Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Italian Blues by Cornelia Grey

~ I am so excited to have Cornelia on the blog once again. There's always a wonderful post to be read, and I am very much looking forward to checking out Devil at the Crossroads (this title gives me Supernatural feels =_- ) ~



Hello, Darien, and thank you so much for having me!

My paranormal novella Devil at the Crossroads was just released by Riptide Publishing, and I’m really excited to have the chance to chat a little about how this story was born. And, at the end of the post, there’s also a juicy giveaway for all lovely readers...! I will be making a few stops over the next few days – you can keep track of the blog tour here :)!

The Italian Blues

My first love, when it comes to guitarists, was my dad.

One of my first memories is him sitting on the couch with a cherry red electric guitar in his lap, with a small amplifier at his feet. There was a pair of giant headphones plugged in, as well – we lived in an apartment block and he couldn’t play out loud – but I could hear the music filtering through the headphones. Mostly, though, I could hear the strange, clinking notes of the not-amplified strings. I grew to like that sound a lot.

My dad had very curly, frizzy black hair (he used to have an Afro in the seventies!) and wore it longer at the back, in what I recently learned is called a mullet in English, (I still remember how disappointed I was when he cut it) and sometimes played acoustic guitar as well. He had a metronome and white plastic picks; a thingie with green and red lights to tune the guitar and a metal cylinder to put over his finger when he played (the slide). The black guitar case had a grey fluffy interior, and a secret compartment with spare strings, red plastic pick-holders and a brown tube of lubricant to pass over the guitar strings every time he finished playing. He let me play with all these things, let me touch the strings, tweak the silver knobs to tune the guitar, lock the case, pull the spring cables and observe the silver jacks, touch all the buttons and knobs on the amplifier.

I didn’t know how to use any of that stuff, and I still don’t; I didn’t even know the names of most of it. But I still recognize all those items with the precision and fondness with which we recognise something we were familiar with as children.

My dad also had a vast collection of rock videotapes, so my next crush was not a guitarist, but a skinny guy with ginger hair who ran like a madman around the stage wearing a kilt. (Hint: when I was old enough to know what’s what, my preference shifted to the dark n’ handsome guitarist, shirtless, in a corner hiding behind a bush of black curls. I’m sorry, Slash, I swear I didn’t know what I was doing!). My mother introduced me to the Doors, with their odd and sometimes scary videos, and to Queen. Eventually, I grew old enough to appreciate music without pictures to go with it, and that’s when I discovered my dad’s seemingly endless collection of rock, blues, and jazz CDs.

My father used to tell me stories about musicians in lieu of fairytales (later on we would switch to making up our own adventures, whose atmosphere still is at the very core of my writing; but that’s a story for another time), so I grew up holding, for example, Robert Johnson and his crossroads legend near and dear to my heart, like the adventure of a beloved character. Eventually, the blues atmosphere mixed with other stories, of hardened rockers on Harley Davidsons, with faded leather jackets and long hair (my next crush, right about that time, was Lorenzo Lamas from Renegade!).

Bear in mind that we were Italians living in a small industrial valley between the woods; these stories and atmospheres were so far away, so distant from our reality, that they felt even more like adventure tales. When I was a teenager, my father and I drove aimlessly around in his aqua green Fiat Panda, up and down the hills that surround our town, dodging the occasional tractor and blasting Steppenwolf and Nirvana and the Creedence Clearwater Revival on the stereo. We made up stories as we went, our crazy adventures in strange worlds; we talked a lot about the places we would visit sometime soon, the concerts we would go to as soon as I was just a little older.

Unfortunately, my father passed away prematurely before we had the chance to attend a concert together. But the love for rock and blues that he taught me remained, even though, despite his attempt at teaching me bass guitar (miserably failed – if you want to know more about that, check out my next post!) I never got around to playing any instrument myself. Listening to a blues album still brings me back to the peaceful hours we spent together, talking and making up stories, and going back to that place makes me feel close to him – and at the same time, I feel the bittersweet longing of missing his company. That was why finally writing a story about the blues meant a lot to me. I think he would have loved to read this story and, even though at times it makes me a little sad, I’m glad to have written something he really could have appreciated, really could have understood. It makes me feel as if our connection is still there.

Nowadays, I’m living with my boyfriend, who is also a guitarist – and my definitive guitarist crush, at that! – so I’m again surrounded by all the little things pertaining to guitars. It’s funny, but pleasant, to see how they haven’t really changed. Sometimes he finds me sitting next to his guitar case, fiddling with the picks and the slide and the jacks, and he never complains. And sometimes, he sits next to me on the bed as I write, and plays his guitar plugged in the laptop, with his headphones on – we live in an apartment building, so he can’t play out loud. The sharp, clinking notes of the unplugged electric guitar still sound the same, and that private, secret music still remains one of my favorite, and makes me feel peaceful as can be.

Cornelia xxx

!!Trivia Contest!!

Attention, dear readers – this release comes with a trivia contest, and the winners will receive a free ebook of their choice from my backlist!

There are three easy questions, whose answer can be found reading Devil at the Crossroads. Keep an eye for the answers as you read the story, then email me the answers at corneliagrey [at] yahoo [dot] com – do not leave them in the comments, remember, you don’t want to make life too easy for the competition ;)!

The deadline for the contest is September the 30th: I will randomly select two readers among those who emailed me replying correctly to the three questions. The winners will be officially announced on my blog (as well as emailed!) and they will receive a free ebook of their choice from my backlist!

Ready for the questions? Here we go...

1) What is the model of Logan’s guitar?

2) Throughout the story, three spider tattoos are mentioned. Where are they located?

3) Farfarello happens to mention a future birthday of Logan’s. Which birthday is that?

Good luck! And remember, email me your answers by September the 30th to be entered in the contest :)!

Bio:

Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.

She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it. You can find her at www.corneliagrey.com

And also on [Twitter] [Livejournal] [Blogger] [Facebook]



Devil at the Crossroads Blurb:

The devil covets more than his soul ...

Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.

You can read an excerpt and purchase ‘Devil at the Crossroads’ here!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Stealing the Wind by Shira Anthony

Reviewed by Fehu
Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1) by Shria Anthony
Dreamspinner Press
Novel
4 Pants Off

Blurb:
Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk… and Taren is one of them too. Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future—not only for themselves but for all their kind.


Review
Refreshing new fantasy, with characters that grow on you, I picked this one foremost because it had mermen (not the usual paranormals) and because of the beautiful cover. Often a nice covers has led me astray to less than good books, fortunately Stealing the Wind delivered what the cover promised.

Taren was sold into slavery to pay for the debts of his master, the guy who raised him. In the keep where he had to work since, a pirate captain by the name of Rider, took notice of him and kidnapped him. On the ship Taren was promised his freedom if he would serve the captain sexually, together with another male, the captains lover. Taren adjusted pretty quickly to the change and actually liked his live aboard Rider’s ship, but an accident made him float in the sea and encounter another ship. This ship didn't have a human crew, as Taren was bound to find out, it would bring him closer to finding out about his parents and his heritage. Also he was prophesied, that he'd be tested and will meet someone his soul lost long time ago.

Admittedly, sceptical at the beginning, when Taren accepted his lot in live so easily, especially his sexual servitude to the captain. He grew on me, when the story stopped skipping years in his life. Still I was a bit miffed, when he seemed to fall for another guy who captured him so easily, but Taren actually showed some backbone in his other encounters with Ian, a pirate captain, that fished him out, after he saved one of his previous shipmates and got hit by the ship. Ian, well it took me some time to warm up to him, since he knew what would likely await Taren at the hands of the Council of Ea(mermen) and still he didn't warn him or let him free. Also Ian took his sweet time to explain to Taren, who or rather what he really was.

This is a plot driven story, surprisingly there wasn't all that much sex and I was glad that after the initial part, Ian and Taren's relationship took some time to develop. Actually having just finished it, I feel like they are just beginning their adventure and well I want to know the rest of the story. There is one threesome scene, as a warning, I know not all like that but it was early in the story and after Ian and Taren meet and admit their attraction, it's just them. Stealing the Wind feels like a beginning of a story, there was a lot of world building in this part and some history.

I hope for more character development in the next book and hopefully I won’t have to wait a long time to read more about Taren and Ian, now that they actual have found each other and cleared all misunderstandings.

4 Pants Off


Guest Post & Giveaway: Species, Species, and more Species by Lexi Ander

I first wanted to say thank you for having me here. *curtsey*

The one thing I loved about writing Alpha Trine was the different species and races. If the book had taken place in the human quadrant then there would've been more humans. The background I gave the Terrens wasn't great. >.< A society ran by four major corporations that operate like they have a monopoly on the market. Too big, too powerful, and the bottom line always equals revenue. Because of their actions manipulating the GryFalconi genetics, the Terrens have been relegated to their own quadrant and fined for a really, really, long time.

That set the stage to keep the humans at a distance so that Zeus grew up and lived in a different culture. It also allowed me a little more creativity with the people he dealt with on a day-to-day basis. The universe could have so many different variations of people just as Earth has so many different variations of life. Even though Zeus worked on the space station, he didn't have much contact with the few humans that worked there but had the opportunity to meet many different species. The Asani, little otter-like people who had visible gills. The Ice Trans with his huge ears and wind wings. Cleito, Zeus's friend, who was a pretty sentient plant. (He was great fun to create and plays a part in book three.)

But you didn't get a real in-depth look at the various races until Zeus boarded the Oethra 7. The crew comprised several different peoples, each selected for a specialty. The idea was that having a coalition of planets would cause the races to intermix regularly. For as many who made their fortunes on the homeworlds there are those who made a good life abroad. Not all races are attractive or even humanoid such as the Orions which I modeled after my favorite animal, the octopus. Although the Orions are land based and don't like the water, as a troop they kick butt. *makes googled karate moves* By far my favorite race of all the side characters.

Axis is the GryFalconi navigator. He can be anywhere in the universe and know exactly where his homeworld is and how to get there. The two Gazinitis are Gaex, the pilot, and Mayra, the medic, are husband and wife. They are small at about four feet tall, peaceful and non-violent. They appear very similar to Catalanis which was why Amlyn, the assassin, adopted them as her pride. Catalanis are aggressive and on their homeworld the prides fight amongst each other constantly. Amlyn's was the only one left in her pride so she left her homeworld. Gaex and Mayra helped to fill that empty space but when the Fal'Amorics came aboard, Amlyn made them hers.

Next we have the Ursid brothers, bear-like warriors who easily fool people with their rotund body. They are quick, deadly warriors in charge of the onboard artillery and mech warriors. Oh, and Hadon, Zeus's bodyguard. He's a null, meaning he negates another's psychic abilities called Psionics. He reminds of a four armed, black and white spotted abominable snowman. That wasn't my intension when I was putting him together but after I finished I didn't have the heart to pull him apart. I liked him and the soft image his appearance creates. That the Ursids took a shine to him was completely out of left field. I didn't plan that at all and yet it fit.

The quirkiest race is the L'Eemas. The tallest are only at three feet in height which allows them to squeeze into tight spaces. They are smart, inquisitive and have a drive to destroy themselves at the age of twenty in the most spectacular way possible. Giving an L'Eema access to explosives is like giving a pyromaniac an open flame. They can't help themselves with how enthralled they become with demolition. The bigger, the better and when they are in the grip of their destructive drive, they disregard the safety of all innocent bystanders. Can the urge be overcome? Yes, but those who do are banished and considered a disgrace.

These are only a few of my favorites. Keeping detailed notes on the appearance, the mannerisms, the sounds they make was imperative. I am constantly fact checking. I didn't want the races to be this blank canvas. I hate that when I read, when someone is introduced but you are given any clue to what they look like. Some say leave it up to the readers imagination. I believe that in some instances that is great but for the most part I love my stories to be rich in detail so I can "see" what the author is imagining. That is what I wanted to do in Alpha Trine, to provide a vivid backdrop that enriched the story. At least, I hope that is what I did.

Thank you for stopping by and a warm thank you to Pants Off Reviews for hosting me today. Before I leave with the blurb and an excerpt remember…

I'll be giving away a paperback copy of Alpha at the end of this blog tour. Every comment on this and the other four posts will be another entry into the drawing. On September 28th I will email the winner at the end of the day, so remember to leave a comment with a way to contact you.

Blog tour schedule:

September 23rd – Babes In Boyland (http://www.babesinboyland.net/)

September 24th – Raining Men (http://rainingmenamen.blogspot.com/)

September 25th – Pants Off Reviews (http://pantsoffreviews.blogspot.com/)

September 26th – World of Diversity Fiction (http://sean-norris.com/)

September 27th – dreaminginfinity (https://dreaminginfinity.wordpress.com/)



Blurb:
The sole survivor on a science vessel adrift in deep space, Zeus was adopted by the Emperor and Empress of the Mar'Sani, though he is both human and blind, and seen by most as unfit to join the royal family. Though they were able to repair his vision, Zeus does not trust his eyes and the nobles of his parents' court refuse to ever trust a frail human. Dargon Kal-Turak, along with his symbiote and lover Alpha, command one of the most dangerous ships in the stars. Narrowly escaping a trap, they dock in a space port to make repairs, but find that the Psionics hunting them are closing in fast. In desperation they kidnap the port Master Mechanic, unaware that the man they've brought on board is more than he seems, and will bring far more upheaval to their ship, their lives, and the stars than any of them could have imagined.





Excerpt:

Prologue

Canry was lost—no—taken.

Empress Ashari ignored her attendants. She knew they would report back to her mate, Emperor Valdor Vondorian, and she cared not. She was hollow inside, the pain turning to a numbness that ate at her core until there was nothing left for her to feel. She refused to pretend everything was normal because it was not. Nothing would ever be normal again because he was gone—stolen. Her youngest son, Canry, had disappeared in the Waters of Poseidon only two short months ago, and yet it seemed like yesterday.

Ashari slipped a hand under the cream-colored pillow and pulled out Canry's little nightshirt. She had made the weave herself from the finest spyder silk. Ashari handled the material carefully. Her claws were ragged from nervous chewing, and she did not wish for the fine thread to catch on them. Her eyes burned as she tenderly fingered the colorful clothing. Her heart might have been hollow but her tears were rivers that fed the sea.

She wondered what she could have done differently. All Mar'Sani younglings were introduced to the Waters of Poseidon when they turned six lunar months. She and Valdor had been delighted Canry had quickly taken to the waters, more so than the twins or his sister, Shaneva. The youngling had been swimming, diving perfectly at her side and then slithering through the water, his black scales glistening in the sunshine.

She noticed the tips of the barbs that ran along his spine and down his tail were beginning to turn red, a sign of his royal blood. Canry splashed Ashari with his tail and dived into the water—never to surface again. Within moments everyone began searching for the royal youngling. Those who lived in the waters combed the depths and found nothing. Canry was simply gone—disappeared—no trace or body had been found. He had vanished.

Never in Mar'Sani history had a youngling or adult been lost in the Waters of Poseidon. For days Ashari refused to leave the shoreline of the great sea in hopes her son would find his way back home. She spent hours diving and swimming until she was overcome by exhaustion and the attendants pulled her ashore.

Finally, she accepted the fact that Canry would not be coming home. She took to her sick bed and there she stayed.

Every day she ate a little less. Her mate, Valdor, tried his best to console her, but there was little he could do. Poseidon had, for some unknown reason, taken her son, and in a few short years, he would claim their daughter as well.

Their now youngest child, Shaneva, had been showing signs of The Longing prior to Canry's birth. One in every two thousand younglings born would return to the Waters of Poseidon. These children would eventually choose to reside in the waters over living on land. The reasons for The Longing were unknown, but neither were the children discouraged from the choice. As natural as The Longing was to the Mar'Sani people, Ashari could not help but wonder what she had done that Poseidon would lay claim to two of her four children.

A large Mar'Sani male filled the doorway. His black scales gleamed like polished rock. Dark yellow eyes narrowed at the sight of Ashari lying on the platform, his barbed tail swishing side to side. Resplendent in the imperial red and gold robes, the Emperor strode into the room. Ashari knew that look of determination on his handsome face and was unfazed. She tucked the outfit back under her pillow as Valdor sat on the edge of the low bed.

"Your attendants claim you are not hungry this morning."

Valdor's voice was deep, resonating throughout the room.

Ashari refrained from replying for there was nothing to say.

"They also relay you are too tired to rise." Again, she responded with silence.

Without another world, Valdor unlaced his boots and set them aside before climbing onto the platform. He gently nudged her to rise up, and he slid under Ashari before pulling her down to his chest. He released a great sigh and stroked the smooth ridge of her forehead until her curiosity slowly surfaced.

"What are you doing?" Ashari softly inquired.

"He … Canry was my son too. I miss his laugh. I miss watching him sleep. I miss … Being the emperor requires that I put my personal sorrows aside to care for others, but I cannot keep doing so if I lose my mate as well. I, too, hurt and grieve. I am exhausted and food holds no appeal. So I will lie with my beloved for a time and keep her company in her sorrow."

Ashari buried her face in the crook of Valdor's neck, the scales pliant against her cheek. He needed her, Ashari reminded herself, and Valdor never gave up.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Spotlight & Giveaway: After Midnight by Santino Hassell (Blog Tour)

Blurb
Gordon Frost is a survivor. He survived a war that ravaged the nation, and he made it through the orphanages and crime-ridden slums that followed. With few prospects for the future, Gordon carved out a niche for himself in the expanding drug trade of Lexington, PA. It’s not pretty, but it's his, and it beats what he was doing before. But a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time results in a brush with death, going by the name of Adam. Afterward, the life that seemed good enough before, isn't quite the same.

Adam Blake is an assassin on the brink of being terminated by the very organization that controls him.

He completed his mission, but not without being seen. With his secrets in danger of being exposed by Gordon, Adam knows he should kill the smart-mouthed redhead, but finds himself intrigued by the troublesome civilian instead.

When Gordon’s knack for finding trouble combines with the dangerous consequences of Adam’s indecision, their worlds intertwine in an explosive way.

Book Buy Links:
Amazon
Smashwords
All Romance eBooks 


About the Author:
Santino Hassell is the co-author of the popular epic series “In the Company of Shadows” and the newly released solo project “After Midnight”. When not writing, he works in education, is a single dad to two amazing kids, and can be found either reading, playing video games, or complaining about the failure of New York’s public transportation system.

Author Links:
www.santinohassell.com 
www.goodreads.com/santino_hassell.com 
https://twitter.com/santinohassell 
https://www.facebook.com/santinohassellbooks 

Review:
Since I have yet to read After Midnight due to my lack of reading time and life kicking me in the butt. You can check out glowing reviews at Attention is Arbitrary and at author's J.C Lillis blog.



Giveaway

To win this Swag, just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway link below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thursday, September 19, 2013

Guest Post: Slavery and the Daeva by Lor Rose ( Serve Me Anthology)

~Once again I have the lovely Lor Rose stopping by with a fun post. Its always a pleasure to have her GP and I look forward to reading Serve Me.~


Imagine it, having your freedom taken. One infraction could land you in a life of servitude. You have no rights; your life's only value is what your Master paid for you. Come to find, your value was much less than you ever thought.

There will never be an end to your servitude. Your Master is your world. Every wish is your command and no wish can you refuse. Your Master controls when you eat, what you eat, when you sleep, where you sleep, your clothing (if any), when you go to bathroom, and whom you have sex with, whether you want it or not.

Your very blood is the sustenance your Master needs to survive. Master takes whatever Master needs with or without your cooperation. To disobey would mean retribution any way your Master sees fit because you are only a slave. And slaves had no rights.

Imagine if someone else held your life in their hands. This day could be your last, and yet you wouldn't even know it.

This was the world Aidan and Aaron lived with every day. They never knew what would happen. Their Master, Jax, was a cruel Daeva more commonly known as a "vampire". Though, to call one a vampire almost ensured certain pain but never death. The Daeva caught on that it was ploy from slaves to end their suffering. They're smart like that, you see. Which was most unfortunate for the majority of the slave population. Notice, if you please, only a majority, not all.

Most Daevas abused their rights as Masters and should, in fact, have been the slave themselves. There were a few Daeva who treated their slaves fairly, showed their slaves some respect, and a few took their slaves a life mates.

These Daeva Masters were of legend in the slave community. It was a fantasy to most, something unattainable. A legend Aidan hardly listened to because he knew the truth:

All Daeva were monsters.




The above note was what I wrote when I read the anthology call on Storm Moon Press' website for their Serve Me anthology. Literally. I read the call and out came the pen. The basic premise of my note made it into my short story, "Life is Unforgiving", and some of the details were kept for the series world that "Life is Unforgiving" takes place in.

I have a habit of writing anthology calls in a series world I already have in place. Giving my readers a taste of what's to come is something I love to do. My habit has also been called "rude", "annoying", and "unfair" by one or two of my partners, since the books aren't available yet, but I don't listen to them.

Writing these anthologies allows me room to explore my world without the pressure, if you will, of having to produce a full length story of 35,000 to 40,000 words. Every time I've done so, something I didn't know about my series pops up.

For instance, before I wrote "Life is Unforgiving", I had no idea Daeva in this world hated the term vampire. It was news to me. I made sure to go back in my world-building notes and jot down this little fact. I also didn't intend for Aidan's old master, Jax, to ever pop up again, but I lost that battle. ;)

When I was writing "Life is Unforgiving", I didn't want the story to end. I wanted more. I prayed Ryce and Aidan would keep talking to me and turn this anthology piece into a book. I would've settled on breaking up the book into multiple anthology runs (which I've sort of done already, but I'm not talking about that today). However, that wasn't the case. Ryce and Aidan kept quiet near the end.

I set the manuscript aside for about a week in the hope they would continue their story. It's been awhile since I wrote "Life is Unforgiving", and I won't say if they've spoken up since, but I will say you guys will see them again in some capacity. I'll just leave you to stew over what "capacity" means.


Serve Me marked my fourth anthology release this year with Storm Moon Press and I'm not even done yet. There's a book somewhere down the line, too. I am a busy, busy author but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Lor Rose is a snarky, over the top, genderfluid, polyamorous demipansexual with dark hair and pink highlights (although sometimes the color varies). Lor started reading very questionable M/M fanfiction at a very young age in the closet. Literally. Though, that didn't stop her from getting caught once or twice. This early love of things M/M sparked her writing career. She has written for several anthologies at Storm Moon Press, and her most recent short can be found in their Serve Me anthology, now on sale in both ebook and print formats!

Guest Post: Hunter's Hunt by Chris T. Kat (Promo)

Blurb
Wanted: one bear. Must be burly and hairy, and strong enough to paddle. Hunter Bell is on the prowl, and he knows just where to find his prey: at the Bear Trap, a gay leather bar he’s more than a little familiar with. So many men, so little time. He’s just about to pounce on his choice of the evening when a newcomer enters the bar, turning everyone’s head. Adrian Michaels is everything Hunter despises in a man. He’s lean and boyish looking, and he has the deepest dimples Hunter’s ever seen.

And yet there is an immediate attraction, one that neither man can deny. They’re both too astonished to do anything about this apparent interest in one another, and they waste their opportunity. Now it’s up to Hunter to forget about his stereotypical preference and go for the guy that’s just entered his dreams. If only he can admit to himself that Adrian’s what he really wants...



Buy Links:
Torquere Press
Amazon
All Romance eBooks

Excerpt

It took a moment for the newcomer to absorb his surroundings and, when he did, he flinched. A few men chuckled upon discovering the baffled look on the guy's face, which proved that he indeed hadn't known about the nature of the Bear's Trap. Hunter watched him shift from one foot to the other while most men turned back and resumed their conversations. The new guy remained rooted to the spot, dripping water all over the floor, before he squared his shoulders and pushed through the mass of bodies. At last he reached the bar, where Hunter was still standing, for some unknown reason interested in this guy.

The newcomer waved at the bartender. "Is there a phone anywhere?"

"You don't have a cell phone?" another guy asked, perplexed.

The newcomer shot him a 'drop-dead' look, startling Hunter into a laugh. The new guy turned toward him with a quizzical look. Hunter was face-to-face with an irritated man, whose dark blue eyes were blazing.

"Bad day?" Hunter heard himself ask.

"Craptastic."

Hunter pulled his cell phone from his pocket and held it out to him. "You might better go to the back. Otherwise, you won't be able to understand anything."

Baffled, the other man took the phone. "Thank you, uh, what's your name?"

"Hunter." He held out his hand for the other man to shake.

"Last name or first name?"

"First."

"Thanks, Hunter. I'm Adrian."

"Hey, Adrian."

Adrian gestured with the phone toward the end of the bar and raised one delicate eyebrow. "This way?"

Hunter nodded and beckoned Adrian to go past him. Adrian only made it a few feet before one of the other men groped him, drawing out a surprised yelp from Adrian. He shoved the guy aside then proceeded farther into the back. On his way, he struggled with advances from more guys than Hunter could count. At some point, Adrian whirled around and, even from that distance Hunter could see the fast heaving of his chest, the free hand balled into a fist, and the stressed look on his face.

With a sigh, Hunter pushed away from the bar and strolled after Adrian. He caught up with him right when another man, a regular customer called Dean, made a pass at him.

"Hey, knock it off. He's with me, Dean."

"With you? Since when are you going for his type, Hunter?" Dean asked with a sneer.

Hunter shrugged while he sent a dark glower toward Dean, which caused the other man to drop his eyes and inspect the contents of his glass thoroughly. Hunter laid a hand on Adrian's shoulder and pushed him ahead. Adrian cast him a worried look but walked where Hunter steered him. After opening a door to a private room at the end, he ushered Adrian through and switched on the light.

"Go ahead."

Adrian clutched the cell phone in his hands, staring at Hunter with an apprehensive look. Hunter noticed that Adrian's eyes were of a dark, almost navy, blue. He swallowed. Even behind the glasses, Adrian's eyes seemed large and expressive. He had to concentrate on listening to Adrian's question. "Is this... is this some kind of leather bar?"

"Yeah. Never been in one before, have you?" Hunter asked.

"No. No offense and all, but I'm not very fond of it."

"Scared?"

"Yes."

"Need a bodyguard?"

Adrian eyed him before he obviously came to some kind of decision. "You free for bodyguard duty for maybe an hour?"

"Sure." Hunter grinned. "I won't even try to molest you."




Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there's any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Links
Blog: http://christikat.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christi_kat 
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/ChrisTKat 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChrisTKat 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Gumption & Gumshoes by Alex Kidwell

Reviewed by Fehu
Gumption & Gumshoes by Alex Kidwell
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 200pgs
4 Pants Off

Blurb:
August Adahy Mendez would rather be buried in the world of his detective novels or a good film noir movie than in real life. He’s overweight, undermotivated, and stuck in a dead-end job. As a Chincha, he’s part of a long line of chinchilla shifters, but the greatest accomplishment in his life so far has been moving an hour away from his close-knit herd. That all changes when August’s grandfather leaves him enough cash to pursue his dream: becoming a detective himself.

Sam Ewing is a bitter divorcé who enjoys watching football and being alone. It’s easier when his only interaction with people is when he collects rent from his office building tenants. Then August rents space from him to set up his new detective agency, and Sam is drawn to him despite his misgivings.

Sam soon finds himself involved with one of August’s cases, and the men join forces to catch their criminal. The greater challenges they face, however, are how August makes Sam want to give love a second try and how Sam makes August believe that real life might be even better than fiction.


Review
A nice summer read, without a lot of angst with charming characters! August was losing his pants at the start of the book and it proved to be a story that can make you lose quite a lot of pants.

The cover was very cute and actually that is very fitting for the story. While it is also a mystery, the focus was on the characters, especially on August. August is a shifter, but not just your usual cat or wolf shifter, no he turns into a chinchilla. He is also a bit overweight, cannot shut up when he is embarrassed and pretty much adorable in his bumbling, geeky way. August dreams about being a private detective and after the death of his grandfather, he inherits enough money to actually make that dream reality.

Sam August's landlord, at least for his office, and love interest, is his opposite, quite, scary looking, build and afraid to trust again and set himself up to being hurt. After a bad divorce from his partner, Sam mostly keeps his own company, but the shy guy in a fedora and a detective trench coat piqued his interest.  When Sam sees August shift, while August tries to avoid discovery on his first big investigation, they get closer.  Still August has to overcome his own insecurities and Sam relearns to trust people again, for them to work as a couple. Of course there is still the case to solve, about missing money in the laundry store.

The mystery was not the best I've read and a lot was happening very fast or was told and not showed, that distracted me from the story. BUT I liked August quite a bit, even Sam with his gruff attitude at the beginning, and grew on me. The heart of this book was the characters and they hooked me from the start. August with his charming non-stop babbling, his daydreams and his sense of humour, was simply too adorable to resist. For the most part the story flowed smoothly and the dialogs were entertaining. The only thing that wasn't really working for me, even though I liked August, was his insecurity about his looks and his weight, it came up quite a lot. He was fixated on being overweight and quite insecure, which is not exactly an attractive quality in a potential lover. Oh and I thought for such a shy, meek character, without a lot of experience, well it was a bit strange for me when he turned out to be the top, because it just didn't fit in with all the things former mentioned about him or his personality.

Other than that it was a nice, read, without much drama, but quite charming with very likable characters.


4 Pants Off

Review: The Pauper Prince by Sui Lynn

Reviewed by Fehu
The Pauper Prince by Sui Lynn
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 200pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
Andrew Reed is smart and educated, but as long as his people are enslaved to the vampires, his options are limited. When he discovers a strange young man in his family’s barn, he shifts forms and trails the thief, trying to decipher why he smells familiar with a hint of something more. Excited by what he discovers, he reveals himself to Lance, and they return to Lance's camp in the forest.

When Andrew's family takes it on themselves to “help” by investigating Lance’s past, Andrew finds something neither of them could have imagined. If they band together, they have a chance to win their freedom—and a brighter future for all the races.



Review
An interesting take on the vampire/shifter relationship, I had great expectations for this book, sadly I didn't connect to the characters and that took some of my enjoyment of this story. Lance is an orphan and running away from his past, he was abused in the foster system and doesn't trust people easily. Strangely enough he is quick to trust Andrew, who caught him "borrowing" tools from his shed.

When Andrew gives chase to a fleeing Lance, Lance shifts into a wolf and is pretty fast, ok with this new development and with Andrews’s presence in his life. A lot of mundane things are described, about them fixing up Lance's cabin for the winter, quite detailed too, so that the interesting part and the whole vampire/shifter conflict didn't come up until later. Sadly the insta-love came up pretty quick, after 20% or so into the story, I love you were exchanged, which seemed awfully quick to me. Also the love declarations got a bit too much for me, there is sweet and then there is a sugary coma and this one was closer to the second option.

What I found strange is that one of them was referred to as a female in their relationship. I mean why? They are both guys, why do any of them need to be the woman? I like m/m romances, this is an m/m romance, why would one of the characters need to be a woman, sorry, but this one really set my teeth on edge. The writing is nice enough and the dialogues are all right, but I though it lacked a spark and could really lose some sugar and melodrama.

Should You Read It? If you like paranormal series with shifters and don't mind insta-love, you might wanna give this one a chance. I think this one is a hit or miss book, some will like it others will not, it all depends on one's mood and preferences.

3 Pants Off

Guest Post: If Wishes Were Coffee by Michelle Moore

I want to thank Darien at Pants Off Reviews for hosting day three of my blog tour for my newest short story “If Wishes Were Coffee”. If you’re looking for a perfect mash-up of fun things like cute guys, coffee, sand and surf, and best of all, magic, “Wishes” is the story for you.

Yesterday’s blog post focused on Todd, the barista half of the cute guys. Today I’m going to focus on the magic half of the relationship. Daniel has a bond with the beach town of Playa Escondida, one that ties him to the beach itself.

Daniel agreed to join me on his favorite section of beach and answer some questions that might be of interest to readers.




Why did you choose Playa Escondida when you went looking for a new place to live?

I wish I could say that it was because I knew Todd was here. Truthfully though, it wasn’t my decision. I was needed here, so here I am. It’s not really a choice kind of thing. Remember in elementary school when they put name tags on the desks and you had to sit where your name was? It’s kind of like that. Someone else makes the decisions. Not that I’m complaining! Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.


Well, it’s pretty awesome that you were needed where you actually wanted to be. We could all wish for that kind of luck. So we hear you spend a lot of time in Los Granos de Café Oro. What would you say is your favorite order at the coffee shop?

Black with two packets of Sweet-n-Low. No, wait, that would be Todd’s pretend drink of choice. Mine is a two shot mocha, dark chocolate syrup, extra whip. And a cookie. And a quick grope behind the counter. Uh… you know I’m joking about that last one, right? Kind of?


Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a quick grope between consenting adults. I’m in favor. Okay, so I have to ask, since I know this is a question a lot of people have. Do you DO magic, or are YOU magic? Can you do any tricks?

My card tricks are legendary down at the Senior Center. I had a one-man show back in April, and they’ve asked me to help out with the Christmas talent show this year. No more rabbits, though. I had hives for a week last time, and my eyes swelled shut. Had to take all the angora sweaters off my Amazon wish list.

Let’s pretend this is The Newly Wed Game. We asked Todd what his favorite thing about you was. What do you think he said?

My dashing good looks and debonair charm? My cheese omelets? Can I have a hint? 



EXCERPT:

As it turned out, a date that was a real date, and not just a payback dinner, intimidated Daniel to an unholy degree. They'd had dinner last night, they'd kind of made out; tonight would probably fall along the same lines. What was there to be anxious about? Nothing except the Gifter and his damned spell. It could turn out to be the perfect date in every conceivable way, and all it would take would be that as-yet-unknown person walking past and he'd lose any chance he'd ever had with Todd. In the end, it was purely a matter of taking what he could and being thankful for it that got him moving.

By the time Todd knocked on the door at seven, he'd gone through an entire bag of Doritos, and then panicked, brushing his teeth twice and following up with mouthwash to avoid the dreaded nacho cheese breath. In contrast, Todd was everything calm, cool and collected, and Daniel had to do a double take when he saw his hair. It took him a second to figure what had happened. Todd had cut his hair, the wild brown mop tamed into something almost respectable. Cute, but a little disconcerting.

Todd grinned, holding out a pink and orange box. "Wine seemed silly, since we're going out, and flowers didn't seem appropriate, so I brought doughnuts. If nothing else, they're the breakfast of champions when paired with a nice strong espresso."

The assumption was there, out in the open now. If they were having breakfast together, chances were good it would be because Todd had stayed over and not because he happened to stop by and tap on the door at the breakfast hour. Daniel's thoughts were spinning around so crazily that he could only accept the box with a loopy smile.



` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `













Michelle Moore has a well-documented obsession with travel, television, frappaccinos and flamingos. These, however, come in a distant second to her love of writing. Most evenings she can be found huddled over her laptop at the local Starbucks, dividing her time between actually writing and pretending to be a barista. While Michelle would like to claim child prodigy status, the truth is that she’s only been scribbling words on paper since she was six. However, she’s moved beyond those initial Dick and Jane story knock-offs to slightly more adult topics (but not necessarily more mature characters).

Michelle has discovered that romance, her genre of choice, just so happens to do that peanut butter-n-chocolate thing with such varied flavors as science fiction, magical realism and historicals. No matter which mishmash she chooses, though, her style tends towards the sweet end of the spectrum.

She can be found online at http://www.michelleandreesawrite.com/ or you can email her at MichelleMooreWrites@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway: Most Non-Heinous by Leona Carver

How do you make a science fiction, MM romance version of The Pied Piper fairy tale any more awesome? You fill it with sparkles, music, latex, science, space-age atmosphere, mutant rats, and music. All throughout Piper, popular 1980's franchises like Jem and the Holograms, Aliens, and other science fiction join forces with the Brothers Grimm and some of the most beautiful flute sonatas I've ever heard.


My name is Leona, I was born in the 80's, and it shows. Thank you so much for having me here for my third stop on this blog tour, following It's Raining Men http://rainingmenamen.blogspot.com/. My pants are already off and I'm ready to party.

Piper is The Pied Piper of Hamelin set on a space station, long after the advent of space age technology. In addition to the station, there are ships, faster than light travel, communications based in quantum entanglement, terraforming, wicked evolutionary adaptations, and resonance. I'll leave the actual science for a later post, but I wanted to give a preview of the fiction I'm playing around with. Some of it is a respectful hat tip to other science fiction, and some of it is an extrapolation of my own fiendish design.

What was more important to me than the actual science was the creation of the atmosphere. The Ham Lin, the station on which Piper takes place, is a location of extremes. The narrative takes us from the clean and sterile white lines of plebian living quarters, to the garden utopia of the Bourgeois, to damp, hot, and rusty tunnels. All of these locations had their inspirations: the gritty Nostromo, the clean halls of the Enterprise, the glass-encapsulated greenhouses of pretty much any colony or generation ship, the steamy streets in Bladerunner ... Science fiction tends to be a kind of social commentary, a glimpse at a possible distant future. I think the atmosphere is what triggers a response from the audience, whether it's "Yes, I want to live there," or "No, we must do all we can to avoid that future." My goal was to illicit such a response as the characters moved through their universe.

Set against that back drop are the pipers and their entourages, most of them brightly painted, tightly sheathed in latex, and covered in glitter. They play instruments, dance, and occasionally sing. They're my space age Holograms, with concerts, fan clubs, and souvenirs. There are scenes in Piper where I honestly hunted down images of Jem and Jareth from Labyrinth as a reference for my piper, Atmosphere. He has the big hair, sweet kicks, and ability to woo youth to his side.

- - Excerpt - -

At the very back, seated in a wide, overstuffed chair on a low dais, Master Piper Atmosphereheld his court.

"He is so sexy," Suri stooped to remark. She yelled the words, probably half-deaf from the concert, and the volume made Jake wince. Then she smirked and squeezed his shoulder. "Sorry, you probably don't want to hear that."

Why not? Jake wondered. I know exactly how sexy he is.

After a quick costume change, Atmosphere shone in the dim light, golden from his hair to his boot heels. One long leg hooked over a chair arm and the other propped against the floor, making him look especially hedonistic. A slender woman sat next to him, and they were both smiling for a man scanning them for holos. Starlight lurked nearby in dark purple and bright green, doing an excellent job of appearing casual and dangerous at the same time.

Jake balked at the first set of chairs. It wasn't enough to watch Atmosphere make new fans. That wasn't what he wanted. Not anymore. "There," he said, looking up at Suri. "I got you in."


As a dark reflection to the pipers, there are the rats. To design them, I mated terrestrial rats, the aliens from the Aliens series, and millipedes. They are a most heinous and pernicious enemy, well-suited to providing a motive for the pipers and the sociopolitical forces at work around them.

When it comes to Piper's love story, it really is a fairy tale. The young scientist Jacob Tucker meets his idol, Atmosphere. They suffer from that most debilitating of illnesses, Love At First Sight. Unfortunately for them both, there are a variety of barriers in the way, not the least of which are Jacob's disbelief in Atmosphere's motives and Atmosphere's responsibility to his League. With some rock star glamour, a smattering of science, and some mutant rat action, they overcome those barriers and, eventually, live happily ever after. Or at least as long as they're in the final scene. I make no promises for what happens after.

The last influence is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, in particular his sonatas for flute and viola. This is somewhat far removed from movies and television of the 1970's and 80's, but just as important. I tried to get across the smooth, playful tones of a confident flute, the gentle scales, and the trilling notes quickly and skillfully played. Because The Pied Piper is a German fairytale, I think it quite fitting to listen to a German composer, no? Perhaps the feel of his music came through, by diffusion if nothing else.

My goal was to create a universe of flashing lights, colour, gritty science-fiction, and beautiful music. I can't wait to find out if these came across in the writing.

I'll be giving away a copy of Piper, either electronic or print format, at the end of this blog tour. Every comment on this and the other four posts will be another entry into the draw. I will write them onto little pieces of paper and put them into a legitimate top hat, pull one out on September 15, and email the winner.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tears, Fears, and Book Reviews (In Which I Pour my Heart Out)



First I'd like to apologize to authors and publishers to whom I promised review of book/books. You might have noticed the decline in reviews for the last few months. This has to do with helping my oldest son in school and the focus of the summer months. My youngest turned 4 this year which meant starting school this September so I thought I would get an early start in preparing him for this drastic change, I never expected it to be easy but I also didn't know it would become this hard.

I first noticed he had difficulties with his speech, but along the way I also noticed he had difficulties with behaviour, transitions, and just pretty much dealing in public. At home he was happy healthy and had the regular amount of tantrums expected of any 3 year old, but it all suddenly started to change. He would get agitated very easily, he stopped responding to direction, and his eating/sleeping habits changed drastically. It had become difficult for me to take him anywhere and sometimes I didn't even want to. So I shared my concerns with his pediatrician and I was referred to a speech and language therapist. We both agreed at the time that maybe this aggression was coming from the fact the he could not communicate, I was wrong. I began to take notice that he was always on the tip of his toes, wanted his toys a certain way and could not deal with a change, fascination with his fingertips (what they call finger posturing), and sometimes how fictional things such as cartoons began to take part in his daily life. He would repeat all the things from a cartoon he liked, and what I would later come to learn is called echolalia.

Upon his first assessment with the speech pathologist she saw all these things right from the start which she was afraid of sharing because she didn't want to offend me but I had already shared my concerns with her. What wasn't apparent when we saw the pediatrician was so very clear now. A referral letter was written and now we are in the process of doing a Multidisciplinary Assessment which in all honesty takes awhile to be complete. So as of right now I'm left with a very high warning that he most likely is autistic.

The good news is that Elie has his strengths and can work independently and from first glance nothings seems to be amiss. Well he had his first day of school today and I hoped, I prayed that it would be a good day but sadly it was not. I mean it could be worse, I tell myself it could be worse but it hurts when your baby gets scared by other students touching him cus they are excited he's at school. It hurts, because I want him to play and enjoy the benefits of kindergarten, it hurts because I want him to make friends. It hurts because they say he's too violent and look at me like I did something wrong. I wish they could see that smile or hear his laugh or experience that first time he looks right in your eyes and explain about Titanic. And I hurt because I think "why can't he just be normal and sit in that fucking circle with the other kids?" I should know there is no such thing as normal. Yet I can't help my thoughts and I can't help feeling like I did something wrong or I was too late to finally do something.

My boys are my entire life since I had my oldest 7 years ago. I felt like now was the time to do something finishing school and provide a better life for them. Now I live with this anxiety of always expecting a call and so I stopped believing in myself, I stopped believing in Elie. I can change this and I will. I've been reading and researching on how to make him cope when and if he is diagnosed with autism. My goal is to make sure he's happy and stop worrying about what others are thinking. It’s my job to make sure he has a fulfilling school life and if public school is too much and he needs someplace geared towards his needs. I'm neither afraid nor embarrassed of that fact. Elie is brilliant, he's amazing, he's fantastic and I'm no longer worrying about placing him in a box. I am not without tears and moments of doubt but I can't afford to doubt I can only believe that in time with work and dedication that his days away from home will become easier. 

Sorry for the rant, but I just needed to vent. So again I apologize for the lack of reviews. I'm not stopping, I just ask that you be patient and know I haven't forgotten just been preoccupied.



Review: Waiting for Ty by Samantha Ann King

Waiting for Ty by Samantha Ann King
Carina Press
Novella: 106pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
Tyler Coil doesn't do men. But it’s harder to remember that each time he visits his best friend, gorgeous Landon Burke. As a political reporter, Ty is good at reading people, and he can tell the lust is mutual. But giving in to it could mean alienating his ultra-conservative family.

Landon never desired a man badly enough to explore that side of his sexuality—until he met Ty. He’s waited four long years for a sign that Ty wants him too, and he can’t deny his needs much longer. So when a career opportunity arises out-of-state, Landon wonders if maybe it’s time to move on.

Then Ty crashes at Landon’s while working on a story—and a searing kiss ignites a night of mind-blowing sex that’s better than their most erotic fantasies. Forced to face his feelings, Ty must decide if love is worth the risk after all—before he loses Landon forever.


Review
I am a very big fan of the friends to lover’s trope, but I've come to realize that they can be either exceptional or just mediocre. This one started off exceptional but fizzled from the middle onward and offered up what I would call some very cliché scenes and dialogue. It felt like it was a taken from a book of "How to Write" a best-friends to lovers story.

Ty is a political reporter and with his job he just can't be gay and also hurting his family is just not an option. Pushing his feelings for men aside have become easy, but there is just exception to that rule and it’s his best-friend Landor. When it comes to Landor, Ty is like snake just waiting to strike he's got him all tied up in knots and thinking of him only as a friend is easier said than done. What makes it worse is that it’s obvious Landor is interested too and it would have been easier to deny his attraction if his affections was one-sided. When Ty comes to town of course he'll spend the time with his main bud, but sexual tension is at an all time high and beer lowers the reasons of why hooking up is a bad idea.

Landor loves Ty and has for a long time. He thought that maybe his feelings would go unnoticed but it becomes clear that Ty feels the same way. A night of passion is the best thing that’s ever happened to Landor but the following morning proves that Ty isn't in it to win it. What Landor hopes is that he doesn't lose his friend and maybe his heart can take it when Ty walks away.

As I said this started out strong and I was all ready for the angst and awesome. But, it really did fizzle and eye roll numerous was out in full force. I really can't understand some of the character's decisions, like Ty disappearing and then appearing (No dude you just don't get away with that). Landor seemed like a pushover because if that were me Ty would have to grovel for like weeks.

Most things felt very cliché, like scenes and dialogue and it left me wondering if this was the author’s first M/M book? Even Ty's parents felt like an after school special of bad parents. Kudos for the very strong beginning, it really captured my interest and I wanted to know more about the characters but it fizzled for me by the middle. Also they were just too fantastic at sex like too fantastic, being the first time for both.

Should You Read It? I know there are readers that would really love this one. I really liked it up to a certain point, and then it just became "ok". One of those you have to discover for yourself.


3 Pants Off