love of cooking, his job has become a chore.  He fights his attraction for Cal, because he feels like it’s too soon, if ever they are meant to explore the mutual chemistry between them.  He really just wants a normal life, with a normal man who loves him.

I loved the glimpse into English village life that Mourning Jack gives the reader.  There is a laid back pace that really worked for me.  I can’t tell you more of the plot, because there are a few twist there that were totally unexpected.  But, the ending left me with a smile.  Ade and Cal mourn Jack in very different ways, but in the end they both found a way to fill the void that his passing left.  This is a very well written novel and I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy a gentler pace to their romance and lovers who find love in unexpected place.

And on a side note:  If S. A. Meade were a nice person, she would post recipes for all the lovely dishes that Ade creates throughout this book.  J

 

 

 

More Than Human by Mel Keegan and Jayne DeMarco

Title: More than Human

Author: Mel Keegan & Jayne DeMarco

Genre: Science Fiction (Futuristic 2190)

Length: Novel (195pgs)

Publisher: DreamCraft (2nd April 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: The year is 2190, and the first starship of Earth, the Gilgamesh, is plying between the homeworlds and the new world of Eidolon, a five-year flight at near-lightspeed. The “starshippers” have been idolized for many decades, since the first landing on Eidolon. They’re “augmented” humans … they’ve been modified for the work and for the new world. The public has envied them and emulated them — and perhaps they have been emulated too much, too often.

Eventually, perhaps inevitably, a political movement has begun back on Earth. Calling itself The Pure Light, its campaign is to “Keep Humanity Human” … to stem the tide of the genetic modification that was steadily remaking humans into more and more different forms.

Twenty years ago, The Pure Light rode into office on this ticket, and their policies have made the augmented humans illegal. They’re now categorized as Borgs, or cyborgs — artificial life forms that do not have full human rights. The more augmented the individual, the less rights he or she has, and by the time one is a “fifty” — one whose body is fifty percent modified — one is registered, licensed, and control-chipped, in the possession of the government, and assigned to the military, industry or the lab.

It’s been more than twenty years since the Gilgamesh cruised into Earth space. At home on Eidolon, the crew is free — many of them were bred and born there, designed for the new world and thriving there. Now, they’re entering space where they’re perceived as unwelcome aliens…

And it’s the job of Civil Representative Adrian Balfour to journey out to Titan Central, meet Captain Dirk Vanderhoven and his Executive Officer, Jason Erickson, and inform them that the crew of the Gilgamesh is to be taken into custody — registered, licensed, control-chipped, and reassigned for the battlefield, the mines, the lab.

But Adrian is nursing a secret agenda of his own and everything in his cosmos changes the moment he sets eyes on young Jason Erickson. Almost before he knows what he’s doing, he’s lying to the Titan Central commander and life is set to become a race against time.

Because Adrian is a “twenty,” and unwelcome even at home, while among the fifties of the starshipper crew he’s respected, cherished — and desired by at least one of them. Romance explodes between Adrian and Jason, white-hot and filled with the piquancy of exploration, as Adrian discovers how the humans of Eidolon are different in every way from the Earthborns, most of all in their sensuality.

For Adrian, the next days are critical. He’ll be “tested” by the big, beautiful fifty with whom he’s fallen deeply in love, and he’ll risk everything in the desperate attempt to get the Gilgamesh out of Earth space before warships can run her down, and The Pure Light will turn starshippers into control-chipped drones.

Purchase Link: http://www.dream-craft.com/melkeegan/morethanhuman_dc.html You can also read sample chapters and admire some drool-worthy artwork.

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Than-Human-ebook/dp/B007R42G18/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1339940519&sr=1-3

USA: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R42G18?ie=UTF8&tag=arsgabo-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B007R42G18

Review: Jason and Dirk are nearly at the end of their journey, but the ships AI is acting oddly, as they dig they find out that Earth has changed for the worst. The Pure Light have taken over and want only pure humans… and all the crew of the Gilgamesh aren’t… they’ve been modified for work on the starship and for the new world Eidolon. Adrian only has his legs augmented because of a crash when he was young, but he is looked down upon for it and now he is the government flunky who has been sent to tell the crew of their fate. They will all be chipped and forced to become like slaves to the government and unless the crew come up with a plan and fast, then it is a fate worse than death. Adrian, Jason and the crew have to pull off the escape of the century, because to be more than human is against the law.

Oh, boys and girls do I have a treat for you ;-). For those of you who love science fiction and M/M then this is a fantastic combination that will give you a major fix of genuine sci-fi, with a wonderful dose of M/M romance. It also has a huge dose of realism in the way that The Pure Light and humans have turned on the ‘borgs’ (augmented humans), the way that humanity has to find someone different and persecute them, it is brought up in the story a couple of times as examples… witch hunts, segregation of races, women’s liberty’s, sexually repression, sexual orientation etc. Using the ‘borgs’ for their own purposes (after chipping them to behave of course) and imprisoning any who stand against them in a camp (shortest term 20years). So this is what our starshippers have walked into and it is a challenge for all of them to come up with a plan that doesn’t include being chipped.

Okay, let me start simple. Adrian and Jason do have a very fast relationship, but because of the overall timeframe it didn’t feel that quick… kinda like a life and death situation forces you to act quicker and trust your emotions more. Adrian and Jason complemented each other well and they were striking sparks off each other since they first met… and the sex woo hoo, was that hot or scorching, definitely scorching. The technical details were awe-inspiring and were vivid in both imagination and detail; they came to life as you read, incredible. The entire story is magnificent and I am hoping that there will be more to come from these characters in the future.

This is an excellent novel that is rich in technical detail (fan-bloody-tastic) with a thread of romance (Jason and Adrian *sigh*) with an exciting escape plan and a happy for now ending, there is no way that you should miss the opportunity to read this rich science fiction story, so I highly recommend this if you ever watched Star Trek etc.

The Jade Prince by L. Shannon

Title: The Jade Prince

Series: N/A

Author: L. Shannon

Genre: Gay / Fantasy / Shapeshifter / Paranormal / Ghosts / Hauntings

Length: Short story (30pg)

Publisher: Amber Quill Press

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb: When Cal gives his best friend, Jin, a thank you gift, the magical pendant appears more curse than blessing. The moment the jade pendant touches Jin’s skin, he ends up possessed by an insane dragon spirit.

Cal has loved Jin forever, but since Jin is straight, Cal accepts it as one-sided love, never to be fulfilled. Or at least that was what he thought until Jin is taken over by Jade.

Now Cal will do anything, even offer his body and accept a twisted form of his most desperate desire. But is it all to keep the jade dragon from using Jin’s body to rampage through the city or the chance to satisfy his darker desires?

Product Link: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/JadePrince.html

Reviewer: Thommie

Review: Wow, such a cool idea to develop. If only it was longer…

The story starts with Cal and his little brother getting a gift for Jin, a thank you gift. Cal and Jin had been friends since college and during the 6 years they got apart Jin inherited his father’s money and is very wealthy. while Cal… well something happened to Cal and he was left on the streets with his baby brother trying to survive, until Jin helps him out, giving him a job as his bodyguard. So, Cal and his brother get Jin a present to thank him, a jade pendant of a dragon, but the moment Jin wears that on he gets consumed by “Jade”, the dragon that had been trapped and imprisoned inside the pendant. Jade is angry and hungry for destruction and in a moment of clear fear for Jin and his brother Cal tries to convince the Dragon to give Jin his freedom. The two of them end up making a deal, Jade would have control of Jin during the night and give him his freedom during the day, as long as Cal makes his best to entertain Jade and help him satiate his hunger…

What follows is simply HOT sex. I mean what else would it be having a dragon claiming you. I loved it. It took my breath from the very beginning and the moment I said that this is going to be a story I’m going to absolutely love… it ended!!! It didn’t end with leaving you wanting for more in the good way no, rather left you unsatisfied. I honestly hope Ms Shannon gives this one a chance and expand the story into a novel. As it is it was just a very nice idea for a great book.

 

Please Save Me by Becca Van

Title:  Please Save Me

Series: N/A

Author:  Becca Van

Genre: Contemporary, MMF, Ménage a Trois/Quatre

Length: Novel

Publisher: Siren

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥2Hearts

Blurb:   Selina Bauer has been working for Steve Cuthbert and Gary Soams for four weeks and has the hots for them. She moved to the town of Orderville, Idaho, from Little to escape her stalking ex.

Even though she would love to start a relationship with her two bosses, she doesn’t dare approach them and doesn’t think they like her in that way. When danger follows her to Orderville, Gary and Steve take her into their home, and much to her delight seduce her into their bed as well.

She is surprised to find out the two men are bisexual and have been waiting to find the right woman to invite into their relationship. And they believe Selina is that woman. Selina must try to break down the walls the two men have surrounding their hearts.

Will she succeed? And will they be able to save her in return?

 Product Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/please-save-me

Reviewer:  Cat

Review:  Ok, first let me clarify that I do like ménage, Especially M/M/F and the blurb sounded really good. The story had a great premise. I mean a woman finding love with too hot men and them saving her from a sociopathic ex? Who wouldn’t like that?  But I was very disappointed. I found a lot of things in this book repetitive and some descriptive words much overused and really unnecessary. The two men were supposed to be long time lovers, and I get them being bi and wanting a woman in the relationship,  but for the first half the book there was no sex between them, even when they were aroused over her.   ON a more positive note, the story was cute. I loved the idea of two big, hunky and both alpha-type males in a relationship. The story had lots of potential.

I would recommend this to anyone that likes F/M/M relationships. Hot construction workers.  A little hint of Dom/sub and a damsel in distress.

 

Full Circle by RJ Scott

Title: Full Circle

Series: A Sanctuary Story 05

Author: R.J. Scott

Genre: Action, Contemporary

Length: Novel (187pgs)

Publisher: Silver Publishing (23rd June 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Manny Sullivan is the backbone of Sanctuary and involved in every mission. After rescuing Josh Headley, his skill helps Sanctuary to solve the Bullen case. When Manny risks his life could it be time for Josh to risk his heart?

Manny Sullivan is the backbone of Sanctuary. He has his fingers in every pie and when he spots Josh Headley where he shouldn’t be, it is Manny who goes in and rescues him.

Josh is in Sanctuary witness protection after his dad turns on the Bullens. Not only is his dad a murderer but his ex is a liar who was using him for information. With his skill in information retrieval, he hopes to make a contribution to the solution.

What started with the death of Elisabeth Costain is drawing to a close and Josh and Manny are in the middle of it all.

When Manny risks his life could it finally be time for Josh to risk his heart?

Purchase Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/products_id/1098/

Review: Whoo hoo. Its Manny’s book. the one that I have been waiting ages for. Josh needs to know the truth so he leaves Sanctuary to hunt for answers. But, he didn’t count on Manny’s sharp eyes. Manny races to the rescue, before Josh is caught where he shouldn’t be. Manny has a bit of a mysterious past and he has put it far behind him. But, now for his Sanctuary family, he digs it up and revisits the past to try to bring the Bullens down.

Ohhh Manny, what secrets have you been hiding? Josh needs to know the truth. Was his boyfriend just using him? When Manny discovers Josh where he shouldn’t be, he is the closest person to get Josh out before it goes wrong. Manny insists on Josh’s assistance when he discovers the extent of the other man’s computer skills, so when Manny goes in as bait, Josh is his handler. But Josh and Manny have started to become close and Josh is terrified something will go wrong.

I really enjoyed this Sanctuary story, as we really get to know Manny. Finally, after seeing him in so many of the other stories. His interaction with Josh is really good. Although, they do get physical Manny realizes that as the Bullen case heats up he has to put off his wants until a later date. Josh doesn’t really know what to expect, as he is in witness protection and he doesn’t see it ending anytime soon. So, getting involved with Manny will have to be temporary… although, he longs for more. Manny and Josh are really hot together and you can feel for both of them as they struggle to find a way to make it work in the longer term.

The storyline for this was a bit tenser, as everyone is digging as deep as they can to get concrete evidence on the Bullens. Beautifully done, such a twist right at the end, and the Bullen brothers no longer have financial backing. Ha. serves them right. We also get a brief glimpse of Sean (FBI mole) and that leaves us with something to chew on for the future.

So I highly recommend this if you like intrigue, a touch of action, adrenalin rushes, some really hot sex, guns, computers and a happy ending. (Make sure you keep an eye out for Jake’s and Sean’s story around November time.)