Title: Keeping the Cookies Series: N/A Author: Briana Lawrence Genre: Contemporary/ Holiday Length: Novella (54 Pages) Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 10, 2014) Heat Level: Moderate Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts Blurb: Ty prepares for the holiday season by kicking out his cheating boyfriend and consoling himself with chocolate and cold Chinese food. Unfortunately, rent and bills force him to grab a pair of red-and-white tights and pretend to be in the holiday spirit as a mall elf. Thankfully, there’s a janitor who’s too handsome for the part of a mop pusher to help distract him.
Nikolas the Janitor sweeps Ty off his feet with his smile and generous spirit. Ty wishes he could fall in love as easily as a romantic comedy, but his ex still holds a piece of his heart. Ty wants to accept Nikolas as his new secret Santa, but he might be doomed to pine after his ex all Christmas long.
Review: This is a cute little short story for Christmas. Ty had been in a relationship before and his heart had been broken. His best friend got him a job at the mall working as an elf. This leads him to many surprises but one with which his heart sees the true love of his life.
Although I have to admit this story does not come off as real, it was a very cute story that lightens the heart. It was a blast to read and can make a lonely holiday a bit cheerful. I liked it and can see myself reading it over every holiday. It also gives me a hope that is long gone. I look forward to reading more by this amazing author.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *
Hey everyone, today we are interviewing a newer author to the MM Genre Briana Lawrence! Double Hue is Briana’s first MM novel and I think she has enthralled our little Kitty Cat with this thriller, so I let Cat out of her cage to ask Briana a couple of questions and the little minx tied Briana up with her questions! So read Cat’s review and stick around to see how Briana handled her interview and if Cat finally let her go 😉 ~Pixie~
Author: Briana Lawrence
Length: Novel (214pgs) (80, 815 words)
Publisher: Eternal Press (November 15th 2013)
Heart: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: When there’s red, close your eyes and try again.
“Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am the cause of this. Maybe you were normal before meeting me.”
When something tragic happens, you want nothing more than to close your eyes and make all of the pain go away. For Gable Peterson it’s a little more complicated than that. When detective Maurice Ashford shows up at his door with news that his boyfriend, Avery Blair, has been found dead, Gable is left devastated. Seeking some sort of comfort, Gable closes his eyes and imagines a world where none of this happened.
Only, when Gable wakes up, he’s surprised to see that Avery is still alive.
Review: Wow! This was one heck of a wild ride. This story reminded me a little of the movie groundhog day but a mystery/ thriller. Let’s see where shall I begin?
Gable and Avery have been lovers for four years. They are in their last year of college. They love each other very much and have such a fabulous relationship. One day Gable wakes up to a knock on his door and a detective tells him his Avery is dead. As we read on this begins to repeat. No. I am not saying this story is repetitive since each time we read it something changes, at first just a little, then a lot, then when you think you have it all figured But…BAM the entire scene changes, view changes and things get even crazier.
There are so many twists and turns in this story it’s like an amusement park ride; you go slow and sweet (the love between the characters), then faster (the announcement Avery is dead), then round and round, the twists and then it slows down and you think it’s over …whoosh—another big twist, change of direction (character point of view) and we go twisting and turning again right up to the end. My fingers are sore where I chewed my nails to the quick.
I loved Gable. He is the perfect boyfriend and you could just feel his pain and panic throughout this story. I also adored Avery. He is fun and also brilliant. As the story unravels you can just about picture his beauty and wit. The bad guy? Now he is just scary…one of those people you trust, then find out they are just sick. At times I did feel a bit sorry for him, just a little.
This is a unique, brilliant story and if you like time-travel, sweet loving relationships, a mystery with lots of twists and turns, a psychological thriller and nail-biting suspense this is for you.
Cat’s interview with Briana Lawrence!
Hi everyone! *Cat waves as she enters the dungeon .., oops… Interview room* Our victim…oops… guest today is Briana Lawrence.
Cat: Hello Briana. How are you today?
Briana: I… um… *looks around* … is this a dungeon? Nevermind, I already agreed to the interview… I’m doing fine! *shaky smile*
Cat: That’s fabulous. Would you like to tell our readers a little about yourself?
Briana: Sure! I’m a child cleverly disguised as an adult. All right, all right, I suppose the correct term is “child at heart.” Give me a bowl of cereal and a Netflix marathon of some 90s cartoons and I’m a happy girl. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the occasional fancy restaurant or planning a dream vacation… or planning a movie day with friends. I’m sort of a mixed bag? Though, deep down, I’m a geeky girl who loves her video games and anime, but I also do crafts like woodburning and painting. My partner and I go to conventions together with our art and, now, our books. We also cosplay. It’s a lot of fun! Sometimes you just want to dress like Princess Tiana, you know?
Hey Cat… are you restraining my hands? That’s not really necessary…
Cat: I just finished reading Double Hue. I absolutely loved it. How did you come up with the story?
Briana: *forgets about restraints due to compliment* Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Let’s see, how did “Double Hue” come to pass…
I got the idea in my head a few years ago. I imagined someone being told that his lover was dead, and how when we lose someone, we usual think about how we want them back in our lives. Well… what if you could go back? What if that person didn’t have to die? That’s how it all started, then it took on a life of its own over time. Thanks to some motivation via National Novel Writing Month I finished the book!
Cat: Was any of it based on actual people or events?
Briana: Somewhat. I mean the thought of wanting someone back who we lost is something I think about sometimes when I think about my older brother, who died when I was 13. So little thoughts like that made it into the book.
Also, Gable and Avery’s relationship kind of mirrors my relationship with my partner. Not anything too huge, but the small things: me being a gamer and her watching me play (though she doesn’t make fun of me as much as Gable does Avery… sort of.) Also, there’s the coming out theme. The fact that Gable and Avery do it their senior year of college is definitely a page from my partner and I because that’s the year we came out to our parents (except for my mother, who I came out to prior to that). Avery’s parents react horribly, and while my partner’s parents and my dad didn’t take it positively at first, they didn’t flat out disown us like Avery’s parents. Also, our parents eventually came around. We’re all a big, happy family now.
Cat: What is the significance of the title?
Briana: Originally it was called “Double H” after the murderer in the book. But then while I was editing it I realized how many times colors played a part in the story, so I ended up thinking of “hue.”
Cat: Colors play an important factor in this story. What made you think of making a box of colors so important?
Briana: Ha! I just said that, huh? Actually, it’s Avery’s fault! While I was writing, he became more animated. Gable is sort of more serious and is the “I need to study for the top grade” boyfriend. Meanwhile, Avery is like, “Gonna play Kingdom Hearts then practice for my musical by singing all night.” In the beginning of the story, Gable mockingly calls Avery a starving artist and comments on how he’ll “have to feed his ass” since he’s career focused and Avery’s all, “I wanna see my name in lights.”
This isn’t to say that Gable isn’t supportive of Avery, because he is, and he wants to see his boyfriend’s names in lights. He knows that Avery’s acting is just as serious as his own career goals. This is just an example of their banter. Avery’s always talking about how boring Gable’s life would be without him while Gable comments about his Liberal Arts major. By writing for the two of them, a thought came to me of Gable being one of those kids who didn’t play with the power of imagination. His grandfather got him crayons and Gable was like, “Blah.” He was the kid who needed the actual toy, you know? No using your imagination, he straight up wanted the fire truck because it was, indeed, the fire truck – none of that “pretend that your shoebox is a truck” stuff. That was the first time the crayons came up, and with colors playing such a huge part I thought, “What if those crayons are a recurring theme?”
Cat: Is this your first story? If not, how many other books do you have, and where would we find them?
Briana: Does fanfiction count? Don’t answer that. Fanfiction is important but you don’t need to answer that because I have waaaaaaaay too many fanfics.
As far as published works, “Double Hue” isn’t my first. This is my first novel length M/M tale, but I do have other books too. I can include links and blurbs for you. I think every single one has M/M content somehow.
Treat Me Kindly (my first book)
I only ask that you treat me kindly, then I will do the same for you.
The words of the invitation whisper gently into your ear, speaking of rare and exotic animals unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. To detective Alex Sampson, however, that invitation speaks of something else. Death. Attendees at a prestigious animal auction are turning up dead, each murder more brutal than the last. The only clue to each crime points to a different animal, but when did birds and butterflies go from being aphrodisiacs for fairy tales to deadly mass murderers?
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/1615729887
Press START to Play (a short story featured in an anthology through Dreamspinner Press)
Lukis Singleton’s once-popular sports column is fading fast, thanks to the terrible track record of the local football team. In an attempt to save the column, Lukis’s editor, John, decides he needs to go in a different direction. Video games are all the rage these days, so John insists that sending Lukis to a huge video-game tournament in Los Angeles will shake up his current readers and bring in new ones. Lukis isn’t thrilled about reporting on games with impossible powers or gamers who still live in Mom’s basement, but then he meets a tempting flaw in the gaming stereotypes of unwashed man-children. Aaron Sanders is a gorgeous breath of fresh air at the tournament who takes Lukis’s less-than-stellar view of gamers and turns it on its head, leaving Lukis to wonder if it might be worth being Aaron’s player two.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Daily Dose package “Make a Play”.
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/B00D4KFVM0
Seeking the Storyteller (adventure series with my partner)
I know of the Storyteller, it whispers into the man’s ear, I’ve met him. If you promise not to kill me, I’ll take you to him.
Alix Andre DeBenit and Randall Fagan are Hunters, part of a hidden network of humans who track and kill the monsters lurking in our world so everyone else can pretend they don’t exist. But when a living shadow mentions someone called the Storyteller, Alix hesitantly decides to learn more.
They say the Storyteller lives in a massive library full of books that tell every being’s life story. He can read these books, rewrite them and change anything he wants, even if it’s already happened. That’s the power Alix wants, the power to bring his murdered family back and he’s determined to make the Storyteller do it.
He just has to decide if working with the very creatures he’s supposed to kill is worth it.
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/B00HCJP0PM
Cat: What do you do in your spare time?
Briana: I sort of mentioned it before, with my crafts and going to conventions and cosplay. I can share links to those things! I’ve even written an article about my cosplay for xoJane, so my spare time hobbies are becoming more of, well… a thing? It’s pretty amazing when things work out that way.
Cat: Are you currently working on anything new? Will it be in the same genre or is it something different?
Briana: Currently we’re getting ready for conventions and I plan on having my books there. With “Seeking the Storyteller” just coming out in December, my partner and I are both working on promoting it while I’m promoting “Double Hue” at the same time. So, currently, I’m not working on too much. I did just submit two stories into Dreamspinner though, so I hope to hear something back that’s positive. One is a Christmas story with a fun twist and the other is about voyeurism. So they’re not as heavy as “Double Hue,” but they are still in the realm of M/M romance. I really like writing M/M work, so it usually makes it into my work somehow.
I do have a plan for an anthology I’d love to write. It’s romance, but for geeks. Just different, romantic tales in the geek community, from cosplay, to gaming, to going to conventions, and just… anything and everything I can think of. And I want it to feature all sorts of diverse couples. I have an outline written out at the moment, it’s just a matter of starting it.
Cat: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule. *unties restraints* is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Briana: I thought my wrists would hurt, but wow, you tied me down with great care! Thanks so much for the interview! And thanks to everyone who read it, and who are keeping up with my works. I hope you find enjoyment in them!
Cat: Just in case there are other stalkers…ooops .. I mean readers, where can we find you?
Briana: Stalkers huh? Are they the kind who support writers and artists? Because if so…